|Dr Mortimer and Sir Henry Baskerville arrived at exactly ten o’clock the following morning.Sir Henry was a small,healthy,wellbuilt man.His face showed that he had a strong character.He wore a country suit of thick,redbrown material,and his skin showed that he spent most of his time in the open air.
‘I am glad this meeting was already arranged,’Sir Henry said,after we had shaken hands with our visitors.’I need your help,Mr Holmes.A strange thing happened to me this morning.Look at this letter.’
He put a piece of paper on the table.On it were the words: ‘Do not go on to the moor.If you do,your life will be in danger.’The words had been cut out of a newspaper.
‘Can you tell me,Mr Holmes,what this means,and who is so interested in me?’Sir Henry asked.
‘This is very interesting,’said Holmes.’Look how badly it has been done.I think the writer was in a hurry.Why?Perhaps because he did not want somebody to see him.I think the address was written in a hotel.The pen and the ink have both given the writer trouble.The pen has run dry three times in writing a short address.There was probably very little ink in the bottle.A private pen and bottle of ink are never allowed to get into that condition.Hullo,what’s this?’
He was holding the letter only a few centimetres from his eyes.
‘Nothing,’he said,and threw the letter down.’Now,Sir Henry,have you anything else to tell us?’
‘No,’said Sir Henry.’Except that I have lost one of my shoes.I put a pair outside my door last night.I wanted the ho tel to clean them,but when I went to get them this morning,one had gone.I only bought them yesterday,and I have never worn them.But I wanted a good shine on them.’
‘One shoe seems a useless thing to steal,’said Holmes.’I am sure the shoe will be found in the hotel and returned to you.But now we must tell you some things about the Baskerville family.’
Dr Mortimer took out the old Baskerville papers and read them to Sir Henry.Holmes then told him about the death of Sir Charles.
‘So this letter is from someone who is trying to warn me,or frighten me away,’said Sir Henry.
‘Yes,’said Holmes.’And we have to decide if it is sensible for you to go to Baskerville Hall.There seems to be danger there for you.’
‘There is no man or devil who will stop me from going to the home of my family,’said Sir Henry angrily.’I want some time to think about what you have told me.Will you and Dr Watson join me for lunch at my hotel in two hours’time?By then,I’ll be able to tell you what I think.’
Dr Mortimer and Sir Henry said goodbye,and decided to walk back to their hotel.
As soon as our visitors had gone,Holmes changed from the talker to the man of action.
‘Quick,Watson.Your coat and hat.We must follow them.’We got ready quickly and went into the street.Our friends were not far ahead of us and we followed.We stayed about a hundred metres behind them.
Suddenly Holmes gave a cry.I saw a taxi driving along very slowly on the other side of the road from our friends.
‘That’s our man,Watson!Come along!We’ll have a good look at him.’
I saw a man with a large black beard looking out of the taxi window.He had been following and watching our friends.But when he saw us running towards him,he shouted something to the driver,and the taxi drove off quickly down the road.Holmes looked round for another taxi,but could not see one.He began to run after the first taxi,but it was soon out of sight.
‘Well,I got the number of the taxi,’said Holmes.’So I can find the driver.He may be able to tell us something about his passenger.Would you recognize the man if you saw him again?’
‘Only his beard,’I said.
‘He wanted us to recognize the beard,’said Holmes.’I think it was a false one.’