SECOND REPORT OF DR. WATSON
Baskerville Hall, October 15th
My dear Holmes,
Since my last letter some things have become much clearer and some more complicated.
The morning after my night adventure I went to the room in which Barrymore had been and examined it carefully. The window of this room is the only window of the house through which you can see the moor quite clearly, as there is an opening between the trees in front of it. So probably Barrymore was looking for something or somebody on the moor. The night was very dark and I am sure it was quite impossible to see anyone. As I could not find any explanation for Barrymore's strange conduct I told Sir Henry about it. He was not very much surprised.
'I know that Barrymore walks about at nights,' he said. 'two or three times I've heard the steps in the passage just about the same hour. I wanted to speak to him about it.'
'Perhaps he goes to that special window every night,' I said.
'Perhaps he does. If so, we'll be able to watch him,' replied Sir Henry.
'I think that it's just what my friend Holmes would do. We must follow Barrymore together and see what he does near that window,' I said.
'We'll stay in my room and wait till he passes,' exclaimed Sir Henry, and it was clear that he was much interested in the adventure.
After breakfast he put on his hat and prepared to go out. Of course I did the same.
'What, are you coming, Watson?' he asked, looking at me in a curious way.
'If you are going on the moor I am coming with you,' I replied.
'Yes, I'm going on the moor.'
'Well, you know my instructions. Holmes told me not to leave you and not to let you go on the moor alone.'
Sir Henry put his hand on my shoulder. 'My dear friend,' he said. 'Holmes couldn't foresee some things, if you understand what I mean. I must go out alone.'
It was clear that he was going to meet Miss Stapleton and wanted to be alone. I found myself in a very difficult position and while I was deciding what to do he had gone. Without thinking much longer I ran out of the house with the intention of overtaking him. When I reached the moor I mounted a hill from which I could see the path which led to Merripit House. Sir Henry was walking with a lady — it could be only Miss Stapleton — about a quarter of a mile off. I saw that they were in deep conversation. She was telling him something. He was listening attentively, but once or twice he shook his head.
Suddenly a man appeared from behind a rock near the path and ran quickly towards them. It was Stapleton. Next moment he had reached them and was gesticulating and shouting at Sir Henry. I could not hear what they were saying, but it was clear that both men were very angry. The lady was silent. From Stapleton's gestures I could see that he was angry with his sister too. Finally he walked away and she followed him after an irresolute glance at Sir Henry.
What all this meant I did not know. So I ran down the hill and met Sir Henry on the path. His face was very red.
'Hallo, Watson, where have you come from?' he exclaimed. 'Have you followed me?'
I told him everything: how I had found it impossible to stay at home, how I had come after him and seen everything. At first he was very angry, but I was so open that at last he laughed.
'Well, my dear Watson,' he said, 'as you have been a witness of the scene you can tell me your opinion of Mr Stapleton. Isn't he a little mad?'
'Why do you think so?'
'Well, why does he think that I cannot be a good husband to the woman I love? She is happy when she is with me, I swear. There is a light in her eyes that says more than words. But he never lets us be together. He is always spying on us. Today for the first time I had a chance. She kept repeating that this was a place of danger, and that she would never be happy until I had left it. I told her that I would go only if she came with me. Then I offered to marry her. Before she could answer, her brother arrived with a face like a madman's. He was white with rage, when I told him that I loved his sister and that I hoped she would become my wife. He abused me, and of course I answered rather hotly. He knows that I'm rich and that my wife will be a rich woman, so I cannot understand what he has against me. What does all this mean, Watson?'
I was completely puzzled myself. Our friend's fortune, his age, his character, his title and his appearance are all in his favour.
The same afternoon the naturalist paid us a visit and had a long interview with Sir Henry in his study. He said that he was sorry for what had happened. It appears he has always been a lonely man and loves his sister so much that the thought of losing her is really terrible to him. They decided to forget the episode. We are invited to dine at Merripit House next Friday.
So one of our little mysteries is cleared up.