EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF DR WATSON
Here are some extracts from my diary. From them the reader will learn of the events that happened after my last report to Sherlock Holmes.
October 16th. A dull and rainy day. The house is as melancholy as the weather. Everything is gloomy around and I myself have a feeling that there is a danger here, though I cannot guess where it comes from. I certainly do not believe in anything supernatural, but facts are facts, and there is something very strange about the moor. I have twice heard a sound which was like the distant barking of a dog. But if there is a hound on the moor, where is it hidden? Where does it get its food? Why has no one seen it by day? And what about the stranger whom I saw on the rock? He is not one of those whom I have met here and I have now met all the neigbours. Is he a friend or an enemy? Is it possible that he is the man who followed Sir Henry in London? If only I could find out who he is!
This morning there was a small scene after breakfast. Barrymore said that we had no right to hunt down Selden after Mrs Barrymore had told us of her brother's hiding place.
'The fellow is a danger to the society,' answered Sir Henry. 'You know that there are some lonely houses on the moor. It's absolutely necessary to let the police know where he is.'
'Please, sir,' Barrymore begged, 'do not call the police. I promise that he won't attack anybody. In two or three days he'll be on his way to South America. He'll never trouble anyone again.'
He begged so hard for the sake of his poor wife that Sir Henry agreed not to let the police know anything about Seldon.
Barrymore thanked him and turned to go, but then hesitated and came back.
'You've been so kind to us, sir, that I want to tell you something I know about poor Sir Charles' death.'
We both jumped to our feet.
'Do you know how he died?' exclaimed Sir Henry.
'No, sir, I don't know that.'
'I know why he was at the gate that night. He was going to meet a woman there.'
'To meet a woman! He?'
'Yes, sir. I cannot give you her name, but its first letters are L.L.'
'How do you know this, Barrymore ?'
'Well, Sir Henry, your uncle got a letter that morning. It was from Coombe Tracey and it was addressed in a woman's hand. I didn't think of this letter at the time, for Sir Charles usually got many letters. But only a few weeks ago my wife was cleaning Sir Charles's study and she found the ashes of a burnt letter in the fireplace.'
'Well, the greater part of it was burnt, but one little bit remained and the writing could still be read. It said: 'Please, please, as you are a gentleman, burn this letter and be at the gate by ten o'clock. L.L.'
'Have you got this bit of the letter?'
'No, sir, it crumpled all to bits after we had touched it.'
'I cannot understand, Barrymore, why you didn't speak about it before.'
' Well, sir, we had our own trouble with Selden at that time. And then we both loved Sir Charles and ... thought it would be better not to tell anybody that there was a lady in the case. But now, sir, you've been kind to us, and I feel that I must tell you all I know about it.'
When the butler had gone Sir Henry turned to me.
'Well, Watson, what do you think we must do?'
'I'll report to Holmes at once,' I answered. 'Maybe he'll come here himself.'
October 17th. It has been raining all day. In the evening I put on my raincoat and went for a walk on the moor. I wanted to see the rock where the stranger had stood that night. All was silent there and I could not find any trace of the unknown man. As I was walking back I was overtaken by Dr Mortimer driving home in his dogcart. He was returning from one of the distant farms. He made me climb into his cart and told me that he was very much troubled, for his little spaniel had disappeared on the moor. I thought of the pony on the Grimpen Mire and said nothing.
'By the way, Mortimer,' I asked a little later, 'I suppose you know all the people on the moor.'
'I think so.'
'Do you know any woman in the neighbourhood whose initials are L.L.?'
He thought a little and then said that it probably was Laura Lyons, the daughter of Sir Henry's neighbour — old Frankland. He told me her story. She had married an artist named Lyons who soon deserted her. Her father refused to help her, because she had got married without his consent. Besides, he has very little money himself. The neighbours were sorry for her and some of them helped her to learn typewriting and get some work. Stapleton and Sir Charles were among those who gave her money. She was now living at Coombe Tracey.
I didn't tell Mortimer why I was so much interested in the woman, but tomorrow I'll go to Coombe Tracey and try to find her. She may help to make things much clearer.
There is one more incident to put down on this melancholy day. It is my conversation with Barrymore.
'Well,' I said, 'has your brother gone at last?'
'I don't know, sir, for I didn't see him when I brought his food three days ago.'
'But did you find the food at that place the next time?'
'No, I didn't, but perhaps the other man took it.'
I sat with my coffee cup halfway to my lips and looked at Barrymore in astonishment.
'So you know that there is another man?'
'Yes, sir, there is another man on the moor.'
'Have you seen him?'
'No, sir, but Selden told me about him a week ago.'
So the convict had seen that other man too! Who is he and what is he doing there all alone? I swear I will do my best to reach the heart of this mystery.