THE BASKERVILLE LEGEND
Dr Mortimer unfolded the manuscript, and read the following strange story:
'A hundred years ago the Hall of Baskerville was owned by Hugo Baskerville.
He was a wild and cruel man. It happened that he fell in love with the daughter of a poor farmer who lived near Baskerville Hall. The girl always avoided the wicked man, for she feared and hated him.
But one night, when her father and brothers were away from home, this Hugo rode to the farm with five or six of his evil companions and carried the young girl away.
When they brought her to the Hall they locked her in a room upstairs.
Then they went downstairs and sat down to supper, drinking wine, shouting, singing and swearing.
The poor girl was so frightened that she did something that might have frightened the bravest man.
With the help of the ivy which covered (and still covers) the wall, she climbed out of the window and got down.
Then she ran across the moor towards her father's home as fast as she could.
'Some time later Hugo found that the cage was empty and the bird had escaped.
Then he became like a human devil. He ran down the stairs into the dining hall, jumped on to the great table and cried aloud to all his companions that he would give up his body and soul to the Powers of Evil if he caught the girl. He ordered his men to saddle his horse and to loosen the hounds. He gave the hounds the girl's handkerchief to put them on the scent. Then he rode after them across the moor in the moonlight.
At first Hugo's drunken friends were so frightened that they did not know what to do. But then they decided to follow him.
'When they had gone some distance they heard the sound of hoofs and soon they saw Hugo's black horse.
The animal galloped past them. Its saddle was empty!.
A little farther they saw the hounds. The animals were standing all together between two high rocks and whining.
The moon was shining brightly and the men, who were now quite sober, saw the body of the poor girl on the ground.
She had died of fear and exhaustion. Near her lay the dead body of Hugo Baskerville and over him stood a terrible thing biting at his throat — a great black hound, larger than any other hound.
When the men went forward, the beast turned its blazing eyes and bloody jaws on them. They screamed with fear, and galloped back across the moor as fast as they could.
'Such is the tale of the first coming of the hound, which has always troubled the family since that day.
Therefore no member of the family must cross the moor in the dark hours of night, when the Powers of Evil are at their strongest.