The Hound of the Baskervilles

by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Hound of the Baskervilles can help.
Dr. Mortimer is a house surgeon who left his London practice in order to set up house and a country practice in the Devonshire moors near Baskerville Hall with his wife and dog. Mortimer is a phrenologist and believes that a person’s most intimate characteristics can be understood through careful measurement and examination of his skull. Indeed, he feels the individual predisposed to whatever characteristics his or her skull imbues. As such, he takes great interest in the skull of Sherlock Holmes when they first meet. Since Holmes is such a singular character, Mortimer is sure he must have a singular skull. Mortimer was a friend of Sir Charles Baskerville and is the reason that Holmes and Dr. Watson are first brought into the case. He is observant and scientific, discovering unnoticed footprints left behind by a dog at the scene of Sir Charles’ death. He is also considerate, sharing the information about the footprints only with Holmes and Watson for fear of causing a panic among the moor’s occupants. Mortimer’s familiarity with both dogs and the Baskerville legend make him something of a red herring, at least until his own dog goes missing on the moors.

Dr. James Mortimer Quotes in The Hound of the Baskervilles

The The Hound of the Baskervilles quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. James Mortimer or refer to Dr. James Mortimer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Borzoi edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles published in 2014.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he stayed up all night, was seated at the breakfast-table. I stood upon the hearthrug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before.

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker), Sherlock Holmes, Dr. James Mortimer
Related Symbols: The Walking Stick
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:

Really, Watson, you excel yourself […] It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Dr. John Watson, Dr. James Mortimer
Related Symbols: The Walking Stick
Page Number: 250
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Such is the tale, my sons, of the coming of the hound which is said to have plagued the family so sorely ever since. If I have set it down it is because that which is clearly known hath less terror than that which is but hinted at and guessed.

Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!

Page Number: 265
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3  Quotes

I find that before the terrible event occurred several people had seen a creature upon the moor which corresponds with this Baskerville demon, and which could not possibly be an animal known to science. They all agreed that it was a huge creature, luminous, ghastly, and spectral.

Page Number: 268
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

Sir Charles had a reputation for being rich, but we did not know how very rich he was until we came to examine his securities. The total value of the estate was close to a million.

Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Her father refused to have anything to do with her, because she had married without his consent, and perhaps for one or two other reasons as well.

Related Characters: Dr. James Mortimer (speaker), Dr. John Watson, Laura Lyons
Page Number: 347
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Hound of the Baskervilles LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Hound of the Baskervilles PDF

Dr. James Mortimer Character Timeline in The Hound of the Baskervilles

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. James Mortimer appears in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
The stick has a small dedicatory plaque on it that reads, “To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H.” alongside a date. Holmes asks Watson to “reconstruct”... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Watson also notes that Mortimer must be esteemed by his colleagues, because the walking stick is well-made and expensive-looking, and... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Watson was correct, Holmes says, that Mortimer is a practitioner who walks a great deal. However, Holmes thinks it’s far more likely... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Holmes goes on to suggest that Mortimer could not have been a part of the regular staff of the hospital, since it... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Holmes thus posits Mortimer as a “young fellow, under thirty, amiable, unambitious, absent-minded” and, he goes on to add,... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Watson points out how impossible it is to confirm most of Holmes’ suspicions without meeting Mortimer. The professional aspects, though, he can  easily check using his medical directory. Sure enough, when... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
...possibly know the exact breed of dog. Holmes says that it’s simple: he’s just seen Mortimer and his dog walk up to the apartment. (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Mortimer is relieved to find his walking stick, saying that he wouldn’t lose it for the... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
Mortimer says that he knows Holmes and Watson by reputation. He goes on to talk at... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
Holmes ignores this banter and asks Mortimer pointedly why he’s come. Mortimer responds that it is because, when it comes to being... (full context)
Chapter 2
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
Mortimer produces a manuscript, which he says was created in 1742. It was given to him... (full context)
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Mortimer then produces a newspaper article describing the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. It says that... (full context)
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Regarding Sir Charles’ death, the article quotes Mortimer. He says that Sir Charles was in poor health, with a bad heart, but that... (full context)
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Mortimer adds to the article, saying that Sir Charles had become obsessed with the Baskerville legend... (full context)
Chapter 3 
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
...regarding the footprints. He wants to know how many dogs are on the moor generally. Mortimer responds that there are a great many, generally large sheep dogs used in farming. These... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Knowing Mortimer to be a man dedicated to science and medicine, Holmes is taken aback that the... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
...actual agent of the devil might be a bit out of his league. He reminds Mortimer, however, that the hound is leaving behind an awful lot of physical evidence, such as... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Holmes asks Mortimer why he would consult him at all, if the doctor really believes that Sir Charles’... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Mortimer is worried that whatever happened to Sir Charles will shortly happen to Sir Henry if... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Holmes asks Mortimer to bring Sir Henry to the Baker Street apartment the next day. In the meantime,... (full context)
Chapter 4 
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Sir Henry arrives with Mortimer early the next morning. The young Baskerville has odd news: he’s received an ominous letter... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
...on, since he’s just arrived from America to receive his inheritance and knows nothing about Mortimer’s suspicions regarding the nature of his uncle’s death. Mortimer fills him in, and Holmes says... (full context)
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
...they all meet up later over lunch. Holmes and Watson agree, and Sir Henry and Mortimer leave. Unknown to them, Holmes and Watson follow closely behind, to see if anyone is... (full context)
Chapter 5
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
The topic of conversation soon turns to Sir Charles’ will, where it’s discovered that Dr. Mortimer received 1,000 pounds from his friend and the Barrymores received 500 pounds each. The whole... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Power of Reason Theme Icon
Natural vs. Supernatural Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
Soon, Watson, Dr. Mortimer, and Sir Henry are on their way to Baskerville Hall. Holmes admonishes Sir Henry to... (full context)
Strong Women Theme Icon
Criminal Nature vs. Criminal Nurture Theme Icon
The Superiority of Urban Life Theme Icon
At Baskerville Hall, the party is greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, and Dr. Mortimer departs for home. The Barrymores are happy to meet Sir Henry but are concerned that... (full context)
Chapter 10
Strong Women Theme Icon
Watson makes some inquiries into who “L.L.” might be. Mortimer suggests that it might be Laura Lyons, a typist in nearby Coombe Tracey. Lyons was... (full context)