The Hound of the Baskervilles

by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Watson is Sherlock Holmes’ friend and assistant. He serves as the story’s narrator, presenting the plot in a series of first-hand diary entries, letters, and reports written to, or at the request of, Sherlock Holmes. Together, Holmes and Watson work to solve difficult mysteries, though Holmes is clearly better at this type of work and is unafraid to let Watson know it. Nevertheless, despite both Holmes and Watson’s own lack of confidence in his abilities, Watson is an intuitive man with an exceptional work ethic. By examining Dr. James Mortimer’s walking stick, for instance, Watson is able to deduce that its owner was a doctor who lived in the country—insights that were both correct and not readily apparent. However, because Watson lacks Holmes’ strict rationality (and is, instead, somewhat emotional and romantic), he incorrectly believed Mortimer to be an older man, just retired, rather than the young man Mortimer is. Such missteps seem typical of him. Watson also shows great concern and respect for those who have been placed in his care, such as Sir Henry Baskerville, whom Holmes has ordered Watson to protect. Though Baskerville orders Watson to leave him alone for a while (so that he can court Beryl Stapleton), Watson nevertheless follows Sir Henry, taking great care to obey both Holmes’ orders to protect him and Sir Henry’s orders to leave him alone. He is able to do this partly through his excellent athleticism, which enables him to navigate the moor’s rough terrain quickly and with ease. This fitness also lends to another important trait, his bravery, as Watson generally feels himself capable of fending off any would-be attackers.

Dr. John Watson Quotes in The Hound of the Baskervilles

The The Hound of the Baskervilles quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. John Watson or refer to Dr. John Watson. 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:
Chapter 3  Quotes

My first impression as I opened the door was that a fire had broken out, for the room was so filled with smoke that the light of the lamp upon the table was blurred by it.

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker), Sherlock Holmes
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4  Quotes

We are dealing with a clever man, Watson.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Dr. John Watson, Jack Stapleton
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

In a very few hours the brown earth had become ruddy, the brick had changed to granite, and red cows grazed in well-hedged fields where the lush grasses and more luxuriant vegetation spoke of a richer, if damper climate.

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker)
Page Number: 298
Explanation and Analysis:

I remembered the case well, for it was one in which Holmes had taken an interest on account of the peculiar ferocity of the crime and the wanton brutality which had marked all the actions of the assassin.

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker), Sherlock Holmes, Selden
Page Number: 300
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Already round this pale-faced, handsome, black-bearded man there was gathering an atmosphere of mystery and of gloom.

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker), Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:

The Mire has him. Two in two days, and many more, perhaps, for they get in the way of going there in the dry weather, and never know the difference until the Mire has them in its clutch. It’s a bad place, the great Grimpen Mire.

Related Characters: Jack Stapleton (speaker), Dr. John Watson
Page Number: 311
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8  Quotes

He is much attached to her, no doubt, and would lead a lonely life without her, but it would seem the height of selfishness, if he were to stand in the way of her making so brilliant a marriage.

Page Number: 320
Explanation and Analysis:

Some deep sorrow gnaws ever at her heart. Sometimes I wonder if she has a guilty memory which haunts her, and sometimes I suspect Barrymore of being a domestic tyrant. I have always felt there was something singular and questionable in this man's character […].

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker), Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, Selden
Page Number: 323
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9  Quotes

She kept coming back to it that this was a place of danger, and that she would never be happy until I had left it.

Related Characters: Sir Henry Baskerville (speaker), Dr. John Watson, Beryl Stapleton
Page Number: 330
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

There is the death of the last occupant of the Hall, fulfilling so exactly the conditions of the family legend, and there are the repeated reports of…a strange creature upon the moor. Twice I have heard […] the distant baying of a hound.

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker)
Page Number: 341
Explanation and Analysis:

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:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Mrs. Lyons […] you are taking a very great responsibility and putting yourself in a very false position by not making an absolutely clean breast of all you know. If I have to call in the aid of the police you will find how seriously you are compromised.

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker), Jack Stapleton, Laura Lyons
Page Number: 354
Explanation and Analysis:

It is a lovely evening, my dear Watson […] I really think that you will be more comfortable outside than in.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Dr. John Watson
Page Number: 362
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

The gleam of the match which he struck shone upon his clotted fingers and upon the ghastly pool which widened slowly from the crushed skull of the victim. And it shone upon something else which turned our hearts sick and faint within us—the body of Sir Henry Baskerville!

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker), Sherlock Holmes, Sir Henry Baskerville, Selden
Page Number: 369
Explanation and Analysis:

One cannot always have the success for which one hopes. An investigator needs facts, and not legends or rumors. It has not been a satisfactory case.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Dr. John Watson, Jack Stapleton
Page Number: 373
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

The great ordeal was in front of us; at last we were about to make our final effort, and yet Holmes had said nothing, and I could only surmise what his course of action would be.

Related Characters: Dr. John Watson (speaker), Sherlock Holmes
Page Number: 387
Explanation and Analysis:

I said it in London, Watson, and I say it again now, that never have we helped to hunt down a more dangerous man than he who is lying yonder.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Dr. John Watson, Jack Stapleton
Page Number: 396
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dr. John Watson Character Timeline in The Hound of the Baskervilles

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. John Watson appears in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...Holmes, a famous private detective, is sitting in his Baker Street apartment with Dr. John Watson. They are looking at a walking stick that has been left behind by an unknown... (full context)
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...“To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H.” alongside a date. Holmes asks Watson to “reconstruct” the visitor they’ve missed. From the amount of wear and tear on the... (full context)
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Watson also notes that Mortimer must be esteemed by his colleagues, because the walking stick is... (full context)
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Holmes congratulates Watson on his deductions, telling him that he has constantly underrated himself. Holmes says that he... (full context)
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The moment is short-lived, however, as Holmes quickly points out that Watson was wrong about most of his deductions. Holmes was in Watson’s debt not because of... (full context)
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Watson was correct, Holmes says, that Mortimer is a practitioner who walks a great deal. However,... (full context)
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...student.” If that’s true, then the date on the stick, only five years prior, makes Watson’s assertion that the doctor was an old man impossible. (full context)
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Watson points out how impossible it is to confirm most of Holmes’ suspicions without meeting Mortimer.... (full context)
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Holmes looks out the window and gently mocks Watson for his failure to come to the correct conclusions. Holmes goes on to explain in... (full context)
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Mortimer says that he knows Holmes and Watson by reputation. He goes on to talk at length about Holmes skull. As a phrenologist,... (full context)
Chapter 3 
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...and smoking until the air becomes so thick that breathing becomes difficult. This, he tells Watson, helps him to think. (full context)
Chapter 4 
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...think about everything and suggests that 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... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...the mystery is to have Sir Henry go to Baskerville Hall. However, he insists that Watson go along. Holmes claims to be too busy himself to take the time to do... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Soon, Watson, Dr. Mortimer, and Sir Henry are on their way to Baskerville Hall. Holmes admonishes Sir... (full context)
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...escaped from a nearby prison and is believed to be hiding out in the moors. Watson spends some time trying to remember what he knows about Selden’s case, recalling that Selden... (full context)
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Watson and Sir Henry both find the Hall gloomy and depressing, though they’re impressed by the... (full context)
Chapter 7
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The next day, Sir Henry and Watson ask Mr. Barrymore about the crying. Barrymore claims that it was not his wife, but... (full context)
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...Holmes determined through his telegram that Barrymore was not in London when Sir Henry arrived. Watson decides to check with the postmaster to make sure that the telegram was delivered directly... (full context)
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Sure enough, at the post office Watson discovers that the telegram was delivered to Mrs. Barrymore, who claimed that her husband was... (full context)
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On his way back to Baskerville Hall from the post office, Watson meets Jack Stapleton. Stapleton knows a great deal about the case and about Holmes and... (full context)
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...Grimpen Mire is a particularly swampy area of the moor that’s incredibly dangerous. He and Watson even see a wild pony drowning to death in the marshes there, and they hear... (full context)
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As Watson and Jack approach the Stapleton home, Beryl Stapleton walks out to meet them. Jack is... (full context)
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...Beryl quickly stops this line of conversation. When she learns that the visitor is Dr. Watson and not Sir Henry Baskerville, she blushes and says that her previous speech was aimed... (full context)
Chapter 8 
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Up until this point, Watson has been relaying the events of the story directly. He now switches to the reports... (full context)
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Watson reports that Sir Henry has taken a strong romantic interest in Beryl Stapleton. He notes... (full context)
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Watson also notes that he has observed Mr. Barrymore using a candle to signal out into... (full context)
Chapter 9 
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In his second report, Watson reports that Jack Stapleton has practically attacked Sir Henry over his advances towards Beryl. The... (full context)
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With regard to the strange signaling of Mr. Barrymore, it takes few nights for Watson and Sir Henry to stay awake long enough to catch him in the act, but... (full context)
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Watson and Baskerville are surprised by this sudden revelation but understanding of the impossible situation that... (full context)
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...ominous sound, the two press on. Selden, however, sees them coming and manages to escape. Watson is surprised by how quickly and agilely the convict is able to move. Just as... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Switching away from his reports to Holmes, Watson now uses his diary to reconstruct the events of the case. He begins the following... (full context)
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...and never again be a danger to the people of England. When Sir Henry asks Watson what he thinks about this, Watson replies that Selden leaving the country would relieve the... (full context)
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Watson makes some inquiries into who “L.L.” might be. Mortimer suggests that it might be Laura... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Watson goes to Coombe Tracey as planned. He finds Laura Lyons to be a difficult witness... (full context)
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At first, Lyons denies asking Sir Charles to meet her. However, when Watson reveals that he knows about the letter, she changes her story. At first she’s upset... (full context)
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Lyons tells Watson that she has lived her entire life in fear that her husband will come back... (full context)
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On his way back to Baskerville Hall from Coombe Tracey, Watson considers all of the leads that have opened and shut in the case. He feels... (full context)
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As luck would have it, Watson is shortly thereafter waylaid by a chatty neighbor—Frankland—who reveals that he’s seen a boy delivering... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Watson is amazed to discover that the man he’s been tracking all this time is none... (full context)
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At first Watson feels angry and ill-used by Holmes. However, after Holmes compliments him heavily, he returns to... (full context)
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Holmes doesn’t explain why he feels Stapleton to be the killer, but Watson readily accepts the premise. When Watson tells Holmes that Lyons wanted to meet with Sir... (full context)
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As Watson is preparing to leave, he hears the eerie sound of the hound baying again. This... (full context)
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...a fall caused by his fleeing from the hound. Upon closer inspection, however, Holmes and Watson realize that it is not the body of Sir Henry they’re looking at, but rather... (full context)
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While Holmes and Watson try to decide what to do with the body, Jack Stapleton approaches. He sees the... (full context)
Chapter 13 
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...Baskerville Hall, Holmes laments the lack of evidence they have in the case. He reminds Watson that, though they know Stapleton was responsible for Sir Charles’ death, that the man died... (full context)
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...of Selden’s death to the Barrymores, Holmes turns to the family portraits lining Baskerville Hall. Watson remarks that the picture of Hugo Baskerville looks like Sir Henry. Holmes, however, covers a... (full context)
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Holmes arranges his plan, telling Sir Henry that he must do everything that Holmes and Watson request of him without question. His first request is that Sir Henry attend dinner with... (full context)
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The next stop is for Holmes and Watson to meet with Laura Lyons. As Holmes expected, Lyons quickly turns on Jack Stapleton when... (full context)
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After securing Lyons’ testimony, Holmes reveals to Watson that they are, in fact, returning to the Dartmoor moor and Baskerville Hall. First, however,... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Holmes, Watson, and Lestrade make their way to just outside the Stapleton house, where Sir Henry is... (full context)
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Soon, however, Sir Henry comes down the path. Holmes, Lestrade, and Watson let him pass without making their presence known. Moments later, the sound of running, padded... (full context)
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Holmes is the first to react, running after the beast with a speed that Watson finds almost unbelievable. At the exact moment that the hound pounces on Sir Henry, Holmes... (full context)
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Looking at the dog, Watson realizes that what appeared to be glowing eyes and a fire-breathing mouth were nothing more... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Months later, Watson and Holmes sit together and recollect the case in the Baker Street apartment. Holmes recalls... (full context)