The Hound of the Baskervilles

by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Sherlock Holmes Character Analysis

Sherlock Holmes is a private detective who conducts his work alongside Dr. John Watson, who is Holmes’ friend, sidekick, and official chronicler. Dr. James Mortimer, and later, Sir Henry Baskerville himself, hire Holmes and Watson to help with the peculiar case of the supernatural Baskerville hound that is murdering the few remaining Baskerville family members. As both a private detective and intellectual, Holmes’ reputation is world-renowned, and Mortimer refers to him as the “second-highest expert in Europe.” Holmes, however, is also an egoist. He takes offense to Mortimer’s suggestion that he might be second-best at anything. Holmes has good reasons to be confident, as he has a unique ability to solve complex mysteries using the scantest of clues—the kinds of things that ordinary people might overlook. Using only Dr. Mortimer’s walking stick, for instance, Holmes is able to deduce Mortimer’s name, approximate age, occupation (and even his previous occupation), as well as the types of pets he owns. The detective is often able to arrive at these insights within moments of observing a scene. When Holmes finds he needs more time to unravel the enigma before him, he prefers complete solitude and close quarters. However, Holmes’ brilliance doesn’t come without a price. A decidedly rational man, Holmes is entirely unable to understand art—though he tries, much to the dismay of Watson, who is forced to listen to Holmes’ nonsensical diatribes on the subject. Holmes can also be a bit of a jerk. For instance, he loves to ask Watson to provide insight on clues that Holmes has already figured out, simply so he can tear his friend Watson down a bit when he arrives at the wrong conclusions.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes in The Hound of the Baskervilles

The The Hound of the Baskervilles quotes below are all either spoken by Sherlock Holmes or refer to Sherlock Holmes. 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:

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

Really, Mr. Holmes, this exceeds anything which I could have imagined […] I could understand anyone saying that the words were from a newspaper; but that you should name which, and add that it came from the leading article, is really one of the most remarkable things which I have ever known.

Related Characters: Sir Henry Baskerville (speaker), Sherlock Holmes
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

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 5 Quotes

It might interest you to know that you have been driving Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

Related Characters: Jack Stapleton (speaker), Sherlock Holmes, Sir Henry Baskerville
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

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 11 Quotes

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 13  Quotes

That’s lucky for him—in fact, it’s lucky for all of you, since you are all on the wrong side of the law in this matter. I am not sure that as a conscientious detective my first duty is not to arrest the whole household.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, Selden
Page Number: 377
Explanation and Analysis:

Yes, it is an interesting instance of a throwback, which appears to be both physical and spiritual. A study of family portraits is enough to convert a man to the doctrine of reincarnation. The fellow is a Baskerville—that is evident.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Jack Stapleton
Page Number: 379
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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Sherlock Holmes Character Timeline in The Hound of the Baskervilles

The timeline below shows where the character Sherlock Holmes 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
Sherlock Holmes, a famous private detective, is sitting in his Baker Street apartment with Dr. John Watson.... (full context)
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...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” the visitor they’ve missed. From the amount of wear and tear... (full context)
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Holmes congratulates Watson on his deductions, telling him that he has constantly underrated himself. Holmes says... (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... (full context)
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Watson was correct, Holmes says, that Mortimer is a practitioner who walks a great deal. However, Holmes thinks it’s... (full context)
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Holmes goes on to suggest that Mortimer could not have been a part of the regular... (full context)
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Holmes thus posits Mortimer as a “young fellow, under thirty, amiable, unambitious, absent-minded” and, he goes... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Holmes looks out the window and gently mocks Watson for his failure to come to the... (full context)
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...relieved to find his walking stick, saying that he wouldn’t lose it for the world. Holmes questions him to see if his earlier deductions were correct. They were mostly correct, except... (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... (full context)
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Holmes ignores this banter and asks Mortimer pointedly why he’s come. Mortimer responds that it is... (full context)
Chapter 3 
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Holmes asks a series of follow-up questions, especially regarding the footprints. He wants to know how... (full context)
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Knowing Mortimer to be a man dedicated to science and medicine, Holmes is taken aback that the doctor seems to believe that a supernatural hound had something... (full context)
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Flippantly, Holmes responds that he has often combated evil through his work as a detective, but that... (full context)
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Holmes asks Mortimer why he would consult him at all, if the doctor really believes that... (full context)
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Holmes asks Mortimer to bring Sir Henry to the Baker Street apartment the next day. In... (full context)
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With the available data, Holmes comes to only one conclusion. Sir Charles was terribly afraid of the moors and avoided... (full context)
Chapter 4 
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Just as he did with the walking stick, Holmes is able to pull some clues from the letter. First, he recognizes the series of... (full context)
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Most importantly, however, Holmes decides that the author used a hotel pen to write and address the note. This... (full context)
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Holmes asks Sir Henry if he’s noticed anything odd, or had anything odd happen to him,... (full context)
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...about Mortimer’s suspicions regarding the nature of his uncle’s death. Mortimer fills him in, and Holmes says they are trying to decide if it’s safe for Sir Henry to go to... (full context)
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...time to 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... (full context)
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Sure enough, Holmes quickly discovers that someone is watching the young Baskerville from a horse-drawn cab, but the... (full context)
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Before rejoining Sir Henry, Holmes hires a boy to check the wastepaper of all local hotels in an effort to... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...each. The whole estate, Mortimer tells Sir Henry, is worth close to one million pounds. Holmes is convinced that this must be the motivation for the death of Sir Charles. (full context)
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Holmes decides that the only way to solve the mystery is to have Sir Henry go... (full context)
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Upon returning home, Holmes finds the results of his earlier inquiries. The boy he hired to search the hotel... (full context)
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With these two clues amounting to nothing, Holmes meets with the cab driver of the bearded man who was following Sir Henry. The... (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 Henry to never go out alone and Watson to always have his revolver... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Barrymore has already been eliminated as a suspect, however, since Holmes determined through his telegram that Barrymore was not in London when Sir Henry arrived. Watson... (full context)
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...office, Watson meets Jack Stapleton. Stapleton knows a great deal about the case and about Holmes and Watson. Stapleton is very interested to learn what their thoughts are and what their... (full context)
Chapter 8 
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...events of the story directly. He now switches to the reports that he sent to Holmes during this period in time. (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... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...to discover that the man he’s been tracking all this time is none other than Holmes himself. The detective reveals that he’s been living in the moors almost all along. He... (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 his former good mood. (full context)
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In comparing notes, Holmes knows only two things that Watson does not: first, that Jack Stapleton has engaged in... (full context)
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Holmes doesn’t explain why he feels Stapleton to be the killer, but Watson readily accepts the... (full context)
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...accompanied by a deep growl, which sounds like it’s coming from nearby. In a panic, Holmes realizes that the hound of the Baskervilles is on the scent of Sir Henry. Holmes... (full context)
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...died in 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,... (full context)
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While Holmes and Watson try to decide what to do with the body, Jack Stapleton approaches. He... (full context)
Chapter 13 
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Back at Baskerville Hall, Holmes laments the lack of evidence they have in the case. He reminds Watson that, though... (full context)
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After breaking the news of Selden’s death to the Barrymores, Holmes turns to the family portraits lining Baskerville Hall. Watson remarks that the picture of Hugo... (full context)
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Holmes arranges his plan, telling Sir Henry that he must do everything that Holmes and Watson... (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... (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... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Holmes, Watson, and Lestrade make their way to just outside the Stapleton house, where Sir Henry... (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... (full context)
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Holmes is the first to react, running after the beast with a speed that Watson finds... (full context)
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...that Jack Stapleton probably heard the shots and realized that his plot had been foiled, Holmes and company leave Sir Henry and double back to the Stapleton house. Jack is nowhere... (full context)
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Beryl tells Holmes that there’s only one place that Jack might have fled to: the swampy Grimpen Mare.... (full context)
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On the way to Jack’s hideout the next day, Holmes discovers Sir Henry’s other missing boot. He realizes that Stapleton had stolen the boot in... (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 that most... (full context)