When Dr. Mortimer accidentally leaves his walking stick in front of Sherlock Holmes’ apartment on Baker Street, Holmes and Watson treat the instrument as a kind of diary from which to read the history of Mortimer’s life. The walking stick represents the way that people leave very deep, revealing traces of themselves wherever they go, which can make people vulnerable. Through careful analysis of the walking stick, Holmes is able to discover much about Mortimer: that he is a doctor, for instance—though an unambitious one—and that he is well-liked. Holmes also deduces that Mortimer owns a dog and walks great distances. Holmes is participating in an early form of what is today called forensics, the use of scientific methods and thinking in discovering something hidden (often the source of a crime).
The Walking Stick Quotes in The Hound of the Baskervilles
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.
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.