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In The Hound of the Baskervilles, what job did Sherlock Holmes assign to the boy...

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zahoor | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 20, 2009 at 7:39 PM via web

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In The Hound of the Baskervilles, what job did Sherlock Holmes assign to the boy Cartwright and why?

It is from Chapter 4.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 26, 2009 at 4:53 AM (Answer #1)

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In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, the boy Cartwright is a handy assistant for Wilson, a hotel manager. Holmes had worked with Cartwright on a case to aid Mr. Wilson; it is for this reason that Holmes requests Cartwright's services again.

The task Holmes assigns Cartwright for The Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles is to find a particular page from "yesterday's" edition of the London Times newspaper. Cartwright is to go to the twenty-three hotels near at hand and ask each outside porter (doorman) for permission to look through yesterday's wastepaper, which had been collected from the hotel's wastepaper baskets.

Holmes informs Cartwright that the outside porters would direct him to each hall porter (inside porter). Cartwright was to ask each hall porter the same question. His pretense was to be that he was looking for a misplaced ("miscarried") telegram. He was to keep it a secret that he was really looking for a page of the London Times.

Holmes instructs Cartwright that the odds were that the hall porters would say that the wastepaper had been incinerated but that a few would escort him to the wastepaper bin.

There he will look for the center page of "yesterday's" London Times (a sample of which Holmes hands to Cartwright) that has parts of the page cut out of it. To insure the cooperation of the twenty-three outside porters and the twenty-three hall porters, Holmes gives Cartwright twenty-three shillings twice and an additional ten shillings for emergencies. The purpose of this task is to attempt to find an important clue to the mystery.

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