Describe the walking stick and the inscription on it?

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the novel 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by English author Arthur Conan Doyle, the walking stick is an important prop. It is able to 'tell' the detective quite a lot about its owner. It first appears in the morning - it was not there the night before so must have been left by an unseen night visitor. Their guest did not wait to say hello or goodbye - so Holmes and Watson must do the best they can with a guess. They must examine it in minute detail. This is what they can safely surmise:

It is inscribed 'To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S from his friends of the C.C.H.' Holmes must deduce certain things. as the C.C.H. is a hospital, (Charing Cross London)he guesses that the night visitor was a doctor (he was right - it turned out the doctor's marriage had meant a move to the country. The teeth marks on the stick were small - which suggested a small dog. It turns out to be a spaniel.

The medical connection is significant as Doyle's bio shows he was influenced his lecturer Dr Joseph Bell at medical school.

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ajacks | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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The walking stick is well-worn, suggesting year of usage and the inscription on it is "To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H."  Dr. Watson assumes that the cane is give to a doctor after years of service, and apparently a country doctor since it had been used a lot in his visits to his probably spread out patients.

Holmes goes on to ascertain that “C.C.H.” stands for “Charing Cross Hospital.” And that he is actually a young man who obviously left a successful practice at the hospital to move to the country. He also comments that the doctor must own a small dog, noticing all the small teeth marks on it. These were probably made when the doctor gave the dog a walk.

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