Describe the walking stick and the inscription on it?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

ajacks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

Read the study guide:
The Hound of the Baskervilles

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