The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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How does Watson know that Barrymore is lying about his wife crying at night in The Hound of the Baskervilles?

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Barrymore says his wife did not cry, but Watson can see her eyes.

In his first case without Sherlock Holmes, Watson is in over his head a bit.  His task is to look for clues and report back.  He has no idea how close Holmes really is, and he is doing his best to solve the case his way.  

The Barrymores are the main servants at Baskerville Hall, “the husband acting as butler and the wife as housekeeper” (Ch. 2).  Watson is staying at the Hall, and he hears crying in the night.  He tells them that he heard the “sob of a woman.”  Barrymore says there are only two women in the house.

And yet he lied as he said it, for it chanced that after breakfast I met Mrs. Barrymore in the long corridor with the sun full upon her face. But her tell-tale eyes were red and glanced at me from between swollen lids. It was she, then, who wept in the night, and if she did so her husband must know it. (Ch. 7)

Watson is kind of mixing his words a little here.  First he says Barrymore lies, and then he says that maybe he does not lie, maybe he just does not know that his wife is crying.

Watson describes Mrs. Barrymore as “a heavy, solid person” but “inclined to be puritanical” (Ch. 8).  He becomes suspicious of the two of them when he realizes that she has been crying.

I heard her sobbing bitterly, and since then I have more than once observed traces of tears upon her face. Some deep sorrow gnaws ever at her heart. Sometimes I wonder if she has a guilty memory which haunts her, and sometimes I suspect Barrymore of being a domestic tyrant. (Ch. 8)

So at first he suspects Mr....

(The entire section contains 575 words.)

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