What are the key events of Chapter Seven in The Sign of Four?

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In chapter 7, several key clues are provided that foreshadow the solving of the crime. First, and most importantly, Holmes and Watson discover several small footprints left when one of the criminals stepped in a patch of creosote. The important fact in this instance is that the footprints are small. Second, Holmes discovers several small "spines of dark wood" that Holmes deduces to be poisonous. These two important clues will play a pivotal role in the famous chase seen on the Thames River in chapter 10.

Holmes also explains to Watson that even if he did not have the clue of the creosote footprints, he would still be able to solve the crime based on his ability to trace the criminals with other data at his disposal. Watson is skeptical of this, but is enlightened by Holmes' explanation of what transpired before and during the crime. His boast is born out at the end of the chapter when Toby, their tracking dog, ends his chase of the small-footed person at a barrel of creosote in a...

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