Who was Selden in The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is a Sherlock Holmes mystery set primarily in the moors of Devonshire. John and Eliza Barrymore are longtime servants in Sir Charles Baskerville's home, and they now serve the Baskerville heir, Sir Henry. Watson soon realizes there is something odd going on connected to the couple.

What he eventually discovers is that Eliza's brother is a convict, a murderer known as the Notting Hill murderer, who has escaped from Princeton prison. He is now living on the moors, and his older sister (Eliza) feels responsible and wants to help him escape the country where he will apparently do no more harm. She and her husband signal him by displaying a light in the window, and they give him food and whatever provisions they can spare. This dangerous criminal, escaped convict, and brother to Eliza Barrymore is Selden.

Selden is inadvertently killed while in hiding because he had the misfortune to be wearing one of Sir Henry's discarded outfits; the man who wants Sir Henry dead kills (or has his dog kill) the wrong man. When he hears about Selden's death, Sherlock Holmes says,

“Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him.” 

Selden does have one woman who mourns for him, his sister Eliza. 

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The Hound of the Baskervilles

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