The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Baker Street

*Baker Street. London street at whose imaginary 221B address Holmes and Watson share lodgings. There, visitors are admitted by Mrs. Hudson, the landlady who lives on the ground floor and takes them upstairs to Holmes and Watson’s sitting room. The novel opens with the house being watched during the visit of Dr. Mortimer, a concerned neighbor of Sir Henry Baskerville.

Baskerville Hall

Baskerville Hall. Ancestral Devonshire home of the Baskerville family, located on the edge of Dartmoor, a wild, rugged area in the south of England. Baskerville Hall is fourteen miles from Princetown, which is best known for is proximity to the high-security prison of Dartmoor, from which the convicted murderer Selden escapes. The hall is approached through ornate wrought iron gates at the end of a tree-lined drive that opens out onto an area of turf. The central and original part of the house has two towers that indicate the house’s age, as they are crenellated and have loopholes. The inside of the house also indicates an age going back to Tudor times; it has a large, high-ceilinged central hall raftered with age-blackened oak. The room also has a large fireplace and oak paneling and is illuminated by high windows set with stained glass depicting family coats of arms. A gallery running around the hall is reached by a double stair. The narrow, dimly lit dining room that opens from the hall has a raised dais at one end, where members of the family dine; in earlier times, their dependents would have dined on the lower level. At one end of this room is a minstrels gallery. The walls here are adorned with family portraits, including one that provides Holmes with the clue to the identity of the villain.

Baskerville Hall has been recently expanded and has wings on each side of the original house constructed from granite blocks, with high chimneys and high, angled roofs. The bedrooms in one wing are reached from the gallery off the central hall. The room in which Watson stays overlooks the front lawn and has views of the moor beyond. The other wing is not occupied, except when Barrymore uses an empty room to send secret signals to Selden.

The grounds of Baskerville Hall contain a long yew alley, in which Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead. The thick yew hedges are twelve feet tall and eight feet apart. There is a central gravel path with grass on either side running from the house to a dilapidated summerhouse at the far end. About half way down the alley a four-foot-high, white-painted wicket gate gives access to the moor. It is kept padlocked.

*Dartmoor

*Dartmoor. Wild, sparsely inhabited part of southern England Devonshire region that is dotted with steep rocky peaks and valleys. Sheep and ponies roam freely, and the hillsides are covered with heather, bracken, and gorse. In autumn—the season in which the novel is set—the moors are bleak, and the weather can quickly change, covering the moors with thick fog. The novel describes the hillsides as covered...

(The entire section is 3,569 words.)