Chapter 7 -The Stapletons of Merripit House
Watson told Sir Henry about the sobbings that he had heard during the night. They then discover it was Mrs Barrymore who had been weeping. The evidence of tear stains were clearly visible on her face.
Sir Henry had lots of papers on his desk and so Watson left to find out more about the telegram, which had been requested by Holmes. The reply was that Barrymore was at the Hall but that his wife took the telegram on his behalf, as he was in the attic at that time.
Watson soon after left, and proceeded along the moor – where he encountered Stapleton. The naturalist explained that he knew about Watson and Sir Henry, and then said that both he and his sister were very sad because of the demise of Sir Charles. Stapleton thought the reason for the death was down to Sir Charles running away from an ordinary animal in a petrified manner. He then asked for Holmes’ opinion; startling Watson somewhat. The eventual reply to the question was that Holmes was making his own conclusions, but was still back over in London.
Watson then took up Stapleton’s suggestion of a walk back to Merripit House. During this journey. Stapleton stopped to indicate the Great Grimpin Mire, and remarked upon its deadly nature. However he knew some special paths that allowed for a safer route. As to why he would go to the Mire in the first place, Stapleton explained how he had a keen interest in catching rare butterflies – which was par for the course for someone of his profession.
Soon a terrible choking cry was heard and the duo saw a pony fall victim to the mire. But that unpleasant surprise was overshadowed by the blood-curdling cry of a hound – or something <like
a hound. Stapleton dismissed it as merely the sound of the bog that can be emitted by the mire. And suddenly he was distracted by one of his obsessions ; proceeding to chase a very rare butterfly with his <net across the moor.
Watson admired Stapleton’s nimble footwork across the mire. He then had his own form of distraction in the shape of a rather pretty young lady. Watson greeted her, but the response he received was overly serious. She told him that he must leave the Moor altogether and go back to London. It was clear to Watson that she mistook him for Sir Henry!
Soon enough Stapleton returned, but on this occasion he did not make a successful addition to his collection. He realised Watson’s awkward situation and resolved it by telling the woman – his sister – that she had been mistaken.
After seeing Merripit House and learning more about why Stapleton lived by the moor, Watson decided to leave. His day had been quite eventful enough, even by the standards of a typical investigation with Holmes.
As he took the path back to the Hall he was then stopped by Miss Stapleton, who gave a sincere apology for her behaviour in mistaking him for someone else. She also was sure to warn him that the Moor was very dangerous for Sir Henry. Watson detected a rather superstitious aspect to the young woman, who queried him on his knowing the tale of the Hound.
It became clear that her brother was anxious that Sir Henry should stay.
Upon telling Watson these things, she then made her departure – leaving a final remark that she had ‘done her part’.