Free Plot Analysis for The Hound of the Baskervilles |
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Back at home, Holmes receives two telegrams that evening. Sir Henry’s informs him of Barrymore’s presence at the Hall. The one from Cartwright reports that he was unable to find the cut up Times. With those two possible paths gone, the cabman, John Clayton, arrives at the door. He describes his mysterious passenger as about 40 years old, of middle height, and pale-faced, an account that is fairly accurate. Clayton is not able to provide any more information except that (to Holmes’s shock and then thrill, having found a worthy opponent) the man reported his name to be Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
As a murder mystery, the chapter title “Three Broken Threads” refers to the net that Holmes intends to use to catch the criminal, and will be referred to in this context again later in the story. As a piece of literature, the phrase (particularly potent with the line “‘Snap goes our third thread, and we end where we began’”) also has mythological connections-the three Fates who spin and cut the threads of life. It is unusual that Holmes, as an extremely practical man with likely little concern for such allusions, would be the one to deliver the line, but he is clearly worried for Watson’s sake and he had run out of time and ideas to save him the necessity of being in danger.
Perhaps more coincidental than anything, the name of the cabman is also that of a figure of incidental importance in biology. John Clayton’s (1694-1773) collection of plant specimens, one of the first in Virginia, formed the basis of the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus’s (1707-1778) knowledge of North American species when he wrote his book on binomial nomenclature. The connection does take on some significance though, when the actual occupation of the passenger in cab is known.
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McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on The Hound of the Baskervilles".
. 09 May 2017