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Sherlock Holmes - Chapter I - The Curse of the Baskervilles.

Mr Sherlock Holmes with his deer hunter
Sherlock Holmes
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paragraph 1

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before. It was a fine, thick piece of wood, bulbous-headed, of the sort which is known as a " penang lawyer." Just under the head was a broad silver band nearly an inch across. "To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H. ," was engraved upon it, with the date "1884." It was just such a stick as the old-fashioned family practitioner used to carry - dignified, solid, and reassuring.

Now You Read

paragraph 2

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"Really, Watson, you excel yourself ," said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt."

paragraph 3

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"Has been in the habit of carrying this stick behind his master. Being a heavy stick the dog has held it tightly by the middle, and the marks of his teeth are very plainly visible. The dog's jaw, as shown in the space between these marks, is too broad in my opinion for a terrier and not broad enough for a mastiff. It may have been - yes, by Jove, it is a curly-haired spaniel."

paragraph 4

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He had risen and paced the room as he spoke. Now he halted in the recess of the window. There was such a ring of conviction in his voice that I glanced up in surprise.

paragraph 5

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"My dear fellow, how can you possibly be so sure of that?"

paragraph 6

audio "For the very simple reason that I see the dog himself on our very door-step, and there is the ring of its owner. Don't move, I beg you, Watson. He is a professional brother of yours, and your presence may be of assistance to me. Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill. What does Dr. James Mortimer, the man of science, ask of Sherlock Holmes, the specialist in crime? Come in!"

paragraph 7

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The appearance of our visitor was a surprise to me, since I had expected a typical country practitioner. He was a very tall, thin man, with a long nose like a beak, which jutted out between two keen, grey eyes, set closely together and sparkling brightly from behind a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. He was clad in a professional but rather slovenly fashion, for his frock-coat was dingy and his trousers frayed. Though young, his long back was already bowed, and he walked with a forward thrust of his head and a general air of peering benevolence. As he entered his eyes fell upon the stick in Holmes' hand, and he ran towards it with an exclamation of joy. "I am so very glad, " said he. "I was not sure whether I had left it here or in the Shipping Office. I would not lose that stick for the world."

paragraph 8

audio "Glad to meet you, sir. I have heard your name mentioned in connection with that of your friend. You interest me very much, Mr. Holmes. I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development. Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure? A cast of your skull, sir, until the original is available, would be an ornament to any anthropological museum. It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull."

1 - Questions

  1. What is the meaning of 'not infrequent'? Can you give me another word for it? ____________
  2. What is the grammatical term for expressions like 'not infrequent'`? ____________
  3. Give me another word for 'hearth'. ____________
  4. Do you know the difference between 'to carry' and 'to wear'?
  5. What do you do when you excel yourself? e.g. in an exam.
  6. Which word ( s ) could you use instead of 'habitually in this sentence? "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own achievements you have HABITUALLY underrated your own abilities."
  7. Is this sentence a compliment or a slight insult? "It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light."
  8. This is what Sherlock Holmes said to Dr Watson. Does it mean Sherlock Holmes owes money to Dr Watson? "I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt." ____________
  9. What is the meaning of 'conviction' in this sentence? There was such a ring of conviction in his voice that I glanced up in surprise. (Paragraph 3 and 4)
    1. a strong opinion or belief
    2. someone who is officially found to be guilty of a particular crime
    3. the feeling or state of being annoyed
  10. Was the man's nose very noticable? He was a very tall, thin man, with a long nose like a beak, which jutted out between two keen, grey eyes, set closely together and sparking brightly from behind a pair of gold-rimmed glasses.
  11. Can you give me another word for "clad"? Was he clad in fashionable clothes? He was clad in a professional but rather slovenly fashion, because his frock-coat was dingy and his trousers frayed.
  12. Can you describe the man's appearance with your own words? Though young, his long back was already bowed, and he walked with a forward thrust of his head and a general air of peering benevolence.
  13. Was Holmes' head round or rather long? "Mr. Holmes. I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development"
  14. What comes closest in meaning to "running a finger along"? Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure?
    1. touch
    2. pat
    3. slap
  15. What is the meaning of 'cast' in that sentence? A cast of your skull, sir, until the original available, would be an ornament to any anthropological museum.
    1. an actor in a film
    2. shape
    3. look
    4. statue
  16. Did Mr Mortimer admire Sherlock Holmes for his skull? If so, which words tells you that? It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull.

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