The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles, de Arthur Conan Doyle, tiene lugar en Dartmoor, Devon, Inglaterra, y cuenta la historia de un asesinato inspirado en la leyenda de un diabólico sabueso de origen sobrenatural.

... "Of the origin of the Hound of the Baskervilles there have been many statements, yet as I come in a direct line from Hugo Baskerville, and as I had the story from my father, who also had it from his, I have set it down with all belief that it occurred even as is here set forth…

"Know then that in the time of the Great Rebellion (the history of which by the learned Lord Clarendon I most earnestly commend to your attention) this Manor of Baskerville was held by Hugo of that name, nor can it be argued that he was a most wild, profane, and godless man… It chanced that this Hugo came to love (if, indeed, so dark a passion may be known under so bright a name) the daughter of a farmer who held lands near the Baskerville estate. But the young maiden, being discreet and of good repute, would ever avoid him, for she feared his evil name. So it came to pass that one Michaelmas this Hugo, with five or six of his idle and wicked companions, stole down upon the farm and carried off the maiden, her father and brothers being from home, as he well knew. When they had brought her to the Hall the maiden was placed in an upper chamber, while Hugo and his friends sat down to a long party, as was their nightly custom. Now, the poor girl upstairs was like to have her wits turned at the singing and shouting and terrible oaths which came up to her from below, for they say that the words used by Hugo Baskerville, when he was in wine, were such as might blast the man who said them. At last in the stress of her fear she did that which might have daunted the bravest or most active man, for by the aid of the growth of ivy which covered (and still covers) the south wall she came down from under the eaves, and so homeward across the moor, there being three leagues betwixt the Hall and her father's farm.
"It chanced that some little time later Hugo left his guests to carry food and drink—with other worse things, possibly—to his captive, and so found the cage empty and the bird escaped. Then, as it would seem, he became as one that hath a devil, for, rushing down the stairs into the dining-hall, he sprang upon the great table, flagons and trenchers flying before him, and he cried aloud before all the company that he would that very night render his body and soul to the Powers of Evil if he might but overtake the girl. And while the celebrators stood amazed at the fury of the man, one more wicked or, it may be, more drunken than the rest, cried out that they should put the hounds upon her. Whereat Hugo ran from the house, crying to his grooms that they should saddle his mare and unkennel the pack, and giving the hounds a kerchief of the maid's, he swung them to the line, and so off full cry in the moonlight over the moor…
Everything was now in an uproar, some calling for their pistols, some for their horses, and some for another flask of wine. But at length some sense came back to their crazed minds, and the whole of them, thirteen in number, took horse and started in pursuit…
But soon their skins turned cold, for there came a galloping across the moor, and the black mare, wetted with white froth, went past with trailing bridle and empty saddle. Then the revellers rode close together, for a great fear was on them, but they still followed over the moor, though each, had he been alone, would have been right glad to have turned his horse's head. Riding slowly in this fashion they came at last upon the hounds. These, though known for their valour and their breed, were whimpering in a cluster at the head of a deep dip or goyal, as we call it, upon the moor, some slinking away and some, with starting hackles and staring eyes, gazing down the narrow valley before them…
The moon was shining bright upon the clearing, and there in the centre lay the unhappy maid where she had fallen, dead of fear and of fatigue. But it was not the sight of her body, nor yet was it that of the body of Hugo Baskerville lying near her, which raised the hair upon the heads of these three daredevil roysterers, but it was that, standing over Hugo, and plucking at his throat, there stood a foul thing, a great, black beast, shaped like a hound, yet larger than any hound that ever mortal eye has rested upon. And even as they looked the thing tore the throat out of Hugo Baskerville…  (The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle)
Original illustration, from the Strand, 1901
Original illustration, from the Strand, 1901

Vocabulario reemplazado
Gainsaid  Yeoman  Carouse  Lass  Perchance  Wench  Revelers  Aghast  Dabbled
Para saber
Arthur Conan Doyle escribió esta historia un poco después de llegar de Sud África, donde había estado como médico voluntario en Bloemfontein en la Segunda Guerra Boer. Conan Doyle no había escrito sobre Sherlock Holmes  en ocho años, habiendo matado al personaje en la historia de 1893 The Final Problem. Fue asistido en la preparación del argumento por el periodista del Daily Express, Bertram Fletcher Robinson.
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The Hound of the Baskervilles, to listen from Librivox

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