This chapter would probably have been better served to be included with the last. . .
Where in the last chapter I found myself praising Watson for doing the right thing, I find his, and Sir Henry's judgement a little lacking in this one, at least in one case. Seldon and the Barrymore's.
While we can blame the previous evenings harrowing experience for perhaps some of their lack of judgement we can hardly excuse it completely.
When one moment Seldon is the scourge of the county, a lurking death behind every bush, he now becomes a poor mistreated individual who deserves more consideration than the locals, who, for all intended purposes, are sort of under Sir Henry's watch.
What is it about Barrymore that Sir Henry so trusts his judgement and his word.
With money in hand to buy their retirement pub, the Barrymore's are just trying to protect their way out of horror hall.
We only have Barrymore's word that Seldon is now harmless.
It is interesting to note that in most adaptions, if not all, Seldon is portrayed as a non-syllabic, lobotomised neanderthal, with wild hair and wild eyes (except for the one where he has a big scar around is forehead), a creature of fear and rage, willing to do what ever it takes, when frightened, to protect himself. (Even in the Brett series, Seldon is dismissed by Watson based on Barrymore's word.)
While later on, while in conversation with Watson, he describes Seldon as someone capable of having in depth conversations when he is not in one of his 'deep' moods.
Seldon was able to discern that the man on the tor was not a policeman, but a 'kind of gentleman'. And that he knew where the gentleman was staying and even knew how he got his food.
Hardly the simpleton we have come to expect.
While Seldon was a threat to Baskerville's closer circle, the prospect of the criminal loss upon the country- side was appalling.
But if the criminal were to leave the country and no longer pose a threat to those surrounding the hall, then the Barrymore's indiscretion to aid Seldon can be over looked. After all, we don't want to upset good help, even if they are planning on leaving. The thought of Seldon doing harm somewhere other than where the Devon tax-payers live is not even considered.
Each step through out this tale, Barrymore has played his cards as if he were the injured party.
When first confronted about his receiving the telegram, he is able to turn it around to where Sir Henry felt the need to pacify him with gifts.
Barrymore becomes the long suffering husband, bound by marriage to protect his wife, taking the blame for his sneaky ways, until his wife tells the truth, at which time he is almost applauded for his behavior.
It is not until he has gotten a guarantee from Sir Henry that he will not pursue the Seldon matter further, that he gives the tidbit of news about the letter in the fire and the initials L.L. And we only have his word that the letter was burned, if there was a letter, and that the only line readable was a plea to burn it after reading.
And once again, it isn't till he needs to steer Watson away from discussing Seldon again, that Barrymore brings up his knowledge of the other man upon the moor. He knows his brother-in-law still hasn't left, and he knows knowledge of that would probably upset Sir Henry and their relationship if he were to find out. He needed to find a distraction so Watson and Sir Henry would not reconsider and inform the police.
It is also during this conversation that Barrymore for the first time shows any fear for Sir Henry as it pertains the legend of the hound. No other time does Barrymore bring up the hound as a reason they are leaving, or that they fear for Sir Henry because of it.
While previously he has expressed the lose of Sir Charles as being painful, he never once put it in context of the legend.
Seldon is not longer thought about during this conversation. Barrymore has completely diverted the conversation away.
If Barrymore is aware that 'arrangements are being made' to get Seldon to South America, who is relaying the arrangements to Seldon if not Barrymore, so surely he could answer, when asked by Watson, more than 'I don't know sir.'
And who is paying for these arrangements if not the Barrymore's? Probably with money from Sir Charles.
And is it only the openness of Sir Henry that has made him comfortable enough to express himself.
Is the pressure getting to him also.
Or, over years of service, has become manipulative and cunning.
While the rest of the area fears going out at night because of the hound, Barrymore seemingly is not, for the cache for the food is 'no more than a mile or two away'.
Are the Barrymore's hiding something other than Seldon. Or is the behavior one of master and servant, with the servant always needing to hold something back, to use another day.
Are Sir Henry and Watson right in allowing Seldon to leave the country. (Maybe he would have become the leader of some South American third world country.)
On another note, if we are playing the game; Why, as a childless man, did Sir Charles never contact Sir Henry, his brothers son?