To his eyes all seemed beautiful, but to me a tinge of melancholy lay upon the countryside, which bore so clearly the mark of the waning year, Yellow leaves carpeted the lanes and fluttered down upon us as we passed, The rattle of our wheels died away as we drove through drifts of rotting vegetation--sad gifts, as it seemed to me, for Nature to throw before the carriage of the returning heir of the Baskervilles.
Over the green squares of the fields and the low curves of a wood there rose in the distance a grey, melancholy hill, with a strange jagged summit, dim and vague in the distance like some fantastic landscape in a dream. Baskerville sat for a long time, his gaze fixed upon it, and I read upon his eager face how much it meant to him, this first sight of that strange spot where the men of his blood had held sway so long and left their mark so deep.
On glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the last eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes, I find many tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange, but none commonplace; for, working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth, he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic.
It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn. This murder would have been infinitely more difficult to unravel had the body of the victim been simply found lying in the roadway without any of those outré and sensational accompaniments which have rendered it remarkable. These strange details, far from making the case more difficult, have really had the effect of making it less so.