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The Hound

Pardon Me Mr. Doyle and Mr. Poe

By: Roy Preece

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over a dismal yellow-backed novel that was such a bore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"Tis Mrs. Hudson," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
    Only this and nothing more.

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in a bleak September;
When the giant footprints first did stalk their way across our floor.
At those words I confess I shuddered; - but I could see Holmes heart did flutter -
Here was work, a case of terror - terror far across the moor -
For whose name would now be haunted by the terror on the moor?
    Baskerville's forevermore.

Sent by Holmes I'd woke unbidden, as some footsteps almost hidden,
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So I'd told Sir Henry 'bout them, and he said, "Shy, hell we'll rout 'em."
Now, 'twas he, Sir Henry, rapping, for our vigil at my door -
Just Sir Henry, ready, waiting, for our vigil at my door -
    He it is and nothing more."

As we sat the smoke grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "Sir Henry, truly your forgiveness I implore;
I can just hear Sherlock saying, "Watson, you have gone aaying."
Then so faintly came the treading, creeping down the hallway floor,
That in truth we scarcely heard it - here I opened wide the door; -
    Darkness there and Barrymore.

Deep into that darkness peering, down the hall we went while fearing,
Doubting, thinking thoughts we had never dared to think before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
"Could the butler be in league with that hell-hound upon the moor?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back my words, "The moor!"
    No, the convict; nothing more.

Then across the moor we sought him, if we could have only caught him;
Once again I heard a howling somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "there's a dire something out on Grimpen Mire;
Let me hear, then, hold your fire, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore, -
    "Tis the wind and nothing more!"

While we stood there all a-shutter, turning I did gasp and stutter,
For there was a brooding figure like a king from days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But with mien of lord or lady, standing there upon the tor -
Standing on a jagged boulder, outlined there upon the tor -
   For just a second, nothing more.

Next day then I went out searching for the prisoner who was lurking,
Found a stone hut (crude decorum) near a place called Vixen Tor.
Then at last I thought I heard him. "Now," I said, "I'll catch the vermin."
Ghastly grim I clutched my pistol, huddled there upon the moor -
As a well-known voice came clearly to that hut upon the moor,
   "Welcome, Watson. Come outdoors."

Much I marveled that the Master had been there to stall disaster,
When a scream and horrible baying - almost chilled us to the core;
As we ran there was no hoping, knowing what we'd find with loathing.
Then I recognized the clothing of the man beneath the tor -
"Twas Sir Henry, torn and mangled, lying there 'neath craggy tor.
   No, 'twas Selden. "Praise the Lord."

But the Hound, with horrible bays, on the gloomy moor still strays.
"Stapleton," said Holmes and after that one word he said no more.
Nothing farther then he uttered - till his mind became uncluttered -
Then he scarcely more than muttered, "Baskerville must cross the moor.
On the morrow we shall trap him, as Sir Henry goes before -
   Said Sir Henry, "Why, for sure."

When at last the night was broken by goodbyes so aptly spoken,
And we watched the fog and fretted as he left Stapleton's door.
Then we waited with the Master as potential for Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till our minds one burden bore -
Till the center of our minds that terrible, terrible burden bore -
   Of the Hound upon the moor.

But the Hound still not appearing served to just increase our fearing;
Then we heard a thin, crisp, patter as of paws across a floor.
Through the fog we three, uncertain, stared until our eyes were hurtin';
Then the fog rose like a curtain for the coal-black hound of your -
Out sprang the appalling, ghastly, flaming, flickering hound of yore.
   Down Lestrade went in terror.

From the fog burst forth those eyes, while we three stood there paralyzed
By the hound whose fiery outlines burned into my bosom's core;
Holmes and I both fired together, hoping "better late than never"
Saw the hound as it seized Henry, then Holmes fired o'er and o'er,
With a howl it let loose Henry as Holmes fired o'er and o'er.
   It shall rise, ah, nevermore.

Then, we gathered round the victim, hopeful we would not be sickened.
Thankfully his eyelids shivered lying there upon the moor.
"Wretch," I cried, "the hound did rend him - to the angels almost sent him.
Rest now - rest now let us fend him from the memories of this gore!
Quaff, oh quaff this flask of brandy and forget this blood and gore!"
   Quoth Sir Henry, "One sip more."

"Now hound!" said I, "thing of evil!- you lie dead, if dog or devil! -
Whether Satan sent, or whether human tossed thee here a-moor,
Desolate, yet oh so haunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by Horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there calm for Baskerville? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"
   And said Sherlock, "Just phospor."

"Phosphor!" said I, "nothing evil! - starving hound, not ghost or devil!"
As for Henry, I bent above him - just some scratches nothing more -
Off we went to Merripit where, Stapleton we thought we might snare,
Muffled sounds we heard when upstairs, from behind a bedroom door -
"Where's he gone?" we asked his sister, after Holmes kicked down the door.
   Said the lady, "Not the moor."

"Be that word our sign of parting, Stapleton!" she shrieked, upstarting -
"He's gone back into the mire and the night's Plutonian shore!
Leave him be the mire's token of the lies that he has spoken!
For, thank God, his hold is broken! - suck him through your green-scummed door!
Take his hold from out my heart, and keep his form from near my door!"
   Was he seen? No! Nevermore!

And the Master, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
In his armchair near the fire just inside our chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a man who might be dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor,
There sits Sherlock who removed a shadow cast upon the moor.
   The hound shall haunt them - nevermore!

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