hundred and forty thousand pounds."
Holmes raised his eyebrows in surprise. "I had
no idea that so gigantic a sum was involved," said he.
This grand sum equals more than three-quarters of a billion dollars
in today's currency. See† Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, "Computing 'Real Value' Over Time with a Conversion from British Pounds to U.S. Dollars, or Vice Versa." Economic History Services, September 2005, URL: www.eh.net/hmit/exchange.
"James Desmond is an elderly clergyman in Westmoreland."
Westmoreland is found in Northern England, quite a distance from
"He would be the heir to the estate because that is entailed."
Used in former days to prevent the breakup of large estates by inheritance,
entailment limits the right of succession of property to a specific
group of heirs, usually keeping it in the male line of direct decent.
"…we shall meet at the 10:30 train from Paddington."
Paddington is the terminus of the Great Western Railway, and lies
about a mile and a half west of Baker Street.
"…I spent it at the Museum of the College of Surgeons."
The Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons would be a natural attraction
for Dr. Mortimer, considering his interests. It featured an enormous
collection of preserved specimens from human and animal dissections
performed by John Hunter (1728-1793), fossils, medical instruments,
and more. The government purchased it in 1799, and today it can
still be visited. For a small glimpse of its vast holdings, see: www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums.
…a wagonette with a pair of cobs was waiting.
A wagonette, as its name implies, was an open wagon with side benches—rather
more rustic than any conveyance Watson would have been used to in
London. Cobs are sturdy draft horses, used for farm work.
with dripping moss and fleshy hart's-tongue ferns. Bronzing bracken
and mottled bramble gleamed in the light of the sinking sun.
The parts of Devon not covered by the moors support lush vegetation.
On the moors, an over-abundance of water soaking into the peaty
soil creates the dangerous mires.
The moor is not as sinister as it appears in The Hound of the
Baskervilles. At right, a pastoral scene on the moor includes
grazing sheep and cattle, a hay wagon, and, in the foreground, some