it is no great wonder that our trail should have been <crossed>


Senior Member
Chinese - China
“He acted according to his lights,’ said Holmes, lifting him down from the barrel and walking him out of the timber-yard. ‘If you consider how much creosote is carted about London in one day, it is no great wonder that our trail should have been crossed. It is much used now, especially for the seasoning of wood. Poor Toby is not to blame.”

The Sign of the Four
Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Context: Toby was a dog and was leading Holmes and Watson to the whereabouts of a suspect by following his scent. The suspect had dipped his feet in creosote, which was the scent the dog picked up. The dog, however, led them to the wrong place (the timber-yard).

Hi. What does “cross” mean here? Meet and pass?
Thank you.
  • S1m0n

    Senior Member
    The dog is following the trail of the suspect. At some point, this trail was crossed by someone else who had the same scent, and this confused the dog, who could no longer tell which was the true trail. Picture the routes taken by two or more individuals as if plotted on a map. At some point these paths may cross each other, but this cannot tell you whether the people met, or who was first and who second, etc.
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