Artur Conan Doyle: The Creeping Man
(Oczywi¶cie lektury te kupujemy, nawet po 2 egzemplarze, ale w naszej szkole do konkursu FOX przystępuje 75 osób...)

IT WAS A COLD SUNDAY EVENING IN SEPTEMBER, WHEN I RECEIVED AN URGENT message from my friend and associate, Sherlock Holmes, asking me to come to his house immediately. He didn't say why he wanted me to come, but I presumed that he needed my assistance with a new case. So, I put on my coat and gloves and, with a mixture of curiosity and anticipation, headed off to 221 Baker Street.
When I arrived, I rang the doorbell several times before Holmes's housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, finally let me in.
"Good evening, Dr Watson!" she said with a warm smile. "I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting."
"That's all right, Mrs Hudson," I said. "Is Holmes out?"
"No, he's here," she replied. "He's been in his study all day, reading. He hasn't come out once, not even for lunch."
I nodded. It was not uncommon for the detective to spend hours in his study researching cases.
"Typical Holmes," I said to myself as I made my way to the study and tapped lightly on the door. There was no response. I pushed the door open and found the detective sitting at his desk, smoking a pipe. He seemed to be deeply absorbed in a very thick book, so I sat down in the armchair opposite him and waited quietly, reading a paper.
"Forgive me, Watson," said Holmes after several minutes had passed. "I don't wish to appear rude, but I've just been asked to take on a new case and I'm doing some research."
"I guessed as much," I said. "What are you researching?"
"The habits of dogs," he answered.
"The habits of dogs?" I repeated. "And what have you discovered?"
"Well," said Holmes as he took a puff of his pipe, "I have come to the conclusion that a dog's character reflects that of his owner's. I mean, you never see happy dogs with sad families, or sad dogs with happy families, now do you?"
I shrugged. "I don't know," I said. "You may have a point, but it's hardly a proven fact."
Holmes ignored my comment and closed the book.
"The reason I'm telling you this, Watson, is because I think it's relevant to the case I'm investigating. What I'm trying to figure out is why Professor Presbury's dog, Roy, has tried to attack him three times in the last few weeks."
I sat back in my chair and sighed. "Is that why you called me here, Holmes?" I asked. "To discuss people's pets?"
Holmes smiled enigmatically. "No, not exactly. But you have to admit, it is rather strange that Professor Presbury's dog - a dog he has had for years, I might add - would suddenly attack him for no reason at all."

"It's really not that strange, Holmes," I said. "The dog is probably ill. And anyway, who is this Professor Presbury?"
"Professor Harold Presbury is a well-known physiologist," Holmes replied. "He lives in Camford and lectures at the university there... Ah, there's the doorbell; young Mr Bennett has arrived. I should go let him in."
Holmes went to answer the door and, moments later, returned with a young man at his side. The man was about thirty years old, tall and well-dressed. He looked rather surprised to see me.
"Oh, you have a visitor," he said to Holmes. "Perhaps I should come back another time, when we can talk in private...."
"Don't worry, Mr Bennett," said Holmes. "Dr Watson is a trusted friend and he will be assisting me with your case."
"I see..." said the young man.
H' Imes turned to look at me. "Watson, this is Trevor Bennett. He's Professor Pre^bury's assistant. He lives at the Professor's house and is engaged to the Professor's daughter, Edith."
"How do you do?" I said as I shook his hand.
"A pleasure to meet you, sir," said Bennett.
"Have a seat, Mr Bennett," said Holmes, "and I will explain to Watson why you have asked for my help."
Bennett nodded and sat down on the sofa while Holmes looked through some papers on his desk.
"First," the detective began, "some background information. Professor Presbury is a widower and has one daughter, Edith, whom I mentioned earlier. He is sixty-one years of age and one of the most respected lecturers in his field. A few months ago, the Professor was introduced to Alice Morphy, the daughter of one of his colleagues. He fell in love with Alice the moment he laid eyes on her, despite the fact that she is considerably younger than him. Needless to say, his family did not approve-"
"We thought it was a little inappropriate," Bennett interrupted.
"Yes," Holmes continued, "but, because Professor Presbury is a wealthy and influential man, Alice's family did not object to the relationship. The young lady seemed quite fond of the Professor and the two became engaged. It was around this time that the Professor's behaviour began to change..."
"Change?" I said. "How?"
"Well, about two months ago, the Professor left to go on a trip and didn't tell anyone where he was going. He was away for two weeks and when he returned, he refused to tell Mr Bennett or his daughter, where he'd been. Shortly after that, Mr Bennett received a letter from a friend of his in Prague who mentioned that he'd bumped into the Professor there. That was how Mr Bennett and Edith found out where the Professor had been."
Holmes sat down at his desk and continued: "Now, after that trip to Prague,

something peculiar came over the Professor. He became distant and moody; he ignored his friends and practically stopped talking to his family.
"However, despite this sudden change in personality, the Professor continued to give brilliant lectures at the university. His mind remained as sharp as ever, but there was definitely something very different about him. Am I correct so far, Mr Bennett?"
Bennett nodded. "Yes, Mr Holmes, that is exactly what happened."
I considered this for a moment and then asked: "What about Professor Presbury's fiancee, Mr Bennett? What has her reaction been to all of this?"
Bennett sighed deeply before answering. "Alice doesn't know about any of this. She's travelling through Europe with her father and isn't expected back for another couple of weeks at least."
"Has she been corresponding with the Professor?" I asked.
"Yes, they write to each other regularly," Bennett replied.
"Which brings us to those mysterious letters," said Holmes suddenly.
"Mysterious letters?" I repeated.
"Yes," said the detective, as he removed his shiny gold watch from his pocket and looked at it. "But before we discuss that, I think we should have some tea."
I nodded in agreement. Holmes left the room to instruct his housekeeper to bring us a pot of tea, and, while he was away, I questioned Bennett further about his employer's sudden change in behaviour. In all honesty, I was quite surprised that Holmes had agreed to take on such a case - why would a famous detective want to investigate a Professor who suffered from mood swings? It didn't seem to be a particularly challenging case at all. Of course, I had no idea then how wrong I was.

HOLMES RETURNED TO THE STUDY A SHORT WHILE LATER WITH MRS HUDSON following close behind, carrying a silver tray. The housekeeper greeted Mr Bennett warmly and offered us all a cup of tea and some biscuits, which I gratefully accepted. When she left the room, Holmes asked Bennett to tell me about the mysterious letters he had mentioned earlier. The young man placed his teacup on the small table beside his chair and began his story.
"I have always been very close to the Professor, in fact, I would go so far as to say that he saw me as the son he never had. The Professor has always trusted me absolutely and has never kept any secrets from me. Until now, that is..."

A look of sadness crossed Bennett's face. He paused for a moment, then continued:
"One of my duties, as the Professor's assistant, is to open and sort his letters. When he returned from Prague, he mentioned that he was expecting some letters from London which would be marked by a cross under the stamp. He told me that I was forbidden from reading these letters and that I should put them aside for him. Of course, I did as I was told."
"Tell Watson about the box," Holmes instructed.
"Ah, yes, the box," said Bennett. "The Professor brought a little wooden box back from Prague which he kept in his desk drawer. One day, I opened the drawer to search for the letter opener and I picked up the box to move it out of the way. I had no intention of opening it, but the Professor saw me move it and he became very angry. He shouted at me and told me never to touch the box again. I was really very upset; the Professor had never shouted at me before."
Bennett took a small notebook out of his pocket and opened it. "That was on 2 August," he said.
Holmes looked surprised. "You've made notes?" he said.
Bennett nodded. "Yes, I thought that if I kept a record of the Professor's behavioural changes it would help us figure out what's happening to him."
"That's a very good idea," said Holmes.
Bennett returned his attention to his notebook. 2 August is also the date on which Roy first tried to attack the Professor. He also tried to attack the Professor on 11 August and again on 20 August. After that, we had to keep the dog tied up in the stables. Roy has always been a very calm and loving animal, Mr Holmes; I can't imagine why he would suddenly want to attack the Professor."
"Yes," Holmes murmured, "it's all very strange, very strange indeed." Mrs Hudson had left the tray on Holmes's desk and he poured himself another cup of tea. "So, Mr Bennett, have there been any other developments?"
Bennett sighed deeply. "I'm afraid so," he said.
I leaned forward in my chair, eager to hear the rest of this interesting story.
"Two nights ago, I was lying in bed, struggling to fall asleep, when I heard a dull, muffled noise in the corridor. I opened my door to see what was going on and -
"What was the date?" asked Holmes.
Bennett seemed annoyed at the interruption. "Like I said, Mr Holmes, it was two nights ago, so the date was 7 September."
Holmes nodded. "Right, please continue, Mr Bennett."
Bennett took a sip of his tea and cleared his throat. "Before I go on, I should explain that the Professor sleeps at the end of the corridor and he has to pass my room to get to the stairs..."
Holmes nodded.
"Anyway," the young man continued, "I opened the door and looked into the dark corridor; the only source of light was the moonlight coming in from the only window.

Suddenly, I saw a dark shape move into the light... I realised immediately that it was the Professor! But he wasn't walking, he was crawling! Crawling! And not on his hands and knees, but on his hands and feet!
"I swear I have never seen anything like that before. I stood there for several minutes, completely stunned. When the Professor reached my door, I asked him if he needed any help and his reaction was extraordinary - he stood up, shouted at me to leave him alone and then hurried off downstairs. I decided not to follow him. I couldn't get to sleep after that and I only heard him return to his room at daybreak."
"Well, Watson," said Holmes after a long pause, "what do you make of that?"
"It sounds like the Professor is suffering from arthritis," I said. "That's the most likely explanation for the crawling. He could also be experiencing pain, which would explain his bad mood."
Holmes considered this for a minute. "But he managed to stand up very quickly; he wouldn't be able to do that if he had arthritis, would he?"
"I suppose not. But I wouldn't reject it as a possibility," I said.
Bennett shook his head. "I don't think he has arthritis. The Professor is in perfect health, in fact he looks better than he has in years. In spite of that, Edith and I are convinced that something just isn't right. That is why we decided to ask for your help."
"It certainly is a very unusual case, don't you think, Watson?" said Holmes.
"I'm not convinced that it's all that mysterious," I replied. "Perhaps the Professor went to Prague on holiday; maybe he wanted some time alone to reflect on his relationship with Alice. And he could be keeping private financial papers in that little box of his."
"That wouldn't explain the dog's behaviour though," said Holmes. "No, Watson, there's definitely something else going on here, I suggest that we -'
Holmes was interrupted by the doorbell. "Now who could that be?" he said. "I'm not expecting any visitors."
We heard Mrs Hudson's footsteps in the corridor and, moments later, the surprise guest was shown into the study.

EDITH!" BENNETT EXCLAIMED WHEN HE SAW THE GIRL ENTER THE ROOM. "WHAT are you doing here?" The young man stood up and walked over to his fiancee. He took her hands in his and gazed deeply into her eyes. "Has something happened?" he asked.
"Oh, Trevor!" said the young woman, her lips trembling as she spoke, "I had to come and find you! I've had a terrible shock and I didn't want to stay at the house alone!"
Holmes cleared his throat and stood up. "Good evening, ma'am. I presume that you are Professor Presbury's daughter, Edith?"
"Oh... Yes," said the young woman. "You must be Mr Holmes."
"I am indeed. And this is my associate, Dr Watson," said Holmes.
The young woman smiled weakly and nodded in my direction.
"I iease sit down, my dear, and tell us what has frightened you so," said the detective.
The young couple sat down on the sofa. Edith removed a small handkerchief from her pocket and dried her eyes.
"Well," she said, "first I must apologise for interrupting at this late hour. I came to London to find Trevor and when he wasn't at the hotel, I assumed that he had come to see you, Mr Holmes. He said that if anyone could help us, it would be you..."
The young woman's eyes filled with tears. "Can you help us, Mr Holmes? Can you help my poor father?"
"I certainly hope so, Miss Presbury," Holmes replied. "Why don't you tell us what happened at the house?"
Edith nodded. "My father had one of his bad days yesterday," she began. "He hardly said a word to me all day and he moved around the house as if he were in some sort of trance. He is not the father I have known all my life, Mr Holmes. He looks like my father, but it is not him. I know that makes no sense at all, but that's how I feel.
Holmes leaned against the edge of his desk and took a puff of his pipe. "Go on," he said gently.
"I fell asleep at around ten o' clock last night, but I woke up a short while later when I heard Roy barking. I couldn't get back to sleep, so I lay there, staring at the window, and listening to the dog. Then, to my absolute horror, I saw my father's face appear at the window! He tried to open it, but, thankfully, it was locked. He stayed there for about twenty seconds, watching me, then, he vanished. I have no idea how he got up there; my room is on the second floor and there is no balcony to stand on..."
The girl paused and wiped her eyes with her handkerchief. "I lay in my bed, frozen with fear, until morning. At breakfast, my father seemed anxious. He didn't say a word about last night and I didn't either. I avoided him for most of the day, then I decided to come to London to tell Trevor what I'd seen."
I was quite stunned by the young woman's story and Holmes seemed surprised too.

He looked at the girl intently for a few minutes, then leaned across his desk and scribbled something on a notepad. "You say that your room is on the second floor," he said. "Is there perhaps a long ladder in the garden? Or a tall tree nearby?"
"No, Mr Holmes, there is neither a tree nor a ladder. That's why this story is so hard to believe - there is absolutely no way for anyone to reach my bedroom window."
"Perhaps you had a bad dream?" I said.
"No, Dr Watson," said Edith, "I definitely wasn't dreaming."
I noticed that Bennett looked quite pale. His fiancee's story had obviously distressed him greatly.
"What do you think is happening to the Professor, Mr Holmes?" asked the young man. "What's going on?"
"My boy, that is exactly what I intend to find out," said Holmes. The detective sat down at his desk and started writing. "Now, the Professor began behaving strangely again on 7 September, which seems to indicate some sort of pattern."
"A pattern? What do you mean, Mr Holmes?" asked Bennett.
"Well, all these incidents seem to have happened within nine days of each other."
"Is that significant?" asked Edith.
"It could be," Holmes replied. "Mr Bennett, would you please give me your notebook before you leave? I'd like to examine it further."
"Yes, of course," said Bennett.
"Well, Watson," said Holmes after a pause, "I think it's time we paid the Professor a little visit. What do you think?"
I took a sip of my cold tea and nodded. "Yes, I must admit, I am very curious to meet this man."
"Excellent!" said Holmes. "If I remember correctly, there's an inn in Camford called Chequers which is quite pleasant. I'll make all the arrangements. Is tomorrow alright with you, Watson?"
"Yes, I'm sure I'll be able to clear my schedule," I said.
"Thank you so much, Mr Holmes," said Edith, her eyes full of hope. "You have no idea how much this means to us..."
"Yes," said Bennett, "we really appreciate your help."
"It's too soon to thank me," said Holmes. "The case hasn't been solved yet."
I smiled to myself. I had no doubt in my mind that Holmes was the right man for the job.

WE ARRIVED IN CAMFORD EARLY ON MONDAY MORNING AND ONCE WE HAD checked in at the cosy Chequers Inn, we took a coach to the Professor's house.
"Bennett told me that the Professor lectures until eleven and then goes home for lunch, so that's probably the best time to pay him a visit," Holmes explained.
"I don't think he's going to like the fact that we are dropping by without an appointment," I said as I gazed out of the coach window at the passers-by.
"I didn't want to give him time to prepare," said Holmes. "If he is hiding something, I want to catch him off guard."
The coach turned into a pretty street which was lined with huge oak trees and came to a halt in front of an impressive house. The house was surrounded by tall shrubs and the building itself was covered with ivy. As we walked up the driveway, I noticed that a man was watching us from an upstairs window. Holmes knocked on the door and the same man answered it. He introduced himself as Professor Presbury. I must admit that the Professor did not look at all as I had expected: he seemed self-confident and neatly dressed and there was nothing out of the ordinary about him.
"Good afternoon, sir," said Holmes. "My name is Sherlock Holmes and this is my associate, Dr Watson."
"Sherlock Holmes?" the Professor repeated. "The detective?"
"Yes, sir," said Holmes, as he removed his hat. "I'm sorry to disturb you, but we have an important matter to discuss with you, could we come inside for a moment?"
The Professor looked at us curiously. "Yes... I suppose," he said.
We followed the Professor to his study where he sat down and invited us to do the same.
"So," said the Professor, "what is this important matter that you wish to discuss with me?"
"Well, sir, I was told that you needed my services," said Holmes.
"Really?" said the Professor, "and who told you that?"
"I'm sorry," said Holmes, "but that's confidential."
"Confidential?" the Professor repeated.
Holmes nodded.
"I see," said the Professor. He stared at us for a few minutes, then picked up a small silver bell on his desk and rang it furiously. A moment later, Bennett appeared at the door.
"Come in, Trevor," said the Professor. "Mr Sherlock Holmes here claims that someone told him that I needed his services. Did you tell him to come here?"
Bennett's face turned red. "Uh, no, sir," he said nervously. "I... I didn't..."
"Well, then, gentlemen, I must ask you to leave immediately," said the Professor.
"But, before you go, I demand that you tell me the name of the person who sent you here."
"As I said before, Professor, we can't tell you that," said Holmes.
The Professor narrowed his eyes. "And why not?"
"Because I keep my clients' identities private," Holmes replied. "I'm sorry we wasted your time, Professor, we really should be going now.
Holmes stood up and started towards the front door, but the Professor leaped in front of him, blocking his path.
"Where do you think you're going?" the Professor shouted, his face twisted with rage.
"Did I say you could leave? What else do you know? Tell me what else you know!"
The Professor threw himself at Holmes and I'm quite sure that he would have punched him, had Bennett not intervened.
"I rofessor!" cried Bennett as he attempted to hold back his employer. "Please calm c'own! This is no way to behave in front of visitors!"
The Professor grunted and Bennett dragged him out of the way so that Holmes and I could leave.
"My goodness!" I said as we walked briskly down the driveway. "That was a strange outburst!"
"Yes, it would seem that the Professor is a little tense," Holmes commented. "Anyway, at least we've established that Professor Presbury definitely has something to hide."
A minute later, we heard the sound of a door slamming and we turned around to see Bennett running frantically towards us.
"I really must apologise for the Professor's behaviour, gentlemen," he said. "If I had known that he was going to lose his temper like that I would never have told you to come."
"No need to apologise, Mr Bennett," said Holmes. "We now have a better understanding of what we're dealing with."
Bennett nodded. "Yes, I suppose. It's just that I've never seen him get so angry so quickly before. I'm sure you can understand why Edith and I are so concerned."
"Of course," said Holmes. "Now, Mr Bennett, do you think that you could show us Miss Presbury's bedroom window before we go?"
"Follow me," said Bennett as he led us through some shrubs to the side of the house.
"There it is," he said, pointing upwards. "It's the second one from the left."
"I see there's a creeper beneath the window and a water pipe above it; I'm sure that it would not be impossible for someone to climb up there," Holmes observed.
"I could never climb up there myself," said Bennett.
"No," said Holmes. "I doubt any normal person could. It would be far too dangerous."

I wanted to ask Holmes what he meant by that, but decided to wait until later.
"One more thing..." said Bennett as he removed a piece of paper from his pocket. "I have the name and address of the man in London to whom the Professor writes. I managed to take a quick look at the Professor's mail before he sent it this morning."
Holmes took the paper from Bennett and examined it. "Hmmm... Alfonse Dorak. Thank you, Mr Bennett, this is most helpful. Now, since there's not much more we can do here at the moment, Dr Watson and I will be returning to London tomorrow morning."
"So what should I do in the meantime?" asked Bennett.
"There's nothing more you can do, Mr Bennett," Holmes replied. "Just wait and see what happens. I may be wrong about this, but I think you should expect a crisis next Tuesday."
"A crisis?" the young man exclaimed. "What sort of crisis?"
"I don't know exactly, it's just a feeling," said the detective. "In the meantime, I would advise you to tell Miss Presbury to stay in London until the danger has passed. If possible, come to the inn and give us an update tomorrow morning before we leave."
Bennett nodded and quickly returned to the house.
"I think poor Bennett maybe in trouble," said Holmes as we walked down the street. "I'm sure the Professor has figured out that he's the one who called us to investigate him."
"You're probably right," I said.
We stopped at the post office on the way to the inn, where Holmes sent a telegram to a colleague of his in London named Mercer. In the telegram, he asked Mercer to find out everything he could about Dorak. Mercer's reply reached us that evening as we dined at the inn:

Dorak owns a general store on Commercial Road He's in his thirties and moved from Prague to London about five years ago. He has a lengthy criminal record.

"Hmmm.... Interesting," said Holmes as he folded up the telegram and put it in his pocket. "At least we have one connection now: this man Dorak and the Professor's visit to Prague."
"But that's the only lead we have," I said. "Nothing connects with anything else. Not even those dates you keep going on about."
Holmes placed a forkful of food in his mouth and chewed it slowly. "I do have a theory about the dates, Watson," he said. "Would you like to hear it?"
"Yes, of course!" I replied.

"Well, so far, we know that the Professor's behaviour seems to change every nine days. My suspicion is that the Professor takes some sort of medication every nine days that causes him to behave strangely. I'm assuming that he started taking this drug in Prague and that he receives a regular supply of it from Dorak."
"You could be right," I said. "But that still doesn't explain why the Professor crept through the corridor on his hands and feet, or how he climbed the wall and appeared at Edith's window... Which reminds me, what did you mean when you said no normal person could climb the ivy? Don't you think the Professor's a normal person?"
"He is a normal man," said Holmes. "But I'm convinced that that drug he's taking is giving him some kind of superhuman ability."
"Superhuman ability?" I exclaimed. "I'm a medical doctor, Holmes, and I've never heard of a drug that could do that!"
"Well, I'm positive that such a drug exists," said Holmes.
"We'll just have to wait till next Tuesday to see if you're right," I said. Deep down, however, I knew he probably was.

THE FOLLOWING MORNING, BENNETT CAME TO THE INN TO INFORM US OF THE latest developments at the Presbury house. As Holmes had predicted, the Professor accused Bennett of calling the detective to his home. Bennett, of course, denied any involvement.
"He said the most awful things to me yesterday after you both left," said Bennett. "He was furious with me. Then, this morning, he acted as if nothing had happened. He went to work, gave a brilliant lecture and then came home again. His mind is sharp and he's definitely more energetic than he used to be. I just don't understand it... I wish I knew what was wrong with him..."
Holmes placed his hand on the young man's shoulder. "Don't worry, Mr Bennett, Dr Watson and I will be back in Camford next Tuesday and I'm quite confident that we will be able to clear the matter up then."
"I hope so," said Bennett.
"In the meantime, let us know if anything else happens," said Holmes.
"Yes, of course, Mr Holmes."
The young man left the inn shortly afterwards, and Holmes and I caught the 11 o'clock train to London. Back home, Holmes returned to his work and I returned to my practice and I did not hear from the detective again until the following Monday, when he sent me a letter asking me to meet him at the train station the next day.
We arrived in Camford on Tuesday evening and, once again, checked in at the Chequers Inn, where Bennett was waiting to give us an update.
"Ah, Mr Bennett," said Holmes when he saw the young man coming towards us.
"Good evening, gentlemen," said Bennett. "I hope you had a pleasant trip?"
"Yes, it was fine," said Holmes. "How have things been here?"
"I'm happy to say that we have had a peaceful week. The Professor has been calm and rational - almost like his old self."
"That's good news," I said.
"Anything else?" asked Holmes.
"Actually, yes," said Bennett. "The Professor received another letter and a small package from Dorak today. They were marked with a cross, so, of course, I didn't open them."
Holmes nodded, then motioned to us to follow him to a quiet corner of the inn.
"Now," he said in a low voice, "we need to keep the Professor under watch. If I am right, everything will reach a crisis tonight. Mr Bennett, you must be careful. If the Professor passes by your room this evening, don't speak to him, but follow him as discreetly as you can. Dr Watson and I will be hiding nearby, in case something happens."
The young man's face turned pale. "What do you think is going to happen?" he asked.
Holmes shrugged. "We'll see tonight. Oh, and by the way, where does the Professor keep the key to that little wooden box you mentioned?"
"On his watch chain," Bennett replied.
"We have to get it somehow," said Holmes. "I suspect that that box contains the answers to all our questions. Does the Professor have any other employees?"
"Yes, the coachman, MacPhail."
"And where does he sleep?"
"Over the stables."
"Good. We might need his help tonight. Go home now, Mr Bennett, Dr Watson and I will see you later."
The young man nodded and said goodbye. He seemed anxious and I had to admit that I too was a little nervous about what the night would bring. An hour later, Holmes and I arrived at the Presbury home. We hid in a row of tall bushes opposite the front door of the house and waited. The house was dark and our only source of light was the pale half moon.
"It is quite chilly tonight," I said as I pulled my coat tightly around me.
Holmes nodded. "Yes, but don't worry, I doubt we'll be here very long," he said. "If I'm correct, the Professor should make an appearance soon. Then, we will finally get to the bottom of all.this." -N
"How can you be so sure?" I asked.
"Well, as I sai^before, all these strange symptoms began when the Professor
returned from Prague. Today, the Professor received another package from Dorak, whom I presume works for someone who is based in Prague. The Professor has been instructed to take the medication every nine days, so he has to take another dose today."
"I'd really like to know what kind of medication he's taking," I said. "I've never heard of a drug with such strange side-effects."
"Yes, and the behavioural changes aren't the only side-effect," said Holmes. "Did you happen to notice the Professor's knuckles the other day?"
"His knuckles? No, what was wrong with them?"
"The skin looked unusually thick and rough; it was almost as if-
Holmes paused and then clapped his hand to his forehead. "Why, that's it, Watson!"
I looked at Holmes, confused. "That's what?"
"Oh, Watson, I was such a fool! I should have made the connection sooner! It was so obvious! I mean, the ivy, the dog... It's all so clear to me now!"
"Holmes, I don't understand what..."
"Quiet, Watson!" said Holmes. "There's the Professor now!"
I looked up and, sure enough, there was the Professor standing in the dimly-lit doorway, wearing his dressing gown. He was leaning forward and his arms were hanging loosely down his sides.
"What do we do?" I whispered.
"We wait," said Holmes.

THE PROFESSOR SANK DOWN INTO A KNEELING POSITION AND BEGAN MOVING fast on his hands and feet. He went clumsily past the front of the house, then turned the corner and disappeared into the darkness. A moment later, Bennett exited the front door and followed the Professor at a safe distance.
"Come, Watson!" whispered Holmes. "Let's go!"
Quickly and quietly, we made our way to the back of the house where we found the Professor examining the ivy-covered wall. We selected a new hiding place and watched as the Professor began to climb the ivy with great speed. It was a strange sight and I was very much surprised. "How on earth is he doing that?" I whispered to Holmes.
"Shhh!" said Holmes.
The detective seemed almost hypnotised by the creeping Professor who was now lea )ing from branch to branch with great enthusiasm. After about ten minutes, the T rofessor seemed to get bored with the wall; he dropped to the ground and moved towards the stables, still on his hands and knees.
"Now what's he doing?" I asked.
In the pale moonlight, we saw Roy sit up suddenly. The dog was chained to a pole and when he saw his master approach him, he jumped up and began to bark frantically. The Professor seemed indifferent. He circled the dog a few times, then grabbed a handful of stones and started throwing them at the unfortunate animal.
"Has he gone mad?" I whispered.
"It looks that way, doesn't it?" said Holmes.
The Professor began to make strange growling noises, then he picked up a stick and poked the dog with it repeatedly. The animal pulled violently at the chain and continued to bark viciously.
"We have to stop him!" Bennett yelled as he ran towards us.
We were about to react, when the chain suddenly broke and the animal was set free. Within seconds, dog and man were rolling around on the ground, while Bennett, Holmes and I looked on helplessly. The animal sank its teeth into the Professor's throat and he screamed in agony; I was sure that he would die.
"Roy! Stop!" Bennett shouted. "Stop!"
Fortunately, Bennett's voice seemed to have a calming effect on the dog and Roy let go of his master almost instantly. The noise woke the coachman, who raced down the stairs from his room above the stables, carrying a lamp in one hand and a gun in the other.
"Professor Presbury!" he exclaimed when he saw his wounded employer lying on the ground.
"Tie up the dog!" Bennett instructed the coachman. MacPhail did as he was told, then helped us carry the Professor to the house.
"I was afraid this would happen," said the coachman as we climbed the staircase to the Professor's room. "He's been provoking that dog for weeks."
The Professor was moaning with pain and seemed to be in a state of shock. We laid him on his bed, then, I examined the wound. It was deep, but fortunately not life-threatening. I dressed the wound and gave the Professor an injection of morphine to ease the pain.
Holmes sat on the edge of the bed and watched me give him the drug, while Bennett instructed the coachman to return to his room.
Once the Professor had fallen asleep, Holmes lifted his right hand and examined his knuckles. The skin was exactly as Holmes had said: coarse and thick.
Bennett, who had been waiting anxiously in the background, gasped in horror when he saw the Professor's hands. "What's that?" he exclaimed. "Why do his hands look like that?"
Holmes sighed. "More side-effects of the medication," he said.
"Medication?" Bennett repeated. "What medication?"
"Holmes has worked out that the Professor has been taking some kind of drug that has changed his behaviour and, as it seems, his appearance too," I said.
Bennett's jaw dropped open. "How do you know?" he asked the detective.
"Well, I don't know for sure, not yet anyway," Holmes replied. "I think we have to open the box first; it'll confirm my theory of what's happening to the Professor. Where is the Professor's watch?"
Bennett looked around the room and saw the watch on the nightstand. "There it is, and there's the key."
"Good," said Holmes. "Let's go down to the study. Please bring the key, Mr Bennett."
Bennett did as he was told and we rushed down the staircase.
"Do you think he's going to be alright, Dr Watson?" the young man asked. "I mean, will he recover from his injury?"
"Yes, yes, he'll be fine," I replied. "But I suggest that you send a telegram to his daughter telling her what's happened."
The young man nodded, but his distress was obvious. "Dr Watson, Mr Holmes, I beg you to please keep all this to yourselves. The Professor's reputation will be ruined if people find out what's been going on."
"Of course," said Holmes as he pushed open the study door. "Now, let's solve the case, shall we?"

WHEN WE ENTERED THE STUDY, A SMALL CLOCK ON THE DESK BEGAN TO STRIKE softly. It was eleven o' clock. Holmes and I waited patiently as Bennett searched the Professor's desk drawers for the small wooden box which held all the Professor's secrets. Finally, Bennett placed the box on the desk and offered the key to Holmes.
"I think you should open it," said the young man.
Holmes took the key from him and gently inserted it into the tiny lock. It opened easily.
The box contained an empty bottle; a bottle filled with a pale blue liquid; a hypodermic syringe and some bills of payment signed, 'A. Dorak'.
"You were right!" Bennett exclaimed as he looked over Holmes's shoulder. "The Professor has been taking medication. But why? Is he ill?"
"I doubt that," said Holmes as he searched through the bills. "Hmmm... there's a letter here... And it's postmarked Prague."
Holmes unfolded the letter and read it aloud:

Dear Professor Presbury,
I have reviewed my notes and have decided to start you on a course of a special serum that I have developed. The serum contains a number of enerergy-boosting herbs and flower essences and l`m quidte certain that it will help you regain your vitality.
I have no doubt that you will be loolcing and feeling younger and healthier in no time. I have several patients in England who have used the serum and their feedback has been quite positive. You can order the serum from, my distributor in London, Alfonse Dorak.
I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Dr Howard Lowenstein

Bennett shook his head in disbelief. "So the Professor had been taking some kind of potion which he thought would help him regain his youth?" he said.
Holmes nodded.
"That's madness!" the young man exclaimed. "If I had known about this, I would have put a stop to it immediately!"
"That's why he kept it a secret," said Holmes. "He was afraid that you would all react negatively."
The detective removed a magnifying glass from his pocket and examined the label on one of the bottles carefully. "Aha! Exactly as I thought!" he said. "This so-called medicine contains langur extract!"
"Langur extract?" I repeated. "A langur is a type of monkey, isn't it?"
It was then that I figured out what Holmes had suspected all along.
"Of course!" I exclaimed. "It all makes perfect sense now! No wonder Roy attacked the Professor, he sensed that his master was turning into a monkey!"
Bennett's face turned white. "Did you say m-monkey?"
Holmes nodded. "I'm afraid so, Mr Bennett. The climbing and coarse knuckles gave it away, but I wanted to be absolutely sure before I said anything. I didn't think anyone would believe me without proof."
Bennett, who seemed quite shocked by the news, sat down in an armchair and buried his face in his hands. "This is unbelievable!" he said. "But I just don't understand it, Mr Hoi1 es, the Professor is an intelligent man... Why would he do this to himself?"
'Well," Holmes began, "I'm sure he was unaware of the side-effects of the medication. And he's in love with a much younger woman; that's why he did it."
Bennett sighed deeply. "Who is this Dr Lowenstein?" he asked after a long pause. "Have either of you heard of him?"
"Actually, yes," said Holmes. "Inspector Lestrade at Scotland Yard showed me his case file a few months ago. "If I remember correctly, Lowenstein left England when his medical licence was taken away. He now operates out of a secret laboratory in Prague where he manufactures serums which, he claims, can help reverse the ageing process. Of course, none of his drugs work, but desperate people will believe anything. He's taken advantage of a lot of people, including Professor Presbury."
"Why hasn't he been arrested yet?" I asked.
"There's never been enough proof to convict him of anything," Holmes explained. "And Scotland Yard can only arrest him if he sets foot on British soil. That's why he's never gone back to London."
"What about the Professor?" asked Bennett. "What's going to happen to him?"
"I'm sure he'll be fine," said Holmes. "Once he stops taking the serum, the symptoms should go away. What do you think, Watson?"
"Yes, I would have to agree with that," I said.
"That's a relief," said Bennett.
"Right, Mr Bennett," said Holmes, "now that the case has been solved, Watson and I will return to London tomorrow morning. Let us know how the Professor is doing and tell him we wish him all the best."
"But what about Dr Lowenstein?" asked Bennett. "He has to be brought to justice! He has to pay for what he's done!"
"Calm down, Mr Bennett," said Holmes. "Something will be done about Dr Lowenstein, but that is not for you to worry about. You just make sure that the Professor recovers from his injury and that he never takes that serum again. Is the Professor's
fiancee still abroad?"
Bennett nodded. "Yes, but she's expected back soon."
"Well then, I'm sure you'll all be busy planning the wedding," said Holmes with a smile. The detective glanced at his watch. "It's late. We should be getting back to the inn. Good night, Mr Bennett."
"Good night, Mr Holmes," said the young man as he escorted us to the front door. "And thank you for everything you've done for us."
"It was my pleasure," said Holmes.
We returned to the inn and went to bed immediately. I had difficulty falling asleep though; I couldn't get the image of the Professor climbing the creeper out of my head. At daybreak, I joined Holmes for a light breakfast in the dining room and then we packed our bags and made our way to the train station.
Our journey to London was peaceful, that is, until I decided to question Holmes further about Lowenstein.
"You told Bennett that something would be done about Lowenstein, are you going to tell Lestrade what we've discovered?"
Holmes looked at me over the newspaper he was reading. "No, not yet. I don't want to leave this matter in the hands of those inefficient Scotland Yard inspectors. And, besides, I still have to come up with a very good reason to get Lowenstein to come to London..."
"Yes, that's true," I said. "Any idea how you'll manage that?"
Holmes grinned and folded up the newspaper neatly. "I'll tell you what I have in mind, Watson," he said, "but first I think we should have some lunch, what do you
I couldn't argue with that.

So HOLMES," I SAID, ONCE WE WERE SEATED IN THE DINING-CAR, "HOW DO you plan to bring Dr Lowenstein to London?" "Simple," said Holmes. "I'm going to write Lowenstein a letter explaining that I am an old friend of Professor Presbury's. I'm going to tell him that the Professor has really gained from the serum and that I want to try it, too. I will emphasise that my huge case load has exhausted me and that I am willing to do just about anything to regain my youth and vitality."
I stared at Holmes for a moment. "So you're going to make him come to London for a fake consultation?"
Holmes nodded. "A consultation and a confession. Of course, I won't mention the confession part in the letter..."
"He'll never agree to that!" I exclaimed. "You're Sherlock Holmes, a famous detective. He's sure to guess that you're setting some kind of trap for him!"
Holmes smiled and lit his pipe. "Watson, after all the cases we've solved together you must have learnt a little something about human nature. People are entirely predictable. Lowenstein is a greedy man and money is the only thing that motivates him. I will simply tell him that money is no object for me and that I'm willing to pay anything for the serum. To make it a little more believable, I'll mention in the letter that I've been feeling very weak lately and that I can't travel to Prague. He'll have no choice but to come and see me."
I sighed and sat back in my chair. "So your plan is to bring him to your house, get him to confess to his crimes and have Lestrade and his men waiting outside to arrest him?"
Holmes took a puff of his pipe and shook his head. "Not exactly. I'm not going to involve Scotland Yard just yet. It's vital that this plan is kept secret until the very last minute, the fewer people who know about it, the better. That's where you come in."
"Me?" I said.
"Yes. When Lowenstein comes to see me, I want you to be hiding in a nearby room, taking careful note of everything he says. I'm going to get Lowenstein to confess to the fact that he put the health of his patients at risk. Then we will call the police."
"But how on earth will you get him to tell you the truth?" I asked.
Holmes took a long sip of water and looked at me. "He'll tell me everything I need to know," he said.
I turned to look out of the window and watched as the countryside raced by. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to be involved in such a risky plan, but, I had faith in Holmes and I, too, wanted to see Lowenstein behind bars.
We reached Paddington Station a short while later. Holmes and I took separate coaches and it was five o' clock in the afternoon by the time I returned home. I spent the next few hours sorting through patient files and I had just finished planning my schedule for the next day, when my doorbell sounded. It was Holmes.
"Well, we're all set!" he said cheerfully as he walked into the sitting room and threw his coat and hat on the sofa.
"All set?" I repeated.
"Yes," he said. "I wrote the letter and sent it to Lowenstein. Then, I paid Mr Dorak a visit."
"Lowenstein's distributor?" I exclaimed. "You went to see him?"
"Yes," said Holmes, as he sat down on the sofa. "I went to Dorak's store hoping to get some more information about the doctor."
"And did he tell you anything?"
"He pretended he didn't know who Lowenstein was," Holmes replied. "Then he told me to leave his store immediately. Quite a rude fellow, if you ask me."
"Well, what did you expect, Holmes?" I said. "Dorak could go to jail if he admitted that he was selling Lowenstein's so-called medicines."
"That's very true," said Holmes, as he reached into his coat pocket and removed a small, leather-bound book. "Good thing I took his order book when he wasn't looking..."
I gasped in surprise. "You took his order book?"
"I had no choice. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd find anything relevant to the case in it, but I did. Have a look.
Holmes handed me the book and I went through it slowly. The book contained the details of numerous orders for household items and groceries. The only page of real interest was the last page. It was a list of about fifteen names and addresses under the heading, 'For Lowenstein'. One of the names on the list was Professor Presbury's.
"Well done, Holmes!" I said. "Now all we need is Lowenstein's confession."
Holmes nodded.
"You know, Holmes, I still don't understand why none of Lowenstein's patients have ever complained about his serums," I said.
"Perhaps some of them have," said Holmes. "But my guess is that most of Lowenstein's patients don't even realise that the medicines are damaging their health. And I'm sure they want to believe the serums work; after all they spent a fortune on them."
"Yes, I suppose," I said. "But what about Dorak? He's probably going to tell Lowenstein that you went to see him and that you took his book - this could put your plan at risk."
"All I did was ask about the doctor; Lowenstein knows I'm a detective - it's understandable that I'd want more information about him. And anyway, Dorak didn't see me take the book."
"I sincerely hope he didn't," I said.
Holmes looked at his pocket watch and stood up. "It's late, Watson. I should be getting home."
"Yes, all right," I said as I walked him to the front door. "Let me know if there are any further developments."
"Of course," said Holmes. "Good evening, Watson."
"Good evening, Holmes," I said as I watched the detective walk quickly into the night.

ONE WEEK LATER, HOLMES INVITED ME TO HIS HOUSE FOR DINNER. I ARRIVED at Baker Street at eight o' clock, and, as I made my way to Holmes's front door, I suddenly had the strangest feeling that I was being watched. I glanced around casually, but saw no-one. "That's odd," I muttered to myself.
When I reached 221,1 rang the doorbell several times and waited for someone to let me in. Somewhere in the distance, I heard the sound of quick footsteps, but, when I looked around again, the road was empty.
"Oh, hello, Dr Watson," said Mrs Hudson when she finally opened the door.
"Good evening, Mrs Hudson," I said.
"Do come in," said the housekeeper. "Mr Holmes is waiting for you in the dining room."
I made my way to the dining room while Mrs Hudson hurried off to the kitchen, muttering something about the roast.
"Hello, Holmes," I said as I joined the detective at the large oak table.
"Ah, Watson, you're here," said Holmes.
"What's all that?" I asked, pointing to a pile of letters in front of the detective.
"They're responses from Lowenstein's patients. I wrote to some of them last week asking them to tell me what Lowenstein prescribed for them and whether they've been experiencing any side-effects."
"And they were happy to tell you?"
"Some of them were, but most of them told me to mind my own business. I've never really been good at that Watson, minding my own business, I mean."
I smiled. "Yes, I know," I said. "Did you tell them why you wanted that information?" "I said it was for research purposes. I don't want to alarm any of them just yet; I'll leave that to the authorities..."
I was about to respond when we suddenly heard a loud scream coming from somewhere inside the house.
"Mrs Hudson!" I exclaimed as Holmes and I rushed out of the room. We found the housekeeper in the study in a state of absolute hysteria. The back study door, which opened on to the terrace, had been forced open, and the carpet was covered with muddy footprints.
"What happened?" asked Holmes.
"Oh, Mr Holmes," the housekeeper sobbed, "I heard a noise and came in to investigate... There was a man in here... He was searching through your desk!"
"Calm down, Mrs Hudson," said Holmes, as he placed his hands on the poor woman's shoulders. "I realise you've had a terrible fright, but can you tell me what the man looked like?"
Mrs Hudson dried her eyes with the edge of her apron and shook her head. "It all happened so quickly... He was tall, I think, slightly plump... He was wearing a hat and he may have had a moustache, though I couldn't really see his face ... That's all I can remember..."
Holmes nodded. "That's good, Mrs Hudson," he said. "That's very good."
"Do you know who it was, Holmes?" I asked.
"I have my suspicions," said the detective. He removed a magnifying glass from his pocket and proceeded to examine the confused trail of footprints, while Mrs Hudson and I watched in silence. Holmes walked slowly out the door and on to the terrace and returned a few minutes later, holding a cigarette butt in his hands.
He sniffed the cigarette, then said: "Egyptian tobacco. This confirms the intruder's identity."
"Well, who was it?" I asked.
"The intruder was Dorak," Holmes declared. "He was smoking this exact brand of cigarette the day I went to see him."
"Dorak?" I exclaimed. "I knew it, Holmes! I knew he'd come to look for the book! I didn't tell you this before, but I had a feeling that someone was watching me when I arrived earlier!"
"Well, fortunately the book wasn't in the study," said Holmes.
"Why did he think it would be?" I asked.
"I wrote the letters to Lowenstein's patients in here and the book has been sitting on my desk for the past couple of days. There are at least four cigarette butts on the terrace, which suggests that Dorak was probably watching."
Mrs Hudson gasped. "Do you think he'll be back, Mr Holmes?" she asked, her eyes wide with fear.
"No, I don't think he'll be back any time soon," said Holmes. "Why don't you take the rest of the night off, Mrs Hudson? Watson and I can handle things from here."
Mrs Hudson nodded and walked quickly out of the room. She seemed satisfied with Holmes's words, but I certainly wasn't. "He will be back again, Holmes, he won't give up until he gets his book back. And he must've told Lowenstein that you took it; I doubt he'll come to London now."
Holmes was quiet for a moment. "He'll come. I'm sure of it," he said.
The detective locked the terrace door and we returned to the dining room to discuss our plan.
Two days later, I received a telegram from Holmes which said that Lowenstein would indeed be coming to London. He was scheduled to arrive on the afternoon of 14 October and Holmes requested that I be at his house by three o' clock on that day.
So, at lunchtime on 14,1 made my way to Baker Street to play my small part in the trap. We decided that it would be best for me to hide in the study, while Holmes spoke to Lowenstein in the sitting room.
"Right, Watson," said Holmes, "make sure you stay hidden and don't make a sound. Once Lowenstein's confessed to his crimes, we'll call Lestrade and his men immediately."
I nodded. "Alright," I said. "But what if he tries to run?"
"I'll stop him," said Holmes.
"And where's Mrs Hudson?" I asked.
"I gave her the day off," he said.
"Good thinking," I said.
Holmes left the room to prepare, while I took up my position opposite the study door. The door was slightly open, and I had a clear view of the sitting room. At precisely five o' clock, the doorbell sounded. I heard the sound of footsteps and of the front door opening. Then I heard Holmes say: "Dr Lowenstein! Welcome!"
"Mr Holmes," said the doctor, "it is an honour to meet you."
The two men chatted briefly about Professor Presbury and then made their way to the sitting room where the doctor began his examination. I could clearly see the doctor from where I was hiding - he was a short, thin man with a narrow face and he was wearing glasses.
"You seem to be in excellent health, Mr Holmes," said the doctor once the examination was complete.
"Yes, my only complaint is that I've started feeling very tired lately," said Holmes. "I wish I had the energy of my youth!"
The doctor smiled. "Well, you're in luck, Mr Holmes. I think you're an excellent candidate for my serum. It'll make you feel like a new person in no time!"
"So what's in this serum of yours?" Holmes asked.
"Oh, just some herb and flower extracts," said the doctor.
"Are there any side-effects that I should know about?" asked Holmes.
Dr Lowenstein removed his stethoscope. "No, no side-effects. My patients have all been very happy with the results," he said.
"Really?" said Holmes.
The doctor turned to look at him. "Yes," he said.
"That's strange," said Holmes. "Because Professor Presbury has had some complaints..."
Lowenstein narrowed his eyes. "What sort of complaints?"
"Oh, crawling behaviour, mood swings..."
"I don't know what you're talking about," said the doctor angrily. "You're making that up!"
"And I've written to some of your other patients," Holmes continued. "They've reported similar symptoms."
The doctor glared at Holmes. "You've corresponded with my patients? Dorak was right then, you do have the order book!"
"Yes, I have it," said Holmes. "That book is proof that you've taken advantage of people, lied to them and put their health in danger for money."
"I did no such thing!" Lowenstein protested. "People came to me for help and I helped them, that's all!"
Holmes frowned. "You helped them by turning them into monkeys?"
"That's the price they chose to pay for youth and energy," said the doctor. "I'm not responsible for that."
"Oh, but you are," said Holmes.
I was quite sure that what the doctor had just said was actually a confession and was waiting for the signal from Holmes to call the police, when I saw Lowenstein reach into his bag and pull out a hypodermic syringe. Holmes had turned away from the doctor briefly, and was unaware that Lowenstein was quietly approaching him from behind.
I called Holmes's name, but it was too late - the doctor stabbed him in the neck with the syringe. I was just about to run to Holmes's aid, when a figure appeared at the terrace door. Somehow I just knew that it was Dorak.

DORAK PUSHED OPEN THE DOOR, THEN PULLED A SMALL REVOLVER FROM HIS pocket and pointed it at me. "Don't move," he threatened. A second later, Lowenstein pushed himself into the room. "Dr Watson, I presume?" he said ironically. I nodded.
"I guessed that it was you who had called out Holmes's name; I assumed you'd be around here somewhere. I see you've met my associate, Mr Dorak?" "What have you done to Holmes, Lowenstein?" I hissed.
"I gave him some of my medicine. I made it especially for Mr Holmes. It's a special serum, and it's going to make him tell me exactly where that order book is. Unfortunately, I didn't make enough for you, but don't worry, you are safe... Just make sure you listen to Mr Dorak, here. Now, let's go back to the sitting room, shall we?"
"Slowly," said Dorak, as he pushed the gun into my back and guided me out of the room.
"You won't get away with this!" I said to Lowenstein.
The doctor laughed and looked at me with pity. "Poor Dr Watson, you have no idea who you're dealing with, do you? I suspected Holmes was setting a trap for me from the very beginning, that's why I arranged for Dorak to meet me here today... It looks like the great Sherlock Holmes has finally been outsmarted!"
We found Holmes crouching on the floor in the sitting room, breathing heavily. His face was as white as a sheet and he seemed to be struggling to focus.
"Watson..." he said painfully.
"Holmes!" I shouted. "Are you alright?"
"He'll be fine," said Lowenstein. "He's just a little dizzy. Now, Mr Holmes, please be so kind as to tell me where the order book is."
Holmes looked angrily at Lowenstein. "I'm... not... going.. .to... give... it.. .to... you," he said.
"That's alright," said the doctor. "Mr Dorak and I have plenty of time. We'll wait until you change your mind."
The doctor sat down on the sofa and casually began to read a newspaper.
"What do you want the book for anyway, Lowenstein?" I asked. "Holmes has already written to your patients; we have their names and addresses. We have all the evidence we need against you."
"I'm not worried about that, Dr Watson," said Lowenstein. "I have no doubt that my patients will remain loyal to me. They'll never testify against me. No, Dr Watson, the reason I want the book is because the formula for the serum is in it!"
"What?" I exclaimed. "The formula is in the book?"
"Yes," said Lowenstein. "Dorak uses it to make the serum. That formula is the result of years and years of research and I certainly wouldn't want anyone else to profit from it."
I shook my head in disbelief. It was becoming very clear that Lowenstein was quite mad.
"Maybe Watson knows where the book is?" said Dorak suddenly.
"Maybe he does," said the doctor. "Well, Dr Watson, do you know where the order book is?"
I shook my head. "No, I have no idea."
That was, in fact, the truth. I had forgotten to ask Holmes where he had hidden the book.
The doctor looked at me curiously; I wasn't sure if he believed me or not.
"Are you absolutely sure you don't know?" asked the doctor.
"No, I don't!" I said firmly. "Like I said, you won't get away with this, Lowenstein, I've already called the police. It's just a matter of time before they arrive."
"You expect me to believe that?" said the doctor.
I was about to answer, when the doorbell rang. Holmes and I exchanged glances. Of course, I hadn't had time to call the police... I wondered who could possibly be at the door.
"Are you expecting any visitors, Mr Holmes?" asked Lowenstein.
Holmes shook his head. He began to cough violently and I had a sudden fear that Lowenstein had poisoned him.
"Well, since Mr Holmes is in no shape to answer the door, you'll have to do it, Dr Watson. But don't try to escape, or Mr Dorak will be forced to shoot you."
I nodded and walked to the front door. Dorak followed me, then hid behind the door as I opened it.
I was absolutely stunned to see Professor Presbury standing on Holmes's doorstep. A young woman stood to the left of the Professor and Roy, the Professor's dog, sat on his right.
"Professor?" I exclaimed.
"Dr Watson!" said the Professor. "Hello! It's so good to see you again! This is my fiancee, Alice Morphy."
"How do you do, Dr Watson?" said the young woman.
"Uh, it's a pleasure to meet you, ma'am," I said.
"Is Mr Holmes in?" asked the Professor. "I just wanted to thank him in person for everything he did for me."
I turned around and saw Lowenstein creep closer towards the door to hear our conversation.
"Uh, Mr Holmes, isn't feeling very well right now," I said. "Perhaps you could come back another time?"
The Professor looked disappointed. "Oh, alright," he said. "Please tell him we came by."
"Uh, yes, I'll certainly do that," I said.
It was at that moment that I had a rather clever idea. I pretended that I was about to close the door, then I opened it with such force, that I managed to knock the gun out of Dorak's hands. He looked completely astonished. The gun flew across the floor and I scrambled to get it. Behind me, I heard a cry of pain and looked up to see Holmes standing over Lowenstein with a glass vase in his hands. He had knocked the doctor unconscious.
I picked up the gun and turned around in time to see Dorak push the Professor and Alice out of the way violently.
"Stop him, Professor!" I shouted.
Dorak was halfway down the driveway when the Professor instructed Roy to give chase. The dog obeyed and within minutes, Dorak was lying on the ground with Roy's paw placed firmly on his chest.
"Are you both alright?" I asked the Professor and his fiancee.
"Yes!" the Professor replied. "That's Dorak! What's he doing here?"
"I'll explain later," I answered. "Just make sure he doesn't get away... I'm going to check on Holmes."
The Professor nodded and I returned to the sitting room. Holmes was still standing
"Are you expecting any visitors, Mr Holmes?" asked Lowenstein.
Holmes shook his head. He began to cough violently and I had a sudden fear that Lowenstein had poisoned him.
"Well, since Mr Holmes is in no shape to answer the door, you'll have to do it, Dr Watson. But don't try to escape, or Mr Dorak will be forced to shoot you."
I nodded and walked to the front door. Dorak followed me, then hid behind the door as I opened it.
I was absolutely stunned to see Professor Presbury standing on Holmes's doorstep. A young woman stood to the left of the Professor and Roy, the Professor's dog, sat on his right.
"Professor?" I exclaimed.
"Dr Watson!" said the Professor. "Hello! It's so good to see you again! This is my fiancee, Alice Morphy."
"How do you do, Dr Watson?" said the young woman.
"Uh, it's a pleasure to meet you, ma'am," I said.
"Is Mr Holmes in?" asked the Professor. "I just wanted to thank him in person for everything he did for me."
I turned around and saw Lowenstein creep closer towards the door to hear our conversation.
"Uh, Mr Holmes, isn't feeling very well right now," I said. "Perhaps you could come back another time?"
The Professor looked disappointed. "Oh, alright," he said. "Please tell him we came by."
"Uh, yes, I'll certainly do that," I said.
It was at that moment that I had a rather clever idea. I pretended that I was about to close the door, then I opened it with such force, that I managed to knock the gun out of Dorak's hands. He looked completely astonished. The gun flew across the floor and I scrambled to get it. Behind me, I heard a cry of pain and looked up to see Holmes standing over Lowenstein with a glass vase in his hands. He had knocked the doctor unconscious.
I picked up the gun and turned around in time to see Dorak push the Professor and Alice out of the way violently.
"Stop him, Professor!" I shouted.
Dorak was halfway down the driveway when the Professor instructed Roy to give chase. The dog obeyed and within minutes, Dorak was lying on the ground with Roy's paw placed firmly on his chest.
"Are you both alright?" I asked the Professor and his fiancee.
"Yes!" the Professor replied. "That's Dorak! What's he doing here?"
"I'll explain later," I answered. "Just make sure he doesn't get away... I'm going to check on Holmes."
The Professor nodded and I returned to the sitting room. Holmes was still standing
over the doctor.
"Holmes, are you alright?" I asked.
"Much better now," he said. "That potion is starting to lose its power. Well done, Watson, your quick thinking saved the day."
"Actually, the Professor and his dog saved us," I said. "I'm not sure if you heard us talking, but Professor Presbury came by to thank you for helping him."
"Well, his timing was excellent," said Holmes with a weak smile.
"Would you mind if I called Lestrade now?" I asked.
"Go right ahead," said Holmes.
The police were brought in and once Inspector Lestrade had taken everyone's statements, Dorak and a semi-conscious Lowenstein were arrested. Holmes gave the Inspector the order book, which he had hidden in the sofa cushions, and the case of the creeping man was finally over.
"Justice has been served, thanks to Sherlock Holmes and John Watson," said Professor Presbury as he watched a coach carry the two criminals away.
"All in a day's work, Professor," said Holmes. "Anyway, I think a cup of tea would be appropriate after all this excitement. Will you two join me?"
"We wouldn't want to disturb..." said Alice.
"Not at all, my dear. I'd appreciate the company. Are you coming, Watson?"
"Yes," I said, following the others inside. I closed the door to number 221 Baker Street, relieved that the case had a happy ending, but I knew it wouldn't be long before the next adventure; Holmes would make sure of that.

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