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Now we have at last obtained permission to ventilate the facts which formed one of the very last cases handled by Holmes before his retirement from practice. Even now a certain reticence and discretion have to be observed in laying the matter before the public. The relations between us in those latter days were peculiar. He was a man of habits, narrow and concentrated habits, and I had become one of them. As an institution I was like the violin, the shag tobacco, the old black pipe, the index books, and others perhaps less excusable.
When it was a case of active work and a comrade was needed upon whose nerve he could place some reliance, my role was obvious. But apart from this I had uses. I was a whetstone for his mind. He liked to think aloud in my presence. His remarks could hardly be said to be made to me—many of them would have been as appropriately addressed to his bedstead—but none the less, having formed the habit, it had become in some way helpful that I should register and interject.
If I irritated him by a certain methodical slowness in my mentality, that irritation served only to make his own flame-like intuitions and impressions flash up the more vividly and swiftly. Such was my humble role in our alliance. When I arrived at Baker Street I found him huddled up in his armchair with updrawn knees, his pipe in his mouth and his brow furrowed with thought. It was only through a letter from a friend sent to Mr. Bennett that the family learnt that Professor Presbury had been to Prague.
Holmes knows from his study of dogs that this is significant. Upon returning from Prague, Professor Presbury told Mr. Bennett that certain letters would arrive with a cross under the stamp, and he was not to open these. Until this time, Mr. As the professor said, such letters did arrive, and he gave them straight to the professor. Whether any replies were sent Mr. Bennett does not know, as they never passed through his hands.
The whole household feels that they are living with another man, not the Professor Presbury that they once knew. He has become furtive and sly. There are definite changes in his moods and habits, some quite bizarre; however, his mind does not seem to be adversely affected.
His lectures are still brilliant, and he can still function as a professor. Bennett observed a curious behaviour in his employer. He opened his bedroom door one night, as he tells Holmes and Watson, and saw the professor crawling along the hall on his hands and feet. When he spoke to Professor Presbury, his master swore at him and scuttled off to the stairway.
Her bedroom is on the second floor, and there is no long ladder in the garden. She is sure that she did not imagine this. The professor brought a small carved wooden box back with him from Prague. One day, as Mr. Bennett was looking for a cannula, he picked the box up, and the professor became very angry with him. Bennett was quite shaken by the incident. Bennett mentions that the dog attacks came on July 2, 11, and Holmes does not mention it aloud at the time, but these are intervals of nine days each time.
Holmes and Watson go to Camford to see the professor the next day. They decide to pretend that they have an appointment, and that if Professor Presbury does not remember making one, he will likely put it down to the dreamworld that he has been living in lately. Things do not go quite this way. The professor is quite sure that he has made no appointment, and confirms this with his embarrassed secretary, Mr. Professor Presbury becomes furiously angry at the intrusion, and Watson believes that they might actually have to fight their way out of the house.
Bennett, though, convinces the professor that violence against a man as well known as Sherlock Holmes would surely bring about a scandal. Bennett comes out of the house after Holmes and tells him that he has found the address that Professor Presbury has been writing to and receiving the mysterious letters from.
The addressee is a man named Dorak, a Central European name. Holmes later finds out from his "general utility man" Mercer that Dorak is indeed a Bohemian, elderly, suave man who keeps a large general store. Holmes has formed a theory that every nine days, Professor Presbury takes some kind of drug which causes the odd behaviour.
Holmes believed that he became addicted in Prague, and is now supplied by this Dorak in London. Holmes has told Mr. Bennett that he and Watson will be in Camford once again on the next Tuesday.
As is usual with Holmes, he does not explain why. He and Watson show up on the appointed evening, and Holmes suddenly realizes something. The professor is behaving like a monkey! He comes out of the house, scampers about on all fours, climbs on the creeper, and torments the tied-up dog. Unfortunately, the wolfhound gets loose and attacks the professor.
The two of them, with Mr. It contained a drug, as Holmes expected, but there was also a letter there from a man named Lowenstein who, it turns out, is a quack whose help the professor sought out as a way of achieving rejuvenation, which he thought would be advisable if he were going to marry a young woman. Good plot, I recommend this book to all readers that appreciate a well written mystery book, mainly featuring Sherlock Holmes. Feb 15, Kaiser rated it liked it. It is an interesting book but along the way it becomes boring.
He and Watson show up on the appointed evening, and Holmes suddenly realises something. The professor is behaving like a monkey. He comes out of the house, scampers about on all fours, climbs on the creeper, and torments the tied-up dog. Unfortunately, the wolfhound gets loose and attacks the professor.
The two of them, with Mr. It contained a drug, as Holmes expected, but there was also a letter there from a man named Lowenstein who, it turns out, is a quack whose help the professor sought out as a way of achieving rejuvenation, which he thought would be advisable if he were going to marry a young woman.
David Stuart Davies , who has written an afterword for the Case-Book , comments that this story "veers towards risible science fiction ". Revisited in adulthood, the story reveals itself as a sour parable about the endurance of lust, a lurid treatment of the question that is put to Falstaff as Doll Tearsheet fidgets on his knee: Yet, curiously, the feeling persists that there is something in the narrative — hidden, submerged — which the reader is not permitted to comprehend but which forms the source of its power.