There was not much, but there was enough — an empty phial, another nearly full, a hypodermic syringe, several letters in a crabbed, foreign hand. The marks on the envelopes showed that they were those which had disturbed the routine of the secretary, and each was dated from the Commercial Road and signed “A. Dorak.” They were mere invoices to say that a fresh bottle was being sent to Professor Presbury, or receipt to acknowledge money. There was one other envelope, however, in a more educated hand and bearing the Austrian stamp with the postmark of Prague. “Here we have our material!” cried Holmes as he tore out the enclosure.
HONOURED COLLEAGUE [it ran]:
Since your esteemed visit I have thought much of your case,
and though in your circumstances there are some special
reasons for the treatment, I would none the less enjoin
caution, as my results have shown that it is not without
danger of a kind.
It is possible that the serum of anthropoid would have
been better. I have, as I explained to you, used black-faced
langur because a specimen was accessible. Langur is, of
course, a crawler and climber, while anthropoid walks
erect and is in all ways nearer.
I beg you to take every possible precaution that there be
no premature revelation of the process. I have one other
client in England, and Dorak is my agent for both.
Weekly reports will oblige.
Yours with high esteem,
Lowenstein! The name brought back to me the memory of some snippet from a newspaper which spoke of an obscure scientist who was striving in some unknown way for the secret of rejuvenescence and the elixir of life. Lowenstein of Prague! Lowenstein with the wondrous strength-giving serum, tabooed by the profession because he refused to reveal its source. In a few words I said what I remembered. Bennett had taken a manual of zoology from the shelves. ” ‘Langur.’ ” he read. ” ‘the great black-faced monkey of the Himalayan slopes, biggest and most human of climbing monkeys. Many details are added. Well, thanks to you, Mr. Holmes, it is very clear that we have traced the evil to its source.”
“The real source,” said Holmes, “lies, of course, in that untimely love affair which gave our impetuous professor the idea that he could only gain his wish by turning himself into a younger man. When one tries to rise above Nature one is liable to fall below it. The highest type of man may revert to the animal if he leaves the straight road of destiny.” He sat musing for a little with the phial in his hand, looking at the clear liquid within. “When I have written to this man and told him that I hold him criminally responsible for the poisons which he circulates, we will have no more trouble. But it may recur. Others may find a better way. There is danger there — a very real danger to humanity. Consider, Watson, that the material, the sensual, the worldly would all prolong their worthless lives. The spiritual would not avoid the call to something higher. It would be the survival of the least fit. What sort of cesspool may not our poor world become?” Suddenly the dreamer disappeared, and Holmes, the man of action, sprang from his chair. “I think there is nothing more to be said, Mr. Bennett. The various incidents will now fit themselves easily into the general scheme. The dog, of course, was aware of the change far more quickly than you. His smell would insure that. It was the monkey, not the professor, whom Roy attacked, just as it was the monkey who teased Roy. Climbing was a joy to the creature, and it was a mere chance, I take it, that the pastime brought him to the young lady’s window. There is an early train to town, Watson, but I think we shall just have time for a cup of tea at the Chequers before we catch it.”
The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
Holmes had read carefully a note which the last post had brought him. Then, with the dry chuckle which was his nearest approach to a laugh, he tossed it over to me.
“For a mixture of the modern and the mediaeval, of the practical and of the wildly fanciful, I think this is surely the limit,” said he. “What do you make of it, Watson?”
I read as follows:
46, OLD JEWRY,
Our client, Mr. Robert Ferguson, of Ferguson and
Muirhead, tea brokers, of Mincing Lane, has made some
inquiry from us in a communication of even date concerning
vampires. As our firm specializes entirely upon the as-
sessment of machinery the matter hardly comes within our
purview, and we have therefore recommended Mr. Fergu- son to call upon you and lay the matter before you. We
have not forgotten your successful action in the case of
We are, sir,
MORRISON, MORRISON, AND DODD.
per E. J. C.