There’s a strange guest residing in suite 139 of the Hotel Palace Thermae in the Belgian municipality of Ostend. He asks his Nurse, Albertine, to check the newspaper to see who’s dead today and she tells him the list includes Mrs Lillian Washbourne, who died in a ferocious fire at the Cecil Hotel. She was an American stage actress who they both saw at the theatre in Cincinnati so the guest decides to send flowers to her agent. He wearily recalls that when he was a boy there were no such hotels as this and he had to make do with coaching inns and lodging houses where the staff would insult the guests and the rooms would be full of vermin. But here at the Palace Thermae, all they have to do is relax, listen to the tide rushing in and wait for the food to arrive. Before Albertine will sign the bill, she insists on checking every item on the list (which takes several minutes) then while her employer is getting stuck in, she decides to use the telescope by the window to see who’s down on the beach. She can see the Punch and Judy Man setting up; there’s a family unpacking their sandwiches; LaFayette, the confidence man, who has a new walking cane with a silver duck‘s head; Solidargo’s ice cream kiosk (although it hasn’t opened yet); and a man in a deck chair with a huge pile of books wrapped in brown paper. He doesn’t exactly seem dressed for the beach though, as he’s wearing yellow striped trousers like a humbug and a waistcoat patterned like the Battenburg cake he‘s eating.
Peri joins the Doctor, having missed him at breakfast. He was busy with the last four volumes of Proust’s seven volume work “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu“, but he’s having to keep them under cover because they haven’t been published yet. It wouldn’t do to be caught with an anachronistic novel as it might unravel the whole causal nexus. The Doctor admits that although it was his first incarnation who ordered the books from Foyle’s, he’s never been able to get past the first twenty pages before now. None of his other incarnations were particularly interested in reading, except for his immediate predecessor who was fond of a Boy’s Own story about an aristocrat who yomped through the Brazilian rainforests, depriving the natives of their orchids. But now the Doctor has finally found himself a persona with sufficient sensitivity to appreciate Proust - and the patience to understand that it pays to take a holiday in order to read him. Peri irritates the Doctor by allegedly revealing a plot twist from the last volume, which she says she read during her gap year. She thinks it could have benefited from a better editor as one of the characters dies in the second volume, but turns up again in the third. That sort of thing’s alright in real life, but it shouldn’t happen in fiction! She leaves to buy a postcard which she intends to send to Herbert Wells.
The guest tells Nurse Albertine he had the most terrible dream last night, and she admits she heard him squealing when he knocked over the fruit bowl. He dreamt he was standing at the door of Ma and Pa’s cottage. He could hear the bees buzzing in the tea-roses and birds twittering away in the hawthorn, but when he left he could see Ma waving her handkerchief as a tear rolled down her cheek. Then suddenly he found himself flat on his back, with a light shining in his eyes and dirty great metal cuffs around his arms and legs - and then he saw the doctor…and then he woke up! He thinks it would be a good idea to go down to the beach for a few hours and dip his toes in the surf, knock up a few sandcastles, hire out a deckchair and treat himself to a bottle of lemonade. The Nurse agrees - after all, nobody knows him here and it should be safe as long as he wraps up and pulls down the hood. But the guest is not so sure as you never know who might be waiting down there…fans pestering for autographs, or an assassin ready to run him through. It’s not worth the risk of turning up dead with an apple in his mouth.
The Doctor is rudely awoken by an elderly lady whose wind-break has toppled over, although he suspects she may have deliberately done it herself in order to have an excuse to talk to him. She introduces herself as Miss Alice Bultitude and she recognises him and his companion from the breakfast room at the Hotel Palace Thermae. She prides herself on the theatrical profession and yet she says his name is not familiar to her. He claims that his work has always been a little further afield than Europe and he name-drops his recent visit to the colony of Varos. She doesn’t recognise his face from any of the posters but he says the likenesses are never much cop, a sentiment she agree with. She once secured an audience with Professor Osiris, a terrible old charlatan whose real name was Hamish Legg. He had a useless clairvoyant act who whistled up people’s dead mothers and peddled meaningless messages to the recently bereaved, and there was a full thirty years difference between the postcard he sent out in the post and the wreck of the man who tottered out into the limelight twice nightly. As a result, she learnt never to trust a man with a title. She declares that the business is full of frauds and you can never tell whether people are what they claim to be, but this makes the genuine article all the more alluring. Suddenly Miss Bultitude sees a man out at sea, apparently waving to them.
Up in suite 139, the Nurse is watching through the telescope and has also seen the man out at sea. The other man with the Battenburg waistcoat is taking his shirt off and running towards the water to rescue the swimmer, a large man with a striped bathing costume and an unusual moustache, who is clearly in trouble. She adjust the scanning mode of the telescope and watches as the Battenburg man drags the swimmer to the surface and starts dragging him back to the shore. Then she sees a woman on the beach with a stuffed monkey in a bridal gown under her arm, presumably from Madame Ensor’s shop.
Peri races over to Miss Bultitude and together, the help the Doctor drag the swimmer back to shore. Peri reluctantly gives the stranger the kiss of life and he revives just as the doctor from the hotel arrives. The swimmer deliriously comments on how similar Peri’s kiss was to that of Marie Lefevre, the famous trunk murderess of St Germain, who strangled her victims with the cord of her silk dressing gown. He introduces himself as Inspector Alphonse Chardalot.
The Nurse notes that all seems to be well now and the guest is glad that everyone will live to fight another day. Their equipment starts making a strange noise and Nurse Albertine prints off a reading which tells them their persecutor has arrived. The doctor from his nightmare is here, so they have to make plans quickly. The Nurse suggests moving to Eastbourne or Brighton, but the guest isn’t sure. He thinks they must prepare for darker possibilities. He suggests they spend this night as if it were their last. He wants to look his best and asks her to fetch his wig. If the human race is to end tonight, at least its last member can die looking beautiful.
Miss Bultitude accompanies the Doctor back to his hotel room and insists that he take a hot brandy, which fortunately she has in her knitting basket, but Peri makes an excuse to get rid of their unwanted visitor, promising to see her again at dinner. When they’re alone, Peri asks the Doctor what’s really going on. Inspector Chardalot appeared half-dead when he was pulled out of the water, but seconds later it was like he’d just woken up from an afternoon nap. At times, the Doctor felt like it was he who was being rescued, and they also noticed that Chardalot had no clothes and no deckchair on the beach. He asks about the monkey she’s carrying and she explains that someone left it at reception for her with a note that simply says “To Miss Brown, with admiration and thanks”. The Doctor briefly considers that the stuffed animal might be an alien ambassador who’s been shocked into silence by their bad manners, but it doesn’t respond to his greeting. It gives Peri the creeps and she wants to thrown it away, but just then there’s a knock at the door. It’s an invitation from Inspector Chardalot, requesting they join him for dinner tonight.
Miss Bultitude makes a phone call and books a delivery firm to pick up a large packing case and transport it to the ferry to Dover for tomorrow. Moments later, she bumps into Nurse Albertine who is also giving instructions to two men carrying a large heavy crate. Miss Bultitude is curious to know what could be inside the crate as they seem to be treating it very carefully and the Nurse explains that it’s a cinematograph. The old lady launches into a lecture about a local cinema which changes its programme daily - today it’s showing “Zeb, Zack and the Zulus” - but she’s momentarily thrown when the Nurse says she prefers actualities rather than fiction. Inspector Chardalot arrives and greets Miss Bultitude warmly, announcing that the hotel doctor has pronounced him fit as a flea. She asks him if he’s here on a case - perhaps one of the guests here is a jewel thief or a terrible butcher from the slums of Paris? Chardalot is not yet ready to announce the reasons for his presence here, but the wanted to thank her for her part in saving his life by inviting her to dinner tonight with the Doctor and Peri.
At dinner, Inspector Chardalot launches into a self-congratulatory speech about how he saved an innocent man from hanging. He tells his guests that spots of silver nitrate were found on the dress of the accused man’s wife and because he was a keen amateur photographer, most of the police and the press assumed it came from the man’s darkroom, but Chardalot was present when the brother-in-law was told of the wife’s murder and the news affected him so powerfully that he pitched backwards onto the floor. Everyone felt very sorry for him except Chardalot who knew that silver nitrate was sometimes prescribed to cure the condition of epilepsy, so he clapped the brother-in-law in handcuffs before he regained consciousness. As the Doctor congratulates him, Chardalot explains that he has two butlers at home and he normally uses them as sounding-boards, but this particular case was all his own work. Miss Bultitude asks Peri about the monkey she saw her holding on the beach and she says it was a present from an unknown admirer. The elderly lady wonders whether Chardalot can cast any light on the mystery, but he claims to know nothing about such matters. Miss Bultitude reveals that it was one of Madame Ensor’s toys and the Doctor recognises her name as the mother of the famous painter James Ensor. Chardalot launches into yet another anecdote, but then decides it’s not the kind of story to be told over coffee. The Doctor, who appears to be getting increasingly drunk, decides to tell his own story - that of the Giant Rat of the River Fleet, but then wonders if the world is ready for that yet. Miss Bultitude decides it may be time for Peri to join her on a stroll around the terrace while the men enjoy a cigar.
The women leave and the Doctor and Chardalot are left behind to enjoy a rather attractive decanter of port. The Inspector remarks on a most peculiar thing that he saw on the Promenade whilst walking earlier that afternoon - a large blue box with a lamp on top, just next to Solidargo’s ice cream kiosk. It appeared to be some sort of police equipment, but he rang the station and they didn’t know anything about it. It’s very odd, especially as Solidargo told him it appeared three days ago and the only person he’s seen anywhere near it was Peri, who apparently has a key to it and spent half an hour standing inside it. The Doctor promises to ask her about it later, then changes the subject. Chardalot reveals that he’s here to investigate a murder, but he doesn’t know who the victim is as it hasn’t happened yet. But he already knows who the killer is, which makes him feel like a character from Proust. They discuss whether they have any sympathy with the hero from “Swann’s Way” and Chardalot regards him as a whimsy, ingratiating, spineless snob - but just as the Doctor is about to give his opinion he’s stopped in his tracks by the sight of Marcel Proust himself having dinner in the corner table! They had no idea he was staying at the hotel and the Doctor decides to go over and pick an argument with him…
Peri and Miss Bultitude are enjoying the beautiful night air when the elderly lady suddenly accuses Chardalot of lying through his teeth. Half the details of the case he described were clearly wrong and she knows that the silver nitrate incident came from a completely different investigation. She finds the Inspector very fishy and suspects that everything he said was a lie. Peri wonders whether he’s a fantasist or even a con artist - why is he pretending to be a detective, why did he pretend to drown and why did he claim not to know about Madame Ensor? Miss Bultitude reveals that she saw Chardalot in the hotel reception leaving the present for Peri, but the most peculiar part of the story is that after that, she went straight down to the beach where Chardalot could already be seen several hundred yards out to sea. Peri realises the whole thing is a scam, but how could he possibly have been in two places at the same time? Miss Bultitude also thinks it’s too much of a coincidence that he could be here at the hotel at the same time as another rather extraordinary guest. She promises to introduce Peri to him later, once she’s been introduced to him herself…
Back in the dining room, Chardalot assures the Doctor that Proust will forgive him, but the Doctor is not convinced. He knows that Proust was reputed to be one of the most notoriously sensitive authors in the French canon and wouldn’t normally even leave his bedroom long enough to go to dinner or visit the theatre. And to think that the Doctor actually grabbed him by the shoulders, called him Marcel, breathed port fumes up his nose, and told him what he thought of Swann… How embarrassing! Chardalot urges him not to give it too much thought - perhaps the incident will one day end up in one of Proust’s books? They return to their table to have some more coffee and they’re joined again by Peri and Miss Bultitude. They decide that perhaps it’s time to retire to their rooms, but Chardalot feels full of life and prefers to go for a quick trot down to the Promenade instead. Suddenly Miss Bultitude is overcome with extreme tiredness and asks the Doctor and Peri if they would mind accompanying her to her room. When they leave, Chardalot decides to make an urgent phone call…
Miss Bultitude leads the Doctor and Peri further into the hotel, but they realise they’ve arrived in an area that doesn’t look very lived in. The elderly lady tells them she has a confession to make - she wasn’t feeling ill at all and that was just a trick to get them up here. She tells them there’s someone in the hotel that she’d very much like them to meet - someone she’s followed half way across Europe - and she needs them to be witnesses to prove that he actually exists. They can make out the voice of the mysterious guest in a nearby room and Miss Bultitude can’t bear the suspense any longer. Despite the Doctor’s protests, she knocks on the door and walks in. The guest is horrified by the intrusion and demands to know what they want. The Doctor apologises as Miss Bultitude announces herself to ‘Toby’ and declares herself to be his most faithful admirer. Toby recognises the name of the Doctor immediately and orders the Nurse to activate a wide-beam impulse - and the three intruders drop to the floor, unconscious. Nurse Albertine warns him there wasn’t much power left in the device and they’ll only sleep for a few hours. Now they have another problem - do they keep the three prisoner…or do they eat the evidence?
Later, Peri wakes up back in her bedroom and is surprised to be greeted by Inspector Chardalot. She feels terrible, which is not surprising - at four o’clock this morning she was discovered unconscious at the bottom of the laundry chute. Fortunately she was unharmed and her fall was broken by a basket of other people’s dirty linen. The Doctor and Miss Bultitude have completely disappeared and although the hotel has already been thoroughly searched, Chardalot intends to spend the morning interviewing the staff. He asks her what she can remember from last night, but all she can recall was Miss Bultitude leading them astray into a part of the hotel that appeared to be closed to visitors. The she had a dream involving a pig in an armchair eating crisps and watching a movie featuring a pig reciting speeches from “Hamlet“. She still feels sick, so Chardalot leaves her in the care of the person who found her this morning - a private nurse currently being employed by one of the other guests. The woman steps forward and introduces herself as Nurse Albertine.
Toby tells Miss Bultitude that their arrival was most unexpected, but she hopes that it wasn’t unwelcome. He admits that he doesn’t have visitors very often and he’s not very good at making tea, so she offers to take over for him. He knows who she is and confesses that he did receive the letters she’s been sending him. He has many admirers, but none as persistent as her. She can’t quite remember what happened last night and he explains that she was overcome after visiting him, no doubt due to the heat of the room. She tells him she’s followed him across half of Europe to Ostend and has been staying in the hotel for weeks, waiting for the right opportunity to speak to him. She loves his work and even has a first edition copy of his memoirs. She was also in the front row of the stalls on the opening night of his first European tour back in 1888 in the Winter Gardens at Berlin. Toby also recalls that night - Professor Prometheus, the fireproof Secasian, the incomparable Hildebrand, the Blondin Donkey - you don’t get acts like that any more, not since the arrival of the cinematograph. Miss Bultitude was even there at his farewell concert at the Black Castle, Alhambra, although he feels this was not his finest hour. On his last night, the manager said to him that the bottom had dropped out of the freak show. Toby was outraged - they weren’t a freak show, they were prodigies and Miss Bultitude assures him the name of Toby the Sapient Pig will live in history. They hear a noise from the room next door, so it sounds like the Doctor has finally woken up.
Nurse Albertine pours Peri a cup of beef tea and explains that her father was mad about beef tea. He used to tell her that if you plotted General Buller’s advance on Ladysmith during the Boer War, it spelled out the word ’Bovril’ on the map! She also claims that the name ’Bovril’ comes from a book about a race of people from another civilisation that fly about the place and have guns that fire beams of light and bombs that can destroy entire cities. They apparently live on this stuff, like a kind of nectar. Albertine guesses that Peri and the Doctor are a married couple on holiday, which makes Peri laugh. She assures the Nurse that they’re just friends on the road together, which Albertine understands fully. She asks Peri if the Doctor has ever thought of retiring, but Peri says that will never happen. Even when he tries to take time out he usually ends up in danger, but on this occasion they’ve been here six days now and nothing even remotely sinister has happened - until now. Peri is starting to feel better and tells Albertine she can return to her employer, but she says he has visitors today, and as along as he has someone to cut up his food and listen to his stories, he doesn’t mind who’s there with him. She’s been with him for two years now, but she’s only the latest in a long line of companions. She doesn’t think she’ll ever leave him now as they’ve grown too accustomed to each other and she could never get used to living in just one place again. There’s a knock at the door and Chardalot returns to check on Peri’s condition. She’s keen to find out what happened to the Doctor, but he invites her to a spot of breakfast on the hotel terrace. He’s happy to announce that his enquiries are already starting to bear fruit…
Miss Bultitude orders more food from room service, but the Doctor turns down Toby’s offer as he’s still feeling a bit queasy. Miss Bultitude introduces him to the celebrated stage performer, Toby the Sapient Pig. Toby claims that the Doctor was a guest at his party last night and tells him Peri is sleeping things off in her own room. Toby is still curious about Miss Bultitude’s real motives for coming here and she says she’s hoping he might agree to be interviewed for a book she’s writing. She’s already spoken to Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, Madame Baboo the Lobster-Claw Lady and Krau the Missing Link. She also met Chang Woo Gow, the Chinese Giant, who the Doctor knew personally and regards as a marvellous fellow and a very good dancer. He retired to Bournemouth and opened a tea-room, but had to have all the lintels taken up two feet. Neither Toby nor the Doctor have thought of him in years, so at least they have something in common. Toby apologises to the Doctor for his vexatious action when he first arrived, then asks Miss Bultitude what exactly is it that she wants to know. She wants to know the secret of his act and whether he truly is a pig and, if so, how was he taught to walk upright and talk like a gentleman, and she’d like to know if he truly knows the future and what can he see. Toby reveals that he can see death and blood, razors, barbed-wire, cruelty, torture, rats, poison gas, boys dead in the mud, the blasted earth, the carcasses of horses, women weeping - in short, he can see war! And he can see a doctor with knives, drills and syringes, getting to work on Toby’s body! Just then, the buzzer on the dumb waiter announces the arrival of the next course. The Doctor makes his excuses and tries to leave, but Toby reveals that the door to their room is locked from the outside. He realised how insecure these apartments were when the Doctor arrived last night, so he’s arranged for them all to be locked in for their own safety and they can’t get out until the Nurse returns.
In the dining room, Chardalot orders coffee for himself and Peri. He’s decided to take her into his confidence to convince her of the good nature of his motives. He admits that yesterday’s drama on the beach was a sham, and the monkey was also his doing. He reveals that he’s on the trail of an extraordinarily dangerous individual and he’s been pursuing him for the last twenty years. His prey is devious and vicious, the foremost criminal mind of this generation and he has in his possession a weapon unknown to European science - an electrical device that immobilises its victims and robs them of their memories. He’s used it against Chardalot on a number of occasions and it’s the main reason why he’s still at liberty. He suspects that Peri and the Doctor have also fallen under the influence of this device, and Miss Bultitude appears to be part of the conspiracy. He reveals that both the Doctor and Miss Bultitude are somewhere in this very hotel, hidden in a secret suite of rooms intended for use by the Royals. He believes the elderly lady lured the Doctor into the enemy’s lair and he’s being kept as a hostage to aid in the enemy’s escape from this hotel. Peri wants to find them, but Chardalot warns that the last thing they should do is panic their enemy. The manager has instructed his staff to look out for any suspicious behaviour. Peri suggests bringing in the local police, but Chardalot believes that although they’re well-meaning, they’re hopelessly unsuited to a case like this. He has wired Brussels and a team of more reliable men will be joining them within the hour. With her help and that of the Doctor, he believes he may finally be able to bring his enemy to justice. He explains that he and the enemy have a special connection. In some ways, the enemy is a gentleman, but in others he is an animal - but Chardalot knows how to hunt him. He’s managed to procure the key to Miss Bultitude‘s room and he proposes they go there for a rummage around. Peri agrees to accompany him, but only to make sure that he’s not up to anything dishonest.
Miss Bultitude admires Toby’s marvellous telescope and she sees Peri and Chardalot eating in the dining room. Toby begins to suspect that they’re working together, but the Doctor says she works with him on a mission to make certain people’s lives difficult - tyrants, bullies, ne’er do wells, the odd anthropomorphic slug. He wonders why Toby is so worried - is he perhaps in some kind of trouble? Miss Bultitude says there are still mysteries about Toby’s background, but he insists that every word in his memoirs is true. He says his mother was a fine 700-pound fancy Devonshire with the most elegant lop ears. His father was a portly Essex half-black with a permanent expression of quiet optimism and a pipe he never put down. He thinks it was a happy childhood and he remembers the day he left home when his mother wept so much and his father pretended not to cry. The Doctor and Miss Bultitude press him for further details of the location of his home, but he will only say that it was in England. He prefers to tell them more about his first manager, Tom Norman, who agreed a 50/50 split of the profits with him. People often say they were being cruelly abused by their managers, but Toby thinks that’s rubbish.
The phone rings, so the Doctor takes Miss Bultitude out onto the balcony while Toby answers it. On the other end of the phone is Nurse Albertine who tells him the Doctor and Peri are not the people they thought they were and they don’t know anything about him. But oddly enough, they do appear to be ‘in the business’ although they can’t have been doing it for long as she deliberately dropped Toby’s name into the conversation and Peri didn’t react. Toby informs Albertine that Miss Bultitude hasn’t come to kill him either, she just wants to interview him for a book. He adds that there’s no hurry for her to return, especially as the old lady makes far better tea than she does.
Peri is still uncomfortable with rummaging through Miss Bultitude’s room, but Chardalot wants to continue. They find a scrapbook on stage acts, covering such performers as the Baboon Lady who dances the Highland Fling, Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, Equus the Calculating Horse, Madame Baboo the Lobster-Claw Lady (there’s a charming picture of her doing a crochet square) and Simia the Missing Link. The highlight is Toby the Sapient Pig as there are more cuttings on him than any of the others, and Peri thinks he looks familiar. Chardalot comments that most performing pigs were actually bears that had been strategically shaved, but Toby had actually given Miss Bultitude a genuine signed photograph. Peri has seen enough, but Chardalot finds a note from Toby allegedly telling Miss Bultitude that if she wanted to find something to her advantage, she should go to the Turkish steam-room at four o’clock tomorrow. Peri knows that the steam-room is no longer in public use, so it would make the perfect place for a discreet meeting, yet she suspects it may be a trap. Chardalot suggests they keep this appointment instead and see who turns up. They hear a noise outside and open the door - to find Nurse Albertine bending down, apparently trying to listen through the keyhole. She offers to take Peri for a walk along the Promenade to help assess her health. Suddenly there’s a flash of light and the sky is literally filled with exploding cows!!!!
The Doctor is amazed to discover that the beach is now covered in raw steak, some of it still moving! The heavens just opened up and down came all the cows. It’s a ghastly sight and Miss Bultitude recalls reading about similar events happening with fish and frogs, but never cows. Perhaps a whirlwind lifted them from an abattoir and delivered them here? The sunbathers on the beach certainly don’t look happy and Toby wonders whether any of the meat can be saved. The Doctor recalls a time, about 300 years ago, when he saw a whale who’d become beached on the shore and lay there for four days before its bowels exploded. Some of the eye-witnesses even died from a disease they caught after being splattered with rotten whale meat. The buzzer sounds with another delivery of food and Miss Bultitude is amazed that the recent sight hasn’t spoiled Toby’s appetite.
Peri and Nurse Albertine stroll down to the beach and try to make sense of the disaster on the beach, but the only theory they can come up with is that a cattle-ship must have run aground. It’s obvious that swimming is out of the question today, so they head towards the town. As they chat, the Nurse explains that she studied battle surgery and she even saw some action against the Boers, but the money ran out before she could finish her course. They both agree that they’ve spent too much time running around after other people, putting up with their moods and getting them out of trouble. Albertine recalls an occasion when they were staying at a hotel in Budapest and Toby ate everything off the menu and the other diners mutinied. She can’t help but regret what might have happened if she’d been allowed to continue on her career plan and now she’s on the run from someone who means her harm. As they arrive at Solidargo’s ice cream kiosk, Albertine notices the strange blue box appears to have been moved. Peri becomes distressed and tells the Nurse that she suspects the Inspector himself might have attacked her last night. She reveals that the blue box is actually a time machine, but before she can say more the Nurse advises her to keep silent for now. At that moment, Inspector Chardalot calls out and hurries over to them. He tells her it’s nearly four o’clock and they have an appointment to keep.
The Doctor asks Toby why he feels obliged to live in seclusion just because his act has gone out of fashion - after all, Chang Woo Gow’s tea-shop does a roaring business. Toby has no wish to reveal all his secrets in one afternoon, but he tells them they’ve both stumbled upon something in this room which they’d find impossible to understand or appreciate. He tells them that the human race as they know it is a terrible aberration and it should never have been brought into being. He adds that a man is coming from the future in order to kill him, but he intends to force this assassin to help him undo the damage that’s been done to history and return the world to its natural state. All he needs is access to his time machine. That certainly wasn’t the answer Miss Bultitude was expecting! The Doctor goes out onto the balcony to get some water for the old lady - but then to everyone’s surprise he appears to jump off!
The Doctor crashes through an awning underneath the balcony and lands on the ground with a bump. Nurse Albertine sees him and rushes over to see if he’s alright, but fortunately nothing‘s broken and he only has a bruised shin. She recognises him from the beach and reveals that she also knows Peri. In return, he identifies her as Toby’s nurse - the person who fired the ray gun at him last night. He deliberately insults Toby, referring to his delusions, his rantings and his awful toupee, and is pleased when Albertine defends him. However, he’s concerned to hear that Peri has gone off with Chardalot and they both agree that he’s dangerous. Albertine believes he may be the enemy that her employer lives in fear of, and she tells the Doctor that he’s gone to the Turkish steam-room with Peri.
In the steam-room, Peri asks Chardalot whether there’s anything ’porcine’ about the man he’s hunting. The Inspector bursts out laughing and declares that he thinks Toby the Sapient Pig is a red-herring. They’ve arrived ten minutes early for the appointment so Peri suggests they hide in case he spots them - but when she steps into the steam-room first, Chardalot closes the door behind her. He tells her he doesn’t want any company on his pig-hunt and his only desire is to keep her and the Doctor out of his way so he can get access to their time machine. This facility may not be open to guests any more, but it’s still in fully functioning order. He activates the equipment and turns it up to full. Peri bangs on the door and begs to be released as the steam fills the room…
Albertine reports back to the Doctor to say that the hotel receptionist saw Chardalot going upstairs a minute ago, but he was alone. The Doctor decides to search for Peri and asks the Nurse to establish whether the Inspector has returned to his own suite, then meet back here.
Miss Bultitude takes yet another food order from Toby, then tries to calm her new employer down while he rages about how rude the Doctor was for leaving like that. Now that they’re alone they can get down to some fun, so she draws the curtains and they start the projector. The film shows images taken in Vienna in the summer of 1903, which Toby says is the capital of porcine culture. He claims that all the finest minds in the world were there - and they were all pigs! The film shows Sir Henry Irving performing Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, then Colonel Dreyfus who was involved in a scandal and is considered to be a warning from history. Miss Bultitude wants to make a confession. She admits to having a personal weakness for taxidermy after her father bought her a ‘python attacking a mongoose’ to frighten her on her fifth birthday. When she arrived here in Ostend, she visited Madame Ensor’s shop and spotted Toby sitting in the window. Not the real Toby, of course, just a stuffed pig dressed in an evening suit - but it was enough to attract her and she bought it and had it shipped back to England. She finds it rather embarrassing now that she’s made friends with the genuine article. Toby is curious to know what it looked like and she says he was sitting in an armchair and wearing a fez. He’s even more horrified to discover that she only paid three guineas for it. Just then the phone rings and it’s Nurse Albertine asking to speak to Toby. She tells him they must pack a hamper and leave right now as it’s not safe. She thinks Chardalot has killed the Doctor’s wife, but before she can say more she screams out to someone and the line goes dead.
Chardalot has literally bitten through the telephone cable. Albertine refuses to tell him anything, but he assures her there’s no need as she’s already saved him a great deal of trouble. He’d originally thought he might need to torture a confession from her, but by the simple act of standing behind a curtain in his room he’s discovered everything he needed to know. He observed Albertine as she broke in and watched as she dialled suite 139 from his own telephone - and he now knows where the object of his quest can be found. She draws a knife and warns him to keep back, but he’s not going to be deterred by a piece of hotel cutlery. They struggle and she stabs him, but he proudly announces that he doesn’t feel physical pain. She is overpowered and he ties her up, confident that the trunk murderess herself couldn’t have done a better job. He drags her to the bath filled with various food items and places her inside, the he shows her the drop outside the window, which is too far for her to escape even if she does break free of her bonds.
The Doctor races into the Turkish steam-room and sees Peri stuck inside a chamber filling with steam. She thinks she can feel her lungs beginning to dissolve, but the door won’t budge. He operates a wheel that controls the temperature, but that’s stuck fast too. He has no option but to break the window with a nearby fire extinguisher, and he’s able to drag her to safety. She asks one more favour and he passes her the fire extinguisher, which she uses to completely drench herself… Although she feels as though her skin is ready to peel off in handfuls, they’re ready to confront the Inspector.
Miss Bultitude assures Toby that she didn’t mean any harm by buying the stuffed pig, she simply wanted a souvenir, but he tells her that isn’t good enough to excuse her. Collecting postcards and china figurines is one thing, but taxidermy makes Toby feel dirty. She promises never to buy another one and begs his forgiveness, but he is more worried about what happened to Nurse Albertine. He knows she’s resourceful and during the South African war she saw things that would turn the stomach of a butcher, but she was clearly being attacked when she called them. Miss Bultitude prefers to follow the Nurse’s advice and leave immediately. They start packing, but they can’t take everything with them. He’s lost without his old friend so they have to separate all his belongings into different piles of importance. The first item is a set of crystalline rods that can be moved about to receive a communications signal, not that there’s anything to listen to in this period of time and it’s likely to be at least another century before he can get a tune out of that, so she puts it in with the ’don’t know’ items. Unfortunately she breaks it, but Toby is unconcerned as he never owned a licence for it anyway. The next item is something knitted by his mother, but it didn’t fit him even as a boy, let alone now, as she was an abominable knitter. Suddenly Toby hears a sound - and the door bursts open to reveal Inspector Chardalot. Toby calls him a sadist and a filthy sawbones who’s come here to cut him up - but Chardalot insists that’s no way for him to speak to his own father!
The Doctor calls at Chardalot’s suite and pretends to be from room service. Satisfied there’s no one home, he and Peri enter and start snooping around. They spot his case on top of the wardrobe, but it’s locked and Peri has to use the pickle fork to open it. Inside, they find a number of strange artefacts plus a diary and copies of “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes“, “The Woman in White”, “Mad or Married”, “A Manx Story”, and “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu“. They also find “The Criminal Annals of France and the Low Countries” , which is bookmarked on the page covering Marie Lefevre, the trunk murderess of St Germain. Whoever Chardalot is, he’s clearly been doing his homework. Suddenly the bookmark starts bleeping and the Doctor tells Peri it’s a device for detecting time machines! They hear a mumbling coming from the bathroom and when they investigate they discover Nurse Albertine tied up and gagged inside the bath, which is also filled with sultanas, raisins, chocolate biscuits, sugared almonds and mint lumps. They release her and she warns them Chardalot is on his way to see Toby.
Chardalot notices a book called “The Secret Agent” among Toby’s belongings, which he’s read himself and admires greatly. Toby is not surprised and says it was written by a pig. Chardalot is embarrassed by these claims and points out that he’s said similar things before about Shakespeare, Ibsen, Milton, Conrad and Georges Eliot. Even Little Tich was a pig, according to Toby. Miss Bultitude realises there’s some disagreement between the gentlemen but suggests they try to resolve it without recourse to abuse. Chardalot insists that Toby finishes packing his overnight bag, but when he refuses the Inspector threatens to kill Miss Bultitude, although he graciously allows his captive to chose the method of her death. Toby offers to make a bargain with him - they both know the world shouldn’t really be like this, so if he’ll help him reverse the aberrations, he’ll give Chardalot anything he wants. Chardalot insists there never was a world of pigs, but Toby claims he has all the evidence he needs on film. Just then the phone rings and Chardalot suggests it’s probably their cab.
As the Doctor and friends use the hotel lift to reach the secret apartments, Peri admits she’s confused as to whose life they’re actually trying to save. From the Doctor’s description she realises Toby is a pig, but when she asks Albertine to confirm this, the Nurse simply says she’s always been too polite to ask. She adds that Miss Bultitude has been writing fan letters to him for years, but he lives as a recluse so he never replied. She’s presumably been following them from hotel to hotel, but she obviously wasn’t the only one as the Inspector has been tailing him too. Toby knew he was going to be assassinated, but he originally believed the Doctor was going to do it as he’s always known there was a doctor who meant him harm. Perhaps Chardalot is a doctor too? Peri wonders if Toby is a time traveller or even an alien, but the Doctor suspects that even Toby doesn’t know. They reveal to Albertine that Chardalot is hunting someone with a time machine - and they’ve got a time machine themselves, so perhaps he wants to kill them too…?
It’s late afternoon when Chardalot, Toby and Miss Bultitude climb into their taxi and drive away from the hotel and through the town. Toby is feeling car sick and Miss Bultitude offers him some travel sweets, but Chardalot suspects he’ll probably scoff the lot. Toby refuses to accept that he could be his father and the Inspector is frustrated that he doesn’t seem to remember him. He doesn’t remember how he taught him to smoke, how to hold a coffee cup, even the hours they spent together in the laboratory. He explains that Toby was grown in a bell-jar in a basement in Vienna and when he was ready, Chardalot worked on him until he was fit to take tea with gentlemen. Miss Bultitude believes his suggestion is in very bad taste, but he insists they are the plain facts. Toby was the result of an experiment to improve the cognitive and intellectual abilities of the pig species, to raise the humble animal to the level of a human being. It was conducted in Vienna for legal and operational reasons, but then Toby escaped from the house and found his way to England in a cattle-truck. But now they are reunited and Chardalot plans to take him home. Given time he might start to remember the real details of his childhood, after which Chardalot’s peer review panel will probably want to dissect him.
The Doctor, Peri and Albertine arrive in suite 139, but discover they’re too late. They look around for something that might tell them where they’ve gone and the Nurse believes they can find them with the telescope, which has been left behind. By pressing the right buttons, they can look through the buildings of the town as if they were made of glass. At last, they see the taxi pulling up outside the railway station. Presumably they’re catching the Brussels train, so if they’re quick they may be able to catch up with them. Nurse Albertine searches for her driving goggles!
As their train pulls out of the station, Chardalot, Toby and Miss Bultitude settle down in their compartment and prepare for a long journey. They wonder how they’re going to pass the time - obviously they can’t look out of the window and admire the rolling scenery as it’s only Belgium outside, so Chardalot offers to give Toby a lecture in family history. Toby would prefer them to order something from the buffet car, but the Inspector isn’t foolish enough to leave them alone and give them an opportunity to raise the alarm. Miss Bultitude believes there’s still hope for them as long as the Doctor and the others are still alive, but Chardalot predicts that Peri is already dripping from the walls of the steam-room and the Doctor and Nurse Albertine will soon be falling foul of some additional traps he’s laid for them… He’s already given their descriptions to the local police and if they go to the train station they’ll be arrested. Alternatively, there’s a fun-sized gas volatiser balanced on the architrave of Albertine’s door; a few razor blades slipped inside the apples in the Doctor’s fruit bowl and a time bomb clamped to the petrol tank of Toby’s motor car, just in case they try to pursue them. It’s primed to explode once the engine reaches a pre-determined temperature! Miss Bultitude admits that she doesn’t know much about these things - but surely a time bomb should be primed to explode after a certain amount of time has elapsed? Chardalot explains that when it detonates, the impact of the explosion will be felt across time as well as space. Whoever is in that car will be blown into the middle of next week, or possibly the middle of last week!
As Nurse Albertine races through the town in the motor car, the Doctor consults a map and provides the navigation. If they can keep going at this rate, they ought to be able to overtake their prey at the next crossing, but they’re not sure how they’re going to stop the train. The Doctor wonders if Peri’s ever read “The Railway Children”, but she refuses to wave her panties in the air for anyone! She’s been reading Chardalot’s diary and discovered that he was carrying out experiments on pigs to increase their mental capacity and improve their manners. She reads an entry that refers to Toby and Charlie making excellent progress and saying they’re now able to tie their own laces, tell the time and light their pipes. Charlie appears to be more aggressive than Toby and on one occasion he tried to spear a piece of black pudding from Toby’s mouth. She notices something odd about the dates in the diary - although Chardalot appears to be aged between 40 and 45, the entries referring to the experiments were written over half a century ago. The Doctor considers that it might be an accident. He recalls an incident in the mid-25th century in which the world was flooded with x-ray spectacles, which was preposterous as they were just a con from the small ads and had no place in the universe. They’d been summoned into existence during an accident at a plastics factory involving a matter synthesiser and antique back issue of “Power Man and Iron Fist”. The company boomed for a year and then suddenly the business collapsed when the factory was completely destroyed by a rampaging horde of sea monkeys - something else that shouldn‘t have existed.
Albertine suddenly has an idea - why doesn’t she deliberately crash the car onto the track where it meets the road about half a mile ahead? If they’re quick, the train should have plenty of time to slow down before it hits the car, but the Doctor is about to dismiss this idea when he sees something in the road ahead of them. Bizarrely, it’s a part of the Doctor’s own coat! They’re confused as they certainly haven’t passed this way before and his coat is currently on Albertine’s lap keeping her knees warm. They also see a big pile of beef up ahead, just like they saw on the beach earlier. The Doctor starts to suspect…but Albertine decides to accelerate. They see the train ahead of them but they no longer have a good enough head start to proceed with Nurse Albertine’s plan. Even though Peri has switched off the bookmark, they can still hear a bleeping and they realise there’s something else in the car that’s making the noise. Suddenly there’s a tremendous explosion and the sound of cows mooing.
On the train, everyone hears the sound of the crash and Miss Bultitude pulls the emergency cord. The passengers are all leaning out of the window to see what’s going on, but Chardalot is angry with her for stopping the train and he reminds her that he has the power to end her life. She’s not impressed and recounts an incident in which she was once waylaid by a bunch of vicious and toothless bandits. She did not succumb to them and she has no intention of succumbing to him! Toby hasn’t eaten for over and hour and is getting hungry again. He enquires about the buffet car, but Chardalot refuses to let them go and claims he has control over his own appetite - but Miss Bultitude distinctly recalls seeing him secretly eat a supply of chocolate and raisins. He’s been hiding them in his handkerchief and eating them every time he pretends to cough.
The Doctor checks that everyone is OK as the car comes to a halt. Albertine apologises and admits that she didn’t think about the consequences - she just yanked the time bomb from under the dashboard, wrapped it up in the Doctor’s coat and threw it into the field. The poor cows never had a chance! Fortunately she saved everyone’s life. The Doctor explains that it was a temporal fission grenade, left in the car as a booby trap like putting sneezing powder into the space-time vortex. The cows were scattered about thirty miles back along the coast and about four hours back in time. Their remains can now be found spread all over the beach earlier this morning. They realise the train has come to a halt and the Doctor decides to get on board before it moves off again. He leaves them the bookmark, which appears to be picking up signals from the TARDIS, and tells Peri and Albertine that he’ll meet them in Brussels.
Toby has finished off all Miss Bultitude’s travel sweets, but she promises to get him something else to eat soon. There’s a minor aftershock from the temporal fission grenade and they suddenly spot a cow on the track ahead of them, chewing on one of the Doctor’s lapels. Miss Bultitude believes this means the Doctor must be dead - but to everyone’s surprise, the Doctor bursts into their carriage and tells them he’ll have to make another trip to his favourite tailor on Kolpasha. In the meantime, he’s guessing that Toby might be feeling a bit hungry by now and he wheels in a trolley he’s commandeered from the buffet. Even a spasm in the fabric of existence can’t put a French galley chef off his job. Toby scoffs down some of the food without even letting it touch the sides and then the Doctor seats everyone around the table and lays the rest of the buffet out for a makeshift picnic. Chardalot refuses to join in, claiming he isn’t ruled by such simple desires, but the Doctor thinks it’s about time they all gave an account of themselves as some of the people in the carriage appear to be very ignorant of their origins…
Toby goes first and explains that by profession he was an entertainer and before he retired he performed before the paying public. Chardalot mocks him and points out that Toby’s sense of who he is and where he comes from has been deduced entirely from a cinematic roll of film, the record of a pioneering scientific project. The Doctor decides to settle the argument by producing the private diary of Dr Alphonse Chardalot, which he retrieved from the hotel. It makes for interesting reading, not just because of what’s written in it, but also because of how it’s written. Every few years or so, the handwriting becomes utterly illegible as if the author periodically forgot how to write and had to re-learn from scratch. For example, he reads from a page outlining an experiment in teaching a pig how to use asparagus tongs. It starts of perfectly reasonably, but by the next page it’s become just a meaningless scrawl. The Doctor turns to Chardalot and comments on the fact that despite claiming he wasn’t hungry, he seems to have finished off all the cakes. Another trip to the buffet is called for…
As Nurse Albertine drives off in the direction indicated by the bleeping bookmark, Peri asks her how much she knows about Toby’s earlier life. The Nurse admits that she doesn’t know a great deal - he always said he was born in Essex and his parents were apple-growers. They were pigs too, but apparently in Essex that didn’t matter very much. He left home to make his own way in the world and walked all the way to London. He was working as a kitchen porter at the Royal East London Hospital when a showman spotted him on the street. The man, Tom Norman, came from a very old and respected circus family and he was looking for new talent after his partner left on a tour. All Toby had to do was talk to the audience about his life and experiences, and perhaps sing a little aria or two, and he loved it. She’s always suspected that his book of memoirs was actually cooked up jointly by Toby and his manager, and no one really knows if any of it is true - Albertine certainly doesn’t believe the bit that refers to his rescue of a baby from the spire of Chesterfield Cathedral. But Toby believes every word of it and he’s always had a bit of trouble distinguishing fiction from reality. For instance, if she reads him something from a newspaper, he tells it back to her a few days later, claiming it was something that happened to him during his school days. That’s why she never too any of his stories about assassination attempts very seriously…until now.
Toby brings his story up-to-date and tells of when he first met Nurse Albertine. She answered his advertisement in “The Lady” and stayed with him after he decided to give up touring when it started becoming too dangerous. Chardalot doesn’t remember being involved in this part of the story and the Doctor realises that Toby must have given him a sharp jab with his ’cattle prod’ when Chardalot caught up with him. The Doctor points out that the technology required to power the prod shouldn’t exist on this planet yet.
Nurse Albertine and Peri arrive in Brussels and admire the hills and a statue of a peeing boy. The bleeps from the bookmark start to increase and Peri realises a time machine has been switched on nearby. It’s not the TARDIS, which is registering on the screen as static, but a new machine that’s moving very fast. When they reach the town, they can obviously expect company. Albertine knows the area fairly well after she and Toby stayed here on tour, so they head for a location near the Hotel Metropol.
The Doctor turns his attention to Chardalot. He claims to be a scientist who used to work on long and complex experiments. He says he rarely ate and slept at his bench, toiling over his test subjects. There were many failures before his two ‘boys’ Charlie and Toby grew inside the bell-jars until he allowed them to take their first steps into the world. He says that when they explored the laboratory they acted just like any other piglet - eating apple-cores from out of the waste paper basket and chewing up his box-files, but he soon taught them some manners. Sadly Charlie suffered from pneumonia, whereupon Chardalot placed him in a little box of shredded newspaper and fed him warm milk from a pipette. It all happened so long ago, he can no longer remember whether Charlie survived or not. Toby dismisses the story as insane, but the Doctor has a different theory about the experiment. Someone did create Toby, but he doesn’t think it was Chardalot - not least because Toby is clearly a good ten years older than his “father”. He asks whether Chardalot has ever considered all the evidence properly because to him, the evidence is obvious. Being in possession of a diary doesn’t necessarily make you that person. The Doctor thinks the real Chardalot died years ago. He believes he was a time traveller, and through him both Chardalot and Toby have gained a little bit of foreknowledge. He suggests that whoever created Toby also created the Inspector, but how did they end up here? Were they abandoned in this time, or did they eat their creator up for lunch? Chardalot becomes angry and kicks over the food trolley in a fit of temper. He insists that he was the one who taught Toby how to act like a gentleman. Toby wants to throw him off the train, and although the Doctor warns him not to rise to the argument, he grabs hold of the Inspector and pushes him through the open carriage door. The hear Chardalot screams fade as the train races off, leaving him behind…
Albertine and Peri arrive at the Hotel Metropol and use the bookmark to narrow down the location of the time machine. It takes them to a basement flat nearby, but before Albertine can break in, Peri suggests they try to establish whether anyone’s at home. They ring on the doorbell and are amazed to see it opened by two people who look exactly like Toby. They introduce themselves as the butler and the under-butler, but when Albertine claims they have an appointment with their master, she’s surprised when the butlers confirm that their master telegraphed ahead to warn them of their arrival. Inside, the butlers offer to take Peri’s coat and when she tells them she doesn’t have one, they produce their own which they then hang up on her behalf. The two women are shown into the drawing room and offered an aperitif and a selection of nibbles. Nurse Albertine notices an interesting looking packing case in the corner and Peri points out that it’s the size of a large wooden box with a lamp on top. The butler confirms that it contains a multi-dimensional travel capsule used for surfing the loops of the time spiral. They also reveal that their master returned home just moments before they rang the bell - and to everyone’s surprise Chardalot appears and apologises for keeping them waiting!
Toby is sorry for what he’s done, although he still feels Chardalot deserved it. But the Doctor noticed that just before he fell, the Inspector took from his pocket what appeared to be a fob watch. But it wasn’t just an ordinary fob watch - it was really a ‘parachute‘ The Doctor opens up Chardalot’s suitcase to reveal several back issues of “The Policeman’s Gazette” and some butter biscuits. Miss Bultitude wonders how they’re going to find their foe again, but as the train pulls into their station, the Doctor notices a man on the platform holding a placard with the words ‘Chardalot & Party’ written on it.
Chardalot joins Albertine and Peri for a drink and explains that he had a little accident on the way here, but the Nurse believes he’s more badly injured that he’s admitting. He promises to sort himself out once their little meeting is concluded. Peri asks him whether his butlers are clones, but he doesn’t understand the term. He describes them as ‘rough sketches’, whereas Toby is his ’masterpiece’. Albertine asks him where he studied science and he tells them he was at University on the planet Gamantis. He starts to talk about his time there in a nostalgic manner and Peri wonders why he doesn’t just go back home and leave them all alone. He shows her one of this few keepsakes from home - a device that allows him to make short trips through time and space, but it only has a range of about 400 kilometres and two hours and will only take one person at a time. Unfortunately it can’t help him in his plan to take Toby to a scientific conference on Gamantis 500 years in the future. Chardalot starts to cough and Albertine notices a deep gash in his neck. She also believes he may have broken most of his ribs and she urges him to let her look at his wounds. He explains that he was forced to operate his device while falling from the door of the fast-moving train and he bounced from the tunnel wall before it activated. He assures them that his race don’t feel pain and bred out most of their animal weaknesses centuries ago, so he won’t be in any danger for several hours at least. He also tells them that Toby is safe and, in fact, his own injuries were the result of trying to protect Toby from harm. However, he’s confident that the Doctor will soon be arriving and will bring Toby back with him. Peri asks him how he can be certain that he’s not just an experiment himself, one who’s got ideas above his station? Chardalot believes he can squash that theory straight away and invites his guests into his operating theatre. He tells the butlers it’s time they scrubbed up.
The man from the train platform turns out to be a taxi driver and he takes the Doctor, Toby and Miss Bultitude through the city. The Doctor isn’t sure he’s been here yet, but he remembers coming here in the future to buy an engagement ring, but everything they see around them had long gone by then. Miss Bultitude asks who the lucky lady was, but he assures her it was for business not pleasure. Toby also remembers playing the Opera House here on several tours. Frustrated at how long their journey is taking, the Doctor offers to double the taxi driver’s fare if he can get to their destination in the next ten minutes. Toby offers to pay the bill and is frustrated when the taxi pulls over almost straight away - they’ve arrived…
Chardalot shows Peri and Albertine into his ‘treatment room’ and apologises for the mess, but says they’ve only just moved in. He certainly doesn’t seem to travel light and he’s even brought a collection of Toby’s old toys with him. Chardalot is starting to feel increasingly unwell, but believes time is still on his side so he slips into a surgical gown and lays back on the operating table. He views a monitor and concludes that one of his kidneys needs replacing, but fortunately he has plenty in the bank so the butler goes to collect one from the cold store. He’s confident that in an hour or so he’ll be back on his feet and joking around, but Peri is worried that he doesn’t know enough about his own medical history to proceed with surgery. The butler arrives with the kidney and Nurse Albertine realises straight away that it isn’t a human kidney, despite the fact that Chardalot continues to insist that he’s completely human. He remembers from his childhood living with his mother and father in a cottage with roses around the door. He remembers the day he left home when his mother wept so much and his father pretended not to cry. Albertine realises he’s giving the same story as Toby and she starts to wonder whether they’re actually nobody’s memories. The butlers are about the begin surgery when they hear the sound of broken glass coming from the front of the house. Clearly the Doctor has arrived, so Chardalot orders an electrical barrier to be set up around the table to prevent anyone from interfering.
The butler makes the first incision, but Albertine is horrified by his lack of surgical skill. She warns him that they’re not qualified to perform this procedure and if Chardalot allows them to continue, he will die. The Doctor arrives with the others and Toby immediately recognises the butlers are versions of himself. The Doctor advises Chardalot to listen to the Nurse’s advice, but he dismisses any concern. He now has the TARDIS, Toby and the means to detain them all in this house. Miss Bultitude turns away, unable to watch the butlers slice into Chardalot and Toby offers her an empty toffee bag to put over her head. Toby also notices all his old toys and books scattered around, especially his favourite book about a pig that leaves home and goes to war or to market - he’s not sure which - but when he reads it he realises the illustrations are not quite as he remembered them.
Albertine pleads with Chardalot not to let his butlers hack him to pieces and assures him there’s no need for them to replace his kidney at all. She tells him she will do the work for him if he will allow her. She tells him she loves Toby and he is very similar to Toby in some way. Toby is surprised by both these comments. He holds up the book containing a picture of a cottage surrounded by roses and everyone sees that standing in the doorway are two pigs, one in a waistcoat, the other in an apron. Chardalot identifies them as his mummy and daddy, but the Doctor also points out two little piglets at the gate waving goodbye to them. Toby and Chardalot obviously have a shared dream based on a watercolour painting. It’s a story they both told themselves when they were children, when some mad doctor was keeping them both locked up in a laboratory very much like the one they’re in now. The Doctor tells them they’ve both been piecing together the evidence, but they’ve got it wrong. They’ve taken the scientific notes, the clothes, the books and the alien gadget from the man who made them and they’ve been play-acting with them ever since. He tells them they were both born in test-tubes in this very house. Toby did go on the stage, but everything else he remembers was taken from the picture book. Chardalot isn’t from the planet Gamantis and he’s invented a history based on characters from Proust’s books “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu“, in which the narrator idolises a family and wants to be part of it. The Doctor can’t be sure about the sanity or morals of their creator, but he certainly seems to have achieved what he wanted. He came here from another world and brought two boys into the world. And those boys have really made something of themselves - one went on the stage, had a brilliant career and fell in love, but it’s harder to say what the other - little Charlie, the younger and more confused of the pair - has got up to. He appears to have been trying to continue his father’s work, making little notes in the diary and driving himself half mad in the attempt to maintain an illusion of his own history. But it’s not too late for him to reform.
Toby finally realises that Chardalot isn’t his father or his tormentor, but his brother! He urges Chardalot to order his butlers to put down their knives before it’s too late and eventually his brother agrees. Instead the butlers are sent away to prepare some light refreshments for everyone. The security curtain is lowered and Nurse Albertine takes control of the situation, ordering the Doctor to fetch her some soap. Chardalot’s life is now in her hands…
Much later, the group returns to spend the summer at Miss Bultitude’s cottage. Toby finally admits that he doesn’t really remember the orchards of England, but they’re jolly nice all the same. Miss Bultitude arrives with a wonderful banquet and it’s revealed that she’s an excellent cook. Toby is impatient to start, but the elderly lady insists on waiting until everyone is sitting together as they have an announcement to make, so Peri offers to collect the Doctor, who’s reading a book by the summer house. The Doctor has finally finished the last volume of “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu“ and is pleased that the plot twist Peri revealed earlier didn’t spoil it for him. He admits that it was a difficult book, particularly as the author spent so much of the first six volumes fixated on an idea that turned out to be a waste of time. Peri thought it was full of nostalgia for something she suspects may never really have existed. Fortunately nostalgia isn’t a terminal condition, at least for pigs! They wonder whether Chardalot will finally apply for a position with the police as it would be a fitting conclusion for someone’s who’s pretended to be a detective for so long. The Doctor believes that in time he may even visit his brother, but there’s always a possibility that he might just stay hidden to avoid the facts getting in the way of his fantasy. The Doctor hopes that neither Charlie nor Toby will ever find out the whole truth about their childhood - after all, who wants to know that they should never have been born? The person who conducted these experiments didn’t come from this time or this planet, so hopefully their secrets died with them. It might be better all round if it stays that way.
The group seems happy enough now - Miss Bultitude has her idol living with her in the spare room and Nurse Albertine doesn’t seem to mind the competition. The Doctor and Peri decide it’s time to slip away now that the delivery men have dropped the TARDIS off at the back gate. Toby and the others soon discover their friends are no longer with them and before long they hear the sound of the TARDIS dematerialising. Toby discovers the Doctor has left his book behind - “Time Regained”, the final volume from “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu“. Albertine wonders what’s it like, but before anyone can stop him Toby eats the book and comments that it might have been better with a little vinaigrette.
|Source: Lee Rogers