The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
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" 'You are not doing her any service. What is your name?'
" 'Let me hear her say so. Kratides.'
" 'You shall see her if you sign. Where are you from?'
" 'Then I shall never see her. Athens.'
"Another five minutes, Mr. Holmes, and I should have wormed
out the whole story under their very noses. My very next ques-
tion might have cleared the matter up, but at that instant the door
opened and a woman stepped into the room. I could not see her
clearly enough to know more than that she was tall and graceful,
with black hair, and clad in some sort of loose white gown.
" 'Harold,' said she, speaking English with a broken accent.
'I could not stay away longer. It is so lonely up there with
only -- Oh, my God, it is Paul!'
"These last words were in Greek, and at the same instant the
man with a convulsive effort tore the plaster from his lips, and
screaming out 'Sophy! Sophy!' rushed into the woman's arms.
Their embrace was but for an instant, however, for the younger
man seized the woman and pushed her out of the room, while the
elder easily overpowered his emaciated victim and dragged him
away through the other door. For a moment I was left alone in
the room, and I sprang to my feet with some vague idea that I
might in some way get a clue to what this house was in which I
found myself. Fortunately, however, I took no steps, for looking
up I saw that the older man was standing in the doorway, with
his eyes fixed upon me.
" 'That will do, Mr. Melas,' said he. 'You perceive that we
have taken you into our confidence over some very private
business. We should not have troubled you, only that our friend
who speaks Greek and who began these negotiations has been
forced to return to the East. It was quite necessary for us to find
someone to take his place, and we were fortunate in hearing of
" 'There are five sovereigns here,' said he, walking up to me,
'which will, I hope, be a sufficient fee. But remember,' he
added, tapping me lightly on the chest and giggling, 'if you
speak to a human soul about this -- one human soul, mind -- well,
may God have mercy upon your soul!'
"I cannot tell you the loathing and horror with which this
insignificant-looking man inspired me. I could see him better
now as the lamp-light shone upon him. His features were peaky
and sallow, and his little pointed beard was thready and ill-
nourished. He pushed his face forward as he spoke and his lips
and eyelids were continually twitching like a man with St.
Vitus's dance. I could not help thinking that his strange, catchy
little laugh was also a symptom of some nervous malady. The
terror of his face lay in his eyes, however, steel gray, and
glistening coldly with a malignant, inexorable cruelty in their
" 'We shall know if you speak of this,' said he. 'We have our
own means of information. Now you will find the carriage
waiting, and my friend will see you on your way.'
"I was hurried through the hall and into the vehicle, again
obtaining that momentary glimpse of trees and a garden. Mr.
Latimer followed closely at my heels and took his place opposite
to me without a word. In silence we again drove for an intermi-
nable distance with the windows raised, until at last, just after
midnight, the carriage pulled up.
" 'You will get down here, Mr. Melas,' said my companion.
'I am sorry to leave you so far from your house, but there is no
alternative. Any attempt upon your part to follow the carriage
can only end in injury to yourself.'
"He opened the door as he spoke. and I had hardly time to
spring out when the coachman lashed the horse and the carriage
rattled away. I looked around me in astonishment. I was on some
sort of a heathy common mottled over with dark clumps of
furze-bushes. Far away stretched a line of houses, with a light
here and there in the upper windows. On the other side I saw the
red signal-lamps of a railway.
"The carriage which had brought me was already out of sight.
I stood gazing round and wondering where on earth I might be,
when I saw someone coming towards me in the darkness. As he
came up to me I made out that he was a railway porter.
" 'Can you tell me what place this is?' I asked.
" 'Wandsworth Common,' said he.
" 'Can I get a train into town?'
" 'If you walk on a mile or so to Clapham Junction,' said he,
'you'll just be in time for the last to Victoria.'
"So that was the end of my adventure, Mr. Holmes. I do not
know where I was, nor whom I spoke with, nor anything save
what I have told you. But I know that there is foul play going
on, and I want to help that unhappy man if I can. I told the
whole story to Mr. Mycroft Holmes next morning, and subse-
quently to the police."
We all sat in silence for some little time after listening to this
extraordinary narrative. Then Sherlock looked across at his brother.
"Any steps?" he asked.
Mycroft picked up the Daily News, which was lying on the
"Anybody supplying any information as to the where-
abouts of a Greek gentleman named Paul Kratides, from
Athens, who is unable to speak English, will be rewarded.
A similar reward paid to anyone giving information about a
Greek lady whose first name is Sophy. X 2473.
"That was in all the dailies. No answer."
"How about the Greek legation?"
"I have inquired. They know nothing."
"A wire to the head of the Athens police, then?"
"Sherlock has all the energy of the family," said Mycroft,
turning to me. "Well, you take the case up by all means and let
me know if you do any good."
"Certainly," answered my friend, rising from his chair. "I'll
let you know, and Mr. Melas also. In the meantime, Mr. Melas,
I should certainly be on my guard if I were you, for of course
they must know through these advertisements that you have
As we walked home together, Holmes stopped at a telegraph
office and sent off several wires.
"You see, Watson," he remarked, "our evening has been by
no means wasted. Some of my most interesting cases have come
to me in this way through Mycroft. The problem which we have
just listened to, although it can admit of but one explanation, has
still some distinguishing features."
"You have hopes of solving it?"
"Well, knowing as much as we do, it will be singular indeed
if we fail to discover the rest. You must yourself have formed
some theory which will explain the facts to which we have
"In a vague way, yes."
"What was your idea, then?"
"It seemed to me to be obvious that this Greek girl had been
carried off by the young Englishman named Harold Latimer."
"Carried off from where?"
Sherlock Holmes shook his head. "This young man could not
talk a word of Greek. The lady could talk English fairly well.
Inference -- that she had been in England some little time, but he
had not been in Greece."
"Well, then, we will presume that she had once come on a
visit to England, and that this Harold had persuaded her to fly
"That is more probable."
"Then the brother -- for that, I fancy, must be the relationship --
comes over from Greece to interfere. He imprudently puts him-
self into the power of the young man and his older associate.
They seize him and use violence towards him in order to make
him sign some papers to make over the girl's fortune of which
he may be trustee -- to them. This he refuses to do. In order to
negotiate with him they have to get an interpreter, and they pitch
upon this Mr. Melas, having used some other one before. The
girl is not told of the arrival of her brother and finds it out by the
"Excellent, Watson!" cried Holmes. "I really fancy that you
are not far from the truth. You see that we hold all the cards, and
we have only to fear some sudden act of violence on their part. If
they give us time we must have them."
"But how can we find where this house lies?"
"Well, if our conjecture is correct and the girl's name is or
was Sophy Kratides, we should have no difficulty in tracing her.
That must be our main hope, for the brother is, of coursc, a