The Yellow Claw eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 260 pages of information about The Yellow Claw.

A pretty woman who is not wholly obsessed by her personal charms, learns more of the ways of mankind than it is vouchsafed to her plainer sister ever to know; and in the crooked eyes of Gianapolis, Helen Cumberly read a world of unuttered things, and drew her own conclusions.  These several conclusions dictated a single course; avoidance of Gianapolis in future.

Fortunately, Helen Cumberly’s self-chosen path in life had taught her how to handle the nascent and undesirable lover.  She chatted upon the subject of art, and fenced adroitly whenever the Greek sought to introduce the slightest personal element into the conversation.  Nevertheless, she was relieved when at last she found herself in the familiar Square with her foot upon the steps of Palace Mansions.

“Good night, Mr. Gianapolis!” she said, and frankly offered her hand.

The Greek raised it to his lips with exaggerated courtesy, and retained it, looking into her eyes in his crooked fashion.

“We both move in the world of art and letters; may I hope that this meeting will not be our last?”

“I am always wandering about between Fleet Street and Soho,” laughed Helen.  “It is quite certain we shall run into each other again before long.  Good night, and thank you so much!”

She darted into the hallway, and ran lightly up the stairs.  Opening the flat door with her key, she entered and closed it behind her, sighing with relief to be free of the over-attentive Greek.  Some impulse prompted her to enter her own room, and, without turning up the light, to peer down into the Square.

Gianapolis was descending the steps.  On the pavement he stood and looked up at the windows, lingeringly; then he turned and walked away.

Helen Cumberly stifled an exclamation.

As the Greek gained the corner of the Square and was lost from view, a lithe figure—­kin of the shadows which had masked it—­became detached from the other shadows beneath the trees of the central garden and stood, a vague silhouette seemingly looking up at her window as Gianapolis had looked.

Helen leaned her hands upon the ledge and peered intently down.  The figure was a vague blur in the darkness, but it was moving away along by the rails... following Gianapolis.  No clear glimpse she had of it, for bat-like, it avoided the light, this sinister shape—­and was gone.

XXXI

MUSK AND ROSES

It is time to rejoin M. Gaston Max in the catacombs of Ho-Pin.  Having prepared himself for drugged repose in the small but luxurious apartment to which he had been conducted by the Chinaman, he awaited with interest the next development.  This took the form of the arrival of an Egyptian attendant, white-robed, red-slippered, and wearing the inevitable tarboosh.  Upon the brass tray which he carried were arranged the necessities of the opium smoker.  Placing the tray upon a little table beside the bed, he extracted from the lacquered box a piece of gummy substance upon the end of a long needle.  This he twisted around, skilfully, in the lamp flame until it acquired a blue spirituous flame of its own.  He dropped it into the bowl of the carven pipe and silently placed the pipe in M. Max’s hand.

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Project Gutenberg
The Yellow Claw from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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