Denise Ryland had always despised those detective creations which abound in French literature; perceiving in their marvelous deductions a tortured logic incompatible with the classic models. She prided herself upon her logic, possibly because it was a quality which she lacked, and probably because she confused it with intuition, of which, to do her justice, she possessed an unusual share. Now, this intuition was at work, at work well and truly; and the result which this mental contortionist ascribed to pure reason was nearer to the truth than a real logician could well have hoped to attain by confining himself to legitimate data. In short, she had determined to her own satisfaction that Mr. Gianapolis was the clue to the mystery; that Mr. Gianapolis was not (as she had once supposed) enacting the part of an amiable liar when he declared that there were, in London, such apartments as that represented by Olaf van Noord; that Mr. Gianapolis was acquainted with the present whereabouts of Mrs. Leroux; that Mr. Gianapolis knew who murdered Iris Vernon; and that Scotland Yard was a benevolent institution for the support of those of enfeebled intellect.
These results achieved, she broke her long silence at the moment that the car was turning into Richmond High Street.
“My dear!” she exclaimed, clutching Helen’s arm, “I see it all!”
“Oh!” cried the girl, “how you startled me! I thought you were ill or that you had seen something frightful."...
“I have... seen something... frightful,” declared Denise Ryland. She glared across at the haggard Leroux. “Harry... Leroux,” she continued, “it is very fortunate... that I came to London... very fortunate.”
“I am sincerely glad that you did,” answered the novelist, with one of his kindly, weary smiles.
“My dear,” said Denise Ryland, turning again to Helen Cumberly, “you say you met that... cross-eyed... being... Gianapolis, again?”
“Good Heavens!” cried Helen; “I thought I should never get rid of him; a most loathsome man!”
“My dear... child”—Denise squeezed her tightly by the arm, and peered into her face, intently—“cul-tivate... Deliberately cul-tivate that man’s acquaintance!”
Helen stared at her friend as though she suspected the latter’s sanity.
“I am afraid I do not understand at all,” she said, breathlessly.
“I am positive that I do not,” declared Leroux, who was as much surprised as Helen. “In the first place I am not acquainted with this cross-eyed being.”
“You are... out of this!” cried Denise Ryland with a sweeping movement of the left hand; “entirely... out of it! This is no man’s... business."...
“But my dear Denise!” exclaimed Helen....
“I beseech you; I entreat you;... I order... you to cultivate... that... execrable... being.”
“Perhaps,” said Helen, with eyes widely opened, “you will condescend to give me some slight reason why I should do anything so extraordinary and undesirable?”