“Undesirable!” cried Denise. “On the contrary;... it is most ... desirable! It is essential. The wretched... cross-eyed ... creature has presumed to fall in love... with you."...
“Oh!” cried Helen, flushing, and glancing rapidly at Leroux, who now was thoroughly interested, “please do not talk nonsense!”
“It is no... nonsense. It is the finger... of Providence. Do you know where you can find... him?”
“Not exactly; but I have a shrewd suspicion,” again she glanced in an embarrassed way at Leroux, “that he will know where to find me.”
“Who is this presumptuous person?” inquired the novelist, leaning forward, his dark blue eyes aglow with interest.
“Never mind,” replied Denise Ryland, “you will know... soon enough. In the meantime... as I am simply... starving, suppose we see about... lunch?”
Moved by some unaccountable impulse, Helen extended her hand to Leroux, who took it quietly in his own and held it, looking down at the slim fingers as though he derived strength and healing from their touch.
“Poor boy,” she said softly.
M. MAX REPORTS PROGRESS
Detective-Sergeant Sowerby was seated in Dunbar’s room at New Scotland Yard. Some days had elapsed since that critical moment when, all unaware of the fact, they had stood within three yards of the much-wanted Soames, in the fauteuils of the east-end music-hall. Every clue thus far investigated had proved a cul-de-sac. Dunbar, who had literally been working night and day, now began to show evidence of his giant toils. The tawny eyes were as keen as ever, and the whole man as forceful as of old, but in the intervals of conversation, his lids would droop wearily; he would only arouse himself by a perceptible effort.
Sowerby, whose bowler hat lay upon Dunbar’s table, was clad in the familiar raincoat, and his ruddy cheerfulness had abated not one whit.
“Have you ever read ’The Adventures of Martin Zeda’?” he asked suddenly, breaking a silence of some minutes’ duration.
Dunbar looked up with a start, as...
“Never!” he replied; “I’m not wasting my time with magazine trash.”
“It’s not trash,” said Sowerby, assuming that unnatural air of reflection which sat upon him so ill. “I’ve looked up the volumes of the Ludgate Magazine in our local library, and I’ve read all the series with much interest.”
Dunbar leaned forward, watching him frowningly.
“I should have thought,” he replied, “that you had enough to do without wasting your time in that way!”
“Is it a waste of time?” inquired Sowerby, raising his eyebrows in a manner which lent him a marked resemblance to a famous comedian. “I tell you that the man who can work out plots like those might be a second Jack-the-Ripper and not a soul the wiser!"...