“Yes, sir,” said Soames, holding his hat in both bands, and speaking huskily. “Yes, sir: certainly, sir.”
He crossed the lobby and disappeared.
“There is no other way out, is there?” inquired the detective, glancing at Dr. Cumberly.
“There is no other way,” was the reply; “but surely you don’t suspect"...
“I would suspect the Archbishop of Westminster,” snapped Dunbar, “if he came in like that! Now, sir,”—he turned to Leroux—“you were alone, here, to-night?”
“Quite alone, Inspector. The truth is, I fear, that my servants take liberties in the absence of my wife.”
“In the absence of your wife? Where is your wife?”
“She is in Paris.”
“Is she a Frenchwoman?”
“No! oh, no! But my wife is a painter, you understand, and—er—I met her in Paris—er—... Must you insist upon these—domestic particulars, Inspector?”
“If Mr. Exel is anxious to turn in,” replied the inspector, “after his no doubt exhausting duties at the House, and if Dr. Cumberly—”
“I have no secrets from Cumberly!” interjected Leroux. “The doctor has known me almost from boyhood, but—er—” turning to the politician—“don’t you know, Exel—no offense, no offense"...
“My dear Leroux,” responded Exel hastily, “I am the offender! Permit me to wish you all good night.”
He crossed the study, and, at the door, paused and turned.
“Rely upon me, Leroux,” he said, “to help in any way within my power.”
He crossed the lobby, opened the outer door, and departed.
“Now, Mr. Leroux,” resumed Dunbar, “about this matter of your wife’s absence.”
A WINDOW IS OPENED
Whilst Henry Leroux collected his thoughts, Dr. Cumberly glanced across at the writing-table where lay the fragment of paper which had been clutched in the dead woman’s hand, then turned his head again toward the inspector, staring at him curiously. Since Dunbar had not yet attempted even to glance at the strange message, he wondered what had prompted the present line of inquiry.
“My wife,” began Leroux, “shared a studio in Paris, at the time that I met her, with an American lady a very talented portrait painter—er—a Miss Denise Ryland. You may know her name?—but of course, you don’t, no! Well, my wife is, herself, quite clever with her brush; in fact she has exhibited more than once at the Paris Salon. We agreed at—er—the time of our—of our—engagement, that she should be free to visit her old artistic friends in Paris at any time. You understand? There was to be no let or hindrance.... Is this really necessary, Inspector?”
“Pray go on, Mr. Leroux.”
“Well, you understand, it was a give-and-take arrangement; because I am afraid that I, myself, demand certain—sacrifices from my wife—and—er—I did not feel entitled to—interfere"...