He slightly moved the table-lamp in order to direct its light upon the white face. The bloodless lips were parted and the detective bent, closely peering at the teeth thus revealed.
“Her teeth were oddly discolored, doctor,” he said, taking out a magnifying glass and examining them closely. “They had been recently scaled, too; so that she was not in the habit of neglecting them.”
Dr. Cumberly nodded.
“The drug habit, again,” he said guardedly; “a proper examination will establish the full facts.”
The inspector added brief notes to those already made, ere he rose from beside the body. Then:—
“You are absolutely certain,” he said, deliberately, facing Leroux, “that you had never set eyes on this woman prior to her coming here, to-night?”
“I can swear it!” said Leroux.
“Good!” replied the detective, and closed his notebook with a snap. “Usual formalities will have to be gone through, but I don’t think I need trouble you, gentlemen, any further, to-night.”
Dr. Cumberly walked slowly upstairs to his own flat, a picture etched indelibly upon his mind, of Henry Leroux, with a face of despair, sitting below in his dining-room and listening to the ominous sounds proceeding from the study, where the police were now busily engaged. In the lobby he met his daughter Helen, who was waiting for him in a state of nervous suspense.
“Father!” she began, whilst rebuke died upon the doctor’s lips—“tell me quickly what has happened.”
Perceiving that an explanation was unavoidable, Dr. Cumberly outlined the story of the night’s gruesome happenings, whilst Big Ben began to chime the hour of one.
Helen, eager-eyed, and with her charming face rather pale, hung upon every word of the narrative.
“And now,” concluded her father, “you must go to bed. I insist.”
“But father!” cried the girl—“there is some thing"...
She hesitated, uneasily.
“Well, Helen, go on,” said the doctor.
“I am afraid you will refuse.”
“At least give me the opportunity.”
“Well—in the glimpse, the half-glimpse, which I had of her, I seemed"...
Dr. Cumberly rested his hands upon his daughter’s shoulders characteristically, looking into the troubled gray eyes.
“You don’t mean,” he began...
“I thought I recognized her!” whispered the girl.
“Good God! can it be possible?”
“I have been trying, ever since, to recall where we had met, but without result. It might mean so much"...
Dr. Cumberly regarded her, fixedly.
“It might mean so much to—Mr. Leroux. But I suppose you will say it is impossible?”
“It is impossible,” said Dr. Cumberly firmly; “dismiss the idea, Helen.”
“But father,” pleaded the girl, placing her hands over his own, “consider what is at stake"...