The Yellow Claw eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 339 pages of information about The Yellow Claw.

Mr. Gianapolis had the suave speech and smiling manner.  He greeted Soames not as one greets a prospective servant, but as one welcomes an esteemed acquaintance.  Following a brief chat, he proposed an adjournment to a neighboring saloon bar; and there, over cocktails, he conversed with Mr. Soames as one crook with another.

Soames was charmed, fascinated, yet vaguely horrified; for this man smilingly threw off the cloak of hypocrisy from his companion’s shoulders, and pretended, with the skill of his race, equally to nudify his own villainy.

“My dear Mr. Soames!” he said, speaking almost perfect English, but with the sing-song intonation of the Greek, and giving all his syllables an equal value—­“you are the man I am looking for; and I can make your fortune.”

This was entirely in accordance with Mr. Soames’ own views, and he nodded, respectfully.

“I know,” continued Gianapolis, proffering an excellent Egyptian cigarette, “that you were cramped in your last situation—­that you were misunderstood"...

Soames, cigarette in hand, suppressed a start, and wondered if he were turning pale.  He selected a match with nervous care.

“The little matter of the silver spoons,” continued Gianapolis, smiling fraternally, “was perhaps an error of judgment.  Although”—­patting the startled Soames upon the shoulder—­“they were a legitimate perquisite; I am not blaming you.  But it takes so long to accumulate a really useful balance in that petty way.  Now”—­he glanced cautiously about him—­“I can offer you a post under conditions which will place you above the consideration of silver spoons!”

Soames, hastily finishing his cocktail, sought for words; but Gianapolis, finishing his own, blandly ordered two more, and, tapping Soames upon the knee, continued: 

“Then that matter of the petty cash, and those trifling irregularities in the wine-bill, you remember?—­when you were with Colonel Hewett in Nice?"...

Soames gripped the counter hard, staring at the newly arrived cocktail as though it were hypnotizing him.

“These little matters,” added Gianapolis, appreciatively sipping from his own glass, “which would weigh heavily against your other references, in the event of their being mentioned to any prospective employer"...

Soames knew beyond doubt that his face was very pale indeed.

“These little matters, then,” pursued Gianapolis, “all go to prove to me that you are a man of enterprise and spirit—­that you are the very man I require.  Now I can offer you a post in the establishment of Mr. Henry Leroux, the novelist.  The service will be easy.  You will be required to attend to callers and to wait at table upon special occasions.  There will be no valeting, and you will have undisputed charge of the pantry and wine-cellar.  In short, you will enjoy unusual liberty.  The salary, you would say?  It will be the same as that which you received from Mr. Mapleson"...

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The Yellow Claw from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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