With a fine white silk handkerchief Soames gently wiped the perspiration from his forehead and from the lining of his hat-band. Gianapolis began abruptly:—
“There has been an—accident” (he continued to brush his mustache, with increasing rapidity). “Tell me all that took place after you left the Post Office.”
Soames nervously related his painful experiences of the evening, whilst Gianapolis drilled his mustache to a satanic angle. The story being concluded:
“Whatever has happened?” groaned Soames; “and what am I to do?”
“What you are to do,” replied Gianapolis, “will be arranged, my dear Soames, by—Mr. King. Where you are to go, is a problem shortly settled: you are to go nowhere; you are to stay here."...
Soames gazed drearily about the room.
“Not exactly here—this is merely the office; but at our establishment proper in Limehouse."...
“Certainly. Although you seem to be unaware of the fact, Soames, there are some charming resorts in Limehouse; and your duties, for the present, will confine you to one of them.”
“But—but,” hesitated Soames, “the police"...
“Unless my information is at fault,” said Gianapolis, “the police have no greater chance of paying us a visit, now, than they had formerly."...
“But Mrs. Leroux"...
Gianapolis twirled around in the chair, his eyes squinting demoniacally:—“Mrs. Leroux!”
“What about Mrs. Leroux?”
“Isn’t she dead?”
“Dead! Mrs. Leroux! You are laboring under a strange delusion, Soames. The lady whom you saw was not Mrs. Leroux.”
Soames’ brain began to fail him again.
“Then who,” he began....
“That doesn’t concern you in the least, Soames. But what does concern you is this: your connection, and my connection, with the matter cannot possibly be established by the police. The incident is regrettable, but the emergency was dealt with—in time. It represents a serious deficit, unfortunately, and your own usefulness, for the moment, becomes nil; but we shall have to look after you, I suppose, and hope for better things in the future.”
He took up the telephone.
“East 39951,” he said, whilst Soames listened, attentively. Then:—
“Is that Kan-Suh Concessions?” he asked. “Yes—good! Tell Said to bring the car past the end of the road at a quarter-to-two. That’s all.”
He hung up the receiver.
“Now, my dear Soames,” he said, with a faint return to his old manner, “you are about to enter upon new duties. I will make your position clear to you. Whilst you do your work, and keep yourself to yourself, you are in no danger; but one indiscretion—just one—apart from what it may mean for others, will mean, for you, immediate arrest as accessory to a murder!”