The Yellow Claw eBook

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

“Oh, God!” he groaned—­“Oh, God!”

He opened his eyes...

A woman stood before the sandalwood screen!  She had the pallidly dusky skin of a Eurasian, but, by virtue of nature or artifice, her cheeks wore a peachlike bloom.  Her features were flawless in their chiseling, save for the slightly distended nostrils, and her black eyes were magnificent.

She was divinely petite, slender and girlish; but there was that in the lines of her figure, so seductively defined by her clinging Chinese dress, in the poise of her small head, with the blush rose nestling amid the black hair—­above all in the smile of her full red lips—­which discounted the youth of her body; which whispered “Mine is a soul old in strange sins—­a soul for whom dead Alexandria had no secrets, that learnt nothing of Athenean Thais and might have tutored Messalina"...

In her fanciful robe of old gold, with her tiny feet shod in ridiculously small, gilt slippers, she stood by the screen watching the stupefied man—­an exquisite, fragrantly youthful casket of ancient, unnameable evils.

“Good evening, Soames!” she said, stumbling quaintly with her English, but speaking in a voice musical as a silver bell.  “You will here be known as Lucas.  Mr. King he wishing me to say that you to receive two pounds, at each week."...

Soames, glassy-eyed, stood watching her.  A horror, the horror of insanity, had descended upon him—­a clammy, rose-scented mantle.  The room, the incredible, book-lined room, was a red blur, surrounding the black, taunting eyes of the Eurasian.  Everything was out of focus; past, present, and future were merged into a red, rose-haunted nothingness...

“You will attend to Block A,” resumed the girl, pointing at him with a little fan.  “You will also attend to the gentlemen."...

She laughed softly, revealing tiny white teeth; then paused, head tilted coquettishly, and appeared to be listening to someone’s conversation—­to the words of some person seated behind the screen.  This fact broke in upon Soames’ disordered mind and confirmed him in his opinion that he was a man demented.  For only one slight sound broke the silence of the room.  The red carpet below the little tables was littered with rose petals, and, in the super-heated atmosphere, other petals kept falling—­softly, with a gentle rustling.  Just that sound there was... and no other.  Then: 

“Mr. King he wishing to point out to you,” said the girl, “that he hold receipts of you, which bind you to him.  So you will be free man, and have liberty to go out sometimes for your own business.  Mr. King he wishing to hear you say you thinking to agree with the conditions and be satisfied.”

She ceased speaking, but continued to smile; and so complete was the stillness, that Soames, whose sense of hearing had become nervously stimulated, heard a solitary rose petal fall upon the corner of the writing-table.

Project Gutenberg
The Yellow Claw from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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