“I have just seen Leroux,” said the physician, as he took his seat, “and I have told him that he must go for a drive to-morrow. I have released him from his room, and given him the run of the place again, but until he can get right away, complete recovery is impossible. A little cheerful company might be useful, though. You might look in and see him for a while, Helen?”
Helen met her father’s eyes, gravely, and replied, with perfect composure, “I will do so with pleasure. Miss Ryland will come with me.”
“Suppose,” said Denise Ryland, assuming her most truculent air, “you leave off... talking in that... frigid manner... my dear. Considering that Mira... Leroux and I were... old friends, and that you... are old friends of hers, too, and considering that I spend... my life amongst... people who very sensibly call... one another... by their Christian names, forget that my name is Ryland, and call me... Denise!”
“I should love to!” cried Helen Cumberly; “in fact, I wanted to do so the very first time I saw you; perhaps because Mira Leroux always referred to you as Denise"...
“May I also avail myself of the privilege?” inquired Dr. Cumberly with gravity, “and may I hope that you will return the compliment?”
“I cannot... do it!” declared Denise Ryland, firmly. “A doctor ... should never be known by any other name than... Doctor. If I heard any one refer to my own... physician as Jack or... Bill, or Dick... I should lose all faith in him at once!”
As the lunch proceeded, Dr. Cumberly gradually grew more silent, seeming to be employed with his own thoughts; and although his daughter and Denise Ryland were discussing the very matter that engaged his own attention, he took no part in the conversation for some time. Then:
“I agree with you!” he said, suddenly, interrupting Helen; “the greatest blow of all to Leroux was the knowledge that his wife had been deceiving him.”
“He invited... deceit!” proclaimed Denise Ryland, “by his... criminal neglect.”
“Oh! how can you say so!” cried Helen, turning her gray eyes upon the speaker reproachfully; “he deserves—”
“He certainly deserves to know the real truth,” concluded Dr. Cumberly; “but would it relieve his mind or otherwise?”
Denise Ryland and Helen looked at him in silent surprise.
“The truth?” began the latter—“Do you mean that you know—where she is"...
“If I knew that,” replied Dr. Cumberly, “I should know everything; the mystery of the Palace Mansions murder would be a mystery no longer. But I know one thing: Mrs. Leroux’s absence has nothing to do with any love affair.”
“What!” exclaimed Denise Ryland. “There isn’t another man... in the case? You can’t tell me"...
“But I do tell you!” said Dr. Cumberly; “I assure you.”
“And you have not told—Mr. Leroux?” said Helen incredulously. “You have not told him—although you know that the thought—of that is?"...