The Mystery of the Yellow Room
The Inexplicable Gallery
"Mademoiselle Stangerson appeared at the door of her ante-room," continues
Rouletabille's note-book. "We were near her door in the gallery where this incredible
phenomenon had taken place. There are moments when one feels as if one's brain were
about to burst. A bullet in the head, a fracture of the skull, the seat of reason shattered--
with only these can I compare the sensation which exhausted and left me void of sense.
"Happily, Mademoiselle Stangerson appeared on the threshold of her ante-room. I saw
her, and that helped to relieve my chaotic state of mind. I breathed her--I inhaled the
perfume of the lady in black, whom I should never see again. I would have given ten
years of my life--half my life--to see once more the lady in black! Alas! I no more meet
her but from time to time,--and yet!--and yet! how the memory of that perfume--felt by
me alone--carries me back to the days of my childhood.* It was this sharp reminder from
my beloved perfume, of the lady in black, which made me go to her --dressed wholly in
white and so pale--so pale and so beautiful! --on the threshold of the inexplicable gallery.
Her beautiful golden hair, gathered into a knot on the back of her neck, left visible the red
star on her temple which had so nearly been the cause of her death. When I first got on
the right track of the mystery of this case I had imagined that, on the night of the tragedy
in The Yellow Room, Mademoiselle Stangerson had worn her hair in bands. But then,
how could I have imagined otherwise when I had not been in The Yellow Room!
*When I wrote these lines, Joseph Rouletabille was eighteen years of age,--and he spoke
of his "youth." I have kept the text of my friend, but I inform the reader here that the
episode of the mystery of The Yellow Room has no connection with that of the perfume
of the lady in black. It is not my fault if, in the document which I have cited, Rouletabille
thought fit to refer to his childhood.
"But now, since the occurrence of the inexplicable gallery, I did not reason at all. I stood
there, stupid, before the apparition --so pale and so beautiful--of Mademoiselle
Stangerson. She was clad in a dressing-gown of dreamy white. One might have taken her
to be a ghost--a lovely phantom. Her father took her in his arms and kissed her
passionately, as if he had recovered her after being long lost to him. I dared not question
her. He drew her into the room and we followed them,--for we had to know!--The door of
the boudoir was open. The terrified faces of the two nurses craned towards us.
Mademoiselle Stangerson inquired the meaning of all the disturbance. That she was not
in her own room was quite easily explained--quite easily. She had a fancy not to sleep
that night in her chamber, but in the boudoir with her nurses, locking the door on them.
Since the night of the crime she had experienced feelings of terror, and fears came over
her that are easily to be comprehended.