The Devil's Paw HTML version
It was a little more than half an hour later when Julian ascended the steps of his club in
Pall Mall and asked the hall porter for letters. Except that he was a little paler than usual
and was leaning more heavily upon his stick, there was nothing about his appearance to
denote several days of intense strain. There was a shade of curiosity, mingled with
surprise, in the commissionaire's respectful greeting.
"There have been a good many enquiries for you the last few days, sir," he observed.
"I dare say," Julian replied. "I was obliged to go out of town unexpectedly."
He ran through the little pile of letters and selected a bulky envelope addressed to himself
in his own handwriting. With this he returned to the taxicab in which the Bishop and
Catherine were seated. They gazed with fascinated eyes at the packet which he was
carrying and which he at once displayed.
"You see," he remarked, as he leaned back, "there is nothing so impenetrable in the world
as a club of good standing. It beats combination safes hollow. It would have taken all
Scotland Yard to have dragged this letter from the rack."
"That is really - it?" Catherine demanded breathlessly.
"It is the packet," he assured her, "which you handed to me for safe keeping at
They drove almost in silence to the Bishop's house, where it had been arranged that
Julian should spend the night. The Bishop left the two together before the fire in his
library, while he personally superintended the arrangement of a guest room. Catherine
came over and knelt by the side of Julian's chair.
"Shall I beg forgiveness for the past," she whispered, "or may I not talk of the future, the
"Is it to be glorious?" he asked a little doubtfully.
"It can be made so," she answered with fervour, "by you more than by anybody else
living. I defy you -you, `Paul Fiske - to impugn our scheme, our aims, the goal towards
which we strive. All that we needed was a leader who could lift us up above the
localness, the narrow visions of these men. They are in deadly earnest, but they can't see
far enough, and each sees along his own groove. It is true that at the end the same sun
shines, but no assembly of people can move together along a dozen different ways and
keep the same goal in view."
He touched the packet.