The Yellow Claw HTML version
The Studio In Soho
Certainly, such impudence as that of Mr. Levinsky is rare even in east-end London, and it
may be worth while to return to the corner of the billiard-room and to study more closely
this remarkable man.
He was sitting where the detectives had left him, and although their departure might have
been supposed to have depressed him, actually it had had a contrary effect; he was
chuckling with amusement, and, between his chuckles, addressing himself to the contents
of the pewter with every mark of appreciation. Three gleaming golden teeth on the lower
row, and one glittering canine, made a dazzling show every time that he smiled; he was a
very greasy and a very mirthful Hebrew.
Finishing his tankard of ale, he shuffled out into the street, the line of his bent shoulders
running parallel with that of his hat- brim. His hat appeared to be several sizes too large
for his head, and his skull was only prevented from disappearing into the capacious
crown by the intervention of his ears, which, acting as brackets, supported the whole
weight of the rain-sodden structure. He mounted a tram proceeding in the same direction
as that which had borne off the Scotland Yard men. Quitting this at Bow Road, he
shuffled into the railway station, and from Bow Road proceeded to Liverpool Street.
Emerging from the station at Liverpool Street, he entered a motor-'bus bound westward.
His neighbors, inside, readily afforded him ample elbow room; and, smiling agreeably at
every one, including the conductor (who resented his good-humor) and a pretty girl in the
corner seat (who found it embarrassing) he proceeded to Charing Cross. Descending from
the 'bus, he passed out into Leicester Square and plunged into the network of streets
which complicates the map of Soho. It will be of interest to follow him.
In a narrow turning off Greek Street, and within hail of the popular Bohemian restaurants,
he paused before a doorway sandwiched between a Continental newsagent's and a tiny
French cafe; and, having fumbled in his greasy raiment he presently produced a key,
opened the door, carefully closed it behind him, and mounted the dark stair.
On the top floor he entered a studio, boasting a skylight upon which the rain was
drumming steadily and drearily. Lighting a gas burner in one corner of the place which
bore no evidence of being used for its legitimate purpose--he entered a little adjoining
dressing-room. Hot and cold water were laid on there, and a large zinc bath stood upon
the floor. With the aid of an enamel bucket, Mr. Abraham Levinsky filled the bath.
Leaving him to his ablutions, let us glance around the dressing- room. Although there
was no easel in the studio, and no indication of artistic activity, the dressing-room was
well stocked with costumes. Two huge dress-baskets were piled in one corner, and their
contents hung upon hooks around the three available walls. A dressing table, with a
triplicate mirror and a suitably shaded light, presented a spectacle reminiscent less of a
model's dressing-room than of an actor's.
At the expiration of some twenty-five minutes, the door of this dressing-room opened;
and although Abraham Levinsky had gone in, Abraham Levinsky did not come out!