The Yellow Claw HTML version

A Window Is Opened
Whilst Henry Leroux collected his thoughts, Dr. Cumberly glanced across at the writing-
table where lay the fragment of paper which had been clutched in the dead woman's hand,
then turned his head again toward the inspector, staring at him curiously. Since Dunbar
had not yet attempted even to glance at the strange message, he wondered what had
prompted the present line of inquiry.
"My wife," began Leroux, "shared a studio in Paris, at the time that I met her, with an
American lady a very talented portrait painter--er--a Miss Denise Ryland. You may know
her name?--but of course, you don't, no! Well, my wife is, herself, quite clever with her
brush; in fact she has exhibited more than once at the Paris Salon. We agreed at--er--the
time of our--of our-- engagement, that she should be free to visit her old artistic friends in
Paris at any time. You understand? There was to be no let or hindrance. . . . Is this really
necessary, Inspector?"
"Pray go on, Mr. Leroux."
"Well, you understand, it was a give-and-take arrangement; because I am afraid that I,
myself, demand certain--sacrifices from my wife--and--er--I did not feel entitled to--
interfere" . . .
"You see, Inspector," interrupted Dr. Cumberly, "they are a Bohemian pair, and
Bohemians, inevitably, bore one another at times! This little arrangement was intended as
a safety-valve. Whenever ennui attacked Mrs. Leroux, she was at liberty to depart for a
week to her own friends in Paris, leaving Leroux to the bachelor's existence which is
really his proper state; to go unshaven and unshorn, to dine upon bread and cheese and
onions, to work until all hours of the morning, and generally to enjoy himself!"
"Does she usually stay long?" inquired Dunbar.
"Not more than a week, as a rule," answered Leroux.
"You must excuse me," continued the detective, "if I seem to pry into intimate matters;
but on these occasions, how does Mrs. Leroux get on for money?"
"I have opened a credit for her," explained the novelist, wearily, "at the Credit Lyonnais,
in Paris."
Dunbar scribbled busily in his notebook.
"Does she take her maid with her?" he jerked, suddenly.
"She has no maid at the moment," replied Leroux; "she has been without one for twelve
months or more, now."
"When did you last hear from her?"
"Three days ago."