The Yellow Claw HTML version

Presenting M. Gaston Max
Not venturing to turn on the light, not daring to look upon her own face in the mirror,
Helen Cumberly sat before her dressing-table, trembling wildly. She wanted to laugh, and
wanted to cry; but the daughter of Seton Cumberly knew what those symptoms meant
and knew how to deal with them. At the end of an interval of some four or five minutes,
she rang.
The maid opened the door.
"Don't light up, Merton," she said, composedly. "I want you to tell Garnham to go down
to Mr. Leroux's and put the place in order. Mr. Leroux is dining with us."
The girl withdrew; and Helen, as the door closed, pressed the electric switch. She stared
at her reflection in the mirror as if it were the face of an enemy, then, turning her head
aside, sat deep in reflection, biting her lip and toying with the edge of the white doily.
"You little traitor!" she whispered, through clenched teeth. "You little traitor--and
hypocrite"--sobs began to rise in her throat-- "and fool!"
Five more minutes passed in a silent conflict. A knock announced the return of the maid;
and the girl reentered, placing upon the table a visiting-card:--
Helen Cumberly started to her feet with a stifled exclamation and turned to the maid; her
face, to which the color slowly had been returning, suddenly blanched anew.
"Denise Ryland!" she muttered, still holding the card in her hand, "why--that's Mrs.
Leroux's friend, with whom she had been staying in Paris! Whatever can it mean?"
"Shall I show her in here, please?" asked the maid.
"Yes, in here," replied Helen, absently; and, scarcely aware that she had given
instructions to that effect, she presently found herself confronted by the lady of the boat-
"Miss Cumberly?" said the new arrival in a pleasant American voice.
"Yes--I am Helen Cumberly. Oh! I am so glad to know you at last! I have often pictured
you; for Mira--Mrs. Leroux--is always talking about you, and about the glorious times
you have together! I have sometimes longed to join you in beautiful Paris. How good of
you to come back with her!"