A number of reasons have been suggested at different times for Simon Templar's superficially incongruous title of The Saing, and there may be a kernel of truth in all of them, while not one is the complete answer. The sobriquet is a derivative and outgrowth of so many contributory and contradictory factors attempting to crystallize the supreme paradox of the man himself. But one truly sanctified quality which had never been imputed to him was a forgiving disposition.
Very shortly the street door opened again; but it was not the expected form of the dectective that stepped in. This, however, proved to be no disappointment to the Saint at all.
It was a girl . . . if the writer may perpetrate one of the most inadequate statements in contemporary literature.
Her hair was stygian midnight, a shining metallic black that wreathed a delicate oval face with the texture of magnolias, full-lipped and kohl eyed. The simple silk confection that she wore offered more emphasis than concealment to the form it covered but could scarcely contain. It was obvious that no trickery of supporting garments was needed or was used to exploit the burgeoning figure, rounded almost to excess in the breasts above and the flanks below, yet bisected by a waist of wasp-like delicacy. To complete the entrancing inventory, Simon allowed his gaze to slide down the sweet length of leg to the small sandalled feet and drift appreciatively back up again.
Whereupon he received a glance of withering disdain of the kind that had obviously had much practice in shrivelling the presumptuous and freezing the extremeties of the lecherous, and which made it depressingly apparent that like many other beautiful Italian girls she was also impregnably respectable. Only the Saint's unjustified faith in the purity of his admiration enabled him to meet the snub with a smile of seraphic impenitence until it was she who looked away.
Approaching through an archway of rambler roses, from a hedged area of the garden where she had apparently been taking a sunbath, was Gina Destamio, clad only in a bikini of such minuscule proportions that its two elements concealed little more than did her sunglasses. Her skin was a lightgolden-brown in the last rays of sunlight, and the ultimate details of her figure more than fulfilled every exquisite promise they had made under the dress in which he had last seen her. It was a sight to make even a hardened old pirate like Simon Templar toy with the idea of writing just one more sonnet.