She held her muff to her mouth. She seemed to be trembling.
A heavy hand was laid on his shoulder.
“Excuse me, sir,” said a strong, rough voice, “are you the gent that fired off the rocket? It’s against the law to do that kind o’ thing here, and you ought to know it. I shall have to trouble you—”
It was a policeman of the C Division.
Sir John was disappearing, with his stealthy and conspiratorial air, down the staircase.
DEALING WITH ELSIE
The headquarters of the Azure Society were situate in Marloes Road—for no other reason than that it happened so. Though certain famous people inhabit Marloes Road, no street could well be less fashionable than this thoroughfare, which is very arid and very long, and a very long way off the centre of the universe.
“The Azure Society, you know!” Edward Henry added, when he had given the exact address to the chauffeur of the taxi.
The chauffeur, however, did not know, and did not seem to be ashamed of his ignorance. His attitude indicated that he despised Marloes Road and was not particularly anxious for his vehicle to be seen therein—especially on a wet night—but that nevertheless he would endeavour to reach it. When he did reach it, and observed the large concourse of shining automobiles that struggled together in the rain in front of the illuminated number named by Edward Henry, the chauffeur admitted to himself that for once he had been mistaken, and his manner of receiving money from Edward Henry was generously respectful.
Originally, the headquarters of the Azure Society had been a seminary and schoolmistress’s house. The thoroughness with which the buildings had been transformed showed that money was not among the things which the Society had to search for. It had rich resources, and it had also high social standing; and the deferential commissionaires at the doors and the fluffy-aproned, appealing girls who gave away programmes in the foyer were a proof that the Society, while doubtless anxious about such subjects as the persistence of individuality after death, had no desire to reconstitute the community on a democratic basis. It was above such transient trifles of reform, and its high endeavours were confined to questions of immortality, of the infinite, of sex, and of art: which questions it discussed in fine raiment and with all the punctilio of courtly politeness.