Her cogitations were peculiarly interrupted. The door opened, and a man plumped down beside her.
“Enid, it looks as if we’d never get out of this hole. Have you got your collar up?”
Numb and terrified, Kitty felt the man’s hands fumbling about her neck.
“Where’s your sable stole? You women beat the very devil for thoughtlessness. A quid to a farthing, you’ve left it in the box, and I’ll have to go back for it, providing they’ll let me in. And it’s midnight, if a minute.”
Pressing herself tightly into her corner, Kitty managed to gasp: “My name is not Enid, sir. You have mistaken your carriage.”
“What? Good heavens!” Almost instantly a match sparkled and flared. His eyes, screened behind his hand, palm outward (a perfectly natural action, yet nicely calculated), beheld a pretty, charming face, large Irish blue eyes (a bit startled at this moment), and a head of hair as shiny-black as polished Chinese blackwood. The match, still burning, curved like a falling star through the window. “A thousand pardons, madam! Very stupid of me. Quite evident that I am lost. I beg your pardon again, and hope I have not annoyed you.”
He was gone before she could form any retort. Where had she heard that voice before? With a little shudder—due to the thought of those cold strange fingers feeling about her throat—her hands went up. Instantly she cried aloud in dismay. Her sapphires! They had vanished!
Daniel Killigrew, of Killigrew and Company (sugar, coffee and spices), was in a towering rage; at least, he towered one inch above his normal height, which was five feet six. Like an animal recently taken in captivity he trotted back and forth through the corridors, in and out of the office, to and from the several entrances, blowing the while like a grampus. All he could get out of these infernally stupid beings was “Really, sir!” He couldn’t get a cab, he couldn’t get a motor, he couldn’t get anything. Manager, head-clerk, porter, doorman and page, he told them, one and all, what a dotty old spoof of a country they lived in; that they were all dead-alive persons, fit to be neither under nor above earth; that they wouldn’t be one-two in a race with January molasses—“Treacle, I believe you call it here!” And what did they say to this scathing arraignment? Yes, what did they say? “Really, sir!” He knew and hoped it would happen: if ever Germany started war, it would be over before these Britishers made up their minds that there was a war. A hundred years ago they had beaten Napoleon (with the assistance of Spain, Austria, Germany and Russia), and were now resting.