“In Gillingham Street, near Victoria Station.”
“From a house?”
“Yes, from Nurse Proctor’s.”
“Nurse Proctor’s! Who is Nurse Proctor?”
Brian shrugged his shoulders in a nonchalant manner, which obviously belonged to an earlier phase of existence.
“She keeps a nursing home,” he said—“for ladies.”
“Do you mean a maternity home?”
“Not exactly; at least I don’t think so. Most of her clients are society ladies, who stay there periodically.”
“What are you driving at?” demanded Dunbar. “I have asked you if it is a maternity home.”
“And I have replied that it isn’t. I am only giving you facts; you don’t want my surmises.”
“Who hailed you?”
“The woman did—the woman in the fur coat. I was just passing the door very slowly when it was flung open with a bang, and she rushed out as though hell were after her. Before I had time to pull up, she threw herself into my cab and screamed: ‘Palace Mansions! Westminster!’ I reached back and shut the door, and drove right away.”
“When did you see that you were followed?”
“We were held up just outside the music hall, and looking back, I saw that my fare was dreadfully excited. It didn’t take me long to find out that the cause of her excitement was a big limousine, three or four back in the block of traffic. The driver was some kind of an Oriental, too, although I couldn’t make him out very clearly.”
“Good!” snapped Dunbar; “that’s important! But you saw nothing more of this car?"...
“I saw it follow me into the Square.”
“Then where did it wait?”
“I don’t know; I didn’t see it again.”
Inspector Dunbar nodded rapidly.
“Have you ever driven women to or from this Nurse Proctor’s before?”
“On two other occasions, I have driven ladies who came from there. I knew they came from there, because it got about amongst us that the tall woman in nurse’s uniform who accompanied them was Nurse Proctor.”
“You mean that you didn’t take these women actually from the door of the house in Gillingham Street, but from somewhere adjacent?”
“Yes; they never take a cab from the door. They always walk to the corner of the street with a nurse, and a porter belonging to the house brings their luggage along.”
“The idea is secrecy?”
“No doubt. But as I have said, the word was passed round.”
“Did you know either of these other women?”
“No; but they were obviously members of good society.”
“And you drove them?”
“One to St. Pancras, and one to Waterloo,” said Brian, dropping back somewhat into his coarser style, and permitting a slow grin to overspread his countenance.
“To catch trains, no doubt?”
“Not a bit of it! To meet trains!”
“I mean that their own private cars were waiting for them at the arrival platform as I drove ’em up to the departure platform, and that they simply marched through the station and pretended to have arrived by train!”