“I shall make it a point to observe that,” she said as she left us. “I hope I’ll have something to tell you when I come back.”
“Walter,” remarked Craig as the door closed, “that is one of the gamest girls I ever knew.”
I looked across at him inquiringly.
“Don’t worry, my boy,” he added, reading my expression. “She’s not of the marrying kind, any more than I am.”
The morning passed and half of the afternoon without any word from Miss Kendall. Kennedy was plainly becoming uneasy, when a hurried footstep in the hall was followed by a more hurried opening of the door.
“Let me sit down, just a minute, to collect myself,” panted Miss Kendall, pressing her hands to her temples where the blue veins stood out and literally throbbed. “I’m all in.”
“Why, what is the matter?” asked Kennedy, placing a chair and switching on an electric fan, while he quickly found a bottle of restorative salts which was always handy for emergencies in the laboratory.
“Oh—such a time as I’ve had! Wait—let me see whether I can recollect it in order.”
A few minutes later she resumed. “I went in, as before. There seemed to be quite a change in the way they treated me. I must have made a good impression the first time. A second visit seemed to have opened the way for everything. Evidently they think I am all right.
“Well, I went through much the same thing as I did before, only I tried to make it not quite so elaborate, down to the point where several of us were sitting in loose robes in the lounging-room. That was the part, you know, that interested me before.
“The maid came in with the cigarettes and I smoked one of the doped ones. They watch everything that you do so closely there, and the moment I smoked one they offered me another. I don’t know what was in them, but I fancy there must be just a trace of opium. They made me feel exhilarated, then just a bit drowsy. I managed to make away with the second without inhaling much of the smoke, for my head was in a whirl by this time. It wasn’t so much that I was afraid I couldn’t take care of myself as it was that I was afraid that it would blunt the keenness of my observation and I might miss something.”
“Besides the cigarettes, was there anything else?” asked Craig.
“Yes, indeed. I didn’t see anyone there I recognized, but I heard some of them talk. One was taking a little veronal; another said something about heroin. It was high-toned hitting the pipe, if you call it that—a Turkish bath, followed by massage, and then a safe complement of anything you wanted, taken leisurely by these aristocratic dope fiends.
“There was one woman there who I am sure was snuffing cocaine. She had a little gold and enamelled box like a snuff box beside her from which she would take from time to time a pinch of some white crystals and inhale it vigorously, now and then taking a little sip of a liqueur that was brought in to her.”