Two men came out, supporting between them a woman who seemed to be ill; a slender, blonde woman whose pretty face was pale and whose wide-open blue eyes stared strangely straight before her. The taller of her escorts, while continuing to support her, solicitously wrapped her fur cloak about her bare shoulders; the other, the manager of the club, stepped forward and opened the door of the car.
“Lady Rourke!” whispered Durham.
“With Lou Chada!” rapped Kerry. “Run for a cab. Brisk. Don’t waste a second.”
Some little conversation ensued between manager and patron, then the tall, handsome Eurasian, waving his hand protestingly, removed his hat and stepped into the coupe beside Lady Rourke. It immediately moved away in the direction of Piccadilly.
One glimpse Kerry had of the pretty, fair head lying limply back against the cushions. The manager of the club was staring after the car.
Kerry stepped out from his hiding place. Durham had disappeared, and there was no cab in sight, but immediately beyond the illuminated entrance stood a Rolls-Royce which had been fifth in the rank of parked cars before the adjustment had been made to enable the coupe to reach the door. Kerry ran across, and:
“Whose car, my lad?” he demanded of the chauffeur.
The latter, resenting the curt tone of the inquiry, looked the speaker up and down, and:
“Captain. Egerton’s,” he replied slowly. “But what business may it be of yours?”
“I’m Chief Inspector Kerry, of New Scotland Yard,” came the rapid reply. “I want to follow the car that has just left.”
“What about running?” demanded the man insolently.
Kerry shot out a small, muscular hand and grasped the speaker’s wrist.
“I’ll say one thing to you,” he rapped. “I’m a police officer, and I demand your help. Refuse it, and you’ll wake up in Vine Street.”
The Chief Inspector was on the step now, bending forward so that his fierce red face was but an inch removed from that of the startled chauffeur. The quelling force of his ferocious personality achieved its purpose, as it rarely failed to do.
“I’m getting in,” added the Chief Inspector, jumping back on to the pavement. “Lose that French bus, and I’ll charge you with resisting and obstructing an officer of the law in the execution of his duty. Start.”
Kerry leaped in and banged the door—and the Rolls-Royce started.
AT MALAY JACK’S
When Kerry left Bond Street the mistiness of the night was developing into definite fog. It varied in different districts. Thus, St. Paul’s Churchyard had been clear of it at a time when it had lain impenetrably in Trafalgar Square. When, an hour and a half after setting out in the commandeered Rolls-Royce, Kerry groped blindly along Limehouse Causeway, it was through a yellow murk that he made his way—a vapour which could not only be seen, smelled and felt, but tasted.