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er, word of honour! The man whom I have just left came up and wasn’t certain whether he had to go in No. 8, that’s the doctor’s, or No. 6–_and the one key fits both doors!_“
He inserted the key which was in the lock of her door and it turned easily.
„And this is what I was waiting for–it was the best the poor devil could do.“
He lifted the paper package and broke the seals. Unfolding the paper carefully he laid it on the table, reveali cheap air max 1 ng a teaspoonful of what looked like fine green sawdust.
„What is it?“ she whispered fearfully.
Somehow she knew that she was in the presence of a big elementary danger–something gross and terrible in its primitive force.
„That,“ said Mr. Beale, choosing his words nicely, „that is a passable imitation of the Green Rust, or, as it is to me, the Green Terror.“
„The Green Rust? What is the Green Rust–what can it do?“ she asked in bewilderment.
„I hope we shall never know,“ he said, and in his clear eyes was a hint of terror.
Chapter 3 Punsonby’s Discharge An Employee
Oliva Cresswell rose with the final despairing buzz of her alarm clock and conquered the almost irresistible temptation to close her eyes, just to see what it felt like. Her first impression was that she had had no sleep all night. She remembered going to bed at one and turning from side to side until three. She remembered deciding that the best thing to do was to get up, make some tea and watch the sun rise, and that whilst she was deciding whether such a step was romant nike air max 1 leopard ic or just silly, she must have gone to sleep.
Still, four h nike air max 1 ebay ours of slumber is practically no slumber to a healthy girl and she swung her pyjama-ed legs over the side of the bed and spent quite five minutes in a fatuous admiration of her little white feet. With an effort she dragged herself to the bath-room and let the tap run. Then she put on the kettle. Half an hour later she was feeling well but unenthusiastic.
When she became fully conscious, which was on her way to business, she realized she was worried. She had been made a party to a secret without her wish–and the drunken Mr. Beale, that you nike air max 1 red thful profligate, had really forced this confidence upon her. Only, and this she recalled with a start which sent her chin jerking upward (she was in the bus at the time and the conductor, thinking she was signalling him to s nike air max 1 grey top, pulled the bell), only Mr. Beale was surprisingly sober and masterful for one so weak of character.
Ought she to tell the doctor–Dr. van Heerden, who had been so good a friend of hers? It seemed disloyal, it was disloyal, horribly disloyal to him, to hide the fact that Mr. Beale had actually been in the doctor’s room at night.
But was it a coincidence that the same key opened her door and the doctor’s? If it were so, it was an embarrassing coincidence. She must change the locks without delay.
The bus set her down at the corner of Punsonby’s great block. Punsonby’s is one of the most successful and at the same time one of the most exclusive dress-houses in London, and Oliva had indeed been fortunate in securing her present position, for employment at Punsonby’s was almost equal to Government employment in its permanency, as it was certainly more lucrativ nike air max 1 e in its pay.
As she stepped on to the pavement she glanced up at the big ornate clock. She was in good time, she said to herself, and was pushing open the big glass door through which employees pass to the various departments when a hand touched her gently on the arm.
She turned in surprise to face Mr. Beale, looking particularly smart in a well-fitting grey suit, a grey felt hat and a large bunch of violets in his buttonhole.
„Excuse me, Miss Cresswell,“ he said pleasantly, „may I have one word with you?“
She loo nike air max 1 premium ked at him doubtfully.
„I rather wish you had chosen another time and another place, Mr. Beale,“ she said frankly.
He nodded.
„I realize it is rather embarrassing,“ he said, „but unfortunately my business cannot wait. I am a business man, you know,“ he smiled, „in spite of my dissolute habits.“
She looked at him closely, for she thought she detected a gentle mockery behind his words, but he was not smiling now.
„I won’t keep you more than two minutes,“ he went on, „but in that two minutes I have a great deal to tell you. I won’t bore you with the story of my life.“
This time she saw the amusement in his eyes and smiled against her will, because she was not feeling particularly amused.
„I have a business in the city of London,“ he said, „and again I would ask you to respect my confidence. I am a wheat expert.“
„A wheat expert?“ she repeated with a puzzled frown.
„It’s a queer job, isn’t it? but that’s what I am. I have a vacancy in my office for a confidential secretary. It is a nice office, the pay is good, the hours are few an cheap nike air max 1 d the work is light. I want to know whether you will accept the position.“
She shook her head, regarding him with a new interest, from which suspicion was not altogether absent.
„It is awfully kind of you, Mr. Beale, and adds another to the debts I owe you,“ she said, „but I have no desire to leave Punsonby’s. It is work I like, and although I am sure you are not interested in my private business“–he could have cheap air max 1 told her that he was very much interested in her private business, but he refrained–„I do not mind telling you that I am earning a very good salary and I have no intention or desire to change my situation.“
His eyes twinkled.
„Ah well, that’s my misfortune,“ he said, „there are only two things I can say. The first is that if you work for me you will neither be distressed nor annoyed by any habits of mine which you may have observed and which may perhaps have prejudiced you against me. In the second place, I want you to promise me that if you ever leave Punsonby’s you will give me the first offer of your services.“
She laughed.
„I think you are very funny, Mr. Beale, but I feel sure that you mean what you say, and that you would confine your–er–little eccentricities to times outside of business hours. As far as leaving P nike air max 1 sale unsonby’s is concerned I promise you that I will give you the first offer of my invaluable services if ever I leave. And now I am afraid I must run away. I am awfully obliged to you for what you did for me last night.“
He looked at her steadily in the eye.
„I have no recollection of anything that happened last night,“ he said, „and I should be glad if your memory would suffer the same lapse.“
He shook hands with her, lifted his hat and turned abruptly away, and she looked after him till the boom of the clock recalled her to the fact that the head of the firm of Punsonby was a stickler for punctuality.
She went into the great cloak-room and hung up her coat and hat. As she turned to the mirror to straighten her hair she came face to face with a tall, dark girl who had been eyeing her thoughtfully.
„Good morning,“ said Oliva nike air max 1 , and there was in her tone more of politeness than friendship, for although these two girls had occupied the same office for more than a year, there was between them an incompatibility which no length of acquaintance could remove.
Hilda Glaum was of Swiss extraction, and something of a mystery. She was good looking in a sulky, saturnine way, but her known virtues stopped short at her appearance. She neither invited nor gave confidence, and in this respect suited Oliva, but unlike Oliva, she made no friends, entered into none of the periodical movements amongst the girls, was impervious to the attractions of the river in summer and of the Proms in winter, neither visited nor received.
„‚Morning,“ replied the girl shortly; then: „Have you been upstairs?“
„Oh, nothing.“
Oliva mounted to the floor where her little nike air max 1 black office was. She and Hilda dealt with the registered mail, extr air max 1 acted and checked the money that came from the post-shoppers and sent on the orders to the various departments.

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