The Empire of Night

The sun was just vanishing when my taxi slipped along the lilac hedges of Hanover Square and stopped before a flat-roofed brick town house half the width but just as tall as my hotel. It was a private residence but without apparent servants and without a clear owner, at least on this Sunday night, the door being answered by one of the other women from my mother’s dressing room, the one wide enough to be the cellist in that string quartet of suffragettes. She recognized me at once and led me up a single flight to the parlor and I was introduced at the door as Mr. Christopher Cobb to a dozen or so of Millicent’s colleagues, about half of whom had also invited men. Most of these guys struck me as dandies, though I didn’t look at them very closely, simply registering among them more than one frock coat, apricot tie, waistcoat the color of the Hanover Square hedges in bloom. The women murmured at me sweetly. The men displayed indifference.

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