The White Moll HTML version
The Silver Sphinx
A Bedlam of noise smote Rhoda Gray's ears as she entered the Silver Sphinx. A jazz
band was in full swing; on the polished section of the floor in the center, a packed mass
of humanity swirled and gyrated and wriggled in the contortions of the "latest" dance,
and laughed and howled immoderately; and around the sides of the room, the waiters
rushed this way and that amongst the crowded tables, mopping at their faces with their
aprons. It seemed as though confusion itself held sway!
Rhoda Gray scanned the occupants of the tables. The Silver Sphinx was particularly
riotous to-night, wasn't it? Yes, she understood! A great many of the men were wearing
little badges. Some society or other was celebrating - and was doing it with abandon.
Most of the men were half drunk. It was certainly a free-and-easy night! Everything
Danglar! Yes, 'there he was - quite close to her, only a few tables away - and beside him
sat a heavy built, clean-shaven man of middle age. That would be Cloran, of course - the
man who was to have been lured to his death. And Danglar was nervous and uneasy, she
could see. His fingers were drumming a tattoo on the table; his eyes were roving furtively
about the room; and he did not seem to be paying any but the most distrait attention to his
companion, who was talking to him.
Rhoda Gray sank quickly into a vacant chair. Three men, linked arm in arm, and
decidedly more than a little drunk, were approaching her. She turned her head away to
avoid attracting their attention. It was too free and easy here to-night, and she began to
regret her temerity at having ventured inside; she would better, perhaps, have waited until
Danglar came out - only there were two exits, and she might have missed him - and...
A cold fear upon her, she shrank back in her chair. The three men had halted at the table,
and were clustered around her. They began a jocular quarrel amongst themselves as to
who should dance with her. Her heart was pounding. She stood up, and pushed them
"Oh, no, you don't!" hiccoughed one of the three. "Gotta see your - hic! - pretty face,
She put up her hands frantically and clutched at her veil - but just an instant too late to
save it from being wrenched aside. Wildly her eyes flew to Danglar. His attention had
been attracted by the scene. She saw him rise from his seat; she saw his eyes widen - and
then, stumbling over his chair in his haste, he made toward her. Danglar had recognized
the White Moll!
She turned and ran. Fear, horror, desperation, lent her strength. It was not like this that
she had counted on her reckoning with Danglar! She brushed the roisterers aside, and
darted for the door. Over her shoulder she glimpsed Danglar following her. She reached
the door, burst through a knot of people there, and, her torn veil clutched in her hand,