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Berkeley Gray Bibliography William Randell
NORMAN CONQUEST was in strange and unfamiliar surroundings. The shabby-genteel entrance lounge of Clement's Hotel, in Russell Square, was dim, highly respectable, and carried in its atmosphere the suggestion of a quiet cloister— one reason, perhaps, why this moderately-priced hotel was much favoured by the clergy. Conquest sat in one of the old-fashioned arm-chairs, smoking his second cigarette, and wondering if he was breaking some rule by smoking at all. The elderly, white-haired clerk behind the desk had more than once cast a disapproving—and even suspicious—glance in his direction. With the exception of these two the entrance lounge was empty, and had been in this condition ever since Conquest had entered, fifteen minutes earlier. The sepulchral gloom was beginning to depress him.
Certainly, Clement's Hotel was not the type of establishment usually favoured by the lithe-limbed athletic young adventurer, whose cheerful, carefree disposition was apt to select something more lively by way of surroundings. He was only there, in fact, because that delightful old friend of his, the Rev. Augustus Murray, of Steepleton Vicarage, Essex, had requested him to keep the appointment. The appointment, incidentally, had been for twelve-thirty, at which time Conquest had promptly arrived. The clock now stood at twelve-forty-five. Something had detained the reverend gentleman. Hence Norman's solitary vigil in this funeral parlour.
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