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curse he sprang forward. A glance at the faces of the men who stood watching told him what he wanted to know, and with another oath his hand went to his pocket.

"Take your hand out, Carl Peterson." Drummond's voice rang through the room, and the arch-criminal, looking sullenly up, found himself staring into the muzzle of a revolver. "Now, sit down at the table—all of you. The meeting is about to commence."

"Look here," blustered Crofter, "I'll have the law on you…."

"By all manner of means, Mr. John Crofter, consummate blackguard," answered Hugh calmly. "But that comes afterwards. Just now—sit down."

"I'm damned if I will," roared the other, springing at the soldier. And Peterson, sitting sullenly at the table trying to readjust his thoughts to the sudden blinding certainty that through some extraordinary accident everything had miscarried, never stirred as a half-stunned Member of Parliament crashed to the floor beside him.

"Sit down, I said," remarked Drummond affably. "But if you prefer to lie down, it's all the same to me. Are there any more to come, Peterson?"

"No, damn you. Get it over!"

"Right! Throw your gun on the floor." Drummond picked the weapon up and put it in his pocket; then he rang the bell. "I had hoped," he murmured, "for a larger gathering, but one cannot have everything, can one, Mr. Monumental Ass?"

But Vallance Nestor was far too frightened to resent the insult; he could only stare foolishly at the soldier,