opportunity to transfer by means of an
uninterrupted leap. Miss Basilio was, as I feared,
in no small trouble. The late Lady Gorey was set
upon her most violently. My sudden appearance
caused some confusion, and Miss Basilio
managed to affect her escape from the cab. If she
had only remained to help, we might together
have employed the bottle's mechanism right then,
but I suppose it cannot be comforting to be the
intended subject of a murder.
I had just managed to fish the bottle from my
reticule when the late Lady Gorey, having realized I
was not Miss Basilio, made her escape from the cab.
I released the bottle with a sigh and followed
after her yet again. This time, the late Lady Gorey
had tracked her intended victim into an alleyway.
It was perfect—Miss Basilio was trapped in a
corner between two houses, and the ghost was too
focused on her to notice me. I readied the bottle
with the one hand. And right at that most delicate
moment, I heard a voice behind me.
"Oh, hello, there! Still all right, are you? No
further mishaps with the cabs?"
The late Lady Gorey turned, and the infuriating
gentleman tipped his hat cheerily to the ghost
and Miss Basilio as he continued down the street.
"Ladies. I hope you are having a pleasant evening."
I am sure it was by pure accident that he had
their titles correct.
Miss Basilio seized the opportunity to flee,
and as the late Lady Gorey pursued her, I was
knocked down and the bottle flew from my hand,
rolling, unbroken, to the gentleman. The gentleman turned at the resulting noise to find me seated ingloriously on the ground.
"Oh, you’ve fallen over. Please allow me,” he
said, holding out his hand. I could not, in all
politeness, refuse it.
Once I was again on my feet, we both bent to
retrieve the bottle, and his absurdly large top hat
knocked my own trim hat askew. "Will you please
stop interfering in my business," I implored,
immeasurably annoyed. "That lady is in danger; I
must go after her!"
His shocked exclamation gave me reason to
hope he would leave me alone, but as I dashed up
the street, he persisted in keeping pace with me. I
could find no argument that would aid me in his
At the end of the street, I found the late Lady
Gorey just disappearing into a building, windows
lined with balconies. So, with no time to discover
what sort of establishment this was, I followed
her up the inside stairs. The persistent gentleman
at my side offered, with every step, to aid me in
carrying my bottle.
At the upper landing, Miss Basilio rushed into
a room with the late Lady Gorey in close pursuit.
As I reached the door, it slammed in my face,
and the locking mechanism activated. I whirled,
colliding with the gentleman. (Merciful heavens,
why DO they make gentlemen so tall and so
solid!?) Collecting myself quickly, I managed to
successfully enter the room next door.
As I remembered from my brief glance at the
outside, the rooms all had balconies. I threw open
the doors to mine just in time to see the late Lady
Gorey pushing Miss Basilio outside of theirs. She
had her quite corporeal hands locked around Miss
I climbed the balcony rail. I was not wearing the
proper shoes for this activity, but I had the situation
under complete control nonetheless. Almost dropping the bottle is not the same as actually dropping
it, and though my hand slipped, I did not actually
fall. There was no cause for the gentlemen to once
again put his hands upon my person.
"I cannot permit a lady to surmount a balcony
without supervision," he said, quite as if his whole
upbringing had been centered around preventing
ladies from surmounting balconies. Perhaps it
was. Some gentlemen cannot think a lady capable