The Lobby

Two well-dressed gentlemen, one still wearing a rain-soaked greatcoat, met by the door of a small, quiet room with velvet-clad benches and two chandeliers.

"So glad you could make it," Sir Thomas Danbury asserted, shaking Mr. Horatius Gilby's hand vigorously.

"Of course, of course," the renowned spiritualist replied, "and yourself as well. Now where are the others? If we don't have a look about soon, the Museum will be closed again before we're half finished with the exhibits, and considering the distance, that would be most inopportune. Ah, here we are."

"So sorry I'm late," Mr. Edwin Flowers gasped, joining them as he wrung water from his cap. "We were caught in the rain." Miss Alma Sunnington smiled shyly in agreement, clearly quite embarrassed, and said nothing; but the others quickly assured them that they were not the last to arrive, nor indeed so unforgivably behind schedule as all that.

Eventually, as they were beginning to grow impatient, the last of the group made her entrance: Madame Genevieve Vereaux, resplendent in scarves and piled lace (most unsuited to the weather, though her decorative umbrella must have offered some small protection), trailed by the scent of lavender. "Ah, you're here already. I hope you weren't waiting for me!" She laughed, and they had to laugh as well, for what was to be done with such a woman as her?

"Well, that's all of us, then," stated Sir Thomas once the laughter had died down. "Let's have a go at this Museum, shall we, and see whether it does indeed inspire us to great things."

"In truth, an afternoon's diversion should prove sufficient," Madame Vereaux smiled. "But to each his own. The South Wing to start, is it?"

"Quite so."