The sign itself must have been very slight for none of the cavaliers perceived it certainly no actual word of command had been spoken, but the next moment within thirty seconds of Walterton's defiant speech, the room itself, the doorway and apparently the landing and staircase too, were filled with men, each one attired in scarlet and yellow, all wearing leather doublets and steel caps, and all armed with musketoons which they were even now pointing straight at the serried ranks of the surprised and wholly unprepared gamesters.

"Ye cannot stop play so abruptly, master," said Segrave, whose eyes shone with an unnatural glitter, and whose cheeks were covered with a hectic flush, "ye cannot leave us all in the lurch." "Nay, I doubt not, my young friend," quoth Endicott gruffly, "that you would wish to play all night.... You have won all my money and Lord Walterton's, too."

In the hubbub which immediately followed Lord Walterton's tirade, Editha de Chavasse beckoned to the florid woman who seemed to be her henchwoman and drew her aside to a distant corner of the room, where there were no tables nigh and where the now subdued hum of the voices, mingling with the sound of music on virginal and stringed instruments, made a murmuring noise which effectually drowned the talk between the two women.

The women were still in the background well protected by a phalanx of resolute defenders who, encouraged by the captain's silence and Walterton's haughty attitude, were prepared to force the patrol of police to beat a hasty retreat.