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Cynthia laughed a little hopelessly. "It's dreadful," she said. "I have had no table-cloth laid, it is useless. But the table itself is clean, and that is something. I don't think London will ever be perfectly clean again." The reek was still upon the great city, the taint of it hung upon the air. By one o'clock it had ceased raining and the sky cleared. A startled sun looked down on strange things. There was a curious thickness about the trees in Regent's Park, they were as black as if they had been painted. The pavements were greasy and dangerous to pedestrians in a hurry. There was a certain jubilation still to be observed, but the black melancholy desolation was bound to depress the most exuberant spirits. For the last three days everything had been at a standstill. In the thickly populated districts the mortality amongst little children had been alarmingly high. Those who had any tendency to lung or throat or chest troubles died like flies before the first breath of frost. The evening papers, coming out as usual, a little late in the day, had many a gruesome story to tell. It was the harvest of the scare-line journalist, and he lost no chance. He scented his gloomy copy and tracked it down unerringly. Over two thousand childrenâ€”to say nothing of elderly peopleâ€”had died in the East End. The very small infants had had no chance at all. The Lord Mayor promptly started a Mansion House fund. There would be work and to spare presently. Meanwhile tons upon tons of machinery stood idle until it could be cleaned; all the trade of London was disorganised. The river and the docks had taken a dreadful toll. Scores of labourers and sailors, overtaken by the sudden scourge, had blundered into the water to be seen no more. The cutting off of the railways and other communications that brought London its daily bread had produced a temporary, but no less painful lack of provisions. "It's a lamentable state of things," Grimfern said moodily as the two trudged back to Regent's Park later in the evening. It was impossible to get a cab for the simple reason that there was not one in London fit to be used. "But I don't see how we are going to better it. We can dispel the fogs, but not before they have done terrible damage." "There is an easy way out of the difficulty," Eldred said quietly. The others turned eagerly to listen. As a rule Eldred did not speak until he had thought the matter deliberately out. "Abolish all fires throughout the Metropolitan area," he said. "In time it will have to be done. All London must warm itself and cook its food and drive all its machinery by electric power. Then it will be one of the healthiest towns in the universe. Everything done by electric power. No thousands of chimneys belching forth black poisonous smoke, but a clear, pure atmosphere. In towns like Brighton, where the local authorities have grappled the question in earnest, electric power is half the cost of gas. "If only London combined it would be less than that. No dirt, no dust, no smell, no smoke! The magnificent system at Brighton never cost the ratepayers anything, indeed a deal of the profit has gone to the relief of the local burdens. Perhaps this dire calamity will rouse London to a sense of its dangersâ€”but I doubt it." Eldred shook his head despondingly at the dark chaos of the park. Perhaps he was thinking of the victims that the disaster had claimed. The others had followed sadly, and Grimfern, leading the way into his house, banged the door on the darkening night. (Next month Mr. F. M. White will tell the story of a terrible London water famine, entitled "The River of Death.") THE DUST OF DEATH. The Story of the Great Plague of the Twentieth Century. The front door bell tinkled impatiently; evidently somebody was in a hurry. Alan Hubert answered the call, a thing that even a distinguished physician might do, seeing that it was on the stroke of midnight. The tall, graceful figure of a woman in evening dress stumbled into the hall. The diamonds in her hair shimmered and trembled, her face was full of terror. "You are Dr. Hubert," she gasped. "I am Mrs. Fillingham, the artist's wife, you know. Will you come with me at once.... My husband.... I had been dining out. In the studio.... Oh, please come!" Hubert asked no unnecessary questions. He knew Fillingham, the great portrait painter, well enough by repute and by sight also, for Fillingham's house and studio were close by. There were many artists in the Devonshire Park districtâ€”that pretty suburb which was one of the triumphs of the builder's and landscape gardener's art. Ten years ago it had been no more than a swamp; to-day people spoke complacently of the fact that they lived in Devonshire Park. Hubert walked up the drive and past the trim lawns with Mrs. Fillingham hanging on his arm, and in at the front door. Mrs. Fillingham pointed to a door on the right. She was too exhausted to speak. There were shaded lights gleaming everywhere, on old oak and armour and on a large portrait of a military-looking man propped up on an easel. On a lay figure was a magnificent foreign military uniform. Hubert caught all this in a quick mental flash. But the vital interest to him was a human figure lying on his back before the fireplace. The clean-shaven, sensitive face of the artist had a ghastly, purple-black tinge, there was a large swelling in the throat. "Heâ€”he is not dead?" Mrs. Fillingham asked in a frozen whisper. Hubert was able to satisfy the distracted wife on that head. Fillingham was still breathing. Hubert stripped the shade from a reading lamp and held the electric bulb at the end of its long flex above the sufferer's mouth, contriving to throw the flood of light upon the back of the throat. "Diphtheria!" he exclaimed. "Diphtheria!" he exclaimed. "Label's type unless I am greatly mistaken. Some authorities are disposed to scoff at Dr. Label's discovery. I was an assistant of his for four years and I know better. Fortunately I happen to know what the treatmentâ€”successful in two casesâ€”was." He hurried from the house and returned a few minutes later breathlessly. He had some strange-looking, needle-like instruments in his hands. He took an electric lamp from its socket and substituted a plug on a flex instead. Then he cleared a table without ceremony and managed to hoist his patient upon it.