The date when this story begins is a Saturday afternoon in June, 1900, about 3 p.m. The scene is the western room of a suite of offices on the fifth floor of a house in Chancery Lane, the offices of Fraser and Warren, Consultant Actuaries and Accountants. There is a long window facing west, the central part of which is open, affording a passage out on to a parapet. Through this window, and still better from the parapet outside, may be seen the picturesque spires and turrets of the Law Courts, a glimpse here and there of the mellow, red-brick, white-windowed houses of New Square, the tree-tops of Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the hint beyond a steepled and chimneyed horizon of the wooded heights of Highgate. All this outlook is flooded with the brilliant sunshine of June, scarcely dimmed by the city smoke and fumes.In the room itself there are on each of the tables vases of flowers and a bunch of dark red roses on the top of the many pigeon-holed bureau at which Vivien Warren is seated. The walls are mainly covered with book-shelves well filled with consultative works on many diverse subjects.
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