Subsubsection: Wednesday 21 May 1930 Up Subsection: 30 August 2016 (first meeting, and the death of Mrs Orr at the Europa) Subsubsection: Friday 23 May 1930 

Thursday 22 May 1930

The five women arrive during the early evening to find a light burning over the door, and (after mentioning the meeting to the woman at the till) are ushered upstairs; this isn’t a part of the shop, but even the stairs are being used for storing stock. The room upstairs clearly is too, but it has been somewhat tidied, and several chairs added. Two women are waiting: a tall, “mannish” woman in her early fifties, with a firm handshake, who introduces herself as Miss Allen; she’s wearing a police uniform, with trousers. The other looks a little younger and more conventional, though still in trousers; Miss Allen describes her as Miss Marsden, but she seems distracted.
Miss Allen is clearly somewhat embarrassed by the whole business, but explains that Miss Marsden has a talent for seeing things that aren’t there. She thought of it as nonsense, but it has been proved to her satisfaction. (Miss Marsden comments that she has been working for ten years on her magnum opus, and now sees that it is all nonsense.)
In any case, it seems that there are creatures which cannot be seen by most people, but which are not acting in the interests of good order; so a number of interested parties have commissioned Miss Allen to set up a new organisation, along the line of her Women’s Auxiliary Service [A]  [A] Which some of the group have heard of; it started during the Great War as the Women’s Police Volunteers, was officially shut down at the end of it but carried on regardless, and these days largely trains women for those police forces which accept them., to look into such matters as Miss Marsden dictates.
There will be no regular pay, but a daily stipend and expenses. (Miss Marsden comments that God is an invention of the self in its attempt to encompass the world and rule over it.)
Gertrude asks Miss Marsden about the nature of these phenomena, but gets the impression that Miss Marsden’s mind is very much on other things. (“They are the shape of God… only different.”) She is offered copies of the thick tomes The Definition of the Godhead and Mysteries of Christianity, but politely turns them down.
There’s one matter which could do with their attention: a Mrs Matilda Orr, barmaid at the Europa in Rotherhithe, died last week after an altercation at the pub. Miss Marsden talks about “the shine”; Miss Allen has got hold of a copy of the police report.
PC Pine was passing the pub and heard a serious disturbance, so entered to break it up. As soon as he blew his whistle the fight seemed to stop. Mrs Orr was unconscious on the floor; a doctor was called, who administered some treatment and had her taken home; she died the next day.
She was not visibly injured, nor was anything found at the post-mortem; given the lack of evidence, the death isn’t being investigated further.
Miss Allen agrees to try to arrange access to the body.
Since it’s only around 8.30, the group decides to go to Rotherhithe by taxi immediately. There’s a policeman standing outside the pub, being slightly subtle about the pint of beer he’s drinking, and Gertrude chats with him, distracting him while the others go in.
The pub goes quiet, then as Milly makes some friendly comments conversation resumes with a slight air of confusion. This is clearly a dockers’ pub, though a few professional ladies are eyeing up this new competition.
Milly talks with one of the dockers (politely turning down his commercial offer); he wasn’t here that night, and is still shocked at the loss of “Mattie”, who was the life of this place. She gets the address of her lodging.
She also spots a rather smudged glowing outline in not-light, roughly where Mattie’s body would have fallen. It’s quite faint, but looks roughly like the sort of imprint you’d get if someone had been beaten bloody and then fallen over.
She also speaks with the working girls, having established a lack of competition, and gets a description of the fight “coming out of nothing”. One of the men is known as Battling Tom Smith, a professional boxer and casual docker; she thinks these days he’s drinking at the Ship.
Bessie talks with the landlord, who’s clearly suspicious; she does a card trick to break the ice, flubs it completely, but this in itself convinces the man. He mentions that the four men who started the fight generally work and drink together; mostly recently they’ve been working at Russia Dock. They haven’t been seen in here since that night.
Lin Tan speaks with some Chinese-looking dockers (not from Hong Kong as she is, but speaking Cantonese); they were present, and saw the whole thing, a fight brewing up out of nowhere (with knives drawn straight away). Mattie moved in to try to break it up, there was some confusion, much of the rest of the pub joined in, and then the policeman entered and things broke up almost at once; the four who started it looked confused, and Mattie was on the floor.
Meanwhile, Gertrude has been getting PC Robert Pine’s life story, his ambitions to get married, and so on; his account matches the others’. (He’s not allowed to enter a public house unless there’s a serious disturbance going on; that’s why he’s patrolling past it, very slowly.)
The group heads back towards central London, Lin Tan going home by Underground, and the others returning by taxi; Audrey returns to her flat in Bloomsbury, while the others end the evening at Milly’s boarding house on the fringes of Soho.
 Subsubsection: Wednesday 21 May 1930 Up Subsection: 30 August 2016 (first meeting, and the death of Mrs Orr at the Europa) Subsubsection: Friday 23 May 1930