A knot of the idle curious pressed around the ropes. Inside the shut-off area a stretch of bomb-racked street back of Victoria Station, Londongrotesque figures moved about: men dressed like sailors out in some supernatural storm, in great shiny capes, voluminous shiny trousers, boots, gloves, masks, helmets.
A loudspeaker on a truck said in sternest tones: "When I shout the word, everyone, including the press, must put on his mask."
Then the loudspeaker roared the word: "GAS!"
The weirdly dressed people inside the ropes began running about like characters in a dream....