But if Banker had been astonished by Mok, he was utterly amazed and confounded when, some five minutes later, the door of the brasserie was suddenly opened, and another of the slaves of the Rackbirds, with whose face he was also perfectly familiar, hurriedly entered.
Cheditafa, who had been sent on an errand that evening, had missed Mok on his return. Ralph was away in Brussels with the professor, so that his valet, having most of his time on his hands, had thought to take a holiday during Cheditafa’s absence, and had slipped off to the Black Cat, whose pleasures he had surreptitiously enjoyed before, but never to such an extent as on this occasion. Cheditafa knew he had been there, and when he started out to look for him, it was to the Black Cat that he went first.
Before he had quite reached the door, Cheditafa had been shocked and angered to hear his favorite hymn sung in a beer-shop by that reprobate and incompetent Mok, and he had rushed in, and in a minute seized the blatant vocalist by the collar, and ordered him instantly to shut his mouth and pay his reckoning. Then, in spite of the shouts of disapprobation which arose on every side, he led away the negro as if he had been a captured dog with his tail between his legs.
Mok could easily have thrown Cheditafa across the street, but his respect and reverence for his elder and superior were so great that he obeyed his commands without a word of remonstrance.
Now up sprang Banker, who was in such a hurry to go that he forgot to pay for his beer, and when he performed this duty, after having been abruptly reminded of it by a waiter, he was almost too late to follow the two black men, but not quite too late. He was an adept in the tracking of his fellow-beings, and it was not long before he was quietly following Mok and Cheditafa, keeping at some distance behind them, but never allowing them to get out of his sight.
In the course of a moderate walk he saw them enter the Hotel Grenade. This satisfied the wandering Rackbird. If the negroes went into that hotel at that time of night, they must live there, and he could suspend operations until morning.
MR. BANKER’S SPECULATION
That night Banker was greatly disturbed by surmises and conjectures concerning the presence of the two negroes in the French capital. He knew Cheditafa quite as well as he knew Mok, and it was impossible that he should be mistaken. It is seldom that any one sees a native African in Paris, and he was positive that the men he had seen, dressed in expensive garments, enjoying themselves like gentlemen of leisure, and living at a grand hotel, were the same negroes he had last seen in rags and shreds, lodged in a cave in the side of a precipice, toiling and shuddering under the commands of a set of desperadoes on a desert coast in South America. There was only one way