“I’ll take that,” he said, “only I wish it were one with the regular reddish-brown lump in it.”
“Oh, but, honorable sir,” apologized Sato, “the Japanese law prohibits that, now. There are few of those, and they are very valuable.”
“I suppose so,” agreed Craig. “This will do, though. You have a wonderful shop here, Sato. Some time, when I feel richer, I mean to come in again. No, thank you, you need not send them; I’ll carry them.”
We bowed ourselves out, promising to come again when Sato received a new consignment from the Orient which he was expecting.
“That other Jap is a peculiar fellow,” I observed, as we walked along uptown again.
“He isn’t a Jap,” remarked Craig. “He is an Ainu, one of the aborigines who have been driven northward into the island of Yezo.”
“An Ainu?” I repeated.
“Yes. Generally thought, now, to be a white race and nearer of kin to Europeans than Asiatics. The Japanese have pushed them northward and are now trying to civilize them. They are a dirty, hairy race, but when they are brought under civilizing influences they adapt themselves to their environment and make very good servants. Still, they are on about the lowest scale of humanity.”
“I thought Otaka was very mild,” I commented.
“They are a most inoffensive and peaceable people usually,” he answered, “good-natured and amenable to authority. But they become dangerous when driven to despair by cruel treatment. The Japanese government is very considerate of them—but not all Japanese are.”
THE ARROW POISON
Far into the night Craig was engaged in some very delicate and minute microscopic work in the laboratory.
We were about to leave when there was a gentle tap on the door. Kennedy opened it and admitted a young man, the operative of the detective agency who had been shadowing Bernardo. His report was very brief, but, to me at least, significant. Bernardo, on his return to the museum, had evidently read the letter, which had agitated him very much, for a few moments later he hurriedly left and went downtown to the Prince Henry Hotel. The operative had casually edged up to the desk and overheard whom he asked for. It was Senora Herreria. Once again, later in the evening, he had asked for her, but she was still out.
It was quite early the next morning, when Kennedy had resumed his careful microscopic work, that the telephone bell rang, and he answered it mechanically. But a moment later a look of intense surprise crossed his face.
“It was from Doctor Leslie,” he announced, hanging up the receiver quickly. “He has a most peculiar case which he wants me to see—a woman.”
Kennedy called a cab, and, at a furious pace, we dashed across the city and down to the Metropolitan Hospital, where Doctor Leslie was waiting. He met us eagerly and conducted us to a little room where, lying motionless on a bed, was a woman.