“Is it not? How small a place the world is. My old mandarin had traced the abductor and presumably the girl to some house which I gathered to be in the neighbourhood of Katong. In an attempt to force an entrance—doubtless with the amiable purpose of slaying them both—he had been detected by the prime object of his hatred. In hurriedly descending from a window he had been attacked by some weapon, possibly a sword, and had only made good his escape in the condition in which I found him. How far he had proceeded I cannot say, but I should imagine that the house to which he had been was no great distance from the spot where I found him.”
“Comment is really superfluous,” remarked Burton. “He was looking for Adderley.”
“I agree,” said Jennings.
“And,” I added, “it was evidently after this episode that I had the privilege of visiting that interesting establishment.”
There was a short interval of silence; then:
“You probably retain no very clear impression of the shadow which you saw,” said Dr. Matheson, with great deliberation. “At the time perhaps you had less occasion particularly to study it. But are you satisfied that it was really caused by someone moving behind the curtain?”
I considered his question for a few moments.
“I am not,” I confessed. “Your story, Doctor, makes me wonder whether it may not have been due to something else.”
“What else can it have been due to?” exclaimed Jennings contemptuously—“unless to the champagne?”
“I won’t quote Shakespeare,” said Dr. Matheson, smiling in his odd way. “The famous lines, though appropriate, are somewhat overworked. But I will quote Kipling: ’East is East, and West is West.’”
THE LADY OF KATONG
Fully six months had elapsed, and on returning from Singapore I had forgotten all about Adderley and the unsavoury stories connected with his reputation. Then, one evening as I was strolling aimlessly along St. James’s Street, wondering how I was going to kill time—for almost everyone I knew was out of town, including Paul Harley, and London can be infinitely more lonely under such conditions than any desert—I saw a thick-set figure approaching along the other side of the street.
The swing of the shoulders, the aggressive turn of the head, were vaguely familiar, and while I was searching my memory and endeavouring to obtain a view of the man’s face, he stared across in my direction.
It was Adderley.
He looked even more debauched than I remembered him, for whereas in Singapore he had had a tanned skin, now he looked unhealthily pallid and blotchy. He raised his hand, and:
“Knox!” he cried, and ran across to greet me.
His boisterous manner and a sort of coarse geniality which he possessed had made him popular with a certain set in former days, but I, who knew that this geniality was forced, and assumed to conceal a sort of appalling animalism, had never been deceived by it. Most people found Adderley out sooner or later, but I had detected the man’s true nature from the very beginning. His eyes alone were danger signals for any amateur psychologist. However, I greeted him civilly enough: