Tales of Chinatown eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about Tales of Chinatown.

Kerry gave one glance at the pair, then, instantly, he turned to face Zani Chada.  The latter, like a man of stone, sat in his carved chair, eyes nearly closed.  The Chief Inspector whipped out a whistle and raised it to his lips.  He blew three blasts upon it.

From one—­two—­three—­four points around the house the signal was answered.

Zani Chada fully opened his long, basilisk eyes.

“You win, Chief Inspector,” he said.   “But much may be done by
clever counsel.   If all fails------”

“Well?” rapped Kerry fiercely, at the same time throwing his arm around the boy.

“I may continue to take an interest in your affairs.”

A tremendous uproar arose, within and without the house.  The police were raiding the place.  Lady Rourke sank down, slowly, almost at the Eurasian’s feet.

But Chief Inspector Kerry experienced an unfamiliar chill as his uncompromising stare met the cold hatred which blazed out of the black eyes, narrowed, now, and serpentine, of Zani Chada.

THE PIGTAIL OF HI WING HO

I

HOW I OBTAINED IT

Leaving the dock gates behind me I tramped through the steady drizzle, going parallel with the river and making for the Chinese quarter.  The hour was about half-past eleven on one of those September nights when, in such a locality as this, a stifling quality seems to enter the atmosphere, rendering it all but unbreathable.  A mist floated over the river, and it was difficult to say if the rain was still falling, indeed, or if the ample moisture upon my garments was traceable only to the fog.  Sounds were muffled, lights dimmed, and the frequent hooting of sirens from the river added another touch of weirdness to the scene.

Even when the peculiar duties of my friend, Paul Harley, called him away from England, the lure of this miniature Orient which I had first explored under his guidance, often called me from my chambers.  In the house with the two doors in Wade Street, Limehouse, I would discard the armour of respectability, and, dressed in a manner unlikely to provoke comment in dockland, would haunt those dreary ways sometimes from midnight until close upon dawn.  Yet, well as I knew the district and the strange and often dangerous creatures lurking in its many burrows, I experienced a chill partly physical and partly of apprehension to-night; indeed, strange though it may sound, I hastened my footsteps in order the sooner to reach the low den for which I was bound—­Malay Jack’s—­a spot marked plainly on the crimes-map and which few respectable travellers would have regarded as a haven of refuge.

But the chill of the adjacent river, and some quality of utter desolation which seemed to emanate from the deserted wharves and ramshackle buildings about me, were driving me thither now; for I knew that human companionship, of a sort, and a glass of good liquor—­from a store which the Customs would have been happy to locate—­awaited me there.  I might chance, too, upon Durham or Wessex, of New Scotland Yard, both good friends of mine, or even upon the Terror of Chinatown, Chief Inspector Kerry, a man for whom I had an esteem which none of his ungracious manners could diminish.

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Tales of Chinatown from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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