Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.



Cover Image

RGL e-Book Cover

Ex Libris

As published in The Sydney Mail, 12 June 1929

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2020
Version Date: 2020-04-08
Produced by Terry Walker, Gary Meller and Roy Glashan

All original content added by RGL is protected by copyright.

Click here for more books by this author

YOU heard it whispered in travellers' clubs and on the verandahs of commercial hotels wherever you trailed a sample case between Sydney and Thursday Island. It was the kind of hush-hush affair that so often screens the reputation of a well-beloved friend or hostess.

There came a time, however, when details of the Yellow Ace mystery arrived at the desk of a certain Commissioner of Police. It look a whole year to separate what was yellow from the truth. And the C.O.P. got the shock of his life before he laid the mystery to rest. There are many who remember Paddy Duane's circus, wrecked in a memorable cyclone somewhere between Pitt- street and the Equator. For months afterwards children and men talked of the wind that had blown Winnie the elephant thirteen miles from the nearest post-office, and driven poor old Terry, the kangaroo, among the pearling luggers of a foreign community.

THE loss of the big tent was the last stroke in a succession of bitter misfortunes which had pursued Duane from Sydney to Pine Creek. He died at Darwin, leaving his daughter, Zora, with just enough money to cover funeral expenses. The fragrant loveliness of the little circus dancer had hitherto kept Duane's fortune from the low ebb which drought and shipping troubles had conspired to bring about. Her very name had filled the circus at a time when other travelling companies were humping it back to the railway.

A week after her father's death Zora was joined by her brother, Shan, whose fame as a card and dice expert was almost international. He was known to most of the shipping companies as the most persistent gambler on the coast. Shan built a charming house for the seventeen-year-old Zora, where the palms and magnolias sheltered it from the gaze of the town. One or two relics of the circus remained to fill Zora's heart, with the old yearning for the road. But these circus relics Shan kept apart from the luxurious surroundings he had chosen for his sad-eyed sister.

To the innocent Zora the house's one besetting sin lay in the fast and furious card parties that soon gathered within their fan-cooled salon. Always spotlessly attired, Shan appeared to attract merchants and rubber planters on their way to Sydney or the islands in the north. They preferred his cool rooms and gardens to the drink-sodden lounges of the local hotels.

Soon the fame of Zora Duane as a hostess and beauty was known to every white man south of the camphor-bell and the Sulu Sea. Travellers on their way to Sydney carried the news of Zora's social triumphs in the far north; they told of her brother Shan's unbounded hospitality, the wealth that spilled across his tables month in and out.

Of the men and women who visited the palm-screened house overlooking the bay, Zora recalled one young Sydneyite, Gale, who had played with her brother and lost three thousand pounds. It had all happened in a single night, and Gale had gone his way like one eased of an unpleasant load. Therein lay the spirit of the true gambler, she told herself, the gallant young gentleman of fortune who had kissed her hand at parting, leaving almost his last gold coin in Shan's iron safe. And there had been no crooked play on Shan's part; she had assured herself of that. Indeed, during a part of the play Gale's luck was phenomenal. But Shan had persisted, like the gamester he was, until the luck changed, and Gale went his way a beggar.

THE people of Darwin knew little of Frampton Gale. It was hinted that his father owned a cattle station somewhere in New South Wales. One old pearl buyer, who gambled nightly at the Duanes', had proof that the boy was in the Government service, and that the money he had lost had been taken from the Tax Commissioner's office. While Zora listened she believed nothing.

But from the day of Gale's departure the luck of her brother changed. He began to lose his money and his nerve. Evil reports of Shan blew along the Straits and Peninsula. Stories of foul play within the house were hinted at. It was stated openly that a rich American named Boomer had been badly handled within the house, had been put aboard an outgoing steamer in a crippled and almost unconscious condition. It was said that Shan and Boomer had fought in the garden after a quarrelsome game of poker. The American had tried to use a pistol, and Shan in self-defence had protested with a razor.

It was certain Boomer had won a considerable sum of money, for since his departure Shan had been borrowing from his visitors and selling his jewellery to raise funds. Zora was a lonely figure in those days, a girl-woman craving the society of her own sex, for, as the days passed and Shan's reputation as a man-handler increased, women visitors were few and far between.

Shan's habits disturbed and frightened her. For weeks she absented herself from the house, visiting Townsville and Brisbane in the hope of obtaining an engagement at one of the theatres. In Brisbane reports of Shan's doings at Darwin brought flashes of shame to her young cheeks. It was now hinted that unpleasant things always happened to the visitor who won money in his house.

'I don't believe a word of it,' a coasting skipper assured Zora. 'Shan's no saint. The people who play with him know that. But I'll never believe he raises his hand to a guest who happens to clean up the pool. All the same, little girl,' the old skipper added, patting her hand in a fatherly way, 'matters won't mend in Darwin if he's left to his own devices.'

AND so, while Zora was on her way back to Darwin, Frampton Gale had decided to again try his luck in the house of Shan Duane. Business carried him up and down the coast at certain times of the year. His heavy losses to Shan had in no way affected his first impression of the fragrant, childlike Zora. While he regretted the loss of three thousands pounds within the palm-sheltered gaming house he found it difficult to banish the memory of Shan's sister from his young mind. And the rumours of Shan's doings reached him at every port, had helped him to a final resolution to test the rumours and squeeze out the truth. And why hadn't the young mistress of the palm-screened homestead answered his letters? He had written twice.

Shan greeted him like a long-lost brother. And in their brief handshake Gale saw that the little gambler had changed. His eyes were sunken, restless; his clothes fitted him badly. But he talked incessantly.

'I miss Zora. I miss the cards. Since the war no one has any money.' He paused to cast a fleeting glance over Gale's tall, spick-and-span figure, the smiling, milk-white teeth, the lithe, muscle-packed shoulders.

'How well you are looking, Gale! You smell of Australian flowers and society,' he declared with affected gaiety.

Gale sprawled in a rattan chair on the verandah. Where was Zora? The night was blue at the length of one's arms. Around him breathed the unforgettable odours of wild lime and vanilla, frangipani and camphor laurel. Beyond the garden lay the straggling sandhills and tea-tree scrub. The smoky blue of the Gulf-waters was dotted with small craft and an occasional cargo tramp.

Gale noticed the absence of guests. Without Zora the place was a tomb. He fidgeted in his rattan chair. Shan explained that it was the off season in Darwin. Everyone had gone south to the Melbourne Cup, curse them, leaving him alone with a few beastly Chinks and trepang fishers. It was understood that Gale had returned for his revenge. That was only natural. All Australians were welcome to his house, Shan reiterated for the twentieth time as he strode up and down the lantern-lit verandah, his sunken eyes grown luminous at the prospect of play.

Gale smoked in silence, inhaling a well-remembered perfume that conjured up in his mind a slenderly lovely Madonna-eyed girl whose slow glances had tacitly warned him against her brother's play. He looked steadily at Shan, striding up and down in the lantern glow, his hair polished like patent leather, his pruned moustache that somehow resembled twin leeches on his lip. A funny little chap, Gale thought, spoilt by overindulgence and hopelessly unfit in spile of his alleged prowess as a man-handler and bully.

AFTER dinner they played poker in a wonderful room that overlooked the tropic gardens on the south side of the residency. The ceilings were of panelled mahogany, and the walls were covered with island curios and aboriginal relics, spears of the Arunti, by the dozen. Gale's eye measured everything from the spears and boomerangs above the portiere-hung exits to the trap- door cunningly inset within the panel directly above the broad teak mantel-board.

They played poker to the low strumming of a Chinese fiddle across the dunes. They played in a spirit of cheerful watchfulness, like two champions intent on discovering the strength of each other's pocket and mind. Gale drew a roll of Australian banknotes from his pocket. He placed them in a thick wad beside his elbow with a gesture of affirmation that was a challenge to the lynx-eyed Shan Duane across the table.

The little gambler smiled patronisingly as he plucked and smoothed the twin leeches on his upper lip.

'Your Sydney money is good to look at, Gale,' he drawled, slapping a pile of notes on the table. ''Only please understand,' he added with princely concern, 'there is no limit at this table. I go up as high as—'

'Blazes,' Gale chuckled, staring at the three aces he held in his hand. 'People who preach the no-limit gospel ought, to say their prayers a bit oftener.'

Gale felt that this leech-lipped young gambler might not be proof against a little timely bluffing. If he could shake his nerve a bit things might happen. And the three aces he held would support all the bluff he had to spare.

A sudden grin creased Shan Duane's face, the grin of the player intent on killing.

'My dear Gale, I will begin by handing you a little one on the neck for five hundred pounds! And I make no prayer.'

Gale whistled and sat tight in his seat. 'You'll need the luck of a fat Chinaman to get away with this lot,' he declared banteringly. 'Give me one card,' he said.

'Same for me,' Shan purred. They drew, and to his own sharp amazement Gale discovered he had drawn an ace, making four in all. Whatever doubts he had hitherto entertained concerning Shan's ability to cheat or shark at the game were instantly dissipated. Or was it that the spieler had lost his skill?

The slight twinge of Shan's lip as he stared at his own draw satisfied Gale that no such luck had attended his experiment.

'I'm in for my last pound,' he intimated cheerfully to the dark-faced brother of Zora opposite. He pushed his money across the table, two thousand in all.

'Come along and be eaten, or fold up with a smile,' he challenged.

IT was the briefest game Gale had ever played. Shan eventually revealed a pair of queens, two small clubs, and a seven of diamonds. Gale collected his winnings with the celerity of a bank cashier. There had been no need to call Shan's bluff in this game of draw poker with four aces in his hand. But he had a purpose to serve, and he was well aware that his host was on the verge of bankruptcy.

The black leeches on Duane's lips seemed to bristle in Gale's direction. His eyes became slits of fire as he scrutinised the backs of the cards which his visitor had thought fit to bring with him.

He looked up a Gale, after a silence that, seemed to press upon both their nerves. A sudden wan smile touched his lips, the smile of one grown wiser than the centuries.

'You will pardon me, Gale, for not continuing this delightful play. You are tired after your long journey. And, to be quite frank with you, my health is not what one could expect. My servant will attend your needs,' he said, rising from the table. He halted near the portiere-covered exit, the crucified smile still on his lips.

'I congratulate you on your winnings. May you live to enjoy them,' he added, backing away down the passage.

A STRANGE silence enveloped the house. The croaking of frogs in the swamps came with startling clearness. He caught the soft sound of a door opening at the end of the bottle-necked passage on his left. Shan's voice was heard addressing someone in the darkness of the grounds. Gale tiptoed towards the passage. He heard his own name mentioned amid a torrent, of imprecations. Shan was explaining the cause of his ill-luck.

'This Sydney bird! Four aces! And I sit pat like a fat pigeon waiting to be killed! I am sick of these big town crooks. This kid Gale has been studying the tricks and passes. Four aces! By the holy, I'll give him the other ace—the yellow one!'

Followed the scraping sound of a door being jerked open. A moment or two later the thump-thump of padded feet, was audible on the teak floor of the passage.

In the snap of a word a furious change came upon the house. It was as though a quick shift of wind had come into a quietly breathing grove, scattering leaves and dust about the sleepers in the chairs. Gale almost vaulted from his seat at the table, his muscles responding to a subconscious sense of deadly peril. He turned to the portiere to meet the owner of the thumping feet. It was a beaded portiere that clicked and rustled at every touch of a passing shape.

A head came through the beads, a pair of yellow eyes that flared above the spotted shoulders of a full-grown leopard.

For a fraction of time the beast stared at Gale, very much as a bloodhound faces a stranger standing in its path. In that split second Gale's glance fastened on the trap-door in the panel of the ceiling above the broad mantel-board. In the snatch of a breath he had gained the mantel, his hands shooting up to the mahogany panel in his desperate conviction that the trap was bolted on the other side. All the evening his eyes had centred on this particular panel that appeared to serve a very definite purpose.

It opened at the first thrust of his hands at the moment the leopard bounded across the room. The searching claws ripped over his shoes as he swung up through the aperture. The great fangs clashed; a low, sobbing snarl turned to thunder between the wooden walls of the long room. The huge cat-hound reached upward to the mantel with its searching claws, leaped and fell back with an angry purr.

Gale closed the trap-door swiftly, cast a hurried glance round the apartment in which he found himself. It covered the whole length of the big room below, but was destitute of furniture except for a few lengths of tapestry trailing from the bare walls. From a heavy beam in the roof hung a brass oil-lamp. The windows were barred. At the far end of the room was a door that led, no doubt, to the downstairs region of the big house.

Gale shrugged his supple shoulders as he returned to the trap- door in the ceiling. Opening it cautiously he peered down, and saw that the room was in darkness. The standard bronze lamp which stood near the mantel had been overturned. Miraculously it had not caught fire. Across the darkness of the room the two flaming eyeballs seemed to leap and crouch by turns, as though seeking an exit. A low, coughing snarl greeted the opening of the trap-door. Again the leopard stood, man-like, against the mantel, leaped up, and remained on the broad ledge within a few feet of the opening. For several moments it remained thus, its catlike body bristling with hate as it watched each movement of Gale through the square aperture.

So... this was Shan's way with guests who won heavily at cards! Gale had known of crimp houses in Saigon and Sarawak where sailormen were drugged and robbed before being thrown into the river. But to uncage a ferocious jungle-cat and allow it to pounce into a drawing-room seemed a new way of obliterating visitors who broke the bank.

And just here Gale awoke to the fact that he had left his paper money on the table below. It was pretty certain that Shan or the old circus animal's keeper would enter the room shortly and pick up the money.

Gale smiled grimly as he followed the movements of the big cat below. It had bounded from the mantel board and was squatting near the chair he had just vacated. For a heart-breathing space he fingered the big automatic pistol in his side-pocket. It was an efficient weapon, capable of stopping a dozen oncoming assailants in as many seconds. Yet for the moment he was reluctant to start firing shots in the house filled with memories of the absent Zora.

There was nothing desperate in the situation, he told himself. For the moment the possible loss of the money below did not worry him. His thoughts strayed round the girl who had spent happy days within this fragrant homestead. Yes.... she had found the place intolerable!

Gale allowed the trap-door to fall back into place. From the passage outside the room in which he stood came quick steps and the sound of voices. Afar off, across the bay, a steamer's siren whined drearily. Gale waited for the door of the apartment to open. The voices passed on and died away in the maze of passages that intersected the upper regions of the big house. A red moon showed through the barred window at his elbow.

The eerie fluting of a dingo across the scrub filled the hot, windless silence of the night. Below him he heard the soft racketing of chairs and tables as the impatient circus leopard moved from corner to corner. Then he saw the door open softly within a few feet of where he was standing in the overhead room. The shiny, patent-leather hair of Shan shone under the glow of the lamp. He entered like a shadow and slipped towards the trap- door.

Gale was standing flat against a piece of tapestry that draped the angle in the wall. In his fierce haste to learn what was happening in the room below Shan had eyes only for the trap-door. He raised it with shaking hands and looked down. In the moonlight that penetrated the verandah window's below he saw only the yellow head and flaring eyes of the jungle-cat as it sniffed and padded up and down the spacious apartment.

By all the rules of the game Gale should have been heard struggling with the quick-shifting leopard. Some instinct brought his glance across the empty apartment where he crouched beside the trap opening. The cold, flat face of Gale's automatic looked at him from the angle in the wall.

Shan's teeth snapped over an oath. There was no mistaking Gale's pose or the film of rage that blanched his eyes.

'A good game, Shan Duane,' he said frostily. 'That yellow ace downstairs is evidently your trump card. The time has arrived to line your coffin with the creature's skin.'

Shan Duane remained rooted by the open trap-door, the leer of the beaten gambler on his pasty lips. He spoke with an effort.

'You have the devil's luck, Gale. A fool left this panel unbolted. You and your four aces!' he sneered.

'Well, you kept a yellow one for me, Duane,' Gale confessed sadly. 'I'm willing to bet a level five hundred you employ a native keeper to handle that spotted card below.'

Shan merely grinned at the implication; but the grin vanished at Gale's next words. He huddled back from the flat face of the automatic.

'You'll skip down through that trap hole now, Shan Duane, and bring the stakes from the table, every dollar and pound!'

With scarcely an effort Gale gripped him by the collar of his evening jacket and thrust him through the open panel in the floor. Shan struggled violently to prevent himself falling on to the head of the prowling animal below.

'Mercy... Gale,' he chattered, clinging frantically to the edge of the trap. 'I'll get the money—every dollar and pound. Only... this hell beast, does not know me too well.'

'Good!' Gale laughed, still holding him by the shoulder. 'Do it your own way, but get my money off the table.'

Shan slithered to the broad mantel below, where several long- bladed fishing spears were hung with other native weapons. Balancing his slim form on the mantel, he grasped the handiest spear, poised it dexterously, for an instant, and then stabbed down at the pack of banknotes on the table. It was a clever thrust, and revealed Shan's skill in reaching for money with a spear. The barbed point penetrated the bundle of paper, leaving only a few notes behind. Drawing in the spear gingerly, he passed up the money to the waiting Gale. The remaining notes were quickly pinned by the spear, while the leopard slunk suspiciously across the room, its flaming eyes following each movement of the spear blade.

Shan Duane was evidently taking no chances with the animal that he kept exclusively for his guests. Regaining the room above, he grinned like one who had accomplished a notable deed.

'You will go your way now, Gale,' he suggested cheerfully. 'Like good gamblers let us part and forget. It has been a most enjoyable evening,' he giggled nervously. 'You have all the tricks; so let us part in peace.'

Gale shrugged. He was thinking of the wistful-eyed Zora Duane and the real cause of her absence from Darwin.

'Tell me, Shan, the name of the man who manages this yellow ace of yours,' he asked shortly.

Shan lit a cigarette and sat cross-legged on the floor beside the open trap-door.

'A half-caste named Marul; one of Dad's tamers. He's a bit of a Malay. Zora kept him on. It was Marul who said that Boomer, the American, was a crook, and that others like him came to the house to drink our wine and run away with the bank.'

Gale eyed him closely. In the past Shan had kept open house for all and sundry whites who cared to talk local politics and cards from midnight till dawn. There was no doubt that Shan had gambled away a colossal fortune. He sighed again as he recalled the unprotected girl child and her dislike of Shan's nightly parties.

'So Marul suggested playing the yellow ace on to the crooks who got into your house?' he said with a smile, 'Just like a Malay.'

'It happened without thought, my dear Gale. This Boomer had the fingers of a musician at cards. He beat the bank in two sittings. He took all our savings, mine and my sister's. We knew he was cheating when he began to play with his revolver beside him. His pockets were filled with gold and notes. He sat like a big thief over his plunder, shaking his gun at the house, so to speak. He sat all night waiting for the steamer to come and take him to Singapore.'

Gale nodded and smiled.

'Well, we sat and waited with him,' Shan went on, the smoke from his cigarette oozing from his red lips. 'You know how the poor loser sits and waits. I found comfort in the sight of the money this fat crook had taken from me. Then I saw the face of Marul peeping and beckoning me from the passage. A good fellow, Marul. He does not like to see money go out of the house. With his big eyes Marul told me to get out of the room, quick. I made an excuse to Boomer and got out.

'And just in time, my dear Gale. I heard the cage of the leopard's house open. I saw Marul with his whip drive the creature slap down the passage and into the room where Boomer was sitting with his fists and his gun on top of the money.

'The leopard pulled him out of his chair with the money on top of him—four thousand pounds in paper and gold, my dear Gale. And if Boomer had been Dempsey if would have been just the same, Gale. No man can fight even his own weight in leopards.' Shan grinned. 'Two hundred pounds' worth of my furniture was smashed in the scrap. Boomer tried to pick up his pistol, but the yellow ace got hold of his wrist, and pulled him up and down the room.'

'And you?'

'I could not let the ace kill Boomer. I called in Marul and he beat the animal back to its cage in the shelter house among the lumber and canvas.'

'That's all you could do for Boomer,' Gale said absently.

'We gave him another suit of clothes and his fare to Singapore,' Shan stated solemnly. 'And Boomer boomed to other gaming houses where the yellow ace does not jump on the table to eat the cheat.'

Gale stepped to the door of the apartment and beckoned Shan. 'I'm sorry, Duane, but you're not fit at present to be left in this residency. You'll have to come with me.'

A sudden light came into Duane's eyes. He was about to speak, but checked himself. With scarcely a protest he followed Gale to the garden and out into the road, where the tall palms made an avenue to the exit. Shan walked steadily now, his cigarette glowing in the shadow of the palms.

'I am not sorry to go with you, Gale,' he confessed at last. 'I was alone in the big house with Marul. Being Malay he is not good company after a night of arrak. He is drunk now.'

Gale halted a moment to look back at the house. It was bathed in shadow; only a few crumbs of light showed through the barred window. Gale was certain that there was movement in the bamboo grass on his left. Shan's fingers trembled as he sought to light another cigarette.

'The game is not over,' he declared hoarsely. 'Marul is dealing another hand.' His fingers touched Gale's sleeve apprehensively. 'The ace will not be beaten. It is coming! May the devil take Marul and his trick leopard!'

Gale whirled in the track to the velvet palm shadows that skirted the approach to the house. It came with a living howl from the tree-clump on his right. The swiftness of the animal's attack amazed Gale. It was Shan that stood in its way. Before Gale could use his automatic the two went down together in a clawing bundle of howls and oaths. One moment the beast was astride Duane; the next saw the diminutive brother of Zora astride the fighting, spluttering jungle-cat, his knife driving with lightning strokes into its ribs and heart. A couple of shots from Gale's automatic ended the scrimmage. The leopard rolled away and lay slid in the track. Shan remained on his knees dazed, and wiping the blood from his hands and face.

Gale knelt beside him solicitously. 'You're badly clawed, Duane. I'm sorry.'

'A good game and a good fighting ace,' Shan choked inaudibly as he collapsed in Gale's arms.

Out of the darkness of the quayside, where a steamer had just moored alongside, a slim shape came swiftly in the direction of the house. Gale remained undecided for a moment. He glanced up as the footsteps drew nearer, his breath sharpening at sight of the newcomer.

Zora Duane halted beside them, a cry of pain escaping her at sight of Shan and the dead leopard in the path. Gale swallowed a lump in his throat.

'Shan is hurt,' he explained hastily. 'I was taking him to the steamer, but Marul intervened by sending the big cat after us.'

Zora stooped near her brother, and at sight of the ugly claw marks and bloodstains on his face cried out in her misery. Gale held her for a breath-giving instant in his arms, while the fragrance of her girlhood touched him like an opiate.

'We'll go back to the house. Miss Duane,' he said with difficulty. 'My plans are subject to alteration.'

She met his swift glance and was silent. Gale raised Shan in his arms and walked steadily back to the palm-skirted dwelling. At the open gate he paused uncertainly at the thought of Marul and a fresh onslaught from some other animal in his keeping, a python or pest from the old travelling menagerie, maybe.

Nothing happened as they entered the house. Shan was placed on a couch in his own room. In a little while, with the help of Zora, antiseptics and bandages were applied to the little gambler's wounds. They were not serious. Gale turned suddenly from the quietly breathing Shan to a fresh contemplation of the ashen-lipped girl beside the couch. She averted her eyes like one who had tasted of misery and despair in the last months of her brother's gambling orgies.

'You came back for your revenge,' she said, speaking for the first time, a tiny humorous smile hovering on her lips. 'In this town one never knows the real strength of an opponent's hand. Dad's untamable leopard, too!'

Gale was standing beside the couch.

He drew a number of bills from his pocket and placed them beside the patient's head. Then he stepped to the passage, beckoning her gently.

She followed, knowing what was in his mind. 'You know why I came?'

There was a soft challenge in his voice.

Zora Duane glanced up at his tall figure, the face that was saddle-tanned and very serious now.

'I know you are the son of a chief commissioner of police,' she answered fearlessly. 'You came to arrest Shan on the strength of reports that have reached headquarters. Am I right?'

He shrugged.

'After Boomer had stirred up the consulates I came along with my own pack of cards, all nicely marked, to see what would happen when Shan Duane got properly fleeced.'

'And you will arrest him when he is better?'

'I would if he had cheated. Seems to me the real crooks and spielers have cleaned him out. He's just a saloon punter depending on runs of luck,' he told her quietly. 'He won lots of money on the steamers.'

Zora demurred. Gale shrugged. 'He has never tried to cheat me, anyway, Miss Duane. He could manipulate a pack; what need for the spotted ace of Marul's?'

FAINT tints stole across the east. The steamer at the pier was preparing to cast off at dawn. Gale shook himself uneasily as he took in the strange loveliness of the young circus dancer's features. He could not leave her alone in the house with Shan in his present condition. And Marul was at large.

She was studying his face, the lean, youthful poise of him, the very thoughts in his grey eyes.

'I'm scared of Marul returning,' she confessed with a sigh. 'I don't want him to find me here alone with Shan.'

'He won't,' Gale answered with sudden decision, as he dropped into a chair. 'I'll have to see you through, Miss Duane.'

The shadow vanished from Zora's eyes. In a moment she had put, aside her light travelling coat and donned her pretty pink overalls. He stared in amaze.

'What are you going to do?' he asked.

'Me?' She laughed softly and ran to the door. 'Getting breakfast for two. Then I'll round up my missing household. Please, Mr. Gale, make yourself at home in Darwin.'

Gale felt there would be no dereliction of duty if he followed her advice.


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.