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Serialised in The Captain, #103-#108,
George Newnes Ltd., London, Oct 1907-Mar 1908

First book edition: Henry Frowde, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1911

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2021
Version Date: 2021-12-23
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Charles Gilson (1878-1943)

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Book Cover: "The Lost Island,"
Henry Frowde, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1911

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Dust Jacket: "The Lost Island,"
Henry Frowde, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1917 edition

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Title Page of "The Lost Island"

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The man who was to have summoned the East to arms rolled over upon his side.


"The Lost Island" was the first story I ever wrote. It appeared four years ago in serial form in The Captain, to the editor of which magazine I am indebted for my introduction into this particular field of literature, as well as for much encouragement and advice that did me good. The story, as it now stands, is revised and considerably enlarged.

I found, on sitting down to the task of revision, that in these four years I have learnt—not a great deal, perhaps,—but, at least, something concerning the use of my tools. That much was inevitable, and is so, in every case, with the man who sedulously follows a business that he loves. It is the same at school, with cricket and football, as well as irregular verbs; it is the same with a plumber, and also a writer of books. The precise length of time it takes to gain proficiency must be in inverse ratio to the love one has for one's work. And of this much we may be sure: that if a pleasant task is badly done, all we lack is experience which it is very easy to gain. —C.G.


Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVII
Chapter XXIX


Of The Daring Adventures Of Thomas Gaythorne
And Of The Origin Of The Secret Society Of Guatama's Eye

IN the same year that Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French, a party of Jesuit fathers set sail from Canton, and, at the imminent risk of falling a prey to the pirate junks which then cruised the Long River, penetrated into the heart of the province of Kwangsi. Thence, leaving the river valley, they proceeded on foot across the uplands of Nan-Ling, and came upon the great city of Chung-King, which stands at the head of the Yangtse rapids. From Chung-King they went north, as far as the Pe-Ling mountains; and then, turning to the west again, they crossed into the region of the great lakes of Amdoa, where at that time no white man had ever been.

Among this party was an Englishman, of the name of Thomas Gaythorne, who was no more a Jesuit father than his appearance warranted. He was a wrinkled, hardened, little man; old in face, but youthful in his limbs. He was dressed as a Chinese, and had grown such a pig-tail as became the envy of the villagers they passed upon the road. On this account he found no difficulty in passing himself off as a celestial: the more so since he could speak both the Cantonese and Mandarin dialects with equal fluency, besides having a remarkable knowledge of Sanscrit and many of the hidden languages of Central Asia.

The history of Thomas Gaythorne will never now be written. Had he lived, he perhaps might have written it himself, though it is more than likely he would not. For he was above all else a silent, undemonstrative man, who took more readily to action than to words. It was rumoured that he had crossed into China from Burmah; had journeyed to the very end of the Great Wall, and had even served with Chinese pirates on the Malay coast and against the Dyaks of Borneo. But how much of this is true no one will ever know. For, when he returned to England and married, he told his wife next to nothing; but remained seated at his fireside, with his thoughts on the other side of the world, and never a word upon his lips.

It is difficult to conceive why such a man married at all, and certain it is that his marriage met with but indifferent success. His life had been too full of wild adventure for him to become easily domesticated; and a feeling of restlessness took hold upon him, and in the end altogether got the better of his judgment. He disappeared in the night, before his son was ten months old, and shipped again to the China Seas, with no other luggage than a brace of pistols, which had lain in the drawer of his writing-desk, and a miniature painting of his wife.

He had not been long in Canton when he fell in with the Jesuit fathers, who were only too glad to avail themselves of his services. He guided them to the lower slopes of the Pe-Ling mountains, but then found himself in a land in which even he was a stranger, and they were forced to rely on the information of the inhabitants. They had reached the plateaux of Central Asia, a country of far-reaching plains, terminated by great blue mountain ranges.

Day after day the little party travelled on through this bleak and savage country, until finally they came upon a wide lake, surrounded by a forest of maple trees. Breaking through the forest, they discovered a ruined Joss-house, or Shama temple, on the shore. In the centre of the lake was an island upon which stood a Lama Monastery, four storeys high and solidly built of mountain stone, with a tall pagoda tower at its southern extremity.

Here the fathers decided to remain, taking up their headquarters at the Joss-house. The valley was to some extent cultivated, and more thickly populated than most of the surrounding country. The inhabitants appeared quite friendly; and the Jesuits immediately set about preaching their gospel and exploring the district, of which they made those excellent maps upon which the Royal Geographical Society relies to-day.

They even gained the good-will of the lamas themselves, who frequently came across from the island to visit them. It was by Gaythorne that the monks were chiefly attracted; they marvelled at his knowledge, and would remain for hours seated around the little Englishman, while he enlightened them upon the doctrine of Buddha, as preached in Upper India and in the countries to the south.

They made no attempt to conceal their admiration of all this learning; and Gaythorne, encroaching on their friendship, again and again asked to be allowed to visit the Monastery itself. This, however, was more than could be granted to a European: it was strictly forbidden by monastic law; and each time their refusal was more definite.

But Gaythorne was not a man to accept complacently such a denial. He possessed both an inflexible will and a high contempt for danger. Accordingly he purchased a stock of wares in jade, bronze and ivory, and disguising himself as a Manchu pedlar, rowed boldly across to the Monastery.

He was admitted into the outer courtyard without question. He spoke the northern dialect to perfection, and had stained his skin to the dust-coloured hue of the tribes north of the Great Wall. But, unfortunately for him, this was not sufficient to disguise his identity; and, while bargaining for the sale of his goods, he was recognized by an evil-looking priest, of the name of Tuan, whom he had often seen at the Joss-house.

He was instantly made a captive, and led before Dai Ling, the Head Priest. He proffered nothing in his defence: he knew enough of the lama brotherhood to be sure that his doom was sealed; and when sentence of death was passed upon him, he received it without a word.

Soon after daybreak on the following day, he was led into the quadrangle of the Temple, where he was to be beheaded, beneath the shadow of a great image of Buddha, sixty feet in height. He was ordered to strip himself to the waist; and this he did, perfectly calm and self-possessed, showing the monks that an Englishman could meet his death even as stoically as a Mongol.

Suddenly, as he bowed to receive the stroke, an exclamation of surprise broke from the whole assembly. The executioner paused in his work: every eye was fixed upon the back of Gaythorne's left shoulder, where he had carried a red star-shaped mark since the day of his birth.

This, as every lama knew, was the sign of a particular line of Buddha's apostles. The thought flashed upon the little man's mind in the hour of his greatest need. He rallied the credulity of the monks, calling upon them mockingly to take the life of one of the patriarchs of their own faith, under the very eye of the Buddha himself.

Thereupon arose a great deal of high talk, during which every one in turn closely examined the mark. The Mongolian priest, Tuan, with a few others, was for going on with the execution; but the majority, including most of those who had visited Gaythorne in the Joss-house, believed the sign, and thus accounted both for the Englishman's learning and his presence in their midst.

The Head Priest, who was a benevolent old man, agreed with the majority; and it was finally decided that Gaythorne should be kept a prisoner-at-large within the gates of the Monastery.

Thus he remained for nearly two years, buried alive upon an islet in the centre of an unknown continent.

But he soon settled down into the life of the monks. He worked with them in their studies, and chanted at his little desk in the great Temple, on the right hand of Dai Ling himself. Whenever the Temple bell rang for prayers, the European priest, Thomas Gaythorne, with his shaven head bowed in reverence, was always among the first to be seen hurrying across the courtyard. He wrote philosophical treatises which were much admired among the brethren, and are, in fact, even to-day universally read throughout the Chinese Empire. He became "teacher," and instructed a school of "novices" in the advanced doctrine.

In course of time, this pious behaviour gained for him the respect of many of the lamas, especially of Dai Ling, the Head Priest, who came to regard him almost in the light of a son. This meant much to the prisoner. For Dai Ling had almost supreme power: he was a Khutuktu, or Archbishop; that is to say, he ranked next to the two great lama-popes, and was supposed to hold office by virtue of divine incarnation.

Gaythorne himself was presumed to be the re-embodiment of the soul of a former saint. But such honour was claimed by most of the senior lamas; and there were many who were diffident in believing the testimony of the birth-mark, by reason of Gaythorne's nationality.

Tuan's eyes especially were ever upon him, for the Mongolian priest remained openly hostile. Gaythorne knew that he would be able to do nothing against the fierce anger of the lamas, should the tide ever turn against him; and therefore, with a growing mistrust of Tuan, and being thoroughly weary of his long imprisonment, he was more than anxious to be gone. Escape through the locked and guarded gates was, he knew, impossible. But chance, at last, gave him an unlooked-for opportunity.

Among the dusty archives of the Monastery a boy acolyte, or novice, sent thither upon an errand, found a fascicle of papers, written in an unknown language. He took it to his teacher, who, being able to make nothing of it, showed it to Dai Ling himself.

The Head Priest had never seen the document before. It was written in one of the dead languages of Central Asia, Sanscrit in root though very different in form, containing many words derived directly from the Persian. However, he could decipher enough to recognize it as a translation of one of the most famous monographs of the great philosopher, Ačvaghosha.

The discovery was one likely to influence the whole of Asia. For no trace of either the original or any other translation had ever before been found. The monograph was known to be of the greatest importance, being frequently referred to in the writings of contemporary and subsequent sages.

The difficulty was to get it put into Chinese, and that within the Lake Monastery itself, so that Dai Ling and his priests might reap the credit of such a work.

When the Englishman said that he could translate it, the old Head Priest actually embraced him in his delight. Though Gaythorne was ignorant of the language itself, he said he knew all the sources whence it was derived, and could, even at a glance, glean some notion of the meaning of the characters.

Gaythorne waited patiently until Dai Ling was at the height of his eulogies, and then played his trump-card for freedom, with that boldness which appears never to have left him. He promised to translate the document on one condition alone: that Dai Ling would not only set him free, but grant him, as a reward, the precious "Casket of Heaven," from the shrine of the sanctum of the Temple.

This Dai Ling could not do without the consent of the Council of the Monastery. The superior priests were therefore called together; and Gaythorne was summoned before them. Tuan was furious; he suggested that Gaythorne should be forced to do it under penalty of torture. But, for this, Dai Ling loved his prisoner too well, and the other priests had seen enough of the Englishman's spirit to know that such threats would have no effect. The little man stood boldly before the Council, and swore that for no other reward would he ever write a word. He was as shrewd as he was brave. When he saw that the priests wavered in their decision, he reminded them that perhaps another copy would some day be found, in one of the numerous libraries of the Buddhist vihāras, and the credit of the translation would accrue to another Monastery.

Therein he touched a keen chord—the jealousy of rival priesthoods. They agreed; and Gaythorne knew that he held their affections too deeply to fear treachery from any, save Tuan. Yet he took the precaution to secure a written agreement from Dai Ling, signed by the Head Priest himself and stamped with the red seal of the Lake Monastery, wherein it was stated that—"'The Casket of Heaven,' containing the gem commonly known as 'Guatama's Eye,' was the rightful property of Thomas Gaythorne and his heirs." This was to be handed over to him on the completion of the translation.

He was allotted a small chamber, high up in the southern tower, where he could work undisturbed. His food was brought him daily by an acolyte, beyond whom he saw no one for months. With Chinese pertinacity he worked for his freedom, yet taking pride in the composition, and fashioning rare Chinese characters with the ease and rapidity of an expert.

One night, exhausted by a hard day's work, he flung himself down upon his matted couch to sleep. He was never able to do much more than fifty characters a day, owing to the extreme difficulty of translating a language with which he was only partially acquainted; and this day's work had been more mystifying than usual. He was soon fast asleep, and had probably been so for an hour or two, when, without actually opening his eyes, he gradually became conscious that he was awake and that there was a light in the room.

Without any movement of his body, he looked up from under his lowered eyelashes, and beheld seated at the table, before the pages of his manuscript, the stooping figure of Tuan.

The light from an oil-lamp was shaded from the sleeper's eyes, and fell full upon the sinister countenance of the Mongolian priest, who was busily engaged in writing, an ink-box at his elbow. Clearly, Tuan was copying the day's work; doubtless he had done so night by night for some time past. The whole of his perfidy was apparent. Once he had a private copy of Gaythorne's work, it only remained for him to destroy the Englishman's translation and then accuse Gaythorne of failing in his task, hoping thereby to bring upon him sentence of death. As Gaythorne regarded the priest's villainous face, he had little doubt that Tuan would not scruple even to murder him, if opportunity occurred.

Now Thomas Gaythorne may have been impetuous enough to have run away from his home, but he had never passed unharmed through all the adventures of his life had he acted rashly upon such occasions as these. Tuan, as most pure Mongolians are, was of large and muscular frame, and stood a good head taller than the Englishman. Also, Gaythorne saw that the priest carried a naked sword at his girdle.

Closing his eyes, he set himself to think. Surprise was beyond the question, since Tuan had taken care to place himself facing the sleeper. If he continued to feign sleep, informing Dai Ling on the morrow, Tuan would only deny the accusation, and no direct proof, beyond word against word, could be brought against him. Most men would have been content with this; but Gaythorne, who had the heart of a paladin, resolved to take Tuan red-handed.

A large sam-shu bottle of blue china stood near the bed. Gaythorne snored loudly, and turned upon his side, as a sleeper frequently does, and in doing so, extended his hand to within a few inches of the bottle. Tuan looked up from his work and eyed him maliciously for some minutes. Gaythorne, continuing to breathe heavily and slowly, appeared to have again sunk into the deepest slumber.

Tuan, turning once more to his copying, was in the act of trimming his pen, when suddenly the sam-shu bottle caught him fair between the eyes. He sprang to his feet with a cry of pain. But, before he had time to recover his senses, the little man was at his throat like a terrier, and had flung him heavily backward. In a second Gaythorne whipped the sword from the priest's waist, and with one blow stunned him with the hilt.

Tuan's cry had aroused the priests who slept in the tower, and, one after the other, they came hurrying up the steps. At Gaythorne's request, Dai Ling was immediately sent for; and, when the old man arrived, Gaythorne made Tuan's treachery known to them all. There was no doubt of his guilt: the copied manuscript lay upon the table; and, upon the order of the Head Priest, the culprit was immediately thrown into the dungeon of the Monastery.

On the following morning, Tuan was brought before the Council. Dai Ling spoke savagely and to the point. Tuan had merited death, he said; and if he put it to the vote, he had little doubt that such would be his sentence. Yet he was minded to spare him that he might continue to live in disgrace—an unfrocked lama priest.

So Tuan was dismissed from the Lake Monastery; and the great, grim walls knew him no more. The priest-ferryman, who rowed, him to the lake shore, told Gaythorne that words of vengeance were upon the lips of Tuan when he went out into the world. But Gaythorne only laughed, and went back to his work in the tower.

At last the task was ended; and a grand meeting of the whole brotherhood and undergraduates was called in the great hall of the Temple. Dai Ling, in the priestly robes of his high office, took his place at his raised desk, the superior priests ranged beneath him in order of seniority. When they were all assembled, a chant, in deep guttural notes, supplemented by the high alto of the acolytes, swelled through the dimness of the Temple nave. The priests of the Devil Temple near by sounded the great brass trumpets—some of them thirty feet in length and supported on swivels—that all evil spirits might be scared across the water. And then, when all was silent again, the little wizened Englishman, with a scroll of papers in his hand, stepped boldly into their midst.

In a clear voice, that carried to the innermost recesses of the hall, where eight-year-old acolytes listened with open mouths, he read the word of Ačvaghosha, the greatest teacher of the Mahāyāna.

No other Englishman ever did the like of that which Thomas Gaythorne did. He held them breathless from beginning to end. Once or twice he paused in the reading; and looking up to see what effect it had had, he heard a deep, long breath, slowly drawn in on every side. Then he felt his blood rush wildly through his veins; his eyes glistened with pride, in the half-light of the Temple hall. The bravest men are often those who have the keenest sense of the dramatic: they will risk their lives for effect, even though they have no other audience than themselves. Perhaps Gaythorne was one of these; and perhaps it was of such a moment he had dreamed, when he sat silent at the fireside in his little home in England.

When he ended in Ačvaghosha's words: "Such is the doctrine: may its merit be spread throughout the world," a great shout went up from the assembled monks. One and all, they realized the gift that had been placed within their hands, and rushing from their places, they closed around Gaythorne, calling him a benefactor to the human race and nearly suffocating him in their enthusiasm.

Then Dai Ling raised up his voice, and all eyes were turned towards him. He spoke with eloquence, for the moment was one of inspiration. He said that the Englishman had done a great work. Day and night had he toiled; and with their own ears had they heard the product of his labour. The new doctrine would spread like fire throughout Asia; and all eyes would be turned to the Lake Monastery, as the source from which it sprang. Then he went on to say how the Englishman had asked for the "Casket of Heaven" as a reward; and no single voice was raised in protest.

So Gaythorne handed over the scroll to his old friend, the Head Priest, who received it on behalf of the Monastery, and then dismissed the gathering.

The monks went rapidly to their quarters, talking excitedly of the treatise. The superiors discussed its various aspects in a learned manner; and even the little acolytes made pretence to have understood.

When Dai Ling and Gaythorne alone remained in the Temple, the Head Priest, without a word, motioned Gaythorne through the brass-bound door into the inner sanctum.

And there, at the feet of a little golden Buddha, lay the "Casket of Heaven." Years ago—no one knew how—it had found its way to the Lake Monastery from Upper India. It was about the size of an ordinary travelling clock and made of beaten Indian silver. A great deal of its value lay in the precious stones with which the sides and lid were studded. Rubies, emeralds and diamonds adorned the outside; but inside, in the centre of the convex bottom, was set the greatest sapphire of the world, known as "Guatama's Eye." Each of the smaller gems would have fetched a good price in the markets of the civilized world; but the value of "Guatama's Eye" was beyond estimation.

When Gaythorne took the Casket from Dai Ling, his hands trembled. No one will ever know what dreams of avarice were in his mind. Certain it is that from that moment he had but one desire: to cross the wide world again and return to his wife and child, the master of untold wealth.

He secured the sealed Agreement from the Head Priest; and, with this in his possession, left the Monastery a few days later. The brotherhood bade him an almost tender farewell; and he was even in a way sorry to leave them. But the joy of being free in the world again soon got the better of this feeling; and, as he rowed himself across the lake in the bright sunshine of the day, his spirits rose by leaps and bounds, and he burst into an old song that had been all the rage in London in the days of his youth.

He landed near the ruined Joss-house; but the Jesuits had apparently long since gone, and no sign of them remained. He remembered how he had there disguised himself as a pedlar, and rowed over to the Monastery with a fast-beating heart. He marvelled at all that had passed since then, and clasped the Casket tight beneath his cloak to assure himself that it was not all, even then, only a dream.

At the first village he was directed to the nearest Prefect, whom he found in a small walled town, or hsien, at the base of the Pe-Ling mountains. The Prefect had no objection to granting him a passport, provided he paid for it, which, owing to Dai Ling's generosity, he was fortunately able to do. On the receipt of additional remuneration, the Prefect granted Gaythorne the services of four soldiers, armed with great Yunnan swords.

Thence he marched due south; and finally reached the Yangtse Valley, some miles below Chung-King, through which town, it will be remembered, he had passed with the Jesuit fathers.

That night his party camped upon the banks of the swollen river. Near at hand, a dilapidated sampan, or Chinese river boat, lay moored, apparently without an owner, straining at its painter with all the strength of the current.

Soon after they had arrived the sun sank behind the hills. Gaythorne, dead tired with a long day's march, lay down and tried to sleep, using the Casket, wrapped in a rug, as a pillow. But the roar of the rapids sounded incessantly in his ears; the mosquitoes buzzed around him, stinging his face and hands, and, in the hot damp atmosphere, after the freshness of the highlands, he found sleep impossible.

He was lying with his eyes wide open, thinking of the great fortune that lay beneath his head, when he heard a twig snap sharply, close behind his ear.

He immediately jumped up, and awoke the soldiers; and at the same moment, a party of men, shouting wildly and brandishing swords in the air, rushed into his little bivouac. By the faint light of the moon he could see that they were for the most part turbaned brigands from Honan, the fighting province of China; but among the foremost, and presumably the leader of the band, he recognized the tall form of the Mongolian, Tuan.

What followed was the work of seconds. The escort, seeing themselves outnumbered, took to their heels, leaving Gaythorne to face his assailants single-handed. His pistols were loaded; but they were beneath the rug with the Casket. As he stooped down to seize them, Tuan, with a shout of triumph, dealt him a blow with his sword. The stroke missed his head; but the weapon buried itself deep in his shoulder. He fell back with a groan; while Tuan, guessing where the Casket was, threw aside the rug, seized the treasure, and disappeared with it into the darkness.

Gaythorne had now no other hope than that of saving his life. The swords of the bandits were on every side, closing him in upon the river bank. Yet, face to face with death and wounded as he was, his presence of mind never deserted him. With his last remaining strength he sprang into the sampan and loosed it from its moorings.

He had but gone from one danger to another, wherein death was almost equally sure. The bubbling, seething torrent swept the cockle-shell of a boat down stream, on the breast of its foaming tide. The sampan twirled and twisted like a top, and flew onwards in the darkness of the night, sometimes springing like a salmon clear of the surface of the water, sometimes burying itself, almost to the gunwales, in the plunging stream. The boat contained neither rudder nor oar; and, even if it had, such would have been of little use. It lay at the mercy of a mad, remorseless river. Gaythorne remembered the rocks, scattered in mid-stream, and, with the blood dripping from his wound, awaited his fate, clinging to the arched matting which projected across the stern. And then his hold gradually became less firm; his head grew dizzy from the incessant pirouetting of the boat; his knees gave way from under him; and he fell beneath the matting in a faint.

When he came to himself, it was broad sunlight, and a Yangtse fisherman was bending over him.

"Where am I?" he asked.

"Chung-Shan," came the reply.

He had been dashed down fifteen miles of one of the most dangerous reaches of the rapids, in an unserviceable sampan; and had yet survived.

"How did I get here?" he asked, with a voice weak from loss of blood.

"Your sampan came past me, and I caught it," answered the fisherman, with Chinese brevity.

At that, the whole truth came back to him; and the brave little man, whose face had never before been known to show any signs of weakness, became drawn and haggard-looking. His lips quivered for an instant; and then he buried his face in his hands.

It cannot be said that he wept, but he remained thus for some time, motionless and silent. As has been said, he was by nature an undemonstrative man, but, for all that, perhaps, seeing the end so near, he may have prayed.

When he had finished, the fisherman bound up his wound, after a clumsy fashion of his own. Yet the office was kindly meant; and Gaythorne thanked him, and offered him all the money Dai Ling had given him if he would take him down to the coast.

The fisherman willingly agreed, and set sail that very afternoon, shooting the rapids in his two-masted junk with the skill of one who earned his bread upon the great treacherous river, while Gaythorne lay in the prow, and rapidly fell into a burning fever.

By the time they had reached Woosung, little of life remained in the once sturdy frame of Thomas Gaythorne. A packet, flying the red ensign of England, lay anchored in the roads; and Gaythorne, in a voice that was hardly audible, asked the fisherman to row across, and bring one of his countrymen over to see him.

He had not seen a European for two years; and a faint smile spread over his face when he recognized in the captain of the ship an old friend, Evans by name, with whom he had once sailed. The captain had brought his medicine-chest; but the little he knew of medicine was sufficient to tell him that no human aid could now save Gaythorne's life. And Gaythorne himself owned as much. He gave Evans the address of his home in England, the miniature painting of his wife, and a scroll of paper, covered with fantastic Chinese lettering and sealed with a great red seal. He asked the captain to give his wife these, and tell her of his death; and, after that, he never spoke again.

Thus ended the adventurous life of the little wizened hero. No one, until quite recent years, ever realized what he accomplished. Evans raised his cap respectfully in the presence of death, and the fisherman counted out the money Gaythorne had given him; but neither knew, either then or afterwards, that the man they had seen die was the richest in the world. Evans buried him on the shore; but they have built the terminus of the short railway-line to Shanghai over the spot. So that no trace of his grave can now be found.

This story was the origin of one of the greatest secret societies of all China. The Lake Monastery soon heard of the murderous onslaught of Tuan—for news travels fast in a land of a rural population—and no pains were spared to track the culprit. The Lama Brotherhood, from Canton to Peking, were set hot upon his scent; and, when one of his hired Honanese ruffians was caught, Tuan, finding the whole Chinese Empire too small to hold him in safety, managed to sell one of the jewels of the Casket, and chartering a junk on the profits, sailed for the Southern Seas.

But the lamas soon learnt of his escape, and interrogating the sailors upon their return, heard that Tuan had been landed on an island in mid-Pacific. One of the sailors drew up a rough chart of its position, attaching a full description of the place. It was described as being half mountain and half coral-reef, the latter forming a wide lagoon on its southern side; the reef and the low-lying parts of the island were thickly covered with cocoa-nut trees, and the mountain, which was evidently an extinct volcano, was described as resembling "a broken bowl." The island had not appeared to be inhabited, but doubtless Tuan had there hoped to fall in with an Australia-bound ship, and thus cut off all trace of his whereabouts. However, since the chance of sighting a stray ship in such solitary waters was indeed remote, three junks were fitted out at the expense of the Monastery, and sent in search of the lost Casket; for the lamas believed that the sealed Agreement had perished with its owner, and were not above keeping the whole matter a secret, in case the Casket should be found. But, in course of time, the junks returned empty handed, having searched the South Pacific in vain; and all hope of ever finding Tuan was ultimately abandoned.

The sailors of the junks and the Honanese brigands had already guessed something of the truth of the story of Thomas Gaythorne and the loss of Guatama's Eye. There was no way out of the matter—if the credit of the Lake Monastery was to be taken into consideration, both in the matter of the real authorship of the translation and in the event of the Casket being found—but to bind them all over to secrecy; and thus it was that The Secret Society of Guatama's Eye came into existence.

When Dai Ling died, he was buried with much pomp and circumstance in the Temple of the Monastery; and his memory was honoured throughout the length and breadth of China.

Nevertheless, the Secret Society continued to live; and as all secret societies in China invariably do, in course of time greatly increased its numbers. Successive head priests became ex-officio presidents of the society, holding possession of the chart of the island, where the Casket of Heaven was supposed to be. Since the chart had been proved to be inaccurate, emissaries of the society were set to watch the yearly publications of the British Admiralty, revised upon the observations of H.M. surveying ships in the Southern Seas.

But no record of the Lost Island ever appeared until many years afterwards, when David Gaythorne, great-grandson of Thomas, accompanied by a gigantic Irishman, ran up the steps of the Admiralty and formally reported its existence, giving its position, by longitude west and latitude south, with such convincing exactitude, that the Admiral commanding the Australian station was then and there ordered to dispatch a cruiser to discover it officially, although the whole story had then for six weeks been the talk of all the world.


Of A Minor Discussion And How The Mate Settled It

NEARLY a hundred years had elapsed since Thomas Gaythorne breathed his last among the mud-flats of the lower Yangtse Kiang. There had been three successive Gaythornes since then:

Firstly, his son, who entered the army, rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and fell in the foremost of the fighting at the Alma.

Secondly, his grandson, the manager of the Plymouth branch of a well-known bank, who pricked the vanity of his superiors by taking upon himself more responsibility than they were willing to grant him. Consequently, when, through no fault of his own, he was deceived in the matter of a large advance, the bank, considerably out of pocket over the transaction, were pleased to dispense with his services. He was an abnormally proud man (as all the Gaythornes were), and before he died, made good the whole deficiency out of his own pocket, thereby leaving his wife and child in somewhat straitened circumstances.

Finally, David Gaythorne, great-grandson of Thomas and son of the bank manager, a bright-eyed school-boy of some sixteen years of age, who was seated with his friend, Robert O'Shee, first mate of the steamship Airlie, on the hatch of the after well-deck, upon a certain sunny afternoon in August.

The ship lay at anchor in Plymouth Sound, biding her time to sail; and the soft breeze, that sent the little pleasure yachts skimming out to sea, washed the water monotonously against her bows and, from time to time, stirred the drooping ensign on the poop.

The boy played uneasily with a rope end, keeping his eyes lowered upon the deck. He seemed strangely serious for one of his years, and in none of the best of moods.

"I want you to do me a favour," he said at last.

"'Tis as good as done," said the mate, with a slight Irish brogue.

"I'm not so sure about that," answered the boy. "Wait till you've heard."

"Faith, then, 'tis a difficult task you'd be after setting me, Davy."

"No, it's not. I only want you to say to some one else what you have, time and again, said to me."

"Bedad, you're serious enough about it. Ye don't happen to want it in writing, by the way?"

"No, I don't," was the sharp reply.

"Then let's hear what it is at all, before I'm tired of listening."

The boy hesitated for a moment; and then began:

"You have often told me stories of sea life," he said.

"I have."

"Well," continued the boy, raising his eyebrows inquiringly, "I suppose you would never have done that if you were not—in a way—fond of the sea?"

"Wait a bit now! Would I say that?"

"I've always taken it for granted."

"You see, Davy, me boy," said the mate, "the sea and mesilf are old acquaintances; and 'familiarity breeds contempt,' as Shakespeare said, or was it his fraternal inimy, Francis Bacon?"

Davy could not help smiling.

"Then I am to take it you have an absolute contempt for the sea," he said ironically.

"Not at all, faith! There are very few prettier things than a sunny day up the Mediterranean, homeward bound. But bedad, Davy, 'tis not always homeward bound that we are, to be sure. The sea can be dangerous at times."

"For instance?" asked the boy.

"Coming under the lee of Socotra, say, full in the face of a south-west monsoon, on an ink-black night, with never a light to guide ye."

"Oh, so you fear a storm," said Davy, assuming a sneer.

The mate regarded his young companion with a puzzled look.

"Faith, you're in an ugly mood, Davy," said he. "What is it you're after?"

"I should have thought there was a kind of satisfaction in steering a ship safely through a difficult passage," the boy went on, ignoring his friend's question.

"There ye've hit it!" cried the mate, bringing his huge palm down upon his knee. "Ye've hit it! 'Tis the pride of it!"

The boy smiled. With all the diplomacy of his great-grandfather he had turned the conversation into the very channel he required. And this was no difficult matter with O'Shee. The mate was a sailor, and, as will subsequently be proved, he had a good deal of the hero in him; but, above all else, he was an Irishman, readily impressionable, and in many ways more of a boy than his young companion, in spite of the fact that O'Shee stood six foot six in his bare feet and had the frame of a Hercules.

"Then, at least, there's satisfaction in a sailor's life?" prompted Davy.

"Never a doubt of it!" cried the mate.

The boy's demeanour suddenly changed.

"Then why, I should like to know," he demanded, "have you told my mother different?"

O'Shee was thunderstruck: he saw trouble ahead.

"I've only told her what she wanted to know," he explained.

"And what was that?" asked the boy, taking him up sharply.

The mate tried hard to collect his thoughts.

"She asked me once if the food was good on sailing-ships," he stammered.

"And what did you say?"

"I told her the truth, faith: that pickled pork and ship's biscuits, that would break the tooth of a tiger, weren't the height of delicacies."

"Yes," said Davy sourly. "And what else did you say?"

"She asked me if the work was hard, and I said it was, when a ship called at many ports and the days had to be spent on cargo duty and the nights on watch—which don't permit of overmuch sleep and barely time to snatch a meal in between whiles."

"Great Scott!" exclaimed the boy. "And you told her all this! I wish to goodness I had never taken you to see her."

And so had O'Shee at the time. For Davy, with an immense pride, had dragged his gigantic friend before his mother, a very unwilling guest and painfully shy. But, in an incredibly short time the good lady had put O'Shee at his ease, with a view to questioning him later on upon the sailor's life that her son seemed so anxious to lead.

The above conversation was the result, which came to O'Shee something in the nature of a blow. For he remembered very well that he had said much in his fanciful stories of sea-life to fire the imagination of the boy; while, at the same time, he had shown the mother a very different aspect of the same question. He feared the worst, and saw at once that he himself was alone to blame.

"Davy, what have I done wrong?" he asked meekly.

"Done!" cried Davy, who had worked himself into a white heat. "Why, you have shut me up in a lawyer's office for the rest of my life. How would you like to sit on a high stool in a stuffy room, with a pen behind your ear scribbling?"

Something very like a sob escaped the boy's lips. The mate heard it, and looked guiltily repentant.

"I wouldn't like it at all at all," he owned. "At any rate, that's what you have done for me.

"Let's put our heads together and see what can be done."

"What can be undone, you mean," cleverly suggested Davy.

"I can't tell her what isn't true," said the mate.

"I don't want you to. Only you know well enough a sailor's life isn't all pickled pork, ship's biscuits and cargo duty," said Davy, in disgust. "What about the foreign countries you have told me about, and the whales and icebergs and sharks and water-spouts and—"

"Be quiet, for the love of Hiven!" cried O'Shee. For now indeed did he see what a rupture he had unconsciously brought about between the mother and son.

He questioned Davy, and finding there had been one or two scenes of a semi-dramatic character, which reflected none too highly to the credit of Master Davy, was more than anxious to put matters right if he could.

At that moment, in his warm Irish heart, he deeply sympathized with the boy, whose hopes and aspirations he fully believed he had scattered to the winds; and he rashly promised to give Mrs. Gaythorne a very different account of all that he had previously said.

The admission had no sooner left his lips than nothing would satisfy Davy than that, then and there, they should both go up to the house. O'Shee tried to procrastinate; but it was of no use. Davy had him ready primed, with glowing stories of a life on the ocean wave, and minute instructions as to how to act towards his mother, and he would by no means consent to be put off for even an hour.

They accordingly rowed ashore, and found Mrs. Gaythorne seated behind her tea-tray.

O'Shee's determination left him the very moment he entered the room. Perhaps the good fellow's conscience smote him unexpectedly; for to recommend the merchant service to a spirited school-boy, with an inveterate love of adventure, and to a lonely widowed mother, as an occupation for her son, seemed now two very different things. O'Shee appeared painfully self-conscious and shifted uneasily in his chair.

Davy waited in patience; but never a word passed the mate's lips.

The silence became prolonged; and O'Shee, feeling it incumbent upon him to say something, racked his brains in vain.

Suddenly, he opened out brilliantly, like a multi-coloured star-rocket in a darkened sky.

"Have ye ever killed a monkey, Madam?" he asked.

Mrs. Gaythorne confessed that she had not.

"Then allow me to congratulate ye. 'Tis the next thing to homicide—they die so human-like."

Whereupon he upset his tea-cup, and began blushing prodigiously, blush following blush on the weather-beaten face like the guns of a royal salute.

The tea came to an end; yet the mate said nothing more, and finally rose to go.

"Go on!" said Davy, in a stage whisper, nudging him violently in his great ribs. But he might as well have bombarded a Spithead fort with a pea-shooter, for all the effect it had upon O'Shee.

"Go on," he said again, with desperation.

"Go on at what?" cried the mate almost fiercely.

"Tell my mother what you think of life in the merchant service," prompted Davy, as it were, displaying his guns.

O'Shee's face lit up, after the manner of a man who has suddenly guessed a riddle. He lost his self-consciousness, and broke into a broad and beaming smile.

"Faith, Madam," said he. "'Tis the life of a dog!"

Whereby he shattered Davy's chances for ever, and merely endorsed all that he had previously told the mother.

Davy followed him out into the little garden, shaking with anger and on the verge of tears.

"You promised! Oh, you promised!" he cried.

"I know I did," said the mate. "I promised for your sake, Davy."

"And you broke it!"

"Aye, I broke it for hers."

Which was exactly O'Shee all over.


Of Uncle Joe The Pirate

AT first, Davy was highly offended with his old friend, who, he imagined, had grossly betrayed him. But he turned the matter over in his mind in the silence of the night, and came to the conclusion that after all O'Shee was right and had but reminded him, in his own artless way, that he had acted somewhat selfishly throughout.

Accordingly, being anxious to make it up, and filled with an inordinate desire to bathe from the ship's side, he went down to the Airlie, two days later, and found no one but Ah Four, the Cantonese cook, on deck.

"Where's Mr. O'Shee?" he asked.

"Gone bottom-side," answered the Chinese, meaning that O'Shee had gone below.

Davy went to the head of the after-companion, beneath which the mate's cabin was situated.

"Are you there?" he asked timidly.

"I am, bedad," cried the mate, appearing from the alley-way in his shirt-sleeves.

The man was indeed a giant. As he stood on the lower deck, his head was on a level with the top-step of the companion-way. In addition to his great height, he was more than proportionately broad, though his shoulders sloped at a steep angle—a sure sign of concentrated strength. The muscles stood out on his great forearms like plaited rope. The extraordinary length of his arms was particularly noticeable; they hung down to his knees, like a gorilla's, and were terminated by a pair of enormous fists.

The two recreations of this man were butterfly-collecting and the composition of humorous songs, which bore a marked resemblance to each other. He took an especial pride in his verses; and by the simple process of repeating the same line several times, he was able to produce typewritten songs of prodigious length in testimony of his genius. On moths and butterflies he was more or less an authority. He had started his collection when he first went to sea as a boy, and had conscientiously continued it in his manhood. There was something incongruous in the great arm that could have felled an ox, wielding a butterfly-net with all the unmingled pleasure of a child.

O'Shee had never been known to hit a man in anger. Like most strong men he was particularly sparing of his strength. And well for him that such was the case, for most assuredly, had he ever struck at a man, he would have stood in the dock for manslaughter.

There was one story in particular, illustrative of his prowess, which spread like wildfire in the ports, and made men ceremoniously polite to the first mate of the Airlie. Once, when the swollen current of a China river had loosed a coasting vessel from its moorings, O'Shee had uprooted the mooring-post upon the "bund," that had taken nine coolies half a day to plant. His action saved the ship; for there had been no time to untie, and the drifting vessel was bearing straight upon the Airlie, stern foremost, with her engines stopped. He had handled the post as a man moves a peg in a cribbage scoring-board; and after that, no man dared argue long with O'Shee, except McQuown, the captain, who stood five feet two and was rude to every one on principle.

"Afternoon, Davy," said the mate, smiling. "I thought I'd see ye again before long."

"I've come to apologize," said Davy. O'Shee's smile grew wider.

"And what is me darling of a boy after apologizing about?" he asked.

"I did wrong to ask you to take my part against my mother," said the boy.

O'Shee became radiant with pride and delight at Davy's frankness.

"What have I always said?" he cried. "There's not another boy like ye between Kinsale and Kobe!"

"Oh, rot!" said Davy. "But I was awfully rude to you. I wonder you didn't give me a licking on the spot."

"Why, to be sure, to save mesilf the trouble of picking up the remains."

Davy laughed heartily; and the two were once again the best of friends.

"I say," said Davy, "can I come and bathe from the ship to-morrow afternoon?"

"McQuown's not onboard at present, and I hardly like to give you permission on me own," said the mate. "You see, the little man is particularly fond of jumping down me throat, like a wasp into a mug of beer. Bedad, I'll shut me teeth on him one of these days!"

"Yes," said Davy. "He doesn't seem a very polite man."

"Man, did ye call him!" cried the mate. "Faith, 'tis an insect he is: I could put him in me watch-pocket, and never so much as know I'd got him aboard."

"You've sailed together long enough; you ought to understand one another by now."

"Bedad, we do. I see him in the mornings: 'Good-morning, sorr,' say I, with no shadow of doubt about the 'Sorr' part of it. 'Morning,' says he, though frequently he don't even say that much. And that is the whole of our conversation for the day."

"Interesting!" said Davy.

"Aye; and a bit monotonous when you're sailing to the China Seas on a tramp at nine knots a day."

O'Shee, who was one of the easiest men in the world to get along with, was singularly unfortunate in his captain. McQuown was a man who made a friend of no one; and no one made a friend of him. He was small in stature; and had a mind to match: his sole desire in life seemed to be to display his authority on every possible pretext. He had a large hooked nose and a heavy moustache which completely hid his mouth; his eyes were a pale watery blue, due to solitary drinking, which probably also accounted for the misanthropic view he took of life. The mate hated him.

"Come," said O'Shee to Davy, "I'll give ye a song, to get the thought of the little vermin out of me head."

He went into his cabin, and brought out an accordion, somewhat meretriciously adorned with painted flowers.

Seating himself on the companion, he drew out a few chords by way of tuning up. At the same time his expression became that of a man who is suffering the most intense physical pain.

"What shall it be?" he asked.

"Anything you like," replied the boy.

O'Shee considered a while, and then, in a perfect hurricane of a voice, that had neither tone nor training nor anything else to recommend it, burst suddenly into the following refrain, seeming to rely for effect upon a most colossal lung-power and the broadest Irish brogue:—

"Me Uncle Joe, the Poirate, wanst jined a fishing rout.
They all forgot their fishin' rods; but Uncle brought the stout.
Me Uncle brought the stout, me bhoys, and passed it freely round;
Ontil they all wint sound aslape and ran the boat aground.
They grounded on an oisland, near the Hade av Ould Kinsale,
And woke again in China. Faith, the oisland was a whale!
The oisland was a whale, me bhoys, that wint to Far Cathay,
Around the Horn and north again, a thousand moiles a day.
They faisted on the blubber, and the oil they had to drink:
They got so fat and heavy that the whale began to sink"...

"Bedad, it's a Camberwell Beauty!" cried the mate, instantly breaking off in his song and throwing the accordion aside. He seized Davy's cap from his head; and dashed down the deck after a gaily-coloured butterfly that fluttered among the derricks.

"Faith, 'tis as delicate as it's rare!" cried O'Shee. "Kape still, for the love av Hiven, whoile I catch ye now!"

His Irish accent became more pronounced in his excitement, as he danced about in pursuit of the insect.

At last, the butterfly settled under the poop, and Davy's cap immediately closed over it.

"Thanks be to the Saints," gasped O'Shee. "Davy, into me cabin, me bhoy! You'll see a white bottle on the table, against the tobacco-jar, which is on the bed."

In spite of this lucid explanation of its whereabouts, Davy managed to find the bottle, and watched O'Shee slip the butterfly into it, with the fingers of an expert. Then he followed O'Shee into his cabin, where the mate pulled out one of the glass-topped drawers of a cabinet, containing many thousands of butterflies and moths from every part of the globe. O'Shee pinned down the newly-captured Camberwell Beauty, spreading its wings with little minute pins so deftly, that Davy wondered how the great thick fingers could manage such delicate work.

"Faith, 'tis a daisy!" said O'Shee, looking at the butterfly in admiration before he replaced the drawer.

"It is indeed," said Davy.

"There's another here," said O'Shee, "but 'tis an inferior specimen. They are all British butterflies in this case. I keep 'em grouped according to what the books call the 'habitat' of the bastes. I've been over twenty years at it," he went on. "And, bedad, I take as much pleasure in it as a bride in her trousseau, if the truth be told."

Davy could not help smiling. If O'Shee had collected tigers, instead of tiger-moths, it would have seemed so much more appropriate.

"Now will you finish the song?" he asked.

"No. The captain has just come aboard; and he don't approve of secular music," added O'Shee, with a wink. "I'd best row ye ashore."

They went on deck again, and met McQuown at the head of the gangway.

He regarded Davy with a glance of unfeigned disapproval.

"My young friend would like permission to bathe from the ship's side," said O'Shee.

"Why?" asked the captain abruptly.

"For the novelty of it," said the mate.

"He wishes to turn my ship into a bathing-machine for the sake of a novelty," said McQuown.

"With your permission," answered O'Shee.

"Let him do what he likes," said the captain testily; and he passed down the deck.

O'Shee smiled, and took his young friend affectionately by the arm. The sun had sunk nearly to the level of the sea. They stood upon the main deck, looking out across the water; and side by side, a strange pair they made. Suddenly O'Shee turned towards the boy.

"I hope your lady mother is well?" he asked.

"Perfectly," answered Davy.

"Bedad, I am glad to hear it. Will you give her my best respects? As for the song, I'll finish it another day. There are nineteen verses in all."

He held Davy firmly by the lapel of his coat.

"'Tis me own composition," said he. "And I'm proud of it. Faith, 'twould do credit to Sir Gilbert O'Sullivan himself!"


The Mark

DAVY had another friend on board the Airlie; and this was old Daniel Mason, the so-called ship's carpenter, and the only European member of the crew, who were for the most part Lascars from the Malabar coast.

In reality, old Daniel combined the duties of quartermaster, assistant-boatswain, master-at-arms, sailmaker, and handy man-of-all-work; but he was called "the carpenter" for short.

He was an eccentric old gentleman, and was supposed by the ship's officers to be entirely mad. He had never been known to go ashore. When the vessel was in port, it was his custom to sit all day, sailmaking, in the darkness of the forecastle; he never came on deck except when duty called him. O'Shee had often rated him on the point.

"Dan," said the mate one day, "you ought to be on deck more, and get the air."

"Beg pardon, no, sir," replied the old man. "I don't go on deck unless you orders me."

"Why not?" asked the mate.

Dan laid down the sail at which he had been stitching, and answered slowly, as a man who quotes from memory:

"Because," said he, "when I goes on deck, I sees the shore; an' when I sees the shore, I wants to go ashore."

"Well, why don't you?" exclaimed the mate. "You can always get leave; but you never ask for it."

"I'll never go ashore no more," said Dan persistently.

"Because why?" roared the mate, getting to the end of his patience.

"For two reasons, sir. Fustly, because there's more whisky ashore than there is aboard; and, lastly, because there's only two kinds o' men: them that's tempted and them that ain't."

Such philosophy was too much for O'Shee; and after that, old Dan was allowed to pursue his solitary sailmaking in peace. In fact, all he cared for was tobacco, which he used to chew in great quantities, and an old Martini rifle, that he had got from a West Coast native in exchange for two ducks. This he kept regularly oiled. He used to take the greatest delight in threatening the Lascar sailors with it. If they were too long over any given piece of work and Dan was in charge, he would hasten off to the forecastle and get the rifle, levelling it, unloaded, point blank at their heads. This invariably had the desired effect, and the frightened seamen, who were never quite sure whether Dan was serious or not, worked as if for dear life until the job was done and the old man had taken the weapon back to its rack in the forecastle.

It was an open secret that old Dan was quite well-to-do. But he was by no means the orthodox hoarder of gold; he had become rich not through any special love of saving money, but simply and solely because he had no use for it. Since he had neither wife nor family, nor any needs (beyond the very cheapest tobacco), and made a principle of never going ashore, he had no chance of spending his pay, but allowed it to accumulate in a tin box, which he had handed over to O'Shee for safe keeping.

One day O'Shee came to Dan, as usual, in the forecastle.

"Dan," said he, "the bank's full."

"Then, Mister O'Shee, the next time you go ashore would you be so kind as to buy me another one?"

The mate good-naturedly did as he was asked; and in course of time the second box became filled, and was superseded by a third.

The fact that the carpenter was such a rich man gave him additional interest in Davy's eyes from the very first. But, in time, he came to like the old man for his own sake; and Dan no less readily took to the boy, and on more than one occasion disproved himself a miser by breaking into the tin box and buying sundry small presents for Davy from the native merchants who came on board in foreign ports.

Davy came on board the day after he had made it up with O'Shee, his towels and bathing-dress wrapped around his neck.

He found O'Shee and Dan upon the deck, deliberating on a question of repairs to an awning.

"Bedad, you're not likely to go home wet at all," said the mate.

"I brought my own towels as I knew you don't use them, and I thought you might not have any on board," retorted Davy, darting immediately out of reach of the mate.

"Did ye now," said O'Shee. "Come, I want to whisper something in your ear."

Suddenly, the mate shot out an arm, and seized the boy in his grasp. "Shall I pull your head off or break ye in two?" he cried.

Davy struggled in vain to be free. O'Shee held him over the bulwarks with one hand. "If I drop ye in you can dry your clothes in the ingine-room and go home in the towels."

Davy was finally deposited in a sitting position on the deck.

"Come and have a swim," he said, when he had sufficiently recovered himself to speak.

"No," replied the mate.

"Why not?" asked Davy. "It's a beautiful day."

"And I'll not jump into the water, when I can't swim, because it's a beautiful day," answered the mate.

"Can't swim!" exclaimed Davy. "I never heard of a sailor who couldn't swim before. Why, supposing the ship sank."

"Faith, I'd just row ashore," said O'Shee.

"But supposing it sank in a storm at sea?"

"And if it was mid-Atlantic, would you personally swim to Sandy-Hook or Kinsale Harbour?"

This argument was unanswerable; and Davy laughed it off.

"Where can I undress?" he asked.

"In my cabin," said the mate. "'Twould be more decent than the main-deck, I'm thinking."

Davy went below; and a few minutes afterwards a splash aft announced that he was in the water. He swam round to the gangway steps, and there imitated the diving boys of Colombo and Aden, of whom he had often heard from O'Shee.

"Hab-a-dive! Hab-a-dive, sir! Hab-a-dive!" he cried ceaselessly.

O'Shee threw pennies into the water; and Davy secured them as invariably as his little black rivals in the East, tucking them away in the corners of his mouth and repeating his monotonous call.

They had spent some time thus, when they were joined by a fourth party, Ah Four, the Chinese cook, who came on deck to watch the fun, polishing a copper kettle.

Ah Four was a little man, with a bad cast in his eye, which gave him a particularly foxy appearance. Like most Cantonese of the "boy" class, he was exceedingly tidy in his dress: his long white coat was scrupulously clean, and the fore-part of his head was shaven close. He stood regarding the swimmer with a countenance utterly devoid of any sort of expression.

Davy, who had been long enough in the water, ran up the gangway steps, and stood dripping on the deck.

"Dan, we'll have to swab the main-deck at sunset to-day," said O'Shee. "Master Davy—"

His sentence was cut short by a loud exclamation from Ah Four.

They all turned suddenly on the cook. But Ah Four's face was again expressionless, and he was still energetically polishing the kettle.

"The heathen's dimented," said the mate, going for'rard; while Davy went aft to change.

But, had there been any one on deck at the time who understood the Cantonese dialect, he would have interpreted Ah Four's exclamation in the following words:

"The Mark! The Mark!"


How Ah Four Recognized The Seal

ON the following day the Airlie moved into dock, in order to take on the remainder of her cargo; but although Davy continued to go down to the ship daily, he had little chance of another talk with O'Shee. The mate was kept almost continuously at work, bellowing his orders above the noise of the derricks and the rattle of the donkey engine and pacing up and down like a caged lion at feeding-time.

When the cargo was all shipped, Davy thought that at last O'Shee would be free, and he appeared on the wharf in full expectation of hearing the remainder of the fortunes of "Uncle Joe the Pirate." However, he found the owner and his wife, accompanied by McQuown and the mate, making an official inspection of their property. They were an imposing couple, and could have been identified as the owners at the extreme range of a lunar telescope. Their name was Higgins. He was over-fed, and she was over-dressed; and they both apparently suffered from over-estimation of their own importance. Moreover, Mrs. Higgins's curiosity seemed insatiable; she positively deluged the captain with Hows and Whys and Wherefores, until McQuown (to whom politeness never came by nature) became abrupt and openly rude. But had he been even more so, the good lady would never have noticed it; for she shot questions at him as suddenly and rapidly as the explosions of a Chinese cracker, neither waiting for an answer nor seeming to require one.

Davy's patience became finally exhausted; and he turned towards home in none of the best of tempers. He was anxious to see as much of his friend as possible, for the ship was timed to sail in three days. It would be nearly six months before the Airlie would be back in Plymouth Sound, and at Davy's age, six months was a monstrous time.

As he passed through the town, they were lighting the street lamps, and knowing thereby that he was late, he was hurrying on his way, when, suddenly, at a corner, he came upon Ah Four, the Chinese cook.

He had had no previous intercourse with the Chinese—though he knew him well enough by sight—and was for passing on with a friendly nod of recognition, when, greatly to his surprise, the cook stepped sharply before him.

"Good-evening," said he, in tolerable English, though clipping his words short, as his nation are wont to do.

"Good-evening," replied Davy.

"I very much like talk with you," said Ah Four. (He pronounced it "velly.")

"Indeed?" said Davy. "Then we had better talk as we walk along."

But Ah Four showed no sign of moving.

"Talk walk all same time no can do," he said.

"Why not?" asked the boy.

"Because this belong number one pidjin."

Davy laughed. He had heard O'Shee talk "pidjin English" to the cook, and was minded to try his hand at it.

"What for you wantchee talk number one pidjin?" he asked.

"All come proper time," answered Ah Four. "You first please answer three questions."

The Chinese drew close to him, and squinted up into the boy's face, his little almond eyes twinkling with expectation.

"Your name?" he whispered.

"Gaythorne," answered Davy. "David Gaythorne."

"Your paternal grandfather's name, Thomas?"

"My great-grandfather's was. But how did you know that?"

"I know plenty more. That same man die China side."

"Yes," said Davy, now fully mystified.

"You have mark here," said the cook, touching Davy on the back of his left shoulder.

Davy nodded.

"Your father have all same mark?"

Ah Four's knowledge of the English language did not admit of the correct construction of an interrogative sentence; but he was able to convey the idea of a question both in the intonation of his voice and by wrinkling up his forehead until his eyebrows nearly disappeared in the blue shaven fore-part of his head.

"I believe all my father's family have always had that mark," answered Davy.

"Your great-grandfather all same," asserted Ah Four.

"I suppose he had," said Davy.

"I say so," said the cook. "I know."

Davy eyed him in astonishment. The cook was evidently perfectly serious; except for the little cross-eyes, that danced with animation, Ah Four's face was as of stone. The cruel, thin lips, stained brown by the opium habit, were firmly closed, and the corners of the mouth drooped slightly, with an expression far from humorous.

There was something in his self-confident air which annoyed Davy. The boy remained silent for some time, regarding this human enigma with a puzzled look, and then burst out suddenly, almost in anger:

"Look here," said he. "How do you know all these things?"

Ah Four glanced furtively up and down the street, and then, catching the boy's arm, drew him suddenly towards him, bringing his mouth close to Davy's ear.

"I belong Member Secret Society of Guatama's Eye," he whispered.

"What's that?" said Davy, more perplexed than ever.

"I talk you presently. You hear all—all! Then you belong rich man."

It was now quite dark. The street in which they stood was deserted. The light from an adjacent lamp fell full upon the face of the Chinese cook. It was not a face just then that one was likely to forget; above all, it was not a face to trust. Davy knew it, yet the mystery in the thing tempted him to see it to the end.

"What is this secret?" he asked.

"You," replied the cook.

"I! I—am a secret!"

"You, if you have the Agreement."

"What Agreement?"

Ah Four for the first time became almost excited. He turned suddenly on the boy.

"You no have got Chinese paper?" he cried in alarm. "Paper all over Chinese writing?"

He said "liting," but that was immaterial; his voice shook while he said it.

"No," answered the boy.

"Think!" cried Ah Four impatiently. "Paper with large red seal. You no have got things belong Thomas Gaythorne?"

Davy was beginning to think the cook mad.

"You have got picture Thomas Gaythorne's wife?" continued Ah Four, raising his eyebrows again, with undoubted anxiety in his look.

"Yes," said Davy. "We've got that."

"Ah," exclaimed Ah Four, with a sigh of relief. "Then the paper come safe to England too. You must have seen!"

Then Davy suddenly remembered that once, when searching the lumber-room at the top of the house, he had found a long scroll of paper covered with Chinese characters in an old box, that was smothered in dust and smashed beyond repair. Ah Four instantly saw the look of recollection that lit up the boy's face.

"You have got!" he cried excitedly. "Where?"

"I threw it back into the box—as far as I remember," said Davy.

The cook seized his arm, and by main force dragged him rapidly up the street towards his home.

"Come," said he. "Come."

Davy had no alternative; and in a few minutes they had reached the house. A lamp was visible through the curtains of the front room, where his mother had doubtless awaited his return for some hours.

Davy had intended to go straight up-stairs to the box-room, where he knew the paper to be. But his mother's ears had long been intent upon his coming.

"Is that you, Davy?" she called.

"Yes, mother," answered the boy, half reluctantly appearing at the door.

"Come!" she said. "Your supper has been waiting a long time."

"I can't, mother," answered Davy. "I must go out again."

The whole manner of the Chinese cook had from the first filled him with curiosity, and then with a determination to see the matter through.

Mrs. Gaythorne looked up in surprise.

"Go out again!" she repeated.

"Yes, I must," said Davy earnestly.


"Mother, don't ask me! I don't know myself, as a matter of fact. I'll be back as soon as I possibly can. I promise you that."

Since Mrs. Gaythorne had opposed Davy's will more than she usually cared to do in the matter of his going away to sea, she regarded a concession on several other occasions as more or less incumbent upon herself.

"Well, if you must, you must, I suppose," she said. "Only whatever you want out of doors this time of night I am sure I can't think."

But before she had finished the sentence Davy had closed the door, and was gone. One glance assured him that Ah Four was still in the street; and then, taking a candle from the hall table, he ran hurriedly up the stairs.

The door of the lumber-room was unlocked; he entered and placed the candle on a box. The dust lay thick on everything, and a great cobweb was stretched across the door; for the Gaythornes' travelling days were done, and the room was seldom visited. He remembered exactly where the paper was, and throwing aside an armful of old tattered uniforms (that had once belonged to his grandfather—the Crimean hero) he dived among the lumber. In a few seconds he came upon the broken box, and throwing it open found the scroll, where he had carelessly thrown it many months before.

A moment afterwards he had rejoined Ah Four in the street.

The cook snatched it from his hand, rolled it open, and pointing to the red stamp at the bottom, cried: "The seal! The Great Seal of the Lake Monastery! Ah! Master! Master! you belong rich man for evermore!"

Davy stared at him in amazement. They were quite alone, for the street was all but deserted. A sea-mist had fallen across the town, and the lamp-lights were all but hidden in the haze. A solitary pedestrian, who had passed down the road, had been visible only as a shadow, though his hurrying footsteps had sounded sharp and clear on the asphalt pavement until they died away in the distance.

All this—the blurred lamps, the damp mist and the lonely passenger—was so thoroughly in keeping with the general aspect of the boy's daily life that he found it hard to reconcile with tales of secret societies, Lake Monasteries and hidden treasure.

Yet Davy was of a breed to whom adventure came naturally enough. When he had recovered from his first surprise, he calmly turned the question over in his mind. Clearly, even if the whole story was a fable, Ah Four at least believed it; he could see no reason why the cook should deceive him.

"You must tell me all from the beginning," he said.

"Not here," replied the cook. "Street talk no good. Come this way, I know good place."

Accordingly the two set off, Ah Four leading the way to a poorer part of the town, which consisted for the most part of public houses and sailors' lodgings, and was frequented solely by seafaring men. After turning down many little alleys and by-ways, none too respectable and none too clean, he turned in at the door of a small inn, above which was suspended the following advice: "Live and Let Live."

The Chinese entered as one who knew the place; and passing the small public bar, where a group of drunken men-of-war's men were quarrelling among themselves, he went straight to a little dark back-parlour, ordered a packet of cigarettes and some port wine for himself, and a ginger-beer for Davy, and then securely locked the door.

There they remained for close upon an hour, and when they came out again the boy's face was flushed with excitement. Moreover, there seemed to be nothing more to be said, for they immediately separated without a word, each hurrying on his way.


Like A Thief In The Night

FOR the next three days Davy gave the Airlie a wide berth. O'Shee wondered at the boy's absence, but had no time to go ashore and inquire for him. As the time of sailing drew nearer the mate grew more anxious, consoling himself however with the thought that had anything happened to Davy he most certainly would have heard. He therefore expected his young friend almost every hour; and as he went about his work on deck, his eye was frequently cast toward the shore.

Yet Davy never came. Once he did actually set off for the ship; but, half-way there, his heart failed him, and he turned back. Something evidently lay heavily upon the boy's mind. His mother had noticed it from the first; and though she had thought it best to hold her peace, she watched intently every action of her son.

On the third night after his interview with Ah Four, Davy sat by the fireside, an opened book upon his knee, and throughout the space of half-an-hour he had never so much as turned a page. His chin rested on his hand, and he sat silent, gazing into the fire. His mother's eyes had been upon him for some time.

"What are you thinking about, Davy?" she asked.

The boy looked up, as vacantly as one awakened from sleep.

"I was thinking of many things," he answered. And then, in an altered voice: "Mother, do you know anything of Thomas Gaythorne?"

"Very little, Davy," she answered, surprised at the question. "He was a very extraordinary man in many ways, I believe. He ran away from his wife before they had been married two years. So he could not have been a good man."

"Perhaps," said Davy, "he ran away that he might come back a richer man."

"I don't think so, Davy. You see, he had spent all his life roaming about the world; and he owned, in a letter he wrote his wife, he only left her because he found he could not resist the temptation of going back to his old adventurous life."

"I expect," said Davy vaguely, "it was in his blood. But, tell me, didn't he say he was going in search of something?"

"I don't think so. And anyhow he should have told his wife first."

"Perhaps he knew that she would never have let him go," said Davy.

"Perhaps so. And it would have been better for him had he stayed at home; for he only lost his life and gained nothing."

"Yes. And gained nothing," slowly repeated the boy, in a tone so serious and unusual that his mother regarded him in bewilderment.

She hardly recognized her son. She afterwards associated his behaviour on this occasion with the evening upon which he had left his meal untouched and gone out again to the street. But she was quite unable to explain it all. She trusted implicitly in her son; and, for once, Davy offered her no confidence.

They rose to go to bed, and went up the stairs together, with hardly another word. As was her custom, she accompanied him to his bedroom, and kissed him fondly in wishing him good night. In undemonstrative boyhood a mother's kisses count for little or nothing. It is in after years that a man remembers them, like jewels he once owned and lost.

Davy was no exception to the general rule. The affection was all there, deep enough; but, by the false idea of manliness conceived by the average English boy, he deemed affection a manly thing to hide. He seldom returned his mother's kisses with any warmth, and sometimes never at all. But, on this night, of his own accord, he placed his arm around her, and held her tenderly and strongly, as if for all the world he had but then and there sprung suddenly into manhood, and it was she who had to place her trust in him. He was already taller than she; and he bent down and kissed her fondly, again and again, as he had never done before. For her part, as she hurried from the loom, her woman's instinct warned her of danger ahead; and tears, half of fear and half of love, sprang unbidden to her eyes.

It was long before she slept. Far into the night fearful imaginings held her wide awake. She grew feverish with her thoughts; and, as often as she shook them off, she heard Davy moving in his room, which brought him back again to her mind. She pictured him in one danger after another. Sometimes he was confronted by a peril that she herself was powerless to prevent; at others, she flung herself in his way, snatching him up in her arms as though he were still a child, and rushing with him out of the way of harm. At last, weariness overcame her, and she sank into a slumber, in which her former thoughts became but dreams, with Davy always in their midst.

As for Davy himself, he had noticed the tears in his mother's eyes as she left his room. He stood for a moment irresolute; then he went to the window, and, flinging it open, leaned out and looked into the night. He remained thus for some time; and then, opening a drawer of his dressing-table, he took out the Chinese Agreement that he had shown the cook. He studied it for some minutes; and though he could have had no notion of the meaning of the strange, fantastic characters, this seemed to hold him to his purpose. For he rolled it up, put it into his pocket with a determined air, and forthwith, sitting down at a little table, began to write. It was a letter to his mother. His lips were tightly pressed; but, nevertheless, big tears dropped, one by one, from his eyelashes as the pen scratched blindly on.

The letter written, he packed a Gladstone bag with such things as he thought that he might have need of. And this done, he took out his money, and counted it: he had precisely two shillings and twopence. He smiled, though his tears were hardly dry—and then blew out the light.

He lay down upon his bed, in his clothes, and remained with his eyes wide open, staring into the dark, and making no attempt to sleep, his thoughts keeping him fully awake. He counted the strokes of a neighbouring clock, hour by hour; and when it struck three, he rose stealthily and, picking up the bag, passed out of the room on tiptoe.

A night-light burned in his mother's room. He paused at the door and listened, not daring to enter, and heard her breathing lightly. She was fast asleep, and dreaming of her son. It was clearly a great wrench for the boy to leave as he was doing; for twice, as he tried to go, he fell again to listening at the door. Finally, overcoming his feelings and stifling a sob, he turned and crept slowly down the stairs.

By the time he had reached the front door he was blinded again by tears. He fumbled for some time at the lock, and feared that the noise would wake his mother. When at last it opened, he ran rapidly into the street, leaving the door ajar, with his heart thumping against his ribs and no other thought than that of flight.

"Come! You very late. Come; quick!" Ah Four glided out from the shadow of the wall.

Davy started at the voice, but quickly recovered himself. Then, taking the bag between them, they hurried down the road towards the docks.

When they reached the wharf, Ah Four went on in front to reconnoitre the ship.

No sign of life was visible on board. But the cook knew that the second officer, who was in charge of the ship, was somewhere about; and Davy, guided by the Chinese, who carried his bag, slipped on board, like a thief in the night. He passed down to the after-well-deck, and as he did so, from beneath the companion steps, he could hear the sonorous snoring of O'Shee, like some subterranean disturbance. It went against the boy's heart to act as he was doing, without the advice of his old friend. Yet, in the back parlour of the Live and Let Live he had been bound over to secrecy by the most fearful oaths he knew. If he was ever to see the China coast, there was no other way than this. Ah Four had promised to guide him in his search for the lost Casket of which he was the rightful owner. The Secret Society of Guatama's Eye admitted of no confidences.

Davy, whose imagination was fired with the idea of a treasure-hunt, had unwillingly consented to sail on board the Airlie as a stowaway, intending, when a few days out at sea, to throw himself upon the mercy of McQuown. The mate, he knew, would attribute his desertion to his known love of a sailor's life.

Yet the idea of being caught in the act frightened him more than he cared to own. Consequently he was thankful to be buried in the inky darkness of the hold, behind a great packing-case, containing a piano consigned to a firm of well-known merchants in Shanghai. His bag was lowered by Ah Four; and feeling behind him, he discovered blankets, a loaf and a meat pie (cooked that very afternoon).

The Chinese had scarcely gone from the hatchway, when Davy heard the bare feet of a seaman pattering along the deck.

"Master O'Shee, sir!" cried a voice.

It was Dan's; and Davy's heart seemed to become still within him. He heard only the throbbing of the condenser, as the engines got up steam for the long voyage before them.

He listened for the mate's reply, but could hear nothing.

"Eight bells, sir! It's eight bells!" cried Dan.

There was silence again; and then the feet went pattering for'rard.

Then eight bells sounded clear and strong in the morning air, and O'Shee's voice bellowed from the mouth of the alley-way:


"Aye, aye, sir."

"Call the captain. He wants to be under way by six."

And Davy breathed again.


Of Introspection In O'Shee

"TING, ting, ting" went the engine-room bell; and slowly the screw began to turn.

McQuown was on the bridge: O'Shee stood in the peak of the vessel; and Dan hauled in a hawser, and flung it dripping on the deck.

Davy crouched behind the great piano case, wishing with all his heart he had never followed Ah Four's advice. For now that he was safely hidden on board and all chance of retreat cut off, a feeling of shame got the better of him. He knew that he had wronged his mother; he felt (though he knew not how) that he had even wronged the mate. He knew enough of McQuown to feel quite sure that he would not be dealt with lightly when his presence on board was discovered; yet this he feared less than the reproaches of his old friend, O'Shee. Still, what was done could not be undone; that much he fully recognized, and making the best of a bad job he ran through and through the story of Thomas Gaythorne and the priceless Casket of Heaven.

Cramped and weary as he was, the tale, to which he had listened in the dark back-parlour of the little inn, raised all his hope and courage. As the ship steamed smoothly down the Sound, he thought that any privations, any hardships, hard work and even blows, were worth the goal he had before him; and, as he thought so, the Airlie struck the open sea, and took on a steady roll, as she fell heavily into her course.

O'Shee had looked out for Davy's coming until the ship was under way. He had felt sure that the boy would arrive, at the very last moment perhaps, panting and full of explanations of his long absence. When the gangways were all ashore and a broadening stretch of water lay between the vessel and the quay, he turned on his heel and looked anxiously towards the town.

"Faith!" said he, "there's something wrong."

Nevertheless, he went again to his work, as if the matter had altogether left his mind, though his orders were a trifle sharper, and the Lascars fell hither and thither at his words with even greater alacrity than usual. When the pilot was dropped and the bell rang out for "Full steam ahead," the mate came down from the forecastle, and met Dan beneath the bridge.

The entrance of the Channel was thronged with sailing craft from every quarter of the globe. They had been lying round about Ushant for some days, waiting for a favourable breeze to carry them through the narrow stretch of sea. A fresh sou'-westerly wind had sprung up at daybreak that morning; and the ships came up together, like a flock of wild geese, homeward bound. With their white sails amply filled and the foaming surf beneath their bows, they made a pretty thing to see. The old carpenter and the mate stood side by side, watching them with the admiring eyes of experts.

"Bedad, there must be fifty at least!" exclaimed O'Shee.

"An' some on 'em has been waitin' days for this," remarked Dan, sniffing the good sea breeze.

O'Shee said nothing. His thoughts seemed to have wandered. He softly whistled to himself; and Dan's ear was musical enough to detect the famous theme of "Uncle Joe."

"Wonder Master Davy never comed to see us off, sir," said the carpenter, almost in the tone of a question.

"The boy's ill," said O'Shee promptly, and strode aft.

And little did O'Shee suspect how near the truth he came. For, at that very moment, Davy, sitting with his head between his hands and his elbows on his knees, was wishing he had never been born. Not all the treasure in the world seemed worth what he suffered then. Sea-sickness had broken his stout little heart. The atmosphere of the after-hold was damp and close, and smelt of a sickening mixture of oil, bilge-water and red-lead. The revolving shaft was directly underneath him; and the vibration of the screw caused him to shake from head to foot. As the long day went on, the sea grew higher, and the wind veered round further to the south, so that the waves struck the ship on her starboard bow. She began to pitch, like a playful duck in a pond, dipping her nose under the waves and tossing the water far back upon her body; while the screw, raised high in the air, raced madly, and met the water again with a shock that made the Airlie quiver from end to end. An hour of this—and Davy succumbed. He crawled out feebly from behind the piano, and was violently ill.

The rest of the day was passed in misery, alternated with the blessed semi-comatose state of exhaustion which comes invariably to the sufferer. Night saw the Airlie change her course, and roll past Ushant lights. Yet the storm still continued, and even increased. The cargo creaked with the movement of the ship; and great rats skipped on every side. Once one ran over Davy's face, as he lay upon his blankets. It frightened him, coming, as it did, suddenly out of the darkness; and he struck at it blindly, cutting his hand against a rusty nail that protruded from a packing-case. And then the sea-sickness got the better of him again.

He longed for a breath of fresh air, and before creeping back to his hiding-place, he thought it well worth the risk. Accordingly, he climbed to the top of the lumber, and putting all his strength against the woodwork of the hatch, raised a section slowly upwards. A tarpaulin lay stretched across the top, and this he carefully pulled aside, until he was able to put forth his head and shoulders.

As he did so, eight bells suddenly rang out the termination of the middle watch. The noise startled him. Nevertheless, he knew that, if any one was on deck, it was his wisest course to remain motionless.

The fresh air came to him like brandy to a fainting man. It was a beautiful night. Though the sea was heavy, there was no sign of fog or rain, and only an occasional cloud masked the moonlight.

Suddenly, he heard a heavy footstep on the main-deck, palpably drawing closer; and then a dark shadow made its appearance at the companion-way. Davy recognized the figure at once. He dared not move; he almost feared to breathe.

The shadow paused at the head of the steps—the pause seemed to Davy interminable—and then began to descend, evenly and with never a sound, after the manner of an hydraulic lift. Half-way down, it again stopped; and then, as if the lift cables had suddenly snapped, it came down with a bound upon the deck, and Davy was buried in the débris.

He had never time to move, and, even had he seen the onslaught coming, he was well wedged between the sections of the hatch, and could only have done so with difficulty.

He was taken like a mole in a trap. A hand closed around his neck like an iron bracelet; and he flew out like a cork from a bottle, high in the air, and, landing on the deck, lay prone among the scuppers.

"Caught, bedad!"

The mate sat down upon the opened hatch, and eyed the crouching figure in the dark.

"Ye imp!" said he.

Davy had not the courage to look up and risk detection from his old friend. But the moment could not be long deferred.

O'Shee never moved.

"Stand up!" said he, "and answer me this: What do ye want aboard this ship?"

Davy was too ashamed to speak. His guilt overwhelmed him. He rose, steadying himself against the bulwark; and the moonlight caught him full in the face.

O'Shee said never a word. The silence was more than Davy could bear. Involuntarily he cast his eyes upon the ground.

Then he heard, in a hoarse whisper, the following introspective examination, uttered slowly, with alternating pauses, as if each point was seriously considered in turn.

"Is me name Robert? It is.—Is me other name O'Shee? It is.—Am I drunk? No; bad luck to it!—I'm not aslape!" Then, in a comforting tone of voice, such as a mother uses to her babe, "Turn over, O'Shee, and go to slape again."

Davy laughed. A moment since he had never felt less like laughter in his life, and even when he had done so, he caught his breath suddenly, and the old feeling of shame came back again. O'Shee looked up at the sound of Davy's voice, and in one stride crossed the deck and seized the boy by the shoulders.

He looked close into his face for some seconds, then his hands fell listlessly to his sides; and, when he spoke, his voice was full of tears . . . "And it's my own doing!" said he. "It's all my own doing!"


How O'Shee Swore By The Saints

THE mate's words hit Davy hard. It went against the conscience of the boy to hear his old friend blame himself for what he knew was no fault of his. Yet he had sworn to keep silence. Had O'Shee shown anger the situation might have been easier to bear; but not even a reproach escaped the mate's lips.

O'Shee took him firmly by the arm, and led him into his cabin.

A swinging oil-lamp burned low above the bunk. O'Shee turned it up, and the light fell full in Davy's eyes, blinding him for the moment, so that the Irishman had ample time to regard his features unseen.

The boy's face was snow-white: his eyes had sunk deep in their sockets; and he looked haggard and worn. The severe shaking he had received had made him feel faint and dizzy: the cabin swam around him, and so rose and fell with the pitching of the ship that he found it hard to keep upon his feet.

O'Shee noticed this, and picking him up in his arms, placed him gently on the bed. Then he took down a bottle of brandy, that stood on the top of the cabinet containing the butterflies, and pouring some into a glass, mixed it with water, and gave it to the boy to drink.

Davy gulped it down, and felt better almost immediately.

The mate seated himself on his sea-trunk, clasping his great hands between his knees and staring blankly at the floor.

"Does your poor mother know?" he asked at last.

"Yes," murmured Davy.

"You wrote to her?" asked O'Shee.


"What did you say?"

"I told her," faltered Davy, in a weak voice, "I told her that I hoped to come back soon—better off."

"Faith!" exclaimed the mate, throwing his hands upwards in ridicule; and then he relapsed into silence.

Davy volunteered nothing more. They were within a yard of each other, yet neither looked the other in the face.

The lamp swung to the movement of the ship: the neighbouring timbers creaked in the violence of the storm; and the waves without splashed against the closed port-hole.

At last, O'Shee began to speak, quietly and in a low voice, as if to himself, and with great deliberation.

"It is just twenty-three years," he said, "since a lanky, overgrown son of an Irishman cut off from his parents' cottage on the outskirts of Kinsale. He headed for Cork, and making direct for the harbour, boarded a tin kettle of a packet, with her engines under the poop to save the expense of a shaft, and a spout of a funnel standing up where the stern flag-staff ought to be. He didn't stow himself amidships like a loose ferret in a rat-hole, and he didn't come aboard on tiptoe as if he was frightened of hurting the deck; but he did just as bad. He swaggered on board as if he had recently given up the command of the Channel Fleet, and lied like a Ballymena horse-dealer. Faith, how he lied! He'd been to sea, bedad, all his life! He understood cleaning and peeling potatoes, and such-like recreations, and could even cook at a pinch. (Faith, 'twas as well for the crew, I'm thinking, there was never a pinch that voyage!) Parents, bedad, he'd got none! it was an orphan he was, to be sure! though his father had laid an ash-plant across the back of him not two days before, for stealing apples, while his mother cried to get him off. Well, to cut a long story short, he lied himself into a berth, in which he got more kicks than halfpence, until he had learnt the advantages pertaining to hitting back. He never saw his home again. He had taken the bull by the horns, as the saying goes; and it tossed him out to sea; and he floated away on the tide. He served before the mast, and beat Tommy Barnet, the man-o'-war's man, in ten rounds at Sydney. Then he learnt navigation, and became a ship's officer on a coasting packet, that carried tin down the Malay coast to Singapore. Afterwards, he gained a Master's Certificate; and, finally, after twenty-three years of unceasing hard work, with scarcely even a day's holiday and on pay that would shame a coolie's wage, he reached the summit of his fame—first mate on a China tramp!" O'Shee was silent awhile, and then went on: "As a boy he had pictured himself in an admiral's rig, seated in the stern of a pinnace, doing twenty-eight to the hour, with a fleet's guns sounding the salute! He had, bedad! He had fancied it all! He used to lie awake and dream of it in the little bedroom in his father's cottage. And now, faith, he lies awake at sea, and dreams of his Irish home. 'Tis the contrariness of the world, Davy; 'tis how fate makes a fool of us, bedad. 'Twas thus it happened with me."

O'Shee ceased; and Davy lay and wondered upon all that the mate had said. He had never heard the story before: O'Shee had never touched upon his early life in any of the long talks they had had together. He could not fail to recognize that which lay beneath the mate's words. It was self-reproach. The tender-hearted Irishman, in repenting of his own action, bitterly blamed himself that he had not taken precautions to prevent a similar occurrence in Davy's case. The truth was, he had so little suspected that there was any chance of Davy running away to sea, that he had never thought of warning him against it. Besides, how was O'Shee to know of the fantastic story of the lost Casket and the Secret Society of Guatama's Eye?

As he sat before the boy, with his eyes cast down in shame-faced self-consciousness, as if for all the world he, and not Davy, were the culprit, his young companion was so filled with compassion that, then and there, he nearly blurted out the truth. But the memory of the little back-room of the Live and Let Live and the diabolical gestures of Ah Four came back to him in the nick of time. He remembered that one of the greatest secrets of China was now his private property, and that he was sworn to hold his peace; if he let out the secret, their lives would be in danger (O'Shee's as well as his own), and his enterprise the more likely to fail. Therefore, he kept back the words upon his lips, and let the mate speak first.

"McQuown won't be over-pleased," he said, with a grim smile.

"I suppose not," said Davy. "What will he do?"

"Can't say," answered the mate. "He can't put you ashore till Port Said; we don't touch Gib or Malta this trip."

"Will he turn me off there?" cried Davy in alarm, sitting up on the bed.

"Maybe," said O'Shee. "And if he does not, it is my duty, as a friend of your mother's, to pay your passage home across land."

"You won't do that?" appealed the boy.

"It is my duty," said the mate.

Davy clutched him by the arm.

"Promise me this," he cried, "promise me you will do all you can for me now. I'll never forget it if you do. I must get to China: everything depends upon it."

"What depends upon it?" asked O'Shee in astonishment.

"Oh, don't ask me! Some day, perhaps, you will know; but now I can tell you nothing."

"Have you ever thought of your mother?" asked the mate.

"She knows nothing. Some day she may know too. But now, though I am only a boy, I am acting for what I think is the best."

"So did I," said O'Shee.

"But your case was different. I have an object. I have something before me—something real. You had only dreams."

"What right have I to give such a promise?" asked O'Shee.

"The right of friendship," replied Davy.

"A friend who has not your confidence!" exclaimed the mate. "Is there give and take in that?"

"No. But how better can you prove yourself my friend?"

"Faith!" said the mate. "You had been more in your element had you run away to Parliament instead of to sea. But I can't do it, Davy. I am responsible for you to your mother."

"Listen," said Davy, who saw that all his ingenuity was needed to convince the mate. "You know me well enough. You know I would never have taken this step without some good reason at the bottom of it. I have a comfortable home and everything I need. I could, I dare say, if I had insisted long enough, have gone to sea as a full-blown ship's officer. Then, why should I sneak on board the very ship you are on, and sail as a stowaway?"

"Faith, it's only yourself can give the answer!"

"Then why not trust me that it is a good one, though I am bound to keep it to myself?" asked the boy.

"You are not in it, me lad. It is your mother I'm thinking of."

"Do you think it did not pain me to go?"

"It must," considered O'Shee. "Supposing I think I can benefit her in the long run?" said Davy.

"Then, how you'll do it is a mystery to me," said O'Shee.

"I've told you that already, and asked you to trust me. Oh, for goodness' sake, don't go back on me, and ruin all!" cried the boy passionately. "Stick to me! Help me all you can, instead of standing in my way. Be my friend. I've none on board this ship, but you and Dan." And he shuddered as he thought of the heathen cook in whose hands his future, his fate, and even his life itself were trusted.

"I'll promise, Davy," cried the mate. "Swear it," said the boy; "swear it, on your oath."

"I swear it, by all the saints," said O'Shee. And never through times of danger and hardship did a man hold more firmly to an oath, given upon the spur of a moment, without a second's consideration.

Davy lay back again upon the bed, with mingled feelings of pride at his victory and a sense of a greater affection than ever for this staunch Irish giant who was more a boy than he.


Concerning A Case Of Insubordination

DAVY'S eyes were heavy from want of sleep, and as O'Shee offered no further remarks, in a very short time his eyelids dropped, and he fell into a heavy slumber.

The mate glanced at the boy repeatedly, with such a look of submissive affection as a faithful bloodhound might throw upon its master; then he rose, and lighting his pipe, strolled out to the well-deck.

There he fell to thinking again, leaning on the bulwarks with his chin upon his hands and gazing out to sea. The growing light of day was now far spread across the waters. The storm had considerably abated, though a heavy swell still heaved the vessel on her path. The gulls had all sought shelter by the shore; and only a solitary petrel skimmed the surface of the waves, and a huge black-fish, spouting the water high into the air, ploughed its way steadily northwards.

But of these the mate saw nothing. He puffed slowly at his pipe, with his eyes fixed vacantly upon the distant horizon, flooded in the light of the rising sun.

Four bells struck; and soon afterwards the captain appeared on the main-deck. He seemed surprised to see O'Shee, who, he knew, had spent four hours of the night on watch.

"Good-morning," he grunted.

"Morning, sorr," said the mate.

McQuown eyed him suspiciously.

"Ye're up early, Mister O'Shee," said he.

"Faith," answered O'Shee, "I'm thinking it's late I am, for I've not yet been to bed."

"Why not?" asked McQuown.

O'Shee shifted uneasily on his feet.

"Truth is," said he, "I hardly know how to break the news to you, captain. What would you do if I said we'd got a stowaway aboard?"

"Disbelieve you," answered McQuown.

"Why?" asked the mate, with never a move on his face.

McQuown stared at him in amazement.

"What's all this nonsense?" he rapped out sharply, in a tone of authority.

"Nonsense or not, it's true," answered O'Shee.

The captain frowned menacingly; an unpleasant light came into his pale, watery eye.

"Where is he?" he asked.

"In me cabin," came the calm reply.

"In your cabin, sir!" cried the captain, flying into a passion. "And what may he be doing there, I should like to know?"

"Making up for lost sleep, faith," replied the mate.

"My word, Mister O'Shee! Do ye know no better than to harbour stowaways in your own cabin?"

"'Tis etiquette," said O'Shee. "'Tis etiquette, without a doubt, when that stowaway happens to be a personal friend."

McQuown turned sharply on his heel, and fired out a string of oaths.

"Bring him here!" he cried. "I've a guess at who it is. Bring him here! He'll pay for this!"

O'Shee was not long gone; and when he returned with Davy, pale and nervous at his side, he found McQuown pacing the deck and bristling like a badger.

"I thought it was you, you ragamuffin," he roared. "A personal friend, indeed! Speak, boy. What do you mean by hiding on board my ship?"

Davy could think of nothing to say; he cast his eyes helplessly towards O'Shee, and a glance full of meaning passed between the two. But McQuown caught it, and turned viciously on the mate.

"Did you know anything of this?" he cried.

"By James, no," said the mate. "I would have stopped it if I had."

McQuown cast a sneering look at his colleague.

"I suppose I must believe you," he said, as if he knew very well the mate had deliberately lied.

A deep flush spread over O'Shee's face. The mate's eyes flashed back defiantly; and for the moment it seemed as if he would lose control of himself. But, after a look at Davy, he managed to get the better of his feelings, Though with a visible effort; and stepping back he seated himself on the hatch, resolutely folded his arms, and fixed his eyes upon his superior officer. There he remained during the short dialogue that followed, like a cat at the mouth of a mouse-hole.

"Now then, no nonsense," said the captain. "Why are you here?"

"I wanted to go to sea," answered Davy.

"Then, the first time we touch land, ashore you go; and you can find your own way back to England as best you can."

Davy said nothing. He saw all his hopes vanishing.

"We've no room for stowaway urchins on board this ship," cried McQuown. "I've half a mind to run into Lisbon, and pack ye back from there."

Davy's heart sank within him. He glanced at O'Shee; but the mate said nothing. It was not within the power of O'Shee to help him; and Davy saw that if he wished to remain on board, his own brains alone must save him. All Ah Four's tales of the priceless value of "Guatama's Eye" came back to his memory; and then he pictured himself standing empty-handed and ashamed before his mother, after an absence of only a few days.

The thought sickened him. For all that, he was a boy gifted by Nature with a penetrating insight into the characters of men, and one capable of gaining his own ends by means best known to himself. O'Shee had been ever a tool in his hands; and McQuown, the ill-tempered Scotch skipper, was like an open book before him. He played a bold card, as his great-grandfather might have done.

"All night I've been sorry for what I've done, Captain McQuown," he said, with an air of meekness and an equal degree of truth. "If you put me ashore at Lisbon, I am sure I'll be able to find my own way home again."

This statement had the desired effect instantaneously. It was like pouring paraffin on a bonfire. No sooner had the last words left his lips than McQuown burst into a blaze of passion.

"Home again be sugared!" he cried. "On my ship you've come, and on my ship you'll stay! I'll give you a smell of the salt of the sea, ye runaway brat. I'll work ye as a cabin boy, and you'll not get a sight of your mother until we're back in Plymouth Sound again. I'll work the flesh off your fingers, until you'll rue the day you ever hid yourself here. It's no pleasure cruise you're on now, let me tell you that, but out to the China coast and home again, on ten hours' solid work a day for nought."

During this speech O'Shee, who had remained seated on the hatch, became visibly heated. He was obviously restraining himself with the greatest difficulty. Great drops of sweat sprang out upon his brow; and he glared fiercely at the captain, like a caged lion at feeding-time.

But the same words that so incensed the mate had had a very different effect upon Davy. It was all that the boy could do to restrain his satisfaction; and the ghost of a smile played about his mouth.

McQuown caught sight of it, and was no longer responsible for his actions.

"Then there's the cat!" he roared, with an oath, seizing a shortened cord that bound the canvas of the donkey-engine and hastily untying it.

"It's against the law," cried O'Shee, springing to his feet.

But McQuown was too far gone to heed him.

"The law to Jericho!" he shouted in a transport of rage, and brought the rope's end full across Davy's face, with such stinging force that a long, pink wale, suffused with blood, instantly marked the stroke across the boy's cheek. McQuown had raised his hand for another blow, when he came suddenly face to face with the mate.

O'Shee's great fist had gone back like a piston-rod. He was in the act of striking, when he checked himself; and laying his hands about the captain's waist, he pinned McQuown's arms to his sides and lifted the little man bodily into the air.

"I'll have ye in irons!" yelped McQuown, struggling to be free. "Assaulting your superior officer! It's irons, ye Irish ruffian, it's irons!"

"I'll shake the life out o' ye, ye weasel," cried O'Shee; and McQuown's head flew backwards and forwards, like the crank-handle of a machine-gun in full action.

"It's irons! It's irons!" cried the captain repeatedly, until his voice grew faint and the words came in gasps, as if from a choking man. Then, when he was black in the face and altogether out of breath, O'Shee let him go, and he fell on the deck, limp and unable for a time to move.

"My word, you'll pay for this!" he hissed between his teeth.

"Faith, 'twas worth it," said the mate.

"Hitting your superior officer," panted McQuown.

"It's a loie," roared O'Shee, taking him up quickly in the broadest brogue.

"Ye never hit me! Ye deny it!" cried the captain, raising himself on his arm.

"I do, bedad. I played with you. But, thank the saints, I never struck."

"I say ye did," cried McQuown. "I'll swear it to the owners."

"Then, if that's the case," said O'Shee, "I may as well do it after all." And he rolled back the cuff of his coat and closed his fist so tightly that the great knuckles turned white beneath the drawn skin.

"For pity's sake, don't strike!" whimpered McQuown, covering his face with his hands. "Think, O'Shee, you'd kill me: as sure as death, I'd die!"

"Bedad, I might do worse than that," said the mate. And rolling down his sleeve, and taking his pipe from his mouth, where he had kept it all the time, he carefully spat over the side of the ship. And then, he yawned.


Of The Indifference Of Ah Four

LIKE most bullies, McQuown was an inveterate coward; and O'Shee's sudden violence had shaken the little courage he possessed, together with his breath, completely out of him.

He picked himself up, visibly conscious of his own disgrace; and a fierce desire for revenge came near to choking the little man. It was not within his power to speak, and he never attempted to. Shaking with suppressed rage, he stood upon the deck, his fists clenched, vigorously chewing the ends of his long moustaches. Then he turned upon his heel, and went for'rard to his cabin, like a cur driven back to its kennel.

"Davy," said O'Shee.

"Yes," answered the boy.

"There're storms ahead, me lad. Bedad, it's no fair weather friend that I'm to prove mesilf to be."

"Oh," cried Davy from his heart, "I'd never willingly have brought all this to you of all people in the world. I'm not worth it! Make friends with him for your own sake! He'll be revenged upon you: I saw it in his eye. Don't sacrifice anything for me: you may gain nothing for it in the end, and perhaps you'll lose all!"

"Faith," said the mate, "it's late in the day for me to be counting the gains and such like! I'm after considering yourself, Davy."

"But we can't trust him!" exclaimed Davy in alarm.

"There's few we can," answered O'Shee. "The more reason we should stand by each other, come what may."

And thus was a compact sealed. It was a one-sided arrangement from the first; and none knew it better than Davy himself. He had the more cause to be grateful however. O'Shee was a poor man: he earned his bread from day to day by the sweat of his brow; and on that account, his qualifications as a master-mariner were all the world to him. Yet, of his own accord, he had deliberately jeopardized his position and thrown his future to the winds.

Davy was unquestionably at a disadvantage. He was a stowaway, a trespasser, and, to all intents and purposes, a thief. O'Shee, who knew nothing of the quest upon which he was bound, had risked all for him—the revenge and spite of his superior officer, the displeasure of the owners—for nothing more than the sake of the friendship of a runaway schoolboy.

The mate and McQuown were now entirely estranged. They had previously had little enough in common; but, after the scene on the well-deck, which was fortunately witnessed by no one save Davy, their relations were openly hostile.

For days after the incident McQuown never spoke to the mate. He found it more convenient to give his orders through the second officer, who naturally attributed the trouble to Davy's presence on board. But this state of things could not endure for long; and finally, the two men were again brought face to face.

The ship was then making for Cape Bon in the Western Mediterranean. There was a light head wind and a sunny sky, and the distant peaks of the Atlas Mountains, away to the south, stood over a bank of clouds.

McQuown opened the conversation abruptly.

"Where's that boy?" he asked.

"In the forecastle," replied O'Shee.

"Understand, I'll not have him meandering there. I've given instructions that he is to be kept continually at work. He is responsible for all brass on the main-deck, for all extra work in the cook's galley, and any task I may think fit to set him from day to day. His work on the main-deck comes under your province; but I regret to say, Mister O'Shee, that I can't trust you, so I have decided to see to it myself."

O'Shee said nothing.

"He's to report himself at four o'clock every morning to the officer going on watch. Do you hear?" he continued gruffly.

"Yes, sorr," meekly answered the mate.

"And if he's a minute late, it is to be reported to me."

"Yes, sorr."

"And just let him know that if I find him idling, I'll make him smart for it."

"Yes, sorr," repeated the mate, but there was the ghost of a twinkle in his eye.

"He is to begin work at once," went on the captain. "I've told the cook to keep him constantly employed. On our return to England, he'll be sent back to his mother, who will be asked to defray the expenses of his keep. Have I made myself perfectly clear?"

"Perfectly," answered O'Shee.

"Then you can go, Mister O'Shee; and, I think, before the voyage is ended, your young friend will have considerably changed his mind on the subject of running away to sea."

The mate immediately went off to Davy, who, contrary to McQuown's expectations, received the captain's orders with the greatest satisfaction.

Since the stormy morning, when he had been discovered, he had followed the advice of old Dan, and remained in the forecastle, out of the sight of the ill-natured captain. Though he soon recovered from his sea-sickness, he found existence there hardly bearable. The place was in a continual semi-darkness, and so filled with coils of rope, sails and lumber of all kinds that there was scarcely room to move.

Dan had made him a bed of sorts upon the sail-cloths, and brought him his meals, which were of the best that the ship could supply. In fact, the old carpenter did all within his power to make the boy comfortable. But Davy longed for activity; and no sooner had O'Shee told him that he was to go to work with Ah Four among the pots and pans, than he uttered an exclamation of delight and hurried off then and there to the cook's galley.

Ah Four greeted him as an entire stranger. He gave Davy saucepans to clean and plates and dishes to wash, with such an air of unconcern that Davy at first doubted if the Chinese remembered the momentous interview that had taken place between them.

As day succeeded day and the cook made no reference to their mutual agreement, Davy became really anxious on this head, and began to think that perhaps after all it was only a fantastic dream that had led him so rashly to run away from his home.

One day, as he sat peeling potatoes in the galley, he determined to question the impenetrable Chinaman.

"Ah Four?" he asked.

"Yes?" replied the cook.

"What are we to do when we get to China?"

The cook looked round anxiously, and then whispered in Davy's ear, holding up a warning forefinger, "Hush! You no talk these things."

"But what are we to do?" insisted Davy. "There is no one near to overhear us; tell me what you mean to do."

Ah Four drew even closer.

"Cut," he said, adopting the English slang. "Cut off, master. Leave ship and every one behind."

Davy had expected that this would be the case. Since he had worked in the galley, though he and Ah Four had exchanged few words enough, he had of necessity seen more of the cook, and in consequence, he trusted him even less than before. He looked forward with misgivings to the time when he was to desert the ship, and felt that he sadly needed the advice and help of O'Shee.

It seems Ah Four had some suspicion of his thoughts, for, that night, as Davy stood upon the deck, watching the growing lights of Port Said, as the vessel drew slowly in along the De Lesseps mole, the Chinaman crept softly to his side.

"Remember," he whispered; "silence! You no talk our pidgin any one; you no speak Mister O'Shee one word."

"Why not?" asked Davy.

"I talk you that already. No man must know Secret Society business."

Ah Four had adopted a tone of authority, which by no means pleased Davy.

"Why not swear Mister O'Shee?" suggested the boy. "He may be able to help us."

"All same you!" cried Ah Four excitedly. "No! No can do! He no believe."

"But if he hears the whole story of my great-grandfather, and sees the Seal of the Lake Monastery, he must believe."

"No," persisted the Chinese angrily. "I already speak you no can do. Already you make promise. You no can break word."

Ah Four turned his back upon Davy, howbeit he made no sign of leaving until the matter was settled more to his satisfaction. They were now under the revolving light at the entrance to the Suez Canal, and the reflection from the water caught the Chinaman's features in profile. The cook appeared so evil-looking and villainous, that Davy, suspecting sinister motives, became at once boldly defiant.

"What if I tell him?" he cried.

"Then I no show you the way to Monastery," retorted Ah Four, shrugging his shoulders as if it were a matter to which he himself was indifferent.

"Supposing we go alone?" suggested Davy.

Ah Four's face, now fully visible among the manifold lights of the crowded harbour, was quite expressionless.

"Very well," he said, "you go alone. You no speak Chinese. You no can get inside."

"Oh, we would, though," laughed Davy.

"All right," answered the cook. "Then you no come outside again."

"How?" asked Davy, alarmed at the cool decisiveness of the Chinaman.

Ah Four said nothing. He just wound his pigtail round his neck and drew it tight, making the soft gurgling sound of a man being slowly strangled.

"You mean," said Davy—"you mean that they would strangle us!"

"Perhaps," said Ah Four, again shrugging his shoulders. "Can die plenty ways. It belong very good thing for lamas you dead. You no forget that."

"Then how are you to save my life?" asked the boy in some apprehension.

Ah Four, for the first time, smiled.

"I know plenty ways," he said with confidence. "You no like see how, then you go talk Mister O'Shee."

And sliding noiselessly away, he left Davy alone with his thoughts.


How O'Shee Proved Himself A Hero

DAVY thought the matter out, and saw that he must accept the inevitable. If he was to regain the lost treasure that had been so brutally filched from his great-grandfather, he was forced to put his trust in the Chinese cook, who was alone capable of guiding him to the Monastery and obtaining possession of the Chart.

Nevertheless, he was not without feelings of distrust. In his heart, he suspected the motives that underlay the Chinaman's proposals; and Ah Four's strong objection to the inclusion of the mate in the secret served only to increase his fears. But heredity had granted Davy a large share of reckless courage, entirely to the detriment of prudence. He was determined to probe the secret to the end, and if O'Shee could not advise and assist him, he must act alone. His self-reliance was his only stay. He resolved to watch Ah Four closely, at every move; and the next time they met, he sized up the little squint-eyed Cantonese from head to foot, and came to the conclusion that, if it ever came to a struggle, they were near upon a match.

Once, when the ship was making down the Red Sea, Ah Four asked for the possession of the Agreement. But with this Davy was by no means willing to part. He had sewed it inside the lining of his waistcoat, and refused blankly to let it out of his keeping to any other than the Head Priest of the Lake Monastery. Ah Four did not persist in his demand. He merely shrugged his shoulders, remarking that it was a matter quite indifferent to himself; as they were friends and confederates, it was immaterial who kept the scroll which was to stand as their passport into so inaccessible a precinct as a Lama temple, and nothing more was said about the matter.

Davy continued to work hard from sunrise to sunset. He had little time in which to snatch his meals, and less for apprehension. He seldom saw O'Shee. The mate deemed it best not to be seen in the company of his young friend, the stowaway. Davy felt this rather sorely; he missed the long talks with the mate and the happy hours he had been wont to spend in his cabin. Dan was his constant companion: they shared the forecastle together; and many a time when the day's work was done, would Dan, with the old rifle across his knee, entertain him with tales of the sea. In consequence, Davy found his life on board far from an unhappy one, in spite of the fact that sometimes it seemed as if O'Shee had entirely forgotten the boy's presence on board. This, however, was far from being the case. For every day, when Dan and the mate met upon the bridge, and McQuown was nowhere about, the same question would be asked:

"Has the lad everything he wants, Dan?"

"Everything, sir," the old carpenter would reply. "Everything we can give him."

"Is he unhappy, d'ye think?"

"Why no, sir," Dan would reply with a smile. "He seems to love it, and gets through his work like a Briton."

"Bravo, Dan!" the mate would exclaim, and set to pacing the bridge again, with a beaming countenance and a lighter step.

As the voyage progressed, the East with all its scorching radiance opened out before them. The Airlie passed through the banks of the Suez Canal, where little naked Arab boys raced the ship on shore and called loudly for pennies. On either side the desert spread itself in great illimitable reaches, where only the mirage danced and perhaps a solitary camel train wended its silent way across the sand.

At Port Said, O'Shee had sat him down and written a long letter to Davy's mother. He assured her of the safety of her son, and holding himself responsible for Davy's safe return, he ended by assuring her that he would be answerable that no harm should ever befall him. He took upon himself the duties of Davy's guardian and protector. And this, as he said himself, he did willingly, for he really loved the boy.

This accomplished, O'Shee set out down the Red Sea with a lighter heart and a heavy weight lifted from his conscience. He saw no reason to fear for the future; and, until a certain episode in Aden Bay, he had no cause to suspect any mutual understanding between Davy and the Chinese cook. There, an occurrence took place that long puzzled the none too subtle intellect of Robert O'Shee.

The ship lay at anchor, well out in the great harbour, while the sun poured down upon the decks and the heat veiled the rocky ridges around the Crater in a stifling haze. McQuown had gone ashore on some matter of business. O'Shee was in charge on board.

During the morning some diving boys had been clamouring in the water around the ship; but, at noon, seeing a large P. & O. from Australia drop her anchor in the Bay, they had paddled off in their canoes. Davy had watched them with the greatest interest. No one was on deck; and McQuown, the only one whose displeasure he had any reason to dread, was, as he knew, ashore.

The heat of the day was intense; to Davy in his European clothes it was unbearable. The blue water, rising and falling along the sides of the ship, looked cool and refreshing. The temptation was too strong for him: he slipped off his things and plunged into the water.

Almost immediately O'Shee came on deck, followed by Ah Four. The Chinaman eyed Davy's birth-mark as a man regards a priceless gem, though he said never a word and his features remained, as ever, impenetrable and stolid. The mate had half a mind to order Davy out immediately; but the boy seemed to be so thoroughly enjoying himself that he had not the heart to do so.

The thought of sharks came suddenly to his mind, and he was on the point of warning Davy, when a great brown dorsal fin rose suddenly above the surface of the water, not five yards from the swimmer.

Davy was close to the side of the ship, yet some distance from the lowered gangway, where lay his only chance of escape. Seeing his danger, he uttered a cry of fear and struck out strongly for the steps. But, good swimmer as he was, he had little chance in a race against the huge white shark, or "lamia," which was even then only a matter of a foot or so from his heels. A cold shudder went through the boy as he recognized himself for lost.

The beast had evidently scented from afar the blood of a European in the water; for it came out of the deep almost upon the very place where Davy was. As it turned on its back to seize him with its shortened lower jaw, its great white belly caught the rays of the tropical sun and flashed bright among the spray.

The white shark is the terror of the ocean. There have been cases when its sharp teeth have severed the bodies of grown men and women as though they had been carrots sliced by a cook. This one must have been well over twenty feet in length; and Davy, struggling before it, was as helpless as a minnow before the jaws of a pike.

The great head came to the surface at Davy's side; the little cruel eyes showed like two black beads a few inches under the water; the jaw was even raised to strike, when O'Shee, without a moment's hesitation, careless of the consequences and altogether forgetful of the fact that he was not able to swim, dropped from the main-deck clean upon the stomach of the fish.

His sixteen stone came down with a heavy thud, from a height of near upon twenty feet, and struck the beast such a blow as it was not likely to forget for many a day.

The white shark, terrible though he be, is by nature an inveterate coward. The animal had only seen before it the snow-white figure of a helpless boy: it had regarded its prey as already its own, and approached the matter no more seriously than a child about to swallow a sweet. The sudden and violent attack from an unseen and unsuspected quarter had an astonishing effect. The beast never stayed to see who this bold adversary might be: it dived deep out of sight, and made off towards the ocean as rapidly as it had come.

As for O'Shee, he, too, went down, clean as a plumb-line, and spluttering and spouting like a whale. In a few seconds he again appeared on the surface, with his wet hair matted upon his forehead, making a comical thing to see, in spite of the gravity of the situation.

"Bedad, I'm drowned!" he yelled, and foolishly throwing his hands up in the air, began to sink again.

In one stroke, Davy was at O'Shee's side, and had grasped the uplifted hand on the point of disappearing for the second time.

"Don't struggle!" cried the boy, as soon as O'Shee's head was again above the water. "Lie stiff and still, or we're both lost!"

O'Shee did his best to obey; and Davy, with all the strength he could master, covered the short distance which lay between them and the gangway, and thrust O'Shee's hand against the iron stanchion.

The mate had the sense to retain his hold of it; and, in another moment, both man and boy sat dripping on the gangway footboard. Both were panting from loss of breath, and Davy was pale and shaking.

O'Shee spat the salt water from his mouth, and then turned towards the boy with a look of inexpressible gratitude that did a world of credit to his simple Irish heart. He seized the boy's hand fervently between his huge brown paws, and pressed it so impulsively that Davy winced and feared the bones would snap.

"The saints praise ye, Davy!" he muttered. "Bedad, ye've saved me life!"


And How, At The Same Time, Ah Four Showed His Hand

DURING the few seconds in which the whole of this terrible incident had passed, the behaviour of Ah Four, taking into consideration the inborn callousness of the Chinese race, had been somewhat extraordinary. Dan, who was on the poop and who immediately rushed to the ship's side on hearing Davy's cry, had been a witness of it all.

On the first appearance of the shark's fin above the water, Ah Four became greatly excited. He flung his arms about him wildly, as if in despair, and cried aloud in the Cantonese language. Then, hastily pulling up the skirt of his loose Chinese coat, he drew a long curved knife from his girdle, and climbed rapidly over the bulwark. Here, his courage appeared to give way: he hesitated, and seemed, once or twice, as if about to jump; but, rapidly changing his mind, he sprang back again upon the deck, and dashed down the gangway at headlong speed, the knife between his teeth. By the time he had reached the bottom, Davy and O'Shee were striking out towards the steps, and he pulled up abruptly, looking decidedly sheepish and very much out of breath.

Dan came running down the gangway steps, on which O'Shee and Davy were seated.

"Master O'Shee, sir," he cried, "I reckon you ought to have a medal for this!"

"Faith," spluttered O'Shee, "I'd rather have a drop of whisky in a tumbler!"

"Master Davy, sir, I never seen the likes of it!" continued the old man, beside himself with excitement.

Davy was still too shaken to answer.

"Master O'Shee, sir," Dan went on, forgetful of discipline and familiarly laying his hand on the mate's broad shoulder, "would you be so kind, sir, as to do me the honour of receiving my gun as a small token of admiration?"

O'Shee laughed.

"I don't want the gun, Dan," he replied. "You keep it. Sure it's more use to you than it would ever be to me."

For all that, he could not help wondering what manner of use it was to Dan.

"Take it, sir," implored the old man.

"Faith, I don't want it," answered O'Shee, with some impatience.

Whereat Dan stood rooted in astonishment. That there should live any one who was not in the continual habit of breaking the tenth commandment, as far as his precious rifle was concerned, passed the bounds of his comprehension. For a moment, he seemed quite crestfallen; but he soon recovered himself, and turned again to the mate, glowing with admiration.

"With your permission, sir, I'll report your astonishing heroism to the Royal Human S'ciety," said he.

O'Shee looked up, with the air of a man deeply insulted.

"If ye do, faith," said he, "I'll wring your neck."

Dan appeared more distressed than ever. The old man really looked as if he were on the point of tears, when O'Shee rose suddenly to his feet.

"Here, Dan, me lad," he said cheerfully. "Help Davy on board again, he's had a bit of a turn; and, faith, for the matter of that, so have we all. I'm shaking like an aspen leaf mesilf!"

As a matter of fact, no one could have appeared more perfectly self-possessed. For one brief moment, in the water, he had shown signs of extreme distress; but, now that the danger was past, and when the nerves of many would have been visibly affected, he was as calm and steady as if he had just come out of a church, instead of having leaped almost into the very jaws of a white shark.

Between them they assisted Davy to the deck, where a mouthful of brandy soon restored him. McQuown did not return until the evening, an hour before sailing time. At O'Shee's special request, he was told nothing of the incident.

One of O'Shee's main characteristics was his profound modesty. He seemed to resent all reference to his own gallant action, though he repeatedly dwelt upon the fact that he owed his life to Davy.

But Old Dan never grew tired of the story. He described the whole affair to Davy over and over again in the forecastle, as if Davy, instead of being one of the principals himself, had never been there at all.

Whenever Dan mentioned the subject to the mate, he was careful to pass over O'Shee's own part in it, having found from experience that it annoyed him. This left him little enough to describe, save Davy's courage and the extraordinary conduct of Ah Four.

One day, when the Airlie was well on her way across the Indian Ocean, the sea lying smooth as a looking-glass, and as shiny in the sun, the old carpenter and O'Shee touched upon Ah Four's behaviour on the memorable day in Aden harbour.

"Where did that knife come from?" asked the mate.

"I never saw," answered Dan. "But he must a' had it on him, sir; there worn't time to fetch it from anywhere."

O'Shee began to think—always a prolonged occupation in O'Shee. He thought as an elephant swims—laboriously.

"Haythens I hate collectively," he gave out at last. "But haythens with knives on 'em I hate personally and individually! You say he nearly sprang overboard?"

"He thought on it," assented Dan. "'Tis unheard of!" murmured the mate.

"Now I thinks on it, I agrees with you, sir.

"'Tis contrary to the nature of the animals," went on O'Shee. "Bedad, Dan, you've been down the Canton River! You've seen 'em smoking their pipes and watching each other drown, with never as much as a thought to lend a hand?"

"I have, sir."

"D'ye know why?"

"Maybe 'cause they're looking arter legacies," suggested Dan.

"Not at all, bedad! 'Tis the way they regard Fate. You save a man's life, then all that man's sorrow belong you. Plenty better you let man die. No belong your pidgin," continued the mate, lapsing into pidgin-English.

"That's the way they look on it," said Dan, as if it was a sentiment he had firmly held for years.

"Then, faith, why should this haythen cook of ours be after saving Davy's life at all?" cried O'Shee.

"Dunno, Mister O'Shee! Looks as if he'd got some good reason to keep Mas'r Davy alive, don't it?"

"Je-woo!" And O'Shee passed his hand slowly across the side of his chin. "It does, bedad!"

From that day onwards, O'Shee's eyes were never off the cook. The more he thought of the matter the more he became certain that there was something Ah Four and Davy held secret from them all. He had no inkling of the truth; but, by degrees, his suspicions brought him near to it, and he saw that perhaps Ah Four was in some way connected with Davy's desertion of his home.

The ship ran into the palm-fringed harbour of Penang, and thence, south to steaming Singapore, where the current round Blaka-Mati nearly swept her on to the island. But O'Shee could detect nothing to confirm his suspicions; and finally, he resolved to question Davy outright.

One evening, he found the boy in the alleyway. Leading him without a word into his cabin, he quietly closed the door.

He sat for some minutes wondering how he should begin. He had decided to work round to his point gradually, gathering the while whatever information he could; but, now that he was face to face with Davy, he found it no easy matter. So, unconsciously, he adopted what proved by the result to be the wisest course. He began bluntly at the end, true to his nationality.

"Davy," said he, "what's all this between you and the cook?"

The question was so sudden and so unexpected that it completely threw Davy off his guard.

"What is it?" repeated O'Shee, whose grey, honest eyes were fixed upon his friend.

Davy hesitated, shuffled uneasily from one foot to the other, and then, deliberately and obviously, lied.

"Nothing," he said.

The blood had mounted to the very roots of his hair. O'Shee mercifully dropped his eyes, half in sorrow, half in pity.

"As you will, Davy," he said kindly. "Only I should have thought you would have trusted your old friend before a haythen cook."

Davy bit his lip, and then swallowed something that felt like a huge, iron tear-drop.

He could bear it no longer. Without a word he rushed from the room, and throwing himself among the sails in the forecastle, he covered his face with his hands, and buried his nails deep in his burning cheeks.

As for O'Shee, he thrust his clenched fists deep in his trousers pockets, and strode down the passage to the cook's galley.

"Come out!" said he, in a voice like thunder.

"You wanchee me?" piped Ah Four, wiping his hands on his apron.

"Come out, ye limb of Satan!" repeated the mate.

Ah Four squinted up at him; and his almond-shaped eyes opened wide in alarm.

"What master want?"

"Follow me," said O'Shee in a tone that would brook no refusal; and with never a look behind him, he led the way to his cabin.

Ah Four followed after, with an expression of the most malicious hatred; and his finger tips lightly felt the region of his girdle, whence he had drawn the knife.

At the cabin door, O'Shee let him in; and then seating himself on his bunk, shaking with rage and his forehead knit in a frown, he faced the slim Oriental figure before him.

"That boy's in your power, ye withered monkey," said he between his teeth.

Ah Four never flinched, where a braver man might have quaked in apprehension.

"No, master. You altogether wrong. Master Davy and me no have got anything same like you talk."

"If ye lie to me and I find you out," slowly answered the mate, "I'll thrash the life clean out of your yellow hide."

Ah Four glanced nervously towards the door, and then replied in tones of the most sincere regret:

"Me very sorry, master bobbery!"

"Bobbery be blowed!" cried O'Shee. "If it's bobbery ye think I am now, I'll show you different if I find out what villainy you're up to."

"If master think I belong bad man, I no can help. I belong very sorry all same. I very fond of master."

O'Shee uttered an exclamation of disgust. Then, drawing back his lips and showing his clenched teeth, he raised his ponderous fists on either side of the Chinaman's head.

"If any harm comes to that boy through you," he said, slowly punctuating almost every word, "or if you for one moment try to harm a single hair of his head—"

"What master do?" cried Ah Four, shrinking back in terror, and raising an arm as if to protect himself. "What master do?"

"I swear by the saints I'll crack your skull between me fists, as I would a rotten nut."

And this was the second time that O'Shee swore by the saints.


Of The First Appearance Of Cheong Sung, Commonly Known As Jugataļ

FOR the remainder of the voyage it was as if a cloud hung over the ship. McQuown had always had few words for any one, but now O'Shee, at one time the life and soul of the saloon, had suddenly become sullen and morose. He spoke only when spoken to, and not always then. He went about his duties with an air of abstraction, from which nothing could awaken him save a chance meeting with Ah Four.

Whenever he came across the cook, he was seen to clench his fists convulsively, and was heard to mutter to himself.

On these occasions it was Ah Four who stepped aside to let the Irishman pass, with a rapidity that showed more of deference than a Chinese is wont to give.

As for Davy, he was miserable too. O'Shee had done so much for him. He had not only stood by in his need, he had even sworn to remain true to him in the future, though openly withheld from the boy's confidence. O'Shee could have given no greater proof of his affection. And Davy had returned it with a lie.

The whole matter lay so heavily upon Davy's mind, that once or twice he again appealed to Ah Four. But, as the Chinaman remained obdurate, Davy could see no way out of the difficulty. He was only able to console himself with the thought that, if all turned out as successfully as he hoped, he might one day tell O'Shee the whole truth, and humbly ask his forgiveness. But, for the present, overburdened with a sense of disgrace, he gave the mate the widest possible berth.

Fortunately, the outward voyage was now fast drawing to an end. After the ship had cleared the Straits, she pitched into the heavy swell of the southern China Seas. Day by day, as she wended her way northwards, the climate grew more temperate. The very nature of the waters changed. From the calm, illimitable blue of the Indian Ocean, where the sun went down and rose in a flood of golden light, they now found themselves in a restless, turbid sea, discoloured by the current of a thousand rivers and canals, some of which had their sources far back in the great continent. Lines of white surf marked the distant waves; and the sea was crowded with fishing junks from Canton, that were tossed about like corks and floated with as great an ease.

At last, at noon on a blazing day, the Airlie steamed into Hong-Kong harbour, picked up a Chinese pilot at the entrance, and anchored off Kowloon.

The harbour was almost entirely enclosed in a circle of hills, through which the narrow entrances lay in the east and west. The great cruisers of the China Squadron formed a long string down the centre; and near by, a flotilla of destroyers clustered like flies around a sugar-bowl. To the east of the men-of-war lay an immense fleet of merchantmen, flying the flags of every nation and displaying the multi-coloured funnels of a hundred merchant houses. For, in the matter of tonnage, Hong-Kong stands third of all the ports of the world: she is a coaling station and port-of-call on a hundred lines and a terminus both from the East and from the West.

In addition to the steamers, the harbour was thronged with native craft: sea-going junks with tall, square sails and huge fishy eyes painted on their prows, which, according to Chinese superstition, enabled them to see the rocks ahead; flat, broad-beamed river junks, capable of carrying enormous cargoes; and "sampans" by the thousand, some with a single sail and some propelled by means of an oar at the stern; launches, pleasure yachts and skiffs—in short, every conceivable kind of boat and a great many more that it is not possible to conceive without going to the Far East and seeing them for oneself.

The island of Hong-Kong formed one side of the harbour. The "praya," along its sea-front, was crowded with a half-naked, seething mass of humanity, buzzing around the great "go-downs" like bees about a hive. The Peak rose nearly two thousand feet above the cramped and stifling town, its summit buried in the clouds. The lower slopes were terraced with roads, and rows of well-built houses stood, one above the other, like books on level shelves. Davy had imagined China a land of pagodas, temples and rice-fields. He found the great port very little different from Plymouth, except that the houses were for the most part white, with green latticed windows, and here and there a palm tree rose above the roofs.

Soon after the Airlie had made fast to her moorings, the ship was surrounded by a swarm of small craft: the port doctor and the Customs officer in their long skiffs; Chinese with fruit and vegetables for sale in over-laden "sampans"; and friends of the ship's officers, come out to welcome them back to the China Coast.

Davy watched with curiosity the celestials who came on board, each upon some business of his own. He had always taken Ah Four as the fixed type of Chinaman. He now found he was greatly in error. Ah Four, with his wizened face and the cast in his eye, was unquestionably ugly; and Davy had never realized that one of his race could be otherwise. But some of the men who came on board, especially those of the long-coated or better class, were decidedly good-looking, with regular, well-chiselled features and delicate hands. One man, in particular, he noticed was strikingly handsome. He was a great deal taller than the majority of his nation; and the darkness of his complexion, together with the slight tinge of red on his cheeks, proved him to be not of Cantonese extract, but sprung from one of the sterner races from the north. In appearance, but for his shaven head and long pigtail, which latter reached to his knees, he had borne some slight resemblance to the Red Indian of America. His nose was aquiline; and his cheek-bones were unusually prominent and high.

There was something so domineering in this man, in his coal-black eyes, his broad, straight back and the manner in which he carried his head poised proudly in the air, that compelled Davy's attention from the first.

Unlike the remainder of his countrymen, he came on board empty-handed, and stood for several minutes, calmly looking around him, with no visible pretext for being there at all. Davy noticed one of the lascar seamen walk up to this tall, proud Chinese, whisper a few words in his ear, and then pass on.

The Chinaman raised his eyebrows, as if in surprise, and drew in his lips as a man does to whistle. At that moment, Ah Four appeared at the mouth of the alley-way, beaming with delight at beholding his native shores once more, and feeding himself from a small bowl of rice which he carried in his left hand. The chop-sticks were raised almost to his lips, when his eyes suddenly encountered those of the stranger. His hand came slowly down again, while his smiling countenance drew out slowly, his mouth remained open, and he assumed a fixed and horror-stricken stare.

The stranger smiled.

"You seem hardly pleased to see me," said he, in the Cantonese dialect, but with the accent of a northerner.

"Oh, yes," said Ah Four, endeavouring to control himself. "I am very glad to see you, Jugataļ."

"In Southern China I pass by the name of Cheong Sung," answered the other.

"Of course," said Ah Four. "I hope you are well?"

"Not particularly," replied the other.

"Very sorry to hear that," said Ah Four sympathetically. "Too much opium, I dare say."

At that, the dark, eyes flashed fire.

"I leave opium-smoking to Cantonese dogs like you," the northerner rapped out.

"All right!" cried. Ah Four, visibly alarmed. "Don't get bobbery! All the more opium you leave, all the better for me."

Jugataļ made no effort to conceal his contempt.

"No need to remind you what brings me here?" he said.

"None," said Ah Four.

It was obvious, at this point, that the cook had hitherto been striving to hide his emotions for now, he burst out in a pleading tone, which there was nothing in the other's last words to explain.

"Have mercy!" he cried. "I'm a poor man!"

"Then life is of little value to you," came the cool reply.

"I can't pay," said Ah Four.

The words came in gasps. He held to a belaying pin for support, and looked for all the world like a beaten dog.

Jugataļ took out a cigarette, and lit it.

"There," he said, making a motion with his hand towards Hong-Kong, "there reigns what these fools of English are pleased to call the law—an expensive institution, giving employment to policemen, magistrates, prison-warders, and, I believe, hangmen."

He hissed the last word like a snake, his dark eyes still upon the cook. Ah Four trembled from head to foot. This man was evidently his master. Moreover, he was one who carried the rōle naturally enough.

"Very well then," said Ah Four faintly. "I'll come on shore to-night."

"I'll take you at your word," answered the other. "I may tell you, however, that it will be useless to try and, escape on to the mainland. Two of my men will watch the ship; and no doubt one of them will be good enough to row you ashore free of charge, considering the pitiful condition of your financial affairs."

"I promise I'll not run away."

"No need of that."

"But I do promise. Trust me! I am ready to swear."

Jugataļ, who had turned to go, looked up in surprise.

"Swear by Guatama's Eye," he said.

"I swear by Guatama's Eye," repeated the cook solemnly.

"You villain!" said Jugataļ, perfectly calmly.

"You don't believe me!" exclaimed the other.

"Implicitly. But my men watch the ship nevertheless."

Whereupon he went down into his boat, leaving the cook staring after him as if petrified, and Davy, filled with curiosity, a witness of a conversation of which he had not understood a word.


Of The Antecedents Of Jugataļ

SUCH a man as Jugataļ could only exist in China. In any European country he would have starved, or died upon the gallows; but in China, he acquired great riches and even respect. He lived in an atmosphere of crime and secret commissions, glorying in it openly; and since he was invariably on the side of the authorities, he was in a position to do so.

Though he was still a comparatively young man, there was no end to the plots and conspiracies in which he had had a hand.

At one time the Government at Peking was considerably alarmed at the efforts of a certain well-known "reformer." Secret Agents tracked the man throughout the length and breadth of China, until he was forced to seek protection under the British flag at Hong-Kong. Here he naturally became a British subject; and any violence upon his person would have been deemed an insult to England. He settled down to the ostensible vocation of schoolmaster; but it was soon found that he continued to carry on his former schemes as energetically as before. He sought to stir up a revolution in Southern China: Hong-Kong was in easy communication with Canton; and in a very short time, his firebrands took effect, and the Cantonese provinces burst into revolt. Imperial troops were immediately dispatched from the north; and after much bloodshed, peace and so-called order were again restored. Still, the "reformer" sat at his little school-room in Hong-Kong, with an impenetrable smile, and taught little chubby-faced infants to worship their ancestors, Confucius, and the Son of Heaven, the divine Emperor of the Chinese race.

In Peking, the Son of Heaven sat upon his throne; and, being in a mortal fear of the "reformer," called his mandarins about him. Their advice was given unanimously: the reformer must die. So Jugataļ was summoned to their presence, as the only man in all China who could be trusted with the highly dangerous task of flouting the British flag.

A fortnight afterwards, the "reformer" passed peacefully away in his bed, an English doctor pronouncing "sudden failure of the heart." And the South of China remained obedient to Peking.

In such-wise Jugataļ became both rich and a man to be feared. But it was known that he was in a habit of supplementing his income by sundry minor methods, of which no one knew anything and every one talked a great deal. These transactions carried him into the opium dens and the gambling houses of Macao; though it was very well known that he neither smoked opium nor played "fan-tan."

To give an example of one of his more private enterprises, it is but necessary to go back a space of some two years.

About midnight, on a certain stifling night in May, when the flare of the street lamps had died out and none but the gamblers remained awake, Jugataļ, the Tartar, strolled majestically into one of the more insignificant gambling dens of Macao. He sat watching the players with his arms folded before him and a half cynical smile upon his lips. There was little enough in the scene that called for amusement; yet we must not judge Jugataļ by other men: he saw amusement in everything; though he deemed himself superior to the follies of ordinary people. A mother, with a babe in her arms, having lost every copper cash she possessed, snatched off her bracelets and threw them impetuously upon the table. When these were lost, in a fit of rage and despair, she tore the bangles from her sleeping baby's wrists, and hurled them across to the cashier, who priced them on the spot, and gave the woman their equivalent in money. Every coin returned to the bank; and the ruined mother stumbled out into the night.

Then, a fat and greasy merchant entered, in flowing silk, with a large cigar between his lips and three swollen bags of money under his arm. Without a moment's hesitation, he placed one bag upon the table, backing the number, one. He lost. Quite expressionless and apparently unmoved, he threw down another bag. He lost again. And immediately the third followed; and for the third time number one failed to appear.

Thereupon, a Portuguese soldier who had been watching the play from an opium couch, sprang to his feet; and, drawing a hundred dollar note from his pocket, backed number one. The pile of "cash" was counted out, slowly, coin by coin; and, sure enough, one solitary coin remained. A hiss went round the assembly, as the Portuguese raked in his tremendous winnings; and one little squint-eyed Cantonese, whose luck had been dead out, spat disdainfully upon the floor. The merchant gave a long meditative puff at his cigar, and strolled complacently away.

All these things amused Jugataļ. He sat smoking cigarette after cigarette and watching the anxious faces of the gamblers.

The Portuguese, who had suddenly awakened from an opium sleep, seemed infused with the energy that drug is said to impart. Following up his initial success, he plunged wildly and rashly. Hitherto it had been a winning bank. Now, the little Portuguese completely turned the tables. His stakes were larger than those of the remainder of the gamblers put together, and, time and again, he won.

The Chinese, true to their superstition, refused to follow the lead of the "foreign devil." They consistently betted against him, and, as consistently, lost.

The little squint-eyed man leant towards Jugataļ, who was sitting next him.

"My name is Ah Four," he said. "I am a cook on an English ship in Hong-Kong. I've lost everything, and cannot get back. Lend me one dollar?"

Jugataļ did so. It immediately went on a number, and was raked in by the croupier.

"Lend me another?" asked Ah Four.

"My friend," replied Jugataļ, "it does not interest me at all to see you lose my money."

Ah Four immediately became affable, seeming in no way offended at the refusal.

"This foreign devil has good joss," he remarked.

"Yes, he must have won over two thousand dollars," answered the Tartar, glancing furtively at the Cantonese from under his lowered eyelashes.

And this was so. The Portuguese seemed unable to lose. Three times the manager had to be .awakened from his sleep to get five hundred dollar notes from the safe, for the majority of the money in the bank was silver, and the soldier was betting in hundreds. At each coup a groan of disapproval and disgust went round the table. Ah Four greedily eyed the handfuls of notes, as the foreigner thrust them into his pockets. The banker secretly gave orders to the attendants; and the Portuguese was offered pipe after pipe of opium and glasses of the very foulest whisky, which finally made him feel dizzy and ill. As he staggered to his feet, a caged bird in the window burst into song, heralding the approach of day.

When he got into the fresh air, he stood for a moment on the door-step, very white in the face. The atmosphere of the gambling den had been poisonous. The sickly smell of the opium, combined with that of the reeking oil lamp suspended over the table, had altogether upset him. The silver coins, scintillating on the white matting table, still danced before his eyes.

There was no rickshaw in the narrow deserted street. When he had recollected his whereabouts, he stumbled on his way, turning to the left towards Macao hill, where the European quarter lies. Ah Four followed behind, his soft felt shoes falling noiselessly on the stone pavements.

At the edge of the Chinese town, the road which the Portuguese had taken lay along the sea-front. It was high-tide; and the water lapped softly against the stone esplanade. Near by was the band-stand, where the band of the Portuguese regiment was wont to play in the afternoons, while the Portuguese officers strutted with handsome beauties, dressed in spotless white.

Ah Four slipped rapidly under the shadow of the stand, and there awaited the soldier's coming. The soldier paused opposite him, and placed his hand upon his forehead. In one bound, Ah Four sprang upon him, and sent him headlong into the sea.

He went in with a splash; and the water immediately closed over him. In a moment, he came to the surface, and swam strongly to the shore. With an effort, he reached up and seized the stonework with his hands. He had raised his head above the level of the promenade, when Ah Four dealt him a cruel blow with a long, curved knife, and he fell back again with a groan.

A minute afterwards, Ah Four pulled out the lifeless body, and laid it dripping on the stones. He quickly emptied the pockets, taking even the small change. Then, with his foot, he cast it back again.

Ah Four thrust the money beneath his coat, and turned to go. In doing so, he came face to face with the tall figure of Jugataļ, with a cigarette between his lips and the selfsame cynical smile on the handsome face.

"Very clumsily done," remarked the Tartar.

Ah Four could only gasp.

"Hand them over," continued Jugataļ, holding forth his hand.

"No, divide," said Ah Four, trembling from head to foot.

"I divide with no one," said the other quietly.

Ah Four passed every note into Jugataļ's hand, and then wiped the perspiration from his brow.

"In addition to this," said Jugataļ, carefully folding up the notes, "you will pay me one hundred dollars every time you enter Hong-Kong harbour, as the price of your life."

"No," cried Ah Four, with one spasmodic effort.

"Very well, then," answered the other, knocking the ash from the end of his cigarette. "The first time you refuse to pay, you hang on Macao hill for the murder of this soldier."

He indicated the spot in the water where the body had disappeared.

"It is too much!" cried Ah Four.

"Not for me. You know who I am?" asked Jugataļ, with pride.

"Yes," murmured the other faintly.

"Then you know that nothing is too much for me. For the present, it is best that we should separate. But I will always look forward to my meetings with you. It amuses me to see you agitated."

And, puffing leisurely at his cigarette, he strolled back into the city, whence he had come.


The Tiger And The Fox

WHEN Jugataļ left the Airlie after his interview with the little squint-eyed cook, two burly sampan coolies, seated in the bows of their boats, remained near the ship until nightfall. They nodded pleasantly to Ah Four whenever he appeared on deck.

After the ship's dinner had been served, the cook crept stealthily down the gangway on tiptoe. One of the sampan men was waiting at the bottom. Ah Four sprang into his boat, and in a few minutes was landed on the shore.

The Victoria Road was alive with the lights of passing rickshaws. The large European shops were for the most part closed, though here and there the lights of a small Chinese booth flared across the street.

The two men passed on foot along the main thoroughfare, towards the Chinese quarter of the town. As they proceeded on their way, the road became narrower and more crowded. The shops were lit with flaring lights. On either side of the street numberless signboards, of grotesque and fantastic design, were suspended vertically outside the houses. Naked coolies lay about the pavements; and the passers-by stepped across their sleeping forms as if it was the most natural thing in the world for any one to go to sleep in the principal street of a city at eight o'clock in the evening. The pedestrians talked so loudly, and the boothmen and hawkers shouted so persistently, that the whole scene was one of the liveliest animation and incessant hubbub and din.

Ah Four and his companion slipped through the crowd like a pair of eels, the sampan man leading the way, yet never letting Ah Four out of his sight for a moment.

Presently they turned to the left, and made up the hill. Then, passing down another and still narrower side street, they came upon a dingy little house, in the window of which a number of unpleasant-looking Chinese sweetmeats were displayed for sale.

The sampan coolie, after speaking a few words to a fat, jovial gentleman, who sat nodding and grinning behind the counter, passed through the shop to a small door at the further end, that opened upon the foot of a flight of stairs.

All three ascended together, and entered an exceedingly small chamber, that could not have been more than three square yards in area. The room contained two couches and a small black wood table, upon which a lighted candle threw an uncertain, flickering light upon the damp, streaky walls.

Seated on one of the couches, with his head thrown back against the wall and a lighted cigarette between his lips, was Jugataļ. He neither moved when the others entered, nor seemed in any way conscious that they had done so.

The fat man and the sampan coolie had no sooner ushered in Ah Four, than they withdrew. As they closed the door, Ah Four heard the key turn softly in the lock.

He remained standing in the middle of the room, looking far from comfortable.

"I cannot pay all your hundred dollars," he said at last, in Cantonese.

"So I see," answered Jugataļ, though he had never so much as glanced at the cook.

"This is all I have," said Ah Four, drawing a packet of notes from his pocket and counting them out one by one on the table.

They amounted to a total sum of eighty-five dollars.

"I bring you the rest to-morrow."

"All right," said Jugataļ serenely. "This once I'll trust you."

The cook thanked him, in such a tone of gratitude as showed he had little expected such an answer.

"And now I can go?" he added, nervously turning towards the door. Ah Four was undoubtedly anxious to bring this unpleasant interview to an end. "I presume I can go?"

"Oh dear, no," said Jugataļ, sending the smoke from his cigarette high into the air. "There are several other matters we have to discuss."

Ah Four turned in surprise. A look of fear came into his cruel little eyes. But he managed to control himself.

"Is that so?" said he, with feigned unconcern. "I can't think what it is then."

"Perhaps not," remarked the other significantly.

"I'll sit down," said Ah Four, seating himself on the second couch with an air of resignation.

"Perhaps it would be as well," said the other. "We may be some time arriving at a conclusion."

"Then would you be so good as to begin?" said the cook, striving hard to appear collected.

"Certainly, we may as well come to an understanding at once. May I ask what your present game happens to be?"

This remark took the breath out of Ah Four. He stared at the Tartar in amazement.

"I don't understand!" he gasped.

"Then it becomes necessary for me to enlighten you. What do you intend to do with that boy?"

"That's my business," rapped out the cook.

"Ah," said Jugataļ, smiling. "There the good Ah Four is at fault. He does not realize that I have made it my business as well."

"I take no interest in this boy," said Ah Four haughtily.

"Then why, may I ask, did you contemplate saving his life, at Aden?"

Ah Four stood rooted in astonishment.

"How did you know that?" he asked.

"Lascars have eyes," was the serene reply.

"You have spies on board!"

"I have 'agents' everywhere," said Jugataļ, airily waving his hand before him.

"That is all you know?" asked the other.

"That is all I want to know."

Ah Four looked relieved: he thought he saw daylight.

"I never had any intention of saving his life," he said, with a forced laugh.

"My friend," said Jugataļ, "you are a bad liar. You have shown me already that my information is correct. It is now rather late to deny it."

"At any rate," said Ah Four, determined to end the matter, "it has nothing whatsoever to do with you."

At that, Jugataļ, for the first time, turned savagely upon the cook. He sprang to his feet, and stood up to his full height before the little man, his eyes flashing fire with the ferocity of a tiger. Ah Four cowered before him, leering upwards, like a fox that hears the hounds give tongue.

"No violence!" cried the cook in alarm.

"Do you think, Ah Four, by the light of Heaven, that you can play with me?" roared the tiger, raising his arms at his sides by a slow bending of the elbows, as if he were about to spring.

"What do you want?" cried Ah Four.

He too had risen, and stood quaking before his adversary. A thousand times he had rather faced O'Shee.

His first thoughts were of flight. But then he remembered that the door was locked. He was seized by a sudden rush of passion, that lent him a savage courage of its own, and drawing his long knife from his girdle, he leapt upon his tall opponent.

It happened in a second. His wrist was nimbly caught, and with one sudden twist the knife flew from his hand, and fell clattering on the floor.

Jugataļ stood erect, motionless, more handsome than ever, with the bright light of excitement shining in his eyes.

"Fool!" said he, pointing to the knife. "Pick up that toy!"

Ah Four did as he was ordered.

"Do you think to frighten me with knives?" said Jugataļ, scornfully. "Remain still, and listen attentively to that which I have to say."

Thereupon, he began to pace the little room, with three strides up and three strides down, his hands folded behind his back and his head bent low.

"I give you the choice," said he, "before you leave this room. Either we act together, or else we act alone. If you choose the former you will be wise; you will then rely upon my judgment and my skill to carry through whatever plans you have. If you choose the latter, you place yourself in opposition to me; and from the moment you leave this house until your dying day, you will never cease to be shadowed. If you leave your ship (as I verily suspect you intend to do), you will be watched wherever you go. Your plans will be detected; and at the very moment you feel most certain of realizing them, you will be quietly put out of the way."

Ah Four listened in the depths of dejection. He remembered and bitterly repented of the fatal hour, when he had killed the Portuguese soldier for the sake of a few hundred dollars, that had placed him in the power of this Oriental Machiavelli. Jugataļ now stood between the Cantonese and millions of glittering coins. He ground his teeth in his mortification, but neither moved nor spake a word.

"I think I have made myself clear. Have you followed me?" asked Jugataļ, pausing in his perambulations.

Ah Four never answered.

"You have. Good!" said the other. "I take it you are considering. There you are wise. Do nothing rashly. I have no particular wish to see you come to harm."

He calmly lit another cigarette. When it was alight he again sat down, closing his eyes as if about to sleep.

"Well," he said, after a long silence. "Is it to be peace or war?"

"Peace," said Ah Four bitterly. "I will tell you all."

"Good," replied the other. He tapped three times upon the floor with his foot. Almost immediately the fat man entered.

"Bring some opium for this gentleman," said Jugataļ, "and some cigarettes for me."


Night On The Woosung Tide

ON the afternoon of the following day the Airlie steamed away from Hong-Kong on her journey north.

She passed the ports of Fu-chau and Swatow, where thousands of fishing junks lay at anchor. The extent of the fishing trade in the China Seas will never be even approximately estimated. Fish, to a great extent, is the food of the coast provinces. Junks return to port laden to their gunwales with fish; and no sooner is their cargo discharged, than they are off again upon another cruise. In consequence the fisher folk see little of the shore, for, unlike their European brothers, they take their families with them; and on the high seas, far away from the coast, little children may be seen playing on the junk-decks, tied to the masts by rope, so that, if they happen to fall overboard, a fond parent hauls them up again, as casually as a man pulls a bucket up from a well.

The Formosa Channel, except in the very roughest weather, swarms with these craft; they sail by night with never a light on board, and imperil the safety of many an ocean liner by appearing suddenly out of the waves beneath their very bows. The heavy fogs in these crowded waters make the passage even more dangerous, as, in addition to the junks, hundreds of treacherous rocks rise unexpectedly out of the deep.

Both McQuown and O'Shee knew the coast by heart; and without the services of a pilot, they guided the vessel in safety to the estuary of the great Yangtse River. There the water changed from a dull sea-green to a bright yellow hue. A hundred miles out to sea this gigantic current dyes the water with the sediment from its basin. In flood time fresh-water fish can be caught far from the land.

The Airlie turned at the meeting of the waters, and steamed slowly up the wide estuary, a hundred miles in breadth. Gradually the low-lying banks closed in; long, marshy islands sprang up in mid-stream, and far to the front the hulls of battleships stood out along the horizon.

On drawing nearer, these were found to belong to almost every nation in the world. Great four-funnelled British cruisers; turreted French battleships; white German gunboats, and broad, flat American monitors, representing the so-called "Powers," were moored together in the Sound, at the junction of the Woosung and Yangtse Rivers.

The Airlie's syren screamed across the water as she drew in at a snail's pace; and soon afterwards, a pilot-launch came to her from the very spot where, a hundred years ago, Evans had laid the dead body of Thomas Gaythorne in its last resting-place. The great-grandson had now come back in his stead, on the same quest, with the same indomitable spirit; though the sky was thick with clouds, and Jugataļ, the Tartar, travelled northwards, through the province of Hunan, hiring fresh ponies at every town, and riding a hundred miles a day.

Following the pilot-launch, the Airlie steamed up the Woosung River, and in an hour or so dropped her anchor before the bund at Shanghai. For two miles along the river bank tall European houses stood up in grand array. Banks, consulates, offices and hotels gave an imposing proof of the wealth of the great half-known country, of which Shanghai is the chief trade centre. Carriages went to and fro along the front; on the level stretch of green grass, which lay between the roadway and the water, little European children romped with their Chinese nurses. Farther up-stream, on the left bank of the river, lay the Chinese city, behind the wharves and jetties where thousands of steamers were discharging or shipping their cargo.

Davy, as he looked toward the shore, felt an uncontrollable feeling of excitement. He tried in vain to imagine what lay before him. Up to the present everything had been so different from what he had expected, that it seemed useless to try to surmise what was yet to come. Everything was veiled in mystery, uncertainty and doubt. Ah Four had scarcely spoken to him since leaving Hong-Kong. The Chinaman appeared more reserved than usual, and more desirous than ever that no intimacy should be noticed between them. Davy was therefore forced to await developments. Within him, the suspense and expectation subdued his better nature, and even O'Shee took a very secondary place in his thoughts.

Soon after the darkness had fallen, the life of the great treaty-port drifted from the water's edge. In the Shanghai Club men threw dice and drank as they only can in the distant East; merchants chatted over the affairs of the day, and bronzed sea-captains sat down to poker for stakes far beyond their means, gaily laughing when they lost and spending their winnings freely on their friends. In the city itself, the opium dens and native restaurants were crowded to overflowing; every nation in the world—Chinese from every province of the great Empire, Sikhs, Hindoos, Tamils, Japanese and half-caste Europeans—mingled in the turmoil; until weariness, after another day of toil in the quest of gold or simple copper "cash," overcame them all, and the huge city lay silent, wrapped in sleep.

But, long since, the Woosung River was quiet and still. The rippling current lapped along the bund side, imprinting stolen and mysterious kisses on the stonework as it passed, and then, gliding on in the darkness toward the Yangtse flood. Occasionally the wash of a sampan disturbed the silence of the night; and sometimes, the distant hoot of a syren announced a new arrival in the roads. And so the Eastern night passed on rapidly to dawn.

The reflection of the ships' lights—red and green and white—grew gradually fainter and fainter on the dark surface of the river, as the sun rose once again upon the scene. The bund roadway was well thronged with coolies going early to work, when Dan burst into the mate's cabin.

"Mister O'Shee, sir!" the old man cried.

O'Shee sprang up in bed.

"Oh, Mister O'Shee, sir! There's devilment at the back o' this!"

"Bedad, man, what is it?" cried the mate.

"I've searched the ship, sir, from stem to stern, and Mas'r Davy's gone!"

"What!" cried O'Shee, rising like a bearded lion. "It's Ah Four! Have at him, Dan; he's at the end of this!"

He dashed at the cabin door like a madman; but Dan held out a shaking hand in restraint.

"It's no good, sir," he said. "They're both gone; they must have made off together in the night."

O'Shee sat down again heavily, with an air of a man who has lost.

"No word," he said; "no word, Dan, for me?"

"None, sir," said the old carpenter, greatly shaken.

O'Shee groaned audibly. And there he sat, thinking hard, with his great thumb between his teeth and his eyes fixed upon the floor, utterly helpless for all his mighty strength.


Of Jimmy's Golden Heart

McQUOWN received the news of Davy's departure with a stony indifference; in fact, he was inwardly pleased, and smiled maliciously at the abject distress of the mate.

As for O'Shee, he could not but feel that Davy, wherever he had gone, was in a great and imminent danger.

China is a country—almost the only country—where every man minds his own business. True, the small-footed, doll-faced Chinese women are the most confirmed gossips in the world; but, in China, women are of no account. Besides, the country is so large and the population so great that the murderer or the thief has only to change his address and flee into another province, and he might just as well have departed to another planet, for all the trace of him that can be found.

O'Shee pondered over these things, and grew sick and heavy at heart.

He was not a man to waste time in useless remorse; he resolved to go ashore himself and set about inquiries without delay.

"I must go ashore, sorr," he said to the captain, respectfully touching his cap.

McQuown regarded him with a sneer. He was very brave now that they were in port, with the owners' agents near at hand.

"Ye're getting above yourself, Mister O'Shee," he said. "It's time I put a stop to it."

"May be," said the mate, "but I can't stand idling here with that boy's life in danger."

"Idling do ye call it, Mister O'Shee! Idling indeed,—with a full cargo to be discharged!"

"The cargo be hanged," said O'Shee, without the slightest show of respect.

"I'll have ye to know," said McQuown hotly, "that I've already reported your insubordinate conduct to the owners and recommended your discharge. If I have more of it, ye'll oblige me to use my authority as skipper and report it by cable."

"Do you refuse to allow me to try and save this boy?" demanded the mate.

"My orders are that you remain on board and take charge of the cargo-work."

"I have done with you and your orders once and for all!" cried the mate; and without another word, he promptly left the ship and rowed over to the bund.

He was totally at a loss as to what to do, when he suddenly remembered an old friend, Jimmy McAlpine, who was once before the mast and now "Sir James."

He immediately hired a rickshaw, and drove to Sir James McAlpine's offices, which were near at hand. He found a Chinese clerk, or "shrofff," in the counting-house, and sending up his name, was instantly shown into the great man's presence.

"Jimmy" McAlpine was known as the King of Shanghai. He had even black-balled a Russian General for the Country Club; and he was the only man in all Shanghai who dared stand on the race-course after the starting bell had gone. The clerk of the course, like every one else, fell down and kissed the feet of "Jimmy" McAlpine.

"Jimmy" had first come out to China in the early days, as a common sailor on a merchant frigate. At that time he was as thin as a rake; but time had altered his physical, as well as his social, dimensions.

When he first left home as a boy, his father gave him a hiding, and his mother a pair of worsted night socks. Both gifts were entirely forgotten within two days. But, in addition to these, they had presented him with a natural shrewdness such as is possessed by few, a will of iron, a brave heart and a moderate education. These stood him in good stead. For the first time Jimmy McAlpine cast his eyes on to the China coast, he saw it was the coming country, and there he resolved to stop. He became a shop assistant in a large store, and with his shirt-sleeves rolled back, sold bootlaces across the counter. His wages were good—for intelligent young white men were few and far between in the China of those days—and he saved the better part, month by month, until he had amassed enough to set up a small store of his own. This increased its business by leaps and bounds, until "Jimmy," at the age of fifty-five, became the biggest merchant in the East, the owner of the famous McAlpine line of steamers—with the salmon-coloured funnels and the rake of yachts—and a Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George, for keeping Shanghai in hand before the arrival of the troops at the time of the Boxer rising.

In appearance he had a red, jovial countenance, in spite of his hard struggle with the world, and a corporation that would have done credit to an alderman.

He greeted O'Shee with open arms, and after the usual first words of welcome, out came his China-coast hospitality: "Have a cock-tail, mon?" he asked.

"No, thank you, Jimmy," said O'Shee. "I've something on me mind, and there's no time to lose, bedad. I suppose you don't mind me calling you 'Jimmy'?" he added, as an after-thought.

"What else would ye ca' me, pray?" exclaimed Sir James. "If ye start siring me, Bob, I'll order ye out o' me sight as I wud a leeper."

O'Shee laughed. He was glad to find the old "Jimmy" untarnished by the sun of his own glory. But his thoughts quickly went back again to Davy and his peril.

"I want to ask your advice, Jimmy," he said. "There's a Chinaman on board our ship abducted a boy; and only Heaven knows where they are gone."

"An' what's that to do wi' me?" asked the merchant.

"Nothing," answered the mate, "but, faith, it has a good deal to do with me. I'm responsible for that boy to his mother; and besides," he added, almost with tears in his voice, "we're the greatest friends that ever were, Jimmy."

"Have ye nae idea why they're gone?" asked the canny Scotsman, getting in a trice at the root of the matter.

"Not a notion, faith," said the mate. "I suspected there was something between them a while ago; but, I'd no reason to think they would cut their cables here—or anywhere else, for that matter."

"An' ye've nae clue o' ony sort?"

"Not at all," said O'Shee despondently. "I've come to you to tell me what to do; and, Jimmy, for the Lord's sake, show me how to act. I can't stand by doing nothing when that boy's life is in danger. I must cast off; or sure, I'll go stark, staring mad."

The great powerful Irishman looked so helplessly miserable when he said these words, that the merchant's heart was touched. And Jimmy's heart was a heart of gold. McAlpine rose from his comfortable chair, and placing his hand on O'Shee's broad back, he patted it tenderly, as a man pats the head of a little child.

"Bob," said he, "I canna help ye directly in this matter; but, if ever I can, remember ye've only tae ask. An' I can put ye in the way o' tracing the boy. Here is my card; 'tis as guid as ony order i' the East. Tak' it tae Swayne, the Commissioner o' Police, an' ask him to lend ye Wang."

"Wang," repeated O'Shee, anxious to remember the name.

"Aye," said Sir James. "But ye must nae say 'Wang' when ye see him. Ca' him 'Mr Wang'; an' he'll do ought for ye. An' if 'Mr.' Wang sets off on a scent, he'll nae more drop it than a bluid-hound wud. There are only two men in a' China who are thoroughbred bluid-hound kind o' men: one is 'Mr.' Wang, an' the other's the deil himself, passen' by the name o' Jugataļ."


Of The Intrusion Of Mr. Wang

MR. SWAYNE, the Commissioner of Police, glanced at Sir James McAlpine's card, and courteously offered O'Shee a chair. The mate was loath to be seated, for even a moment, while there was no clue as to where Ah Four and Davy had gone. He found it hard to keep still, so irrepressible was his desire to be up and doing.

However, in a disjointed sort of way, he managed to run through the whole story of Davy's mysterious disappearance.

When he had finished, the Commissioner shook his head gravely.

"Yes," he said, "there is no doubt this runaway cook of yours is up to no good, Mr. O'Shee."

"Have ye any idea at all what it may be?" asked the mate.

"It's impossible to say," said the head of the police, with a shrug of the shoulders. "We get so many queer cases here, some of which, I regret to say, we never solve, that it would be foolish to attempt any explanation without the grain of a clue to go upon."

"Have ye never had a like case?"

"Not quite," said Mr. Swayne. "We seldom get two cases exactly the same—that is to say, of these involved, mysterious cases. They are generally mixed up with the secret societies, the Boxers or the 'reformers'; and the abduction of this boy is probably due to something of that sort. But there is nothing to go upon. All we can do for the present is to lose no time in following them up. 'Jimmy' was right; Wang is the only man for the job."

He touched an electric bell on his writing-desk, and a European policeman entered.

"Give my compliments to Mr. Wang," said Swayne, "and ask him if he'll be so good as to come here."

"Yes, sir," replied the constable. He went out, and in a few minutes the most extraordinary person that O'Shee had ever seen made his appearance in the doorway.

In the first place, he was prodigiously fat. His pigtail was only a few inches in length. He was dressed in the most heterogeneous costume imaginable. He wore soft Chinese shoes, a pair of khaki trousers and blue puttees, very badly rolled. His coat was an old silk-lined dinner-jacket, beneath which, in spite of the oppressive heat, he wore a thick woollen sweater. As he entered, he took a field-service cap, which had once been the property of a driver of the Royal Horse Artillery, from his head, and nodded pleasantly to Mr. Swayne.

The frontal outline of his face formed an almost complete circle: it resembled an inverted soup-plate. The width from cheek-bone to cheek-bone was almost equal to that from forehead to chin, and his cheeks themselves stood out beyond his nose. His little, round eyes were deep-set in his head, and twinkled and shone, as if he were continually suppressing delight. To compare him to a familiar object, he was the nearest approach that any earthly thing ever made to the man in the moon, when the luminary is full.

"Morning, Mister Swayne," he said in excellent English, beaming benevolently around the office.

"Good-morning, Mister Wang," said Swayne. "We've got a little job here that I fancy will be very much to your liking."

"Very glad to hear it," said Mr. Wang, taking a chair.

Thereupon Swayne went through the whole story, O'Shee here and there adding anything that came into his head that might happen to be of the slightest value.

Mr. Wang listened attentively throughout. When they had finished, he placed the tips of his fingers together, and leant back in his chair.

"I guess this isn't going to be a three-day job, Mister Swayne," he said.

"Do you think you'll be able to trace them?" asked O'Shee impatiently.

"Sure," said Mr. Wang, who at times appeared to fancy himself a full-fledged citizen of the United States of America.

"What makes you think it's going to be a long business?" asked the Commissioner, disregarding O'Shee's interruption.

"They have not come ashore to stay in Shanghai," reflected Mr. Wang. "They are probably going up the river or down one of the canals, if they have not gone already. They have twelve hours' start of us, anyhow, and before we're off they'll have the best part of twenty-four at least. But this is going to be a great game, Mr. Swayne," he added, jubilantly rubbing his hands together.

"Will ye catch 'em, do ye think?" asked O'Shee.

"Can I catch a cook?" answered the detective, with the nearest approach to a look of disdain that he was capable of imparting to his circular countenance.

This took a great weight off O'Shee's mind; and the mate rose to go, with a briskness and energy that had been sadly lacking throughout the morning.

"Are you coming too?" asked Wang.

"Yes," answered O'Shee.

"How do you propose to leave your ship?" asked Swayne in surprise.

"In a sampan, bedad," was the curt reply.

"Good!" said Wang. "We may have need of those arms of yours, Mister O'Shee, before we've finished."

"Faith, I hope ye will," said the mate.

"Then I'll let you know on board when I've any clue. You are ready to leave at a moment's notice, I suppose?"

"Ye've only to give the word," said O'Shee.

"Good again!" exclaimed Wang. "Bring plenty of money to defray the expenses; this is going to cost you a bit."

The words struck O'Shee dumb. The question of money had never occurred to his mind. He went out of the Commissioner's office, without ever a word of thanks, like a man dazed.

He strolled slowly along the bund, muttering to himself, "Plenty of money! Great Scott! I've not a cent to me name!"

He thought of "Jimmy" McAlpine, and turned back towards his office. He knew that the merchant would willingly lend him what was necessary; but the certainty of his never being able to pay it back and the little right he had to ask such a favour sorely smote his conscience, and he had not the courage to go in and face the good-natured Scotsman. He went back to the river, and arrived on board as the luncheon-bell sounded.

McQuown had engaged another cook already, and the meal was as excellently served as in the palmy days of Ah Four; but every morsel of food stuck in the mate's throat, and he sat in silence, brooding over his misfortune.

In the afternoon, O'Shee went mechanically to his work on the well-deck and superintended the removal of the cargo. The ship's officers and engineers, who had heard of his insubordination in the morning, tried to question him as to details; but he remained impenetrable, seeming to take a certain grim pleasure in lifting and carrying enormous packing-cases about the deck.

In the evening, he put in no appearance at dinner, but remained in his cabin, overlooking his collection of butterflies, in a very distracted kind of way. The hours slipped by unconsciously; and it must have been near upon midnight when there came a gentle knock at his cabin door.

"Come in," he cried.

It was Dan.

"Any news o' Master Davy, sir?" asked the old man, nervously passing his cap from one hand to the other.

"Sit down, Dan," said O'Shee.

The carpenter did so, but not without a great deal of hesitation.

O'Shee told him how he had been to the Commissioner of Police and how he had engaged the services of Wang, the cleverest detective in the world. He mentioned the dilemma he was in with regard to funds, saying that he had made up his mind to go to Sir James McAlpine for the money the following day.

When he had ended, Dan sat perfectly rigid, staring blankly before him, with his hands upon his knees.

"Do you intend to go in search o' Master Davy, yourself, sir?" he finally asked.

"Yes," said O'Shee. "I must borrow the money and go—somehow."

"If you'll pardon me, sir," said Dan, "I don't know what you're worriting yourself about."

"Sure," said O'Shee rudely, "then you must be a fool."

"Beggin' your pardon again, sir," Dan went on, "you seems to be forgetting that little bit o' money you've been looking arter for me all these years."

O'Shee stared at him in amazement.

"You don't mean—," he began.

"Sartinally I do," said Dan.

"But you don't think, Dan, that I can let you pay away all your savings for me?"

"Then we'll put it this way, sir, meaning no disrespect to you or any one else. Master Davy's lost; and I'm agoing to find him. I'm thinking of engaging the services of Wang, the celebrated Chinese detective, with a view to forming a search party, which I'd feel it highly complimentary, Mister O'Shee, sir, if you was to join."

O'Shee was dumfounded.

"This is too much, Dan!" he exclaimed.

"What use has that there money been to me, sir?" cried Dan. "I ain't got a wife, an' I ain't likely to get one at my time o' life; an' I ain't got any childer nor nieces nor nephies nor any such-like encumbrances."

"But I'll never be able to pay ye back!" muttered O'Shee.

"Beg pardon, sir, but I ain't offering to lend the money to you, 'as I know you'd never accept it. I'm paying it out of my own free accord for Master Davy's sake."

Dan claimed that he had as much right as O'Shee to spend his money in an endeavour to find the boy. Yet O'Shee could hardly bring himself to consent.

"If you refuse, Mister O'Shee," cried the old man, "I'll go alone, and there's an end of it."

"You'll go alone!" repeated the mate.

"Aye, alone, sir. I'm an old man now, and I may want a younger one with me; and if you won't come, well, then I'll have to find some one else that will. That's all, sir."

O'Shee thought for a moment, and then convulsively caught the old man by the hand.

"God will reward ye, Dan!" he cried. "Bedad, we'll see it through together!"

They had risen to their feet; and each was so overcome by the earnestness of the other, that they had failed to notice the door open and a figure glide noiselessly into the room. Mr. Wang stood watching the pair, radiant with benevolence.

"Any news?" cried O'Shee excitedly.

"Yes," said Wang, pulling out his watch. "They have gone up the river on the Hang-Kow boat. I guess you're prepared to leave in five hours' time?"


Mr. Wang Takes Command

MR. WANG, who had agents in every quarter of the town, had fortunately lost no time in tracing the fugitives. His prediction had been quite correct: Ah Four had not deemed it advisable to remain long in Shanghai.

He offered to take Dan's money ashore and get it changed into Chinese notes before day broke; and instructing O'Shee and Dan to meet him at a certain Chinese restaurant in a remote part of the city, he went away, his broad face radiant with smiles.

O'Shee decided to ask Sir James McAlpine to take care of his butterflies during his absence.

"Sure, I'm as good as sacked," he said. "For all that, they've no right to molest me personal property. I'll take the accordion, faith, if it's only to keep me troubles out of me head."

On Wang's advice he armed himself with a revolver; and Dan carried the old rifle proudly under his arm. Thus they left the ship together: an old, grey-haired man and a great Irish giant, each, in many ways, a child in the world.

When Dan set his foot on Mother Earth, he paused, and seemed loath to go further.

"It's the first time as I've been ashore for seventeen year," the old man said; "and, somehow, it don't seem a bit like home."

O'Shee could not keep back a smile. The old man noticed it, and seemed nettled, for, throwing his kit-bag back upon his shoulder, he put his best foot foremost and set out along the bund.

A figure glided out of the darkness, and whispering the words, "This way," hovered on before them. They followed into the heart of the sleeping city, and came presently upon a small Chinese restaurant in which a light burned faintly.

The place was unoccupied, save for the restaurant-keeper himself, who sat at his desk, deep in accounts.

He took no notice of the two Europeans, seeming to have expected their arrival. Dan and O'Shee, placing their bags upon the floor, sat down and waited at a long, bare, wooden table.

Their guide had disappeared directly on their arrival at the place, going back into the night as suddenly as he had come. The two men waited, each lost in his own thoughts. Near at hand, the monotonous notes of a one-stringed musical instrument beat upon the silence, while the shrill voice that accompanied it rose and fell in a wailing, pitiful strain, that in its crudeness and want of harmony told something of the warped, mysterious spirit of the East.

O'Shee listened for some time, at a loss to comprehend. Presently, taking up his accordion, he drew forth a chord, and then drifted into the "Last Rose of Summer." The two themes, that of the West and that of the East, arose together in the stillness of the night, the sad, soft melody of the one mingling with the anguish of the other. And so the night dragged on.

Long before daybreak the streets were rapidly filling with hurrying, jostling pedestrians: coolies hastening to their work in the docks, or off to fetch their rickshaws; fishermen going to their junks; "mafoos" to their stables, or "boys" back to their houses, after a night's opium debauch. China was hurrying to another day of toil, each man intent upon his own affairs, with no time to waste on others, and less of his own to spare.

At sunrise, a broad figure darkened the doorway of the restaurant. Dan and O'Shee looked up and beheld Mr. Wang—transformed. He no longer wore the costume, which might have been described as a pot-pourri of Western styles, but was clothed from neck to foot in a long flowing garment of lemon-coloured Chefoo silk. His pigtail had grown abnormally during the night; though still no thicker than a whip-cord, it reached to his waist and was interwoven with white silk—a sign that "Mr." Wang had recently been deprived of a near relative. In his hand he carried a fan, which he fluttered before his face.

"Here's your money," said he, thrusting a bundle of notes into Dan's hand. "Go down to the Hang-Kow boat at once. She sails in an hour's time. Take first-class tickets to Hang-Kow. I'll be on board; but you don't know me. I'll tell you what to do when we get there. For the present you're both connected with the Peking railway."

He gave these instructions so rapidly and concisely, and then, still fanning himself, disappeared so suddenly out of the shop, that neither of the sailors had time to answer.

"Dan," said O'Shee.

"Sir?" replied the old man.

"I'd rather serve under that fat haythen—than McQuown."

"Meaning no disrespect to Captain McQuown, sir, and so would I."

"Then let's obey," said the mate. "Bedad, I'm beginning to enter into the spirit of this thing already."

As they passed out together into the street, O'Shee turned again to the old man.

"Faith, 'tis like a fox hunt!" he exclaimed. "Have ye ever done any, Dan?"

"No, sir," answered Dan.

"I did once, faith! But, sure, as I fell off in a ditch, I missed the greater part of it, for 'twas the first ditch that we came to."

"We mustn't fall at no ditches this time," said Dan.

"Bedad, no," said the mate. "We'll be in at the death."

Which seemed to bring them back to the serious nature of the adventure upon which they were now embarked. They walked on in silence, and came presently to the docks.

They found no difficulty in purchasing their tickets on board; and when they had carried their bags into a cabin, O'Shee sat down and wrote to Sir James McAlpine. He then tried hard to write to Mrs. Gaythorne; but the words would not come to his pen. Finally, he gave it up altogether, and went on to the deck. As he did so, Mr. Wang came on board; but no sign of recognition passed between the two.

Dan had strolled inadvertently towards the forecastle; but, finding it crowded with Chinese coolies, he came back upon the promenade deck at the moment that the ship got under way.

The two men joined each other, and stood leaning over the bulwarks.

"Master O'Shee, sir," said Dan; and there was an artful twinkle in his eye.

"Yes?" said the mate.

"I worn't ashore long, sir; was I—arter all?"


How Ah Four Lied

TO return to Davy and his fortunes.

Things were not going as smoothly with him as he had led himself to suppose they would. Ah Four had awakened him from his slumber shortly before daybreak on the first night at Shanghai. Without disturbing Dan, who slept soundly at his side, he had crept from the forecastle, and in a few minutes, had left the ship, as stealthily as he had stolen on board that night at Plymouth.

Once on shore, he was hurried through the city and hidden in a dark and foulsome cellar beneath a warehouse.

Here Ah Four left him, while he went off on the pretext of borrowing money. When he returned it was daylight, and the diminished size of the pupils of his eyes, which had shrunk almost to the diameter of pin-heads, told that some, at least, of the borrowed money had been spent in an opium debauch.

They then proceeded on board the Hang-Kow boat, taking steerage passages and travelling amongst the dirtiest, most evil-smelling collection of individuals that Davy had ever seen.

At Hang-Kow they went ashore; and Davy remained in a little back-room of a silk merchant's shop throughout the day. In the dead of night he was led forth again and taken to a small house in a village on the outskirts of the city. Here his clothes were taken from him; and an old man with a long grey beard went patiently through the process of dyeing his skin to a dirty yellow colour. Then he was dressed in a Chinese garment; the front of his head was shaved, and an artificial pigtail was cleverly attached to the hair at the back, so that, but for his round, blue eyes, he might easily have passed for a Chinese boy.

Thus disguised, he was taken on board another steamboat, that went up the river to Ichang, the innermost treaty-port of China.

The city of Ichang lies at the foot of the Yangtse Rapids, which no steamboat can ascend. Here, therefore, Ah Four chartered a "wupan," or small sailing-boat; and without delay, they set off on their two weeks' journey through the gorges to Chung-King.

Ah Four seemed to have some difficulty in making the "laoban," or captain of the boat, understand, for he was now in a district where the Cantonese dialect was not spoken, and they took some time to come to terms. However, in the end, the question was satisfactorily settled; and amidst a perfect fusillade of Chinese crackers—to scare away the evil spirits of the river the boat set out upon its voyage.

Day succeeded day, the laoban finding it hard work to make any headway against the strength of the current. Junks, going downstream, with their masts shipped, and propelled forward by nothing but the river itself, shot past them with alarming rapidity; but the upward journey was another matter. Roaring cataracts lay at intervals along the route; and at each it became necessary to tow the boat. On these occasions the laoban alone remained on board, Ah Four insisting that Davy should land in case of accidents, while the crew bent to the tow-rope and, toiling against the current, lifted the bows high above the level of the water. As they proceeded, the country began to open out; terraced patches of cultivation lay on either side, and here and there the fields of the opium-poppy gave a bright and cheerful colouring to the landscape, until at last they came within sight of Chung-King, the great opium city of Western China.

Ah Four did not wish to enter the town, for reasons of his own. Davy's nationality was open to detection, and Ah Four doubtless desired to take every step necessary to elude their pursuers, should O'Shee take it into his head to follow them up. He consequently ordered the laoban to land them on the northern bank, outside the city walls, saying he would continue his journey on foot. But no sooner was the laoban paid off and the boat well out of sight, than he struck off across the rice-fields in a northerly direction.

That day they covered many miles, and towards sunset came upon a village that lay in a hollow among some sand-hills, thickly shaded by trees.

Leaving Davy to unroll the blankets they had carried with them, Ah Four went on into the village, and in a very short time returned with provisions. They were of a most unsavoury character; but Davy, who was extremely hungry, was glad enough of anything to eat.

Night had fallen soon after their arrival at the place. The scanty meal was soon finished; and, lying down on the soft sand and wrapping themselves in their blankets, they were both soon fast asleep.

On the following morning, Davy awoke early, expecting to continue the march; but Ah Four showed no signs of going on. He climbed to the top of the nearest sand-hill, where he stood for some minutes looking out towards the south.

After a while, he returned to their little bivouac, and lighting a fire, made green tea, and cooked Davy some eggs that he had obtained in the village the night before. No sooner had he done this than he returned to the hill and seated himself in the shade of a tree with his back against the trunk, still looking towards the south. As Davy had been strictly forbidden to go near the village, he had nothing whatsoever to do, and after washing at a neighbouring spring (an operation that Ah Four had altogether dispensed with) he joined the cook at the top of the sand-dune.

The wide valley of the Upper Yangtse lay spread at their feet. The pagodas and temples of Chung-King showed dimly through the vaporous atmosphere of the lowlands. Far away in the distance the mountains across the river, half hidden in the clouds, formed a huge semicircle round the city. In the near foreground, the country was cut into level terraces of flooded paddy-fields, where the thick, green rice rustled in the breeze, and peasants, with great straw hats and little else besides, were busy trans­planting their crops, knee-deep in mire.

"Ah Four?" said Davy, seating himself at the ex-cook's side.


"Why don't we go on?"

"Not yet," was the vague reply.

"But surely," continued the boy impatiently, "we have hundreds of miles to cover!"

Ah Four did not answer. His eyes had become fixed upon the figure of a solitary horseman, who, far away upon the plain beneath, had just emerged from a clump of trees. Davy, following the direction of his gaze, also caught sight of the approaching figure.

"Who's this?" he asked in surprise.

"Your master," said Ah Four bitterly. "Yours—and mine."

"My master! What do you mean?" cried Davy, thoroughly bewildered.

Ah Four could not conceal his distaste for the matter. Indeed, he made little attempt to do so. There was no reason why he should. Yet an explanation of some sort was necessary.

So Ah Four, in his quaint pidgin-English, went on to expound upon the disadvantages he was under in not being able to speak Mandarin Chinese. He greatly deplored the fact; and he had considered it advisable on that account to enlist the services of a very old friend of his. He had sent word to this very old friend to join them at this place, having first asked him to obtain the necessary provisions and ponies in Chung-King. This had a double advantage, Ah Four explained, for it saved him showing himself in Chung-King, where he did not wish to be seen.

By the time he had finished, the equestrian was climbing the slope of the hill. He had dismounted, and was leading his horse by the reins—a thing that surprised Davy; he never thought to find a Chinese so considerate.

Some way behind, a second figure had now emerged from the wood—a man on foot leading three ponies and following along the same path. When the first-comer was within a hundred yards of the place where they sat, Davy thought that the figure was somehow familiar. When, drawing closer still, the stranger waved his hand in salutation, Davy recognized the tall and handsome Chinese he had seen on board the Airlie at Hong-Kong.

"This man is a friend of yours!" he cried in surprise.

"My very greatest friend," replied Ah Four.

And then Davy knew that he lied.


On The Roof Of The World

UPON the journey of the next ten weeks it is not necessary to dwell in detail.

The party travelled through the north-western portion of the province of Szchuen, holding for many days to the valley of the Fwa River, but skirting the larger towns. Thence, they climbed the mountains to the great plateaux of Amdoa, through a bleak and rugged country, that only the occasional presence of a scattered mountain-village saved from utter desolation. Then, crossing the head waters of the great Yellow River, they journeyed on and on, across the "Roof of the World." This term is more usually applied to the plateaux still further to the west; but, for the matter of that, the north-western corner of Thibet, and the land of Kansuh to the north, more closely resemble a great roof, with the Marco Polo mountains as its water-shed and the Burmese and Southern Siberian rivers draining off on either side.

Owing to the altitude they had now attained the nights became bitterly cold; and every evening the little party sat close around their camp fire, endeavouring to keep themselves warm.

Jugataļ spoke English fluently; indeed there seemed few languages of which he had not at least some smattering. During the day he would stride on in front, acting in the triple capacity of guide, interpreter, and commander. It was he who ordered the halting places, decided at what hour the march should continue, and arranged all the little details of the day. Davy and Ah Four followed some distance behind. They seldom conversed. Davy's heart was too full of fears and misgivings.

Now, that every day brought them deeper and deeper into the wilderness, the English boy recognized how completely he lay at the mercy of these men. Ah Four, he knew, was deceiving him, else why had he lied? There must be some mutual understanding between the two Chinese from which he was withheld. But escape was now impossible. He had cast his lot, and must abide by the result; and the greater the reason he had to fear treachery, the greater necessity there was to hide his suspicions. And this, fortunately, he had the presence of mind to do.

Of the two men, he put the greater trust in Jugataļ. This was due to what he saw of the Northerner's personality at the evening camp fireside, when Jugataļ would talk long and earnestly to the boy, seemingly for the sole pleasure of hearing himself speak. Then it was that Davy learnt something of the waking dreams, the boundless ambitions of this proud, relentless Tartar.

He would be fired by his own words, and much of his spirit would seize upon Davy's imagination, though Ah Four would suck at his opium pipe and drop quietly off to sleep, while Jugataļ's voice was at its height, ringing across the mountain passes.

"China," he would cry loudly in the night, until the dogs of a neighbouring village fell to barking and the jackals slunk away; "China only awaits a man—one who can take the fragments of an Empire in the hollow of his hand. Then, all will be easy, and the days of the 'foreign devil' are numbered. He has already fashioned the rope with which he himself shall be hanged. The English have discharged six hundred trained soldiers from Wei-hai-wei: these are the drill-sergeants of the Grand Chinese Army. The foreigners are now fast binding the Empire together with a huge network of railways. Let them continue the good work! What better lines of communication could we want to carry us north and south and west, until we have swept the white man from the face of Asia? Burmah lies close at hand; its frontier is but as the high road of our way. Our advance guard is already there; it is in the Malay Peninsula, the Sandwich Isles, the Indies—it is everywhere! Your alien laws cannot hold us long. You may gather under the banner of your Christian faith. It will be in vain, boy: Buddha and the Prophet unite us to India and Japan. When Asia awakens and stretches herself, like a lion after a mid-day sleep—a sleep of centuries—then, you of the West must die."

Night after night, Davy would sit listening to this self-same story, stirred, in spite of himself, by the intensity of the man's enthusiasm, the faith he had in all he said. Once, when Jugataļ's old war cry, "China only awaits a man!" rose in the night, the boy dared to taunt him.

"Where will you find him?" he cut in with a laugh. But the laugh died instantly upon his lips.

Jugataļ, his square jaws firmly closed and his eyes aglow with a fierce internal fire, folded his arms on his chest and poised his chin proudly in the air. In a voice which in Davy's mind left no shade of doubt, he calmly answered, "HERE."

The spell fell upon Davy like a thunderbolt. He felt as if he had just realized a great unquestionable truth.

After that night, Davy grew into the habit of glancing forward, while on the march, with a mixed feeling of admiration and awe at the tall figure striding on ahead. Remembering his history books, he thought that he recognized in Jugataļ something of Napoleon Bonaparte, Hannibal, Alexander, and Pyrrhus. The Tartar seemed to be the re-embodiment of them all.

As for Ah Four, the Cantonese was but a worm beneath his heel. The little wizened cook appeared to have neither mind nor will of his own. He seemed to live daily in a mortal fear of his so-called friend; and, more than once, Davy noticed dark looks of hatred in the cruel little eyes, cast furtively upon the Northerner when his broad back was turned.

One night the two fell to talking in the Cantonese tongue. Davy lay down to sleep; but their voices, raised high in argument, kept him awake. He could not understand a word of what they were saying, but he gathered from their tones that Ah Four had made a proposal which Jugataļ promptly rejected. Ah Four for once insisted; and the words grew hot in anger. They both rose to their feet, and stood glaring at each other across the dying embers of the fire. Then Jugataļ with a final word silenced the other, once and for all, as effectively as a man crushes a fly with his thumb.

Ah Four wrapped himself in his blankets, muttering maliciously to himself. He lay near Davy's feet, his face in the glow of the fire. Davy had never seen so murderous an expression upon the face of man; the very sight of it drove away all desire to sleep; and he lay awake, wondering upon what the two had quarrelled.

After a while, both Chinese, by their heavy and regular breathing, appeared to be wrapped in the deepest slumber. But the image of Ah Four's expression haunted Davy like a nightmare; and try as he would, he found it impossible to banish it from his mind.

Suddenly, on opening his eyes for the twentieth time, he saw Ah Four raise himself upon his elbow, and peer cautiously across the fire towards the motionless body of Jugataļ.

They were bivouacked upon the very edge of a great precipice, and Jugataļ's sleeping figure lay near the brink. From far below the sound of a cataract rose faintly to the ear.

Davy ceased to breathe: he felt paralyzed in every limb.

Ah Four noiselessly threw off his blankets, and crept stealthily on hands and knees towards the sleeping form.

At that, Davy, in a flash, recognized his murderous intent. He remembered he had once considered the possibility of a struggle with the cook, and in one bound he leapt upon his back.

They rolled over and over together, fast locked in each other's arms. Davy had the under grip; but Ah Four twisted like an eel in his grasp, and both his hands fastened around the boy's throat, and pressed it with a grip of iron.

Davy felt a sickly, choking feeling, which was followed by a sudden rush of blood to his brain. Then he became only half-conscious; his arms fell helplessly from the Chinaman's waist, and finally he remembered no more.

Little by little, he again came to himself. At first, he heard only the faint and distant roaring of the rapids, sounding within his ears like the droning of an insect. On opening his eyes, he gazed upwards, and beheld the stars, sprinkled brightly over the sky. He had looked upon them long, half unconscious of what they were; and then he remembered the struggle with Ah Four and the motives that had led up to it. He sprang quickly into a sitting position and looked around him.

Jugataļ sat cross-legged at the fire, puffing leisurely at a cigarette. The red embers lit up his swarthy countenance. He seemed lost in the deepest thought.

Between them, flat upon his back, lay the body of Ah Four. His features were fast set in a stony rigidity. His arms and legs were extended to their full length, and appeared as lifeless and useless as if they were but stuffed with sawdust. His eyelids and his mouth were half open, as if they had fallen helplessly of their own accord. There was not about him the slightest sign of life.

"What have you done!" cried Davy, shaking with terror from head to foot. "He is not dead!"

"To all intents and purposes," answered Jugataļ, casting a casual glance in the direction of the body, and still puffing calmly at his cigarette.


The Relentless Doctor

DAVY bent over the prostrate figure.

"Oh, you have killed him!" he cried, drawing away in fear.

"To all intents and purposes," repeated Jugataļ, blowing the charcoal into a blaze. And, thereupon, he did a brutal thing: he took a red hot-ember in his fingers, and placed it rapidly upon Ah Four's outstretched hand.

Ah Four's face remained unchanged; not a muscle moved.

Davy seized the ember, uttering an exclamation of horror, and threw it desperately away.

"You brute!" he cried.

Jugataļ only smiled, and went on with his cigarette.

"I told you," he said, "to all intents and purposes he is dead. I merely saved your life by chloroforming this Cantonese hound. I wish to teach him a lesson. I am indebted to you for your attempt to save my life; but, no doubt, you will be surprised to hear you have only succeeded in saving Ah Four's."

He paused, lighting a fresh cigarette from the burning end of the old one. The light and shadow of the mountains were now brought into stronger contrast by the light of approaching day, and the peaks of some distant mountains were lit blood-red by the rising sun. They were perched under the very eaves of the "roof of the world." The stillness of the morning, the awe-inspiring grandeur of the scenery, seemed but a superb, majestic setting to the cruel, strong, handsome face of the Tartar, around which the cigarette smoke curled in cloudy ringlets.

"If, instead of flinging yourself upon this dog with all the impetuosity of your nation," Jugataļ went on, "you had only watched events, I would have given you some amusement. From the moment he threw aside his blankets to the time you so tenderly embraced one another, my eyes had never left him. As soon as he had got one inch within my reach, he would have flown shrieking into space, to be dashed to atoms a thousand feet beneath us." He paused, sending a puff of smoke into the air. "That was my original idea," he continued, "but, like most original ideas, it needed elaboration. I am now about to teach our Canton friend a lesson. For that reason he is chloroformed, as you see. I am a relentless doctor: I give my anęsthetics before my operations."

Davy sat speechless before this giant enigma. He saw that, like Ah Four, he was but as clay in the Tartar's powerful hands.

"Do you know the secret?" he whispered in awe.

"Every word," said Jugataļ, quietly. "I myself am one of the departmental heads of the Secret Society of Guatama's Eye."

"Will you find the treasure?"

"Perhaps," was the vague reply, accompanied by a careless shrug of the shoulders.

"Am I to have my share?" faltered Davy.

The absurdity of the question never struck him at the time. Once, he had dreamed that all this vast hidden treasure was his own. Now, he realized his utter helplessness; he saw that he was but the tool of Jugataļ.

"You will have your share," answered the Tartar, "but I must tell you, in honesty, that it will be but a small one. However, at that you have no right to grumble; for, had you never fallen in with me, you would have had none. You would have been alone in the centre of an unknown continent with the biggest cutthroat in all Asia, and most assuredly he would have put you out of the way. He wants to kill you directly we leave the Monastery. It was upon that that we quarrelled. He has broken his faith with me as he has with you. He shall see not a dollar of this money, if we find it; and every hour he lives from hence he will rue the fact that I never flung him into the atmosphere, like a broken kite without a string."

The man was terrible in his calmness. Davy's breath came short and thick from the very terror of his words.

"Will you keep the treasure yourself, then?" he asked.

"No!" cried Jugataļ loudly; "a thousand times, no! Every cent I earn—and in very truth I earn millions—goes to the Secret Society of which I am the head—the Society of Federated Asia, which in a few years' time will bring the palaces of Europe to the ground."

"What will you do to Ah Four?" asked Davy, more impressed with the Tartar's words than he had ever thought it possible to be.

"See," answered Jugataļ.

As he spoke, Ah Four turned upon his side and murmured. In a few seconds the cook opened his eyes, and then, clutching at his burnt hand, his face became drawn as if in pain.

Jugataļ rose, and lifting Ah Four by the arm-pits, propped him up with his back against a rock.

Then, seating himself on the ground before him, he pressed his thumb between the other's slanting eye-brows, and remained thus for some time, gazing fixedly into his eyes.

Ah Four sat like a mute, helpless model of some lifeless substance. His eyes, like those of a beaten dog, glanced furtively at his master's, and then were hastily withdrawn, as if in shame or fear. But, again and again, they returned to the Tartar's face, and every time met the same unflinching stare, until, finally, they seemed so rooted to the dark, piercing eyes that they could not leave them. Several times he tried to look away, but every effort was in vain. Gradually his features again relaxed, the expression of pain disappeared, his jaw dropped down, and the pupils of his eyes turned upwards, showing a rim of glassy white beneath.

"Stand up!" commanded Jugataļ, and the figure rose.

"Give me your knife."

Ah Four lifted his long coat, and drawing the curved knife from his girdle, handed it to the Tartar without a word. Jugataļ took it, played with it for an instant, twisting his fingers around it, and then handed it back to Ah Four.

"Throw it away," said he. And, sure enough, the knife was thrown over the precipice, and fell clattering among the rocks a thousand feet below. Jugataļ turned to Davy.

"Ah Four," he said, smiling, "is now a thing of the past. Henceforward his objective mind ceases to exist. He is as much at my command as the fingers of my own right hand."

He spread his fingers before him, and contemplated them for some time in silence. Then, after lighting another cigarette, he looked up across the valley, now bright in the light of the morning sun. He was, in very truth, the relentless doctor, as he himself had said.


How They Came To The Golden Gates

AFTER the incident in the mountains, which might have ended so tragically, the party journeyed on as before, with the exception that Davy alone marched at the head of the pack animals, while the two Chinese went on in front together.

They had left the coolie, who had brought the ponies out from Chung-King, at the base of the mountains, to find his own way back to the Yangtse Valley as best he could. This was ordered by Jugataļ, as he wished to conceal their destination; and, soon after the coolie had been paid off, they turned due north, crossed the mountains and came out upon a great plateau.

The country here was entirely different from that which they had previously traversed. The fresh green of the rice fields disappeared, and only here and there a patch of "kiao-liang" gave a verdant colouring to the landscape. For the most part it was a barren, rolling plain, extending as far as the eye could reach, with only an occasional clump of rank and withered grass. It seemed absolutely deserted. For mile upon mile, a wild ass or sometimes a solitary "ovis poli" were the only signs of life.

But the rarefied atmosphere gave vigour to their lungs; and they stepped out across the plain like schoolboys on a holiday, covering immense distances daily.

During all this period Ah Four had only brief moments of lucidity. Whenever by an effort he managed to return to himself, Jugataļ, with a few passes and a fixed, hypnotic stare, immediately mesmerized him again, until the Cantonese became nothing more than a puppet in the Tartar's hands, and not the shadow of a mind of his own remained to him. As if in continual anticipation of an order, his eyes never left his master's face. Every word that fell from Jugataļ's lips was instantly obeyed. Frequently there was not even the need of a single word: Ah Four learnt to obey Jugataļ's thought, as promptly as if it had been his own.

Under this influence, the cook became a broken man. He no longer smoked his opium pipe, but the continual state of somnambulism in which he lived had even more dire results. His cheeks became hollow; his eyes sank deeper and deeper into his head and were frequently turned upwards, like those of a dying man. His body shrank perceptibly; his limbs were reduced to mere bones. Yet he never seemed to feel fatigued, and covered mile upon mile even more readily than he had done before.

It was a pitiful spectacle, and one that went direct to Davy's heart.

"Have pity on him!" cried the boy to Jugataļ. Never before had he beheld so merciless a method of torture.

The Tartar only smiled.

"I am at a loss to understand many of the characteristics of your people," he replied; "but, what you call 'sympathy' is the completest mystery of all. It is merely giving a man what he does not deserve and what can avail him nothing, greatly to the inconvenience of yourself."

"It is in our hearts to do so," answered the boy.

"Exactly," said the other. "Your hearts govern your brains. With us the reverse is the case. Therefore, most assuredly we will conquer in the end."

"What do you intend to do with this man?" asked Davy, seeing the futility of argument with one placed at the very antipodes of human nature to himself.

"The pike is caught with a gudgeon," said Jugataļ. "He is no longer a man. He is my 'live-bait,' as you shall see."

Davy shuddered in horror at the idea. This man knew nothing of compromise. He was as merciless as he was strong; he was fashioned in the very texture of extremes. In ambition, in intellect, in power, in cruelty—in everything he was a giant. For all that, in these same gigantic proportions the boy found something that compelled his admiration; and he prayed inwardly that the man's anger and revenge might never be turned upon himself.

So the march continued day by day, until another range of mountains, clothed in mist and capped with dazzling snow, arose on the northern horizon, and in two days the party had commenced the ascent.

When they reached the highest altitude of the pass, a rich and fertile valley lay spread at their feet, considerably lower in level than the plateau across which they had travelled. This valley served as a gigantic basin into which a thousand streamlets drained. The mountains, too, that from the southern side had appeared of only medium height, rose as a great blue wall, thousands of feet high, completely enclosing the valley. The view extended for nearly eighty miles, a great deal of which was green with cultivation. Here and there, meagre habitations were dotted about the country; and in the more immediate foreground, peasants might be discerned at work among the fields.

At a distance of about twenty miles, a great lake had been formed of the surplus supply of water. The blue surface of the water caught the rays of the sun and flashed bright amongst the dark hues of the surrounding valley. On the northern side of the lake, a thick forest spread from the lake shore to the lower slopes of the mountain range. The whole scene, after the bleak barrenness of the plateaux, was so richly warm and beautiful that it might, in very truth, have been another Garden of Eden.

But not one of the three, as they paused at the head of the pass, had any thought of scenery. The eyes of each were rooted to the centre of the lake, where, upon a long, narrow island, a great monastery showed snow-white in the sunshine, storey rising upon storey, surmounted by minarets, and at its southern end a tall pagoda, towering high into the air.

Here, at last, was their goal. In a very short time their fate would be made known to them. Both Davy and the Cantonese turned expectantly to their master.

Jugataļ threw his head back with a jerk, causing his long pigtail to flap against his back, and for the first time since Davy had known him, burst into a loud, boisterous laugh.

"Come, my children!" he cried. "We are come to the golden gates!"

He went striding down the hill with such rapidity that Ah Four could scarce keep pace with him, while Davy, with the horses, was left far behind.

Jugataļ took a path to the right, which led them round the corner of the lake into the wood beyond. There he waited for Davy, leisurely smoking a cigarette at the wayside, while Ah Four crouched beside him, with eyes fixed in fear upon his face.

When the party was again united they set forth through the trees, still going down-hill toward the lake.

The sun was setting when they emerged from the wood at a place where a ruined joss-house lay at the water's edge.

"We camp here," said Jugataļ, "and sleep to-night for the first time with a roof above our heads."


The Voice Of The Dead

THE following morning Davy awoke early, and looked about him. The joss-house consisted of a single room, square in shape and tolerably high. It had but one doorway, which, instead of facing towards the open lake, as might have been reasonably expected, looked inland, upon an open glade in the forest. The doors themselves had long since been torn away, but the door-posts were still erect and so widely separated that the greater part of that wall was open.

Against the wall opposite the opening three great idols were seated upon a raised daļs, their legs crossed and their hands upon their laps. Whilst their appearance must have been far from prepossessing originally, time had made them even more hideous. Their noses had completely disappeared; the plaster had fallen from their faces in patches, and the damp from the leaking roof above had left long, green streaks down the entire length of their bodies.

The whole place was in a state of complete dilapidation. The threshold was strewn with plaster from the inside and tiles from the roof. The walls had originally been covered with a bright blue plaster, but this in several places Had fallen to the ground, showing a layer of brown mud-cement spread over the stones beneath. In one place, in the corner near one of the grim idols, a large piece of the original blue still remained; and on this Davy thought he observed the sign of a Christian cross.

Upon going up to the wall and examining it more closely, he succeeded without any great difficulty in deciphering the following inscription, scratched apparently with a rusty nail—



When Davy fully realized that these words had undoubtedly been written by his great-grandfather before setting out across the lake to the Monastery, he felt as if he were actually in the presence of the dead. There was something so solemn and sad in Thomas Gaythorne's composition of his own and only epitaph. Perhaps he had had some presentiment of that fate which was to overtake him; and though he lived for more than two years after he had written it, this was the last thought, save his dying injunctions to Evans, the sea-captain, to which he ever gave expression in his native tongue. By the strange decree of Fate, after a period of more than a hundred years, his own great-grandson was the first to read them.

Taking from his pocket a knife, that O'Shee had once given him, Davy scratched beneath


Jugataļ, who had approached close to his elbow, stood watching the process with apparent interest.

"You're a sentimental race," he remarked contemptuously.

"It is only natural," said Davy, when he had recovered from his surprise. "He was my great-grandfather.

"No doubt of it," said Jugataļ, with the cynical curl of the lip he assumed when "amused." "But you bear him no respect on that account; if you did I should honour you the more. As it is, you have only a sneaking pity for him; and, because he was fool enough to write his own epitaph before he died, you are silly enough to do the same."

"Perhaps," said Davy, smiling—"perhaps it is only sympathy, that you do not understand."

"And perhaps," said Jugataļ, "it is only weakness, that I do."

And thereby they had arrived again at the gulf that lay between them.

Ah Four had been sent out into the forest to collect firewood to cook their morning meal.

Jugataļ and Davy were therefore alone in the joss-house. The former seated himself on the daļs beneath the idols, which towered above him like three evil spirits watching over his destiny.

"Give me this Agreement of yours," he said, holding out his hand.

Davy hesitated. He had intended never to part with the precious document; and, indeed, with Ah Four he would have stoutly resisted. With Jugataļ, however, it was another matter.

"You need not fear," said the Tartar, noticing the boy's reluctance to obey. "I will be perfectly fair with you. I have already told you what I intend to do. If we gain this treasure, you shall have a small share. The remainder will go to the great cause to which my life is devoted. As for myself, I shall have none."

So Davy handed over the yellow scroll that he had found among the dust in the lumber-room of his mother's house in Plymouth; and Jugataļ read it slowly from end to end, translating it aloud.

It was merely a formal and very long-winded appreciation of the services of the European monk, Thomas Gaythorne, in translating Ačvaghosha's monograph for the lamas of the Lake Monastery. This inestimable service was lauded in the most flowery language; and, as a reward, the said Thomas Gaythorne was promised his freedom and the precious "Casket of Heaven," to which the priests of the Monastery therein gave up all further claim. At the bottom left-hand corner was affixed the signature of old Dai Ling and the Seal of the Monastery.

When Jugataļ had read it through, rolling it up carefully, he gave it back into Davy's hands without a word.

"How do you propose to act?" asked the boy.

The Tartar took out a cigarette, lit it, and became lost in thought for several minutes.

"Clearly," said he at last, speaking slowly as a man does in deliberation, "the chart, which it is first necessary for us to obtain, lies buried somewhere in the Monastery, as forgotten as this document was in your house in England. All the lamas are members of the Secret Society of Guatama's Eye. But, by that, it is only meant that they know that an Englishman, your ancestor, and a professed apostle of Buddha, was the real translator of a monograph which is now a gospel throughout all Asia, and on account of which those villains yonder claim precedence over all other monasteries, excepting only those of the two dalai-lamas themselves. The casket is considered as lost beyond recovery, somewhere in the Southern Seas. There is no actual reason why we should find it, yet there is always a chance we may. At any rate, we know that we will not be able to do so without first gaining possession of the rough chart, that was drawn by one of Tuan's sailors.

"Now, there is only one method of getting this chart. The lamas are greedy wolves; if they scent plunder in the air, they will track us. This must be avoided at all costs. Ah Four would never have succeeded alone. Of that I am perfectly sure. With that mark upon your shoulder they will not harm you, and me they dare not kill. How Ah Four intended to elude them is a mystery which I doubt if he himself can solve. He thought only of the gain; greed made him courageous. But I am no such fool. I do not intend to show myself in the first stages of the game. I remain here, while you and Ah Four cross to the Monastery. I leave the obtaining of the chart to his hands. That will be child's play, with your birth-mark to aid him. The lamas must keep up appearances, even among themselves. But they will give with one hand, intending to take away with the other, at which point I shall step in."

"How?" asked the boy, wrapped in the closest attention.

"You shall see," said Jugataļ quietly.

Davy feared some sinister motive.

"Then you think my birth-mark will carry it through?" he asked.

"Assuredly," answered the Tartar. "You had no need to write your epitaph. Unless," he added in a fierce, threatening tone that caused the boy to tremble, "unless you play me false."

At that, he broke into a hollow laugh, throwing the end of his cigarette out upon the threshold.

"But," he said, "that you are not able to do. Besides, I think you are not such a fool."


A Sparrow In A Cage Of Snakes

THAT same afternoon, leaving Jugataļ complacently smoking his cigarettes beneath the joss-house idols, Ah Four and Davy set out along the lake-side towards a ferry they had spied in the distance.

A few copper "cash" satisfied the ferryman, who regarded Davy with curiosity: he had never before seen a Chinese with the "green eyes" of the "foreign devil." However, the matter did not seem to trouble him much. He had received his wage—which was all he appeared to care about—and, after he had set them ashore on the island, he immediately rowed back to the other side, chanting aloud a prayer in deep, harsh notes that echoed across the water and went moaning through the woods.

From the joss-house, the Monastery had looked as if its very walls touched the water's edge; but on landing this did not prove to be the case. A long stretch of level grass lay between the shore and the building. There was no sign of any one about: an ominous silence hung around the place. Davy's heart beat rapidly as they approached the great gate; but Ah Four seemed quite composed. He never spoke a word. Since that fearful night in the mountain pass he had not been the same man. All the cunning and craftiness had gone completely out of him. He acted like a man sleep-walking, and, like a somnambulist, seemed always to have some definite object before him.

At the present time, his eyes were fixed upon the Monastery gate. Walking towards it rapidly, with a decided step, he seized the great knocker, shaped like a dragon's head, and banged fearlessly upon the door.

Almost immediately the sliding panel of a small wicket flew back, and an evil-looking countenance appeared at the opening. It regarded the strangers for some seconds with a fierce stare. Then the door opened, and, passing through, they found themselves in a long rectangular courtyard, enclosed by four bare walls of great height, while immediately opposite them was another gateway.

Without hesitation, Ah Four crossed the courtyard, and knocked upon the second gate. Again a wicket opened, and another pair of evil eyes inspected them in silence.

This time the janitor spoke; and Ah Four answered briefly in the Cantonese tongue. Then the wicket closed with a snap; and they were left alone.

After waiting a long time, another face appeared in the doorway. Then a long conversation took place in the Cantonese dialect, which resulted in the bolts being drawn. And they entered.

The courtyard in which they now stood was of about the same size as the other. But instead of being entirely bare, it was surrounded on three sides by a score of little temple-like buildings, several storeys high, built up against the great outer walls. On the fourth side, which formed one of the longer faces of the rectangle, rose an immense building, at the top of a flight of a hundred steps. A kind of verandah, the tiled roof of which was supported by enormous pillars, seemed to run completely around it.

Following the man who had spoken Cantonese, Davy and Ah Four mounted the steps and entered the Hall of the Temple. The place was deserted. Around its walls were hundreds of little desks, those in front being small, and those against the walls much larger and raised upon a platform. Directly to the left of the doorway was a kind of pulpit, covered with a canopy. The desks on either side were set at various altitudes, those nearest to the pulpit being the higher, so that the level of the seats sloped downwards and away from the centre, like the pipes of an organ. The building had no windows, the light finding its sole entrance through the open doorway. In the centre stood an altar, behind which was suspended a large piece of embroidery; and beyond that an immense image of Buddha towered into the darkness of the roof.

Passing behind the altar, Davy and Ah Four followed their guide up some steps to a balcony which ran around the Hall. From this they turned up a spiral staircase, which twisted around the Buddha, so that as they ascended they passed first the hands, then the chest, and finally the face of the gigantic idol. Directly above the idol's head, the stairway ended abruptly at a door; and entering, they found an old man seated at a table, mumbling incoherently over a book.

They waited for some time for him to finish, but, as he showed not the slightest sign of leaving off, the two Chinese seated themselves on a form by the door, and Davy, following their example, placed himself between them.

After a while the old man looked up, and spoke a few words to the priest. Then he turned to Ah Four, speaking in excellent Cantonese.

"Why are you here?" he asked.

"We come to claim 'Guatama's Eye.'" Ah Four was calmness and courage itself. He held his head high and proudly, after the manner of Jugataļ.

"'Guatama's Eye'!" exclaimed the old man. "You are modest in your demands! This boy is a foreign devil!" he broke off.

"He is the incarnation of a disciple of the Buddha."

"He is a foreign devil, and in accordance with the laws of the Monastery, must die for having entered here."

Both Davy and Ah Four appeared quite unmoved, the former, since he could not understand a word of what was being said, and the latter because he was sure of his ground.

The old man spoke a few words to the priest, who instantly left the room, his footsteps growing fainter and fainter as he descended the stairs.

"As for you, I do not think you will escape with life," the old man went on. "It is only this boy's youth that saves him from torture. Obviously you are to blame, whoever you be."

"I claim an audience with the Head Priest," said Ah Four.

"Him you cannot see. I am the abbot of this Monastery, and life and death are in my hands." Mumbling, the old man turned again to his book.

After some minutes, the door was again opened and the priest re-entered, accompanied by four gigantic lamas. Davy had never seen such a villainous-looking quartette. They bore a closer resemblance to great, bony gorillas than to human beings. Their skin was brown; they had powerful, square jaws, and thick, coarse lips, between which yellow, fang-like teeth showed with canine ferocity; they were almost deficient of foreheads, and their heads were shaven bald.

The old man, motioning to the lamas, spoke but a single word; and immediately, seizing Davy by the arms and legs, they carried him down the stairs, and out across the courtyard. He struggled frantically, but it was in vain. He was borne through long, dimly-lighted passages, and thence, seeming to descend into the very bowels of the earth, he was hurled into a dark and foulsome dungeon where the lamas left him, taking the Agreement from his pocket.

Here he remained, it seemed to him, for days, with never a morsel to eat, and unable to lie down to rest; for there was neither bed nor chair, and the floor was covered with water from the lake, which had filtered through the stonework and trickled down the walls. The dead silence, the inky darkness and the evil smell of the place, completely broke his spirit; and the boy even longed for death.

At last, he heard footsteps approaching. When the door opened, he was blinded by the light of a lamp, and obliged to keep his eyes firmly closed. He was led out, and up the stairs. In the dim passages he soon became accustomed to the light, and looking about him, he found he was escorted by several men, each as unprepossessing in appearance as those who had cast him into the dungeon. With a shudder he saw that one of these men carried a long, drawn sword. Without a doubt he was being led to his death.

They crossed the inner courtyard, and ascended the flight of steps into the Temple Hall.

There David Gaythorne was confronted by such a spectacle as he was never likely to forget. The immense place was packed on every side. Fierce, shaven lamas sat, row above row, in a great semi-circle around the altar. In front, the little acolytes peered across their praying desks to catch a glimpse of the European boy; the older men behind leaned back in their chairs, with folded arms and brows knit. Under the canopy sat a little, shrivelled man, no bigger than a child, dressed in the most wonderfully embroidered robes of green and blue and gold. This was Dai Tong, the Head Priest, into whom the spirit of Dai Ling, his predecessor, was supposed to have passed.

Davy glanced around him in dire distress. He was aching in every limb, and near to fainting from hunger. He had been obliged to drink the foul water of the cell, which had thrown him into a fever. He shivered as if from cold, though his skin was dry and burning. He could hear the thick and heavy breathing of the assembled monks on every side.

The whole scene was so weird and wild and terrifying that Davy at first saw only the sea of faces closing him in, and did not notice the two figures standing at his side.

One was Ah Four, his hands bound behind his back; the other, stripped to the waist, was the lama with the sword.

Then, without rising from his seat, Dai Tong addressed the monks, in a deep, guttural voice.

His speech did not last long; and when he had ended, two of the lamas who had led Davy from the dungeon, suddenly rushed upon the boy. Before he had time to realize their object, they had torn his clothes from off him, so that he stood naked in their midst.

At that the temple shook with the shout that went up from every throat. They sprang to their feet as one man, and rushed wildly from their places, knocking over the desks and tumbling over each other in their endeavour to get nearer the boy.

Davy was crushed in the midst of a jostling, fighting crowd. They seized hold of him roughly, turning him first this way and then that, and scratching his flesh with their long and dirty nails.

Above this tumult a bell clanged forth, and continued to ring until they had all returned to their places.

The Head Priest again spoke, this time at greater length. Ah Four's hands were freed; and he replied, the Cantonese priest, who had admitted them into the inner courtyard, interpreting his words.

Suddenly, Davy felt a feeling of dizziness come over him, the sea of faces swam round before his eyes, his knees gave way from under him, and he fell forward upon the floor in a dead faint.

When he opened his eyes, he beheld Jugataļ quietly smoking, while three hideous idols grinned above him, and Ah Four lay asleep at his feet.

It took Davy some time before he was able to realize where he was.

"Have I been dreaming?" he asked.

Jugataļ said nothing, but he held up a small crumpled piece of paper before the boy's eyes, which bore a striking resemblance to a chart.



DAVY was consumed by a raging fever. His mouth was parched; his skin was dry and burning, and his head ached so much that he was forced to press it hard between his hands. The terror of the few days he had spent in the Monastery, the stagnant water in the prison that he had been obliged to drink, and finally the ferocious treatment of the lamas, had done their work: he had been thrown into a dangerous illness.

But Jugataļ had a treatment of his own. Boiling a kettleful of water, he gave the boy mug after mug of the steaming liquid to drink. Though it scorched his lips and burnt his tongue, Davy found all remonstrance useless: Jugataļ was evidently bent upon turning the boy into a sort of human copper. He denuded him of his clothes, and placed cloth after cloth, steeped in boiling water, upon his skin. Then, after rubbing him down with a rough towel, he covered him with all the blankets they had—his own, Ah Four's and the ponies' rugs. The treatment was a drastic one, but it had the desired result. Davy very soon broke into a perspiration, and the fever began to leave him.

Jugataļ told him to sleep; but this was more easily said than done. The vision of the fierce gathering in the Temple was still fresh in the boy's memory, and, above all, he was anxious to know how he had escaped.

"When they saw the mark upon your shoulder," said Jugataļ, "everything was as I had predicted. They could not break their faith openly before the whole assembled brotherhood; they were obliged to acknowledge you the heir; and, when Ah Four claimed the Chart on your behalf, they had no option but to deliver it up. You fainted at the moment of your triumph, and Ah Four brought you immediately back to me. I have done my best to restore you: by to-morrow the fever will have left you, but you will find yourself exceedingly weak. This is unfortunate, for we must be on the march before daybreak."

"Already!" Davy exclaimed.

"Yes. Everything will happen as I have said. That old villain, Dai Tong, has proved before his monks that he has every right to be considered as a generous administrator of justice. They all know his real game, but they play the hypocrite, even among themselves. I do not blame them, mind; because they are monks, is no reason why they should also be fools. Dai Tong is far from a fool; perhaps, at this very moment, he is setting a batch of selected cutthroats on our track. A man's life can go out in these mountains with as little effect as a raindrop splashes into the sea. Therefore, I say, before the day breaks we must be upon the march."

"Where are we going to?" asked Davy.

"Back across the mountains to the Yangtse Valley again. We will shoot the rapids to Ichang, where we will hire a junk and search the Southern Seas for the place where Tuan took the Casket. We may succeed, or we may not: Guatama's Eye is worth the attempt. If I gain possession of it, I'll be rich enough to set the machinery in motion that has been in the course of construction for years. The mines are ready laid; the fuse is a fuse of gold, and I, myself, am the match that will set the East ablaze."

There was nothing of the Oriental sluggard about Jugataļ. When he spoke upon the topic that so absorbed his interest, his eyes flashed brightly, and he gesticulated forcefully with all the energy that moved him.

Though the purposes to which he would put the treasure were aimed against Davy's own nation, there was something of self-sacrifice and nobility in the project that pleased the boy.

"We ought to start at once!" he cried with eagerness.

"Lie down," said Jugataļ calmly, "or you will bring the fever back with interest. You have plenty of time in which to sleep. They will give us a fair start: wolves do not kill in their own lair; the fox goes far afield."

He seated himself on the daļs, and taking out a square brass ink-box, began to mix the Chinese ink with water in the lid. When this was completed, he wetted a brush, deftly twisting it between his long fingers, and then, laying the Chart upon the daļs, he studiously commenced to copy it.

Davy wondered why Jugataļ should be doing this, but his brain was too tired to consider the matter seriously, and turning upon his side, he soon dropped off into a heavy sleep, in which he dreamed of Guatama's Eye, shining in the midst of a thousand savage faces.

He was awakened by Jugataļ. Ah Four had some tea and rice-cakes for him. The pack animals were already saddled; and as soon as Davy had drunk the tea (he had no appetite to eat), the party set off through the forest.

They had climbed the lower slopes of the mountains before the sun rose, the Tartar guiding them by another path than that along which they had come, holding well to the cover of the trees.

As the light of breaking day descended into the valley, first one object and then another became distinguishable. The trees grew green out of the blackness; the waters of the lake opened like a great white sheet, and finally, the sun's rays shone from above the hill-tops upon the huge, lonely Monastery beneath.

Jugataļ halted on the crest of the hill, and looked down into the valley. As he did so, a boat shot out from the island shore, and made across the lake. In it, little, microscopic figures were distinguishable; and once or twice, they saw some silvery objects, that twinkled and sparkled brightly in the sun.

"What's that?" asked Davy of Jugataļ.

"Drawn swords," came the serene reply. "The chase, my friend, has begun."


A Dog To The Wolves

ALL that day they pushed onwards through the mountains, until Davy came near to dropping from fatigue. But the Tartar called no halt until the afternoon was far spent and heavy thunder clouds, drifting from the north, had altogether shut out the brightness of the sunlight.

On every prominent feature, whence their path lay for any distance visible behind them, Jugataļ would glance back along the road, with no sign of fear upon his face, but with a scrutinizing gaze that seemed to pierce the darkness of distant thickets, telling Davy that he feared their pursuers were at hand.

They halted but for a moment, without taking the pack-saddles off the ponies, snatched a hurried meal and then went on again, Jugataļ seizing Davy by the wrist and dragging him forward by main force.

Towards nightfall the clouds burst in thunder, and lightning glittered among the mountain peaks. As they reached the higher levels of the passes, a fierce, biting wind rose from the south and, blowing full in their faces, made their progress even more difficult.

Davy was unable to continue. The fever had deprived him of the bulk of his strength, and he became a dead weight upon the Tartar's powerful arm.

"Oh, stop!" cried the boy. "I'm dead beat!—I can't go on!"

Jugataļ only lifted him bodily, as if he were but a babe, and strode even more swiftly on.

There was only one path across the mountains; and the lamas, they knew, were close upon their heels.

For an hour after darkness had set in, they still pressed on, making but little headway. The night was as black as ink; and the path, twisting and turning on the edge of an abyss, was fraught with danger at every step. The storm was at the height of its fury, the lightning serving in some measure to guide them. They walked in the heart of the clouds that thundered in their very ears. At one thunderclap, that made the very hills to tremble and went rolling down the valleys far below, the rear pack-pony shied, and losing its footing, plunged headlong down the abyss. Not until then did Jugataļ decide to halt; and, soon afterwards, they came upon a large cave, opening in the mountain side.

The mouth of the cave was just sufficiently high to admit the ponies, and here they were sheltered from the storm. The wind whistled loudly without, and the din of the thunder seemed even to increase. Davy felt the fever fresh upon him. Ah Four offered him some food, but he could not eat. He lay and shivered near the little fire they had kindled, his eyeballs burning and his pulses beating fast.

The Tartar seated himself before the wasted, broken-down creature, who had once been the cook of the steamship Airlie. He passed his hands, palms downwards, once or twice down the entire length of Ah Four's body, without touching him. Immediately, Ah Four's eyes turned upwards, and his jaw fell like a broken toy.

Jugataļ smiled grimly. Davy watched it all in the red glow of the fire. It seemed to him the scene had something of the flavour of the nether regions, with Jugataļ the reigning lord, and the other—some lone sinner, all chance of retribution gone.

"Sleep—sleep," said the Tartar, gently. And the Cantonese meekly laid down upon the rocky floor and, placing his head against a boulder, might have rested on a feather-bed for aught of which he himself was conscious. His features relaxed into an expression suggestive of peace and comfort. He never once shifted his position, but immediately fell into a profound slumber.

Jugataļ watched him for some time, the sour, cynical smile playing about his mouth.

"Sleep, Ah Four," he murmured. "Sleep, and awake in the Happy Valley, where the greatest sinners are permitted to walk with the spirits of their fathers, and even the poor are pleased."

He spoke almost sadly; yet there was no sign of the fear of a man who is conscious of a crime. It was rather a sadness with a touch of envy in its tone.

In his next actions the whole of his perfidy was plain. He took a sharp knife from his girdle, opened a vein in his own arm and let the blood flow over the steel. This done, he placed it in the hand of the sleeping man.

After that, he took out the Chart that Ah Four had gained from the monks, compared it for a brief moment with the copy he had made, and then carefully sewed it to the inside of Ah Four's coat.

Davy shuddered in horror. This, then, was the "live bait" that Jugataļ had contemplated that other dreadful night!

Again he saw the swords of the lamas glisten in the sun; and with the fever throbbing in his head, he fell to shaking like a leaf, nor had he the power to stop. He tried to speak, but it was as if his tongue was glued to the parched roof of his mouth. Even when he moved his limbs, the motion pained him in his bones.

And there he was forced to remain, the helpless, unwilling witness of a crime so hideous that his teeth set to chattering in his head.

Jugataļ snatched him up in his arms, and leaving the ponies and the sleeping man behind, dashed out into the storm.

The darkness seemed in no way to impede him. With a rapidity that seemed alarming, he picked his way as surely as a cat.

It so happened that the path curled round the precipice in a great loop, so that after they had travelled near upon a mile, they arrived directly opposite the cave that they had left. As they reached that point, a flash of lightning lit up the valley as brightly as though it were the day.

They were able to distinguish the dark mouth of the cavern, wherein the embers of the fire still glowed across the abyss. And as they looked, several half-phantom figures, carrying long, naked swords, closed in upon the entrance. Then the darkness once more shut out the view, and a peal of thunder went echoing through the night. Thus were the immortal remains of the little, sinful, squint-eyed Cantonese ushered into the Happy Valley, "where all men walk with the spirits of their fathers and even the poor are pleased."

Davy drew convulsively away from the breast beneath which so black a heart could lie. His brain was working half-deliriously under the combined influence of the fever and terror of the thing.

It seemed like a dreadful nightmare: to be borne at breakneck speed through the fastnesses of Central Asian mountains amid the turmoil of a thunder-storm, gripped in the arms of a Chinese murderer!

Jugataļ still bore strongly on. He seemed insensible to fatigue. On gaining the southern side of the mountains, he came down the steep slopes like a mountain goat, springing from boulder to boulder in the light of fast approaching day, with the boy still clasped within his arms.

He was indeed a giant enigma. Capable of the darkest crime, he had yet within his soul a spark of the light of love. Else why should he save the boy? Davy was but a hindrance to his plans. The boy's life lay within the hollow of his hand; and yet he held him as a mother holds her child, and bore him away in safety, beyond the reach of the stroke of the lama swords.

At the base of the mountains they came upon a small wood of fir-trees, in a grove in which they found a mud hut, that had once probably been occupied by some lonely mountain shepherd. The roof had now fallen in, but it formed a shelter of a kind; and the Tartar entered with the boy.

He had soon made a fire, and divesting himself of the greater part of his own clothes, wrapped Davy up, and sat over him until he was locked in a deep sleep of exhaustion. Then, throwing more wood upon the fire, he went out, and travelled many miles during the day, until he came to a village. Here he purchased some food, and towards nightfall returned with it to the shepherd's hut. He found Davy awake, but too weak to continue the journey.

"No matter," said Jugataļ, "we can remain here until you are well again: the blood-hounds are no longer on our heels. I have heard stories of Siberia, of throwing a dog to the wolves. It is an excellent device and most satisfactory to all parties, the dog alone excepted."

But Davy only groaned, and turned again upon his side.


What The Moon Saw

FOR three days Davy tossed and turned upon his rough bedding of dry leaves in the shepherd's hut, the fever clinging to him persistently. But on the fourth it left him, and he was able to take some food.

During this time Jugataļ nursed him with a tenderness from which Davy recoiled in horror. He could not rid his mind of the thought that the man's hands were but newly stained with blood.

On the evening of the fifth day Jugataļ spoke. Hitherto their conversation had been confined solely to Davy's wants.

"To-morrow we will be able to go on," he said.

Davy remained sullenly silent for some time. He avoided meeting his companion's eye. He gazed straight before him through the doorway, where the glow of the setting sun was purple through the trees.

"I will not come with you," he said at length.

"Why not?"

"I cannot forget what you have done."

"What would he have done to you and me?" asked the Tartar.

"That is beyond the question," answered Davy.

"Thanks to me," said Jugataļ, "it is."

At that, Davy sprang from his couch, and supporting himself against the wall, turned fiercely on the man.

"Oh! You murdered him cruelly—foully! You cannot be human to have thought of such a crime!"

"No," said Jugataļ, with obvious pride. "The ordinary mortal could never have conceived it."

"What right had you to take his life?" demanded the boy.

"He would have killed us both."

"For that I care nothing," cried Davy. "Whatever he may have been cannot change the fact that you are guilty of murder, not in a sudden fit of passion or as an act of self-defence, but carefully considered in cold blood and planned for days before."

The boy had raised his voice in his anger. As he stormed at the grim Tartar, he was altogether forgetful of the fact that he was but the slave of the situation. Jugataļ looked up slowly.

"My small European friend"—he began.

"I am not your friend," cut in the boy.

"There you are a fool. My small European fool then, if it pleases you better, be careful that your words do not choke you. You are in no position to answer thus to me, to whom you owe your life. Do not forget that I have it in my power to take away that which I have given.

"Do your worst," cried the boy, recklessly. "You have already taken from me the gold that is mine by right. There is also my life, you can take no more than that."

"I thought," said the Tartar slowly, "that I had shown you otherwise."

Davy was struck dumb with horror.

"I thought I had shown you that I do not kill for the sake of vengeance alone. I make all things to suit my ends. I have thrown Ah Four to the wolves. Be careful, lest I serve you the same way."

"What would you do?" cried Davy, subdued by the terror of the threat.

Jugataļ smiled, quietly lighting one of his inexhaustible supply of cigarettes.

"The lamas knew nothing of my presence outside the Monastery walls. They thought you and Ah Four were alone. They found him asleep with the knife in his hand with which he had evidently killed you; so, after putting him out of the world, they returned to Dai Tong with their precious Chart. But be so good as to remember, I never appeared in the game. You are presumed to be murdered by Ah Four. It is, therefore, not difficult for me again to give proof of it. I would seal your lips by the sheer strength of my will, take you to Hong-Kong and quietly and painlessly—I promise you that, for I love you in a way—painlessly end your existence in Ah Four's own house; and suspicion would never rest upon me."

Jugataļ finished with a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders, and by sending a cloud of cigarette smoke high into the air.

Davy's cheeks had turned to an ashen white. This man was terrible indeed.

"I would not willingly destroy you," the man went on, "but it may be necessary to safeguard my own interests; therefore, swear that you will keep silent upon the subject of Ah Four's death, and you shall have a small portion of the treasure, as well as your life, as a reward."

Davy felt sick at heart. For a moment it seemed as if he had no alternative. Then the old blood of Thomas Gaythorne, rushing to his young heart, gave him that fierce and headstrong courage that leads a man to a certain death. He stood before the great Tartar, his fists clenched, and shaking from head to foot, very bold to all outward appearance, with the valour of a stag at bay.

"You fiend!" he cried. "My life lies within your hands, I know. If you are coward and cruel enough to take it, do so. Heaven above will be your judge. But, if I live, I'll not help to shield you; and far from promising to aid you, I swear I'll see you hanged."

Jugataļ hastily threw away his cigarette and fell upon the boy, as a cat pounces on a mouse. It was no fight: Davy was helpless in the Tartar's powerful arms of steel; he was weak from illness and the lack of food; and in a second he found himself pinned to the ground, flat upon his back, and powerless to move an inch.

Jugataļ rapidly drew a long, thin bottle from his pocket. Removing the cork, he pulled out a piece of cotton-wool, steeped in a pungent, colourless liquid. Placing this in a handkerchief, he held it over Davy's mouth and nose. The boy retained his breath as long as he could, but, in the end, he was forced to draw it in. The anaesthetic caused his brain to whirl. He seemed to be carried away upon a cloud. He heard Jugataļ laugh; then the laugh died away in the far distance, and his senses altogether left him.

The Tartar rose. Picking up the cigarette he had thrown away, he relit it. Then he passed out of the doorway and remained standing at his full height for some minutes on the threshold, taking in the fresh air in long, deep breaths.

Night had fallen in the wood. A full moon, that had risen early, was obscured behind some drifting clouds. There was not a breath of air among the leaves. The silence of the night was unbroken by any sign of life.

Jugataļ stood motionless and erect, breathing rhythmically and deep. He seemed perfectly oblivious to his surroundings. He might either have been lost in profound thought, or else in that "neutral state" which the occult student is able to attain without the slightest difficulty.

He came to himself suddenly, with a loud snap of the fingers.

"After all," he exclaimed, "what does it matter? The life of a child of a foreign devil shall not stand between me and my goal. The frog in the path of the elephant is crushed."

With that, he re-entered the house; and the moon, coming out from behind the clouds and breaking through the branches of the trees, shone down upon the glade. And in the midst of a thicket that had hitherto been lost in the shadows, there appeared the round and smiling countenance of "Mr." Wang.


Of A Tussle And A Discussion

WHEN Davy returned to consciousness, he found Jugataļ crouched before him, the Tartar's face on a level with his own, and the dark, piercing eyes fixed steadily upon him.

He had felt his eyelids raised as if by human fingers, while a thumb was pressed gently in the centre of his brow. He saw only a pair of black eyes, like those of some gigantic snake, glistening in the light of the candle that burnt upon the floor. Feeling tired, he closed his eyes. But immediately, he felt disposed to open them again, and, on doing so, he was confronted by the same unyielding stare.

How long this lasted he was unable to tell. It must have taken some time, for he was conscious of looking away several times, and once seemed to have fallen asleep. He was awakened by something very like an electric shock, only to find the same penetrating eyes still fixed upon his face.

Finally, a feeling of such complete drowsiness came over him that he found it impossible to resist. He dropped off into a kind of sleep that he had never experienced before; one half of him seemed no longer to exist, whilst, with the other, he was still solely conscious of the black, snake-like eyes. He was awakened by a shout; and starting up, he beheld a Chinaman, with a huge, fat, circular face, standing in the doorway.

Jugataļ, uttering an exclamation in his own language, sprang to his feet like a panther. He seized a great stone from the floor, and hurled it with all his force at the head of the fat man.

Had the stone struck him, "Mr." Wang must have fallen dead. But, in spite of his obesity, he gave a remarkable display of agility, first ducking out of the way of the missile and then springing across the room away from the Tartar, who charged down upon him like a whirlwind.

Jugataļ now held the doorway. Escape for the fat man was impossible. Wang moved furtively, keeping his back against the wall, to the side of the hut farthest from the door. Here, Jugataļ sprang upon him again; and again Wang ducked under his opponent's arm with an activity that seemed phenomenal. But the Tartar, who had seized him by the pigtail, jerked him bodily backwards. A loud cry of pain escaped his lips, ending with a gulp as Jugataļ got him by the throat. Catching hold of the other's wrists, Wang endeavoured to release his hold; but Jugataļ, his teeth clenched and the veins standing out upon his forehead, brought him heavily to the ground, and then gripped the detective till his face turned black beneath his yellow skin.

In a very little time the fat man would undoubtedly have been strangled, had not, at that moment, a giant form dashed across the hut, and a second later, the Tartar was grasped from behind.

Then began a fight of Titans. O'Shee (for it was he) had the advantage of several inches, but Jugataļ was a veritable Hercules. The two men fastened upon each other like a pair of tigers. In a moment their arms and legs became locked in a savage embrace. Together they came down upon the floor, and rolling one over the other, put out the light, so that the place was left in utter darkness, and the hut was filled with groans and grunts and oaths, and its dilapidated roof shook with the weight of the struggling men.

While the conflict was at its height, a third person entered and called out Davy's name.

Davy instantly recognized the voice of Dan, and this, for the first time, seemed to bring him to his senses.

"I'm all right, Dan," he cried. "Help Mr. O'Shee!" At that, the carpenter struck a match and held it high above his head. It served to some extent to light the room.

There lay Jugataļ upon the floor, with O'Shee, swearing like a Marine drill sergeant, and completely out of breath, spread out across him like a gigantic spider.

In a moment both Dan and Wang, who had by then recovered from his choking, flung their additional weight upon the defeated man; and Jugataļ, with the best part of forty stone upon his chest, found himself unable to move.

To bind the Tartar's hands behind his back was the work of a minute. Then Wang lit the candle again; and Dan and O'Shee, in a transport of delight, simultaneously fell upon Davy.

When the first enthusiastic words of greeting were over, O'Shee turned to Jugataļ.

"And, faith, who may you be?" he asked.

Jugataļ did not deign a reply.

"I thought I was to have the pleasure of spiflicating me old shipmate, Ah Four," continued the Irishman; "but, bedad, I niver bargained for a haythen like yersilf."

A smile played mischievously around the Tartar's lips.

"I have a tolerable knowledge of English," he said. "If you would be so good as to talk in that language, no doubt I might be able to understand you."

O'Shee's jaw dropped in utter amazement.

"The saints be praised!" he exclaimed; and for the life of him he could say no more.

Mr. Wang grinned prodigiously, his broad face opening and shutting in countless wrinkles.

"I know this gentleman," he said, "and I guess he knows me. Last time we met I was a prisoner in his house. Do you remember, Jugataļ? We played cards—or, at least, I did. I held five aces, and the joker."

"I believe I have seen you before," said Jugataļ casually. "You are a Shanghai policeman, are you not? I wonder to find you so far from home. I understand your main business in life is to keep rickshaws to the right side of the road."

"Oh, dear, no, to the left," said Mr. Wang, beaming benevolently.

"Is that so!" replied the other, pretending to be profoundly interested. "You must find it a very monotonous task."

"You bet your life it would be," said Mr. Wang, "if it were not relieved by such expeditions as these, in pursuit of renowned criminals. They serve to keep one's intellect alert."

"And one's throat exceedingly sore, I should imagine," observed Jugataļ.

"H'm, yes," answered the other, as if in some doubt upon the subject. "But nevertheless your experienced criminal is exceedingly easy to catch."

"I suppose so," said Jugataļ with a great show of indifference. "But if you always catch him so easily, I fail to see how he manages to gain any experience at all."

This was a distinct point to the Tartar. Mr. Wang, he knew, had for years been endeavouring to bring him to justice, but never with a shadow of success.

The whole of this conversation was held in English. It was, in fact, a display of repartee for the benefit of their English hearers, though each took a certain grim delight in goading the other.

"Of course," said Mr. Wang, waving a fat hand, "it is always imperative to have a clue to work upon."

"And of course," answered the other, "your experienced criminal always leaves one behind him?"

"Sure! Otherwise we should never be able to catch him."

Jugataļ suddenly threw off his attitude of unconcern, and leaning forward, looked earnestly into his opponent's face.

"How, then, did you know I was concerned in this business?" he asked.

"You bought four ponies in Chung-King."

"But, that proved nothing."

"It proved nothing, perhaps; but it made another link in a chain of circumstantial evidence. You were in Hong-Kong when the Airlie called there; you must have travelled straight across country to have got to Chung-King in time; and it was at Chung-King that we lost all trace of Ah Four and the boy."

"And how did you find it again?" asked Jugataļ, deeply interested.

"The hills around Chung-King are sand, in which the foot sinks deeply and the hoofs of four horses leave a considerable track."

"Exactly," said Jugataļ. "Then you followed us up by means of the villages where we were obliged to purchase food?"

Mr. Wang nodded pleasantly.

"Until, by chance, you lit upon us here?"

Mr. Wang nodded again.

"All that I understand," said Jugataļ. "But why did you associate me with the affair from the very beginning? You must have done so to have discovered I was in Hong-Kong when the ship was there."

Mr. Wang's broad face expanded in an enormous grin.

"My friend," said he, "to do you justice, for the past six years I have associated you with half the crime of China."

"And, to do you justice," replied Jugataļ, "I should say that in the majority of cases you were correct. And now, would you be so good as to place a cigarette between my lips?"


On The Extreme Folly Of Catching Eels In Nets

THOUGH the three Europeans listened to the conversation of the Chinese with a great deal of interest and a certain amount of amusement, there were of course a thousand and one things that they wanted to say to each other.

In the first place, O'Shee was dying to know why Davy had run away. When he heard the whole story of Guatama's Eye, his eyes nearly jumped out of his head, and he refused to believe it. Wang, however, gave credence to the tale; he said there were many even stranger things in the annals of the Secret Societies.

The Tartar was immediately searched, and his copy of the Chart taken from him.


Map of the Lost Island

O'Shee studied it with the experienced eye of a navigator.

"Faith," said he, "I've sailed those waters many a time, but I never saw an island like this at all. The formation of it is dead against the general order of things in that part of the world. From the map, it appears to be half a volcanic crater and half a coral reef. Most of the smaller islands are purely atolls, and the larger ones, I believe, are volcanic in origin; but one never sees the two combined. True," he added, "there's a reef across Diamond Head in Honolulu, but it doesn't show up above water at all; and they have indicated trees all along this one."

"I guess you needn't worry about it, Mr. O'Shee," said Wang. "If the Secret Society know that this Mongol priest, Tuan, took the Casket to such an island, you may depend upon it he did."

"You think it's true then?" asked O'Shee.

"You bet your life," said Mr. Wang.

"Then, bedad, we'll find it!"

"Aye, that we will," said Dan.

"Then let's turn in and get some sleep, for we'll start back to the Yangtse Kiang to-morrow. Dan, get Master Davy some blankets."

It had been arranged that one of the party should always keep watch with a loaded revolver over the Tartar, who, in accordance with Mr. Wang's orders, was to have his feet, as well as his hands, bound every evening.

"You are determined that I shall not escape," said Jugataļ pleasantly, as O'Shee tightened the knots about his wrists and ankles.

"We are, faith. Ye're as safe as a butterfly in a net."

"Butterflies are very helpless creatures," remarked Jugataļ, as O'Shee rolled him over, scarcely with tenderness.

"Indeed they are, but they are wonderfully pretty, and that's more than you are, bedad."

"But have you ever tried catching eels in nets?" asked Jugataļ, disregarding the insult, which was hardly justifiable.

"No," answered O'Shee perplexed.

"Ah, it is a very foolish pastime," said the other. And with that he immediately dropped off to sleep.

O'Shee, fully mystified, scratched his head.

"Now what did the haythen mean by that?" he murmured to himself.

His ruminations were disturbed by Dan and Mr. Wang, who re-entered the hut with the blankets.

When everything was prepared for the night, Dan remained standing irresolutely in the centre of the room.

"What is it, Dan?" asked O'Shee.

The old man shifted uneasily upon his feet, seeming half ashamed.

"Don't you think there's something we've forgot, Mister O'Shee?" he said with hesitation.

"What's that, faith?"

"I don't altogether hold wi' prayer meetings," said the old man; "but, begging your pardon, sir, oughtn't we to thank God for bringing Master Davy safe back to us again?"

Whereupon he went down upon his knees; and sure enough, O'Shee turned purple in the face, and followed suit.

Perhaps they slept all the better for it. At any rate, O'Shee snored so loudly that Davy awoke, dreaming that he was in the lion-house of the Zoo at feeding-time. Shortly afterwards, he heard Wang awaken the mate to do his turn on guard over their prisoner, and then he dropped off again.

In the morning Davy felt much refreshed. His appetite had returned, and he ate a large plate of porridge with a relish that he had never had for the Chinese dishes of the past months.

Though there was no track across the plateau, it so happened that Wang guided the party towards the same pass through which Davy had gone on his northward journey.

One night they camped upon the very spot where Ah Four had made his attempt on Jugataļ's life. Here Davy passed a restless night. As often as he tried to sleep he heard the cataract roaring at the foot of the abyss, and he shuddered at the memory of the struggle on its brink that might have ended in such a tragedy.

Taken as a whole, the homeward journey was more of a pleasure trip than anything else. Thanks to Dan's money, the party were well equipped with transport animals, and had half-a-dozen coolies to look after them. One day, upon the great plateau, they spied an "ovis ammon" far away in the distance; and Dan insisted on having a shot at it with his rifle. He fired; and the animal bounded away, un­touched. Much amusement was afterwards afforded by the discovery of the fact that the old man had neglected to adjust his sights.

Of an evening, when they were all seated around the camp-fire, every one—including even the prisoner himself—would be in the best of spirits. Mr. Wang and the Tartar would assail each other in words in English; and whenever one gained an advantage over the other he would be loudly applauded with cheers, whoops and "Hear-hears" from the three Britishers, who thoroughly entered into the spirit of the competition.

"Either of them two Chinks," said Dan to Davy one evening, "has more brains than what we three has put together."

This much O'Shee would only admit in the case of Wang. He could not forget that Jugataļ was the would-be murderer of his young friend. In fact, there was little love lost between the Tartar and the Irishman. O'Shee was the only one of the party who treated Jugataļ with no vestige of respect; and on more than one occasion Jugataļ referred openly to O'Shee as "our long, barbarian friend." Which made O'Shee furious.

"Barbarian, faith!" he would exclaim. "Were it not for that black-hearted scoundrel, Oliver Cromwell, we'd be the most civilized country in the world! And what right have ye, pray, who cannot handle a knife and fork, to the claims of a civilized man?"

"That itself is the argument of a savage," Jugataļ would answer with disdain. Which ruffled O'Shee more than ever.

To the others, Jugataļ was particularly pleasant. Davy saw now an entirely new side of the Tartar's character. His great dream of the freedom of China he never once mentioned; and Davy, out of pure respect for his feelings, seeing that he was now bound hand and foot a captive, never alluded to the subject.

Thus they journeyed on, across the mountains and down into the provinces of the Middle Kingdom, where the population became thicker and the climate grew more warm.

Every night O'Shee would bring out the Chart, and speak of how he would set about to find the lost island, until they none of them doubted that he would succeed. Davy even went so far as to say what he would do with the money when he got it.

Then, out would come O'Shee's accordion; and upon one occasion, he actually got through thirteen verses of "Uncle Joe, the Pirate," before he broke down and forgot the words.

They were now a few days from the Yangtse, and were bivouacked for the night by the side of an opium-field. The nauseous odour of the poppies scented the evening air, which was damp and thick with mist. Old Dan was taking the middle watch, with his loaded rifle across his arm. Their prisoner lay breathing heavily and apparently in the profoundest slumber, his head almost touching the great wood fire that blazed and crackled in the night.

Dan looked up across the valley, where the river lights showed faintly in the distance. His eyes were scarcely off the captive for a moment, yet, in that identical moment, by some strange coincidence, Jugataļ turned over in his sleep. Dan's eye came back upon him in an instant; and the old man gripped his rifle more tightly.

Jugataļ appeared to be still sound asleep. He had evidently found the fire scorching his face, for he now lay flat upon his back with his head turned in the opposite direction. Dan thought no more of the matter; the action was natural enough. But he would have had a contrary opinion had he seen that as Jugataļ rolled over, he took in his teeth a red-hot firebrand, which in a second he had cast deftly upon the ground, on the very spot where the hollow of his back and his bound hands now rested.

Half-an-hour passed, and Jugataļ made no move. The night was alive with the singing of mosquitoes, the chirping of crickets and the distant croaking of frogs in the paddy-fields, and above all arose the profound snoring of O'Shee, when suddenly, near at hand, a dog began to bark.

Dan, and also O'Shee, had heard the same dog bark on previous evenings, but, strange to say, Mr. Wang had never noticed it. So persistently of late had it been heard, night after night, that the old man had come to look upon the animal as a regular nocturnal visitor to the outskirts of their camp. There was no doubt that it was the same dog; its bark was peculiarly high and rasping.

When the dog barked upon this occasion, Jugataļ again moved in his sleep. He raised one knee before the light of the fire, and then let it drop again. He was evidently spending a restless night.

A few minutes afterwards the bark was heard once more; this time nearer to the bivouac than it had ever been before.

After another interval, it broke out for the third time, almost directly behind Dan's head.

The old man turned sharply round and peered into the darkness. The barking instantly ceased; but Dan distinctly heard a soft, low growl, proceeding from a spot but a few feet in front of him. In vain he scanned the darkness; he could see nothing. Four times the growl sounded from among the poppies; and then he thought he could discern the dark, shadowy figure of a man gliding rapidly away. With the sudden remembrance of his prisoner, he turned sharply round. But Jugataļ was gone!

Firing his rifle into the night in the direction in which the figure had disappeared, he shouted out loudly. O'Shee, Davy and Mr. Wang sprang instantly to their feet.

"He's gone!" cried Dan.

The others, for a moment, stood mute in amazement.

"Then, after him!" cried O'Shee, whipping out his revolver.

But Mr. Wang held out a hand in restraint.

"It's useless," he said. "There is another hour to daylight; and by then, you bet your life, he will be far away. I guess we'd better wait for sunrise, and then make for the Yangtse and see if we can hear anything of him. But however did he manage it, Mister Dan?"

"Blessed if I know!" groaned Dan. "I heard that dog bark again, closer than it had ever done before. I turned away from him for a moment, and when I looked round again, he was gone."

"Ah, I should have known it," said Wang bitterly. "That dog was never a dog at all. It was one of Jugataļ's agents."

"Thunder and lightning!" roared O'Shee, groping desperately in his pockets.

"What is it?" cried the other three, in a breath.

"He's got the Chart!"


How 'Jimmy' Kept His Word

HAVING arranged to meet the remainder of the party in Chung-King, Mr. Wang rode hastily to the Yangtse River at daybreak.

It was four days before he was able to find any trace of the fugitive, in spite of the fact that he seemed to have spies and agents everywhere.

Paying off their coolies and selling their animals, the party hired a wupan, and shot the rapids to Ichang.

Here they remained nearly a week, before they discovered that Jugataļ had left a few hours before their arrival, in a large sea-going junk. He had cleverly taken steps to conceal his identity.

Poor old Dan was almost heart-broken at being responsible for the villain's escape. But Mr. Wang was in the best of spirits.

"It is impossible for him to escape me long," he said. "He is too well known in China; and now that we have definite proof that he murdered Ah Four and contemplated killing our young friend here, it is only a matter of time to bring him to justice. The worst of it is, he is hand in glove with the Government, who may think fit to shield him. My only hope lies in running Jugataļ to earth before they get wind of the matter."

From Ichang our friends soon reached Shanghai by steamboat. After he had cabled to Mrs. Gaythorne, telling her of Davy's safety, O'Shee burst, like a typhoon, into the office of "Jimmy" McAlpine.

"I've the strangest tale to tell ye that iver ye heard in your life!" he cried.

"Have ye found the boy?" asked the great man, wheeling round in his chair.

"We have, bedad! Wang's a wonder of a man, faith—the most resourceful haythen in the whole continent of Asia!"

"Dinna I tell ye he was a regular bluidhound!" said Sir James with satisfaction. "And now for the story, Bob."

"Listen, Jimmy, while I'm telling ye, now," cried O'Shee, beside himself with excitement. "But, first, did ye get the butterflies?"

"Aye," said Sir James. "They are in me drawing-room at home."

"The saints be praised!" said O'Shee. "I wouldn't have lost them for me soul."

Thereupon, he started upon the whole story, beginning with the adventure of Thomas Gaythorne and the villainy of Tuan, and ending with the wonderful escape of Jugataļ.

When he had done, Sir James McAlpine, who had followed the story with the greatest interest, lay back in his office chair.

"Have a cocktail, mon?" said he. "Ye must be verra dry."

"D'ye think there's any truth in the tale?" asked the mate, disregarding this advice.

"Why not?" exclaimed Sir James. "You must na' forget this country is thousands o' years old, an' there's na' end to these Secret Societies. For myself, I believe every word of it, an', unless the island has disappeared under the surface o' the sea, you can bet that that Casket is somewhere to be found."

"Then, bedad, we must go and see if it is still afloat, cost what it will!" cried the mate.

"But you've lost the Chart!" said the other.

"No matter for that!" cried O'Shee. "I've ivery line of it in me head. The difficulty is to get there."

"An' that's nae sa' deeficult either," said Sir James. "Do you remember when you were here before, I said that if ever it was i' my power tae help you, Bob, you'd only tae ask?"

"I do, faith," said O'Shee.

"Then, why the deekins don't you ask for one o' my ships?"

O'Shee regarded him in utter amazement.

"One of your ships!" he repeated.

"Aye. There's the Hai-Ho lying idle doon stream. She's half-way through wi' a coatin' o' paint, but she's pairfectly sea-worthy for a' that. I suppose you're in too great a hurry tae wait till she's made spick an' span; besides, there's precious little traffic where you're bound for."

"But," stammered O'Shee, "ye can't mean it, Jimmy!"

"Then," said Sir James conclusively, "'tis the first thing i' my life I ever said that I didn't mean."

"Bedad, ye'll be a saint some day, Jimmy, or there's no justice in hiven!" exclaimed the mate. "How long will it take to get her under way?"

"She's got the crew aboard now," said Sir James. "I'll send word doon to stop the painting at once and bring her up river. She should be coaled easy by evening. Maybe she'll ride a trifle high, Bob; she's as empty as a rotten nut."

"Faith, that's nothing," said O'Shee, "as long as she floats."

"Float, mon!" exclaimed the ship-owner. "Did ye ever hear tell o' a ship o' Jimmy McAlpine's that canna' float?"

And in two days' time from that very hour, the Hai-Ho, Captain O'Shee, one thousand five hundred and thirty tons, flying the house flag of Sir James McAlpine, and bright with a new coat of paint all over her, except for a great square patch on the starboard bows, dropped down the Woosung River when the tide was on the turn.

Sir James accompanied her down as far as the Yangtse roads in his own private launch. When the vessel gained the open water, the launch described a complete circle round her, and then headed back towards the port.

"Guid luck tae ye, Bob!" cried Jimmy from the stern, waving a red pocket-handkerchief frantically in the air.

"The saints reward ye," bellowed the newly-promoted captain from the bridge. "Stay now, I've a question to ask, bedad. Can ye hear?"

"Pairfectly! What is it?" came the reply. "Can ye tell me how did the same country give birth to yersilf and McQuown?"

But the answer was lost in the widening distance, churned white by the motion of the screw.


The Southern Seas

THE Hai-Ho was one of Sir James McAlpine's smaller ships. She was used solely for cargo work between the China ports, and an occasional run across to Japan, trading from Hainan north to Tientsin, from the river at which place she took her name.

She had an apology for a saloon, cramped under the poop, the whole of the centre of the ship being thus available for cargo. Her funnels were of the bright salmon colour of the McAlpine line, so well known along the China Coast. Though she was by no means one of Sir James's most valuable possessions, she was, nevertheless, a handy, useful and good seagoing packet, that "Jimmy" said he would not exchange for one of the Empress Line.

In addition to the members of our party, there was one other European on the ship. This was Williams, who had been the second officer of the Hai-Ho for years. The engines were entirely in the hands of Chinese—a very unusual thing; but, as the astute "Jimmy" said, "If a Chinaman can run a locomotive, I canna' see a reason why he shouldna' superintend the engines of a ship. An' they come out at aboot a tenth o' the price, forbye."

The crew were, of course, all Chinese, of the big, bony brand that come from the fishing villages along the Chili and Shantung coasts.

As O'Shee, with a dire contempt for the "haythen," considered it advisable that a European should always be on watch, he, Williams and Dan, agreed to share the bridge between them.

Old Dan accepted his promotion to a watch-keeper with an almost childish delight. He walked the bridge with the greatest pride in the world, in a tightly buttoned pea-jacket and a pair of white duck trousers.

"Haul up the jib," he roared from the bridge to a parcel of idle sailors, loitering on the forecastle, one sunny afternoon in the Sea of Japan.

Up went the jib in a trice.

"Haul down the jib!" bellowed Dan. And down the jib came, almost before the words were out of his mouth.

"Haul up the jib!2 he cried again.

The Chinese sailors regarded the officer on duty in blank astonishment.

"Haul up the jib!" repeated Dan, in a voice that would have risen above a hurricane, and which frightened the crew so effectively that for the second time the jib fluttered along the stay. But, no sooner had it been made fast, than again came the order, "Haul down the jib!"

"Look here, Dan," said Captain O'Shee, who had just come upon the bridge, "what's the game?"

"Begging your pardon, sir," replied Dan, touching his cap, "I thought it wouldn't do no harm if I just showed 'em my authority for a matter o' five minutes or so."

And thus, Dan rose from ship's carpenter to third officer, and, in his own eyes at least, fully justified his promotion.

O'Shee headed for the Straits of Shimonoseki, Sir James McAlpine having cabled to Yokohama to have a supply of coal ready to refill the Hai-Ho's bunkers before the ship set about her search among the Pacific islands.

They came in sight of the lights of Moji late on a Sunday night. The whole sea was alive with twinkling lights. On the one side lay the town of Moji, and on the other that of Shimonoseki; and between the two, all the shipping tonnage of Japan, from the great Pacific liners of the Nippon Ushen Kaisha to little fishing cockle-shells, seemed to be gathered together in a few square miles of water. The current ran at fifteen knots an hour, so that steam launches, crossing the Straits, first had to make dead up stream and then drift across almost broadside on.

With the help of a Japanese pilot, they passed through the Straits; and then came two days' glorious voyage down the incomparable Inland Sea. Past Miyajima, the Sacred Island—sacred alike to Shinto and those who have learnt to love all that is beautiful in Nature—where the tori, or temple arches, stand out of a sapphire sea that laps the feet of the gold and crimson maples; past Enoshima, where the sacred cave is dedicated to the god of Luck, and under the cliffs of Izu, the Riviera of Japan; until Fuji, the immense, snow-capped mountain, standing alone in all its superb glory, rose out of the earthly paradise at its feet, like some majestic Jove in this Elysium of the East.

But this land, with all its laughter, its music and its flowers, was not for our travellers, who came from the vast, mysterious Empire to its west and passed its coasts, as swallows on the wing. In a few hours they had coaled; and then O'Shee, setting the Hai-Ho's head to the south-east, made out to the open sea, until first Yokohama Bluff, and finally the snow-white peak of Fujiyama itself, sank with the setting sun.

That same night a typhoon blew up from the east of Formosa, and picked up the Hai-Ho as if she were a piece of paper in a windy street. The vessel drew next to no water, and rose like a hunter at a fence, as the van-guard of the storm struck her bows. When the body of the tempest had closed around her on every side, she was hugged, until her ribs bent and groaned as if in pain. She took on a heavy list to port, like a yacht rounding the limit flag; while the seas swept over her decks and the spray washed even the top-masts clean. The steam-steering gear snapped under the strain like a piece of burnt string; and O'Shee, at the danger of his life, forced his way to the poop, and seizing the emergency wheel—intended for the combined strength of four men—kept her nose to the storm, and thereby saved the ship.

For three days it lasted. On the fourth, the Hai-Ho came again into the sunshine, dishevelled, dismantled, but still afloat. She had had four boats; three had been stove in and swept away, so that only one remained. The chief engineer had been thrown into the machinery, and his skull laid open against the connecting rod; the steam-steering gear was rendered useless; and O'Shee's leg had been cut by a broken spar, and though he had said not a word about it, his trousers, beneath his oil-skin overalls, were saturated in blood.

"If that haythen, Jugataļ," said he, "has come safe through this in a junk, faith, I'll niver more doubt that the divil aids his own."

Thanks to the masterly seamanship of O'Shee, they passed in safety through this ordeal, and gained the placid, open waters of the Western Pacific.

Here, fresh difficulties began. O'Shee made direct for the latitude shown on the chart and bore eastward along the parallel, towards the American coast. But no sign of the island was visible. He accordingly beat back again by a more northern route. As this also was in vain, he divided the ocean into rectangles, and searched each space separately, crossing it diagonally again and again.

Finally, after many months fruitless cruising, he reached as far south as Samoa, and was there obliged to cable to Sir James McAlpine, telling him of failure. But "Jimmy" insisted on the search being continued, and ordered them to coal at his expense and cross to Fiji.

Shortly after leaving Samoa, they came across one of His Majesty's surveying ships, but they could get no information regarding this lost island. The captain regarded O'Shee as a lunatic, and advised him to get back to Shanghai instead of wasting his time in looking for a piece of land that he knew never existed. He swore that the Admiralty knew every coral-reef between 'Frisco and Auckland, and as for an island with a volcanic crater, why the idea was preposterous!

O'Shee left the man-of-war quite crest-fallen. He had the greatest faith in the British Navy, and he was now for giving up the search entirely.

"What's the use of going on?" he asked despondently. "The Chart is obviously all wrong."

They crossed the route of the Canadian-Australian steamers, before a strong trade wind, leaving Hou Island to the west. Here O'Shee decided to give up the search, and changing his course, headed for Shanghai on the strength of the naval officer's advice.

Soon after daybreak on the following day, Davy came scrambling down from the masthead.

"Land on the starboard bow!" he cried.

"An atoll," said O'Shee bitterly. "The sea's full of them."

"This is no atoll," cried Davy, breathless with excitement. "There's a square hill standing out on the horizon like a sugar-loaf."

O'Shee, then and there, put the vessel about, and made straight in the direction Davy indicated.

In an hour or so they had come well within sight of it. In every respect it answered the description given on the Chart.

They approached the island upon the side of the mountain, which rose out of the water like a great, semi-circular, broken bowl, an extinct volcanic crater, the walls of which shelved gently down to the level of the sea. At the extremities of these ridges the circle was continued by two curved arms of coral, standing well out of the water and fringed along their entire length with tall cocoa-nut palms. The two ends of this reef just failed to meet, leaving an entrance of some sixty feet in width, connecting the water of the lagoon with that of the ocean without.

The Hai-Ho, steaming under the bare cliffs of the crater walls, rounded the mountain, and keeping parallel to the line of palms, turned into the lagoon. She moved at a snail's pace, sounding the while, but the lead showed a great depth of water. The coral seemed to end abruptly at the entrance, leaving a passage through which an Atlantic liner could have passed in safety.

From the outside, the view of the lagoon was entirely shut in by the palm trees; but, from the entrance, the whole scene opened out before them like a view set in a stereoscope.

The inside of the crater rose directly before them like a huge shell; a forest of thick trees lay along the lower slopes, or which scattered native huts, made of atap leaves, were here and there distinguishable; a broad belt of golden sand fringed the shores of both the mountain and the reef. The still water of the lagoon formed almost a perfect circle, completely surrounded, except for the narrow entrance, by tall, feathery palms; and, at some distance from the mountain-shore and well to the right of the entrance, a great Chinese junk lay motionless at anchor.


A Threefold Fight

"THE Tartar, bedad!" exclaimed O'Shee upon the bridge.

Immediately, the double report of a rifle sounded from the junk deck, and a bullet, whistling past O'Shee's head, spread itself out like a silver medal on the salmon-coloured funnel behind.

"Faith," he cried, "we're not come to this benighted spot to get shot at! We must put her across to the other side, Williams, though there's hardly room to turn."

"Aye, aye, sir," answered Williams; and the Hai-Ho moved in a great half circle round the lagoon.

During this movement she had of necessity to steam within a few hundred yards of the junk, whence a perfect hail of bullets came singing through the rigging.

Davy had joined O'Shee upon the bridge, feeling wildly exhilarated by the continual hissing of the bullets about his ears. Like one who finds himself for the first time under fire, he could conceive but a vague idea of the danger in which he stood.

Dan and Williams were at their places, on the poop and forecastle respectively, the former with the aid of the Chinese boatswain managing the wheel.

Suddenly, the boatswain dropped dead upon the deck with a bullet through his heart, and the remainder of the crew made off panic stricken down the poop ladder, scrambling over each other in their anxiety to reach safety.

O'Shee came down from the bridge at a bound. Meeting them at the foot of the steps, he landed the leader a blow between the eyes that sent him rolling over and over upon the deck and turned the others back.

Williams, on the forecastle, had no less violently kept his men at the forward capstan, ready to drop the anchor.

Dan had fortunately not left the wheel; and the vessel was finally brought up under the arm of the reef farthest from the junk, and dropped her anchors close beneath the palms.

Mr. Wang alone had deigned to seek shelter. Only his large, circular face remained above the level of the deck, beaming from out of the companion way, like a sun that set in a hurry whenever a bullet happened to pass.

Now that they were safely anchored at some distance from the junk, the firing ceased, and O'Shee returned to the bridge. He gave a few final orders, instructing Williams to take charge of the crew, and was about to descend again, when he suddenly noticed a score of dusky forms, gliding among the foliage on the reef towards the ship. A second afterwards, an arrow carried off the heel of his boot.

He paused with his hand on the rail, and addressed Wang, whose solar visage had set and risen again, something after the manner of a Jack-in-the-box.

"It's a pleasant time we've got before us, I'm thinking," said he. "Did ye iver read Shakespeare, Mr. Wang?"

"No," said Wang, "I never did."

"Then listen, while I enlighten ye on the words of the man who puts Confucius into a back seat."

He seated himself on the bridge steps, totally regardless of his danger, and placing his great forefinger to his head, assumed an expression suggestive of the profoundest thought.

"Whether 'tis better to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous savages or to take arms against a junk-full of haythen Chinese." But a second arrow cut him short, burying its point deep in the wood-work of the bridge steps. Mr. Wang's face disappeared over the horizon, like a football over a wall.

"They are landing a boat from the junk!" cried Davy, who had never moved from the bridge.

In a moment O'Shee was at his side, a flight of arrows greeting his appearance. He glanced sharply at the boy. Davy's young face was flushed with excitement, and his eyes sparkled brightly, but no feature betrayed the slightest sign of fear.

The Irishman smiled grimly, laying his hand affectionately on the boy's shoulder.

"You're made of the right stuff, Davy," said he. "I always knew it. Now, let's see what our good friend, Mr. Jugataļ, is up to."

He took out a pair of marine glasses, and regarded the junk for several minutes in silence. A sampan, tied astern, had been pulled alongside, and was rapidly filled with Chinese, each one carrying a rifle. They then rowed off in haste, straight to the mountain shore. At the same time, the natives who had attacked the Hai-Ho from the reef, were seen running at full speed towards the mainland.

Dan, on the poop, snatched up his rifle, and levelled it towards the retreating figures, when a loud shout from O'Shee brought it down again.

"For goodness' sake, don't fire, Dan!" he cried. "There'll be shooting enough in all conscience afore we're done. We don't want the whole hornets' nest about our ears. Stand by, man, and watch the fun."

It seemed to be something in the nature of a race. The Chinese rowed strongly for the shore, and the inhabitants of the island rushed towards the thick jungle at the base of the mountain. On landing, the Chinese made up the beach, entering the same thickets from a different direction, led by a tall figure that O'Shee, by means of his glasses, immediately identified as Jugataļ. Simultaneously, another large party of natives were seen issuing from the village on the higher slopes of the crater and descending into the wood.

As these three parties were rapidly converging on the same point, a conflict was inevitable, and the spectators on the Hai-Ho remained breathlessly expectant.

In a very short time a heavy fusillade burst from the centre of the jungle. Nothing could be seen. From amidst the palms came a ceaseless roar of rifle-fire, that lasted for nearly half-an-hour and went rolling up the slopes of the hill. Then, the flying forms of the savages became visible above the trees, on the open ground around the village; and at the same time, the rifle shots became more desultory. Finally they ceased altogether.

"Lower the boat!" bellowed O'Shee. "The fools have run out of ammunition, and now's the chance of a life-time!"

In a second, Dan and Williams had lowered their only boat to the water, and O'Shee had let down the gangway himself. He ordered Dan to remain in charge of the ship, while he, Davy, Williams and two of the crew, rowed hard towards the sampan on the shore. As they were about to leave, Mr. Wang came dashing down the steps, revolver in hand, and flung himself into the stern, so heavily that his weight threatened to stave in the boat.

"You!" cried O'Shee in surprise. "I thought you weren't partial to being shot at?"

"Tut, tut," said Wang, contemptuously. "I guess I'm not fool enough to sit on deck and be made a target of for nothing. But this is another affair; we've got Jugataļ at bay, and you may bet your life, he'll hit back a bit, or I know nothing at all about him."

"Good on you!" said O'Shee; and immediately a volley from the junk sprinkled the water around them, like drops of heavy rain.

O'Shee held the rudder, and keeping them at as long a range as possible from the junk, brought them to within revolver shot of the sampan on the sand. His original idea had been to capture it; but, for this, they were too late, for, as they drew near, the Chinese came suddenly out of the wood in a mass and crossed the beach, a stream of arrows in their wake. Two went down on the sands; and O'Shee with a well-aimed shot from his revolver rolled over another, as he was about to enter the boat.

Jugataļ was the last to emerge from the thicket. He was the only one who appeared to have kept his head; the others were obviously in a panic, and some had even thrown away their rifles in their anxiety to escape. The Tartar had evidently long since given up all idea of controlling his men, for he seemed to be satisfying himself by covering their retreat with a gallantry that would have gained for him the Victoria Cross had it been in the service of the King.

O'Shee, ordering the sailors to ship their oars, remained at a safe distance from the shore, keeping up a constant fire upon the sampan. The men on the junk continued to fire at them, but the Chinese are such notoriously bad shots that Jugataļ's men were thereby placed in as great a danger as O'Shee's.

The fire of the Europeans so impeded the embarkation of the Chinese that the savages closed upon their heels, and undoubtedly would have massacred the whole party had not Jugataļ single-handed kept them at bay.

Standing at the water's edge, revolver in hand, he aimed calmly and carefully at each assailant as he rushed forward, and never once did he miss his man, though all the time he himself was a standing target for Mr. Wang, who, fortunately for Jugataļ, proved an indifferent marksman. Finally, when his revolver was emptied and a tall, powerful native, spear in hand, sprang at his throat, the Tartar brought the firearm full into his face, driving the muzzle through his temple and sending him stone-dead to the ground. Then, seizing the prow of the sampan, he ran it clear of the shore, and in one bound, leaped inside, wet to the waist, but smiling.

O'Shee fired again, and struck the man at Jugataļ's elbow in the head. He fell dead across the seat, and without a moment's thought Jugataļ heaved the body overboard to lighten their load; and in another few seconds, he and his men were safe under cover of the rifles on the junk.

Upon the sands a large party of broad-chested, naked men, of the Fijian type, with long, wiry hair standing erect above their foreheads, and armed with bows and spears, stood regarding the white men in the boat with eyes and mouths opened wide in astonishment.

O'Shee stood up in the stern, and gracefully kissed his hand towards them.

"Me darlings!" he cried. "Faith, what are ye now—a box o' chocolates, or a beauty show?"


How O'Shee Summoned A Council Of War

THE Europeans in the boat and the islanders upon the shore regarded each other for some seconds in harmless curiosity. Though they were within easy range, neither side opened fire. An occasional bullet from the junk came fizzing into the water or spurting up the sand upon the beach between the two parties. Doubtless the savages, seeing the white men attacked by the same mutual enemy, imagined them in some way to be possible friends of their own.

And this was exactly what O'Shee had intended. He remained fully exposed in the prow of the boat long enough to assure them of his friendly intentions, and then gave the order to return to the Hai-Ho.

There they found old Dan restlessly awaiting their return, shifting his rifle uneasily from one hand to the other. He was rejoiced to find that no one was injured; and his delight at receiving their good news served in some measure to dissipate the mortification he had felt at being left behind.

If O'Shee had shown himself a skilful navigator throughout the voyage, he was to a still greater extent to prove himself a commander of no mean order. Directly the Chinese ran out of ammunition, he had seized the opportunity, which alike offered chances of harassing Jugataļ and conciliating the islanders. In both he had already met with tolerable success; and he now summoned a council of war in the saloon, leaving Dan on deck to keep an eye upon the junk.

When they were all seated around the saloon table, O'Shee turned to Mr. Wang, as the "knowing one" of the party.

"And, faith, what d'ye think of the aspect of affairs, Mr. Wang?" he asked.

"I guess they're all right, anyhow," answered the fat detective.

"How many men d'ye reckon Jugataļ has?"

"About thirty, and they are all armed. And we've one rifle and four revolvers among the lot of us."

"Now how, faith, did Jugataļ man and equip a junk like that in the few days he had at Ichang?" asked O'Shee.

"That, I think, I can explain," interrupted Davy. "Jugataļ has often told me of a great Secret Society of which he is the head, that aims at driving the Europeans from China. No doubt these arms have been long hidden away somewhere for that purpose."

"The man is a genius!" exclaimed Mr. Wang, in astonishment.

"That explains all we want to know," said O'Shee. "The land lies thus. We have hit upon a war between Jugataļ and his men and a bundle of naked niggers. From what we have just seen, Jugataļ is like to get the best of it. Now, without any doubt, this is the island where Tuan brought the Casket, and our friend Jugataļ has evidently some reason to believe that it is still here. It seems to me," he went on, addressing Mr. Wang, "that on seeing us arrive so unexpectedly upon the scene, he immediately made a desperate effort to capture the village, in the hope of finding Guatama's Eye. His failure is solely due to the extravagant way in which his men wasted their ammunition. Am I right, faith?"

"Undoubtedly," assented Wang. "And with your permission I will continue. You are to be congratulated, Captain O'Shee. Had we fired upon the islanders it might have proved fatal to our plans; as it is, we stand a good chance of success. Now, to sum up the situation, our total fighting force is only five, for the crew are useless, and besides they are not armed. Of this number, one at least must always remain in charge of the ship, which leaves only four available as a landing party. Counting Captain O'Shee as equal to three ordinary men, this brings our landing strength up to six, that is to say, numerically about a fifth of Jugataļ's force and a tenth of that of the islanders. The Yangtse men are better armed than we, but they can't shoot straight; the natives are the worst armed, but they are in the greatest strength. We may therefore regard each of the three forces as approximately equal, by which it follows that any two are stronger than the third."

"'Tis Euclid, faith!" uttered O'Shee.

"We must therefore form an alliance," went on Mr. Wang. "Unfortunately, we have no means of speaking to these savages, but it is necessary for one of us to try."

"And that one is mesilf," said O'Shee, carrying on the words.

"And why you, sir, may I ask?" politely asked Williams.

"Because, faith, nature made me a born diplomat," cried O'Shee, banging his huge fist upon the table.

Davy, remembering O'Shee's interview with his mother, raised his eyebrows as if in doubt. But O'Shee went on to substantiate his claim.

"Dan is too old," he said, "and Davy's too young; and Mr. Wang has the misfortune to bear a close resemblance to a Chinaman, and these niggers are already prejudiced against his nationality. There remains only Williams and mesilf."

"And I know one word of Kanaka," asserted Williams proudly.

"And what's that, faith?" asked O'Shee.

"'Aloha,'" said Williams.

"'Aloha,'" repeated O'Shee. "And what's the meaning of it?"

"My love to you," answered Williams.

"Exactly. Now I know that much mesilf, so we're quits on the linguistic side of it. And ye lack blarney, Williams. Besides, if it comes to hitting, I'm more likely to hurt 'em than you are. So I've decided to go mesilf."

"Alone?" asked Davy, anxiously.

"Alone, bedad—with me accordion."

"When?" asked the boy.

"To-morrow, faith; 'tis too late to-day. I must approach the hostile camp in the broad light of the sun, to assure them I mean no harm. Moreover, it will take the best part of twenty-four hours for them to fully realize that we tried to help them to-day. All niggers are by nature uncommon thick in the skull. I know it."

And thereupon, after making arrangements for a double watch to be kept throughout the night, O'Shee dismissed his council of war.

When they came upon the deck the lagoon was lit blood-red by the light of the setting sun. The tall, feathery palms along the reef showed black against the sky, like the richest lacework spread upon a field of gold; no breath of air stirred the leaves; no sound of beast, or bird, or man, broke upon the silence of the tropical evening. The water washed gently round the bows of the steamer, and ran swiftly out to sea with the ebbing tide, sucking softly through the coral at the broken ends of the reef. A few of the natives were visible in the distance, moving about the village; and Jugataļ's tall figure was clearly distinguishable through a spy-glass, standing erect on the raised poop of the junk. But, save for them, the lagoon was as God had made it—tranquil, in a soft, luxurious beauty of its own.

It was as if O'Shee was guilty of a sacrilege when he brought out his accordion, and in a boisterous, raucous voice, defiled the silence with—

"Me Uncle Joe, the Poirate, wanst jined a fishing rout.
They all forgot their fishin' rods; but Uncle brought the stout.


Of The Interference Of The 'Little Angel'

THE night passed away peacefully. The Chinese had evidently had enough of fighting for the day, for no sound of movement was audible in the direction of the junk.

Long before day-break, O'Shee joined Williams and Davy, who together kept the double watch, patrolling the ship from end to end, now and again pausing at the side to listen for any sign of movement on the water.

When the sun illumined the lagoon, O'Shee dismissed them, and taking with him a jackknife, a few pieces of wood and three pots of paint, he ascended the bridge, as the best point of vantage on the ship.

Then, still keeping a sharp look-out on every side, he began to carve little figures out of the wood, rather resembling in shape those wooden grenadiers that fasten upon pegs on a trellised frame. When he had completed three of these, he painted one white, one black, and the third yellow. Then, placing them out in the sun to dry, he viewed them with the utmost satisfaction, chuckling audibly to himself with suppressed delight.

By the time he had finished, the remainder of the party joined him on the deck; and leaving Wang to keep an eye upon the junk, they repaired to breakfast and made a hearty meal, O'Shee being in the best of spirits.

"As soon as I have finished me breakfast," he said quickly, "I'm going to wander like the innocent lamb I am into a den of wolves."

"You cannot go alone!" exclaimed Davy, to whom this plan had always seemed too fraught with danger to his old friend to be at all agreeable.

"I am going to ask Dan to be so good as to escort me as far as the beach with that rusty old gun of his," replied O'Shee. "Then, faith, I'm going inland, alone. Dan, you've to lie just off the shore, and wait for me; but, if the sampan puts off from the junk at all, ye must make back to the ship as quick as you can. These are my definite orders. D'ye understand?"

"Aye, aye, sir," answered the old man.

"And leave you alone!" cried Davy.

"'Tis the only thing to do, faith. If it comes to another scrap, I'll fight hand-in-hand with the niggers. Trust me to take care of mesilf. 'Tis the ship I'm anxious about. You three must remain aboard and Dan within easy hail of either of us, ready to bring me on again or to assist you, should Jugataļ take it into his head to assault the ship."

Davy, though he thought it an unpleasant and risky business from the start, was obliged to own to the soundness of the scheme. If they left the ship insufficiently protected they were as good as lost; but four men, well armed and with plenty of fight in them, should be able to beat back any attack, seeing that the Chinese had but one sampan from which to board.

O'Shee then returned to the bridge, and taking up his wooden figures, put them in his pocket. He carefully cleaned his revolver and stocked himself with a large supply of ammunition. This done, he declared his willingness to be off, and immediately went down into the boat, his accordion under his arm.

There was no sign of any preparations for action either upon the junk or the island, when Dan ran the boat upon the sands and O'Shee sprang out. The great Irishman shoved the boat clear of the shallows, and waved his hand cheerily towards the ship, whence Davy was watching him through a telescope. The boy returned the salute with his pocket-handkerchief, and saw O'Shee dive into the jungle and disappear from view.

Davy turned the telescope from the beach to the village above the tree-tops, and never moved it until he discerned the solitary figure of his old friend appear from the wood and boldly walk into the village, where he again became lost among the huts.

Nearly two hours passed. At last, with a glad cry of relieved anxiety, Davy saw O'Shee come out and begin to descend the hill. In a minute the Irishman was once more in the jungle, and Davy stood waiting in momentary expectation of his reappearance on the beach.

Hour succeeded hour. Slowly—painfully slowly, as far as Davy was concerned—the sun passed the meridian and began to drop towards the western horizon. Still, there were no signs of O'Shee.

Dan, pipe in mouth, rested on his oars, some thirty yards from the shore. The tall figure of Jugataļ was seen pacing backwards and forwards on the junk's deck, his hands locked behind his back, and head bent low, as if in thought. But no shot was fired, even at Dan, who lay within easy range; and, as the junk's sampan still swung at the stern on the outgoing tide, it was clear that none of the Chinese had landed. Beyond doubt O'Shee's delay was therefore due to the islanders. Davy's heart sank within him, as the thought of treachery crossed his mind.

The sun sank lower and lower in the sky, until it swelled, in the vaporous haze that wrapped the glassy sea, into a great orange-coloured globe that illumined the streaky, umber clouds with purple, silver and gold.

Another night was now upon them, when O'Shee burst suddenly out of the tropical foliage and crossed the sands. In a minute, Dan, with a few strong strokes of his oars, had run the boat to ground; and O'Shee sprang in. The accordion was gone, but he carried his cap in his hand, as if it contained something fragile and precious. He was scarlet in the face; and great drops of perspiration stood out upon his brow. His face and hands were scratched and bleeding in a thousand places; and he was panting like a hound from loss of breath.

It was not until he had boarded the Hai-Ho that he was able to speak.

"Thank Heaven you're safe!" cried Davy. "We had given you up for lost."

"Did they set upon you in the wood?" asked Williams.

"Who, faith?" gasped O'Shee.

"The natives, of course."

"The natives!" repeated the great Irishman in surprise. "Bedad, no! They were entirely captivated by me personality. Sure, I found them the most sociable and conversible gintry I iver met with. They greeted me with open arms, as if I was a long-lost brother of their own."

"But you left the village five hours ago!" exclaimed Mr. Wang, for once fully perplexed.

"I did, faith," answered O'Shee, "but no sooner had I got within the jungle, than I met with the most illigent and oncommon butterfly that I iver set eyes upon. See here," he continued, slightly raising the edge of his cap, which he had placed flat upon the deck, and displaying the tip of a gorgeously painted wing. "Isn't it the height of delicacy and delight? Faith, 'tis worth the trouble and pains I had to catch the little angel."


O'Shee's Narrative

AFTER this explanation, Davy thought it best to say nothing of the terrible anxiety in which he had passed the afternoon.

As for O'Shee, though they one and all plied him with questions, he would tell them nothing, until he had first ransacked the ship's medicine chest for some chloroform with which to end painlessly the existence of his newly-captured prize.

This done, he sent Williams to take charge of the deck, and gathering the remainder of the party around a bottle of Irish whisky on the saloon table, he set about to relate his experiences.

"After Dan had put me ashore," he began, "I entered the jungle, and, faith, the foliage was divine! I very soon struck a footpath that led up the hill, and followed it until I came out alongside the village. I confess I was as nervous as a mouse caught in a trap; but, as I'll very soon show ye, I had no reason to be, the more power to the niggers.

"Anyhow, since I had gone so far, I thought I had best go on with the matter; so I walked slap down the high street, and came suddenly face to face with a nigger, squatting on his hunkers outside a hut, looking for all the world like a kind of chocolate milestone.

"'Morning,' says I, nodding me head in a friendly sort of manner. 'Could ye tell me the way to Buckingham Palace, if ye plaise?'

"Up he jumped in the air as if somebody had tipcatted him from behind; and, bedad, it frightened the life out of me! However, I was determined to appear sociable, so I grinned for all I was worth, and just slapped him on the back two or three times, as if I was congratulating him on his acrobatic performance.

"I tried hard to say the word Williams had told me, but for the life of me I couldn't remember it. All this time me heart was going pitter-patter against me ribs, when, looking at the nigger, I suddenly realized that he was even more terrified than mesilf. His eyes were starting out of his head, faith, and his mouth was opened before me as wide as a cave, with his tongue flapping about inside like one of the Bohemian Brithren.

"Jugataļ—or we ourselves, for the matter of that—might have rushed the village with a brace of pea-shooters. There was no sentry nor look-out of any sort, and—as I found out afterwards—the whole pack of 'em, bar the nigger who stood shivering in his bare skin before me, were out skirmishing in the wood, and 'twas only by divine Providence that I had missed 'em on me way up.

"Well, we stood looking at each other for the best part of a minute. Then, making a prodigious jump to the right, he tried to get off. Faith, 'twas like a grasshopper he was! But I was as quick as he. I grabbed him by the hair, and set him down on the floor, with his back to the wall of the hut. Then, planting mesilf cross-legged in front of him, I took up the accordion, and gave him a song.

"I went on from one song to another, until I suddenly became conscious that I was surrounded by about twenty stark-naked babies, looking for all the world like a lot of little black snowballs.

"Gradually they closed in around me, and at last, one fat, little female nigger, about two years old, had the audacity to pull me coat. I picked her up, faith, and set her down on me boots, and went on playing and singing at the top of me voice.

"Then, bedad, came what the novelists call the 'croocial moment.' A large party of the men, armed to the teeth and disguised as zebras, came rushing out of the wood and pulled up in a heap on the outskirts of me juvenile audience.

"'Twas then I excilled mesilf. I was in such mortal expectation of getting a poisoned arrow between me shoulder blades, that it shifted me voice up an octave, and I sung tenor, begorrah! I gave 'em 'Songs of Araby' that I'd once heard Ben Davis sing in Dublin. I couldn't remember the words, but sure, that wasn't likely to make any difference to them at all. I just made 'em up as I went along.

"When I'd done, I put the accordion down and patted the girl baby on the cheek; and, faith, it poked a chubby, brown finger in me ribs and chuckled! Seizing the opportunity, I pulled out the wooden figures; and the niggers all gathered round like children at a Punch and Judy show. There must have been the whole population of the island there, for, besides the babies, who had been the first to introduce themsilves, and the warriors, there were now women and old men as well.

"First I put down the yellow figure and pointed to the junk in the lagoon. They all nodded at once, and began jabbering among themselves, till it sounded like a monkey house.

"'Shut up,' says I, 'and look here now.' I put out the black one, and sure enough that set 'em off again. Giving 'em time to finish, I quietly lit a pipe and had a look round, kissing me hand politely to a few of the younger ladies.

"Then I took out the white figure, pointing first to mesilf and then towards the Hai-Ho. I then knocked the black figure down with the yellow. Next, I produced the white, and knocked the black over with the other two. They didn't seem to see much amusement in this, but I never gave 'em time to fret about it. I just started belting the yellow with the white. This pleased 'em so much that they all began laughing, and some of them clapped their hands. So I laughed too, and putting the black and white together, knocked the yellow smack into the eye of the baby that was still sitting on me feet, and started it squalling.

"While they were still laughing, I got up, picked up the baby, patted her head, and then, bedad, I kissed it! Faith, I'd good reason to, for I fully believe the little spalpeen was the saving of me life.

"After that, I felt so entirely at home that I kissed the baby again and chucked one of the best-looking girls under the chin. This put one of the men into a passion, and he began talking to me. I suppose she was one of his wives. But, as the others only laughed, I laughed too, and did it again, faith, and the enjoyment was such it might have been the Clare election, when a man stepped forward, and beckoned to me. Bidding good-bye to the cherub, I followed him into the largest of the huts, and there was introduced to the ugliest old hag I iver set eyes upon. She must have been a hundred if she was a day; she had no teeth and no hair, and her face was as wrinkled as a rotten date.

"'Top o' the morning, madam,' said I. 'I hope I find ye better than ye look, begorrah?'

"The old hag said nothing, but pointed to the accordion. So I sang 'Beauty's Eyes,' and so flattered the lady that she wanted more of it.

"But I wasn't going to spend me life singing love-songs to a brace of niggers on the top of an extinct volcano, so out came me dolls again.

"First, being wishful to find out about Tuan, I held up the yellow figure and one finger at the same time.

"The man, whom I took to be the chief, and the old lady his mother, shook his head and kept on opening and shutting the fingers of his hand.

"'Not at all, Snowball,' said I. 'Plenty yellow men now; but long time ago one man come alone.'

"The old lady, who in spite of her years was sharper than he, suddenly guessed my meaning and started bobbing about like a blue-bottle on a window pane.

"'Every time a cocoa-nut!' I cried. Whereupon she jumped up and fetched a square box made of fibre from a corner of the hut.

"Faith, me heart jumped slick into me mouth. I thought I was about to behold the Casket of Heaven. I seized the box and broke off the lid in me excitement. But, faith, 'twas only a skull with a pigtail wrapped round it, and the top of the skull was all stove in, as if from a heavy blow. So that was the end of Tuan, who murdered your great-grandfather, Davy; and, faith, I was glad to see he got what I'd have done for him willingly enough. But it wasn't a skull I was there for at all.

"'Have ye any more curios in the museum, your Majesty?' said I, with me thoughts upon the Casket.

"They only shook their heads. Sure, none so deaf as those that won't hear! I nearly exhausted me patience in trying to explain what I meant, when at last I saw that Aunt Sally had tumbled to what I was after; but she wasn't going to give it away that she had understood.

"'Twas then I spoofed 'em! 'Twas then that I proved what I told ye, that I was born a diplomat. I held the black figure in one hand and the white and the yellow in the other, and just flogged the black until I knocked off the head of it.

"'There,' I cried, 'ye brace of Christy minstrels! If ye don't hand over the Casket, we'll join with the yellow men and exterminate the lot of ye!'

"That set 'em talking together in a whisper. After a long discussion, the old hag got her way, and what d'ye think she wanted in exchange? The accordion, faith! I gave it to her, then and there, and she drew out a note, and was as pleased as Punch, thinking she'd got the best of the bargain.

"After that the man took me to the door of the hut, and pointing to the hill and then down to the ground, gave me to understand that the Casket was buried on the summit of the crater. It took him a long time to make himself clear, but in the end I gathered all he had to say. He'll get it out in the night, and meet me at sunrise to-morrow morning beneath the large Traveller's Palm near the base of the reef straight astern.

"With that, I left the village. As I passed between the huts, I came across the little girl-baby that I'd fallen in love with. I gave the innocent little ink-pot another kiss, and the three wooden dolls, and before I left her she'd knocked the head off the white.

"And it was after that that I chased the butterfly."


Jugataļ Stirs

WHEN O'Shee ended his narrative with the astonishing announcement that he had not only discovered where the Casket of Heaven was, but that he had actually arranged for it to be placed in his own hands within a few hours' time, each one of his hearers applauded him. Even Mr. Wang, bubbling over with benevolence, voiced his unbounded admiration.

"Captain O'Shee," said he, "I guess you've done what not one of the rest of us could ever have managed. Sure, kissing that baby was just a masterpiece! I'd never have thought of it myself." And even if he had, it is extremely doubtful whether the baby would have appreciated it.

"It came quite natural-like," modestly owned O'Shee.

"Do you mean to say," asked Davy, with no attempt to suppress his delight, "that you called them 'Snowball,' and 'Aunt Sally,' and 'Christy Minstrels,' to their faces?"

"I did, faith. But, sure, I might have said 'Your Holiness,' I spoke with such reverince."

"I suppose, sir," said Dan, "this chief, or whatever he is, is enough of a God-fearing man to keep his word?"

"Sure, Dan, he'll keep it. I never doubt it for a moment. He is an intimate friend of me own."

"Then the Casket is as good as ours!" cried Davy in the height of excitement.

"We can't say that yet," said Mr. Wang, slowly shaking his great, ponderous head. "We must not forget that we have still Jugataļ to reckon with, and Jugataļ can never be ignored."

"Mr. Wang is right," said O'Shee. "We must keep a sharper look-out than ever."

"You bet your life he is not without a plan," continued Mr. Wang. "That silence all to-day was ominous, to say the least of it."

"Only two of us must go to meet the niggers," said O'Shee. "Davy, as the Casket is yours, perhaps you'd like to come with me and manage the boat?"

Davy jumped at the idea.

"Very well, then," said O'Shee. "You and I will relieve Williams for the middle watch, I'll call the rest of you at seven bells. We must all be up and ready before the sunrise. And now for some food; I've had nothing since morning, faith. When ye turn in, let every man sleep in his clothes, and ready armed."

That night Davy tried in vain to sleep. The joyous news of the day, that he was at last to become the possessor of the precious Casket, about which he had first heard in the Live and Let Live, in a Plymouth back street; waking dreams of what luxuries he would lavish upon his mother to atone for his desertion; and, above all, the thought of the vengeance of the relentless Jugataļ, should he ever learn that the boy he had taken into his confidence had disclosed his great secret to no less a person than Mr. Wang—all drove away the possibility of sleep. And O'Shee, when he came to call Davy for their double watch, found the boy wide awake, and glad enough to have something definite to do.

They ascended the deck together, while Williams went below to snatch a few hours' well-earned rest. The moon shone brightly above them, flooding the silent, land-locked water in a pale, blue, shimmering light. The tide, rushing in at the entrance of the lagoon, washed and bubbled over the coral as if the water boiled. In mid-water, away from the silver pathway traced by the reflection of the moon, the surface was coal-black, impenetrable and still.

A light burned brightly upon the deck of the junk; but not a sound was audible; the whole crew, except a solitary watchman, were evidently buried in slumber. And that watchman, with folded arms, and a burning cigarette between his lips, stood in the shade of the main-mast with his dark eyes fixed steadily in the direction of the Hai-Ho.

For Jugataļ never slept. His brain was too active, his ruling passion so supreme, his energy so inexhaustible. Throughout the day he had watched events with the greatest interest and curiosity. When he had seen O'Shee land alone and enter the jungle, his men had implored him to attack the ship. "When your enemy is making a fool of himself, never interrupt him," he had replied, regarding O'Shee's death as assured. But once more, he had not reckoned with such a thing as sympathy; he never dreamt that a little baby should stand so strongly in his way. He knew that once O'Shee was gone, the Hai-Ho was deprived of half its strength, and he might attack with every prospect of success. But when at sunset the Irishman reappeared and returned in safety to the ship, Jugataļ ground his teeth in rage.

However, his calmer judgment was never for a moment overbalanced. He saw at once that there was now a danger of an alliance between the Europeans and islanders, and giving his orders for the action on the following day, he serenely awaited the passing of the night.

At half-past four, when the first signs of daybreak showed in the Eastern sky, O'Shee went below to call the others. Davy remained on deck, watching the light on board the junk. Suddenly, it began to flicker, occasionally at first, and then constantly, as if figures were moving hurriedly across it.

As Mr. Wang and Dan came on deck, a sound, faint in the distance, resembling a policeman's rattle, drifted across the lagoon.

"What's that?" cried Davy.

"Jugataļ stirs," said Mr. Wang mysteriously.

"But what was it?"

"Crackers, Chinese crackers: to propitiate the gods. Jugataļ is about to move. But you can bet your life he was never fool enough to fire them himself."

O'Shee and Williams then joined them on the deck, and were immediately told of the noise heard on the junk.

"I expect he's about to attack. We must stand ready," said O'Shee, quite calm and self-possessed.

Minute succeeded minute. The members of the small party stood shoulder to shoulder, the bright barrels of their revolvers gleaming in the moonlight. No one spoke: every ear was strained towards the junk. The light continued to flicker violently. Without a doubt, the whole Chinese crew were in a state of activity.

"In half-an-hour I must be upon the shore," said O'Shee, looking anxiously at his watch. "I wish I knew what the rascals are about. They may be going to bring the junk alongside and board us, or they may be landing a party on the island. There's no way of finding out, bad luck to it!"

"Yes, there is," said Davy. "You know I can swim like a fish. I can get within a few yards of the junk without being seen, watch what they are doing, and bring back word to you."

O'Shee hesitated for a moment.

"D'ye mean it, Davy?" he said, affectionately.

"Of course," replied the boy. "Give me leave to do it; I promise I'll succeed."

"Then go, and good luck to ye!"

Within a minute Davy had divested himself of his clothes, and scrambled down a rope at the ship's side. And slipping without a sound into the black, oily water of the lagoon, he was soon lost to view.


How Jugataļ Struck The First Blow

DAVY glided rapidly through the water, as silently as a snake in the grass, with only the upper part of his head raised above the surface.

As he drew near to the junk, he could distinctly hear the voices of the Chinese, and he thought he was able to distinguish the sharp, clear commands of Jugataļ.

He dived, and swam under water, coming to the surface to breathe only for a second at a time, until he was near enough plainly to watch their movements.

Had Jugataļ contemplated grappling the Hai-Ho, the junk's anchors would have been weighed. But his was not the case; she was still firmly anchored, fore and aft. However, Davy noticed that the sampan lay alongside; and one by one, the Chinese were descending, each with a rifle in his hand. Jugataļ himself stood amidships, serving out ammunition to each man in turn as he passed into the boat.

This was all Davy wanted to know. Obviously, Jugataļ did not intend to attack the steamer in the sampan; clearly, he was landing a strong party on the island.

As the chief and O'Shee had arranged to meet in a very short time, there was not a moment to be lost. Without waiting another second, Davy dived again, and struck out strongly for the ship.

The dawn was now far spread along the horizon; but the lagoon, shaded as it was in the circle of palm-trees, was still wrapped in the darkness of the night. Nowhere in the world does the sun rise as it does in the Southern Seas. The colours flash and change with the suddenness of lime-light playing from the clouds; and sea and sky in harmony turn from mauve to violet, from gold to silver-grey.

The first beams of light broke through the clustered cocoa-nut trees, along the eastern reef, and sent a bright shaft across the lagoon, along the line of which the swimmer moved.

Davy was about two-thirds on his way towards the Hai-Ho, when he discerned in the growing light a black, ominous object, moving on the surface directly before him.

"A shark's fin!" he exclaimed, shuddering in horror. The memory of that fearful experience in Aden Bay rushed into his mind. The water—the temperature of which was in reality tepid—seemed suddenly to turn to icy cold. He felt his heart thump against his ribs; and for the moment he thought that he would faint. Mastering his fears with a sudden effort, he recognized that his only hope lay towards the ship; and turning to the side-stroke, he swam frantically onwards.

He was almost under the ship's bows, when he beheld the object not ten yards to his front. It lay directly in the shadow of the Hai-Ho's boat which was suspended from the ship's side.

The period that ensued was less than a second, though it might have been an hour to Davy's fast-beating heart. For suddenly, the object drew itself clear of the water, and swarming up the ship's side, became clearly silhouetted against the light of the dawn in the bent figure of a man. A pigtail was wound around his head; he was naked except for a loin-cloth, and in his mouth he carried a long, hammer-like instrument.

"O'Shee, ahoy!" cried Davy, with all the long-power he could muster.

The shout went echoing across the lagoon, and sounded far up the hill-side through the forest trees. O'Shee came down the deck in two strides, and gripped the gunwale of the boat.

But, too late! Three stout blows, as if of iron against hollow wood, rang out in the morning air; and the bottom of the Hai-Ho's only boat was stove in.

The sounds were followed by a crack like a pistol-shot, as O'Shee's great fist caught the Chinaman fair on the point of the chin.

With a hollow grunt, he fell headlong, with a heavy splash, back to the silent depths, never to rise again.

In another second, Davy, having seized a lowered rope, was hoisted rapidly on board.

"What news?" cried O'Shee.

"They have lowered a boat and are making now for the shore," cried the boy excitedly, the water pouring off him upon the deck.

"Then, by all the saints, we must get there too! Dan! Williams! Lower the boat; if she can't float, then, bedad, we'll have to drown!"


Under The Traveller's Palm

DAN and O'Shee sprang into the boat, followed by Davy, who, after hastily slipping into his clothes, had procured a large hand-bowl from the cook's galley with which to bail.

Williams and Mr. Wang remained on the ship, for the leaking boat could never have carried their additional weight; and even as it was, it no sooner touched the water than it began rapidly to fill.

O'Shee did not wait. There was not a second to lose. He and Dan bent to their oars with all their combined strength, shooting the boat clear of the Hai-Ho like an arrow on its path, while Davy bailed the water out as desperately as if his life depended upon it, as in very truth it did.

The great Traveller's Palm, where O'Shee and the island chief had arranged to meet, lay at the junction of the arm of the reef nearest to the Hai-Ho and the main island. O'Shee, by means of his superior strength, purposely pulled the head of the boat round, and sent her flying across the water, straight towards the nearest point in the centre of the reef, directly to starboard of the steamer. Once landed on the reef, the party could continue the remainder of the way on foot, without the danger of being swamped.

The varying colours of the dawn were now flooded in the golden daylight. The morning sun, breaking through the palms, illumined the whole lagoon from reef to reef; and in the clearness of the morning atmosphere every tree showed plainly to the view.

Jugataļ's party had already landed on the shore; but, as the junk lay against the opposite arm of the reef, they had still a considerable distance to travel along the beach.

Life and death hung in the balance; and a priceless treasure was poised between the scales.

As O'Shee strained at his oar, he kept his eye upon the Chinese. The sampan had disgorged a party of about twenty men; and two men and a boy were going boldly on to meet them.

Steadily the boat filled with water. Fast and furiously Davy bailed it out; but the leak was too big, and the gunwales sank nearer and nearer to the surface. The water rose over their feet, and then crept slowly up their shins; and as she filled, the slower became her progress.

"She's sinking, Dan!" cried O'Shee. "Pull, for the life of ye!"

Three shivering strokes, under which the stout oars bent like bows, sent the boat, heavy as she was, twenty yards nearer to the shore. And then the water rose above the seats, and she sank, but, by the grace of God, upon the reef, in only a few feet of water.

The three sprang out, Davy cutting his bare feet sadly on the coral. Nevertheless, he was in no mind to feel the pain. They dashed across the narrow strip of sand, and under the shade of the palm-trees, hastened towards the island, O'Shee leading the way.

The Chinese, yelling like fiends and firing wildly as they rushed forward, were now close upon the Traveller's Palm. And there, looking frantically first towards one party and then the other, was the chief.

At first, he made off down the reef towards the approaching Europeans. Then, seeming suddenly to realize that, once the Chinese had gained the Traveller's Palm, he would be completely cut off from the island, he turned, and fled back again to the tree.

There he stood a moment, in palpable uncertainty. In his hand he held a silver box that flashed and sparkled brightly in the rays of the morning sun. The Chinese were now not twenty yards away. If he paused another second he was lost—cut off upon the reef. A stream of bullets came whistling past his head. He dropped the Casket to the ground, and turned upon his heel, making off into the forest as fast as his legs could carry him.

O'Shee and Jugataļ met upon the very spot. They fired simultaneously, missed, and then for the second time closed in a wild embrace. Davy and Dan, on either side, fired into the Chinese, who stood cowering behind their valiant leader, and succeeded in keeping them off.

It was impossible for either party to aid their own hero, for O'Shee and Jugataļ were so fast locked together that it was impossible to distinguish which was which.

The whole of Jugataļ's future, all chance he ever had of realizing his great ambitions, hung now upon the strength of his arm; and he struggled with a savage fury that was hardly human. Seizing the Irishman by the throat, he pressed with his powerful thumbs, until O'Shee turned black in the face and gasped for breath. For a moment it seemed as if the Irishman was beaten. With a gigantic effort, he wrenched his neck away, and lifting the tall Tartar completely off his feet, he hurled him full against the tree.

In a second, O'Shee had seized the Casket and recovered his revolver which had fallen from his grasp. As he did so, another Chinaman leapt upon him. But bringing his fist with a heavy thud straight upon this man's head, O'Shee sent him reeling senseless to the ground, while old Dan brought down the butt end of his musket upon the pate of another, felling him to the sand.

Then our friends commenced to retreat along the narrow strip of land towards the sunken boat, O'Shee reloading his revolver as he went.

Jugataļ, however, had by this time recovered himself. Rallying his followers, he led them on in a mass close upon the Europeans' heels. They came to within a few yards of the place where the boat lay stranded on the coral.

"Begorrah! She's tanked!" cried O'Shee, when they reached the boat, suddenly remembering that their retreat was cut off. "Davy, haul her dry and empty her, while Dan and I keep 'em off."

Davy dashed into the water and laid hold upon the boat, while O'Shee turned at bay, his revolver spitting fire like a damp quickmatch. If the Chinese came within his reach, being desirous of saving his ammunition as much as possible, he let fly with his left fist, laying his more daring assailants one after the other writhing upon the ground.

Jugataļ fell behind the fight upon its flank. Davy's shirt showed snow-white in the sunlight, making a bright and clearly-defined target against the blue water of the lagoon.

The Tartar, resting the barrel of his revolver upon his left wrist, took a long and careful aim. A bright flame flashed at the muzzle, and the bullet speeding upon its brief journey, buried itself deep in Davy's side. With a cry of pain the boy fell heavily across the bows of the boat, the red blood streaming down his leg. He made one desperate effort to lift the boat across the jagged coral, and then dropped.

"Help the boy, Dan!" shouted O'Shee, seeing his young friends dire distress.

In a moment Dan was at Davy's side. The old man lifted the boat bodily over the rocks, and dragging it up on to the sands, turned it over and shot out the water.

It was the work of a few seconds; but, in those few seconds, O'Shee fought the fight of his life. Surrounded on every side by an infuriated mob, he kept them savagely at bay. A bullet scratched the top of his head, causing a large drop of blood to trickle slowly down his cheek; another cut through the flesh of his thigh, and a third tore the collar of his coat. One huge Chinaman, brandishing his rifle in the air, came at him with a rush, levelling the butt fair at his head. O'Shee silenced him with his last cartridge, placing the bullet between the slanting eyebrows.

And there he stood, unarmed and alone, glaring fiercely upon his assailants. Dan, supporting Davy's fainting form, by now had the bows of the boat once more upon the water.

O'Shee stood at the door of death. He never moved.

Jugataļ, who had again returned to the front of his men, uttered a yell of triumph, and dropping upon his knee, calmly covered O'Shee from not ten yards distant.

The great Irishman, face to face with death, stood as firm as the tall trees around him, with no shade of fear upon his kind and weather-beaten face.

A single rifle shot, sharp and clear, rang out from the direction of the boat. Dan had let Davy fall heavily upon the stern seat, as the old rifle flew to his shoulder; and he fired as a man does at a flying duck, seemingly without an aim.

The bullet caught Jugataļ behind the ear. And the man who was to have summoned the East to arms rolled over upon his side on the smooth, soft sand, with no other sound than that of a gentle hiss.

Before the Chinese had time to act, O'Shee turned and bounded down the beach.

With one motion he had shoved the boat clear, sending her flying lightly over the water before she had time to begin to fill, and hoisted himself on board.

Davy was in a dead faint: there was no one to bail.

O'Shee seized both oars, while Dan with his coat attempted to stay the incoming water.

O'Shee, his teeth clenched and features distorted, put forth the whole of his Herculean strength. They progressed even more rapidly than they had done before. The rollocks creaked under O'Shee's immense weight; at each stroke he lifted the bows bodily above the surface, while the water parted in a feathery wave that sent its spray far astern, and the bullets whistled past his ears.

They had not a moment to spare. Williams had lowered the gangway; and as O'Shee, with Davy in his arms, sprang upon the footboard, the boat filled and slowly sank to the depths of the lagoon.

Pausing upon the gangway steps, O'Shee looked back towards the shore. The Chinese, fearing no doubt to be cut off by the islanders, were in full retreat towards the junk, while there, curled up on the beach, lay the lifeless form of Jugataļ, the Tartar, brought at last to justice far from his native land.



FORTUNATELY Davy's wound did not prove serious. The bullet had struck one of his ribs, fracturing it and slightly lacerating a lung; and though his exertions to move the boat had somewhat aggravated the injury, he soon became well again in the balmy air of the Mid-Pacific.

Two days after the capture of the Casket, the junk, under a flag of truce, sent a deputation to the Hai-Ho, requesting to be allowed to leave the lagoon unmolested. At the death of their indefatigable leader they seemed to have utterly lost heart. Jugataļ without a doubt had been the guiding spirit of the fraternity on board, and they had seen enough of O'Shee's prowess in battle to shirk another combat. Their sole idea was to get back in safety to China; and this O'Shee was willing enough to let them do.

As the junk passed the steamer on her way out to the open sea, O'Shee held the Casket of Heaven, its jewels sparkling in the light of the sun, temptingly before their eyes.

"Is this the toy ye were after, me darlings?" he cried at the top of his voice. "Faith, I'm thinking ye've left it behind!"

But the men from the upper Yangtse only laughed, for the Chinaman takes his beating well; and before the junk was far across the dazzling, sunlit sea, the opium pipes were out again, and they lay about the deck in groups, gambling and quarrelling among themselves.

A few hours after day-break on the following day, the Hai-Ho weighed her anchors and circled slowly round the deep water of the lagoon. The islanders had come down from the hillside in a body, and were congregated beneath the palms to see the last of the white men who had so gallantly freed them from their yellow persecutors.

"There's the old hag, bedad!" cried O'Shee. "Faith, she's rapping a tune out of me accordion. There's me darling of a little black snowball!" he cried, at the highest pitch of excitement, kissing his hand from the bridge and waving a great bandana handkerchief in the air.

Sure enough, the child had recognized the huge figure of the Irishman. Her chubby little fists danced in delight, and, struggling to be free, she kicked strongly against the ribs of the young woman who held her.

The Hai-Ho passed through the reef, like a ship but newly launched from the slips, washing the water high across the coral. When the tall palms along the lagoon-side had grown small upon the eastern horizon and the island stood as they had first seen it, like a sugar-loaf on the wide-spread, open sea, O'Shee turned away and spoke sorrowfully down the engine-room tube.

"For the first time in me life," he said absent-mindedly, "I wish I had a child of me own."

"Pardon?" called the Chinese engineer from below.

"Hang ye for a dolt!" cried O'Shee, suddenly remembering where he was. "It was full steam ahead that I told ye, ye mutton-headed buffoon!" And, with an exclamation of disgust, he rang down the telegraph.

The ship sailed north to Honolulu, and there Davy landed. He was anxious to get home to England without delay, and his shortest route lay across America. He borrowed sufficient money from Dan to defray his expenses, and from the summit of Punchbowl Hill watched the Hai-Ho take up her course on her return journey to the China Coast.

In Honolulu he found an English doctor, with a pointed beard and a gentle voice, who deposited him safely in the Moana Hotel, away from the dust and the traffic of the town, and dressed his wound daily until it was perfectly healed.

Here Davy was so perfectly happy that he almost regretted the hour that brought a great Oceanic steamer north from Sydney, when he was obliged to say good-bye to his new-found friends and the feathery palms along Waikiki Beach.

A week's voyage to San Francisco, a long train journey through the States, then another voyage across the Atlantic on a species of floating hotel, and he was once again in his mother's arms.

Her joy at hearing the whole story and of the endless wealth of which Davy was now the master was not equal to the pleasure of clasping her dear boy again to her breast. The wild fears and forebodings of many a sleepless night were now at an end; her prayers had been heard, and Davy had come home again, safe from a thousand dangers, and as he had once mildly put it to O'Shee,—"better off."

No buyer could be found for the Casket of Heaven; so the stones were sold separately, fetching a tremendous sum. "Guatama's Eye" itself was bought by a Russian Grand-Duke, who, it is said, sold half his estates in order to make the purchase.

As for O'Shee, he brought the Hai-Ho safely back to the Woosung River, grasped "Jimmy" McAlpine by the hand, and the two of them sat down together and drank Shanghai cocktails until the long bar of the Shanghai Club seemed studded with diamonds and rubies and sapphires, and they wept from pure joy at the thing.

O'Shee came back on an intermediate P. & O., for the first time in his life travelling on the sea as a passenger. He was a considerable source of annoyance to a certain red-faced artillery major from the Legation Guard in Peking, with whom he was supposed to share a cabin, which he had completely blocked up by a cabinet containing an enormous collection of butterflies.

He settled down in Kinsale, in the land that had given him birth, upon an income that Davy insists is his by right. He is not yet married, though the gossip of the district has it that he is nursing a secret affection for Mrs. Gaythorne; but whether such an extraordinary match will ever be realized or not, it is, of course, by no means possible to say.

Old Dan refused to leave the sea. He got all his savings back and a good deal more besides, and soon found another ship's officer whom he could trust with the tin boxes. If you go into the forecastle, when his new vessel is in port, and are lucky enough to find him in a confidential mood over his pipe of tobacco, the old man will show you a Martini rifle, kept clean and daily oiled. If you encourage him, he will tell you exactly how he once brought off the finest shot in the world.

As for Mr. Wang, his reputation for being the cleverest detective in the world is now beyond dispute. For no sooner had he returned to China, than he unearthed the greatest plot that ever was, and destroyed a secret society whose object was to drive all the Europeans from the East. But, if you congratulate him upon it, he will only shake his head ponderously, smiling benevolently the while, and tell you that he is not sure that he has destroyed it yet.

"Jimmy" McAlpine is still the "King of Shanghai"; but there is a rumour afloat that he contemplates purchasing a house in Park Lane. We hope for his sake there is no truth in it, for there are too many kings in Park Lane as it is, and there is only one in Shanghai, where "Jimmy" the First is absolute monarch of all he surveys, from the Bund to the Bubbling Well.

In after years, Davy ran over to Ireland, and paid a visit to O'Shee. He was obliged to inspect the collection of butterflies, and take particular notice of the "little angel," that had been caught upon the island. Then O'Shee gave him a song, accompanying himself on the accordion—for, of course, he had got a new one; and after that, they sat down together at the fireside and lit their pipes.

"Are you never going to sea again?" asked Davy.

"No, me lad," answered the great Irishman, taking up the poker and raking the fire into a blaze. "I've done with the ocean wave, once and for all. To tell ye the truth, Davy, I'm thinking of devoting mesilf to literature."

"To literature!" exclaimed Davy, thinking perhaps he had failed to catch the word.

"To literature, faith," replied O'Shee. "I'm going to write the true narrative of 'Guatama's Eye,' bedad."

And that is exactly what he did do. Only, as he made throughout no mention of himself, the present writer—who first met him years ago at the Cricket Club in Singapore—in editing his work, found it necessary to insert so much that (sad to relate) it has cost him the friendship of O'Shee—a thing that he was very loath to lose.


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
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