The Thunder Dragon Gate - Talbot Mundy - ebook

The Thunder Dragon Gate ebook

Talbot Mundy

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Opis

The Thunder Dragon Gate is the name of a monastery in Tibet, which is considered a portal to Shambhala, and therefore is a symbol of the threshold to higher levels of spiritual consciousness. American secret agent Tom Greene and his wife, Elsa, are trying to send troopers to the Tho-Pa-gault gate, returning to Tibet to restore the sacred duty and find out what they can do on the way to Shambhala. There are only a few obstacles on their way – the crazy Raja Dole, an array of Chinese and Japanese agents, the Tibetan government, the Indian government and the huge spider, called shang-shang.

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Liczba stron: 418

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Contents

CHAPTER 1. “Country of origin—Tibet; home town Lhasa.”

CHAPTER 2. “Thö-Pa-Ga is Time-Is-Come.”

CHAPTER 3. “Say it, then, behind his back, to Ambleby!”

CHAPTER 4. “If you can do it!”

CHAPTER 5. “They should rate you AAA One Hundred Plus.”

CHAPTER 6. “Have your meals with me while you’re in Delhi.”

CHAPTER 7. “Memo. buy some american chewing-gum.”

CHAPTER 8. “Said it was a Shang-Shang. Then he said it was his own soul looking at him.”

CHAPTER 9. “Tee-Hee! Isn’t she a lulu!”

CHAPTER 10. “You and I are equally in danger.”

CHAPTER 11. “But on whose side is Dowlah?”

CHAPTER 12. “Your chewing-gum kills rats.”

CHAPTER 13. “Young man, you remind me of a bomb with the fuse ignited.”

CHAPTER 14. “Tum-Glain! Tum-Glain!”

CHAPTER 15. “What are you looking peaked about, Mr. Grayne?”

CHAPTER 16. “I had no right to exact that promise.”

CHAPTER 17. “Guilty. I shouldn’t have done it.”

CHAPTER 18. “I’ve no right to look in his pockets.”

CHAPTER 19. “You’re a mongrel. but I’ll give you a chance.”

CHAPTER 20. “Did you have trouble with this man?”

CHAPTER 21. “Quite a scholar, the old abbot.”

CHAPTER 22. “Fine.”

CHAPTER 23. “They’re taking Thö-Pa-Ga away!”

CHAPTER 24. “Sign your name as representative plenipotentiary!”

CHAPTER 25. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”

CHAPTER 26. “Who would speak of such a valley?”

CHAPTER 27. “I am Su-Li Wing.”

CHAPTER 28. “You shot Tara-eke! You blamed Pavlov.”

CHAPTER 29. “It would be wasted on me.”

CHAPTER 30. “Bandits! Let us turn back!”

CHAPTER 31. “I was in trouble some years ago.”

CHAPTER 32. “This is a dreadful place.”

CHAPTER 33. “Got to get into the monastery.”

CHAPTER 34. “Any dog can kill!”

CHAPTER 35. “Banzai!”

CHAPTER 1. “Country of origin–Tibet; home town Lhasa.”

IT was one of those days when not even Cockneys like London. Spring had made a false start. Fog, wind, rain, sleet, and a prevalent stench of damp wool. Even the street noises sounded flat and discouraged. Big Ben was invisible through the fog from Trafalgar Square, and the lions around Nelson’s monument with rain streaming from their granite flanks resembled mythical ocean monsters. Lights in the windows of Cockspur Street suggested warmth, and there was a good smell of hot bread and pastry exuding through the doors of tea shops, but that only made the streets feel more unpleasant.

Tom Grayne turned up his overcoat collar, stuck his hands in his pockets, and without particular malice cursed the umbrellas of passers-by.

No one noticed him much. He was fairly big, tolerably well dressed. He was obviously in the pink of condition; he walked with the gait of a man who knows where he is going, and why, and what he will do when he gets there–the unhurried, slow-looking but devouring stride of a man who has walked great distances.

A policeman with the water streaming from his black cape nodded to him.

“Oh, hello Smithers. Nice day for your job!”

“H-awful! But we ‘as to get used to it.”

“When do they close the Aliens Registration Office at Bow Street?”

“Five o’clock I think, but you’ve plenty of time. I didn’t know you were a foreigner.”

“American, born in London, Smithers. Dual citizenship. Two sets of very suspicious officials to convince I’m not a traitor to the human race.”

Tom Grayne grinned, but as a matter of fact he savagely resented the indignity of having to report in person and register his address every month. He had a right to British citizenship if he should choose to claim it. He chose not. As he saw it, he had a right to be and to do what he pleased, and to go where he pleased, provided he didn’t make a nuisance of himself. He detested bureaucracy, hated to ask favors, loathed having to explain himself, and liked people who didn’t put on artificial lugs.

He wasn’t unreasonable about anything else, so far as he knew, but by the time he turned out of the Strand toward Bow Street police station he was feeling hostile, and he was glad of it. He wanted to punch somebody. But there was nobody to punch except a few poor devils trudging through the rain, and a policeman leading along a prisoner. One does not punch policemen profitably, and besides, a police man especially in London is what he pretends to be, so he doesn’t stir antagonism, or shouldn’t. But the smug stride of that particular one, and the melancholy resignation of his prisoner, who trudged beside him un-handcuffed, goaded Tom’s already pugnacious disposition and aroused his sympathy at the same time. He felt an almost irresistible impulse to horn in and be a nuisance.

Even so, he might have gone about his own business, down in the basement, but there was something familiar about the prisoner’s appearance that held his attention. He hesitated. He didn’t recognize the prisoner. He had never seen him before; he was positive about that. But he felt the same sort of wordless and unreasoned impulse that makes a man choose something unusual for dinner. He followed through the main door to the desk, where an alert-looking sergeant stood ready to book the new arrival. Tom was just in time to overhear the charge. Then he knew instantly that his hunch had been right. Memory overflowed.

“Thö-pa-ga–of the Josays Sept of the Kyungpo–whatever that means–country of origin Tibet–home town Lhasa.”

“How d’you spell it? Here, give me that warrant. Go on.”

“Last known address–”

“Yes, all right, that’s written here.”

“Charged with noncompliance with the Aliens Registration Act, under section–”

“Yes, that’s on the warrant.”

“Arrested at eighty-eight Oxted Street.”

“Say anything?”

“Said nothing.”

“All right. Cell eighteen.”

“Bail!” said Tom Grayne, suddenly, as if he were making the high bid at an auction.

“Who are you, sir?”

Before Tom could answer a man entered who looked much more Mongolian than the prisoner. The prisoner might have passed for a New Orleans quarter-breed at first glance. He was a good-looking fellow, with a sad face and an air of patient resignation. But this other man looked like a devil. His head was framed in the hood of a long, black, glistening waterproof. He had brilliant, sunken eyes, high cheek-bones and a skin like dirty parchment. He was several inches more than six feet tall, and fairly broad in proportion. More like a figure of death than a human being. He spoke rapidly to the prisoner, who stared sullenly but didn’t answer. The desk-sergeant caught one word, thrice repeated:

“Shang-shang? Sounds like Chinese.”

Tom unbuttoned his overcoat in an unconscious gesture. This was something he could lend a hand at. He interpreted:

“Tibetan. Something like a cross between a harpy and a nightmare, with eight legs.”

“Is there one in the Zoo?” the sergeant asked.

“No, nor in Nuttall’s Dictionary. A shang-shang is employed by magicians in Tibet to terrify people to death and then to hound them into hell after death.”

“Never heard of that one,” said the sergeant, “although we’ve some strange superstitions in London–more than you might suppose. We had some witches in here a week ago, arrested for alleged practises that ‘ud make your hair stand on end if you weren’t used to horrors–and bunkum.”

Slowly, in Tibetan, through thin peculiarly mobile lips that seemed to enjoy the flavor of the words, and with his face thrust close to Tom Grayne’s, the man who looked like death spoke:

“You-who-know-the-meaning-of-a-shang-shang–if-you- do-not-wish-to-add-experience-to-hearsay–let-alone-that- one-who-is-a-stranger-to-you!”

“Go to hell,” Tom answered, in plain English. He added the equivalent in the Tibetan language.

“What’s your name, you?” said the sergeant.

The tall Tibetan produced a soiled card from an inner pocket. The sergeant laid it on the desk and speared it with a pencil-point.

“Doctor Noropa, eh? What kind of doctor? Medicine? Law? Music? Philosophy? We’d a man in here the other day who called himself a doctor of blackmail. What do you want here? You a friend of the prisoner?”

Instead of answering, the tall man turned and walked out. The sergeant wrote on a slip of paper the name and address that were on the card and handed the paper to a man in uniform at a desk behind him.

“Check that. Have him followed. Step lively.–And now you, sir”–he stared penetratingly at Tom Grayne–“I think you mentioned bail. Are you a householder?”

“No. Is there any charge against the prisoner besides not having registered as an alien?”

“No, not at present. But that one’s serious. He’s liable to imprisonment and subsequent deportation. If you’re not a householder–”

“Phone,” said Tom Grayne. He went to the coin-in-the-slot machine, in the booth in the corner. The prisoner laid the contents of his pockets on the desk; he had been marched off to a cell before Tom was out of the booth.

“Sergeant, I have phoned to Professor Mayor at an address in Bloomsbury. He will be here with a solicitor’s clerk as fast as a taxi can bring him.”

“Professor Mayor, eh?” The sergeant’s manner changed perceptibly. “Of Bloomsbury? Not Clarence Mayor? The Home Office Expert?”

“British Museum–specialist on Tibetan manuscripts and works of art.”

“That’s the man. The Home Office calls him in on special cases. Does he know the prisoner?”

“I think not. But he is as interested as I am.”

“What makes you so interested, if I may ask?”

“Tibet is my subject.”

“Ever been there?”

“Yes.”

“Oh.”

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