The Yellow Typhoon - Harold Macgrath - ebook
Opis

The Yellow Typhoon written by Harold Macgrath who  was a bestselling American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. This book was published in 1919. And now republish in ebook format. We believe this work is culturally important in its original archival form. While we strive to adequately clean and digitally enhance the original work, there are occasionally instances where imperfections such as missing pages, poor pictures or errant marks may have been introduced due to either the quality of the original work. Despite these occasional imperfections, we have brought it back into print as part of our ongoing global book preservation commitment, providing customers with access to the best possible historical reprints. We appreciate your understanding of these occasional imperfections, and sincerely hope you enjoy reading this book.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 269

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS

The Yellow Typhoon

By

Harold MacGrath

Illustrator: Will Grefé

Table of Contents

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

"No. The same girl in every port, in the fire, in the moon mist."

CHAPTER I

A naval officer, trig in his white twill, strode along the Escolta, Manila's leading thoroughfare. There was something in his stride that suggested anger; and the settled grimness of his lips, visible between his mustache and short beard, and the hard brightness of his blue eyes emphasized this suggestion. He was angry, but it was a cold anger, a kind of clear-minded fury which often makes calculation terrible. He had been carrying this anger in his heart for six bitter years. It was something like glacial ice; it moved always, but never seemed to lose either hardness or configuration. To-day it had the effect of the north wind—that almost forgotten north wind of his native land—in that it winnowed all the chaff from his mind and left one clear thought. He would settle the matter once and for all time. The face and form of an angel, and the heart of a Messalina!

He had known all along that some day she would turn up in Manila. It was impossible for them to resist the temptation to view their handiwork. Tigers, they always return to the kill. But he had her now, had her in the hollow of his hand. All the fear of her was gone. This afternoon he would teach her what the word meant. Civilians were lucky. These sordid things could pop up into their lives, even get into the papers, and shortly be forgotten. But in the navy it was the knell of advancement. It never mattered if the wrong was wholly on the other side; the result was the same. But he had her, thank God! The world would never know what had turned Bob Hallowell into a misanthrope. The tentacles of the octopus had been lopped off, as by a miracle. He was a free man.

Never would he forget the shame and misery, the horror of that night in the Grand Hotel in Yokohama. The brazenness of that confession—on the first night of his honeymoon! He was free, yes, but he would never be able to blot out that infernal night. Well, he had her. She should leave Manila on the first ship that left port; it did not matter whether it went north or east. If she proved obdurate, he would have her arrested. He would fight her tooth and nail. The world had changed since that night. The old order had gone to smash since August, 1914. Traditions had been badly mauled by necessities. Such a scandal, in which he had been merely the dupe, would scarcely leave a ripple in passing. Who would care, these tremendous times?

He stopped abruptly. His thoughts had almost carried him past the hotel, one of those second-rate establishments which you find in all Oriental cities that are seaports, hotels full of tragic and sordid histories. He entered, ran up the first flight of stairs, scrutinized the numbers on two doors, and paused before the third. He raised his hand and struck the panel. A touch of vertigo seized him. Supposing his love for the Jezebel was still a living thing and needed only the sight of the woman to revive it?

"Come in!"

He opened the door and closed it behind him, standing with his back to it. He did not take off his hat. A cold little shudder ran over him. She was more beautiful than ever.

She rose from a dilapidated corduroy divan, pressed the coal of a cigarette into the ash-tray, and faced him, her air one of hesitance and timidity. What she saw was a squat muscular body, a beautiful head with a rugged, kindly face. She noted the hair, shot with silver. That was always a good sign. Still, there was something in the elevation of his jaw and the set of his powerful shoulders she did not like.

What he saw was a woman of medium height, slender but perfectly molded, young, beautiful, exquisite. Her hair was the color of spun molasses, lustrous because the color was genuine. Her eyes were velvety purple. The skin was milk-white, with a hint of peachblow under the eyes and temples. The marvel of her lay in the fact that she never had to make up. The devil had given her all those effectives for which most women strive in vain. Innocence! She might have stepped out of one of Bouguereau's masterpieces. At one corner of her mouth was the most charming mole imaginable. You might look at her nose, her eyes, the curve of her chin, but invariably your glance returned to the mole. The devil's finishing-touch; it permitted you to see the mouth indirectly, and you lost the salient—a certain grim, cruel hardness.

He waited with an ironical twist to one corner of his mouth. But in his heart there was great rejoicing. Aside from the initial chill—nothing, not a thrill, not a tingle at the roots of his hair. He could look upon her beauty without a single extra heartbeat. He was free, spiritually as well as legally.

"Well?" he said.

"I came to Manila, to you, because I am tired and repentant and want a home. I am growing old."

He laughed and rested his shoulders against the door. There was a repressed volcanic flash in her eyes. That laugh did not presage well.

"Is it so hard to forgive?" Vocal honey.

"What is it you really want?" he asked, perfectly willing to see the comedy to its end.

"A home ... with you. I know, Robert, that I was a wretch in those days. But the world over here ... men ... the temptation ... the primordial instinct of woman to fight man with any weapon she can lay a hand to!... Won't you take me back and forgive?"

"Take care, Berta! Don't waste those tears! In your eyes they are pearls without price. Don't waste them on me."

"Then you won't forgive?"

"Forgive? What manner of fool have you written me down? Forgive! I gave you an honest man's love ... and you picked my pockets! I would not give two coppers to place on your dead eyes. Take you home? Innocent child!"

"Ah! Then it is war?"

"War to the end, pretty cobra! You don't suppose I came here with any other idea?"

How she hated this man! Hated him because she had never beaten him, never seen him cringe nor heard him plead. She, too, would remember that night in Yokohama, six years gone. After the blow, silence, not a word or a look. Stonily he had packed up his belongings and gone to the Yokohama Club, whence he had gone aboard a cruiser in the morning. Since that moment until this she had never laid eyes on him. Every six months a check came; but even that lacked his signature—a draft from Cook's. War! So be it. He would learn when she began to turn the screws.

"You will take me home and acknowledge me," she whipped back at him.

"Acknowledge you ... what?"

"As your wife!" stormily.

Again he laughed. "You are not my wife, and never have been."

"And how will you prove it?"

"That will be easy. Curious old world, isn't it? I thought, when I received your note, that nothing would satisfy me but to wring your neck. And all I want is a kiss ... because I'm sure it would poison you! I know. You have in that head of yours schemes for my humiliation, scandal, and all that. A woman, known as The Yellow Typhoon, claiming to be the wife of one Robert Hallowell, rampaging the office, storming the villa gate, getting interviewed. No, Berta, it isn't going to happen at all. On the contrary, you will leave Manila on the first ship out."

"And if I refuse?"

"Bilibid prison. While we are very busy militarily, our civil courts have plenty of time to try a prime case of bigamy. War? You will jolly well find out!"

"Bigamy!"

"Sure. Lieutenant Graham is dead, and I had charge of his effects. I found some interesting letters. These led me to the Protestant Episcopal cathedral, where your name and his were neatly inscribed on the register ... six months before you laid your trap for me. You found, after you had married him, that he wasn't the Graham who had inherited a fortune. Marriage! It seems to be a mania with you. How many of us poor devils have you rooked with your infernal beauty? What's God's idea, anyhow? Or is it the devil himself who fits you out, covers your black heart with alluring flesh? No matter. The first ship out or Bilibid. I have warned you."

Then he did something that he afterward regretted. But malice burned so hotly in his veins that he could not resist the impulse. He walked over to her and, before she could comprehend his purpose, swept her into his arms, held her tightly for a moment, and kissed her, her eyes, her lips, her throat. Then he flung her roughly back upon the divan, stalked from the room, and closed the door with an emphasis which proclaimed that it was to stand between them eternally. Once he reached the street, he spat and rubbed his lips energetically.

He had been a fool to do that. He had slipped down to her level. But, hang it! it was the only way he could make her feel anything, the viper!

A fool indeed; for later that act was going to cost him dearly.

He left behind a tableau. Not until his footsteps died away did the woman stir. Then she sprang to her feet, a fury. She swept her hand savagely across her mouth. She, too, spat.

"Oh!" she cried, through her teeth, in a kind of animal roar. She seized the divan pillow, tore at it, and sent it hurtling across the room. "Oh!"

"There, there! Enough of that, Berta!"

A man stepped from behind the screen. He was notable for three things, his bulk, his straw-colored hair, and the pleasant expression of his smooth, ruddy face. The ensemble was particularly agreeable. But in detail, somehow, the man lost out. There wasn't enough skull at the back of his head, his eyes were too shallow, there was a bad droop to his nether lip. For all these defects, everything about the man suggested power—power never wastefully applied.

The woman whirled upon him. "But you!" her voice thick with passion. "You saw what he did?"

"Yes."

"And you let him go?"

"I have told you. If there is one man in Manila I do not care to meet, it's the captain."

"I despise you all!" She flew about the room, gesticulating.

"You will die of apoplexy some day, if you ever have the misfortune to grow fat. Enough of that nonsense. That goose is dead; but there are others, and larger golden eggs."

"But I hate him! I want him broken, disgraced! Didn't you hear him order me out of Manila?"

"Don't let that worry you. You'll stay here until I'm ready to leave. I'll hide you over in the Tondo."

"What! Among the natives?"

The man crossed the room and caught hold of her. "Be sensible. The captain will do exactly as he threatens. It's Bilibid if I don't hide you at once. You couldn't walk five blocks up the Escolta without running into some one who knows you. You left a trail across these diggings, my tiger-kitten. They don't call you The Yellow Typhoon for nothing. You've got to keep under cover, since we can't get you into that villa of his. These are war-times and I've big work to do. You'll go to Tondo because it is my will. I've let you play your game; now you'll help me play mine. When this job is done we'll return to the States and live like nabobs. I tell you, Berta, there's a fortune for the picking. Risks, yes; but not any more dangerous than we've been accustomed to. These American swine—"

"Hush!"

"All right." The man switched into Danish. "These American swine don't shoot spies; they arrest them and let them out on bail. Ye gods! But I say, I've got a little surprise for you. Remember those sables I smuggled in last spring? Well, Wu Fang is making them into a coat that will be worth seven thousand in the States."

"Manchurian!" disdainfully.

"Real Russian." He smoothed her hair; but it was some time before she began to purr. "No nonsense. We'll clear out of here at once. I'll take you to the Tondo and you can rig up in that Chinese costume of yours. You can ride after sundown, and I'll be out frequently. I'll fix you up like the Sultan's favorite. You can wear a cap outside of doors. Inside, it won't matter if the natives see your hair."

"For how long?"

"Perhaps two weeks."

"Something of naval importance," she mused.

"So big that the fatherland will pay a million. One of the biggest things in the world, here in Manila; and it's packed away in the brain of that experimental husband of yours. That's why I wanted you out there. There is a blue-print at that villa. If I can't land the big goose, I can land that. If we can't apply the principle, we can learn what it is."

"And if he loses it, it will break him?"

"Something like that."

"Then I'll go peacefully into the Tondo. The thought of his being broken will keep me alive. Make him pay for those kisses!"

The man held her off at arm's-length. "You're a queer hawk. I don't suppose there's a man on earth you really care for. You're afraid of me; that's my hold."

"Afraid of you? No. You are generally sensible and necessary. And I happen to be your wife. You're a port in the storm."

"There seems to be only one idea in your head—to break men, twist their hearts and empty their pockets."

"I hate them. I have always hated them. As a child I fought the boys when they tried to kiss me. I was born that way. Analyze it? I've never tried to. Perhaps I am Nemesis for all the wrongs mankind has done womankind. I hate them. They never kiss me—even you—that I don't want to strike and cut."

"And you've been successful for one reason only."

"And what is that?"

"Naval officers, English and American, proud and inherently afraid of scandal. You may thank God you never tried your game on a man of my kidney. Your pretty neckwould have twisted long ago. Mark me, Berta, you are mine. Never try to play any of those tricks on me. If you do I'll kill you with bare hands. To you I am a reliable business partner; to me you're the one woman. Remember that. You hold me because you are always a bit of mystery. What's behind that day in San Francisco when you decided to cast your lot with mine? More than seven years gone, and I've never found out. Some man, and because he did not give you a square deal—all these wrecks."

"Do you want the truth? You are the first man who ever laid his hand on me. I ran away from a humdrum world. I wanted adventure, swift, red-blooded. I'm a viking's daughter."

"I can believe that. You don't care for money or jewels. It's the game, the sport. Typhoons! That's you. You come and go across men's lives exactly like a typhoon. Wherever you pass—wreckage. But our captain seems to have escaped."

"I have your promise in regard to him."

The man laughed. "That's one of your charms—you stick it out. What are you—German, Dane, Finn? To this day I don't know. But always keep in your pretty head that you are mine. Marry them, kiss them, and say good-by; but always recollect that I'm under the latticed window. After all, it's just as well that you didn't go out to San Miguel. The captain has a partner. He'd have been too much for you."

"In what way?"

"Your way. Handsomest man in the Asiatic fleet, and rich. He's to be transferred shortly to the Atlantic. And if I've got the right of it, you and I are going to be very much interested in his journey."

"Rich and handsome," she said, ruminatingly.

The man smiled ironically. "An officer who has never had an affair; ice, where women are concerned. I dig up their histories; part of my game. You would have about as much chance with him as I would in a sampan in the middle of one of your happy-go-lucky typhoons. A handsome, vigorous young man, who carries a Rajputana parrakeet with him when he travels, a talking parrakeet. Everybody in Manila has heard about that bird."

"A handsome young man with money and a talking parrakeet!" The woman began to laugh. "I never heard anything like that before. I am interested. What's he look like?"

The man took out a wallet from which he drew a newspaper clipping. "That's a good likeness."

"He is handsome!... Good Heavens!"

"Well?"

"But this isn't his photograph. It's a crook's—'Black' Ellison, wanted for diamond robbery and assault in San Francisco."

"The two look enough alike to be useful ... maybe. Not a physical likeness; it's merely photographic. I never overlook anything. If he takes the journey I have in mind, it may be of use. Photographically, they look enough alike to be twins."

The woman returned the clipping, her eyes somber. She walked slowly over to a window and stared down into the street—without seeing anything of the busy life below.

CHAPTER II

Out San Miguel way there are many two-storied brick villas with Spanish-red tiles. Sometimes there are three or four almost neighborly, then one aloof and alone. In Manila most white folk live up-stairs, the servants down. It permits white folk to talk over their affairs without listeners—and the servants to run away to cock-fights as often as they dare.

One of these isolated villas was walled in, except on the river side, by a wall of rubble coated with whitewash. Rising above the chevaux de frise of broken bottles was a fringe of feathery bamboo. There was an alley of these trees from the gate to the door. There was also a garden; but the precise formality with which it had been laid out was a mute testimony of the absence of womankind.

Two Americans lived there—bachelors. One of them lived there continuously; the other, whenever his ship was in port. They were officers in the United States navy. An odd pair, agreed official and social Manila; and after futile efforts to make friends with them, dismissed them. Odd, because bachelor officers who have incomes outside their pay are generally gay sailormen. Off duty, these two formed an association of hermits. They never went anywhere except officially, and avoided women as other men avoided the plague. One of them was woman-shy; the other hated them, it was said.

Captain Hallowell of the staff would in all probability never go to sea again, actively. An experiment had severely injured one of his eyes, though the defect was not noticeable.

Lieutenant-Commander Mathison was an officer of the line—a fighting sailor. They were as unlike physically as it is possible for two men to be.

Hallowell was the dreamer, the thinker. He was short, thick, rugged, and a trifle gray. His head and short beard were shot with silver, though his mustache was still black. There was something about him that reminded you of the gorilla. You were likely to carry this idea in your head until you knew him; then you understood that he was in the same category as the St. Bernard—the gentlest and friendliest dog in the world until thoroughly aroused. They called him a woman-hater with some justice, though no one in official Manila ever learned the true facts, not even Mathison, who surmised that Hallowell had run afoul some worthless woman and had got past the reefs by a hair.

Mathison was the man of action. He was tall, slender, and handsome, with a smooth olive skin. This deep color gave conspicuity to his gray eyes, the whites of which were dazzling. Every line and turn of his face gave you the impression that by nature he was amiable in the extreme. Given cause, he could be as savage and relentless as the gorilla his friend resembled.

Woman-shy, they called him, because they could find no other suitable name for the puzzle. He was always courteous when, by those accidents of chance called official receptions, he found himself among women. But there was always a cold reserve the brightest eyes could not batter down. Rest assured, there were many feminine campaigns. He was the combination of two things women prize highly, greedily or sentimentally—money and good looks.

What had the aspect of shyness was merely an idea, held to with surpassing resolution. I shall tell you about this idea later on. There are, here and there across this world, men like Mathison, who are neither mollycoddles nor sanctimonious nincompoops. They are not gregarious—the type from which explorers come, men who know how to live alone, to whom the most necessary and alluring thing in life is to overcome obstacles.

This resolution had toughened Mathison, morally and physically. Packed away in that lithe body of his was tremendous vitality. He was perfectly willing to be called woman-shy. Such a reputation was a considerable barricade. He was content to rest behind it. There had been battles, bitter conflicts. There are certain fires which hypnotize; one must reach out and touch them. I might say that this idea of his was always in a state of siege.

After this exposition, it sounds odd to remark that Mathison was as full of romance as a Chinese water-chestnut is of starch; that his day-dreams were peopled with lovely women. He never saw a beautiful woman that he did not immediately clothe her in his colorful imagination. He rescued her from Chinese pirates, he was shipwrecked and cast away on a desert island with her, he tore her from the hands of brigands or the latticed window of some rajah's haremlik; and he always married her in the end. Everything in him inclined toward the companionship of women, and he had built a Chinese wall around this inclination.

Among men, however, he was companionable, witty, humorous, and full of sound common sense. But no one ever called him Jack, not even Hallowell, the best friend he had. He was always John or Mathison to his equals and superiors, and "sir" to his subordinates. Hallowell, however, had compromised on "Mat." And yet Mathison bubbled with personal magnetism.

You never get deeply into a naval officer's character by rubbing elbows with him in wardrooms or officers' clubs. If you want to know the real man, go down into the boiler-rooms, the gun-rooms, anywhere but the quarter-deck. The rough-necks will tell you. They sometimes weigh you with a glance. Two things they require of you—absolute justice and firmness. That was Mathison to his men; and he always backed these attributes with a smiling eye. There was something in the snap of his voice that inclined men to obey him at once, without question; not that they were afraid of him, but that they knew he was right. In the navy—in all navies—there are underground wireless stations. A man's reputation travels from ship to ship, and when an officer is transferred the men try him out just to see if his crown is of tinsel or of gold.

A fighting-sailor with red blood, with a born gambler's interest in chance, winning or losing with a smile, as you shall see; thirty years of age, and no anchor to windward.

He never forgot anything. They said of him that he could hide his collar-button during a dream and go directly to it in the morning. Hallowell, however, was very absent-minded. Often he would go about the living-room in search of his pipe, in the end to find it dangling in his teeth. Or he would wash his face with his spectacles on and wonder what in thunderation ailed his sound eye.

Hallowell he, too, was full of romance—miracles in steel, visions which cast into shape huge fighting-machines, tremendous guns, flying torpedoes. He was, aside from his official duties, a successful inventor. Few of the grim floating forts of the navy were without certain devices of his. He had just completed plans which eventually were going to cause the German Admiralty a good deal of anxiety.

There were still two or three points he had not cleared up to his own satisfaction. The plans were absolutely complete as they stood; and he believed he saw a chance to reduce the complexity of certain phases; and he was hammering away at this problem after hours, often far into the night.

Mathison, Hallowell and Company (the Company being the Rajputana parrakeet); an odd pair of men, rather misunderstood, with few intimates, sharing a deep, abiding love, never spoken of, but tacitly understood. They were jocularly known as "The Two Orphans" and the villa as "The Orphanage," as both men were without immediate family ties.

Lately Hallowell had formed the habit of going to the Botanical Gardens for a half-hour's ramble, between four and five. He had discovered that this mild exercise cleared his mind of all routine and left it free to creative musings. He tramped about the paths at a moderate gait, his hands behind his back, the tip of his short, gray-peppered beard projecting like a bowsprit over his collar. I doubt if during these pleasant peregrinations he ever saw anything but the white markings on blue-prints. Half an hour to the minute, then he would shake off the spell, set his shoulders, and hurry away for the trolley to San Miguel.

Having delivered his ultimatum to the woman known as The Yellow Typhoon and having learned, on the following day, that she had left the hotel in the Escolta, all thought of her went out of his mind completely. It was an unhappy page turned down for good. But to-day, one week later, as he came out of his day-dreams, she popped into his head.

A wave of shame ran over him. He would never forgive himself for that violence. Not that he felt any pity toward the woman. The act had lowered himself eternally in his own eyes; the luster was gone from his self-esteem. He had kissed another man's wife, not his own. And what was worse, she might interpret the act as a sign that he still cared for her and try to re-enter his life at some later day. Fool! A mad impulse to hurt her, and he had hurt only himself. Well, the damage was done; berating his folly would not wipe it off the slate.

Suddenly his sound eye lost its introspective look and became alert. Coming down the path toward him was a woman. She was dressed in pongee, a sola-topee on her head. Round this sun-helmet ran the folds of a gray veil which could be lowered or raised at will. At this moment the woman's face was clear. It was young and vividly beautiful. Her hair was a ruddy gold, like the tips of ripe wheat after rain. The sun, directly behind her, cast a golden nimbus on each side of her head. Her eyes were purple-blue, like wood-violets, and her skin was the tint of pale amber. She walked with a free stride of one who loved the air and sunshine. She saw Hallowell only after he had deliberately stepped in front of her, blocking the way.

Her mouth opened slightly and a vague bewilderment took the zest out of her face.

"Still in town, then?"

"Sir ...!"

He interrupted with a laugh. "You're magnificent; I'll always grant you that. You should have gone on the stage. But I'm no longer to be fooled. The pearl is gone from the oyster, the juice from the orange; so why tarry, pretty blackmailer? I warned you to clear out, and I thought you'd have sense enough to do so. To-morrow morning I'll hunt for you; and if I find you I'll have you locked up. God knows how you women do it! Here you are straight out of perdition, with more beauty than ever. And innocence! That's the pitfall; your look of innocence. That's what draws us poor, trusting fools. Well, the night to clear out in. If I find you to-morrow I'll stamp on you as I would a cobra. The Yellow Typhoon! Some poor devil named you well. But you'll never break another white man, not in these parts. I apologize for those kisses. I forgot you weren't my wife. I'm giving you until morning."

Insolently he swung on his heel and marched down the path.

The woman remained exactly where he had left her, in the center of the path. Have you ever seen a clean, upstanding flower suddenly beaten down by a squall of rain? Her bodily attitude resembled that, at least for a space. One hand went slowly to her eyes, then fell limply to her side. But soon she stiffened, and there were volcanic flashes in her eyes. As Hallowell vanished behind the clove-trees she turned. Near by she saw a marine and he was eying her curiously. Evidently he had witnessed the scene. She approached him.

What followed, the marine himself recounted at mess that night.

"I was amblin' along at a safe distance. My orders were t' keep ol' Pop Hallowell under eye s' long as he was in th' Gardens. Hennessy picks him up outside an' follows him until he gits safe on th' trolley. Well, he was goin' along, when down the path comes a lady. She walked as if she didn't know where she was goin', either. An' out steps Pop in front of her, like he was a gay bird with the ladies. Th' dame gives him th' haughty. But he comes back. Her mouth opens a little, but she don't make no move. I couldn't hear nothin', but Pop was layin' down some law or other, which he winds up with a bang on his palm, an' marches off, with the lady starin' after him like I'd stare if I saw a flyin'-fish come int' th' mess port an' ask for whitebait.

"I kind o' thought I'd move on, when she pipes me an' comes over.

"'Who was that officer?' she asks me. Bo, believe me, she had all the little Marys an' Normas an' Paulines in th' movies laid away with the long-cruise eggs. Gee! You'll gimme th' ha-ha, but I on'y needed a look t' tell that she was straight.

"'Well,' I says, 'that's Captain Hallowell, miss,' I says.

"'Captain Hallowell,' she repeats after me. 'Where does he live?'

"'He has a villa out in San Miguel, on th' Pasig,' I says. 'He an' Lieutenant-Commander Mathison live there together.'

"'He's not married, then?'

"I laughs. 'No, lady. Both of 'em are gun-shy.' She looks puzzled an' I adds, 'They don't have nothin' t' do with the ladies, miss.'

"'Oh! Then he's th' inventor?'

"'That's him, miss.' Then I freezes up a bit, rememberin' orders. I'm t' report anybody who asks questions about ol' Pop. But I tumbles that she ain't no officer's wife or nothin', an' I asks what he'd said to her.

"'He mistook me for some one else,' she says. So help me, if there's two like that in Manila, th' place is due t' go on th' blink in a week. Then she lowers th' veil an' goes off toward th' exit, me trailin'. Had t' find out where she was puttin' up. An' hang me if she doesn't go plump into that joint in th' Escolta where Murphy an' me was thrown out last month an' just missed restin' up in th' brig. Which shows that you can't dope a woman out by her looks."

The young woman—she was possibly twenty-six—eventually reached her room. Her maid welcomed her effusively.

"Sarah we must leave here at once. Pack."