FICTION

"Sooo Solly, John!"

Ah Wong say: "Dove of peace fly out window when woman come in by door—but devil chaser fixum plenty trouble. Tooo bad! You bet"

WILLIAM CHAMBERLAIN September 1 1941
FICTION

"Sooo Solly, John!"

Ah Wong say: "Dove of peace fly out window when woman come in by door—but devil chaser fixum plenty trouble. Tooo bad! You bet"

WILLIAM CHAMBERLAIN September 1 1941

"Sooo Solly, John!"

Ah Wong say: "Dove of peace fly out window when woman come in by door—but devil chaser fixum plenty trouble. Tooo bad! You bet"

WILLIAM CHAMBERLAIN

AH WONG, Colonel Lucillius Dulligan’s imperturable house boy, had celebrated the Chinese New Year. He has celebrated it enthusiastically with firecrackers and other noises, raucous to the untrained ear but sweet to Ah Wong. Finally he and his cousin, the honorable Lee Chung, had chased a flock of devils down Ahinula Street and had scatted them back into limbo for the coming year with a ferocious banging of old pans and blowing of tin horns.

A fine party, indeed, Ah Wong reflected.

He entered the back yard of Colonel Lucillius Dulligan’s quarters a trifle unsteadily and wandered toward where the back steps should be. The moon had gone down an hour before but Ah Wong knew his way and was unbothered. He hummed a little song to himself which recounted in detail the adventures of a small yellow bird which sat upon a branch and scratched itself.

Suddenly a white shape loomed in front of him—a formless thing which was so close that he could have reached out and touched it with his fingers. The song stopped in the middle of a bar while Ah Wong blinked owlishly and wished that his cousin, the good Lee Chung, was here with him. It might be that they had missed a devil or two down on Ahinula Street.

“Aie,” he said politely, “velly fine night.”

The devil didn’t answer; instead, it swayed toward him and Ah Wong jumped backward as though a hot griddle had suddenly been slipped under his feet. Something thumped him hard in the back of the neck and he yelled and jumped forward again. That was the wrong manoeuvre. A cold and clammy something brushed across his face and wound itself about his head; something tightened about one wrist and something else chucked him under the chin.

He howled like a wolf and tried to run but it was no use. There must be at least ten thousand devils, he thought wildly. They tripped him—hurled him to the ground. They were all over him!

Old Lucillius Dulligan awoke and sat up in his bed. As he rubbed his eyes and wondered what had waked him an unearthly cry drifted in from the direction of the back garden. He slid his feet into slippers and picked up the gun and flashlight which lay on the table beside his bed—padded swiftly toward the back porch.

The gray of the false dawn lay across the garden but, in it, old Lucillius could make out a vague and shapeless something which seemed to be bouncing up and down among his rose bushes. He pulled back the hammer of the gun with a lean finger and switched on the beam of the flashlight.

“What the devil goes on here?” he snarled.

The thin finger of the light picked out a white bundle which seemed to be having a fit in the hibiscus hedge. Old Lucillius swung the gun up— then swore bitterly and lowered it again. He had caught a glimpse of Ah Wong’s blue trousers which protruded from the bottom of the bundle.

“Allah’s eyewash!” old Lucillius snorted, “it’s got so that a man can’t even sleep in peace in his own house any more! Get out of that sheet, you counterfeit Confucius!”

The bundle quieted suddenly and then Ah Wong’s head popped out of the sheet which was

tangled about him. Broken clothesline was twisted about his neck; somehow he had managed to get his right wrist tied to his left ankle with a part of that same line. He blinked suspiciously in the light.

“How do, John,” he finally said in a shaky voice. “Ahhhh! Much obliged. Thank you tooo much! You bet!”

Old Lucillius choked. “Much obliged ! I’ll‘much obliged’ you! What in the name of the seven original sins do you mean by rolling around among my rose bushes all wrapped up like a Christmas package? Eh?”

“Catch’um devil,” Ah Wong explained, blinking in the light. “Ahhhh! Tooo bad for me, I think. Much obliged you chase’um away, John.”

“Devil ! I’ll make you think you’ve seen a devil, you Celestial so-and-so ! Get to your quarters before I lose my temper!”

Ah Wong tentatively wiggled an arm. He tried to stand up but the clothesline tripped him and he sat down again in the hibiscus hedge. Ah Wong knew when he was licked he struggled no further.

“Tooo bad,” he said regretfully.

Old Lucillius, trailing profanity behind him like a veil, padded back up the steps to the kitchen, got a paring knife and descended to the garden again. He lost one of his slippers and, in looking for it, he put a bare foot down on one of the rose bushes. The incident didn’t improve his temper.

Presently he succeeded in sawing Ah Wong loose and stepped back—into a different rose bush this time.

“Ahhhh, velly happy, John,” Ah Wong said.

“Arragh!” old Lucillius said violently, hopping on one foot. “It’s not enough that you wake me up in the middle of the night! It’s not enough that you tear down my clothesline and disguise yourself as a such-and-such mummy in one of my sheets! No, that’s not enough—you’ve got to assault me with my own rose bushes, as well!”

“So solly,” Ah Wong murmured.

“Shut up, you Manchu maniac! I’ve put up with you for the past twenty years but I will be a thusand-so if I’ll do it for another twenty! I’d rather be dead! I’d rather be a hermit and live in a cave somewhere! I’d even rather be married—maybe I’d get some peace and quiet around here then !”

It was some little while later before peace and quiet returned, outwardly at least, to the Casa Dulligan. Inside Ah Wong’s small room, however, there might be quiet but there was very little peace. The colonel’s parting words, re marriage, had returned the problem of the widow Smythe-Horton to Ah Wong’s mind. He thought about it, sitting on the edge of his bed.

“Velly bad,” he said morosely to himself. “Bloss catch’um widow—velly bad for bloss. Tooo bad for Ah Wong !”

THE WIDOW Smythe-Horton—bereaved via Reno—was a blonde on the wrong side of thirty who knew a good thing when she saw it. Besides, as she told Mrs. Major Nebblit, whose house guest she happened to be, it was really wicked for an attractive man like Colonel Dulligan to remain a bachelor.

Major Nebblit snorted violently as the SmytheHorton got up from the breakfast table and

departed in the direction of the verandah. Major Nebblit was, on the whole, a patient man but he had been sorely tried during these past two weeks.

“When’s she going home?” he demanded of his wife.

Mrs. Nebblit buttered a piece of toast absently. “I don’t know, dear.”

Major Nebblit folded up the morning paper and twisted it viciously. “The colonel is such a sweet man!” he said, mimicking the Smythe-Horton’s honeyed accents. “Sweet! Bah! Anybody who’d call old Lucillius sweet ought to be in a home. The woman’s not only a pest, Laura, she’s crazy!” “Yes, dear.”

Major Nebblit glared at his wife darkly. “Well, it would serve old Lucillius right if she did marry him. She will, too—she’s not got that bring-’em-backalive look in her eyes for nothing. Why the devil did you have to ask her here in the first place?”

“I didn’t, dear,” his wife said. “She just wrote and said she was coming. Don’t you remember— we used to go to school together.”

“Must have been a reform school,” her husband said morosely. “I don’t know where else you’d pick up anything like that. Tell her to stop cooing at me.”

Mrs. Nebblit smiled vaguely. “Please, dear. She’ll be leaving soon.”

“You told me that two weeks ago.”

“Yes, dear,” Mrs. Nebblit said soothingly. She added: “I really believe Colonel Dulligan is quite interested.”

“He ought to have a guardian! He will, too,” the major added with a touch of gloomy satisfaction, “if that female Dracula marches him up the aisle.”

His wife didn’t answer. Being a woman she was quite sure that it wasn’t good for a man to remain a bachelor as long as had Colonel Dulligan.

ÁH WONG, being a bachelor himself and something of an old reprobate as well, had different ideas on the subject. He sat in his small room that afternoon and talked the matter over at length with his cousin, the honorable Lee Chung.

“Aie,” he said sadly, “it has been written: ‘Peace is a dove which flies out of the window when a woman comes in by the door,’ respected Lee Chung.”

“This deplorable matter has then progressed so far?”

Ah Wong nodded. “Yesterday this miserable person was listening through his accustomed crack in the pantry door Although old age creeps up swiftly the ears of this unworthy one are still good. She called him: ‘Sweetie Pie.’ ”

“Alas,” said Lee Chung, “I have seen that in the motion pictures. The wedding comes soon afterward.”

“Aie,” Ah Wong moaned, “honey may cover a dragon’s tooth but the dragon can still bite.”

Lee Chung quoted in gloomy assent: “Nine

hundred devils once settled in a valley. Then a woman came and the devils moved away.”

The sentiment awoke a fresh train of thought in Ah Wong’s mind. The matter of the devils who had assaulted him in the back yard last night had not been cleared up to his entire satisfaction. He recounted what had happened in a lengthy singsong. Lee Chung meditated on the matter for some minutes—then waved an authoritative hand.

“Assuredly the same ones which thou and I chased down Ahinula Street, dear cousin,” he said. “Without doubt they are devils of great courage and persistence and it may be that they will return again tonight.”

Ah Wong looked startled.

“Tooo bad !” he said. “Truly misfortune hobbles at the heels of this unworthy one as a cat follows the butcher’s cart. First a woman and then devils.”

“A great pity,” Lee Chung agreed. “There is but one thing to do. honorable cousin. Today you must build a devil trap in the garden. Then, after the moon rises tonight, I will come—bringing friends with me. Perhaps it is written that we may drive these devils into the trap and so be rid of them.” “I am greatly in your debt,” Ah Wong said politely. “I shall do as you say and shall also burn a small package of incense to your respected ancestors ” He added hopefully: ‘‘You could not get rid of this woman, as well?”

Lee Chung stood up. “A lion said: T am the strongest in the jungle.’ The tick on his ear heard him and laughed. I go now, honorable cousin.”

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THE Major Nebblits and the widow Smythe-Horton had dined with old Lucillius Dulligan and now the four of them sat on the latter’s verandah and watched the moon come up over the ragged rim of Huhuwane Gulch. It was a nice evening with a cool, sweet breeze coming down from the mountains—an evening well

suited to the widow Smythe-Horton’s technique.

Major Nebblit looked at his watch. “Nine o’clock,” he said. “About time we were getting over to the hop?”

The major was frankly bored—he would rather be at home listening to the news. Mrs. Smythe-Horton s:.‘:

in the porch swing, strategically placed so that the light from the Japanese lanterns fell across her at just the right angle.

She said: “It’s so cool and nice

here and I’ve got a little headache. Laura, why don’t you and Jack run on over. We’ll just sit here for a little longer and join you later.”

Old Lucillius Dulligan beamed at her a trifle fatuously. He didn’t know it but his ramparts were about to be taken under storm by an expert in such matters. Major Nebblit grunted but his wife took the hint.

“All right, dear. I promised Cornelia Patterson that I’d be there early. Come on, Jack. So long, you two. We’ll see you later.”

Ah Wong, standing just inside the darkened house, watched sourly. He could see that he was going to have a busy evening—what with the devils and all.

Mrs. Smythe-Horton leaned back so that the light fell across her to best advantage while she hummed the tune that the distant orchestra was playing. She would, she thought, allow the music and the moonlight to get in a lick or two—soften old Lucillius up before she started.

“Harrump!” old Lucillius said finally. “Nice evening, Mrs. S.” “Lovely, my dear,” said Mrs. Smythe-Horton. “It reminds me of the Riviera.”

“Humph!” old Lucillius told her. “Only been there once—during the war. Got bit by a dog. Could of stayed home and got bit by a dog. Mutt belonged to some woman.”

Mrs. Smythe-Horton thought that it might be just as well not to pursue that subject further. She moved a little closer to old Lucillius in the swing and trilled at him a little.

“You’ve been to so many places, haven’t you? It’s perfectly fascinating. Do you know, Lucillius, I’m just a gypsy at heart, myself. You’re a gypsy, too, aren’t you?” “Irish,” old Lucillius said firmly. “Knew a gypsy once, though. Feller in Brooklyn—told fortunes.”

Mrs. Smythe-Horton frowned a little. This was going to be more c.ifficult than she had anticipated— the old goat had about as much romance in him as one of those smelly trucks of his. She would, she guessed, have to pull out the stops and really give him the works.

She allowed her shoulder to touch his and sighed deeply. “You’re so big and strong, my dear, and you’ve done so many wonderful things. I’m almost afraid of you.”

“Harrum,” old Lucillius said. “Never did much to speak of. Just went around here and there, drawin’ my pay.”

“What a lonesome life!” the Smythe-Horton cooed at him. “How lonely you must be!”

“Ummm,” said old Lucillius thoughtfully, “hadn’t thought much about it. Always had my boy, Ah Wong, along.”

“Ah Wong!” said Mrs. S. in the tone of one who has just discovered the half of a worm in an apple. “I feel more sorry for you than ever. Just camping all these years with no one to look after you but that Chinese heathen.”

“Harrump!” old Lucillius said, “might be something in what you say, Mrs. S—man ought to have a home, settle down. Said the same

thing to Ah Wong just this morning.” “Oh, Lucillius—this is so sudden !” “Eh?”

The stops were all out now and the Smythe-Horton was just about to rivet the thing solid when she was interrupted. Ah Wong shuffled out onto the verandah, his slippers scraping loudly against the straw matting.

“Sooo solly, John,” he said. “Somebody wantchee speak along you on telephone.”

Old Lucillius straightened hurriedly and yanked at the lapels of his mess jacket. Mrs. Smythe-Horton returned to her own side of the swing and stared fixedly at Ah Wong as he stood aside to let the colonel pass. Ah Wong didn’t see; he was gazing out into the moonlight with bland approval.

Inside, old Lucillius picked up the receiver. “Hello,” he said. “Colonel Dulligan speaking.”

A bored voice came at him over the wire. “Number, please.”

“Colonel Dulligan speaking.” “Number, please.”

“Listen,” old Lucillius said crossly, “stop yodelling in my ear. Somebody called me—let me talk to ’em!” “Sorry, sir,” the operator said in a sing-song voice, “no one has called your number.”

“Must be wrong nlumber, John,” Ah Wong explained contritely at his elbow. “Sooo solly.”

Old Lucillius snorted and tramped back to the porch, switching out the light as he went. By Gad, there might be something in what Mrs. S had said, after all. A man could live too long alone. He sat down beside her and stroked his mustache.

“You were saying, Mrs. S?”

She touched his hand playfully. “Call me Helen, Lucillius. Mrs. S sounds so formal and we don’t need to be formal, do we? With just the two of us here?”

Darned nice perfume she wore, old Lucillius thought. He sniffed at it appreciatively. Mrs. SmytheHorton had forgotten to remove her hand.

“Harrump!” old Lucillius began.

HE HAD time to say no more.

The porch light suddenly flooded on over his head and Lucillius jerked his hand away. Lights were going on all over the house—from being dark and cosy, the verandah of the Casa Dulligan had now become about as private as a Christmas tree in a park. From inside the house Ah Wong’s voice lifted shrilly, accompanied by a series of thumps and the clatter of falling pans.

“Well, really!” Mrs. Smythe-Horton said, her voice more than a little exasperated.

Old Lucillius jumped to his feet. “Ah Wong!”

Presently Ah Wong thrust his head out of the door. He carried a broom in one hand and his moon-shaped face bore a look of total unconcern. “Whatchee want, John?”

“What the devil is going on, you Manchu misfit?”

“Sooo solly,” Ah Wong told him innocently. “Clatch’um cockroach. Too many cockroach—ahhh, tooo bad!”

Old Lucillius said grimly: “Turn out those lights! Are you trying to call in every mosquito in Oahu? Then ! get back to your room and stay there

—if I so much as hear another peep out of you tonight I’ll liquidate you, so help me Hannah !”

“Sooo solly,” Ah Wong said.

The Smythe-Horton stirred herself and there was a certain tightness about her lips as old Lucillius came back. The Mr. Horton, of the Smythe-Horton, could have told old Lucillius that that was a storm signal. Mr. Horton had learned to be quite a barometer before the Reno incident.

“You ought to get rid of that boy, Lucillius,” Mrs. Smythe-Horton said. “He’s menace! I won’t . . . er, I wouldn’t put up with that for a minute—not a minute!”

“Hah!” Old Lucillius seated himself again and wiped at his forehead with a handkerchief. “Come, come, my dear. Mustn’t get upset about trifles, y’know. Been with me twenty years—just got a little fixed in his ways is all.”

Mrs. Smythe-Horton tapped her foot thoughtfully on the floor of the verandah. Ah Wong would get considerably unfixed in his ways before very long now, she thought. For a moment she didn’t even hear what old Lucillius was saying—then ! she recovered herself with a start.

I The colonel had reached across and taken her hand.

“Been thinkin’ of what you said, Mrs. S ... er, Helen. Y’understand, of course, that I’m nothing but a rough, old soldier. Don’t know how to make pretty speeches—never did.”

“Go on, Lucillius,” she cooed.

“Don’t suppose that you could ever care ...”

Old Lucillius stopped suddenly and stiffened. A noise had disturbed the quiet of the night—a noise which combined almost all of the unpleasant noises that old Lucillius Dulligan had ever heard. Mrs. Smythe-Horton gasped.

“What is it?”

“By gad, madam, I wish I knew,” old Lucillius said in an awed voice.

As though that first blast had been a signal, an infernal symphony now burst forth out there in the moonlight. It sounded as though half the alley cats in the world had been tied by their tails and hung across a hundred miles of clotheslines. It came from the neighborhood of the back garden and old Lucillius shuddered.

“Well,” Mrs. S said coldly, getting up out of the swing, “a fine way to treat your guests, I must say!”

Old Lucillius choked incoherently. Then he bounded to his own feet and went around the corner at a gallop. His back garden stretched in front of him in the moonlight and what he saw failed to comfort him.

A dozen shadowy figures crouched among his rose bushes and he saw, by their trousers, that they were countrymen of the estimable Ah Wong. They sat in a half circle and howled in unison a singsong which rasped old Lucillius Dulligan’s nerves like the scratch of a hard pencil on a slate. In the intervals between the howlings they blew on horns and banged on tin pans.

The honorable Lee Chung had been as good as his word. He and his devil exterminators were giving a rare performance.

For a moment old Lucillius stared at them, his mouth a little open. Nothing like this had ever happened to him before. It was unbelievable—

but there it was. A particularly atrocious discord smote his ears. “Arrrr !” he said.

THE SMYTHE-HORTON had followed him around the corner of the verandah and there was a certain grimness about her face. She tapped old Lucillius with her fan— not exactly a playful tap. At the back of his mind old Lucillius suddenly knew that he was glad that that fan was not a baseball bat.

“Are you trying to insult me, Lucillius Dulligan?” she demanded. “I’ve never been treated like this in my life!”

Old Lucillius groaned. “Ah Wong!” Ah Wong padded from the inside of the house, his hands tucked into his sleeves and a noncommittal look on his face. He did not glance toward the garden and, if he heard the noise, he made no sign.

“Whatchee want, John?” he enquired placidly.

Old Lucillius yanked at the collar of his shirt and had difficulty in finding words. “What in the confounded thus-and-so is the meaning of all this?”

Ah Wong squinted at him. “No catchee, John.”

Old Lucillius choked and gestured toward the back garden. “I’ll no catchee you, you evil omen ! What are that bunch of hyenas doing caterwauling out there among my rose bushes?”

“You like, eh?” Ah Wong said in a pleased voice. “Him Nlumba One devil chasa.”

Old Lucillius Dulligan’s jaw tightened. “Devil chasers?”

“That’s right. Velly fine!” Ah Wong said enthusiastically. “Last night devils chase’um Ah Wong. Tooo bad! Tonight devil chasa chase’um devil—velly fine! Ah Wong ...”

Old Lucillius was no longer listening. He bleated hoarsely and sprinted into the dark bungalow toward the telephone. He got three wrong numbers before a bored voice answered.

“Sergint of the guard,” it said. “Bring the guard and get over here on the double!” old Lucillius snarled. “I’ve got a riot in my back yard !” “Now just take it easy,” the sergeant of the guard said in a soothing voice. “This is no radio patrol. Tell me where you’re at an’ I’ll have one of the sentries stop by.” “Sentry! I want the whole confounded guard ! I want’em with riot guns and the hose cart! I . .

The sergeant of the guard became more soothing. “Sure. Sure. I know. Now you just go in an’ lay down for a bit, chum, an’ you’ll feel better. I’ll send one of the boys . . .” “This is Colonel Dulligan speaking!” old Lucillius howled. “You get that guard over here right now or I’ll nail your stripes to a barn door tomorrow! You understand?”

There was a stunned silence at the other end. Then the sergeant of the guard said faintly: “Yes, sir—

colonel, sir. We’ll be right there, sir. We’ll ...”

Old Lucillius slammed up the receiver and went back to the verandah. He winced as the force of that racket out there in the back garden struck him squarely again. The Smythe-Horton was waiting

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for him, hands on hips and a look in her eye. One foot tapped the floor of the verandah. For a moment old Lucillius felt a little panicky.

"Hah!” he said, shouting to make himself heard, "take care of ’em in a minute, Mrs. S—got the guard coming on the double. Take care of ’em !”

"Oh, you have—have you?”

"Ah Wong’s fault—have to speak to him about it.”

The Smythe-Horton said coldly: "I think that you planned this yourself. It couldn’t have just happened.”

A fresh spasm of noise boiled up out of the rose bushes forty yards away as Lee Chung and his men really got into the spirit of the thing. Inside his small room Ah Wong sat on the edge of his bed and listened thoughtfully.

"You're trying to get rid of me!” said Mrs. S.

“Can’t hear a word you say,” old Lucillius yelled.

"You’re trying to get rid of me!” Mrs. Smythe-Horton allowed the tremulo to creep back into her voice —it was hard, since she had to shout. "And I thought ...”

"What?”

She’d give the thing one more try, the Smythe-Horton thought. She swayed toward old Lucillius, a hand pressed to one cheek and her eyes half closed.

“Oh, Lucillius!” she shouted faintly.

Colonel Dulligan cursed under his breath and caught her—carried her to the swing. She was not light. He arranged pillows behind her back and fanned her while he shouted for Ah Wong. Ah Wong didn’t come— he had thoughtfully taken a walk for himself.

AFTER a moment the SmytheHorton opened her eyes and smiled wanly. "So silly of me,” she murmured. “It must be that noise. Was I heavy, Lucillius, dear?”

"Light as a zephyr,” Old Lucillius lied gallantly.

The widow Smythe-Horton jerked herself up straight and her glance was poisonous. "Why, you ... I weigh ...”

“Not heifer!” old Lucillius howled at her. "Zephyr, madam, zephyr!” "Lucillius Dulligan, I’ll . . .”

The sergeant of the guard saved him. That worthy, perspiring freely, trotted around the corner of the bungalow, followed by a dozen members of the guard detail. He saluted old Lucillius with a worried look on his face.

"Sir ...”

Old Lucillius plunged down the verandah steps and spoke a few choice words while he waved a hand toward where Lee Chung and his companions were still making the night hideous. They paid no attention, intent upon minding their own business.

"Spread out!” old Lucillius yelled. "I want every mother’s son of them in the guard house! You let one of ’em get away and I’ll take your hide off in strips !”

The sergeant of the guard was eager to co-operate. "Yes, sir,” he said. "Come on—close in on ’em!” He suited action to the words and jumped forward. Unfortunately one of the devil traps, which Ah Wong

had planted earlier in the day, caught him neatly around the ankles and he catapulted into the fish pond.

Bedlam broke loose.

Old Uucillius stood at the foot of the steps, his mouth open. His garden seemed to have suddenly sprouted an army. Vague figures, clad in blue trousers, flitted here and there; other figures in khaki pursued. Ah Wong’s devil traps were impartial they snared friend and foe alike. There seemed to be a perpetual procession emerging from the fish pond. It was the sight of the brawl going on in his pet gardenia plot that stung old Lucillius to action. The widow Smythe-Horton, her mouth grim, followed him into the garden.

"Arragh !” said old Lucillius.

He galloped out into the moonlight, waving his arms. Then something nipped at his ankles and he landed in a rose bush for the third time that day.

Then it was over, presently. The sergeant of the guard, his trousers flapping damply against his shanks, had herded a half dozen prisoners into the Black Maria and hauled them away. The shouts in Huhuwane Gulch, where others of the guard detail still rounded up stragglers, were dying away. After a while a silence reigned over the Casa Dulligan.

Old Lucillius climbed the steps of the bungalow wearily. He sat down in a chair and rubbed at the calf of a leg where he had been stabbed by one of his own rose bushes. His reflections were moody.

The telephone jangled harshly within the house and old Lucillius jumped. His nerves were a little frayed tonight. He waited for Ah Wong to answer but the condemned thing kept on ringing. Finally, old Lucillius—muttering to himself—got out of his chair and limped in.

The voice of the sergeant of the guard came wearily to him over the line. "Sir, we got a lady here. She says ...”

"Oh, good lord!” old Lucillius said hoarsely. He had completely forgotten the widow Smythe-Horton during the melee. "You don’t mean ...”

“Yes, sir,” the sergeant told him sadly. “She was out in the garden, sir, an’ in the excitement I guess we just gathered in everything. She wants to talk to the colonel on the telephone, sir. She says she has something to tell him.”

Old Lucillius sighed and gripped the receiver more tightly.

MRS. SMYTHE-HORTON left on the next boat. It would be nice, she said acidly before she left, to get back to a civilized country once again. Thank heaven, she had learned the true character of that old goat, Lucillius Dulligan, in time!

Mrs. Nebblit was mortified but Major Nebblit grinned behind his newspaper. He would have subscribed to the sentiment, uttered by the imperturbable Ah Wong who, from a safe distance, watched the boat depart. The latter bowed gravely to Lee Chung.

“The poet has written, honorable cousin: ‘How sweetly sad the parting. Good-by. Good-bv. Goodby.’ ”

"Aie,” agreed Lee Chung.