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Tales of Chinatown   By: (1883-1959)

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TALES OF CHINATOWN

By Sax Rohmer

1916

CONTENTS

THE DAUGHTER OF HUANG CHOW KERRY'S KID THE PIGTAIL OF HI WING HO THE HOUSE OF GOLDEN JOSS THE MAN WITH THE SHAVEN SKULL THE WHITE HAT TCHERIAPIN THE DANCE OF THE VEILS THE HAND OF THE MANDARIN QUONG THE KEY OF THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN

THE DAUGHTER OF HUANG CHOW

I

"DIAMOND FRED"

In the saloon bar of a public house, situated only a few hundred yards from the official frontier of Chinatown, two men sat at a small table in a corner, engaged in earnest conversation. They afforded a sharp contrast. One was a thick set and rather ruffianly looking fellow, not too cleanly in either person or clothing, and, amongst other evidences that at one time he had known the prize ring, possessing a badly broken nose. His companion was dressed with that spruceness which belongs to the successful East End Jew; he was cleanly shaven, of slight build, and alert in manner and address.

Having ordered and paid for two whiskies and sodas, the Jew, raising his glass, nodded to his companion and took a drink. The glitter of a magnificent diamond which he wore seemed to attract the other's attention almost hypnotically.

"Cheerio, Freddy!" said the thick set man. "Any news?"

"Nothing much," returned the one addressed as Freddy, setting his glass upon the table and selecting a cigarette from a packet which he carried in his pocket.

"I'm not so sure," growled the other, watching him suspiciously. "You've been lying low for a long time, and it's not like you to slack off except when there's something big in sight."

"Hm!" said his companion, lighting his cigarette. "What do you mean exactly?"

Jim Poland for such was the big man's name growled and spat reflectively into a spittoon.

"I've had my eye on you, Freddy," he replied; "I've had my eye on you!"

"Oh, have you?" murmured the other. "But tell me what you mean!"

Beneath his suave manner lay a threat, and, indeed, Freddy Cohen, known to his associates as "Diamond Fred," was in many ways a formidable personality. He had brought to his chosen profession of crook a first rate American training, together with all that mental agility and cleverness which belong to his race, and was at once an object of envy and admiration amongst the fraternity which keeps Scotland Yard busy.

Jim Poland, physically a more dangerous character, was not in the same class with him; but he was not without brains of a sort, and Cohen, although smiling agreeably, waited with some anxiety for his reply.

"I mean," growled Poland, "that you're not wasting your time with Lala Huang for nothing."

"Perhaps not," returned Cohen lightly. "She's a pretty girl; but what business is it of yours?"

"None at all. I ain't interested in 'er good looks; neither are you."

Cohen shrugged and raised his glass again.

"Come on," growled Poland, leaning across the table. "I know, and I'm in on it. D'ye hear me? I'm in on it. These are hard times, and we've got to stick together."

"Oh," said Cohen, "that's the game, is it?"

"That's the game right enough. You won't go wrong if you bring me in, even at fifty fifty, because maybe I know things about old Huang that you don't know."

The Jew's expression changed subtly, and beneath his drooping lids he glanced aside at the speaker. Then:

"It's no promise," he said, "but what do you know?"

Poland bent farther over the table.

"Chinatown's being watched again. I heard this morning that Red Kerry was down here."

Cohen laughed.

"Red Kerry!" he echoed. "Red Kerry means nothing in my young life, Jim."

"Don't 'e?" returned Jim, snarling viciously. "The way he cleaned up that dope crowd awhile back seemed to show he was no jug, didn't it?"

The Jew made a facial gesture as if to dismiss the subject.

"All right," continued Poland. "Think that way if you like. But the patrols have been doubled... Continue reading book >>




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