A Visitor

How came the fan there–and on the accursed square of ground
where no grass would grow? Rupert was not superstitious, yet his
heart gave a bound, and for the moment he felt sick. This fan
was the cause of much trouble in the past, it had cost one woman
her life, and it might yet claim another victim. With the fan in
his hand, and the yellow light of the guttering candle in the
lantern gleaming on its beauty, he stood stupidly staring,
unheeding the feeble piping of Petley’s voice, as he peered in
at the ruined archway.

“What’s the matter, Master Rupert?” questioned the old butler
with a shiver, “have you seen _It?_”

“No,” said Rupert at length, and he hardly knew his own voice so
heavy and thick it was, “there’s nothing to be seen.”

A cry came from the old man. “Don’t stand on that accursed
ground. Master Rupert,” he said, almost whimpering, “and
to-night, of all times.”

“Why to-night,” said Rupert, retreating back to the arch.

“Any night,” shivered Petley putting his hand on his young
master’s arm and drawing him out of the cloisters, “it’s not a
good place for an Ainsleigh to be in at night. The Abbot–”

“John, I don’t believe in the Abbot.”

“But Anne saw him–or It. She’s not the one to tell a lie.”

“Mrs. Petley is deceived in some way.” Rupert considered a
moment, and thrust the fan into his pocket. In the darkness, and
because he turned aside the lantern light, old Petley had not
seen that anything had been picked up. “I’m going to search
round,” said Rupert.

The butler gave a long wail as Ainsleigh broke from his grasp.
“No! no!” he cried, lifting his long hands, “not at night.”

But Rupert, now quite himself, did not heed the superstitious
cry. He disbelieved in ghosts more than ever. Some flesh and
blood person had brought the fan, and recollecting Burgh’s
story, and what Olivia had reported of Miss Pewsey’s talk that
afternoon, he quite expected to find Dr. Forge lurking in the
cloisters. He would search for him, and when face to face, he
would demand an explanation. So Rupert swiftly and lightly,
walked round, holding the light high and low in the hope of
discovering some crouching form. And all the time Petley waited,
trembling at the door.

The rain fell softly and there was a gentle wind swinging the
heavy boughs of the pines, so that a murmurous sound echoed
through the cloisters like the breaking of league-long waves on
a pebbly beach. For at least half an hour Rupert searched: but
he could see no one: he could not even find the impression of
feet, sodden as was the ground. After looking everywhere within
the cloister, and in the Abbey itself, he brushed past the old
butler and walked down the avenue. Here also, he was at fault as
he could see no one. The gates were closed: but there was a
light in the small house near at hand. Ainsleigh knocked at the
door, and shortly old Payne, holding a candle, above his head,
appeared, expressing surprise.

“Has anyone entered the gates to-night?” asked his master.

“No sir. I closed them at five as usual. No one has come in.”

There were no signs of the gates having been climbed, and the
wall which ran round the estate was so high and the top was
pricked with such cruel spikes, that no one could possibly have
entered that way. Old Payne insisted that no one had entered: he
had heard no voices, no footsteps, and seemed much perplexed by
the insistence of his young master. At length Rupert desisted
from making inquiries, being perfectly assured that he would
learn nothing. He returned up the avenue slowly to the mansion,
wondering how it came about, that Forge had entered the ground
and left the fan on the very spot where Abbot Raoul had been
burnt.

Mrs. Petley had recovered from her swoon and, with her husband,
had retreated to the kitchen. So, Rupert learned from Olivia,
and he then gave her a description of his finding of the fan.
She was very amazed and curious. “Show it to me,” she said.

“Not just now, dear,” replied Rupert walking to the door. “I
must ask Mrs. Petley first to explain what she saw.”

“She declares it was Abbot Raoul.”

“Pooh. Forge masquerading as the monk I expect. Though why he should
come here and bring this infernal fan I cannot understand. What is
the time, Olivia?”

“Nine o’clock,” she replied, “we had dinner early.”

“Yes. Well, I’ll see Mrs. Petley. You need not say anything
about the fan, and as old John didn’t see me pick it up, there
will be no difficulty with him.”

“Why should there be any difficulty with him?” asked Mrs.
Ainsleigh.

“Your aunt was killed for the sake of the fan, and the person
who killed her must have been within these grounds to-night. I
want to keep the matter quiet, until I see Rodgers to-morrow.
Then I’ll explain all, and place the fan in his hands.”

“Then you think Dr. Forge has been here?”

“Yes–or Clarence Burgh. But, as they have left Marport, I don’t
see what they have to gain by remaining in a place fraught with
so much danger to both.

“They can’t both be guilty, Rupert.”

“No. But Burgh declares that Forge strangled your aunt, and Miss
Pewsey lays the blame on her nephew. But I don’t believe either
one of them. I shouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the
assassin is Major Tidman after all. He wanted the fan badly, so
as to get the money.”

“But you were with him on the beach, between eleven and twelve.”

“I was, and the evidence of Dr. Forge went to show that Miss
Wharf was killed between those hours. But suppose, Olivia,”
Rupert sank his voice and drew nearer. “Suppose Forge knew from
the condition of the body that your aunt had been killed
_before_ eleven, and had procured the fan from Tidman by
threatening to say so, in which case the Major could not have
proved an alibi.”

“It might be so,” replied Mrs. Ainsleigh, “but then the body
would have been found earlier.”

“No. There was not a single person, so far as I know, who went
down those steps. Tung-yu certainly did,–but that was after the
crime was committed, and we know he did not carry the fan with
him. It is a very strange case. Perhaps after all, Tidman had
already killed the woman when he joined me on the beach to
smoke.”

“Oh Rupert, how horrid. Was he disturbed.”

“He certainly seemed rather alarmed but I put that down to the
circumstances. He never shook off his fear of that adventure he
had in Canton, and of course the mere presence of Chinamen would
make him uneasy. But he kept his own council. However, we can
talk of this later. I must see Mrs. Petley,” and Rupert
disappeared.

The housekeeper stuck to her story. She had gone into the
cloisters to gather mushrooms which grew therein, and had the
lantern with her. While stooping at the archway to see what she
could pick she heard, even through the moaning of the wind the
swish of a long garment. The sound brought her to her feet,
and–as she phrased it–with her heart in her mouth. The place
was uncanny and she had seen the Abbot before. “But never so
plain–oh never so plain,” wailed Mrs. Petley, throwing her
apron over her white hair and rocking. “I held the light over my
head and dropped it with a screech, for, there, not a yard away,
Master Rupert, I saw it, with a long gown and a hood over its
wicked white face–”

“Did you see the face?”

“I did, just as I dropped the lantern. White and wicked and
evil. I dropped on my knees and said a prayer with closed eyes
and then it went. I took the lantern and ran for the house for
dear life, till I burst in on you and the mistress. Oh, Master
Rupert dear, what did you see?”

“Nothing! And I believe, Mrs. Petley, you beheld some rascal
masquerading.”

“No! No! ‘Twas a ghost–oh dreary me, my days are numbered.”

Mrs. Petley could not be persuaded that the thing she saw was
flesh and blood, so Rupert gave up trying to convince her. He
returned the lantern back to old John and told the couple to
retire to bed. They were both white and nervous and not fit to
be up. Then he came back to the drawing-room and found Olivia
seated by the fire reading. At the door Rupert paused to think
what a pretty picture she made in her rich dinner-dress–one of
Miss Wharf’s gifts–and with one small hand supporting her
dainty head. She looked up, as though she felt the magic of his
gaze, and he approached swiftly to press a kiss on the hand she
held out to him. “Well?” asked Olivia.

Rupert shrugged his shoulders. “There’s nothing to be learned,”
said he, “Mrs. Petley won’t give in. She believes she has seen a
ghost, and declines that her days are numbered. As she is nearly
seventy, I daresay they are. But this fan”–he took it out of
his pocket.

“Let me see it,” said Olivia stretching out her hand.

But Rupert drew it away and spread out the leaves. “No, my dear,
I don’t like you to handle the horrible thing. And besides, you
have seen it often enough in the hand of your aunt.”

“Yes, but now there is an awful significance about it.”

“There’s blood–”

“Blood,” cried his wife shuddering, “but she was strangled.”

“I speak figuratively, my dear. This little trifle has cost one
life: it may cost more. I am quite sure Lo-Keong’s life hangs on
this fan, or he would not be so anxious to get it back. It has a
secret, and I intend to learn what the secret is.”

“Oh, you mean to wave it in the smoke,” said Olivia remembering
what Rupert had told her of Tung-yu’s speech.

“Yes I do. I want to see the invisible picture. Then, we may learn of
this hiding place which contains the things, Lo-Keong’s enemies wish
to secure. I expect it is some treasonous correspondence.”

“But, Rupert, the hiding-place will be in China. Lo-Keong would
not send papers of that kind to be concealed in England.”

“It would be the safest place,” replied Rupert dryly, “however,
I intend to try the experiment of waving this fan in the smoke.”

“You don’t know the kind of smoke?”

“I can guess the kind. Olivia do you remember that joss stick
which Mrs. Petley found in the Abbey.”

“Yes–at the time she saw the ghost.”

“Precisely. The ghost left that joss-stick behind on the first
occasion, and the fan on the second. Now I shouldn’t wonder if
the fan had got into the hands of Hwei, and that _he_ was the
ghost.”

“What makes you think that?”

“Well, Hwei confessed that he was lurking outside the Bristol
hotel to get a chance of killing Miss Wharf when she was lured
out by Tung-yu. That gentleman however played false. All the
same Hwei was here, and perhaps he came up to the Abbey–”

“Why?” asked Olivia looking perplexed.

“Ah, that I can’t tell you. But I fancy the answer is to be
found in this fan, as soon as we see the picture.”

“But the smoke.”

“Must be made by that joss-stick. It smells like cinnamon, and
is apparently a manufactured article. Hwei brought it, so that
he could wave the fan in its smoke and then learn the secret.
But he dropped the joss-stick and–where is it Olivia.”

“I put it in a drawer over there, after you showed it to me.”

Mrs. Ainsleigh went to a rose-wood cabinet and opened a drawer.
She then returned with the Joss-stick in her hand, and gave it
to her husband, who was kneeling on the hearth-rug. “I hope it
won’t explode, Rupert,” said Olivia nervously.

He stared. “Why should you think that?”

“Well it might have been dropped on purpose, and looks like
a cracker with that red paper round it. Perhaps there’s
dynamite–”

“Nonsense,” said Rupert taking out a match, “however, if you are
afraid, go into the next room.”

“No,” said Olivia seating herself, “if you are to be blown to
bits, I’ll be blown up with you.”

They both laughed at the idea, and then Rupert lighted the
match. It was distinctly nervous work however, and Olivia
started back, as her husband set the joss stick fizzling. She
was leaning forward in the chair with her dark head nearly
touching his fair hair. The joss stick smoked slowly and a queer
odour diffused itself though the room. Olivia sniffed. “Rupert,”
she said positively, “it’s the same scent as was on that letter
of Tung-yu’s.”

“And of Lo-Keong also,” said Rupert watching the thick bluish smoke,
which now began to curl up from the joss stick, “apparently the
Mandarin uses the perfume as a kind of clue, or perhaps it is a
special scent dedicated to this private god of his. I shall never
understand Chinamen and I’m very sure I don’t want too. Olivia, hold
the stick while I wave the fan in the smoke.”

Being now assured that the smoke was proceeding from a harmless
article, Mrs. Ainsleigh took the stick and held it lightly,
while her husband gravely waved the out-spread fan in the thick
smoke. The joss stick fizzled and burned and gave out its queer
smell, which made both slightly dizzy. Every now and then,
Rupert looked at the enamelled side of the fan, where Tung-yu
said that a picture would appear. There certainly did seem
something scrawled on the smooth green sticks, and a blurred
outline revealed itself. For quite ten minutes Ainsleigh
continued waving, until the joss stick burnt down nearly to the
root. Then he looked again, Olivia placed the still fizzling
joss stick in the fender, and peered over his shoulder. She
uttered a cry when she saw the black outline of the picture, and
Rupert nearly echoed it. They were looking at a drawing of the
cloisters.

Yes–there were the cloisters of Royabay Abbey taken, as by a
camera, from the archway. The architecture was clear enough, and
the trees also. But the picture was merely evanescent, for as
the fan grew cold again the outlines vanished. However, they
knew that the hiding place of the presumed papers, was within
the cloisters of Royabay–but in what spot. Rupert laid down the
fan and propounded the problem to his wife. “The indications
would be more exact.”

“Yes,” replied Olivia thoughtfully, and picked up the fan, “I
suppose you are right, Rupert. It must have been Hwei who came
to the Abbey on the night my aunt was killed and dropped the
joss stick. Perhaps he came to see if he could find the hiding
place, without the aid of the fan.”

“No,” said Rupert, “Hwei is the servant of Lo-Keong, and
probably knew of the hiding place; whereas Tung-yu, who served
Hop Sing wanted the fan to learn about it. I expect had Tung-yu
bought the fan, he would have come here and found the papers and
then have cleared out to China to place them in his master’s
hands and ruin Lo-Keong.”

“Are you sure there are papers hidden?” said Olivia, fingering
the beads dangling from the thick yellow cord.

“I think so. It can’t be gold or silver or jewels. However, what
we have to do is to find what is hidden. Then when Lo-Keong
comes down we can make a bargain with him. If he hands over my
eight thousand, I’ll give him whatever we find.”

“But how are we find the spot,” said Mrs. Ainsleigh dreamily.
“Oh, Rupert,” she added, “it’s in one of the trees. Don’t you
remember a tree was drawn at the side of the picture with a
white line down the trunk?”

“No, I didn’t see that. I saw the four trees and the stump drawn
in the picture.”

Mrs. Ainsleigh rattled the beads through her fingers. “Four
beads and half a bead,” she exclaimed, “Rupert, those stand for
the four trees and for the stump.”

“What makes you think so?”

“The half bead–that is the stump, and see, one of the beads is
of jasper, that might be the copper beech.”

“By jove,” Rupert jumped up, “I believe you are right.”

“I am sure I am, and in the tree drawn at the side of the
picture which you did not observe, there was a white line down
the trunk.”

“Well,” said Rupert pondering, “perhaps whatever is hidden is
tied to a string or a chain and is dropped down the trunk of one
of the four trees–or perhaps in the stump.”

“Not in the stump,” said Olivia quickly, “for then the line
would be visible, while in the other trees it would be concealed
in the thick foliage. I fancy the line must be down the copper
beech trunk, as there is but one red bead.”

“There is but one tree though–one copper beech you know,” said
her husband. “I am inclined to think that to make things safer,
the hiding place must be in one of the green trees signified by
the jade beads. The question is, which tree is it?”

Olivia looked at the fan again, and as she did so started.
Rupert also raised his head. They heard the sound of wheels
scrunching the gravel outside, and wondered who was arriving so
late. The clock pointed to half-past ten. The servants had gone
to bed, so Rupert followed by his wife, who was rather nervous,
went to the door. When Rupert opened it he found himself facing
a tall handsome man in a fur cloak, and wearing a strange hat.

“Good evening,” said the stranger in the best of English, “I
speak to Mr. Ainsleigh I think, I am the Marquis Lo-Keong.”

“I must apologise for this very late visit,” said Lo-Keong, when
he was conducted to the drawing-room by his surprised host, “but
I must explain–”

“Not now. Marquis,” replied Ainsleigh, giving his visitor the
rank which he claimed, “you must be weary and hungry.”

“No. I am perfectly well, and enjoyed a meal before I left
London. If you will give my servants orders to take up my
luggage, and will then hear what I have to say, you will do
everything I desire.”

Rupert went again to the hall to tell the two Chinese servants,
which Lo Keong had brought with him, to take the trunks up to
the bed-room which the Marquis would occupy. Then he went to the
back and made Mr. and Mrs. Petley rise. Both were disturbed when
they heard that a Chinese grandee was in the house. “I do hope
he won’t bring trouble with him,” said Mrs. Petley to her
husband. “I never could a-bear them things, since I saw that
creature who brought home the old master’s baggage. And, Missus,
as is dead, couldn’t bear him either.”

“He was a cock-eyed man,” said old John reflectively.

“Cock-eyed yourself,” retorted the housekeeper who had a better
memory, “he was one-eyed, and a nice ugly thing he looked. Ah
well, as I always says, Abbot Raoul don’t walk for nothing, and
this Chiner gentleman coming here, means trouble.”

Old John who was much the same way of thinking himself, grew
annoyed by his wife’s pessimism and told her to hurry up and
come to the kitchen. Then he went to see after the bed-room
which his master had selected for the untoward guest. Mrs.
Petley came down to find her kitchen in the possession of two
grave silent Chinamen who had lighted the fire and were boiling
water for tea. “Well, I’m sure,” said Mrs. Petley surveying both
with distaste, “the idear of these furreiners taking liberties,”
and she sniffed at the Far East.

Meanwhile, Rupert returned to the drawing-room and found the
Marquis paying attentions to his wife. Lo-Keong was a tall,
fine-looking man, grave and extremely polite. He had admirable
manners, and his clothes were of the finest. Olivia in her rich
dinner dress, felt quite plainly dressed beside this gorgeous
gentleman, who wore a jacket of rose-pink, a coat of grass green
satin, pale blue silk trousers, and thick-soled white green
shoes. He also had a glossy pig-tail woven with silk, and
carried a small fan–at which Olivia shuddered. Seated in a deep
arm-chair, he looked a potentate, quite out of place in that
sober English drawing-room. The Marquis was very affable, and
deferential to Mrs. Ainsleigh, who quite overcame her dislike to
Celestials after a few moments converse with this splendid
specimen of the aristocracy of Cathay.

“You are quite sure you won’t have some refreshment?” she asked.

Lo-Keong waved his slim hand graciously. “I thank you, no,” said
he, “and if you will allow me to explain myself, you can then
retire. I am ashamed of having called at this hour. But,” he
looked at Rupert first and at Olivia afterwards, “my excuse is a
good one. I have seen Hwei–whom you know.”

Ainsleigh shuddered. “Yes, and I don’t retain any very pleasant
recollections of that gentleman,” said he.

Lo-Keong laughed quietly, “Hwei is a true devotée of the god
Kwang-ho.”

“I don’t understand about that god,” said Olivia.

“I have come to explain,” said the Chinaman, “it is a great pity
I did not come before. You would then have had no trouble about
this,” and he took up the famous fan which Olivia had tossed on
the sofa.

“Oh,” the young couple looked at one another, and if they did
not say “oh,” the expression of “oh”–an amazed “oh” was on
their faces.

Lo-Keong seemed to have his eyes everywhere, and took up the fan
as if it was the most natural thing it should be lying there.
“You understand,” he went on in his calm well-bred voice. “I
have seen Hwei and he told me everything.”

“About the murder?”

“About the murder, Mrs. Ainsleigh, and about the hunt for the
assassin; also about your husband’s visit to London, and full
details concerning the folly of Tung-yu–my enemy’s servant, who
related how the picture on this,” he laid a long yellow finger
on the fan, “could be brought to light,” his eyes wandered to
the fragment of the joss stick within the fender. “I observe
that you have been clever enough to see the picture.”

“Yes,” said Rupert, quite amazed at this penetration, “but how
do you know that?”

“Very easily. Hwei told me that he came to the cloisters one
night to see that all was well—-”

“He knew of the hiding place then?” asked Olivia, eagerly.

“Certainly. I have always trusted Hwei, but Tung-yu did not
know, and hence his desire to procure the fan. Hwei was here on
the night poor Miss Wharf was killed, and dropped the joss
stick. You have been clever enough to make use of it. Well, now
you both know where the packet is?”

“The packet?”

“Of papers which mean my life–papers connected with the Boxers,
which the Mandarin Hop Sing would give much to possess.”

“We know that the packet is hidden in a tree,” said Rupert, “but
which tree we cannot guess.”

“Ah,” Lo-Keong slipped the beads through his fingers, “here is a
piece of jade with a gold band round it.”

“The third bead—-”

“Consequently the third tree. We will look for the packet, as
soon as I explain myself. The packet must be safe, as you have
the fan, and I know, Mr. Ainsleigh, you are my friend, as I was
the friend of your father before you.”

“What,” Rupert threw back his head. “I understood from Dr.
Forge, that you were my enemy.”

Lo-Keong frowned. “Ah! he goes as far as that,” said he, then
paused a moment. “I will explain.”

Olivia would have interrupted, but he threw out a long arm in an
imperious manner, and began his story without further preamble,
playing with the fan all the time.

“My name,” said the Marquis, “is Lo-Keong, and I am a native of
the province of Kan-Su—-”

“Where the mine is,” murmured Rupert.

“Exactly, Mr. Ainsleigh. My native town is on the Hwei River,
and not far from the mine your father bought—-”

“Along with Dr. Forge.”

“Pardon me, sir, but Dr. Forge did not buy it. He was merely a
servant of your father’s. The mine was owned by your father
alone. I conducted the negotiations on behalf of the owner of
the land.”

“But Forge says—-”

“I can guess.” Lo-Keong waved his hand coldly. “He blackens my
name to you, and lies about the mine. Always bad–always foul,
always a liar–that man must be killed. I have spared him too
long.”

Olivia shuddered. “No Marquis,” said she, “I beg that there may
be no more murders.”

“Not in England, but when this Forge comes again to China,” here
the Marquis smiled in a cruel way, but made no further remark.
The young people shuddered. He smiled benignly on them, and went
on with his story in a calm level voice.

“My respected parent was a merchant,” said he calmly, “and he
gave me a fine education, of which, as you know, we think
greatly in the Middle Kingdom. I secured the Hanlin degree,
which is very high, and so became greater than my friend Hop
Sing, who failed. That success made Hop Sing my enemy. I
returned home, and Hop Sing made trouble. It is not necessary to
explain how,” added the Marquis with another wave of his hand.
“But the trouble resulted in my leaving my parental roof, and
becoming a soldier with the Boxers who then conspired against
the Empress Dowager. But before I left my native town, I acted
as the middle man between a respected resident and Mr. Markham
Ainsleigh who desired to lease a gold mine on the Hwei River. I
left him in full possession of the rights to work the mine, and
Dr. Forge assisted him.”

“Not as a partner?” asked Rupert breathlessly.

“By no means, Mr. Ainsleigh. Forge was a good doctor, but he
knew nothing about mining. He doctored the Coolies, and attended
to minor matters. Your father looked after the mine personally.
I understand he learned how to do so in California.”

“Yes–He was there before I was born, but–”

“Permit me to continue, Mr. Ainsleigh. Well then, I left your
father in possession of the mine, and joined the Boxers. I rose
to be a leader, and afterwards returned to see my parents. At
that time the rebellion–for that it was–proved unfortunate, so
it was necessary that I should conceal myself. I took service
with your father as a foreman of the mine, and I can safely
say,” said Lo-Keong with a certain show of emotion, “that your
father saved my life. I consider myself indebted to him, and now
I am indebted to his son.”

“It is very good of you,” said Rupert. “I need a friend.”

“You have one in me,” said the Marquis courteously. “But to
proceed, as the night grows darker. I was your father’s friend,
Hop Sing was his enemy, and Forge sided with Hop Sing.”

“But why did he do that?” asked Ainsleigh impetuously. “Forge
was at college with my father–they were great friends–”

“So Mr. Markham Ainsleigh thought. But Dr. Forge was greedy and
wished to have the mine to himself. Hop Sing, who had some
influence at the Imperial Court, promised to help Dr. Forge to
get rid of your father and secure the mine provided I was
ruined.”

“And Forge acted this base part.”

“He did,” said the Mandarin quietly. “I may tell you Mr.
Ainsleigh that I was completely in your father’s confidence. He
made a great deal of money out of the mine, and I arranged for
it to be turned into safe investments through a third person
whose name need not be mentioned. A large sum was placed out at
interest and all these many years the interest has been
accumulating. You will receive a handsome sum I assure you, Mr.
Ainsleigh.”

“But,” broke in Olivia perplexed. “Dr. Forge told my husband
that the whole amount was eighteen thousand, of which ten
thousand belonged to him and eight thousand to Rupert.”

“Dr. Forge places the money obtained from the mine at a low
figure,” said the Chinaman smiling, “what the amount is, I shall
tell you later. Meanwhile I must explain the intrigue which led
to your father’s murder—-”

“Ah,” Rupert leaped to his feet, “then he _was_ murdered.”

“He was–by the emissary of Hop Sing. Be calm, Mr. Ainsleigh, and be
seated. Your father died quietly enough by strangulation—-”

“What. Was he killed in the same way as Miss Wharf?”

Lo-Keong bowed his stately head, “Yes, and by the same
person—-”

“Tung-yu,” cried Olivia starting to her feet in her turn.

“Exactly, Mrs. Ainsleigh. I know that Tung-yu strangled Mr.
Markham Ainsleigh, and I believe that he strangled your aunt.”

Rupert sat down on the sofa and drew his wife down beside him.
“But Tung-yu was the man who was to buy the fan—-”

“Quite so.” Lo-Keong folded and unfolded the fan calmly. “You
know of the god Kwang-ho.”

“Yes–but I can’t understand—-”

“Naturally,” the Marquis laughed quietly, “that is a thing
beyond the comprehension of a Western barbarian–your pardon for
so calling you, Kwang-ho,” went on the Mandarin, “is an ancestor
of mine who lived during the Ming dynasty. He was a sage, and
very famous, so I took him as my private god.”

Olivia looked amazed and a little shocked. “A private god. I
never knew that anyone could have a private god even in China,”
she said.

“If you have read Roman history, Mrs. Ainsleigh, you will
remember the Lares and Penates, which were something of the same
kind. I was very unfortunate with the public gods of my country,
so I chose Kwang-ho to be my genius–my destiny. I had an image
made and offered him incense. It was, in fact what you might call
ancestral worship; only I looked upon Kwang-ho as one who could
control my destiny. I was right,” said Lo-Keong emphatically, “for,
from the moment I sacrificed to Kwang-ho, my fortunes changed.”

“In what way?” asked Rupert, wondering that a clever man like
this should talk so superstitiously.

“In every way. The priest of my new god Kwang-ho consulted the
deity and ordered that I should leave the Boxers and attach
myself to the party of the Empress Dowager, who was to be all
powerful in the future. I think,” added Lo-Keong smiling
blandly, “that Kwang-ho was right in that. Who is so powerful as
my august mistress.”

“True enough,” admitted Ainsleigh impatiently, “but what has
this to do with the death of my father?”

“Patience, Mr. Ainsleigh. I arranged to leave the Boxers. We
were fighting for the Emperor, who was then being crushed by the
Empress Dowager. I had many papers showing my devotion to the
Boxer cause and to His Imperial Majesty. These papers I intended
to destroy: but remembering that some day the Emperor might
overcome the Empress, I decided to keep the papers. They would
show that I had worked for the Emperor, and thus my fortunes
would be secure should His Imperial Majesty reign alone. As
yet,” added Lo-Keong with a shrug, “he has not reigned alone and
my august mistress still rules the destinies of the middle
kingdom.”

“Ah. And if she got those papers?—-”

“She would cut off my head,” replied Lo-Keong quietly, “so now
you see why I thought it best to conceal them. I wished to
preserve the papers so as to keep myself in favour with the
Emperor, when he became supreme, and I wished to conceal them
from the Empress Dowager and her spies, while she ruled China.
You understand?”

“We do,” said the young couple. “So you used the means of the
fan to tell where they were hidden?” asked Rupert.

The Mandarin assented. “I did. I spoke to your father about this
plan of concealment. I knew the papers would not be safe in
China, as the emissaries of Hop Sing would find them, and I
should be ruined, so on the suggestion of your father, I decided
to hide them in England.”

“But why in the Abbey?”

“Mr. Markham Ainsleigh’s suggestion, sir. He said that this
place had been in the possession of his family for years and
would likely continue to remain under the Ainsleigh–”

“Alas–alas,” sighed Rupert.

“Not at all, sir,” was Lo-Keong’s brisk reply, “you will
have enough money to keep this place I assure you. But to
continue–your father, whose health was very bad, arranged to
take his money back to this place, and to take also the papers I
wished to hide. We arranged that they should be concealed in the
third tree and then I hit upon the plan of an invisible picture
on the fan with the assistance of the beads to identify the
hiding-place.”

“But was that necessary when you knew the hiding-place?”

“I wished my heirs to benefit by my services to the Emperor
during the Boxer rising; and they were not to know of the
existence of these papers till I died. So you will understand–”

“Yes! It’s very interesting, so please go on.”

“Well while we were arranging these things Forge went to Pekin,
and got a concession to work the mine from the Empress through
the influence of Hop Sing. Meanwhile, I arranged to enter the
service of my Imperial Mistress, and left your father ill of
dysentery.”

“Of which, according to Forge, he died.”

“No,” said the Mandarin decisively, “he was recovering. He had
the packet and the fan which he was to take to this place. Hwei
was to go with him, and design the invisible picture and hide
the packet. I went to see about letting your father have the
money which I had invested for him. All was ready and he was
winding up his affairs. Then the emissary of Hop Sing strangled
your father–”

“Tung-yu,” said Rupert much agitated.

“I have already said that,” replied the Marquis rather tartly,
“your father died, and Forge obtained the mine. But he did not
hold it long. I represented that Forge had obtained the death of
Mr. Markham Ainsleigh through Hop Sing. The Empress took my
view. Hop Sing was disgraced and I was promoted. Forge had to
leave China for the time being, but he came back several times.
I sent Hwei to this place with your father’s effects and with
the fan. He concealed the packet and drew the picture. Your
mother was alive then, Mr. Ainsleigh, and Hwei showed her the
fan, though he did not tell her the secret.”

“Ah,” cried Rupert, “now I remember where I saw the fan.”

“Yes,” Lo-Keong nodded, “as a boy of five you may remember it.”

“I certainly do. But Marquis, why did you not send my father’s
money to my mother?”

“Ah. She died, and although I knew you were the heir and in the
guardianship of Forge who was your enemy I could do nothing. Hop
Sing got the upper hand again and I was in my turn disgraced.
Then Hop Sing learned about the papers, and about the fan being
the means of finding the hiding-place. He ordered Tung-yu to
find the fan. Hwei was bringing the fan back from England to me.
He was assaulted when he landed in China, but he luckily had
given the fan to a brother of his, so Hop Sing could not find
it. Then the brother was killed and a coolie, who knew nothing
of the fan, took possession of it. Afterwards, I wanted the fan.
Hop Sing told me what he suspected, so I applied to the god
Kwang-ho. The god declared, through his priest, that Hop Sing
was to come with me to the shrine. He did so, and thus, bitter
enemies as we were, we came for a time to be in peace.”

“And then the arrangement was made?”

“Yes. The god said that an equal chance must be given to good
and evil. Hwei was appointed to find the fan for me, and to give
death to the person who had it. Tung-yu acted for Hop Sing and
was to give a reward of not less than five thousand pounds so
that the person who held the fan should be rich for life. Each
was to hold sway for twenty-four hours. I caused this to be
published in the Chinese newspaper in Pekin. The coolie heard it
and being fearful lest he should be killed, he kept the fan for
years and said nothing. Then Major Tidman–”

“Ah I know. He came to see how my father died.”

“Quite so, Mr. Ainsleigh, and the coolie, knowing the fan was
connected with the death–for he afterwards went to Kan-su mine
and asked questions–gave the fan to the Major to get rid of it,
and–”

“And we know the rest,” said Rupert rising. “Tidman gave it to
Dr. Forge, and he gave it to you–or rather you caused it to be
taken from him.”

“No,” said the Mandarin, “that is not true. I never saw the fan
till now. All these years I have never set eyes on it.”

“But Dr. Forge said–”

“Whatever he said he speaks falsely,” said Lo-Keong, “but it is
growing late, Mr. Ainsleigh, and I see that your wife is weary.
Let us retire and I shall tell you the rest of the story
to-morrow. But before I go to rest,” added the Mandarin
decidedly, “I must assure myself that the packet is still in the
trunk of the third tree.”

Rupert was quite ready and lighted the lantern. The two men went
to the Abbey into the pitchy darkness, and walked to the third
tree near the bare spot. Lo-Keong who seemed to be able to see
in the dark like a cat looked round, and laid his finger on a
huge oak. “This is the tree,” said he confidently.

“But I can’t very well see,” said Rupert, “from which side do
you count?”

“From the left to right,” explained the mandarin, “in these
robes, Mr. Ainsleigh, I cannot climb the tree, will you please
to do so. You will find the hollow trunk and the line. Pall it
up: the papers will be at the end. Bring them to me if you
please.”

So speaking Lo-Keong took the light and Rupert although in thin
evening dress began to climb the tree. Luckily it was not
difficult as the branches hung low, but it was disagreeable on
account of the dripping wet. Every movement shook down much
moisture. However, the active young man disappeared in the
foliage and then felt round. He could not see, and came down to
get the lantern, which the Chinaman passed to him. Then he found
that the trunk of the tree was broken off, amidst the thick
branches, and that the centre was hollow. He espied a rusty thin
chain, and pulled it up. At the end there was a small box, which
he brought down. With an exclamation of joy Lo-Keong took it. It
opened easily in his hand.

“Gone,” cried the Marquis in a voice of anguish.

He spoke truly. The box was empty.

Next morning at the early hour of nine o’clock Orlando Rodgers
drove up to Royabay filled with curiosity. He had received
Rupert’s letter which summoned him to come down on matters
connected with the murder, and he was eager to learn details.
Rodgers himself, had been unlucky. He had traced The Stormy
Petrel to the Thames near Rotherhithe, and had learned from the
Captain that two Chinamen had hired the boat for a couple of
days. They went down to Marport and had gone ashore early in the
evening. They came on board again after midnight, and then had
requested to be put ashore at Rotherhithe. The Captain confessed
that he had been paid well for the job, and thought–with a
wink–that there was no chance of his knowing his employers
again.

Rodgers of course recognised that Tung-yu and Hwei in their
queer partnership had hired the yacht–which it seems was a
public boat anyone could take for a period,–and he knew also
that the den, where Rupert and Clarence had met with their
adventures, was in Rotherhithe. He learned of this from no less
a person than Mr. Burgh himself, for the buccaneer called at the
police office in London to ask if the Chinamen had been caught.
Rodgers had extracted a full account of the adventures, and had
gone to the den only to find it empty, and the Chinamen
conspicuous by their absence. Burgh himself had not returned as
he promised, and the detective was annoyed at this, after he
heard Rupert’s story. Had he known what this was, he certainly
would have arrested Burgh there and then, for participation in
the murder. But the astute Clarence in telling his Penter’s
Alley adventure, had taken care not to incriminate himself.

On arrival the detective was shown into the drawing-room where
Rupert was sitting with the stately Mandarin. Olivia was not
present as she had heard quite enough about the fan, and wished
to hear no more, not even the end of Lo-Keong’s very interesting
story. Rodgers recognised that Lo-Keong was of a different type
of Celestial to Tung-yu and Hwei, and paid him great deference.
He explained to Rupert his ill-success with the yacht Stormy
Petrel, and detailed the interview with Clarence.

“I wish I had told you about him in my letter,” said Rupert
jumping up, much annoyed with himself, “you could have arrested
him.”

And when Rodgers heard the story, he blamed Ainsleigh, as much
as he blamed himself for not having risked an arrest on
suspicion.

“But you know, sir,” said he, huffily, “Burgh really didn’t give
himself away. I could do nothing to him–or to the Captain of
the Stormy Petrel either on what evidence I hear. As to those
Chinamen–”

“Ah,” said Lo-Keong, “you must let me deal with them Mr.
Rodgers.”

“Can you deal with Tung-yu.”

The Mandarin drew down the corners of his mouth. “I think so,”
said he, “it is my belief that he has the papers.”

“What papers, sir?”

Lo-Keong, seeing it was absolutely necessary to make things
plain, if he wanted to secure his precious packet, related
almost word for word the story he had told on the previous
night. “So you see,” he observed, “Tung-yu probably strangled
Miss Wharf as formerly he strangled Mr. Markham Ainsleigh. I
discussed this with Hwei, and he, knowing that Tung-yu had
betrayed him once, was much of the same opinion.”

“But if Tung-yu has the papers, why did he write to Tidman?”
argued Rupert, not inclined to take, this view.

“Probably to throw Hwei off the scent. Tung-yu knows well enough
that if he started for China, Hwei would suspect he had the
papers, and would follow him to get them.”

“By murder?”

“Probably,” said the Mandarin indifferently, “and after all sir,
why not? Tung-yu killed your father and Miss Wharf. Hwei is
watching him, and if he can make sure that Tung-yu has my
parcel, he will kill him–with my approval,” ended Lo-Keong
calmly.

“Wait a bit,” said Rodgers also coolly, though the speech
astonished him not a little, “when you talked to Hwei, you did
not know that the papers had been stolen.”

“No. But he who has the fan has the papers. Hwei and I both
thought that Tung-yu had the fan, and therefore Hwei watches
him. I came down unexpectedly last night instead of waiting, so
that I might assure myself that the packet was safe. But only a
short time before, Mr. Ainsleigh found the fan. Tung-yu must
have come down and taken the papers.”

Rupert nodded. “Certainly. Without doubt he was the ghost Mrs.
Petley saw, and when she came on him suddenly, he dropped the
fan and fled. He must have climbed the wall of the park in spite
of the spikes.”

Lo-Keong smiled sourly, “I do not think anything–spikes or
otherwise would have kept Tung-yu from gaining possession of
those papers. And of course he knew the way to make the picture
visible.”

“How was that. I thought only you and my father and Hwei–”

“Ah,” said the Mandarin calmly, “it seems that Tung-yu overheard
the discussion between myself and your father as to the hiding
of the papers and the plan of the fan. When he strangled Markham
Ainsleigh, he hoped to find the packet at once. But Hwei secured
both the fan and the packet. I have told you how they came to
England, and how Hwei gave the fan to his brother. The brother
was killed by accident and the coolie I spoke of, found the fan
in his clothing, knowing nothing of it’s significance. Then he
learned the truth from the notice I put in the Pekin paper, and
was afraid lest he should offend the god Kwang-ho. No he was not
afraid of death–few of us are in China. But the anger of a god
is different: it means ages of torment and the chance of being
born again in the belly of some creeping animal. So the coolie
kept the fan, till he found an opportunity of giving it to a
foreign devil, in the person of Major Tidman. I can’t understand
how he knew the Major wanted the fan, save that he must have
heard that Tidman was searching for news as to the death of
Markham Ainsleigh. The coolie then knew, from enquiries at the
mine, that the fan was connected with the death, and thus that
the god Kwang-ho might have appointed the death of Markham.
Yes,” said the Mandarin complacently, “the coolie was afraid of
the god, and no doubt was glad when Major Tidman took the fan.”

Rodgers stared as Lo-Keong spoke. “It’s rum to hear a gentleman
like yourself talk this way, sir,” he said.

“Ah,” smiled the Mandarin, “our Eastern ways are different to
yours.”

“Yes,” said the detective, “but you are so clever, that I don’t
see how you can believe in all this stuff about the private
god.”

Lo-Keong waved his hand imperatively. “Let us not speak of that,
or we anger Kwang-ho. He is the controller of my destiny. Rather
let us see how we can recover my papers from Tung-yu.”

“If he has them,” put in Rupert perplexedly. “And if so, Hwei
will get them back.”

“Assuredly,” replied the Mandarin, “the first attempt that
Tung-yu makes to leave England for our own land, Hwei will guess
the truth, and will kill him to get the fan or the papers.”

“But the fan is here.”

“Yes. Hwei however thinks Tung-yu has it. I shall tell him that
Tung-yu has taken the papers.

“But by breaking the agreement come to before the god, won’t
Kwang-ho be angry, Marquis.”

“Hwei does not mind, he is my slave and will do anything for me.
No–No,” added the Marquis calmly, “as Tung-yu first disobeyed
the god, in not bringing Miss Wharf to meet with her doom at the
hands of Hwei, Kwang-ho will give him up to my vengeance.”

Neither of the Europeans could make anything of this. “What we
want to know,” said Ainsleigh, speaking for himself and Rogers,
“is, how did the fan get back to you?”

“I told you last night it did not get back,” replied Lo-Keong.
“I heard from Hwei that the fan was given to Miss Wharf by
Burgh–but how he got it–” Lo-Keong shook his head.

“From a pirate in Chinese waters.”

“No. The fan never came back to China.” Lo-Keong took a paper
out of his pocket, “I should have given that to you last night.
It will show you why Hwei and Tung-yu came to look for the fan
in England,” and he gave the paper to Rupert.

The young man read it. It was in scratchy female handwriting,
and was to the effect that the fan of the Marquis was in the
possession of a certain person in England. No name was signed to
this paper, and after Rodgers had read it, Lo-Keong took it
again and laid it on the table. “So you see,” he remarked, “when
I got that letter, I knew the fan was in England. I sent Hwei to
search for it, and of course Tung-yu on behalf of Hop Sing came
also. They could not find who had written the letter, and
advertised the fan as you know.”

“Then Burgh told a lie,” said Rupert.

Lo-Keong opened his mouth to speak, but before he could do so,
Mrs. Ainsleigh entered with a sheet of foolscap in her hand. “I
beg your pardon for interrupting you gentlemen,” she said
excitedly, “but here is something you should know. Rupert,” she
turned to her husband and thrust the paper into his hand. “It’s
from Dr. Forge.”

“What?” cried Ainsleigh astonished. “Has he dared to write?”

“Yes, and he writes to some purpose. Read it out Rupert. I am
sure the Marquis and Mr. Rodgers will be glad to hear.”

“If it bears on the case,” hesitated the detective.

“It does,” answered Olivia seating herself, “listen.”

Rupert glanced at the heading of the letter. “He gives London as
his address,” he said, “so he apparently is afraid of being
caught.”

“Read, dear,” said Mrs. Ainsleigh impatiently.

Thus adjured Rupert began. “My dear Mrs. Ainsleigh,” said Forge
in his communication, “I write to you rather than your husband,
as I think you will judge me fairer than he will.”

“As if I could,” put in Mrs. Ainsleigh impatiently.

“I am not a good man, and I never pretended to be. But I have
been poor all my life, and the lack of money is the cause of my
having acted in a way which, otherwise I should not have done.
There is much truth in Becky Sharp’s remark that anyone can be
good on five thousand a year. Had I possessed that amount this
letter would never have been written. As it is, I write, because
I hear that the Marquis Lo-Keong is in England, and he will no
doubt, tell your husband his own story.”

“Which is not creditable to Forge,” said the Marquis, suavely.

Rupert nodded and proceeded . . . . “I was at college with
Markham Ainsleigh, your husband’s father, and he believed in me.
But I was always jealous of him, as he was handsomer than I was;
he possessed an ancient and honoured name, and was fairly well
off. I was born of poor parents and was of humble origin.
Markham certainly helped me with money and with influence, so
that I obtained my degree.”

“And a nice way he repaid his obligations,” said Olivia,
sharply.

“He’s frank enough about his baseness at all events,” said
Rupert, and then continued the letter. “Markham wanted money,
and as the doctor of a liner to Hong-Kong, I had heard of a
little-worked gold mine on the Hwei River. I told Markham about
it, and proposed that he should go to China to work the mine. He
agreed, and took me with him, as he thought that my medical
knowledge would benefit him.”

“Does Forge say he owned part of the mine?” asked Lo-Keong.

“No. Listen,” said Rupert, reading slowly. “I was merely the
doctor, as Markham bought the rights to work the mine with his
own money. But he promised me a share, and my share now amounts
to ten thousand pounds.”

“That is true in a way,” said Lo-Keong, “out of the money I pay
you, Mr. Ainsleigh, this man can certainly claim that amount.”

“Then what I receive must be a large sum,” said Rupert.

The Chinaman smiled faintly. “Much larger than you think,” said
Lo-Keong, “pardon my interruption and proceed.”

Rupert continued. “But I was not satisfied with my share, and
wanted all the money. Lo-Keong had an enemy called Hop Sing, and
he promised if I could ruin Lo-Keong that he would put Markham
out of the way, and give me the money which had been obtained by
working the mine. I knew that Markham had never sent any money
home, as he wanted to wait until he could become a millionaire,
and then return to astonish his wife, and restore the splendours
of Royabay. I therefore saw Hop Sing—-”

“I think you can leave all that out, Mr. Ainsleigh,” said
Lo-Keong, “it is the story I told you.”

“So it is,” said Rupert, running his eyes down the closely
written page. “Well–hum–hum,” he picked up the thread of the
tale lower down. “It seems,” he said, speaking for himself,
“that Hop Sing fell into disgrace, and Forge could not get the
money. He went to China several times, as Hop Sing recovered his
position—-”

“And I fell into disgrace,” said the Marquis, “the Empress is a
woman you know–pardon me, Mrs. Ainsleigh–and whimsical.”

“Well,” said Rupert, smiling, “you seem to have been up and down
several times. When Hop Sing was in favour. Forge went to China,
but the Mandarin refused to help him to get the money which was
under the control of Lo-Keong, unless the fan was obtained.
Forge learned the conditions of the fan, and finally got it from
the Major. He took it to England and locked it up in a cabinet.
But he was afraid to take it to China or use it in case Hwei
should kill him.”

“And Hwei would have killed him,” said the Marquis, “it was as
well that Forge was so careful. But how did he lose the fan?”

“Miss Pewsey took it,” said Rupert glancing at the letter.

“A woman,” the Marquis took the note from the table, and passed
it to Mrs. Ainsleigh. “Tell me, madam, is that a woman’s
handwriting.”

Olivia looked surprised. “It is Miss Pewsey’s handwriting.”

“Ah,” said Rupert, “so she wrote to Lo-Keong telling him the fan
was in England. Listen to what the doctor says,” and he began to
read again. “Miss Pewsey came to my house and was very friendly.
She wanted me to marry her, saying she was trying to get Miss
Wharf to leave her the money, that should have been left to you
Mrs. Ainsleigh.”

“Ah,” said Olivia significantly, “so she did work for that. Go
on.”

The letter went on as follows:–“I didn’t like Miss Pewsey who
was old and ugly and evil–much worse than I ever was, in my
worst days. But she haunted my house and I got used to her. I
used to smoke opium, and grew very ill. In fact on more than one
occasion I became delirious. Miss Pewsey came and nursed me.
She took advantage of my delirium to learn the whole story of
the fan, and learned also–don’t be startled at this Mrs.
Ainsleigh–that through me Markham had lost his life.”

“We know that from the Marquis,” said Rodgers, “but I suspect
Mr. Forge wouldn’t have spoken out had he not guessed the
Marquis would tell the whole yarn. Go on Mr. Ainsleigh.”

“Miss Pewsey,” went on the letter, “insisted that I should
marry her, or else she threatened to reveal the story to Rupert.
I was unwilling that this should be, as I thought–and very
rightly–that I should get into trouble.”

“And he would have,” Rupert, broke off grimly to explain, “I
should have shaken the life out of him. However, to continue,”
and he again began to read this highly interesting letter. “I
therefore agreed to marry her, but always sought an opportunity
of escape. During one of my insensible fits after a bout of
opium smoking. Miss Pewsey took the key from my watch chain and
opening the cabinet gained possession of the fan. I denied this
to Major Tidman at Miss Pewsey’s behest, or else Miss Pewsey
would have denounced me.”

“Not she,” said Rodgers, chuckling, “she would have lost her
husband had she done so.”

“She has lost him in any case,” said Olivia, “but I can tell you
what is in the rest of the letter, as I see Rupert is tired of
reading. Miss Pewsey gave the fan to Clarence to give to me—-”

“To win your favour,” said Rupert.

“No. To bring about my death. Miss Pewsey thought if I was out
of the way, she would get Aunt Sophia to leave her the money.”

“What a wicked woman,” said Lo-Keong, “we have none such in
China.”

“Well,” went on Olivia rapidly, “Miss Pewsey wrote to the
Marquis saying the fan was in England–”

“Here is the letter,” said Rodgers nodding towards the epistle.

“Yes. How strange I should see it almost immediately after Dr.
Forge wrote,” said Mrs. Ainsleigh innocently.

“Miss Pewsey laid her plans well,” said Rupert, looking again at
the letter, “she intended to tell Hwei that Olivia had the fan
so that she should be killed. But Olivia refused the fan, and
Miss Pewsey made Clarence give it to Miss Wharf, so that the
poor lady might be killed. But Miss Pewsey delayed the death at
the hands of Hwei by holding her tongue, till a will was made in
her favour. Chance favoured her, for she got the will altered.”

“By learning of our marriage when she played the spy,” said
Olivia.

“Quite so,” said Ainsleigh, “she then read the advertisement and
knew that the two men, Hwei and Tung-yu, were in England. She
wrote and told them that Miss Wharf had the fan. The letter was
sent shortly before the ball, and after the new will was made.
Tung-yu, therefore, came down to the ball to get the fan. This
was not what Miss Pewsey wanted, as she desired Hwei to kill the
woman.”

“She knew about the god Kwang-ho, then?” asked Lo-Keong.

“I think so, but Forge isn’t clear on that point. However, he
declared that he does not know who killed Miss Wharf, nor who
has the fan. He was told by Clarence, how he,–Burgh, had
accused him to the Chinamen, and then grew fearful. Also, he
heard that the Marquis was in England, and so he knew the whole
story would come out. As he dreaded arrest, he fled.”

“But he could have prevented Burgh from speaking,” said Olivia,
“you know, Rupert, how Mr. Burgh told you that Forge knew things
about him.”

“I daresay if the Marquis had not come to England, Forge would
have silenced Clarence and fought the matter out. But he knew
that the truth about my father’s death would be told by the
Marquis, and also dreaded, lest he should be accused of Miss
Wharf’s murder. He says that Clarence never gave him the tie as
he says he did, and declares that he was in the card-room all
the evening.”

“How does he end the letter?” asked Rodgers.

Rupert read the last words. “So I write you this, Mrs. Ainsleigh, to
show you that I am innocent of the death of your aunt. I see that
the game is up and that I’ll never get the ten thousand from Lo-Keong.
Also, if I remain, I shall have to marry Miss Pewsey and cannot bear
the idea. When you get this I’ll be far away on the sea on a voyage
to a land I need not particularise.”

“Not China, I hope,” said the Marquis, “if he comes there again,
I shall have to kill him. He deserves to be punished for having
brought about the death of my friend Markham Ainsleigh. What is
to be done now, gentlemen? We are no further on than before.”

“We certainly don’t know who had the fan,” said Rodgers.

“Or who has the packet,” put in Olivia.

“Tung-yu has it I am sure,” said Lo-Keong.

“I don’t agree with you, Marquis,” said the detective. “Tung-yu
and Hwei certainly cleared back to Rotherhithe by that yacht,
but if the fan had been on board Hwei would have spotted it.”

“Tung-yu is very cunning,” said the Marquis doubtfully.

“Well,” said Rupert, folding Forge’s letter up, “I suggest that
the Marquis should offer a large reward for the fan with his own
name appended. Then whosoever has the packet will bring it. For
of course,” added Rupert shrewdly, “those who had the fan–if
more than one–will have the packet.”

“Tung-yu–Tung-yu,” said the Marquis shaking his head, “however,
I will try the advertisement, and appoint a place. I am willing
to give a large sum for the packet.”

“And I am prepared to arrest the person who brings the packet as
the murderer of Miss Wharf,” said Rodgers, “you leave the thing
to me Marquis.”

“Come with me to London my friend,” said Lo-Keong, “and we will
write the advertisement. I shall reward you largely, if you get
this packet back again.”

“And what will you do, Rupert?” asked Olivia eagerly.

Her husband looked up. “I shall hunt for the packet on my own
account.”

“Good,” said Lo-Keong in his stately manner, “we will see who is
fortunate enough to bring me the packet and earn,” he looked at
Rupert impressively, “one hundred thousand pounds.”