After-Events

Rodgers went to London with the Marquis Lo-Keong that very day,
and Rupert wanted to go also. But Olivia objected to this, she
feared lest her husband should be wounded again. “I don’t wish
to lose you darling,” said Mrs. Ainsleigh coaxingly.

“But the money,” said Rupert dubiously.

“You mean the hundred thousand pounds,” said Olivia “That will
be paid to you by the Marquis. It is rightfully your own.”

“Humph! It seemed to me that Lo-Keong hinted he would pay the
money to whomsoever brought him the packet. In that case
Rodgers—-”

“Nonsense,” said Olivia quickly, “I am quite sure that the
Marquis means well to both of us. No doubt he will reward
Rodgers largely, should he get the packet: but he will give you
your father’s money.”

“All the same I should like to hunt for the packet on my own
account, Olivia,” said Rupert obstinately.

“Let those hunt, to whom the packet is of value.”

“But I don’t believe that this advertisement will bring forth
anything,” argued Ainsleigh frowning “if Tung-yu has the packet,
he certainly won’t pass it along to Lo-Keong. If Burgh stole it,
he will be afraid lest Hwei, who is in Lo-Keong’s pay, should
kill him. As to Tidman–”

“You thought he was guilty,” said Olivia smiling.

“And I still have my doubts,” rejoined her husband, “so I’ll
call at the Bristol and have a talk.”

This conversation took place the day after the Mandarin had
departed and Rupert was worrying about the exciting chase for
the packet, which he foresaw would take place. However, as
Olivia insisted, he should not risk his life again with
Asiatics, he interested himself still in the case by talking it
over with Major Tidman. On arriving at the Bristol, he was shown
up at once to Tidman’s room, and found the Major spick and span
as usual, but greatly excited.

“I was just coming up to see you,” said the Major, “look here?” and he
handed Rupert the morning’s copy of the _Daily Telegraph_.

Ainsleigh looked at the place indicated by the Major, and saw
the advertisement asking for the return of the fan, on delivery
of which the sum of five thousand would be paid. “I see that the
Marquis has lost no time,” said Rupert throwing down the paper,
“he and Rodgers must have inserted the advertisement at once.”

“Oh,” said the Major staring, “so you know.”

“Yes. Lo-Keong and Rogers were with me yesterday.”

“Lo-Keong. Why that is the man who owns the fan?”

“Exactly. He is a Marquis, and high in the service of the
Empress Dowager of China. As to the fan–” Rupert rapidly
detailed how it had been found in the cloisters and related also
the subsequent discovery, that the box attached to the chain in
the tree trunk, was empty. “And the man who took the fan from
Miss Wharf’s dead body stole the packet,” said Rupert, “so it is
not likely he will risk arrest by coming forward to give the
papers to Lo-Keong.”

Tidman sat down astounded at these revelations. “I wish I had
been present,” said he, “I was always curious about the fan’s
secret. A very ingenious device, Ainsleigh.”

“Very,” assented Rupert dryly: then he cast a side-long look on
the Major, and spoke to the point. “You had nothing to do with
the stealing of the fan I hope, Major.”

“I,” cried Tidman bouncing from his seat like an india rubber
ball.

“Well you see,” went on Rupert, “we met on the beach after
eleven, but it is just possible in spite of Forge’s evidence,
that Miss Wharf may have been killed before then.”

“And you believe that I killed her. Thank you Ainsleigh.”

“My good friend,” rejoined the young man calmly, “Lo-Keong
believes that Tung-yu broke his oath before the god, and
strangled Miss Wharf. But I disagree with him, as Tung-yu could
have procured the fan by milder means, the next day. Hwei could
not have strangled the woman, as he was haunting the Abbey
grounds to see if the packet was still safe. Forge, in a letter
to my wife, insists that he never got the tie, and certainly did
not kill Miss Wharf, so–”

“So you have narrowed it down to me,” cried Tidman in a burst of
indignation, “it’s too bad of you, Ainsleigh. I am not a thin
skinned man by any means: but I do feel this very deeply. I
swear,” the Major flung up his hand dramatically, “I swear that
I never possessed the tie, and I never killed Miss Wharf and I
never took the fan and–”

“That’s all right,” interrupted Rupert, “if you did not take the
tie, you certainly could not have strangled the woman. After
all, perhaps I have been too hard on you. Major.”

“Ah,” said Tidman angrily, “you are prepared to take my word for
it now, unsupported by other evidence. Your accusation can’t be
made seriously, Ainsleigh.”

“Well upon my soul,” said Rupert passing his hand through his
hair, “I really don’t know what to think or say. This case seems
to grow more mystical at every step. I admit that, as you
deceived me at the time, we discussed the advertisement–”

“You think I deceived you again. Well I did not. That was my one
and only deception. I wanted the fan in order to procure money I
admit: but the danger of being killed by Hwei instead of being
rewarded by Tung-yu was too great. I dropped the matter.”

“Then who do you think is guilty?”

“Clarence Burgh. Oh I am sure of it. He admits that Miss Pewsey
told him the tie was in the overcoat pocket. No doubt he took
it out and used it to incriminate you. Then again, Burgh learned
from Tung-yu how the picture could be rendered visible–”

“True enough,” mused Rupert, “well he, might be guilty. And he
certainly was in the cloisters one day–”

“So as to examine the place,” said the Major. “And afterwards,
he came at night in the monk’s disguise, knowing about the ghost
and the legend. He was startled when he secured the packet and
left the fan by accident on the black square.”

“Or by design,” said Ainsleigh, “remembering the prophecy which
says that ‘gold will come from the holy ashes.’ If I get this
one hundred thousand pounds the prophecy will certainly be
fulfilled, in a sort of way. It was indirectly owing to the fan
that Lo-Keong told me of the money my father made in China, and
through the fan, when the packet is restored, he intends to give
the money to me.”

“Oh humbug,” said the Major contemptuously. “I don’t believe in
that foolish rhyme a bit. But are you of my opinion that Burgh
is guilty?”

“Yes–in the way you put it, it seems probable.”

“Well then,” said Tidman angrily and striking the table with his
fist. “I have had enough of being suspected, so I’ll help you to
hunt down the assassin. I _must_ know who killed Miss Wharf, or
else you will be accusing me again. See here,” and he threw a
paper on the table.

It was a square of yellow paper, strongly perfumed, which asked
the Major to bring the fan to the den in Penter’s Alley. “You
showed me this before,” said Rupert. “I went up on your behalf.”

“Look at the date,” said Tidman pointing, “it’s a new
invitation. I think Tung-yu–who writes the letter–believes I
killed the woman and have the fan after all. Well, last time,
you went on my behalf, this time, danger or no danger I’ll go
myself. You can come if you like.”

“I shall certainly come,” said Rupert jumping up, “Olivia does
not want me to proceed further in this matter, but, now that you
are going, I’ll go too. Tung-yu can’t know that the fan is in my
hands, or that the packet is missing.”

“He’s not so clever as I thought he was,” said Tidman coolly,
“or he wouldn’t have bungled this affair as he has done. I am
not afraid of him, now. But you see that the appointment is for
to-morrow night at nine o’clock.”

“At Penter’s Alley under the lantern. Exactly–the same place.
But as Rodgers knows of my adventure, I wonder Tung-yu risks
another meeting. Besides, Rodgers told me he had been to the den
and found both Chinamen gone.”

“Oh, thunderbolts never strike in the same spot twice,” said
Tidman, “it is the safest place. Rodgers, having gone once, will
not go again. Well, will you come.”

“Yes,” said Rupert, firmly and went back to the Abbey, to
persuade his wife to let him make one more attempt to solve the
mystery.

Olivia was obdurate at first, but after a time, she yielded,
though she assured Rupert she should be miserable all the time
he was away. “And _do_ take care of yourself,” she said.

“Of course I’ll take every care,” replied her husband; and so it
was arranged that Rupert should go up to town with Major Tidman
by the six o’clock train the next evening, and proceed to
Penter’s Alley, to see Tung-yu, and learn–if possible, the
truth.

Olivia’s attention was somewhat taken off the projected
expedition to the wilds of Rotherhithe, by a visit from Lady
Jabe. That eccentric female, looking more like a judge than
ever, and dressed in a most manly fashion appeared, with a
shining face, to announce that Chris was engaged to marry Lotty
Dean.

“It’s most delightful,” said Lady Jabe, “her father is merely a
retired grocer, but I have consented to over-look that, if he
settles some money on the young couple.”

“And has he consented?” asked Olivia languidly. She did not take
much interest in the affairs of Mr. Walker.

“Yes. Mr. Dean has allowed his daughter a thousand a year, paid
quarterly,” said Lady Jabe amiably, “and that, with what Chris
earns at the office, will keep us nicely.”

“Us?” echoed Mrs. Ainsleigh smiling.

“Certainly,” was Lady Jabe’s calm reply, “I have been a mother
to Chris, and I intend to be a mother to Lotty. I shall look
after the house, and control the purse, otherwise, the young
pair may get into the bankruptcy court.”

Olivia privately thought that under Lady Jabe’s care the young
couple, would have a bad time, even though they might be free
from bankruptcy. “What does Mr. Walker say?”

“Oh Chris is delighted. He had better be. I’d like to see him
cross me, dear Olivia. I’ve broken his spirit thoroughly. Lotty
certainly is a trifle difficult, but I’ll break her also by
degrees.”

“I think you should leave Mr. and Mrs. Walker to manage their
own affairs,” said Olivia indignantly.

“Oh dear me no,” replied Lady Jabe calmly, “that would never do.
A couple of babies, my dear Olivia, who need a firm hand. I’ll
look after them and receive a small sum for doing so. My late
husband did not leave me well off,” she went on confidentially,
“so it is necessary that I should do the best for myself. But
now, that’s all settled and I’m glad you are pleased.”

“Not with your proposed arrangement, Lady Jabe.”

“Oh, yes you are, dear Olivia. Nothing could be better, whatever
you may say. And now to talk of other and less pleasing matters.
Miss Pewsey who robbed you of your inheritance, is about to
leave Marport. Yes–you may look surprised: but she is selling
Ivy Lodge and intends to go to America.”

“In search of the doctor?” asked Mrs. Ainsleigh doubtfully.

“Quite so, I understand that Dr. Forge has gone there. But just
think what a brazen women Miss Pewsey must be, to follow a man
who left her–as you might say at the altar. Miss Pewsey is in
London now making arrangements to sail for New York–so she told
me yesterday. I wish her all joy,” added Lady Jabe shaking her
head, “but I fear the man will spend her money and leave her.”

When Lady Jabe went, Olivia thought over the projected departure
of Miss Pewsey on the trail of Dr. Forge, She was glad at heart,
that her enemy was leaving Marport, but could not help thinking
that the bitter little woman, was going out of her way to make
trouble, for herself. And as Forge was wanted, for participation
in Markham Ainsleigh’s murder, Olivia though, she would inform
her husband of his whereabouts, so that he might be brought back
if necessary. But Rupert listened thoughtfully, and then replied
after consideration.

“I won’t move in the matter,” he said calmly, “Forge behaved
like a scoundrel, but as he has gone, I leave him in God’s
hands. He will get his deserts yet, Olivia.”

“Will you send him the ten thousand pounds, Rupert?”

“No,” said the young man decisively. “I shall certainly not do
that. Forge deserves some punishment and shall have it, by being
deprived of the money he sinned to obtain. He did not kill my poor
father, but he certainly brought about his death indirectly. Leave
him to God, Olivia. As for ourselves, we will get our own money from
Lo-Keong, and restore the Abbey.”

“And Miss Pewsey’s mortgage?”

“It is due shortly before Christmas, and I shall be able to pay
it off before then. Miss Pewsey has done her worst, Olivia.
Henceforth she will be harmless.”

“And what about her punishment, Rupert?”

“I should think the loss of Forge has punished her. And, if she
really intends to follow him, she will be more disappointed. The
man will not marry her. No, Olivia, Miss Pewsey also sinned to
get money, but she will be punished, you may be certain.”

The next evening Rupert again assumed his old suit and heavy
cloak and went away. Olivia clung to him as he left the door.
“Oh my darling be careful,” she said, “if you are killed–”

“I won’t be,” Rupert assured her. “I have taken the precaution
to write telling Rodgers of this meeting. He will bring, by my
advice, a couple of plain-cloth policemen to Penter’s Alley, and
if there is trouble, both the Major and I will be able to get
away.”

Comforted thus, Olivia kissed her husband, and saw him drive
down the avenue. Then she returned to her room to count the
moments, until he returned. All their troubles had brought
Olivia and Rupert closer together, and in their implicit trust
in one another, lay the elements of future happiness.

Ainsleigh found the Major also plainly dressed, waiting at the
station, and the two were speedily on their way to town. Owing
to an accident to the train, they were late in arriving at
Liverpool Street station and the Major fumed. “We won’t be in
time,” he said when they went to the underground railway.

“Oh, I think so,” said Rupert calmly, “it’s just as well, we
should not be too early. I want Rodgers and his men to be on the
spot.”

“But what do you think will come of all this?” asked Tidman,
nervously.

“I think we will find the papers.”

“But if Tung-yu had them, he would not have written to me.”

“He is playing some sort of game. I can’t understand, and I have
given up theorizing. Let us wait.”

The Major grumbled a little, but finally agreed that Ainsleigh
was right. They soon arrived at Rotherhithe, and stepped out
into the main street. The night was fine, and there was a bright
moon. “I like this better than when I was here last,” said
Rupert, as the two went down to Penters’ Alley.

“It’s a good thing there’s a moon,” said the Major casting a
glance upward, “if these Chinamen try to bolt, we can chase
them.”

“Do you expect Hwei to be there also?”

“I can’t say,” said Tidman, “but if Tung-yu is, I suspect Hwei
won’t be far off. They work in couples as you know.”

“And pull against each other like ill-matched dogs,” said
Rupert, “a queer compact, this.”

“It’s silly. I think the Mandarin must be mad with all this
rubbish about his gim-crack god Kwang-ho. Here we are–and
there’s the lantern. What a narrow street.”

They stepped down the Alley in the bright moonlight. The lantern
flared above the same house as Rupert had entered before, and at
the door stood a small figure. It was the Chinese boy dressed in
red. “Ah,” said Rupert significantly, “Hwei is certainly here,
as well as Tung-yu, We’ll have trouble.”

“If Hwei tries to kill me, I’ll shoot,” said the Major, and
produced a neat revolver. “I’ve held my life in my hands before
now.”

Rupert was about to speak to the boy who stood silently before
the closed door, when he heard a long agonised scream within the
house. The boy smiled in a cruel manner, and Rupert tried to
dash past. But the boy prevented him. Tidman, however, was more
fortunate and flung himself against the door. Evidently, a
tragedy was taking place inside. As the Major ran forward, the
door opened suddenly and Burgh dashed out and down the street,
towards the river. After him came Tung-yu, his face alive with
fury. Tidman gave a shout, and made after the two, but Rupert,
wondering who was being killed, sprang down the passage and
entered the room, where formerly he had met with the adventure.
A tall Chinaman was standing in the middle of the floor wiping a
knife on his blouse. He turned, and Rupert beheld Hwei. The
Chinaman pointed to the floor with a ghastly smile. “The doom of
the god Kwang-ho,” said he, and ran out of the house swiftly.

Rupert cast his eyes on a body lying on the floor. It was that
of a woman and from her breast a stream of blood was flowing.
She was not yet dead, but looked up with a pain-drawn face.
Ainsleigh drew back with an exclamation. It was Miss Pewsey.

Rupert stared at the wounded woman amazed. How came Miss Pewsey
into this den? He was so astonished, that he forgot to call for
assistance. Miss Pewsey gave a moan and opened her eyes. At once
she recognised Ainsleigh, for the light from the tasselled
lantern overhead, fell full on his amazed face.

“So you are safe,” said Miss Pewsey with difficulty, “didn’t
Tung-yu kill you.”

“I have just arrived,” said Rupert, “your nephew has gone out
followed by Tung-yu.”

“I hope he’ll catch him,” muttered Miss Pewsey, “Tung-yu stabbed
me. Clarence snatched the papers and ran away leaving me here to
die.”

“How did you get the papers?” asked Rupert startled.

“I got them from Clarence–he asked me to come up here,
and–oh,” she fell back insensible. Rupert thought she was dead
and forgetting where he was, cried loudly for assistance. He
heard footsteps approaching and Lo-Keong in sober attired
entered. The stately Chinaman was roused out of his usual self.
He appeared disturbed and his face was distorted. “Rodgers and
his men are chasing Tung-yu,” said Lo-Keong grasping Rupert’s
arm, “go after them. Tung-yu has the papers.”

“But Miss Pewsey.”

Lo-Keong started back. “That woman,” he cried, as startled as
Rupert had been, “pooh, let her die. She deserves her fate. She
has been the cause of the trouble. Go–go, Mr. Ainsleigh–go
after Tung-yu.”

“But Miss Pewsey!” repeated Rupert, seeing the woman open her
eyes, and recognising that life yet remained.

“I’ll see to her. I’ll get a doctor.” Lo-Keong struck the gong
near the door. “But get me those papers. All my life depends
upon them. Remember–one hundred thousand pounds–go–go. It may
be too late. Don’t allow Tung-yu to escape.”

Rupert was quite bewildered as the Chinaman pushed him out of
the door. Then, recognising that he could do nothing to help
Miss Pewsey, and that Lo-Keong, for his own sake would do all he
could to keep her alive, so that he might learn how the packet
came into her possession, Rupert ran out of the house, and found
the street filled with screaming Chinamen and chattering
Europeans. Some policemen were coming down the alley from the
main thoroughfare, and everyone appeared to be alarmed. The
ragged mob rushed into various doors, at the sight of the
officers, but the Chinamen still continued to cackle and scream.
Suddenly Rupert heard a revolver shot, and wondered if the Major
had got into trouble. Remembering that Burgh, with Tung-yu in
pursuit, had gone down the alley towards the water, he raced in
the same direction, and at once, two policemen, seeing him go,
followed. There was no time to undeceive them, so Rupert ran on,
eager to come up with Burgh. He had the papers, according to
Miss Pewsey, and in spite of Lo-Keong’s statement, Ainsleigh
suspected that Miss Pewsey was right. Else Tung-yu would not be
in pursuit of the buccaneers. As Rupert tore down the moonlit
alley, he heard the high clear voice of the Mandarin calling on
the police to stop. Then the tumult recommenced.

It mattered little to Ainsleigh. As he raced blindly on, he felt
a thrill of joy in his veins. It seemed to him that he had never
lived before, and that this man-hunt was the climax of life. At
the end of the Alley he came on a dilapidated wharf, which ran
out into the turbid water, and saw a stout figure dancing on
this. At once he hurried down to find Major Tidman, who
recognised him at once.

“There was a boat waiting,” gasped the Major seizing Rupert’s
arm. “Burgh jumped into it and pushed off. Tung-yu came after,
and as the boat was already in mid-stream he plunged into the
water.”

“Where is Hwei?”

“Rodgers and his men are after him. I fired a shot, and I
believe, I hit Tung-yu, as he was swimming. Who has the papers?”

“Burgh. Keep a look out for him. I’ll run along the bank,” and
before the Major could expostulate, Ainsleigh dashed up the
wharf and ran along the bank of the river.

He did this because his quick eye had seen a black head bobbing
in the water below the wharf. The swimmer was evidently making
for the near shore. Rupert did not know if it was Tung-yu or
Hwei, but hurried at top speed along the bank, in the hope of
catching the man when he came ashore. He sped along a kind of
narrow way, for here, the old houses of Rotherhithe came down,
almost to the water’s edge. There were lights in some of the
windows, but for the most part, these were in darkness. To
Rupert’s left, loomed the house, and on his right was the river
bank, shelving down to the glittering water. A few piles ran out
into the stream, and as the river was low, there were acres of
evil-smelling mud. The man was making for the bank and battling
hard against the stream, which was sweeping him down. Rupert
shouted, and seeing him on the bank, the swimmer seemed to stop,
apparently dreading the reception he would get.

Finally he resumed his stroke, and made for a wharf, some
distance down. Ainsleigh ran for this, but was stopped by a
wooden fence. He managed to climb over, and raced on to the
wharf; but the swimmer was nowhere to be seen.

Suddenly, Rupert caught sight of a figure crawling up the bank a
little distance below, and again ran up the wharf to the
pathway. The man who had landed caught sight of him, and leaping
on to the hard path, ran along the river bank, but in a swaying
manner, as though his powers of endurance were exhausted.
Considering how hard he had battled with the current, probably
the man’s strength had given out and Rupert, feeling fresh and
fit, thought he would have no difficulty in catching up. But the
man ran hard, and then dropped out of sight below the bank.
Apparently he had taken to the river again. Rupert raced down so
quickly, as to overshoot the mark, where the man had slipped
down. While looking round, he caught sight of him again. He ran
up the bank and dodged into a narrow side street. Rupert was
after him in a moment. The man had vanished round a corner–so
Ainsleigh thought–but when Rupert came after, he saw the street
in the moonlight was perfectly empty, and turned back. The
fugitive had tricked him, by dodging into a dark corner, and was
again on the bank. He leaped on the wharf, and scrambled down
the piles to a boat which swung at the end of a long rope. While
he hauled this in painfully, and pantingly, Rupert leaped on
him. The man looked up with an oath, and closed with his
pursuer. It was Burgh.

“The papers–the papers,” gasped Rupert, “you give them up.”

“I’ll kill you first,” said Burgh setting his teeth, and,
exhausted as he was, he struggled with preternatural strength.
The two men swung and swayed on the edge of the wharf, till
Burgh tripped up his opponent and both fell into the water.
Rupert still held his grip, and felt the body of Burgh grow
heavy. He rose to the surface, dragging at the buccaneer, and,
as the two had fallen into shallow water, Rupert staggered on to
the evil-smelling mud. He was obliged to let go Burgh, who
apparently, had been playing possum, for he rose to his feet and
made a feeble attempt to climb the bank. Seeing this, Rupert,
who was almost exhausted himself with the long pursuit and the
cold doûche, struck out, and Burgh, with a cry of rage fell flat
into the mud. The next moment Rupert was kneeling on his chest.
“The papers, you scoundrel,” he said between his teeth.

“Haven’t got them. Tung-yu—-”

“You lie. Give me those papers, or I’ll tear your clothes off to
find them.”

Burgh tried to utter a taunting laugh, but the effort was too
much for his strength. He stopped suddenly, and with a sob
closed his eyes. The body became inert, and as Rupert could see
no wound, he concluded that the buccaneer had fainted. At once
he removed his knee, and began his search. He went deliberately
through the pockets of the insensible man, and finally came
across a packet bound in red brocade. It was in Burgh’s breast,
next to the skin. Rupert, with this in his hand, rose with a
gasp of relief. He had the papers after all, and now, could hope
to get the money from the Mandarin. He slipped the important
packet into his pocket, and then producing a flask of brandy, he
forced a few drops between the clenched teeth of his antagonist.
He did not wish the man to die, and moreover, he was desirous of
questioning him. In a few moments Burgh opened his eyes. “You,”
he said, as soon as he recovered his scattered senses, and he
made an effort to rise.

“No you don’t,” said Rupert pushing him back, “you’ll try and
reach for your revolver.”

“Go slow,” muttered Burgh, lying on his back in the mud. “I give
in, Ainsleigh. You’ve won.”

“I’ve got the papers, if that’s what you mean. They shall be
given to Lo-Keong.”

“And you’ll get the five thousand.”

“I’ll get one hundred thousand,” said Rupert, keeping a watchful
eye on his late opponent.

“Huh,” said Burgh with a groan, “what luck. And all I have got,
is a ducking. Let me up and give me some more brandy. Remember,
I saved your life from Forge, Ainsleigh.”

“Quite so, and you tried to kill me just now,” said Rupert
dryly. “I think we are quits. However, here’s the brandy, and
you can sit up. No treachery mind, or I’ll shoot you,” and
Rupert pulled out his Derringer.

The buccaneer gave a grunt and sat up with an effort. “I’m not
up to a row,” he gasped. “There’s no fight left in me. Great
Scott, to think I was so near success. I’ll be poor for the rest
of my life, I guess.”

“You’ll be hanged for the murder of Miss Wharf, you mean.”

Burgh took a deep draught of the brandy, which put new life into
his veins. He actually grinned when he took the flask from his
lips. “I reckon that’s not my end,” said he. “I never killed the
old girl. No sir–not such a flat.”

“Then who did kill her?”

“Find out,” was the ungracious response.

“See here, Burgh,” said Rupert, swinging himself on to a pile of
the wharf. “I mean to get to the bottom of this business, once
and for all. The papers shall be given to the Marquis and then,
I hope, we shall hear the last of this fan business. But I must
know who killed–”

“There–there,” said Burgh with a shrug, and after another
drink, “I cave in: you’ve got the bulge on me. But I guess, if
you want to keep those papers, you’d best clear out, Tung-yu
will be along soon looking for them. I leaped into a boat and
pushed out, but that Chinese devil swam after, and when I got
into trouble with the oars, he climbed on board with a long
knife. I jumped over-board and made for the bank, where you
raced me down. But I guess Tung-yu will bring that craft of his
ashore, and he’s hunting for me like a dog as he is.”

“Rodgers, and Hwei, and Lo-Keong, and a lot of policemen are
hunting for Tung-yu,” said Rupert coolly, “so you need give
yourself no further trouble. Tell me why you killed Miss Wharf?”

“I didn’t, confound you,” growled Burgh.

“Then you know who did?”

“Yes–it was Forge.”

“That’s a lie. Forge wrote to my wife, and denied that you gave
him the tie.”

“Then Tidman killed the old girl.”

“No. He was with me on the beach. Come now, you shan’t get off
in this way. Tell me who is guilty?”

“If I do, will you let me go?”

“I make no bargains. Out with it.”

Burgh looked black, but being tired out and at the mercy of
Rupert’s revolver, he growled sulkily, “It was Aunt Lavinia.”

“Miss Pewsey–that frail little woman–impossible.”

“Frail,” echoed the Buccaneer with scorn, “she’s as tough as
hickory and as wicked a little devil as ever breathed. Why, she
learned about the fan from Forge when he was delirious, and gave
away the show to Lo-Keong in China–”

“I know that. And she wished Olivia to have the fan, that she
might be killed.”

“That’s so, you bet. But old Wharf got it, and so, was killed.”

“But not by Tung-yu, or Hwei.”

“No.” Burgh took a final drink, and having emptied the flask,
flung it into the river. Then he took out a cigarette, which was
dry enough to light. When smoking, he began to laugh. “Well this
is a rum show,” said he. “I guess you’ve got all the fun. I’m
sold proper.”

“Tell me your story,” said Rupert imperatively, “I want to get
back to Penter’s Alley to see your aunt.”

“Oh, I guess she’s a goner by this time,” said Burgh easily,
“Tung-yu knifed her.”

“You mean Hwei. I found him wiping the knife.”

“No. Tung-yu stuck her, and dropped the knife. Aunty was just
passing the packet to Hwei, when Tung-yu stabbed her. I reckon
he intended to grab the packet, but I was too sharp for him, and
caught it away from his hand. Then I raced out and he after me.
Hwei stayed behind to clean the knife, I reckon.”

“No, he followed you two almost immediately.”

“Then both Chinamen will be here soon. You’d best cut.”

“Not till I learn the truth.”

“I’ve told you the truth,” snapped Burgh, in a weary voice. “My
old aunt strangled Miss Wharf. Yes. Aunty told me of the tie,
and asked me to get it for her. I didn’t know what she wanted to
do with it, so I did. I took it out of your pocket when Dalham
was out of the room. Then I gave it to aunty. She told Miss
Wharf that Tung-yu wanted to see her on the steps, after eleven.
Miss Wharf went there and then aunty followed and sat down
beside her on the steps. I guess she kept her in talk and then
slipped the tie round her old throat and pulled with all her
might. And she’s strong, I can tell you,” added Clarence
confidentially. “She nearly broke my arm one day twisting it.
Miss Wharf hadn’t time to call out, and was a deader in two
minutes, for aunty froze on to her like death.”

“Death indeed,” murmured Rupert with a shudder.

“Well then aunty bucked up round by the front of the hotel with
the fan in her pocket and left the tie round the neck of the old
girl, so that _you_ might hang. All went well, but the next day
I went to aunty and asked for the fan. She was very sick, as she
intended to sell it that day to Tung-yu. But Tung-yu had cut
along with Hwei in the yacht, both thinking they might be
accused of the murder. They thought that old Tidman did the
biznai,” grinned Burgh, “and I let them think so, having my own
game to play with aunty.”

“Well,” said Ainsleigh shortly, “and what did you do?”

“I told aunty I’d split if I didn’t get the fan, so she
passed it along to me. Then I learned about the secret from
Tung-yu–the waving in the smoke you know. I found out the kind
of smoke from Forge–”

“And repaid him by a lying accusation.”

“That’s so,” said Burgh coolly, “there ain’t no flies on me. But
let’s heave ahead. It’s cold sitting here.”

“Go on then,” said Ainsleigh sharply.

“Well I learned about the picture, and guessed about the abbey.
The picture was plain enough. I came that day you found me, to
see the place.”

“And stole the packet then?”

“No, I waited till night and rigged myself up as the Abbot. I
knew it would make anyone sick who saw a monk about at that
hour.”

“Not me,” said Ainsleigh, “if I had caught you—-”

“Well you very nearly did,” confessed Burgh candidly, “I came at
night and climbed all four trees before I nipped the box. Then I
prized it open and climbed down leaving the box, so that
Lo-Keong might get sold when he came to look. Just as I got
down, that old housekeeper of yours screeched, and cut. I was
startled, and dropped the fan. Not wishing to leave that behind,
I began to look for it. Then you and the butler turned up and I
lighted out sharp.”

“What happened next?”

“Well I wanted the money, but not knowing the days of Hwei and
Tung-yu, thought I might get stabbed, instead of the money. So I
took the packet to Aunty, and asked her to go up, telling her
Tung-yu would give her the money. She fell into the trap.”

“But she knew that Hwei–”

“It wasn’t Hwei’s day,” said Burgh, “at least it turned out so,
though I didn’t know it at the time, and so sent on Aunty to get
the cash. I intended to pull the dollars out of her when she did
get them, or leave her to die if Hwei knifed her.”

“You blackguard.”

“Go slow,” said Burgh coolly, “aunty was no friend to you. I
say, do you know why aunty wanted me to marry Olivia. It was
because I’m married already and if–”

He got no further. Rupert knocked him backwards into the mud.
Burgh leaped to his feet, and suddenly cried, “Look behind.”
Rupert did so very foolishly, and Burgh flung himself forward.
But all the same Burgh was right to warn Ainsleigh. A man was
staggering along the wharf. He was in Chinese dress.

“Knife him, Tung-yu,” cried Burgh, struggling with Rupert, “I’ll
hold him. He’s got the papers.”

The Chinaman gave a screech and hurled himself on the pair.
Rupert wrenched himself away from Burgh and struck out at
Tung-yu. At the same moment he heard another cry, and Hwei came
leaping down the wharf. Before Tung-yu could turn, his enemy was
on him, and as Rupert was again closing in death grips with
Burgh, he had no time to see what was taking place. He could
hear the Chinamen snarling like angry cats on the wharf, and was
himself fighting in the mud with Burgh for his life. Luckily
Rupert got his hand free and it was the one which held the
revolver. He fired at random–three shots.

There was a shout in the distance: but at that moment, the
buccaneer seized him by the throat and threw him down. Rupert
with a strangled cry felt himself being forced beneath the
water, and thought the end had come. He could hear the struggle
between Hwei and Tung-yu going on furiously, and hear also very
faintly the deep laughter of his opponent. Then he lost
consciousness. Everything became dark, and Rupert’s last thought
was that all his pains had been in vain. He would die, and
Olivia would be a widow.

When Rupert came to his senses, the surroundings seemed to be
familiar. He had lost consciousness on the banks of the Thames,
and during a fierce struggle with a treacherous foe. He opened
his eyes to find himself in his own bed in his own room at
Royabay. But he felt strangely weak and indisposed to talk.
After a glance, he closed his eyes again. Then, after what
seemed to him to be a few minutes–it was really half an
hour–he opened them again, and this time he saw Olivia bending
over him with an anxious face. “Dearest,” he murmured weakly.

“Oh Rupert, do you know me?”

“Yes. Where am I–what are you doing here?”

“You are at the Abbey. Don’t speak. Take this,” and some beef
tea was held to his dry lips.

Ainsleigh drank a little and then fell asleep again. When he did
so there was an artificial light in the room, but when he woke
the sun was streaming in through the window. But his wife was
still beside his bed, and still looked anxious. However, she
gave a little cry of joy when Rupert spoke in a stronger voice.
He was beginning to collect his scattered senses. “Have I been
ill long?” he asked.

“Four days,” she replied, “don’t talk, darling.”

“But the packet?”

“The Marquis has it safe.”

“Burgh?”

“He has escaped. Don’t talk.”

“Miss Pewsey,” said Rupert faintly.

“She is dead.”

“Then Miss Pewsey _did_ strangle your aunt.”

“Yes–yes–the doctor says you are not to talk.”

“Just one more question. Those Chinamen?”

“Hwei and Tung-yu. They were drowned.”

Rupert smiled weakly, and turning on his side went off into a
deep sleep. The doctor who called later, said it was the best
thing he could do. “He has had a severe shock,” said he to
Olivia, “and his nervous system is shaken. You may be thankful
he did not wake with a disordered brain.”

“Oh, doctor, you don’t think–”

“No! No! It’s all right. He would not have asked those questions
if anything was wrong with his mind. In a few weeks he will be
quite himself. But I think, Mrs. Ainsleigh, that you should take
him abroad for a time.”

Olivia gladly promised to do this, the more so, as she wanted to
escape herself from Marport for a time. The news of Miss
Pewsey’s death had caused a great sensation, and a still greater
one was caused by the publication in the paper of her crime.
Everyone, now knew that the bitter little woman had strangled
Miss Wharf, and everyone was very severe on her. The funeral had
to be conducted quietly, as the mob showed signs of intending to
interrupt. However, the police kept back the irate crowd, and
Miss Pewsey was buried in a quiet corner of St. Peter’s
church-yard, where a few weeks before, she had hoped to be
married. But her intended bridegroom was in America, and Miss
Pewsey’s mortal part was in the grave. Where her immortal soul
was and what would become of it, was talked over by people, who
were less forgiving than they ought to have been.

Ainsleigh recovered his strength quicker then the doctor thought
he would. Olivia nursed him with devoted tenderness, and often
wept as she thought how nearly she had lost him. When Rupert was
better able to hear the recital, she gave him a short account of
his rescue. “Those three shots you fired brought up Rodgers and
his men, who were searching for Hwei and Tung-yu. They came,
just in time to pull Mr. Burgh off you. He was holding you down
under the water, and Mr. Rodgers thought you were dead. However
the doctor was called, and they brought you round. Then I was
telegraphed for, and I insisted that you should be taken back to
Royabay. I had my way, although the doctor in London said it
would be dangerous. So here you are, darling, in your own home,
and soon will be all right.”

“Thanks to your nursing,” said Ainsleigh, kissing her, “but
Olivia, tell me about Miss Pewsey.”

“She made a confession before she died,” said Mrs. Ainsleigh,
“oh Rupert, even though she is dead, I can’t help saying, that
she was a wicked little woman.”

“Wicked indeed,” said Rupert, recalling what Burgh had said,
“she wished you to marry Burgh, because he was married already.”

“In which case he would have deserted me,” said Mrs. Ainsleigh
with a crimson face, “he was as bad as she. But listen, Rupert,
if you feel strong enough.”

“Go on,” said Ainsleigh, and held his wife’s hand while she
talked.

“Well, then,” began Mrs. Ainsleigh, “after the Marquis pushed
you out of the Penter’s Alley room, he went and got a doctor,
who said that Miss Pewsey was dying. She heard him, having
regained her senses, and then began to cry, saying how wicked
she had been. For the sake of everyone, Lo-Keong asked her to
make a confession. As soon as she knew there was no hope of her
recovery, she agreed to do so. A clergyman was called in, and he
took down what she said. The confession was witnessed and
signed, and Mr. Rodgers has it.”

“What did she confess?” asked Rupert.

“Oh,” Olivia covered her face, “it was really awful. She said
that she was always jealous of Aunt Sophia, and of me. She
wished to get the five hundred a year. At first she thought she
would get it by marrying me to her nephew, and then she could
finger the money, when my aunt died. But she soon saw that I was
not to be guided in the way she desired, and cast about for a
new plan.”

“But, Olivia, if she knew Burgh was married—-”

“Oh, that didn’t matter to her. She intended he should marry me
and then if I got the money she intended to say there was no
marriage, unless I gave her the five hundred a year. She wished
to disgrace me.

“A kind of blackmail, in fact.”

“Yes. But I can’t understand, how she intended to reckon with
Mr. Burgh, who is not an easy person to deal with. Well Rupert,
when she found that I would not marry Mr. Burgh, she tried to
get a new will made. She did not succeed for a long time.
Meanwhile, she heard about the fan and wrote to Lo-Keong. When
she saw the advertisement she was alarmed, thinking Aunt Sophia
would be killed before the new will was made. Luckily for her,
she overheard about our secret marriage and told Aunt Sophia,
who made a new will, and who intended, after the ball, to turn
me out of the house.

“But your aunt was so kind to you at that time.”

“So as to make things harder for me,” said Olivia sadly, “poor
Aunt Sophia, she was quite under the thumb of Miss Pewsey, who
really did hypnotise her–at least she confessed she had power
over her in the confession. But I don’t think it was difficult
to get Aunt Sophia to alter her will, seeing she hated you so,
and could not bear to think that the five hundred a year, should
go to the son of the man, she thought, had scorned her.”

“That was not true: my father–”

“Yes! Yes! I know. Don’t talk too much, Rupert you are weak yet.
But let me go on,” added Olivia, passing her hand over her
husband’s forehead. “Well then, when the new will was made, Miss
Pewsey let Tung-yu know that Aunt Sophia would have the fan at
the ball. She didn’t know whether Tung-yu or Hwei was to kill
the possessor of the fan, and when she learned that Aunt Sophia
was to sell the fan next day, she was very angry.”

“Why. With her influence she could have got the money.”

“Not all to herself, and besides she wanted the five hundred a
year, and Aunt Sophia out of the way. Moreover, that scarf I
knitted for you gave her a chance of throwing the blame on you.
She got Clarence to get it, and then lured Miss Wharf–my
aunt–to the steps where she strangled her.”

“Yes. Burgh told me. I know the rest. Her nephew made her give
up the fan, learned the secret, and stole the packet. Then he
made his aunt take it to Penter’s Alley.”

Olivia nodded. “And Miss Pewsey thought she would get the money,
as Burgh said it was Tung-yu’s hour.”

“So it was. He spoke truly enough, although he didn’t risk
giving up the packet himself. Well.”

“But Tung-yu killed Miss Pewsey after all. She asked twenty
thousand pounds and refused to give it for less. Clarence Burgh
who had come up with her, came into the room with Hwei, who saw
the packet pass, but could not interfere.”

“Because it wasn’t his hour.”

“Yes. And all would have been well, had not Tung-yu suddenly
disobeyed the god Kwang-ho’s commands and stabbed Miss Pewsey.
Of course, Hwei was released from his oath by this act and tried
to get the packet. But Clarence Burgh snatched it from both and
ran away. Tung-yu went after him, and then Hwei followed, after
wiping the knife. Then–”

“I know the rest. I got the packet from Burgh.”

“Yes, and he tried to drown you. Hwei and Tung-yu were
struggling together, as Tung-yu wanted to get the packet from
you. But Hwei stabbed him with the same knife he had used to
kill Miss Pewsey, and in his death grip, Tung-yu drew Hwei into
the water. Both were dead and still locked in each other’s
embrace when they were drawn out. Lo-Keong said that Tung-yu
deserved his doom for having trifled with Kwang-ho, but he
mourns for Hwei.”

“It seems to be much of a muchness,” said Rupert, “and Burgh?”

“Rodgers threw himself on him, and he was secured. You were
taken away, and I was telegraphed for. But while Burgh was being
taken to prison he contrived to escape, and got away in the
darkness.”

“But Olivia, it was a bright, moonlight night.”

“At first it was, but the moon set and darkness came on. The
police have been searching for Burgh, but he has not been found,
and it is supposed he has got away from England.”

“I hope so,” said Rupert with a shudder. “I never wish to set
eyes on him again. So that’s the end of it all.”

“Not quite. Lo-Keong is in the library with Mr. Asher. Oh,
Rupert, you must prepare yourself for the best of news.”

The young man rose, and was led downstairs by his wife, “I am
quite ready to hear the good news,” he said, as they descended.
“I have had far too much bad news in my life.”

As Olivia said, the lawyer was waiting in the library, and stood
before the fire with an expectant face. Lo-Keong, in even more
gorgeous robes than he had worn on the occasion of his first
visit, was seated in his stately manner near the window. He rose
as the master of Royabay entered, and came forward with a
serious smile.

“My young friend,” said the Mandarin. “I have to thank you for
saving my life. The papers which would have ruined me, and which
would have cost me my head, have been burnt. Hwei is dead, and
Tung-yu; so no one but yourself knows what those papers meant.
My august mistress will never have proof that I was engaged in
the Boxer rebellion, and Hop Sing will be degraded for ever.”

“And you, Marquis?”

“I shall receive the yellow jacket,” said the Mandarin, proudly,
“now I remain but a short time here, I go to London in an hour,
and this evening I leave for the Continent on my way to China.
We shall never meet again Mr. Ainsleigh, unless you come to
Pekin.”

“No,” said Olivia, instinctively protecting Rupert, “we have had
enough of China, Marquis. Sit down, Rupert.”

Ainsleigh took a chair, and the Marquis smiled blandly. “Well,
well, well,” he said, “it is natural you should feel rather
nervous of my countrymen, though I assure you, if you do visit
me, that you will be quite safe and highly honoured.”

“No, thank you Marquis,” said Rupert wearily, for he was
beginning to feel fatigued.

“I see you are tired,” said Lo-Keong, in his stately manner,
“sol will merely say I hope to send you some presents from my
own country, and then Mr. Asher can speak,” he bowed to the
solicitor.

“I am glad to tell Mr. Ainsleigh,” said the lawyer, “that the
Marquis has handed me securities which show that the sum of one
hundred thousand pounds is invested in your name. We can
transfer the securities to English investments if you like
but–”

“I’ll leave them in Chinese,” said Rupert quickly.

Lo-Keong bowed in a gratified manner. “You will be wise,” he
said, “they are safe investments and all my interest at the
Imperial court, will go to make you richer, if I can.”

“You have done enough. Marquis,” said Ainsleigh gratefully, “you
have given me back my old home.”

“And we will be rich besides,” said Olivia delightedly.

“There’s another thing,” said Mr. Asher, looking at the girl,
“Miss Pewsey made a will in your favour, Mrs. Ainsleigh.”

Olivia drew back with a red face. “Impossible! She hated me.”

“Well,” said Asher dryly, “I expect she repented of her evil
deeds, or perhaps she hated her nephew more than she did you.
That gentleman wrote from a Continental address to Mr. Paster
asking if his aunt had left him the money as she promised. I
expect the address is a false one, as Mr. Burgh won’t wish to be
caught.”

“He is a bold man that,” said Lo-Keong.

“He is,” assented Asher, “but he won’t benefit. Mrs. Ainsleigh
gets the five hundred a year, the freehold of Ivy Lodge, and also the
mortgage which Miss Wharf bought to ruin Mr. Ainsleigh.”

“We have everything–everything,” cried Olivia.

“I am very thankful,” said Rupert. “Mr. Asher–”

“I’ll see you about the investments when you are stronger,” said
the lawyer, “meanwhile here is the carriage at the door. The
Marquis is kind enough to give me a lift,” and Mr. Asher took
his leave, with a profound bow, to so opulent a client as
Rupert.

The Marquis Lo-Keong came forward with his kind smile. “Before I
wish you good-bye and all happiness,” he said, holding out the
famous fan, “will you take this?”

“No,” said Olivia, preventing Rupert from accepting it, “I hate
the very sight of the thing. It has blood on it.”

“I think you are right, Mrs. Ainsleigh,” said the Chinaman
gravely, “and, as it has done its duty, it may as well go the
way of the packet which now is ashes,” and advancing to the
fire, he flung the fan on the burning coals. It burst into a
blaze, and in a few minutes all had vanished save the slivers of
jade and the beads. The housemaid collected these next morning
and gave them to Olivia, who threw them off the Marport pier. So
that was the end of the Mandarin’s fan.

“And now,” said Lo-Keong, bowing, “good-bye, and great happiness
to you both.”

Rupert and Olivia shook hands warmly, and thanked him heartily.
The Mandarin walked out of the room in his stately way, and they
went to the window to see him drive off. At the bend of the
avenue, he waved his hand graciously, and that was the last the
master and mistress of Royabay saw of the man who had owned the
fan.

A chuckle at the door made the couple turn from the window.
There, peering in, stood Mrs. Petley, who had stuck with her
husband to Rupert during his troubles. Her face was shining, and
old John seemed to be years younger. Mrs. Petley, for some queer
reason, threw a shoe at the pair. “Health and happiness,” she
said, “begging your pardons both. But to think of money and
happiness, and no walking of that blessed monk, who–”

“He never walked,” said Rupert smiling, “it was Hwei–”

“Begging your pardon, sir, Hwei–whosoever he is, didn’t walk
_all_ the time. Abbot Raoul did appear, as I can testify, and so
can John here. But now the prophecy has been fulfilled, perhaps
he’ll rest quiet in his grave, drat him.”

“The prophecy?” said Olivia, who was holding her husband’s hand.

From behind Mrs. Petley came the quavering voice of the ancient
butler, declaiming the rude rhymes:–

“My curse from the tyrants will never depart,
For a sword in the hands of the angel flashes:
Till Ainsleigh poor, weds the poor maid of his heart,
And gold be brought forth from the holy ashes.”

“And that’s quite true,” said a jovial voice, and Major Tidman,
as smart and stout as ever, entered. “How do, Ainsleigh, I’m
glad to see you looking so well. Yes,” he added, sitting down,
“you _were_ poor Ainsleigh when you married–”

“And I was poor also,” cried Olivia.

“Very good, the third line is fulfilled and the fourth–”

“Was gold brought forth from the holy ashes?” asked Rupert.

“Yes, Master Rupert,” said old John, “you picked up the fan in
the place where the ashes were, and out of the fan has come
gold. The prophecy is fulfilled, sure enough, and I hope Abbot
Raoul will stop walking for ever.”

“Of course he will,” cried Mrs. Petley, dragging her husband
outside, “there’s no more trouble for you, Master Rupert and
Miss Olivia.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Ainsleigh, of Royabay,” said Tidman, laughing,
“give them their proper titles, Mrs. Petley. And I think the
present occasion deserves a bottle of port.”

The ancient butler went away with his wife, to bring forth one
of the last bottles of that priceless vintage. Major Tidman,
gloating in anticipation, sat still, and smiled with a bland
face. But Rupert drew Olivia to the sofa, and they sat down
where they had often mourned on many a weary day. “Dearest,”
said Ainsleigh, kissing her.

“We can be happy now,” said Olivia putting her arms round his
neck, “for we are rich. We shall take again our proper place in
the county.”

“We are rich and we are happy,” echoed the master of Royabay.

“Ha! ha! You have one hundred thousand pounds, Ainsleigh,” said
Tidman.

“I have something better.”

“What’s that?”

“My own dear wife, Olivia Ainsleigh.”