“Where you go,” said Ghundi, “there may I be to serve you! Farewell, little master.”
He turned back to the dancing lights below him with a sharp word of command, and as quietly as he had come was gone, passing silently down the rickety steps into the night. There was a swift murmur of protest from the waiters, quelled; the light shuffle of feet; the rustle of parted leaves—silence. The Honourable Tony stood for a moment listening for any echo of the small dying sounds—whistled the opening bars of “Where Do We Go From Here, Boys?” twice over with fine accuracy and restraint, shoved open the bedroom door, and yielded himself unreservedly to joyous retrospection.
“My word, fairly neat, eh, Daisy? What price the bit about 杭州足浴店全套按摩 the handkerchief? And the buzzing317 head, what? I swear I had no idea I’d be so good. Fancy what a loss to the stage—or Scotland Yard—no, no, more sport keeping out of Scotland Yard; well, then, so that’s that. Now what?”
There was a small sound that might have been a shiver, and a whisper, strange and lonely as a dream, answered him.
“Now then, farewell, Honable Tonee.”
“Farewell? Thinking of leaving me, Daisy?”
“Yes. Now I am thinkin’—of leavin’ you.”
“My poor kid, you’ll shiver your pretty teeth out if you keep up like this; I swear I ought to be drawn and quartered for a thumping brute. After all, it isn’t as much of a lark for you as it is for me, is it? Now just what are we going to do about you?”
“Honable Tonee, eet ees not for me I shiver; eet ees for you. Becaus’ you
do not onnerstan’—becaus’ you laff—becaus’ you do not know that all, all ees end. That is mos’ terrible—that you who are good an’ great an’ love’ by all those Saints do not know that eet ees end. Of all those Saints and you I ask pardon—I ask pardon, pardon that thees I have done to you——”
“My dear little lunatic, you’ve done nothing in the world to me; the blighter knows that if he laid a finger on me he’d be as good as cutting his throat. While I’m not much given to swanking about it,318 half of the big sticks in England are my cousins and my uncles and my aunts, and though it’s rather a grief to us all, they’d simply chew him up if he administered as much as a scratch to anything as sacred as a Bolingham hide. No, I’m a good deal righter than rain and you take a weight off my mind about the sentiments of all those Saints; the question before the house is, what about you?”
Oh, me, eet ees no mattair. Me, I am through.”
“Daisy, I’m just a bit afraid you’re right. We might as well face the fact at the start that I’m no match for the entire Imperial army, even if an important item of their defence does consist of green panties. You wouldn’t consider chucking it?”
“You don’t think that Manuelo would understand if you took the two last wives’ jewels and——”
“Ah,” moaned the little voice in the darkness, “that ees a wicked, that ees a black an’ ogly thing to say. Me, I am no good—me, I am no good at all—but that you should have nevair say to me——”
“My dear,” said the Honourable Tony gently, “you’re as good as gold, and I’m a black-hearted scoundrel that Manuelo ought to flog from here to319 his tin mines. In this world or the next, he has my congratulations; tell him from me that he’s a lucky devil, won’t you? Now then, I’m off for the other room. I’ll light the lamp, and give a cracking good imitation of an earnest reader for the benefit of any callers. In case it doesn’t meet with the proper applause—just in case, you know—here’s the revolver. You might bolt the door after I’m gone; that way you’ll have any amount of time. Not going to be lonely, are you? You can hear me just as 杭州spa男技师 well as though I still were in the room. Moreover, I’m leaving a lady to take care of you.”
“The Duchess of Bolingham. Feel this little black frame? Well, she’s in there; hold on tight to her. You two are going to adore each other.”
“No, but I do not onnerstan’; what, what ees thees?”
“This is my mother, Daisy; her first name is Biddy. I think she’s going to want you to call her by her first name.”
“But she ees daid, your mothair?”
“Dead? That’s the most idiotic description of Biddy; however, there may be something in what you say, though you’ll never get her to admit it. Now, then, quite all right? Sure? Good-bye, little Daisy.”
320 “Honable Tonee.”
He had to bend his head to catch that faint and wavering whisper.
“Honable Tonee, becaus’ thees room eet ees so black an’ still—not, not that I am a-frighten, but becaus’ thees room eet ees so black an’ still, 杭州龙凤网站首页 would you be so vairy kin’ to kiss me good-bye? Manuelo—Manuelo, he would onnerstan’. You do not think that ladee would be angery?”
The Honourable Tony bent his bright head to the dark one, and laid his gay lips swiftly and surely on the small painted mouth.
“That lady would be terrible in anger if I didn’t. Daisy, what nice perfume! Nicest I ever smelled in all my life. I’m going to get bottles and bottles of it. All right now, little thing? Good-night then—Biddy, you look after her; show her all the prettiest places up there—mind the two of you keep out of mischief! Slip the bolt behind me, Daisy.”
With a last touch on her hair, light and caressing as his voice, he was gone through the darkness. He pulled the door to behind him noiselessly, and stood leaning against it for a moment with bowed head, listening. Silence—a faint patter of feet—the heavy grating of the bolt 杭州上门品茶 driven home. He raised his head.
321 “Good girl!” said the Honourable Tony clearly.
He swung across to the table, felt for the matches, and lit the lamp deftly and swiftly, pulling the long chair into its friendly aura and distributing the cushions with a rapid dexterity that belied the lethargy that he had maintained tigers incapable of disturbing. But then, a little wind had just passed through the quiet room—a little wind that blew in heavy with darkness and fragrance and something else—heavy with a distant murmur of voices, and far-off footsteps coming nearer through the night. It passed as it came, but the flame in the lamp flickered and burned brighter, and the flame that danced in the eyes of the gentleman reclining in the long chair flickered and burned brighter, too, though they were discreetly lowered over the account of a highly unsavory Bazaar murder in a two-month-old paper from Singapore. Even when the footsteps 杭州按摩店在哪里 were on the rickety stairs he continued to read; even when they were on the threshold he only bent his head a little lower, intent and absorbed; even when the knocks rang out, ominous and insistent, he did not lift those dancing eyes. He flipped over the first page of the Singapore paper with a dexterous thumb and finger, and lifted his voice in welcome leavened with surprise.
“Come in!” called the Honourable Tony to322 those who stood in darkness. And the door opened and they came in.
First there came a small, plump, swarthy gentleman in immaculate white linen of an irreproachable cut. He had small neat feet shod in the shiniest of patent-leather boots, and small fat hands adorned with three superb emeralds, and a set of highly unpleasant little cat whiskers curling into a grizzled gray at the ends. About his throat was a scarlet watered ribbon from which dangled a star as glittering as a Christmas tree ornament, and about his head was wound a turban of very fine red silk pierced by a brooch in which crouched another 杭州桑拿会所 emerald large as a pigeon egg, flawed and sinister and magnificent. In one fat little hand he held a pair of white kid gloves and a small handkerchief badly crumpled; in the other a swagger stick of ebony banded with smooth gold. He walked on the tips of his patent-leather toes, and behind him came ten gigantic figures in incredible green uniforms with gold-laced jackets that were debtors to 杭州洗浴全套体验 the Zouaves, and fantastic caps strapped under their chins reminiscent of the organ-grinder’s monkey and the dancing vaudeville bellboy. Lanterns light as bubbles swung from their great paws and in the gilded holsters at their waists the mother-of-pearl handles of the famous automatics gleamed like the Milky Way.323 They padded behind their master, silent as huge cats, and smiled at one another like delighted children. His Imperial Majesty, the Sultan Bhakdi, accompanied by the Royal Body Guard, was making a call on the British Adviser.
The British Adviser rose easily to his feet.
“Your Majesty!” he saluted, with precisely the correct inflection of gratified amazement.