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was again quiet, the company once more separated and returned to their sleeping rooms. Jack and Peter, however, as they parted exchanged sly looks ^of glee. It was evident that they were not suffering much from the rebuke which they had received.
CHAPTER XII. MR. BURTON CONTEMPLATES BREAKING HIS PROMISE.—FRIGHT THE FIFTH.—A DELICATE HINT FROM THE GHOSTS.
Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Burton had expressed so much displeasure at the tricks which had been invented and put so thoroughly into practice by Peter Dunning, yet their successful accomplishment had in reality afforded a great relief to his mind. For the reader must be informed that he had also learned the particulars of the alarm in the gentlemen's room; these had been related to him by Charles Leon before they parted in the passage.
-^ Mr. Burton reflected that a roomful of ladies and another roomful of gentlemen had been thrown into a state of great terror, in one case by a mask made of dough and in another case by the ghastly effect produced upon the human countenance by light shining upon it from the blue flame of burning brandy, aided in each instance merely by a white sheet. If such an effect had been produced where so many were present to strengthen the nerves of each other, it was no shame to his manhood that he had been alarmed by exhibitions much more mysterious and terrible.
In connection with this suggestion it occurred to his mind that—since in all probability these incidents, had they been left unexplained, would have been remembered afterward by some of even the most intelligent of the ladies and gentlemen who had witnessed them as supernatural events— might not the singular things which he had experienced have also been but successful devices of some ingenious mind, and which by one well acquainted with the resources of science might easily be explained on natural grounds? In this connection he recalled to his mind what his secretary had said in regard to the matter on the night of his first remarkable visitation; and he had great respect for the intelligence and knowledge of Albert Fortescue.
In fact, Mr. Burton, while preparations were being made for the festival, had been looking over his accounts. Inspired then by a whole
some terror of the apparently supernatural, events which had occurred to him, and by a fear of their return if he did not fulfill in spirit as well as letter his promise to his mysterious visitors, he had been guided in his investigations by a genuine desire to arrive at, not the seeming, but the real truth.
Controlled by this spirit, notwithstanding the garbled condition of his records of the business transactions between the late Mr. Leon and himself, he arrived at the conclusion—whose justice and truth he could not deny to himself—that the estate of Faywood, and all the lands, servants, furniture, cattle, and other appurtenances belonging to it, had in reality cost him but three or four thousand pounds. The different stock which had been held by Mr. Leon, and the funds produced by the sale of real and personal property which had been owned by that gentleman other than Leon Manor and its appurtenances before mentioned, had amounted to a sum which lacked but the amount named of being sufficient to pay all the just claims of others as well as of Mr. Burton himself against the estate of the late owner of Faywood. Of right therefore Leon Manor and everything belonging to it should be the property of Charles Leon on his paying to its present possessor a few thousand pounds.
At the time when Mr. Burton had been making this rigid examination of his accounts, his great desire had been to devise some plan by which he might make to Charles Leon a restitution of his just rights without compromising his own standing in the community, and at the same time without offending the sensitiveness and honorable independence of character of that young gentleman. The position which he had filled during the past day, however, a position which he considered to be a very grand and dignified one, as host to so many high-bred and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, had caused him—to use a common but expressive phrase—to "rue the bargain" which he had made with the ghosts; and now he was very anxious to persuade himself that those to whom he had pledged himself were no ghosts at all, but that there was an effort to make him the victim of a well-devised and well-executed plan laid out by a head better instructed than his own in the natural sciences.
But who could it be who was thus striving to force him to become instrumental in depriving himself of so much of his possessions? The only person to be benefited by the result aimed at was the son of his late patron; Charles Leon, then, must be the moving cause of all his late annoyances. But was Charles Leon so profoundly skilled in the natural sciences as to be able to produce such wonderful results—results beyond any, so far as Mr. Burton had learned, that had ever been produced before? He had never been informed from any source that the young man had ever engaged in occult studies; but, he reflected, Charles had been educated in the first schools of the mother country, and what knowledge might he not have acquired while there?
Yet how did Charles Leon gain access to the inner apartments of Faywood at all hours of the night? If that young man had really been the cause of his late distressing annoyances, he must have an instrument or instruments within the house itself; and who could that person or those persons be? He thought of Albert Fortescue and the page. But Mr. Fortescue had tried to remove from his mind the impression which he had then entertained that the marvelous incidents which had so alarmed him were due to supernatural causes; as to the page, Mr. Burton considered that lad to be of a temperament too wild and excitable to be trusted in such a scheme, even had he the mental capacity to assist in it, which was doubtful.
While these reflections were passing through the mind of the master of Faywood, the manly and honest face of young Leon would frequently rise before his mental vision, as if to rebuke him for thinking even for a moment that the son of his late patron could be capable of using such means to recover his patrimony. Mr. Burton could not avoid recalling also the lofty independence and high-toned language with which the young man had declined what he had himself considered to be at the time when they were made, his own liberal offers. But the ex-lawyer persistently turned from both the image and the remembrance, determined to force himself to believe that he was the party who was being imposed upon and deceived.
The train of thoughts which had occupied the attention of Mr. Burton for more than an hour succeeding his return to bed, after the alarm which had been caused by Peter Dunning's tricks had been quieted, again took possession of his mind on his awakening the next morning. The
bright sunshine, the pure, pleasant and bracing atmosphere of May, the cheerful sounds in and about the house, and, more than all, the consciousness that he was again about to enjoy his, in his own conception, lofty position in all its fullness, strengthened him in his partly-formed resolve to brave those whom he was determined to consider as merely his enemies, and not as spiritual warners, and to hold on to all of his possessions, whether justice should be wronged or not by his so doing.
It is evident that Mr. Burton's latter state was worse than his first. Formerly, he had succeeded in quieting his conscience by the assumed theory of ethics as applied to his case: that by his own ingenuity he had caused his statement of accounts between himself and the late Mr. Leon's estate to bear a perfectly legal appearance, therefore he was entirely justified in taking advantage of the condition of things as presented by the only existing record of those accounts; and as he was legally, so he was justly entitled to Leon Manor. Now, he entertained no doubt whatever that he was acting dishonestly in retaining possession of property which he knew was not his own.
At breakfast Mr. Burton excused himself for leaving his guests for a short time, and requested his secretary to accompany him to the library. On entering that apartment he called the attention of his companion to a large account book which was lying open on a table.
"Do me the favor, Mr. Fortescue," he said, very politely, "to look over these accounts, showing the business transactions between the late Mr. Leon and myself; and after having done so, oblige me by giving me your candid opinion as to whether or not there is any error, or even seeming inaccuracy in them. You need not trouble yourself by examining all the separate entries, although you may do so if you choose. I only wish you to investigate the statement toward the close of the book, which is copied from my report to the court of the condition of the estate. Where there is anything in this statement which shall seem doubtful to you, you can refer to the original entry in the book for explanation."
The secretary of course promised compliance, and Mr. Burton left him alone in the library. Mr. Fortescue immediately commenced poring over the account book. Some hours passed in this occupation. Toward the close of his inve-su
gation there was an entry which he could not i readily decipher. He carried the book to a window for the purpose of throwing more light • upon the subject, and was thus enabled to satisfy himself as to what the entry meant. When he returned to the table he found some pieces of paper lying upon that part of it where the open book had been spread. They were covered with the notes which Mr. Burton had made while en
deavoring to arrive at a just view of the condition of his accounts with the Leon estate. The exlawyer had either forgotten them, or, as they contained figures only, had supposed that they were not capable of conveying information to any one but himself. The secretary had a clue to their meaning, however, derived partly from previous conversations with Mr. Burton, and partly from the account book before him.
By Josephine Clifford.
These were five of us, and we went to the city hall in corpore to ask the loan of a policeman for half a day to show us the sights and protect us from the dangers of Chinatown. The officer we secured was peculiarly well-fitted to act as guide and protector. Chinatown had been his regular "beat" for eight years, and the San Francisco Chinaman is not apt to slight "one in authority." Of the members of our party, Mr. Hatch was in person broad-shouldered, though not very tall; his daughter, a slender little fairy; her "Cousin Harry," neither slim nor heavy; the Baron very tall, and myself head and shoulders above Miss Hatch's stature. Our police-captain, as I discovered later, possessed the much-to-be-envied faculty of making himself tall or short, sparebuilt or wide of girth, just as circumstances seemed to require.
The first Chinese retreat to which we repaired lay on Jackson street, and might be termed a sort of passive purgatory—a place which is merely dark, cold, cheerless, without any of the active principles of the dread place of punishment, such as we encountered later. In the midst of the damp court-yard was a square enclosure in which panted a consumptive engine, whose never-ending task it was to pump up water from the artesian well for the use of the celestial inmates of the large dilapidated dwelling. As this quarter of the city is wholly and indisputably given up to the Chinese, we were somewhat surprised to find in a room which the captain unceremoniously entered, a white man asleep with a dozen or two Chinamen in the narrow bunks which ran around the walls of the apartment. We thought the room Voi~ XIV.—23
rather crowded, as it was not high in the ceiling, and there was barely space for all six of us to stand in; but the police-captain smiled with pity on our ignorance, and prophesied that we would change our views on crowded rooms before we left Chinatown. After playfully jerking at the long cue of one or two Chinamen that he could reach without trouble, he remarked that these were all thieves, white men as well as Chinamen, who did their stealing at night, and came here to sleep in the daytime. Not a word of remonstrance was heard from the prostrate figures against the freedom with which their pig-tails and their good names were handled, and we left the bad-smelling room only to encounter worse smells outside. Every house in the Chinese quarter seems to contain either a restaurant, or a green-grocery and market-stall combined, and the odors we encountered from stale fish, shark's liver, decayed vegetables, and over-ripe pork-steaks, is beyond all description. It cannot be imagined, and must be personally experienced to be fully understood.
We dived into the basement of a house adjoining, which basement contained a barber-shop, a restaurant, a pawnbroker's shop, an opium den, and a lodging-house. This was rather a respectable place, our captain said, but not so "high-toned" as some we should see later. In the barber-shop sat two or three demure-looking Mongolians with freshly-shaven pates and newly-braided cues, while at the round table in the restaurant, about three feet away, sat an enormously fat Chinaman busy with his rice and meat.
"Hello, John!" the captain addressed him; "let the ladies see you use your chopsticks."
"All light," he answered, laughing all over his broad, shining face; "me eat licee with chopsticks;" and forthwith he flung the "licee" into his capacious maw with such rapidity that his cheeks were filled up and stood out like the pouch of a hamster who has been depredating on the nearest corn-crib, and we moved on for fear he should choke eating rice for our entertainment. Naturally we had the curiosity to inspect the cooking department, a couple of feet distant, and consisting of a common little portable brazier, such as are used to heat flat-irons on for ironing. The raw material which we saw would never have been recognized in the dainty little chef-d'xuvres of the cook's art we were shown in a separate division, having a little the air of a confectioner's shop. The raw material, so far as we could see with our inexperienced eyes, consisted of the sprouts growing out of potato-eyes, pig's (or dog's) ears pickled, and green leeks. (Now, I don't want to say anything mean against the Chinese; but I do believe that the funny little things we saw at the bottom of a deep earthen jar were rat's-tails skinned). The articles manufactured came out as tempting morsels, square, round, diamond-shaped, octagonal, all covered with coating and icing in gay colors, and so tastefully laid out that had we seen them at a confectioner's on Market or Kearny street, we could not have resisted the wish to devour them. I am willing to believe that other ingredients beside those mentioned went into the mixture that made up these dishes; but where they kept them I don't know; there was neither larder nor store-room to be seen.
Our appetites having been appeased by looking at these delicacies, we advanced five steps and stood on the pawnbroker's premises. Advanced is hardly the word to use. The front of the pawnshop consisting of a high barricade or counter, which we could not leap, we were compelled to squeeze ourselves through a narrow lane, formed by the partition wall of the lodging-house on one side, and the boards that formed the enclosure of the pawnbroker's on the other. Where this enclosure terminated there was a drop of several feet in the basement floor; and to avoid stepping down into unknown abysses, we clung firmly to the corner of the pawnshop, and by a sudden swing and simultaneous leap stood safely inside the door.
A Chinaman's favorite article of deposit with
his "Uncle" seems to be his umbrella, next comes his hat, then his clock, and last of all his great, horrible, murderous knife. Our friend of the police was an able lecturer, and standing in „■ the centre of the four-by-six space, he explained that very nearly everything a Chinaman wears or consumes is brought for him direct from China.
The only article of European dress he ever adopts with any facility is the black felt hat. In his house there is hardly a product of Yankee invention or ingenuity to be discovered, except the clock. Umbrellas he uses without discrimination, Chinese or American alike, though he seems to part easiest with the latter—those accumulated were all a sober black, not a red or blue one among them. All were neatly folded and ticketed; every article was stowed away in the smallest space, but with perfect system and order.
Our blue-coated mentor dived in among the goods here and there, brought out whatever he happened to lay his hands on, and always ex-^ plained the use and value of the article displayed in a perfectly clear and concise manner. I am almost certain he is preparing for a course of lectures through the Eastern States, and if he can only carry just this one pawnshop with him, he will no doubt draw crowded houses nightly. Among their arms, weapons of onslaught and defence, the knives I spoke of take the front rank, though the twisted iron bars, the iron "brass-knuckles," and the yard-long pistols are not to be undervalued. With the knives the captain gave a sort of free exhibition to illustrate the manner in which they were most effectively handled. I need not say that Miss Hatch and I crowded into the farthest possible corner during the show. The knives go in pairs, two are always in the scabbard together, and are the most ferocious-looking things I ever saw. They are fully fourteen inches in length, with both edges sharpened at the narrow point, and broadening to about four inches toward the handle, where the back is very thick, as if calculated for solid execution. The captain narrated how in one of the narrow alleys which he has frequently to explore, his ears were one day assailed by the shrilling of half a hundred police-whistles, and he came upon a pair of infuriated Chinamen, the one on the ground holding up his hands to shield his face, the other standing over him, a knife in each hand, and slashing away to his heart's delight.
The fingers of the unfortunate victim were fast being hacked into mince meat, the side of his neck was a bubbling fountain of blood, his scalp v was laid bare, and his nose most elaborately carved. A hundred or two of their countrymen were looking on, excitedly chattering like so many magpies, but not one dared interfere. The policeman seized the assailant, blew his whistle to summon help to remove the victim, and marched his prisoner to jail. The would-be murderer was sentenced to ten years state prison, and died before his term expired; his intended victim recovered with three fingers and a half, one-third of a nose, a forehead divided in two by a red scar, and his head drawn to one side from the effect of the blood-letting. He went to China after recovering, but returned to San Francisco, and has never forgotten the captain and his opportune appearance on the field of battle.
Swinging ourselves out of the pawnshop, we Text entered the lodging-house, which consisted of tiers of bunks against the basement wall, the boundary partition being just so far removed that there was room to pass along the line These bunks are ranged one above the other like berths on a steamer or ship, only that there are whole rows of them here, whereas on a steamer there is only one or two sets in every stateroom. In this case, however, there was a break in the continuous row, and a kind of open platform, raised some two feet above the ground, came to view between the two sections. There was a mat spread down, and at the back part of the dais, in the centre, close up to the wall, stood a burning lamp, on either side of which was placed one of the funny little head-blocks which the Chinese use for pillows. One of the head-blocks already bore the burden of the head of a Chinamen who lay stretched along the platform, stupefied with opium; while the other side of the dais was occupied by a grinning Celestial just preparing his pipe for a smoke. The air was sickeningly oppressive with the fumes of the drug, and Miss Hatch made an effort to escape; but the captain declared that the atmosphere was pure comparatively, the place not in the least crowded, and that we must watch the fellow prepare his pipe anyhow. "And besides," the captain enlightened us, standing in our midst i how he got there I don't know; there wasn't room enough for a cat to squeeze in, and I had seen him at the door only a second ago to prevent
Miss Hatch from escaping) "this fellow is the biggest rascal in all Chinatown, and ought to be in state prison now. Ain't it so, John?"
The grin on John's face had spread clear to his ears, and they seemed fairly to wag with pleasure.
"Yes, cappen," he assented, delightedly, "me belly big lascal."
"Hurry up, now," the captain commanded; "we want to see you fill that pipe."
"Opium no belly good," said John, apologetically; "but me fixem pipe."
With that he drew a fat little jar toward him, of the paste-like contents of which I can only say that they looked as black as the jar itself. The pipe was about fifteen inches long, made of bamboo; but there was no open bowl as in tobaccopipes, only a small round orifice into which the paste, after it had been cooked in the flame of the lamp at the end of a wire, was laboriously squeezed. Three or four whiffs finishes the first pipeful, and then the same tedious process must again be gone through for the next smoke; and habitual smokers, the captain told us, would empty their pipes from three to six times.
The white smoke puffed from the pipe had made the atmosphere terribly heavy, and looking down into Miss Hatch's face as she leaned against me, I saw it that it was deathly pale; and she whispered in German, with bloodless lips:
"Estis schrecklich; it will make me faint, I'm afraid."
. The gentlemen sprang to her assistance, the captain led the way out, and a moment later we were on the street. The air of Jackson street between Dupont and Kearney may not be ambrosial; but it was "pure by comparison," as our mentor had said, and we walked slowly along until we saw the color come back into Miss Hatch's face.
On the side of the street stood a little stall, on which were displayed for sale apples, grapes, carrots, and the two kinds of Chinese nuts one finds everywhere for sale here. One kind is called buffalo horns, having their precise shape, as if they had just been broken off, a diminutive specimen of that mammoth creature. The other kind is round, has a thin shell, with little warts all over it, and contains a pulp something like the date in taste and substance, growing around a hard, flat kernel. The stall was presided over by an individual whom I could class neither as Chinaman