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Tales of Chinatown

The Hand Of The Mandarin Quong
I
THE SHADOW ON THE CURTAIN
"Singapore is by no means herself again," declared Jennings, looking about the
lounge of the Hotel de l'Europe. "Don't you agree, Knox?"
Burton fixed his lazy stare upon the speaker.
"Don't blame poor old Singapore," he said. "There is no spot in this battered
world that I have succeeded in discovering which is not changed for the worse."
Dr. Matheson flicked ash from his cigar and smiled in that peculiarly happy
manner which characterizes a certain American type and which lent a boyish
charm to his personality.
"You are a pair of pessimists," he pronounced. "For some reason best known to
themselves Jennings and Knox have decided upon a Busman's Holiday. Very
well. Why grumble?"
"You are quite right, Doctor," Jennings admitted. "When I was on service here in
the Straits Settlements I declared heaven knows how often that the country
would never see me again once I was demobbed. Yet here you see I am; Burton
belongs here; but here's Knox, and we are all as fed up as we can be!"
"Yes," said Burton slowly. "I may be a bit tired of Singapore. It's a queer thing,
though, that you fellows have drifted back here again. The call of the East is no
fable. It's a call that one hears for ever."
 
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