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37. Seton Pasha Reports
At about the time that the fearless Chief Inspector was entering the establishment
of Sam Tuk Seton Pasha was reporting to Lord Wrexborough in Whitehall. His
nautical disguise had served its purpose, and he had now finally abandoned it,
recognizing that he had to deal with a criminal of genius to whom disguise merely
afforded matter for amusement.
In his proper person, as Greville Seton, he afforded a marked contrast to that John
Smiles, seaman, who had sat in a top room in Limehouse with Chief Inspector
Kerry. And although he had to report failure, the grim, bronzed face and bright grey
eyes must have inspired in the heart of any thoughtful observer confidence in
ultimate success. Lord Wrexborough, silver-haired, florid and dignified, sat before a
vast table laden with neatly arranged dispatch-boxes, books, documents tied with
red tape, and the other impressive impedimenta which characterize the table of a
Secretary of State. Quentin Gray, unable to conceal his condition of nervous
excitement, stared from a window down into Whitehall.
"I take it, then, Seton," Lord Wrexborough was saying, "that in your opinion--
although perhaps it is somewhat hastily formed--there is and has been no
connivance between officials and receivers of drugs?"
"That is my opinion, sir. The traffic has gradually and ingeniously been 'ringed' by a
wealthy group. Smaller dealers have been bought out or driven out, and today I
believe it would be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain opium, cocaine, or veronal
illicitly anywhere in London. Kazmah and Company had the available stock
cornered. Of course, now that they are out of business, no doubt others will step in.
It is a trade that can never be suppressed under existing laws."
"I see, I see," muttered Lord Wrexborough, adjusting his pince-nez. "You also
believe that Kazmah and Company are in hiding within what you term"--he
consulted a written page--"the 'Causeway area'? And you believe that the man
called Sin Sin Wa is the head of the organization?"
"I believe the late Sir Lucien Pyne was the actual head of the group," said Seton
bluntly. "But Sin Sin Wa is the acting head. In view of his physical peculiarities, I
don't quite see how he's going to escape us, either, sir. His wife has a fighting
chance, and as for Mohammed el-Kazmah, he might sail for anywhere tomorrow,
and we should never know. You see, we have no description of the man."
"His passports?" murmured Lord Wrexborough.
Seton Pasha smiled grimly.
"Not an insurmountable difficulty, sir," he replied, "but Sin Sin Wa is a marked man.
He has the longest and thickest pigtail which I ever saw on a human scalp. I take it
he is a Southerner of the old school; therefore, he won't cut it off. He has also only
one eye, and while there are many one-eyed Chinamen, there are few one-eyed
Chinamen who possess pigtails like a battleship's hawser. Furthermore, he travels
with a talking raven, and I'll swear he won't leave it behind. On the other hand, he
is endowed with an amount of craft which comes very near to genius."
"And--Mrs. Monte Irvin?"