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38. The Song Of Sin Sin Wa
Mrs. Sin, aroused by her husband from the deep opium sleep, came out into the
fume-laden vault. Her dyed hair was disarranged, and her dark eyes stared glassily
before her; but even in this half-drugged state she bore herself with the lithe
carriage of a dancer, swinging her hips lazily and pointing the toes of her high-
"Awake, my wife," crooned Sin Sin Wa. "Only a fool seeks the black smoke when
the jackals sit in a ring "
Mrs. Sin gave him a glance of smiling contempt--a glance which, passing him,
rested finally upon the prone body of Chief Inspector Kerry lying stretched upon the
floor before the stove. Her pupils contracted to mere pin-points and then dilated
blackly. She recoiled a step, fighting with the stupor which her ill-timed indulgence
had left behind.
At this moment Kerry groaned loudly, tossed his arm out with a convulsive
movement, and rolled over on to his side, drawing up his knees.
The eye of Sin Sin Wa gleamed strangely, but he did not move, and Sam Tuk who
sat huddled in his chair where his feet almost touched the fallen man, stirred never
a muscle. But Mrs. Sin, who still moved in a semi-phantasmagoric world, swiftly
raised the hem of her kimona, affording a glimpse of a shapely silk-clad limb. From
a sheath attached to her garter she drew a thin stilletto. Curiously feline, she
crouched, as if about to spring.
Sin Sin Wa extended his hand, grasping his wife's wrist.
"No, woman of indifferent intelligence," he said in his queer sibilant language,
"since when has murder gone unpunished in these British dominions?"
Mrs. Sin snatched her wrist from his grasp, falling back wild-eyed.
"Yellow ape! yellow ape!" she said hoarsely. "One more does not matter --now."
"One more?" crooned Sin Sin Wa, glancing curiously at Kerry.
"They are here! We are trapped!"
"No, no," said Sin Sin Wa. "He is a brave man; he comes alone."
He paused, and then suddenly resumed in pidgin English:
"You likee killa him, eh?"
Perhaps unconscious that she did so, Mrs. Sin replied also in English:
"No, I am mad. Let me think, old fool!"
She dropped the stiletto and raised her hand dazedly to her brow.
"You gotchee tired of knifee chop, eh?" murmured Sin Sin Wa.
Mrs. Sin clenched her hands, holding them rigidly against her hips; and, nostrils
dilated, she stared at the smiling Chinaman.
"What do you mean?" she demanded.
Sin Sin Wa performed his curious oriental shrug.
"You putta topside pidgin on Sir Lucy alla lightee," he murmured. "Givee him hell
alla velly proper."
The pupils of the woman's eyes contracted again, and remained so. She laughed
hoarsely and tossed her head.