Tales of Chinatown HTML version
RED KERRY ON DUTY
Chief Inspector Kerry came down from the top of a motor-bus and stood on the
sidewalk for a while gazing to right and left along Piccadilly. The night was,
humid and misty, now threatening fog and now rain. Many travellers were abroad
at this Christmas season, the pleasure seekers easily to be distinguished from
those whom business had detained in town, and who hurried toward their various
firesides. The theatres were disgorging their audiences. Streams of lighted cars
bore parties supperward; less pretentious taxicabs formed links in the chain.
From the little huddled crowd of more economical theatre-goers who waited at
the stopping place of the motor-buses, Kerry detached himself, walking slowly
along westward and staring reflectively about him. Opposite the corner of Bond
Street he stood still, swinging his malacca cane and gazing fixedly along this
narrow bazaar street of the Baghdad of the West. His trim, athletic figure was
muffled in a big, double-breasted, woolly overcoat, the collar turned up about his
ears. His neat bowler hat was tilted forward so as to shade the fierce blue eyes.
Indeed, in that imperfect light, little of the Chief Inspector's countenance was
visible except his large, gleaming white teeth, which he constantly revealed in the
act of industriously chewing mint gum.
He smiled as he chewed. Duty had called him out into the midst, and for once he
had obeyed reluctantly. That very afternoon had seen the return of Dan Kerry,
junior, home from school for the Christmas vacation, and Dan was the apple of
his father's eye.
Mrs. Kerry had reserved her dour Scottish comments upon the boy's school
report for a more seemly occasion than the first day of his holidays; but Kerry had