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The Biter Bit

by Aleister Crowley

"Evidence of Identity", by Dolores Cass, was the Book of the season.  It was as dry as a treatise on trigonometry, but people read it and discussed it as if it were a novel.  The Washington Square group all tried to look like each other so as to deceive the very elect, and succeeded perfectly, as there was not one with an ounce of individuality in the whole gang.

But what annoyed everybody was that the mystery was nowhere disclosed.  How Dolores had managed the affair was still perfectly obscure ... if she had managed it.  All that she revealed was that a Second Girl existed.  Simon Iff had contributed a powerful preface, in which he explained nothing at all but his theories on love.  "Amor omnia vincit", he concluded furiously, "Love is 'inimicus humani generis' ... the enemy of the human race."

For before Miss Mollie Madison had reached her office after her interview with him, Simon had been rung up from Boston.  It was Dolores, and she begged him, in the interests of science, to suppress the story.  There was nothing for him to do but to follow the beacon of Miss Mollie Madison's little red head, and put an extinguisher upon it.

They compensated her by making her chief bridesmaid at the wedding of Dolores to Geoffrey Travis, which was the most fashionable affair that even Boston had known in a long while.

The presents were wonderful.  Simon Iff had given the bridegroom an alabaster image of Ganesha, very glorious with gold and vermilion; but he had apologized to Dolores with empty hands, saying that he hadn't been able to think of anything suitable so far; he hoped to repair the omission a little later.

She was snowed under with jewelry; also she had a pair of piebald ponies, and a hydroplane, and a twelve-inch reflector telescope in case she wanted to study astronomy.  Publicity has its points, even in Beacon Street.

People thought it all rather remarkable; but if Mrs. Cass and Mr. Travis had nothing to say, why, nobody else had.  One couldn't attach any importance to newspaper reports, could one, or where would one be?

So everything went off splendidly.  Travis took the usual month from his business, and it was decided to cruise down the coast in his steam yacht, the Opossum, a magnificant trubine boat of two thousand tons.

Simon Iff, having done his duty as best man, returned to New York.  Miss Mollie Madison was in the chair car, and, the train being due in New York at seven o'clock, he asked her to come and have dinner with him.  "Do take me to Chinatown!" she begged.  "It will be so wonderful, as you can speak and read Chinese so marvellously.  You spent years there, didn't you?"

"Young woman," replied Iff, sternly, "consider yourself suspected.  You wish to find yourself in a labyrinth of secret passages, with gambling halls, opium joints, and Even Worse Things in full blast.  You want tong wars and unspeakable tortures.  You have been reading cheap fiction."

She tried to make her face match her hair, and nearly succeeded.

"It's all rubbish," pursued the mystic inexorably.  "The Chinese is an exceptionally simple, quiet, honest, kind-hearted individual.  You should try to imitate him, even if from afar."

"To me he seems absolutely mysterious."

"When I last left China - for my sins - I travelled on the same steamer as Sir Robert Hart, who had just completed his fifty years in the country.  He told me that he had got to the stage where he could tell pretty well what a Chinese would do in any given set of circumstances, but that he hadn't the faintest notion of why he would do it."

"But there is a common basis of motive throughout human nature."

"I don't believe it.  I think the Chinese has a peripheral consciousness, instead of an egocentric one, as the Aryan has.  Hence his attitude towards death, for example.  To him the universe is a continual flux, individuals being but transitory accretions.  Why should he expect permanence in the impermanent?  It is idiotic, to his mind, to quarrel with the Law of the Universe.  For he is the supreme realist.  He never shirks facts.  That is why he has to use opium if he wants to dream.  Europeans can fool themselves much more easily."

"I thought it was just the opposite."

"Man made God in his own image; but it has been reserved for Anglo-Saxon conceit to make everybody in its own image.  Could you oblige me with the loan of an illegitimate child?"

Mollie jumped out of her chair, really aflame this time.  "Mr. Iff!  Do you know what you are saying?"

"Sit down, my dear!" laughed the mystic.  "You're Aryan, all right.  A Chinese would have been simple about it, said 'no', and gone on with his business.  You, instead of answering a plain question, minding your own affairs, and leaving me to mind mine, made a fuss, incidentally exhibiting another quite Aryan quality, a Guilty Conscience."

"I have not!"

"Oh yes, you have!  You don't worry about matters unless you are potentially or actually capable of them.  Tell me that my house in Pittsburg is burnt down, and I do not fret, because I have not a house in Pittsburg, and please God, I never will have!"*

"I seem to have given myself away!"

"You have.  Now try something unheard of on Tze-wei, who shall be our host to-night.  Try to surprise or to upset him.  You get a jade bracelet if you succeed."

Miss Mollie Madison revolved the matter in her head awhile; and at the conclusion of the Chow Mein dinner of no particular importance, asked the proprietor for the head of his father.  She had some vague idea that ancestor-worship would make this a peculiarly horrible request.  Tze-wei however replied quite calmly that it was impossible, he having been beheaded by the German troops when they entered Peking, and the head having been used for pistol practice thereafter.  Miss Mollie Madison was smitten with great agony of remorse; but Simple Simon reassured her, and drew her attention by showing her how Chinese writing was done.  He covered the whole menu with the queer characters before he tired.  Then he paid the bill, and took her to her apartment.  "We shall meet," was his gay farewell, "at Philippi."  And she lay awake half the night wondering what he could possibly mean by that.

II

A heavy sea-fog hung over a windless Boston one Friday night, nigh a month later.  Mrs. Cass was reading a wireless message from Dolores.  The Opossum was hung up under the banks in the fog, but the Captain hoped to be able to make Boston in another forty-eight hours.

As a matter of fact, the Opossum - at that moment - was not at all a good place for a nervous person.  The fog hung like a wet sheet upon the sea; everything in the boat was clammily warm, like a freshly-killed corpse.  The air was horrible to breathe; its stagnation was oppressive beyond all words.  The blare of the half-minute horn was torture to any sensitive ear; and the solo became a concert whenever other ships came within earshot.  It was an inferno of discomfort, boredom, and that apprehension which impotence or constraint always begets in a man, whose one true passion is his supposed Free Will.  It was impossible to forge ahead, even dead slow; the Captain was caught between shoal waters and the North Atlantic Sea lanes.  He was safest where he was.

Geoffrey Travis and his wife, who had decided to call each other Mutt and Jeff, were fearfully bored, and horribly ashamed to confess it.  It seemed to them the Doom of Love, the Dawn of Divorce; so they said nothing, and made brave pretence to be amused.  Dolores had a brain that simply would not work on such lines; her forced cheerfulness gave her a genuine number one headache, and she went off to bed, though it was just after tiffin.  Night was the same as day in a fog such as this!  Travis himself tried to sleep, failed, started piquet with the mate, tired in an hour, finally drifted on to the bridge, where the Captain was doing his trick.

"There's a crazy skipper loose," growled he as Travis approached.  "Remember that queer boat that picked us up just out of Halifax?"

"That four-funnelled sea-serpent?  Some new destroyer on her trials, we thought."

Yes, that's the chap.  Flying Dutchman, I guess.  Come past us just now, within three cables, doing his forty knots!  It's not believable.  For the land's sake!  There he goes again!"

Travis peered through the fog.  A slight breeze had sprung up, and lifted it in patches here and there.  In one comparatively thin streak, where waifs of vapour drifted slowly upon the dead waters, he could perceive the hull of the devilish warship, if it were one; it looked like a shark or a seal on a gigantic scale.  She bored her nose constantly into the seas, which broke clean over her, so great was her speed.  It was a brief glimpse; a few seconds took her again into the unchallengeable greyness of the sea without bound.

Both Travis and the Captain were most peculiarly impressed, and not very pleasantly.  An apparently new type of craft, of astonishing power, behaving like a dangerous lunatic!  The Captain smelt something sinister.

An hour later, the breeze began to freshen seriously.  The Opossum's engines began to revolve.  But hardly had she gathered way when the look-out cried from the forecastle.

"Raft ahoy!  Raft on the st'b'd bow, sir!"

Twilight, and swirling fog; yet Travis, leaning on the rail, could see the vague outline.  There was a man, plainly enough visible.  He ran to the bridge; but the Captain had already rung off his engines, and ordered out a boat.  He then bethought him:  "By Jove, an adventure after Mutt's own heart!"  And he ran down to her cabin.

The headache left her in an instant; she snatched her sou'wester, and was first into the boat.  A few minutes carried her to the side of the raft.  They grappled it with boat-hooks, and she sprang aboard.

It was a small rough raft, some eight feet by ten.  A short thick mast stood up, and to it was nailed the Union Jack reversed as a signal of distress.  Below this, something else was nailed.  A marlin-spike was thrust through the hands of a dead man; another through his feet.  He had been horribly mutilated; his ears and lips cut off, his nose split, his eyes gouged, his scalp removed.

A sailor's clasp-knife was forced between his ribs; it pinned a paper to his side, and this paper was the cover of a Chinese missionary magazine.  The man himself had, Dolores felt sure, been of the yellow race; the skull, the nose, the cheek bones, were conclusive.  He wore a torn flannelette shirt, a cheap suit of coat and trousers.  In the pockets were stuffed twelve silver salt cellars of no great value; some still half full of the condiment.  His chest was bare; on it was tattooed a design of a blue snake twined about an anchor.  The body showed signs of extreme emaciation.

"This," pronounced Dolores with ineffable unction, "is no ordinary crime."

Detective fever set in with extreme virulence.  She insisted on tackle being rigged to hoist the raft, intact, upon the deck of the yacht.  Every cable of the way to Boston Harbour she sat and studied it.

On arrival, the police immediately took charge of the exhibit, and proceeded with the usual formalities.  The Press adopted a peculiar attitude.  Some papers reported the incident briefly and without comment; others, less sophisticated or more intent on circulation than on reputation, gave the story straight-forwardly and at length; but the 'Turkey-Buzzard', the paper that had backed the Second Girl, was excessively peeved, and, under the headline

'Tout lasse, tout passe, tout Cass--e'

accused Dolores point-blank of having created a new stunt of some kind, and warned her that this article was the last piece of publicity she would get in those columns, unless through legitimate channels, such as the divorce court.

Dolores was furious; she set her teeth to show the world that this was no fake.

It was clear to her from the start that the murdered man was the victim of revenge, probably the result of treachery.  The executioners had mutilated him partly for the sake of the punishment, partly to prevent identification.  The snake and anchor were left, because few would recognize him by these marks, except, possibly, some people whom it was wished to warn.  The silver salt-cellars were possibly the price of his treason, actually or symbolically.  The missionary magazine cover perhaps indicated that he was a 'native Christian,' the Union Jack that he was from Canada, or originally from a British possession.  For Dolores could not get it out of her head that the raft had been deliberately set adrift.  It was entirely bare; no food or water, or any receptacle; no trace of the presence of any other person.  The object of the whole performance was paramountly clear:  "Don't let it happen to you!" was the English for it.

The police had failed to identify the man; there had been no missing Chinaman within a month, as it happened, except a few whose bodies had already been claimed.  Dolores, on the Christianity clue, had made enquiries at the various missions; but her only fresh fact was that the snake-and-anchor was a common device among sailors from Canton.

She formulated her quest under two heads:  Who is the man, and who killed him?  The spectacular nature of his punishment led her to think that her best plan might be to find out who needed the warning.

And then she began to revolve about the point:  Why a raft?  Why take this risky method of advertisement?  The coast is patrolled.  Unless the man had been killed at sea, which could hardly happen unless in a Chinese-owned and Chinese-manned ship, it would have been much more sensible to leave the body in the streets.  There must be some very cogent reason for the raft.

This business began to eat into her life.  Social duties went by the board.  'Jeff' was happy enough that 'Mutt' should be so intensely occupied; he did not even mind her talking in her sleep.  He fell naturally into lunching downtown at Louis', or the club; usually Mutt would drop in, and distractedly toy with a chop.  She was really in despair; if only she could have appealed to Simon Iff!  But her pride prevented her.

She tried to trace the salt-cellars; but they were of a common pattern, sold by the thousand.  There might be more in the idea that the number twelve had some significance.  Possibly, again, the Chinese had some peculiar superstition about salt.

III

She now spent most of her time in the Chinese quarter.  Her charm earned her plenty of friends, but of course nobody knew anything about the raft incident.  There was, however, one old man who gave her some excellent advice.  "A child!" he said, "see its body, which is like the bough of a rotten tree, and its mind is like slaked lime.  Be at peace; this is Heaven's appointment, and the way of perfection."

Dolores, every nerve high-strung, reacted instantly against the philosopher.  His words were kindly and sensible, but she was certain that a threat was intended:  "Keep your nose out of what doesn't concern you!"  Somehow or other she must be on the right track.

She took to watching the old fellow closely.  She learnt that he had kept a drug-store of the Chinese variety for thirty years; he was of good character, so far as the police knew.

A Japanese went to his shop, at nearly the same time, nearly every night; the man was a tattooer, and bought inks.  But why should he not lay in a stock of inks to last a month or a year?  The purchase was an excuse; they really conferred about other things.

The next day she called on the Japanese.  She was certain that he had lied to the police in saying that he had never executed the snake-and-anchor design.  She ordered him to do a dragon on her shoulder, and gained leasure to observe.  There was only one object visible which was at variance with the obvious characteristics of the tattooer.  This was a letter-file.  She determined to get a chance to examine it.  So, on her second visit, she pretended to faint with the pain of the needle, and sent him out for brandy.  She opened the file; almost at once she came on a miniature of the snake-and-anchor design, with a page of writing beneath it; a list, perhaps.  She secreted it.  The brandy failed to restore her courage; she left, promising to come back in the afternoon.  She had the paper photographed, and restored the original on her next visit.  She had the list translated, and looked up the owners of the names.

Wu Lee, the last but one on the list, was the only name not in Boston.  His address was given as Mott Street, New York.  It might be worth a trial.  She took the afternoon train.

Wu Lee was a washerman.  He had never been to Boston, he said.  He willingly exposed his chest to his fair visitor.  There was no snake-and-anchor to be seen.

For all that, she felt that she was on the trail.  Here, at least, was one thing pertinent.  Wu Lee was a 'Kilistian' and a copy of the same missionary magazine as was on the raft lay on the table of his little sitting room.

As she went out, a certainty gripped her that Wu Lee knew something.  She would watch for a few moments.  It was "a good bet if she lost".  She concealed herself in a door-way.  Ten minutes passed, and then she was rewarded by seeing her 'old philosopher' go quietly down the street and into the washerman's shop.  He had hardly time to say two sentences, she judged, when Wu Lee staggered from the shop, a scared man if ever there was one in this world.  The old man followed him out, stopped and took snuff; he grinned terribly as he watched Wu Lee reel into Chatham Square.  Then he turned and came across the road directly to Dolores.  He opened his mouth, and showed his toothless gums.

"You think?" he said, and made a grimace so sinister and menacing that Dolores shrank back appalled.  "You go home; nice house, nice man; this side, bad weather."

She brushed past him, and went back to her hotel to think.  It was certain that Wu Lee was threatened; she would offer him protection; he would have to tell her the whole story.  But had he fled?  What a fool she had been not to follow him!

However, the next morning she found Wu Lee at his work.  But he was going about it with the air of one resigned to die.  She told him frankly who she was, and promised all the might of Uncle Sam to save him.  He was impassive as fate itself.  She began to apply a little 'third degree' of her own, described the finding of the body.  It moved him - but not normally.  "Oh not the raft - not the raft!" was all he would say, and he said it over and over.

Again she retired in disorder.  To fill in the time, she called on a missionary who worked in Chinatown, and asked about the snake and anchor.  Was it a secret society?

"Not very secret, poor fellows!" said the missionary.  "It's a Cantonese Mutual Help Society, and its qualifications are two:  Christianity and Tuberculosis.  The snake stands for healing, and the anchor for hope."

"Then you can't imagine its members getting into trouble as such?"

"Oh, you're thinking of that raft business?  No; that's a most mysterious affair.  I'm afraid I can't suggest anything.  You ought to go to Mr. Simon Iff; a godless man, I fear, but with a wonderful knowledge of all things Chinese."

"Ah!" smiled Dolores sadly, "he's the one man I mustn't ask," and took her leave.

At her hotel she found Miss Mollie Madison waiting to see her.  She was overjoyed; the puzzle was on her nerves, and she longed to pour out her soul.  But she refrained gallantly from asking Mollie if she had discussed the matter with the mystic, and even shut her up when she began to volunteer some data on the subject.

IV

They went in to the luncheon-room.  Dolores stopped at the desk on the way, and inquired for her mail.  There was a letter from 'Jeff' enquiring pleasantly when she meant to return.  And there was a long envelope without name or address.  The clerk said that it had been handed in 'by a man'; he hadn't noticed what he was like; it had been a particularly busy morning.

Dolores had presentiment.  She wouldn't open the letter until she had ordered lunch for herself and Mollie.  When she did so, two documents fell out.  Their meaning could not be mistaken.  One was a railway folder with the service from New York to Boston; the other a Chinese drawing of herself.  The clothes left no doubt of that; it was the dress she was wearing, and she was pictured on a raft, nailed as the dead man had been nailed, and mutilated as he had been.  The world swam for a moment before her eyes.  Mollie seized the drawing.  "You must absolutely come right away to Mr. Iff," she cried.  "It's too horrible; it's too horrible!"

Dolores swallowed a Colony Club Cocktail.  "Mollie dear," she said very gently and sweetly, "please ring up Mr. Iff after lunch - and tell him I'll see him damned first!"

"Oh Dolores!" Mollie was genuinely shocked at such expressions from the Hub.

"I mean it," said her friend firmly, and attacked a Seatag Oyster with baresark fury.

"I'm sure Simon won't stand for it," said the red mouth, with a pout.  "It's my duty to tell him, and he'll get right on to the case, and solve it, and leave you flat.  But if you go to him he'll help you out, and leave you the glory."

"Get thee behind me, Satan!" retorted Dolores, with energy.

It developed into a quarrel; if Mollie uttered one syllable about this picture, which was a sacred secret, further, should she write, mark, engrave, or otherwise it delineate upon any object moveable or immoveable under the canopy of heaven, she, Dolores, would never speak to her again, no, not if Mollie were dying in Sing Sing, for which she was a certain candidate!

The Amazonian fury of her friend ultimately cowed Miss Mollie Madison.  They went to Dolores' bedroom, wept in each other's arms, and discussed underwear for three hours.  Then Dolores drifted back to Chinatown; she would wring the truth out of that toothless old scoundrel, or die for it.

But on the way she paused.  This was all wrong.  She was working like a detective; she had left the starlight heights of pure analysis for the mire of shadowing, and following clues, like a common 'bull'.  Simon Iff would work out the whole problem from the data without uncrossing his legs.  She retraced her steps slowly, and had dinner in her room.  She ate a hearty meal, and then settled down to think furiously.

She went over the facts, one by one.  She tried to reconstruct the drama.

Here is a Christian Chinaman, dying of tuberculosis - she now remembered the extraordinary emaciation of the body - who yet accomplishes some treachery so abominable as to deserve the most fearful death that can be devised.  It is connected, evidently, with his change of faith.  Several men are concerned to punish him; one alone could not have done the labour required.

Wu Lee, also a Christian, is in danger of similar vengeance.  'Toothless' is the spokesman of the gang.  Yet he is said to be of excellent character.  Can even Chinese duplicity account for it?

But Wu Lee is himself a puzzle.  He is listed by the tattooer, yet he had not the marks.  He is certainly not consumptive.

"I am a perfect fool," she exclaimed; "I begin to believe with Simon Iff that marriage is a failure!"

She mused a while.  "Let me look at this new evidence!"  She took up the folder.  It was not marked in any way.  "But what kind of man sends that sort of hint?"  She stopped short, and bit her lips.  Then she seized the drawing, and examined it with eager attention.  "This was done this morning by some one who saw me in this dress.  It's the first time I've worn it.  He is an amazing genius, with an imagination, and an appreciation of cruelty, and of beauty in cruelty.  I don't think it's 'Toothless'; he hasn't got the eyesight, or the type of hand.  That envelope, too; that was bought up town.  No mark, but a smart American-made paper.  I bet the artist, whoever he is, is a rich man, and devised the whole affair.  Who can be threatening him?  And about what?"

She took up the drawing once more.  It fascinated her despite herself.  The treatment of the fog was peculiarly clever.  More and more she riveted her attention on the background.  There was an almost shapeless smudge of darker cloud between wind and water.

She sat back, lost in reverie.  A telegram disturbed her.  It contained the words "Give it up.  Simon Iff."

"No answer!" she cried to the boy, and crushed the paper in her hand.  She dismissed Mollie's betrayal with one word, 'Cat!'  And then she returned to her thought.  Deeper and deeper she sank into the pure abyss of mind, until the facts of the case became etherealized and vitalized in symbols of force rather than of matter.

Hour after hour she sat.  Then she rang for her maid.  "Pack!" she cried, "I'm going to Boston on the midnight train."  The maid began her work, while Dolores sat at her desk with a quill pen between her teeth.

At last she scribbled a note.

"Dear Mr. Iff,
        I am going back to Boston after all.  I wish you would spend the week-end with us.
        Yours ever,
              Dolores Cass."

She smiled very curiously as she signed her maiden name.

V

Simon Iff sat in Mrs. Travis' boudoir in the immense arm-chair usually consecrated to Jeff.  Dolores, ravishing in a golden tea-gown, was pouring him champagne.

"And so?" said he, very doubtfully.  "I may not be able to drink this wine, don't you know?  I thought that signature very suspicious."

Dolores laughed gleefully, like a child.

"This is very serious.  Please talk!"

"You see, I asked you up here, because I wanted to thank you in person for your magnificent wedding present.  It was worth all the rest."

"I surrender," he said.  "Excuse me, but - You - Little - Beast!  I love you.  Excuse me again!"

"May I go over it with you?"

"I should be delighted."

"I did make an ass of myself!  Even now, I'm a little doubtful about one or two things."

"Yes, you blundered badly at first.  Problem No. 1, if I may put it so, was the raft.  You had two pictures, one Chinese, and the other not Chinese, in one frame.  The mutilation and torture indicated one type of mind, the marlin-spikes, the clasp-knife, the Union Jack, the missionary magazine, quite another type.  It's not conclusive, but it should have made you think.

"And what about the salt-cellars?  You never did anything with them.  Yet, as the most fantastic and incongruous items, they should have received most attention.  The other things were more horrible, and you allowed that fascination to overlay the purely mental deduction.  Had you considered the point, you would have noticed that the salt was still dry, and therefore deduced that the raft had not been floating about in that fog for many minutes.

"Then you evidently missed the point of the mysterious ship, that seemed to be always hovering round you, though she had a speed of forty knots to your fifteen.  A strange coincidence, to say the least of it, on a day when you run into so weird a derelict as your raft.

"Again, you altogether omitted the crucial point of autopsy.  You would have learnt that the wounds were all inflicted after death.  That was a dreadful omission.

"Now then, problem No. 2, the snake-and-anchor business.  Not so bad, most of your work, but oh! what a fall was there!  Dolores Travis had quite destroyed Dolores Cass, the brilliant author of 'Evidence of Identity'.  You assumed that the man in Wu Lee's shop must be Wu Lee, despite the absence of the tattoo-marks.  You could easily have found out that the man was Wu Lee's brother, he himself having died of consumption a few days before you met him on the raft.

"Again, you never became in the least aware of the real incongruity in your experience, a matter which needed no enquiry whatever.  You should have seen that your Chinese were acting totally out of character.  They were Dr. Nikole Chinese, all melodrama; not real Chinese at all.  It ought to have been evident that they were going through a clumsily constructed play.

"Problem No. 3.  The Letter of Warning.  As you solved that, you had better tell me how."

"I saw something wrong.  The Chinese Artist used an inappropriate stationary, and I thought the railway folder hint was not quite in tone, either.  The truth is that I began to see the light as soon as I started on your lines of looking at minds instead of at facts.  There seemed to be two people at work.  Then that same incongruity on the raft occurred to me.  That made three people, perhaps four.  And 'Toothless', too, didn't fit in at all well.  There was something radically wrong.

"Then I looked again at the drawing.  And I began to realize that the smudge was not quite an accident.  I recognized the 'Flying Dutchman', as we called her.  Who, then, would know that we had seen her that day?  Why connect her with the raft?  And, above all, why the raft in any case?  The thought came that the raft might have been lowered from the 'Dutchman'.  More mysterious than ever:  The 'Dutchman' had been flitting about us ever since we left Halifax.  Then came the answer to that horrible first question:  'Why the raft?' - it must have been so that the Opossum, and no other ship but the Opossum, should pick it up.  And who was on the Opossum but a chit of a girl who rather fancied herself at analysis, and put up problems for the world to solve?  A dose of my own medicine?  But who could have had such an object in view?

"I could only think of one object, and one mind capable of conceiving it.

"Then I thought of your telegram.  'Give it up' might have been a polite interrogative.

"And I became quite sure that you had been at the pains to send me a present, as you said at my wedding, as soon as you were 'able to think of anything suitable'."

"Very pretty!" replied Simple Simon; "no trouble at all, I assure you.  I merely enlisted the services of a friend in Chinatown, Tze-wei, for the gruesome horror part of it.  The 'Flying Dutchman' is a toy boat we are trying out - I'm in the Admiralty, you should have remembered - in connection with your government.  Pray observe, I have decided to drink your champagne - a symbol of triumph - and you may refill my glass.  For my triumph is not in beating you, but in convincing you, as I have done, that the proper method of attacking problems is transcendental analysis."

"Especially when I thought I knew it," sighed Dolores, in mock sorrow.  "Oh, but I know what you are gloating over in reality!  You've convinced me that I ought to go on with my life's work instead of being merely Mrs. Travis.  I suppose part of the 'suitability' of that wonderful wedding present was to wean me from the honeymoon!"

"My dear child, it would be ungracious to criticize so admirably argued a thesis."

"I believe there's a planet outside Neptune; and I'll start to look for it to-morrow."

"With the new telescope?" was Simon's last arrow.

"With a table of logarithms, and all I can muster of brains and imagination."

"And a little touch of spite!"

"Merely the Malic Acid in the Apple of Love!"

Geoffrey Travis, coming into the room, heard the last three words.

"Apple of Love," he cried, "always the same old theme.  Oh, you women, you women!"