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Unformatted text preview: ed Kong.' The colonel gave vent to a whistle. For the
moment gossip was forgotten. 'Your own wind, too,' he-said. 'And you've got two Pungs of Dragons. We must be careful. Miss
Caroline's out for a big hand.' We played for some minutes with no irrelevant conversation.
'This M. Poirot now,' said Colonel Carter, 'is he really such a great detective?' 'The greatest the world
has ever known,' said Caroline solemnly. 'He has to come here incognito to avoid publicity.' 'Chow,' said
Miss Gannett. 'Quite wonderful for our little village, I'm sure. By the way, Clara - my maid, you know is
great friends with Elsie, the housemaid at Fernly, and what do you think Elsie told her? That there's been
a lot of money stolen, and it's her opinion - Elsie's - I mean, that the parlourmaid had something to do
with it. She's leaving at the month, and she's crying a good deal at night. If you ask me, the girl is very
likely in league with a gang. She's always been a queer girl - she's not friends with any of the girls round
here. She goes off by herself on her days out very unnatural, I call it, and most suspicious. I asked her
once to come to our Friendly Girls' Evenings, but she refused, and then I asked her a few questions
about her home and her family - all that sort of thing, and I'm bound to say I considered her manner most
impertinent. Outwardly very respectful - but she shut me up in the most barefaced way.' Miss Gannett
stopped for breath, and the colonel, who was totally uninterested in the servant question, remarked that
in the Shanghai Club brisk play was the invariable rule.
We had a round of brisk play.
'That Miss Russell,' said Caroline. 'She came here pretending to consult James on Friday morning. It's my
opinion she wanted to see where the poisons were kept. Five Characters.' 'Chow,' said Miss Gannett.
'What an extraordinary idea!
I wonder if you can be right.' 'Talking of poisons,' said the colonel. 'Eh - what?
Haven't I discarded? Oh! Eight Bamboos.' 'Mah Jong!' said Miss Gannett.
Caroline was very much annoyed.
'One Red Dragon,' she said regretfully, 'and I should have had a hand of three doubles.' 'I've had two
Red Dragons all the time,' 1 mentioned.
'So exactly like you, James,' said Caroline reproachfully.
'You've no conception of the spirit of the game.' I myself thought I had played rather cleverly. I should
have had to pay Caroline an enormous amount if she had gone Mah Jong. Miss Gannett's Mah Jong was
of the poorest variety possible, as Caroline did not fail to point out to her.
East Wind passed, and we started a new hand in silence.
'What I was going to tell you just now was this,' said Caroline.
'Yes?' said Miss Gannett encouragingly.
'My idea about Ralph Paton, I mean.' 'Yes, dear,' said Miss Gannett, still more encouragingly. 'Chow!'
'It's a sign of weakness to Chow so early,' said Caroline severely. 'You should go for a big hand.' 'I
know,' said Miss Gannett. 'You were saying - about Ralph Paton, you know?' 'Yes. Well, I've a pretty
shrewd idea where he is.' We all stopped...
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