Inspector Jacks was a man who
had succeeded in his profession
chiefly on account of an average
amount of natural astuteness,
and also because he was one of
those favored persons whose nervous
system was a whole and perfect
thing. Yet, curiously enough,
as he sat in this large, gloomy
apartment into which he had been
shown, a room filled with art
treasures whose appearance and
significance were entirely strange
to him, he felt a certain uneasiness
which he was absolutely unable
to understand. He was somewhat
instinctive in his likes and
dislikes, and from the first
he most heartily disliked the
room itself,--its vague perfumes,
its subdued violet coloring,
the faces of the grinning idols,
which seemed to meet his gaze
in every direction, the pictures
of those fierce-looking warriors
who brandished two-edged swords
at him from the walls. They belonged
to the period when Japanese art
was perhaps in its crudest state,
and yet in this uncertain atmosphere
they seemed to possess an extraordinary
vitality, as though indeed they
were prepared at a moment's notice
to leap from their frames and
annihilate this mysterious product
of modern days, who in black
clothes and silk hat, unarmed
and without physical strength,
yet wielded the powers of life
and death as surely as they in
their time had
The detective rose from his
seat and walked around the room.
He made a show of examining the
arms against the walls, the brocaded
hangings with their wonderful
design of faded gold, the ivory
statuettes, the black god who
sat on his haunches and into
whose face seemed carved some
dumb but eternal power. Movement
was in some respects a solace,
but the sound of a hansom bell
tinkling outside was a much greater
relief. He crossed to the windows
and looked out over the somewhat
silent square. A hurdy-gurdy
was playing in the corner opposite
the club, just visible from where
he stood. The members were passing
in and out. The commissionaire
stood stolidly in his place,
raising every now and then his
cab whistle to his lips. A flickering
sunlight fell upon the wind-shaken
lilac trees in the square enclosure.
Inspector Jacks found himself
wishing that the perfume of those
lilacs might reach even to where
he stood, and help him to forget
for a moment that subtler and
to him curiously unpleasant odor
which all the time became more
and more apparent. So overpowering
did he feel it that he tried
even to open the window, but
found it an impossible task.
The atmosphere seemed to him
to be becoming absolutely stifling.
He turned around and walked
uneasily toward the door. He
decided then that this was some
sort of gruesome nightmare with
which he was afflicted. He was
quite certain that in a few minutes
he would wake in his little iron
bedstead with the sweat upon
his forehead and a reproachful
consciousness of having eaten
an indiscreet supper. It could
not possibly be a happening in
real life! It could not be true
that his knees were sinking beneath
the weight of his body, that
the clanging of iron hammers
was really smiting the drums
of his ears, that the purple
of the room was growing red,
and that his veins wee strained
to bursting! He threw out his
arms in a momentary instinct
of fiercely struggling consciousness.
The idols on the walls jeered
at him. Those strangely clad
warriors seemed to him now to
be looking down upon his discomfiture
with a satanic smile, mocking
the pygmy who had dared to raise
his hand against one so jealously
guarded. Clang once more went
the blacksmith's hammers, and
then chaos! . ..
The end of the nightmare was
not altogether according to Inspector
Jacks' expectations. He found
himself in a small back room,
stretched upon a sofa before
the open French-windows, through
which came a pleasant vision
of waving green trees and a pleasanter
stream of fresh air. His first
instinct was to sniff, and a
sense of relief crept through
him when he realized that this
room, at any rate, was free from
abnormal odors. He sat up on
the couch. A pale-faced Japanese
servant stood by his side with
a glass in his hand. A few feet
away, the man whom he had come
to visit was looking down upon
him with an expression of grave
concern in his kindly face.
"You are better, I trust, sir?" Prince
"I am better," Inspector Jacks
muttered. "I don't know--I can't
imagine what happened to me."
"You were not feeling quite
well, perhaps, this morning," the
Prince said soothingly. "A little
run down, no doubt. Your profession--I
gather from your card that you
come from Scotland Yard--is an
arduous one. I came into the
room and found you lying upon
your back, gasping for breath."
Inspector Jacks was making
a swift recovery. He noticed
that the glass which the man-servant
was holding was empty. He had
a dim recollection of something
having been forced through his
lips. Already he was beginning
to feel himself again.
"I was absolutely and entirely
well," he declared stoutly, "both
when I left home this morning
and when I entered that room
to wait for you. I don't know
what it was that came over me," he
continued doubtfully, "but the
atmosphere seemed suddenly to
Prince Maiyo nodded understandingly.
"People often complain," he
admitted. "So many of my hangings
in the room have been wrapped
in spices to preserve them, and
my people burn dead blossoms
there occasionally. Some of us,
too," he concluded, "are very
susceptible to strange odors.
I should imagine, perhaps, that
you are one of them."
Inspector Jacks shook his head.
"I call myself a strong man," he
said, "and I couldn't have believed
that anything of the sort would
have happened to me."
"I shouldn't worry about it," the
Prince said gently. "Go and see
your doctor, if you like, but
I have known many people, perfectly
healthy, affected in the same
way. I understood that you wished
to have a word with me. Do you
feel well enough to enter upon
your business now, or would you
prefer to make another appointment?"
"I am feeling quite well again,
thank you," the Inspector said
slowly. "If you could spare me
a few minutes, I should be glad
to explain the matter which brought
The Prince merely glanced at
his servant, who bowed and glided
noiselessly from the room. Then
he drew an easy chair to the
side of the couch where Mr. Jacks
was still sitting.
"I am very much interested
to meet you, Mr. Inspector Jacks," he
remarked, with a glance at the
card which he was still holding
in his fingers. "I have studied
very many of your English institutions
during my stay over here with
much interest, but it has not
been my good fortune to have
come into touch at all with your
police system. Sir Goreham Briggs--your
chief, I believe--has invited
me several times to Scotland
Yard, and I have always meant
to avail myself of his kindness.
You come to me, perhaps, from
The Inspector shook his head.
"My business, Prince," he said, "is
a little more personal."
Prince Maiyo raised his eyebrows.
"Indeed?" he said. "Well,
whatever it is, let us hear
it. I trust
that I have not unconsciously
transgressed against your laws?"
Inspector Jacks hesitated.
After all, his was not so easy
"Prince," he said, "my
errand is not in any way a
one, and I should be very sorry
indeed to find myself in the
position of bringing any annoyance
upon a stranger and a gentleman
who is so highly esteemed. At
the same time there are certain
duties in connection with my
every-day life which I cannot
ignore. In England, as I dare
say you know, sir, the law is
a great leveller. I have heard
that it is not quite so in your
country, but over here we all
stand equal in its sight."
"That is excellent," the Prince
said. "Please believe, Mr. Inspector
Jacks, that I do not wish to
stand for a single moment between
you and your duty, whatever it
may be. Let me hear just what
you have to say, as though I
were an ordinary dweller here.
While I am in England, at any
rate," he added with a smile, "I
am subject to your laws, and
I do my best to obey them."
"It has fallen to my lot," Inspector
Jacks said, "to take charge of
the investigations following
upon the murder of a man named
Hamilton Fynes, who was killed
on his way from Liverpool to
London about a fortnight ago."
The Prince inclined his head.
"I believe," he said amiably, "that
I remember hearing the matter
spoken of. It was the foundation
of a debate, I recollect, at
a recent dinner party, as to
the extraordinarily exaggerated
value people in your country
seem to claim for human life,
as compared to us Orientals.
But pray proceed, Mr. Inspector
Jacks," the Prince continued
courteously. "The investigation,
I am sure, is in most able hands."
"You are very kind, sir," said
the Inspector. "I do my best,
but I might admit to you that
I have never found a case so
difficult to grasp. Our methods
perhaps are slow, but they are,
in a sense, sure. We are building
up our case, and we hope before
long to secure the criminal,
but it is not an easy task."
The Prince bowed. This time
he made no remark.
"The evidence which I have
collected from various sources," Inspector
Jacks continued, "leads me to
believe that the person who committed
this murder was a foreigner."
"What you call an alien," the
Prince suggested. "There is much
discussion, I gather, concerning
their presence in this country
"The evidence which I possess," the
detective proceeded, "points
to the murderer belonging to
the same nationality as Your
The Prince raised his eyebrows.
"A Japanese?" he
The Inspector assented.
"I am sorry," the Prince said,
with a touch of added gravity
in his manner, "that one of my
race should have committed a
misdemeanor in this country,
but if that is so, your way,
of course, is clear. You must
arrest him and deal with him
as an ordinary English criminal.
He is here to live your life,
and he must obey your laws."
"In time, sir," Inspector Jacks
said slowly, "we hope to do so,
but over here we may not arrest
upon suspicion. We have to collect
evidence, and build and build
until we can satisfy any reasonable
individual that the accused person
The Prince sighed sympathetically.
"It is not for me," he said, "to
criticize your methods."
"I come now," Inspector Jacks
said slowly, "to the object of
my call upon Your Highness. Following
upon what I have just told you,
certain other information has
come into my possession to this
effect--that not only was this
murderer a Japanese, but we have
evidence which seems to suggest
that he was attached in some
way to your household."
"To my household!" the
"To this household, Your Highness," the
The Prince shook his head slowly.
"Mr. Jacks," he said, "you
are, I am sure, a very clever
man. Let me ask you one question.
Has it ever fallen to your lot
to make a mistake?"
"Very often indeed," the
Inspector admitted frankly.
"Then I am afraid," the Prince
said, "that you are once more
in that position. I have attached
to my household fourteen Japanese
servants, a secretary, a majordomo,
and a butler. It may interest
you, perhaps, to know that during
my residence in this country
not one of my retinue, with the
exception of my secretary, who
has been in Paris for some weeks,
has left this house."
The Inspector stared at the
"Never left the house?" he
repeated. "Do you mean, sir,
that they do not go out for holidays,
for exercise, to the theatre?"
The Prince shook his head.
"Such things are not the custom
with us," he said. "They are
my servants. The duty of their
life is service. London is a
world unknown to them--London
and all these Western cities.
They have no desire to be made
mock of in your streets. Their
life is given to my interests.
They do not need distractions."
Inspector Jacks was dumfounded.
Such a state of affairs seemed
to him impossible.
"Do you mean that they do not
take exercise," he asked, "that
they never breathe the fresh
The Prince smiled.
"Such fresh air as your city
can afford them," he said, "is
to be found in the garden there,
into which I never penetrate
and which is for their use. I
see that you look amazed, Mr.
Inspector Jacks. This thing which
I have told you seems strange,
no doubt, but you must not confuse
the servants of my country with
the servants of yours. I make
no comment upon the latter. You
know quite well what they are;
so do I. With us, service is
a religion,--service to country
and service to master. These
men who perform the duties of
my household would give their
lives for me as cheerfully as
they would for their country,
should the occasion arise."
"But their health?" the Inspector
protested. "It is not, surely,
well for them to be herded together
The Prince smiled.
"I am not what is called a
sportsman in this country, Mr.
Inspector Jacks," he said, "but
you shall go to the house of
any nobleman you choose, and
if you will bring me an equal
number of your valets or footmen
or chefs, who can compete with
mine in running or jumping or
wrestling, then I will give you
a prize what you will--a hundred
pounds, or more. You see, my
servants have learned the secret
of diet. They drink nothing save
water. Sickness is unknown to
The Inspector was silent for
some time. Then he rose to his
"Prince," he said, "what
should you declare, then, if
you that a man of obvious Japanese
extraction was seen to enter
your house on the morning after
the murder, and that he was a
person to whom certain circumstances
pointed as being concerned in
"Mr. Inspector Jacks," the
Prince said calmly, "I was the
only person of my race who entered
my house that morning."
The Inspector moved toward
"Your Highness," he said gravely, "I
am exceedingly obliged to you
for your courteous attention,
and for your kindness after my
The Prince smiled graciously.
"Mr. Inspector Jacks," he said, "your
visit has been of great interest
to me. If I can be of any further
assistance, pray do not hesitate
to call upon me."