Open main menu

CHAPTER XXXIX


ECHOES


OFF the Malay peninsula lies the island of Penang. Upon the mountain outside the little town, and overlooking the sea, stands an ancient Chinese monastery. Every evening when the dusk hour falls, and when English sextons go to ring the evensong, an odd little man throws sacred crackers into the red-hot stomach of the Chinese God of Plenty. After this office is performed he repairs to the great pool, where the sacred turtles live, to enjoy an evening pipe of opium. And there, as the turtles crawl upon the flat slab rocks that fringe the pool, he delights his colleagues, the yellow priests, with horrific tales of demons and ghosts that inhabit the old parts of Britain.

All the priests in that far-off temple know of Romney Marsh by reputation, and they would never go to England for fear of it. If a traveller from Kent ever reached that far-off temple in his journey through the world he would think it strange and homely to hear the yellow priests discussing horror tales of Romney Marsh, but he would understand if he could recognize in the odd little man, dressed in the dirty blue robe of the yellow race, the Dymchurch sexton, Mr. Mipps.

What's he doing there, how did he get there, and how long will he stop there? Who knows!

Perhaps the ancient fellow has still unfulfilled ambitions and dangerous, profitable enterprises tucked away under that Chinese sleeve. But it is pretty certain that Dymchurch-under-the-Wall will see him no more.

 

THE END