Out in the harbor, by the channel entrance, the PRESIDENT TYLER stoo_otionless as Diamond Head, and from his post near the rail outside hi_tateroom, John Quincy Winterslip took his first look at Honolulu. He had n_eeling of having been here before; this was an alien land. Several miles awa_e saw the line of piers and unlovely warehouses that marked the water-front; beyond that lay a vast expanse of brilliant green pierced here and there b_he top of a modest skyscraper. Back of the city a range of mountains stood o_uard, peaks of crystal blue against the azure sky.
A trim little launch from Quarantine chugged importantly up to the big liner'_ide, and a doctor in a khaki uniform ran briskly up the accommodation ladde_o the deck not far from where the boy stood. John Quincy wondered at th_an's vitality. He felt like a spent force himself. The air was moist an_eavy, the breeze the ship had stirred in moving gone for ever. The flood o_nergy that had swept over him in San Francisco was but a happy memory now. H_eaned wearily on the rail, staring at the bright tropical landscape befor_im—and not seeing it at all.
He saw instead a quiet, well-furnished Boston office where at this very momen_he typewriters were clicking amiably and the stock ticker was busily writin_he story of another day. In a few hours—there was a considerable differenc_f time—the market would close and the men he knew would be piling int_utomobiles and heading for the nearest country club. A round of golf, then _alm, perfectly served dinner, and after that a quiet evening with a book.
Life running along as it was meant to go, without rude interruption o_isturbing incident; life devoid of ohia wood boxes, attic encounters, unwillingly-witnessed love scenes, cousins with blackbirding pasts. Suddenl_ohn Quincy remembered, this was the morning when he must look Dan Wintersli_n the eye and tell him he had been a bit dilatory with his fists. Oh, well—h_traightened resolutely—the sooner that was done, the better.
Harry Jennison came along the deck, smiling and vigorous, clad in spotles_hite from head to foot. "Here we are," he cried. "On the threshold o_aradise!"
"Think so?" said John Quincy.
"Know it," Jennison answered. "Only place in the world, these islands. Yo_emember what Mark Twain said—"
"Ever visited Boston?" John Quincy cut in.
"Once," replied Jennison briefly. "That's Punch Bowl Hill back of the town—an_antalus beyond. Take you up to the summit some day—wonderful view. See tha_allest building? The Van Patten Trust Company—my office is on the top floor.
Only drawback about getting home—I'll have to go to work again."
"I don't see how any one can work in this climate," John Quincy said.
"Oh, well, we take it easy. Can't manage the pace of you mainland people.
Every now and then some go-getter from the States comes out here and tries t_ustle us." He laughed. "He dies of disgust and we bury him in a leisurel_ay. Been down to breakfast?"
John Quincy accompanied him to the dining saloon. Madame Maynard and Barbar_ere at the table. The old lady's cheeks were flushed and her eyes sparkled; Barbara, too, was in her gayest mood. The excitement of coming home had mad_er very happy—or was her happiness all due to that? John Quincy noted he_mile of greeting for Jennison, and rather wished he knew less than he did.
"Prepare for a thrill, John Quincy," the girl said. "Landing in Hawaii is lik_anding nowhere else on the globe. Of course, this is a through boat, and i_sn't welcomed as the Matson liners are. But there'll be a crowd waiting fo_he Matsonia this morning, and we'll steal a little of her aloha."
"A little of her what?" inquired John Quincy.
"Aloha—meaning loving welcome. You shall have all my leis, John Quincy. Jus_o show you how glad Honolulu is you've come at last."
The boy turned to Madame Maynard. "I suppose this is an old story to you?"
"Bless you, my boy," she said. "It's always new. A hundred and twenty-eigh_imes—yet I'm as thrilled as though I were coming home from college." Sh_ighed. "A hundred and twenty-eight times. So many of those who once hung lei_bout my neck are gone for ever now. They'll not be waiting for me—not on thi_ock."
"None of that," Barbara chided. "Only happy thoughts this morning. It'_teamer day."
Nobody seemed hungry, and breakfast was a sketchy affair. John Quincy returne_o his cabin to find Bowker strapping up his luggage.
"I guess you're all ready, sir," said the steward. "I finished that book las_ight, and you'll find it in your suit-case. We'll be moving on to the doc_hortly. All good luck to you—and don't forget about the okolehau."
"It's graven on my memory," smiled John Quincy. "Here—this is for you."
Bowker glanced at the bank-note and pocketed it. "You're mighty kind, sir," h_emarked feelingly. "That will sort of balance up the dollar each I'll ge_rom those two missionaries when we reach China—if I'm lucky. Of course, it'_ather distasteful to me to accept anything. From a friend of Tim's, yo_now."
"Oh, that's for value received," said John Quincy, and followed Bowker o_eck.
"There she is," announced Bowker, pausing by the rail. "Honolulu. The Sout_eas with a collar on, driving a Ford car. Polynesia with a private still an_ll the other benefits of the white man's civilization. We'll go out at eigh_o-night, thank heaven."
"Paradise doesn't appeal to you," suggested John Quincy.
"No. Nor any other of these bright-colored lands my poor old feet must tread.
I'm getting fed up, sir." He came closer. "I want to hang my hat somewhere an_eave it there. I want to buy a little newspaper in some country town an_tarve to death on the proceeds of running it. What a happy finish! Well, maybe I can manage it, before long."
"I hope so," said John Quincy.
"I hope so, too," said Bowker. "Here's wishing you a happy time in Honolulu.
And one other word of warning—don't linger there."
"I don't intend to," John Quincy assured him.
"That's the talk. It's one of those places—you know—dangerous. Lotus on th_enu every day. The first thing you know, you've forgot where you put you_runk. So long, sir."
With a wave of the hand, Tim's friend disappeared down the deck. Amid muc_onfusion, John Quincy took his place in line for the doctor's inspection, passed the careful scrutiny of an immigration official who finally admitte_hat maybe Boston was in the Union, and was then left to his own devices an_is long, long thoughts.
The PRESIDENT TYLER was moving slowly toward the shore. Excited figure_curried about her decks, pausing now and then to stare through lifted glasse_t the land. John Quincy perceived that early though the hour was, the pie_oward which they were heading was alive with people. Barbara came and stoo_y his side.
"Poor old dad," she said, "he's been struggling along without me for nin_onths. This will be a big morning in his life. You'll like dad, John Quincy."
"I'm sure I shall," he answered heartily.
"Dad's one of the finest—" Jennison joined them. "Harry, I meant to tell th_teward to take my luggage ashore when we land."
"I told him," Jennison said. "I tipped him, too."
"Thanks," the girl replied. "I was so excited, I forgot."
She leaned eagerly over the rail, peering at the dock. Her eyes were shining.
"I don't see him yet," she said. They were near enough now to hear the voice_f those ashore, gay voices calling flippant greetings. The big ship edge_ingerly closer.
"There's Aunt Minerva," cried John Quincy suddenly. That little touch of hom_n the throng was very pleasant. "Is that your father with her?" He indicate_ tall anemic man at Minerva's side.
"I don't see—where—" Barbara began. "Oh—that—why, that's Uncle Amos!"
"Oh, is that Amos?" remarked John Quincy, without interest. But Barbara ha_ripped his arm, and as he turned he saw a wild alarm in her eyes.
"What do you suppose that means?" she cried. "I don't see dad. I don't see hi_nywhere."
John Quincy didn't gather what it was all about, and there was no time to fin_ut. Jennison was pushing ahead through the crowd, making a path for Barbara, and the boy meekly brought up the rear. They were among the first down th_lank. Miss Minerva and Amos were waiting at the foot.
"My dear." Miss Minerva put her arms about the girl and kissed her gently. Sh_urned to John Quincy. "Well, here you are—"
There was something lacking in this welcome. John Quincy sensed it at once.
"Where's dad?" Barbara cried.
"I'll explain in the car—" Miss Minerva began.
"No, now! Now! I must know now!"
The crowd was surging about them, calling happy greetings, the Royal Hawaiia_and was playing a gay tune, carnival was in the air.
"Your father is dead, my dear," said Miss Minerva.
John Quincy saw the girl's slim figure sway gently, but it was Harr_ennison's strong arm that caught her.
For a moment she stood, with Jennison's arm about her. "All right," she said.
"I'm ready to go home." And walked like a true Winterslip toward the street.
Amos melted away into the crowd, but Jennison accompanied them to the car.
"I'll go out with you," he said to Barbara. She did not seem to hear. The fou_f them entered the limousine, and in another moment the happy clamor o_teamer day was left behind.
No one spoke. The curtains of the car were drawn, but a warm streak o_unlight fell across John Quincy's knees. He was a little dazed. Shocking, this news about Cousin Dan. Must have died suddenly—but no doubt that was ho_hings always happened out this way. He glanced at the white stricken face o_he girl beside him, and because of her his heart was heavy.
She laid her cold hand on his. "It's not the welcome I promised you, Joh_uincy," she said softly.
"Why, my dear girl, I don't matter now."
No other word was spoken on the journey, and when they reached Dan's house, Barbara and Miss Minerva went immediately up-stairs. Jennison disappeare_hrough a doorway at the left; evidently he knew his way about. Hak_olunteered to show John Quincy his quarters, so he followed Haku to th_econd floor.
When his bags were unpacked, John Quincy went down-stairs again. Miss Minerv_as waiting for him in the living-room. From beyond the bamboo curtain leadin_o the lanai came the sound of men's voices, mumbling and indistinct.
"Well," said John Quincy, "how have you been?"
"Never better," his aunt assured him.
"Mother's been rather worried about you. She'd begun to think you were neve_oming home."
"I've begun to think it myself," Miss Minerva replied.
He stared at her. "Some of those bonds you left with me have matured. _aven't known just what you wanted me to do about them."
"What," inquired Miss Minerva, "is a bond?"
That sort of wild reckless talk never did make a hit with John Quincy. "It'_bout time somebody came out here and brought you to your senses," h_emarked.
"Think so?" said his aunt.
A sound up-stairs recalled John Quincy to the situation. "This was rathe_udden—Cousin Dan's death?" he inquired.
"Well, it seems to me that it would be rather an intrusion—our staying on her_ow. We ought to go home in a few days. I'd better see about reservations—"
"You needn't trouble," snapped Miss Minerva. "I'll not stir from here until _ee the person who did this brought to justice."
"The person who did what?" asked John Quincy.
"The person who murdered Cousin Dan," said Miss Minerva.
John Quincy's jaw dropped. His face registered a wide variety of emotions.
"Good lord!" he gasped.
"Oh, you needn't be so shocked," said his aunt. "The Winterslip family wil_till go on."
"Well, I'm not surprised," remarked John Quincy, "when I stop to think. Th_hings I've learned about Cousin Dan. It's a wonder to me—"
"That will do," said Miss Minerva. "You're talking like Amos, and that's n_ompliment. You didn't know Dan. I did—and I liked him. I'm going to stay her_nd do all I can to help run down the murderer. And so are you."
"Pardon me. I am not."
"Don't contradict. I intend you shall take an active part in th_nvestigation. The police are rather informal in a small place like this.
They'll welcome your help."
"My help! I'm no detective. What's happened to you, anyhow? Why should yo_ant me to go round hobnobbing with policemen—"
"For the simple reason that if we're not careful some rather unpleasan_candal may come out of this. If you're on the ground you may be able to aver_eedless publicity. For Barbara's sake."
"No, thank you," said John Quincy. "I'm leaving for Boston in three days, an_o are you. Pack your trunks."
Miss Minerva laughed. "I've heard your father talk like that," she told him.
"But I never knew him to gain anything by it in the end. Come out on the lana_nd I'll introduce you to a few policemen."
John Quincy received this invitation with the contemptuous silence he though_t deserved. But while he was lavishing on it his best contempt, the bambo_urtain parted and the policemen came to him. Jennison was with them.
"Good morning, Captain Hallet," said Miss Minerva brightly. "May I present m_ephew, Mr. John Quincy Winterslip of Boston."
"I'm very anxious to meet Mr. John Quincy Winterslip," the captain replied.
"How do you do," said John Quincy. His heart sank. They'd drag him into thi_ffair if they could.
"And this, John Quincy," went on Miss Minerva, "is Mr. Charles Chan, of th_onolulu detective force."
John Quincy had thought himself prepared for anything, but—"Mr.—Mr. Chan," h_asped.
"Mere words," said Chan, "can not express my unlimitable delight in meeting _epresentative of the ancient civilization of Boston."
Harry Jennison spoke. "This is an appalling business, Miss Winterslip," h_aid. "As perhaps you know, I was your cousin's lawyer. I was also his friend.
Therefore I hope you won't think I am intruding if I show a keen interest i_hat is going forward here."
"Not at all," Miss Minerva assured him. "We shall need all the help we ca_et."
Captain Hallet had taken a paper from his pocket. He faced John Quincy.
"Young man," he began, "I said I wanted to meet you. Last night Mis_interslip told me of a cablegram received by the dead man about a week ago, which she said angered him greatly. I happen to have a copy of that message, turned over to me by the cable people. I'll read it to you:
"JOHN QUINCY SAILING ON PRESIDENT TYLER STOP OWING TO UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT H_EAVES HERE WITH EMPTY HANDS. SIGNED ROGER WINTERSLIP."
"Yes?" said John Quincy haughtily.
"Explain that, if you will."
John Quincy stiffened. "The matter was strictly private," he said. "A famil_ffair."
Captain Hallet glared at him. "You're mistaken," he replied. "Nothing tha_oncerns Mr. Dan Winterslip is private now. Tell me what that cable meant, an_e quick about it. I'm busy this morning."
John Quincy glared back. The man didn't seem to realize to whom he wa_alking. "I've already said—" he began.
"John Quincy," snapped Miss Minerva. "Do as you're told!"
Oh, well, if she wanted family secrets aired in public! Reluctantly Joh_uincy explained about Dan Winterslip's letter, and the misadventure in th_ttic of Dan's San Francisco house.
"An ohia wood box bound with copper," repeated the captain. "Initials on it, T.M.B. Got that, Charlie?"
"It is written in the book," said Chan.
"Any idea what was in that box?" asked Hallet.
"Not the slightest," John Quincy told him.
Hallet turned to Miss Minerva. "You knew nothing about this?" She assured hi_he did not. "Well," he continued, "one thing more and we'll go along. We'v_een making a thorough search of the premises by daylight—without muc_uccess, I'm sorry to say. However, by the cement walk just outside tha_oor"—he pointed to the screen door leading from the living-room into th_arden—"Charlie made a discovery."
Chan stepped forward, holding a small white object in the palm of his hand.
"One-half cigarette, incompletely consumed," he announced. "Very recent, no_eather stained. It are of the brand denominated Corsican, assembled in Londo_nd smoked habitually by Englishmen."
Hallet again addressed Miss Minerva. "Did Dan Winterslip smoke cigarettes?"
"He did not," she replied. "Cigars and a pipe, but never cigarettes."
"You were the only other person living here."
"I haven't acquired the cigarette habit," snapped Miss Minerva. "Thoug_ndoubtedly it's not too late yet."
"The servants, perhaps?" went on Hallet.
"Some of the servants may smoke cigarettes, but hardly of this quality. I tak_t these are not on sale in Honolulu?"
"They're not," said the captain. "But Charlie tells me they're put up in air- tight tins and shipped to Englishmen the world over. Well, stow that away, Charlie." The Chinese man tenderly placed the half cigarette, incompletel_onsumed, in his pocketbook. "I'm going on down the beach now to have a littl_alk with Mr. Jim Egan," the captain added.
"I'll go with you," Jennison offered. "I may be able to supply a link or tw_here."
"Sure, come along," Hallet replied cordially.
"Captain Hallet," put in Miss Minerva, "it is my wish that some member of th_amily keep in touch with what you are doing, in order that we may give yo_ll the aid we can. My nephew would like to accompany you—"
"Pardon me," said John Quincy coldly, "you're quite wrong. I have no intentio_f joining the police force."
"Well, just as you say," remarked Hallet. He turned to Miss Minerva. "I'_elying on you, at any rate. You've got a good mind. Anybody can see that."
"Thank you," she said.
"As good as a man's," he added.
"Oh, now you've spoiled it. Good morning."
The three men went through the screen door into the bright sunshine of th_arden. John Quincy was aware that he was not in high favor with his aunt.
"I'll go up and change," he said uncomfortably. "We'll talk things ove_ater—"
He went into the hall. At the foot of the stairs he paused.
From above came a low, heart-breaking moan of anguish. Barbara. Poor Barbara, who had been so happy less than an hour ago.
John Quincy felt his head go hot, the blood pound in his temples. How dare an_ne strike down a Winterslip! How dare any one inflict this grief on hi_ousin Barbara! He clenched his fists and stood for a moment, feeling that he, too, could kill.
Action—he must have action! He rushed through the living-room, past th_stonished Miss Minerva. In the drive stood a car, the three men were alread_n it.
"Wait a minute," called John Quincy. "I'm going with you."
"Hop in," said Captain Hallet.
The car rolled down the drive and out on to the hot asphalt of Kalia Road.
John Quincy sat erect, his eyes flashing, by the side of a huge grinnin_hinese man.