chapter  II
8 Pages


IT is some five-and-thirty years later. A warm, heavy, torrential rain is pourjng from leadencoloured clouds, deluging the trees and streets of a colonial town that srnells of musk and opium. Half-naked Annamites and Chinese hasten along, by the side of our homebred soldiers whose faces are pale beneath their cork helmets. A noxious moist heat afflicts the lungs ; the air might be the vapour of some cauldron in which perfumes were mingled with the odours of putrefaction.