Friday, 3 July 1925
As it turns out, Captain Montgomery, commanding officer of the Dar-es-Salaam garrison of the King’s African Rifles, is an old classmate of Freddie’s—in fact, he introduced Montgomery to his wife. They meet for tea.
“Listen Blakely, I could get in a lot of trouble helping you. Still, I owe you for pulling me out of the mud in Eton. What can I help you with?”
“It’s a matter of my former fiancee.”
“Which one, old man?”
“An American. I was rather infatuated with her, and she’s left me a few instructions in her will—she’s a reporter, you know. The Aunts made me a publisher, did I tell you.”
“Good show, I suppose.”
“So it’s the Carlyle Expedtion—”
“Good Lord, Freddie, that old thing? It’s a closed book. Nobody wants to hear about it.”
“Except my fiancee, and Rotten Roger’s sister, Erica.”
“Well, I know her husband-to-be.”
“Poor bloke. I’ll look into our records and get back to you. Talk to you in a few days.”
[Credit Rating spend by FP]
Freddie heads back to Mwimbe’s house. “Wie geht’s, Imani!”
“Ganz gut, mein edler Herr.”
“Excellent, excellent, keep up the good work.”
“Zum befehl, mein Herr. "
“Doctor Mwimbe! I’ve found the most remarkable things on the mainland. An old friend who hates me—”
“That is not very remarkable, Mr. Blakely.”
“Not at all, true. It seems this Ivory Wind ship carried things to Emerson Imports in New York. The very establishment that recommended you to us.”
“I would authenticate artifacts for Mr. Emerson.”
“Grey market goods?”
“I would never do something so illegal. Mr. Emerson was typical of white men dealing in African artifacts, he could not tell the difference between a forgery and an item of great value. He paid me a commission, which helped augment my salary from Columbia. I need not mention that my salary was lower than that of the other professors.”
“I’m surprised you were on staff, to be honest.”
“The School of Anthropology is somewhat more liberal than the rest of the college.”
[More or less true; they certainly hired female faculty much earlier than many universities.]
“I also learned some Indian woman has something to do with that ship.”
“We think we should go in and close her down,” says Francis. “She has a connection to Gavigan, and whatever Jax was up to.”
“Oh, Francis, I’m meeting my old friend Montgomery in a few days. Mind tagging along?” says Freddie.
“I found out from the local newspaper lady about the Cult of the Bloody Tongue. Oh, I dropped your name,” says Jimmy to Freddie. “She wants to meet with you!”
“Nobody wants to meet with me!”
“I know! But she’s an exception.”
“I think I should come to that too,” says Francis. “It could be a trap. Fritz, you come with me. Find a place to hide this.” He hands Krakauer a large revolver which he hides in a briefcase.
“Doctor, could you see about getting us a meeting with this Thakur lady?”
“An Indian? That might be difficult, but I could give you a reference—”
“This isn’t really my wheelhouse,” says Francis, “but I think it’s yours. You have a very nice establishment. Couldn’t we have a party to draw her out?”
“A party? With an Indian? I guess that could be done,” muses Mwimbe. “Very well. She may even be a Muslim for all I know. I don’t know anything about Bengalis, my servants were always Gujaratis.”
[If you are playing along with the original Masks, Dil Chandra Thakur is my replacement for Tandoor Singh—ridiculous name, and a ridiculous character. Thanks to the Masks Companion for the suggested replacement. The spelling of her last name is important—Thakur is often Anglicized as Tagore (like Rabindranath Tagore); she rejects even that slight concession to English sensibilities. Her first names are a riff on a character I played in a fantasy game named Delshandra—she was from an Indian-style culture, so I eventually worked out that her name was really Dilchandra and merely poorly pronounced by everyone. Dil means heart in Hindi, and chandra meansmoon.]
Later that day, invites are sent from Dr. Mwimbe’s house to all the best people in Zanzibar for a dinner party next week. Everyone accepts—including the Sultan.
Freddie is somewhat agog at hearing that the Sultan is coming. He asks Mwimbe what language is appropriate for speaking with the Sultan.
“Suppose you could no longer speak Arabic.”
“Then you must use English.”
“Is that appropriate?”
“I suppose if you could learn Kiswahili in six days…”
“Six days may be cutting it a bit close,” says Freddie. He hires a gang of little children to follow him around and point at things, telling him their names.
Francis spends some time ingratiating himself with the local police force, who are dropping by every day to prepare the security arrangements. The British officers in charge of the Zanzibari police are happy to bring him in on the arrangements, clearly recognizing a tough guy. Not without a few “That’s all well and good, sir. But this Africa, sir. This is Zanzibar.”
[Cop Talk spend by Francis.]