The Monkey God

Seabury Quinn
by Seabury Quinn
Real Detective Tales, April-May, 1927
The Third Adventure of Professor Forrester
* * *
PROFESSOR HARVEY FORRESTER was having a beastly time. He
had confided as much to himself more than once in the past twenty-four
hours, and each passing minute confirmed the truth of it.
The Professor did not dance, and the younger members of the company
fox trotted from breakfast to luncheon, from luncheon to dinner and
from dinner to bed time. The Professor did not care for music, except
classical compositions or the simple folk songs of primitive peoples,
and the Milsted house was filled with the cacophonies of jazz from
radio and phonograph all day and three- quarters of the night. The
Professor despised bridge as a moronic substitute for intelligent
conversation, and the older members of the company played for a cent
a point from dinner till midnight with the avidity of professional
The Professor was having a beastly time.
But old Horatio Milsted, in honor of whose son the house party was
given, possessed one of the finest collections of oriental curios in the
country, wherefore Forrester had accepted the invitation tendered him
and Rosalie Osterhaut, his ward; for he greatly desired to examine a
certain statuette of Hanuman, the Monkey God, which was the supreme
jewel in the collection that Milsted had inherited from a sea-roving
(and none too scrupulous) grandsire.
Two days--forty-eight interminable hours of fox trotting, syncopated
music and card-ruffling-- the Professor had endured, and as yet had not

caught sight of the little monkey god's effigy. Each time he broached
the subject to Milsted his host put him off with some excuse. The house
party would break up the following morning, and meantime the
Professor cooled his back against the wall of the Milsted drawing room
while his anger rose hot and seething within him.
"Oh, Professor Forrester," whispered Arabella Milsted, the host's
unmarried sister, in the irritatingly high, thin voice possessed by so
many short, fat women, "you look so romantically aloof standing there
all by yourself. Tell me, don't you ever unbend, even for a teeny, tinsy
moment?" She looked archly at him above the serrated edge of her
black fan and simpered with bovine coquettishness.
"Do you know," she went on in a more confidential whisper, her little,
pale-blue eyes growing circular with sudden seriousness, "I have a
presentiment--a premonition--that something terrible is going to
"Umpf?" growled Forrester noncommittally, gazing first at the obese
damsel, then across the crowded dance floor in an effort to descry an
exit. "Umpf!"
"Yes--" Miss Milsted, who would never again see forty, but dressed in a
manner becoming to twenty, and talked chiefly in Italics, replied-- "oh,
yes; I'm very psychic, you know. Poor dear Mamma used to say--"
Poor dear Mamma's profound observations will never be known to
posterity, for at that moment Horatio Milsted, looking anything but the
urbane host, strode into the drawing room and commanded sharply,
"Shut off that infernal music!"
"Hear, hear!" murmured the Professor under his breath.
Young Carmody, a vapid-faced youth in too- fashionably cut dinner
clothes, who stood nearest the radio, turned the rheostat, and the lively
dance tune expired with a dismal squawk.
"Someone has been tampering with my collection," Milsted announced

in a hard, metallic voice. "Some infernal thief has stolen a priceless
relic--the statue of Hanuman. Now, I don't make any accusations; but I
want that curio back. I think I know the thief, and while I'd be justified
in turning him over to the police, I'll give him a chance to return my
property without a scandal--if he will. The museum is just beyond the
library. I want everyone here--everyone--to step into the library, then
go, one at a time, into the museum. There's only one door, and the
windows are barred, so the thief can't get away. Each of you will be
allowed thirty seconds--by himself--in the museum. There'll be a
handkerchief on the table, and if I don't find the statuette under that
handkerchief when the last of you has passed through the museum,
why--" he swept the company with another frigid stare-- "I shall have
to ask you all to wait while I send for the sheriff. Is that clear?"
A wondering, frightened murmur of assent ran round the brightly
lighted room, and the host turned on his heel as he shot out, "This way,
if you please."
ROSALIE, the Professor's ward, glanced backward at her guardian as
she accompanied her dancing partner and two other couples into the
library, and the look in her wide, topaz eyes was a troubled one. She
had lived with the Professor nearly a year, now, and knew him as only
a woman can know the man she idolizes. The straight- backed little
scientist was the soul
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