Forbidden Journey, 1

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Doctor Chee’s Meet and Greet

Fengtai District, West Passenger Station [北京西客站], 1935.

The well-wishers had waved goodbye to Peter Fleming and Ella Maillart, and now, at the door to the station restaurant, they looked forward to free drinks at the farewell party.

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“I am your host, Dr. Chee.” His English was perfect—he had probably studied at Cambridge . “May I introduce you to my daughters, Mingzhu and Chunhua.” He offered his hand. “Welcome, and enjoy the evening. And you are?”

“Admiral Kolchak and my wife.” He shook Dr. Chee’s hand.

“Zdravstvuyte—hello,” said Mrs. Kolchak.

A flashbulb thumped. A photographer took a picture of the Kolchaks, also a bearded ancient recorded their names in exquisite calligraphy.

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Dr. Chee nodded towards Mingzhu. “Please, allow my daughter to attach a raffle token.” She promptly pinned a silver disc upon their shoulders.

“And you are?” said Dr. Chee.

“Mr. Franklyn. British port authority, Weihai Harbour.” He shook the proffered hand.

“Mrs. Franklyn. And, of course, our Posie.”

“Mr. Cheese!” laughed the little girl unaffectedly.

“Really! Po, mind your manners.”

Dr. Chee smiled. “Enchanting.” He nodded; Mingzhu pinned a silver disc upon Posie’s shoulder.

Mingzhu brushed the little girl’s cheek with the back of her hand. “Tonight, child, you will be one of the lucky ones.” The flashbulb thumped.

“I am Dr. Chee, your host. My daughters, Mingzhu and Chunhua.” He proffered his hand. “Welcome, and enjoy the evening. And you are?”

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