BLACK ART AND AMBROSE
BY GUY GILPATRIC
"… The Naytives of the Seacoast told me many fearsome Tales of
these Magycians, or Voodoos, as they called Them. It would seem that
the Mystic Powers of these Magycians is hereditary, and that the
Spells, Incantacions, and other Secretts of their Profession are
passed on One to the Other and holden in great Awe by the People.
The Marke of this horride Culte is the Likeness of a great Human Eye,
carved in the Fleshe of the Backe, which rises in Ridges as it heals
and lasts Forever …"
—Extract from "A Truthful Accounte of a Voyage and Journey
to the Land of Afrique, Together with Numerous Drawings and
Mappes, and a most Humble Petition Regarding the Same."
Presented by Roberte Waiting, Gent. in London, Anno D. 1651.
A few blocks west of the subway, and therefore off the beaten track
of the average New Yorker, is San Juan Hill. If you ever happen on
San Juan unawares, you will recognize it at once by its clustering
family of mammoth gas houses, its streets slanting down into the
North River, and the prevailing duskiness of the local complexion.
If you chance to stray into San Juan after sundown, you will be
relieved to note that policemen are plentiful, and that they walk in
pairs. This last observation describes the social status of San Juan
or any other neighbourhood better than volumes of detailed episodes
could begin to do.
Of late years many of the Fust Famblies of San Juan have migrated
northward to the teeming negro districts of Harlem, but enough of
the old stock remains to lend the settlement its time-honoured touch
of gloom. Occasionally, too, it still makes its way to the public
notice by sanguinary affrays and race riots. San Juan Hill is a
geographical, racial, and sociological fact, and will remain so
until the day when safety razors become a universal institution.
San Juan is a community in itself. It has its churches, its clubs,
its theatres, its stores, and—sighs of relief from the police—it
used to have its saloons. It is a cosmopolitan community, too—as
cosmopolitan as it can be and still retain its Senegambian motif.
Negroes from Haiti, Jamaica, Salvador, Cuba; from Morocco and Senegal;
blue-black negroes from the Pacific; ebony negroes from the South;
brown, tan, yellow, and buff negroes from everywhere inhabit San Juan.
Every language from Arabic to Spanish is spoken by these—the
cosmopolites of cosmopolitan San Juan.
Pussonally, Mr. Ambrose de Vere Travis spoke only English.
Because he hailed from Galveston, Tex., he spoke it with a Gulf
intonation at once liquid, rich, and musical. He stood six feet five
on his bare soles, so his voice was somewhat reminiscent of the
Ambrose was twenty-four years old. Our story finds him a New Yorker
of three years' standing, all of which he had spent as a dweller on
San Juan Hill. Originally the giant Mr. Travis had served as furnace
tender in the subterraneous portions of the Swalecliffe Arms
apartments, that turreted edifice in the Eighties that frowns across
at the Palisades from Riverside Drive. But his size and the size of
his smile had won for Ambrose the coveted and uniformed position of
door-man, a post at which he served with considerable success and
the incidental tips.
The recently wealthy Mr. Braumbauer, for instance, really felt that
he was somebody, when Ambrose opened the door of his car and bowed
him under the portcullis of Swalecliffe. And y'understand me, a
feller's willing he should pay a little something for service once
in a while. And so, one way and another, Ambrose managed to eke from
his job a great deal more than he drew on pay day.
But Mr. Travis's source of income did not stop there—far from it.
He had brought from Galveston a genius for rolling sevens—or, if he
missed seven the first roll, he could generally make his point
within the next three tries. He could hold the dice longer than any
man within the San Juan memory, which, in view of the fact that
craps is to San Juan what bridge is to Boston, is saying a great deal.
Ambrose was simply a demon with the bones, and he was big enough to
get away with it.
True, there had been difficulties.
One evening at the Social Club Ambrose held the dice for a straight
sixteen passes. He and five other courtiers of fortune were bounding
the ivories off the cushion of a billiard table, to the end that the
contest be one of chance and not of science. In the midst of
Ambrose's stentorian protests that the baby needed footwear, one of
the losers forgot his breeding to the extent of claiming that
Ambrose had introduced a loaded die. As he seconded his claims with
a razor, the game met a temporary lull.
When the furniture had ceased crashing, the members of the club
emerged from beneath the pool tables to see Mr. Travis tying up a
slashed hand, while he of the razor lay moaning over a broken
shoulder and exuding teeth in surprising quantities.
After this little incident no one ever so far forgot himself as to
breathe the faintest aspersion on Mr. Travis, his dice, his way of
throwing them down or of picking them up.
It was generally conceded that his conduct throughout the fray had
been of the best, and the affair did much to raise him in popular
esteem—especially as he was able to prove the caviler's charges to
be utterly unfounded.
And so, with his physical beauty, his courage, and his wealth,
Mr. Ambrose de Vere Travis became something of a figure in San
Juan's social circles.
Just when Ambrose fell in love with Miss Aphrodite Tate is not quite
Aphrodite (pronounced just as spelled) was so named because her
father thought it had something to do with Africa. She was
astoundingly, absolutely, and gratifyingly black, and Ambrose was
sure that he had never seen any one quite so beautiful.
Aphrodite lived with her parents, the ancient and revered
Fremont-Tates, patroons of San Juan. In the daytime she was engaged
as maid by a family that suttingly treated her lovely; while in
the evening she could usually be found at the St. Benedict Young
People's Club. And it was here that Ambrose met her.
True love ran smoothly for a long time. At last, when he felt the
tune was ripe, Ambrose pleaded urgent business for two evenings and
shook down the Social Club dice fanciers for the price of the ring.
Then Mr. Dominique Raffin loomed dark on the horizon. Mr. Raffin did
not loom as dark as he might have loomed, however, because he was
half white. He hailed from Haiti, and was the son of a French sailor
and a transplanted Congo wench. He was slight of build and shifty of
eye. His excuse for being was a genius for music. He could play
anything, could this pasty Dominique, but of all instruments he was
at his tuneful best on the alto saxophone.
"Lawd! Oh, Lawd!" his audience would ejaculate, as with closed
eyes and heads thrown back they would drink in the sonorous
emanations from the brazen tube. "Dat's de horn ob de Angel
Gabriel—dat's de heabenly music ob de spears!" And so Dominique's
popularity grew among the ladies of San Juan, even if among the
gentlemen it did not.
To tell the truth, Dominique was something of a beau. Because he
played in an orchestra, he had ample opportunity to study the
deportment of people who passed as fashionable. His dress was
immaculate; his hair was not so kinky that it couldn't be plastered
down with brilliantine, and he perfumed himself copiously. His
fingers were heavily laden with rings. Dominique's voice was
His native tongue was French, but he had learned to speak English in
Jamaica. Thus his accent was a curious mixture of French and Cockney,
lubricated with oily African.
Altogether, it is not to be wondered that such sturdy sons of Ham as
Ambrose disliked the snaky Mr. Raffin. Disliked him the more when
his various musical and cultural accomplishments made him a general
favourite with the ladies. And then, when he absolutely cut
Mr. Travis from the affections of Miss Tate, the wrath of the
blacker and more wholesome San Juan citizens knew no bounds.
As for Ambrose—he sulked. Even his friends, the fur-lined tenants
of Swalecliffe Arms, noticed that something worried the swart
guardian of their gate. In the evenings Ambrose gave his entire time
to frenzied rolling of the bones and was surprised to see that here,
at least, luck had not deserted him.
On the few occasions when he forsook the green baize for an
evening's dancing at the St. Benedict Young People's Guild, the
sight of the coveted Miss Aphrodite whirling in the arms of the
hated Raffin almost overcame him.
Finally the lovesick Mr. Travis decided to call upon the lady of his
heart and demand an explanation. After some rehearsal of what he
wanted to say, Ambrose betook himself to the tenement in which the
Tate family dwelt. At sight of her cast-off swain, Miss Aphrodite
showed the whites of her eyes and narrowed her lips to a thin
straight line—perhaps an inch and a half thin. Evidently she was
Aphrodite opened the interview by inquiring why she was being
pestered and intermediated by a low-down black nigger that didn't
have no mo' brains than he had manners. Her feelings was likely to
git the better of her at any moment; in which event Mr. Travis had
better watch out, that was all—jest watch out.
The astounded Mr. Travis did his best to pacify this Amazon; to
explain that he had merely come to inquire the reason for her
displeasure; to learn in what respect Mr. Raffin had proved himself
so sweetly desirable.
The answer was brief and crushing. It seemed that where Mr. Travis
was a big, bulky opener of doors, Mr. Raffin was a sleek and
cultured Chesterfield—a musician—an artist. Where Mr. Travis could
not dance without stepping on everybody in the room, Mr. Raffin was
a veritable Mordkin. Where Mr. Travis hung out with a bunch of
no-good crap-shooting black buck niggers, Mr. Raffin's orchestral
duties brought him into the most cultured s'ciety. In short, the
yellow man from Haiti was a gentleman; the black man from Texas was
This unexpected tirade made the unhappy Ambrose a trifle weak in the
knees. Then pride came to the rescue, and he drew himself to his
full and towering six feet five. He held out his mammoth hands
before Miss Aphrodite and warned her that with them, at the first
provocation, he would jest take and bust Mr. Raffin in two. This done,
he would throw the shuddering fragments into the street, and with
his feet—Exhibit B—would kick them the entire length and breadth
of the neighbourhood.
This threat only aroused new fires of scorn and vituperation, and
Miss Tate informed her guest that, should he ever attempt the
punitive measures described, Mr. Raffin would cut him up into little
pieces. It seemed that Mr. Raffin carried a knife, and that he knew
how to use it.
Mr. Travis snorted at this, and stamped out of the Tate apartment.
At his exit, doors closed softly on every floor, because the
neighbours had listened to the tête-à-tête with intense interest.
Even people in the next house had been able to hear most of it.
Ambrose made his furious way toward the Social Club, his mind set on
mortal encounter with the hated Dominique. But—here was an
inspiration!—why not win his money away from him first? To win away
his last cent—to humble him—to ruin him—and then to break him in
two and kick the pieces through the San Juan causeways, as per
programme! This would be a revenge indeed!
Ambrose noted with satisfaction that Mr. Raffin was already at play,
and crossing the smoke-filled room he threw down some money and took
his place in the game.
Now, Mr. Travis was ordinarily a very garrulous and vociferous crap
shooter, but to-night he was savagely silent. There was a disturbing,
electric something in the air that the neutrals felt and feared.
There was a look in the Travis eye that boded ill for somebody, and
one by one the more prudent gamesters withdrew.
Then suddenly the storm broke.
Later accounts were not clear as to just what started the fray, but
start it did.
Dominique's knife appeared from some place, and the table crashed.
Then the knife swished through space like a hornet and buried its
point harmlessly in a door across the room.
What followed is still a subject of wondering conversation on San
It seems that Mr. Travis seized Mr. Raffin by the collar of his coat,
and swung him round and round and over his head. Mr. Raffin streamed
almost straight out, like the imitation airplanes that whirl dizzily
about the tower in an amusement park. Suddenly there was a rending
of cloth, and Dominique shot through the air to encounter the wall
with a soul-satisfying thump.
Ambrose looked bewildered at the torn clothing he held in his hand,
and then at the limp form of his late antagonist. Mr. Raffin lay
groaning, naked from the waist up.
Ambrose strode across to administer further chastisement, but
was halted by a cry from one of the onlookers. This man stood
pointing at Dominique's naked back—pointing, and staring with eyes
that rolled with genuine negro terror.
"Look!" gasped the affrighted one. "Look! It's de Voo-doo Eye—
dat man's a witch! Ambrose, fo' de Lawd's sake, git away from
"What you-all talkin' about?" scoffed Ambrose, striding closer, and
rolling Dominique so that the light shone full on his back.
"What you-all talkin'——Good Lawd"!
This last ejaculation from Ambrose was caused by the sight that met
There, on the yellow back before him, reaching from shoulder to
shoulder, was tattooed the likeness of a great human eye!
Everyone saw it now. To some—the Northern darkies—it meant nothing.
But to the old-school Southern negroes it meant mystery—magic—death.
It was the sign of the Voodoo!
Several of the more superstitious onlookers retreated in poor order,
their teeth chattering. Their mammies had told them about the Voodoo
Eye. They remembered the tales whispered in the slave quarters about
people being prayed to death by these baleful creatures of ill omen!
They weren't going to take any chances!
Ambrose, for all his natural courage, was shaken. He remembered old
Tom Blue, the Texas Voodoo, who poisoned twenty-one people and came
to life after the white men lynched him. And now he had laid rough
hands on one of the deadly clan; had brought upon himself the wrath
of a man who could simply wish him to death!
Trembling, he stooped down and looked at the Devil's Sign. He looked
again—closely. Then he broke out into a ringing peal of wholesome
"Git up!" he shouted, as Dominique showed signs of life. "Git up,
Mr. Voodoo, befo' Ah gits impatient an' throws you out de window!"
This recklessness—this defiance of the dread power—shocked even
the least superstitious of the audience. By this time they were all
under the spell of this mysterious mark. Those who hadn't recognized
it at once had been quickly enlightened by the others.
Ambrose seized Dominique by the shoulder and dragged him to his feet.
Swaying unsteadily, the mulatto looked around him through eyes
closed to snakelike slits.
"Raffin," said Ambrose, "you-all has on yo' back de Eye ob Voodoo.
Dese gennlemen hyar thinks yo' is a Voodoo. Ah know yo' ain't!"
"I am a Voodoo! An' you, you sacré cochon," hissed Raffin,
"I'll make you wish you had nevaire been born!"
"Well, jes' fo' de present," laughed Ambrose, good humour spreading
all over his face, "you-all had better git outa my way, an' stay
out! Git outa hyar quick!"
Dominique, his evil face twitching with fury, picked up the ragged
shreds of his coat and walked unsteadily out.
At his exit a dead silence fell upon the remaining members. Then
they gathered together in excited groups and discussed the incident
in heated undertones. Ambrose, quite unconcerned, took up a pack of
cards and commenced a game of solitaire.
He wasn't worrying. He knew that Dominique was no more a Voodoo than
he was. Startled at first, he had noticed that the eye had not been
carved in Dominique's back, as it should have been, but had been
tattooed. This in itself made the thing doubtful. But more than this,
the marks were the unmistakably accurate work of an electric
Ambrose had spent his youth on the Galveston water front, and knew
tattooing in all its forms. Electric tattooing on a Voodoo was about
as much in keeping with the ancient and awesome dignity of the cult
as spangled tights would be on the King of England. No—it was
ridiculous. Dominique was not a Voodoo!
Ambrose continued his solitaire, humming as he played. Occasionally
he cast an amused eye at the excited groups across the room, and was
not surprised when Mr. Behemoth Scott, president of the club, at
last came over to him.
"Mistah Travis," began Mr. Scott deferentially, clearing his throat,
"would you-all be good enough to jine our little gatherin' while we
confabulate on dis hyar recent contabulaneous incident?"
"Suttingly, Mr. Scott, suttingly!" said Ambrose, pushing back his
chair, and crossing the room with the quaking official. "What can Ah
do fo' you-all?"
"Well, jest this," said Mr. Scott. "You gennlemen kin'ly correc' me
or bear out what Ah say. Leavin' aside all argument whether they
is sech things as Voodoos, Ah guess any of you gennlemen from
the South will remember Aunt Belle Agassiz and Tom Blue. Ah guess
yo' mammies all done tole 'bout the African Voodoos, an' how ebery
now an' den one of 'em crops up still. An' Ah guess dat we've seen
to-night dat we've got a Voodoo among us. Now, Mr. Travis"—here he
turned to Ambrose—"we know what Aunt Belle Agassiz done on de
Mathis Plantation in Georgia—you ought to know what Tom Blue did
in Texas. So we wants to warn you, as a fren' an' membah of dis club
in good standin', dat you better leave town to-night."
An assenting murmur arose from the crowd, with much rolling of eyes
and nodding of heads.
Ambrose held up his hand for silence. A serious expression came over
his features, and he towered tall and straight before them.
"Gennlemen," he said, "Ah sho appreciates yo' good sperit in dis
hyar unfo'tunate affair. But Ah tells you-all hyar an' now dat
Dominique Raffin ain't no mo' Voodoo den Ah is. Now, Ah ain't sayin'
dat he ain't a Voodoo, an' Ah ain't sayin' dat Ah am one. All Ah
says is dat Ah's as much of a Voodoo as he is—an' Ah'm willin' to
"How you-all do dat, Ambrose?" asked somebody.
"Ah'm comin' to dat," replied Ambrose. "If you-all wants to decide
dis mattah beyont all doubt, Ah respekf'ly suggests dat we hold a
see-ance in dis hyar room, under any c'nditions dat you-all kin
d'vise. If Ah cain't show yo mo' supernat'ral man'festations dan he
can, Ah gives him fifty dollahs. If it's de oder way 'roun', he
leaves de city within twenty-fo' hours. Is dat fair?"
"Well, it suttinly soun's puff'cly jest," replied Mr. Scott.
"We-all will appint a committee to frame de rules of de see-ance,
an' make 'em fair fo' both. You's been willin' to prove yo'-se'f,
Ambrose, an' yo' couldn't do mo'. If dis m'latter Voodoo don't want
to do lak'wise, he can leave dese pahts moughty sudden. Ain't dat so,
"Yassuh—he'll leave quick!" was the threatening reply.
"All right den, Ambrose," continued the spokesman, "we'll 'range fo'
dis sperit-summonin' contes' jes' as soon as we kin. We'll have it
nex' Satiddy night at lates'. Meanwhile we-all is moughty obleeged
to yo' for yo' willin'-ness to do de right thing."
The great night arrived, and San Juan, dressed in its gala finery,
wended its chattering way to the Senegambian séance. But beneath the
finery and the chatter ran a subtle under-current of foreboding, for
your negro is superstitious, and, well, Voodoos are Voodoos!
Dominique Raffin, dressed in somber black, went to the club alone
and unattended save by Miss Aphrodite Tate. San Juan, fearing the
Raffin mulatto and his ghostly powers, had held its respectful
distance ever since the evening when Ambrose and his rage had
revealed them. Familiarity breeding contempt, Miss Aphrodite knew
her man, and feared him not.
They found the rooms of the social club full of excited negroes, for
never before in San Juan's history had such a momentous event been
scheduled. Raffin and Aphrodite were received with a fearsome
respect by Behemoth Scott, who had been appointed master of
"Jes' make yo'se'f to home," he greeted them. "Mista Travis ain't
come yit; we has ten minutes befo' de contes' styarts."
At last, with a bare minute to spare, Ambrose smilingly entered. He
wore his splendid full-dress suit, a wonderful creation of San
Juan's leading tailor, who, at Ambrose's tasteful suggestion, had
faced the lapels with satin of the most royal purple. Set out by
this background of colourful lapel was a huge yellow chrysanthemum,
while on the broad red band that diagonally traversed his shining
shirt front glittered like a decoration, the insignia from his
Swalecliffe uniform cap.
"Good evenin', folks," was his cheerful greeting. "If you-all is
quite ready fo' dis see-ance, an' provided mah—er—wuthy opponent
am ready, Ah'd jes' as soon _pro_ceed."
Miss Aphrodite gazed on the imposing figure of Ambrose with more
than a little admiration. Comparing him with the trembling Raffin,
she found much in his favour.
All but his footwear. Accustomed as she had become to the glistening
patent leathers affected by Raffin, Ambrose's clumsy congress
gaiters somewhat marred his gorgeousness. Nevertheless, she felt her
affections wavering. Her speculations were interrupted by the voice
of the master of ceremonies:
"Ladies an' gennlemen," began Mr. Scott, "we-all has d 'cided to
form a circle of twelve of our membahs wif dese two Voodoo gennlemen
asettin' opp'site each oder in de circle. In o'dah to preclude any
poss'bility of either Mista Travis or Mista Raffin from leavin' dere
places, we has d'cided to tie dem to dere cheers by ropes passed
'roun' dere bodies an' fastened to de backs of de cheers. De lights
will den be distinguished. When he lights is tu'ned out, Mista
Raffin will be given fifteen minutes in which to summon de
supernat'ral proofs—whatevah dey may be—of his bein' Voodoo. Den
Mista Travis will be given his chanct."
Amid the hushed whisperings of the assemblage the committee, six men
and six women, Aphrodite included, took their places in the circle.
Ambrose and the mulatto were seated opposite each other and were
perhaps twelve feet apart. Raffin, nervously licking his lips, sat
bolt upright while members of the committee passed ropes around him
and the back of his chair, and tied his hands. In direct contrast to
his rival, Ambrose slouched down in his seat and joked with the
trembling members as they secured him in his place.
Those not on the committee crowded close to the chair backs of the
circle in order that nothing should escape them. The excitement was
tense, and everyone was breathing hard. When all was ready
Mr. Behemoth Scott took his place in the circle. Drawing a long
breath and grasping his chair for support, he spoke in a hushed
and husky voice: "All raidy, now? Ah asks silence from eve'body.
Turn out de lights"!
At the fateful words Stygian darkness enveloped the crowded room.
The shades had been drawn and not the faintest ray from the dim
street lights penetrated the place. It was stifling hot, and the
assembled investigators were perspiring freely….
Silence—black, awe-inspired silence! Two hundred pairs of
superstitious eyes peered into the horrible gloom—two hundred pairs
of ears strained at the tomblike stillness. The suspense was awful,
and none dared move. Occasionally some familiar sound came from the
world outside: the clang of the Tenth Avenue car or the whistle of a
tugboat out in the river, but these sounds were of another
existence—they seemed distant and unfamiliar and wholly out of
place in the mystery and terror of the Voodoo seance.
The minutes slid by, and nothing happened. The suspense was worse
than ever. Something stirred in the circle. Two hundred hearts
missed a beat. Then the whining, terror-stricken voice of the
mulatto broke the stillness: "Let Travis try," he whispered hoarsely.
"My spirits will not come until 'e 'as tried. Let 'im try fo'
fifteen minutes, and when 'e 'as failed I will summon the ghost of
Bula-Wayo, the king of all the tribes of the Niger. But let Travis
try first!" This last almost pleadingly.
A moment more of silence and Ambrose's deep voice boomed forth in
"Ah's willin'," he declared. "Anythin' dat now appears will be mah
doin'—ten minits is all Ah asks. Am dat sat'sfact'ry?"
"Yaas," replied the voice of Behemoth Scott. "Go ahaid wif yo'
sperit-summonin', Mista Travis."
"Ah'll cawncentrate now," replied Ambrose, "an' sho'tly you-all will
witness ample proof of mah bein' a genuine Voo-doo. Ah's stahtin'."
Silence more terrible than ever fell upon the waiting negroes.
Then—horror of horrors! a peculiar grating, rustling sound came
from the vicinity of Ambrose—a slight creaking—and again silence.
The investigators held hands of neighbours who trembled from sheer
panic, whose breath came hard and panting from this awful suspense!
Another creaking, as though Ambrose had shifted his weight in his
Then—baleful—in its green, ghastly glow—a dim, indistinct light
shone in the centre of the circle! Moving slowly, like a newly
awakened spirit, it waved in the very midst of the gasping committee.
Back and forth, up and down, it moved—glowing, vaporous, ghostly.
Two hundred pairs of bulging eyes saw the horror—and realized that
it was an enormous hand, terribly deformed!
Some one moaned with terror—a woman screamed. "De hand ob death!"
shrieked a man. "Run—run fo' yo' lives!"
The stampede was spontaneous! Chairs were overturned and tables
smashed in this frightful panic in the dark. No one thought of
turning on the lights—everyone's sole aim was to leave that
appalling shining hand—and get out!
A crashing on the stairway marked where Raffin, chair and all, was
making his fear-stricken way to the street. In one brief minute the
place was apparently empty save for Ambrose. Still tied to his chair,
he inquired: "Is any one hyar?"
For a second there was silence, then the dulcet tones of Miss
Aphrodite fell on the big negro's ear: "Ah's hyar, Ambrose," she said.
"Well, den"—recognizing her voice—"would you mine lightin' de gas
till Ah can tie mahself loose from dis hyar throne ob glory?"
In a moment a feeble gaslight shone, disclosing Aphrodite—somewhat
disarranged by the panic—standing smiling in front of the erstwhile
Voodoo. She looked down at his feet. There, sure enough, one huge
member was unshod and stockingless; the elastic-slit congress gaiter,
lost in the shuffle, lay out of the radius of Ambrose's long leg.
Miss Aphrodite picked it up and, stooping, slipped it over his
mighty toes, noticing as she did so the thick coating of
phosphorescent paint that still covered them.
"Ambrose," she whispered, "Ah wasn't scaired. No ghos' eber was bohn
dat had han's de size ob yo' feet!"
An embarrassed silence followed; the gas jet flickered weakly; then
Ambrose said: "Untie mah han's, Aphrodite—Ah'd jes' lak to hug you!"
"Oh, Ambrose," she cried coyly. But she untied the rope just the same.
Again came silence, broken only by a certain strange sound. Then
Ambrose's voice came softly through the gloom: "Aphrodite," it said,
"yo' lips am jes' lak plush!"