First off: Dedicated with affection and gratitude to Cole Parker, and to John Francis (the Pecman), for their kind words and encouragement over the years … and, for another very specific reason, which will be revealed in an afterword, at the end of the story.
Also dedicated to John, the Design Editor; with enormous gratitude, for all of his kindness, and his patient work on this project:
And, above and beyond all else, dedicated to the Dude, for building and maintaining this priceless site. It truly is an amazing place, and an amazing body of work on his part.
And now, the disclaimer:
This is a work of fiction, set (primarily) in the year 1937.
All characters with speaking roles are fictitious, with the following four exceptions:
— Sir Victor Sassoon, (by cable), owner of the Cathay Hotel, in Shanghai:
— Freddy Kaufman, Manager of the Cathay Hotel:
— Ambassador Sir Hughe and Lady Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, the then-British Ambassador to the Republic of China, and his wife.
I feel comfortable that neither their shades, nor their heirs, would object to the lines I have given them, or to the ways in which they are presented. In any case, their portrayal is completely fictitious.
A number of other real people are referred to, in the course of the story; in all cases, they are portrayed fictitiously, although, I hope, not unrealistically. Wherever possible, I have placed them where, as far as I can tell, they really were at the time; doing what they were actually doing, at the time. But I have had to disrupt the schedules of two real movie stars, for which I apologize.
Much more seriously, I have involved three historical public figures in a sort of plot, or scheme, which is also fictitious — although representative of their later activities. Again, I don't think their shades would object for a moment.
All settings in the story are portrayed as accurately as I could manage, by dint of much, much, much too much research. The steamship-lines, the ships, their routes and schedules, are all shown as they really were; the company names, and bank names which are cited, are with very few exceptions, real; cities, neighborhoods, streets, and individual buildings are shown as accurately as I could manage. People act, I hope, more or less in the ways that they really acted, at the time. I wanted to take a trip back in time, to places which no longer quite exist; I enjoyed doing the research, very much.
As with the characters, all real businesses and corporations are portrayed fictitiously.
Any and all anachronisms or errors are completely my own fault.
Some characters in the story have attitudes and express political opinions relevant to the story's setting and time. Again, this is a work of fiction, and these attitudes and opinions do not necessarily reflect the settled historical record, the views of the author, or those of this site.
One final note, on transliteration: all Anglicized versions of Chinese place-names, street-names and personal names, are ones which were common at the time of the story's setting, and were taken from maps and books and newspapers of that time. No offense or disrespect to anyone is intended.
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