When the trouble came, it wasn't over anything so obvious as a woman, it wasn't over anything as tangible as the things that used to cause flare-ups among the rest of us. And the warnings weren't as obvious, either, the whole thing was as subtle and as profound as the difference between them and the likeness that intensified the difference. And yet old Soong caught it all, followed every bit of it, and that is why it seems sometimes that the old Chinese might have been a third exception to the general rule of our mongrel breeding.
When Buchalter came into the room that night the place was crowded, and even Clyde hadn't been able to find a place to sit by himself, he was at the large table in the center of the room, surrounded by a couple of Americans, a Pole, a Swede, and a fellow who claimed to be French but might have been almost anything else. And the only vacant chair in the place was at that large table, directly across from Clyde.
Buchalter stood in the doorway a moment, his head high, and flicked a contemptuous glance around the room. Then, with the faintest hesitation, he marched stiffly to the one vacant chair and sat down, acknowledging no one's presence. Clyde wasn't speaking to anyone either, of course, and the two sat there stiffly and tried not to look at one another while the talk at the table eddied around them.
Then the table conversation, which had been noisy and boisterous, died away gradually into an uneasy silence, and it was increasingly impossible not to notice that the Englishman and the German were staring coldly and unwinkingly at each other. The Pole shoved his chair back abruptly and muttered something and got up and left the room, and old Soong picked up his glass of hot wine and moved over from his solitary table to take the place the Pole had vacated. He didn't say anything, he just sat there, his seamed yellow face impassive, and waited.