The Hand Of Fu-Manchu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 190 pages of information about The Hand Of Fu-Manchu.

“I am all attention,” snapped Smith.

“A woman called Zarmi has recently put in an appearance at the Joy-Shop.  Roughly speaking, she turned up at about the same time as the unseen man with the limp....”

Nayland Smith’s eyes were blazing with suppressed excitement; he was pacing quickly up and down the floor, tugging at the lobe of his left ear.

“She is—­different in some way from any other woman I have ever seen in the place.  She’s a Eurasian and good-looking, after a tigerish fashion.  I have done my best”—­he smiled slightly—­“to get in her good books, and up to a point I’ve succeeded.  I was there last night, and Zarmi asked me if I knew what she called a ‘strong feller.’

“‘These,’ she informed me, contemptuously referring to the rest of the company, ‘are poor weak Johnnies!’

“I had nothing definite in view at the time, for I had not then heard about your return to London, but I thought it might lead to something anyway, so I promised to bring a friend along to-night.  I don’t know what we’re wanted to do, but ...”

“Count on me!” snapped Smith.  “I will leave all details to you and to Weymouth, and I will be at New Scotland Yard this evening in time to adopt a suitable disguise.  Petrie”—­he turned impetuously to me—­“I fear I shall have to go without you; but I shall be in safe company, as you see, and doubtless Weymouth can find you a part in his portion of the evening’s program.”

He glanced at his watch.

“Ah!  I must be off.  If you will oblige me, Petrie, by putting the brass box into my smaller portmanteau, whilst I slip my coat on, perhaps Weymouth, on his way out, will be good enough to order a taxi.  I shall venture to breathe again once our unpleasant charge is safely deposited in the bank vaults!”

CHAPTER VI

THE SI-FAN MOVE

A slight drizzling rain was falling as Smith entered the cab which the hall-porter had summoned.  The brown bag in his hand contained the brass box which actually was responsible for our presence in London.  The last glimpse I had of him through the glass of the closed window showed him striking a match to light his pipe—­which he rarely allowed to grow cool.

Oppressed with an unaccountable weariness of spirit, I stood within the lobby looking out upon the grayness of London in November.  A slight mental effort was sufficient to blot out that drab prospect and to conjure up before my mind’s eye a balcony overlooking the Nile—­a glimpse of dusty palms, a white wall overgrown with purple blossoms, and above all the dazzling vault of Egypt.  Upon the balcony my imagination painted a figure, limning it with loving details, the figure of Karamaneh; and I thought that her glorious eyes would be sorrowful and her lips perhaps a little tremulous, as, her arms resting upon the rail of the balcony, she looked out across the smiling river to the domes and minarets of Cairo—­and beyond, into the hazy distance; seeing me in dreary, rain-swept London, as I saw her, at Gezira beneath the cloudless sky of Egypt.

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The Hand Of Fu-Manchu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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