“Come in!” I cried.
The door opened and a page-boy entered.
“A cable for Dr. Petrie.”
I started up from my chair. A thousand possibilities—some of a sort to bring dread to my heart—instantly occurred to me. I tore open the envelope and, as one does, glanced first at the name of the sender.
It was signed “Karamaneh!”
“Smith!” I said hoarsely, glancing over the massage, “Karamaneh is on her way to England. She arrives by the Nicobar to-morrow!”
“Eh?” cried Nayland Smith, in turn leaping to his feet. “She had no right to come alone, unless——”
The boy, open-mouthed, was listening to our conversation, and I hastily thrust a coin into his hand and dismissed him. As the door closed—
“Unless what, Smith?” I said, looking my friend squarely in the eyes.
“Unless she has learnt something, or—is flying away from some one!”
My mind set in a whirl of hopes and fears, longings and dreads.
“What do you mean, Smith?” I asked. “This is the place of danger, as we know to our cost; she was safe in Egypt.”
Nayland Smith commenced one of his restless perambulations, glancing at me from time to time and frequently tugging at the lobe of his ear.
“Was she safe in Egypt?” he rapped. “We are dealing, remember, with the Si-Fan, which, if I am not mistaken, is a sort of Eleusinian Mystery holding some kind of dominion over the eastern mind, and boasting initiates throughout the Orient. It is almost certain that there is an Egyptian branch, or group—call it what you will—of the damnable organization.”
“But Dr. Fu-Manchu——”
“Dr. Fu-Manchu—for he lives, Petrie! my own eyes bear witness to the fact—Dr. Fu-Manchu is a sort of delegate from the headquarters. His prodigious genius will readily enable him to keep in touch with every branch of the movement, East and West.”
He paused to knock out his pipe into an ashtray and to watch me for some moments in silence.
“He may have instructed his Cairo agents,” he added significantly.
“God grant she get to England in safety,” I whispered. “Smith! can we make no move to round up the devils who defy us, here in the very heart of civilized England? Listen. You will not have forgotten the wild-cat Eurasian Zarmi?”
Smith nodded. “I recall the lady perfectly!” he snapped.
“Unless my imagination has been playing me tricks, I have seen her twice within the last few days—once in the neighborhood of this hotel and once in a cab in Piccadilly.”
“You mentioned the matter at the time,” said Smith shortly; “but although I made inquiries, as you remember, nothing came of them.”
“Nevertheless, I don’t think I was mistaken. I feel in my very bones that the Yellow hand of Fu-Manchu is about to stretch out again. If only we could apprehend Zarmi.”