He was a man of portly build wearing a heavy fur-lined overcoat and having a soft felt hat, the brim turned down so as to shade the upper part of his face. Moreover, he wore his fur collar turned up, which served further to disguise him, since it concealed the greater part of his chin. But the eyes which now were searching every corner of the room, the alert, dark eyes, were strangely familiar. The black mustache, the clear-cut, aquiline nose, confirmed the impression.
Our follower was M. Samarkan, manager of the New Louvre.
I suppressed a gasp of astonishment. Small wonder that our plans had leaked out. This was a momentous discovery indeed.
And as I watched the portly Greek who was not only one of the most celebrated maitres d’hotel in Europe, but also a creature of Dr. Fu-Manchu, he cast the light of his electric lamp upon a note attached by means of a drawing-pin to the inside of the room door. I immediately divined that my friend must have pinned the note in its place earlier in the day; even at that distance I recognized Smith’s neat, illegible writing.
Samarkan quickly scanned the message scribbled upon the white page; then, exhibiting an agility uncommon in a man of his bulk, he threw open the shutters again, having first replaced his lamp in his pocket, climbed out into the little front garden, reclosed the window, and disappeared!
A moment I stood, lost to my surroundings, plunged in a sea of wonderment concerning the damnable organization which, its tentacles extending I knew not whither, since new and unexpected limbs were ever coming to light, sought no less a goal than Yellow dominion of the world! I reflected how one man—Nayland Smith—alone stood between this powerful group and the realization of their project ... when I was aroused by a hand grasping my arm in the darkness!
I uttered a short cry, of which I was instantly ashamed, for Nayland Smith’s voice came:—
“I startled you, eh, Petrie?”
“Smith,” I said, “how long have you been standing there?”
“I only returned in time to see our Fenimore Cooper friend retreating through the window,” he replied; “but no doubt you had a good look at him?”
“I had!” I answered eagerly. “It was Samarkan!”
“I thought so! I have suspected as much for a long time.”
“Was this the object of our visit here?”
“It was one of the objects,” admitted Nayland Smith evasively.
From some place not far distant came the sound of a restarted engine.
“The other,” he added, “was this: to enable M. Samarkan to read the note which I had pinned upon the door!”
THE SECOND MESSAGE
“Here you are, Petrie,” said Nayland Smith—and he tossed across the table the folded copy of a morning paper. “This may assist you in your study of the first Zagazig message.”