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The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu


face. Habitually gaunt, the flesh so refined away by the consuming
nervous energy of the man as to reveal the cheekbones in sharp
prominence, he now looked truly ghastly. His skin was so
sunbaked as to have changed constitutionally; nothing could ever
eradicate that tan. But to-night a fearful grayness was mingled with
the brown, his lips were purple... and there were marks of
strangulation upon the lean throat—ever darkening weals made by
clutching fingers.
He began to breathe stentoriously and convulsively, inhalation
being accompanied by a significant gurgling in the throat. But now
my calm was restored in face of a situation which called for
professional attention.
I aided my friend's labored respirations by the usual means,
setting to work vigorously; so that presently he began to clutch at
his inflamed throat which that murderous pressure had threatened
to close.
I could hear sounds of movement about the house, showing that
not I alone had been awakened by those hoarse screams.
"It's all right, old man," I said, bending over him; "brace up!"
He opened his eyes—they looked bleared and bloodshot—and
gave me a quick glance of recognition.
"It's all right, Smith!" I said—"no! don't sit up; lie there for a
moment."
I ran across to the dressing-table, whereon I perceived his flask
to lie, and mixed him a weak stimulant with which I returned to the
bed.
As I bent over him again, my housekeeper appeared in the
doorway, pale and wide-eyed.
"There is no occasion for alarm," I said over my shoulder; "Mr.
Smith's nerves are overwrought and he was awakened by some
disturbing dream. You can return to bed, Mrs. Newsome."
Nayland Smith seemed to experience much difficulty in
swallowing the contents of the tumbler which I held to his lips;
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