The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu
with her infernal blandishments."
"I'll swear she did not," rapped Smith decisively. "I know my
man, and I'll swear she did not. There were no marks in the mud of
the road to show that a ladder had been placed there; moreover,
nothing of the kind could have been attempted whilst the boy was
sitting in the doorway; that was evident. In short, she did not
descend into the roadway and did not come out by the door..."
"Was there a gallery outside the window?"
"No; it was impossible to climb to right or left of the window or
up on to the roof. I convinced myself of that."
"But, my dear man!" I cried, "you are eliminating every natural
mode of egress! Nothing remains but flight."
"I am aware, Petrie, that nothing remains but flight; in other
words I have never to this day understood how she quitted the
room. I only know that she did."
"I saw in this incredible escape the cunning hand of Dr. Fu-
Manchu—saw it at once. Peace was ended; and I set to work along
certain channels without delay. In this manner I got on the track at
last, and learned, beyond the possibility of doubt, that the Chinese
doctor lived—nay! was actually on his way to Europe again!"
There followed a short silence. Then:
"I suppose it's a mystery that will be cleared up some day,"
concluded Smith; "but to date the riddle remains intact." He
glanced at the clock. "I have an appointment with Weymouth;
therefore, leaving you to the task of solving this problem which
thus far has defied my own efforts, I will get along."
He read a query in my glance.
"Oh! I shall not be late," he added; "I think I may venture out
alone on this occasion without personal danger."
Nayland Smith went upstairs to dress, leaving me seated at my
writing table, deep in thought. My notes upon the renewed activity