The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu
thought of the haunted residence that lay hidden somewhere
beyond, of those who had died in it—especially of the one who
had died there under the trees—and found myself out of love with
the business of the night.
"Come on!" said Nayland Smith briskly, holding the gate open;
"there should be a fire in the library and refreshments, if the
charwoman has followed instructions."
I heard the great gate clang to behind us. Even had there been
any moon (and there was none) I doubted if more than a patch or
two of light could have penetrated there. The darkness was
extraordinary. Nothing broke it, and I think Smith must have found
his way by the aid of some sixth sense. At any rate, I saw nothing
of the house until I stood some five paces from the steps leading up
to the porch. A light was burning in the hallway, but dimly and
inhospitably; of the facade of the building I could perceive little.
When we entered the hall and the door was closed behind us, I
began wondering anew what purpose my friend hoped to serve by
a vigil in this haunted place. There was a light in the library, the
door of which was ajar, and on the large table were decanters, a
siphon, and some biscuits and sandwiches. A large grip stood upon
the floor, also. For some reason which was a mystery to me, Smith
had decided that we must assume false names whilst under the roof
of the Gables; and:
"Now, Pearce," he said, "a whisky-and-soda before we look
The proposal was welcome enough, for I felt strangely
dispirited, and, to tell the truth, in my strange disguise, not a little
All my nerves, no doubt, were highly strung, and my sense of
hearing unusually acute, for I went in momentary expectation of
some uncanny happening. I had not long to wait. As I raised the
glass to my lips and glanced across the table at my friend, I heard
the first faint sound heralding the coming of the bells.