The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu
correspondent in Nan-Yang. I have suggested that he may be the
Mandarin Yen-Sun-Yat, but you have declined to confirm me. Yet
I know" (Smith had the door open a good three inches and was
peering in) "that some official, some high official, is a traitor. Am I
to resort again to the question to learn his name?"
Ice seemed to enter my veins at the unseen inquisitor's
intonation of the words "the question." This was the Twentieth
Century, yet there, in that damnable room...
Smith threw the door open.
Through a sort of haze, born mostly of horror, but not entirely, I
saw Eltham, stripped to the waist and tied, with his arms
upstretched, to a rafter in the ancient ceiling. A Chinaman who
wore a slop-shop blue suit and who held an open knife in his hand,
stood beside him. Eltham was ghastly white. The appearance of his
chest puzzled me momentarily, then I realized that a sort of
tourniquet of wire-netting was screwed so tightly about him that
the flesh swelled out in knobs through the mesh. There was
"God in heaven!" screamed Smith frenziedly—"they have the
wire-jacket on him! Shoot down that damned Chinaman, Petrie!
Lithely as a cat the man with the knife leaped around—but I
raised the Browning, and deliberately—with a cool deliberation
that came to me suddenly—shot him through the head. I saw his
oblique eyes turn up to the whites; I saw the mark squarely
between his brows; and with no word nor cry he sank to his knees
and toppled forward with one yellow hand beneath him and one
outstretched, clutching—clutching—convulsively. His pigtail came
unfastened and began to uncoil, slowly, like a snake.
I handed the pistol to Smith; I was perfectly cool, now; and I
leaped forward, took up the bloody knife from the floor and cut
Eltham's lashings. He sank into my arms.
"Praise God," he murmured, weakly. "He is more merciful to me