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The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu


belief—or so I was sorely tempted to suppose. But the facts were
against her.
"Such a declaration is worthless," I said, as coldly as I could.
"You are a traitress; you betray those who are mad enough to trust
you—"
"I am no traitress!" she blazed at me; her eyes were magnificent.
"This is mere nonsense. You think that it will pay you better to
serve Fu-Manchu than to remain true to your friends. Your
'slavery'—for I take it you are posing as a slave again—is evidently
not very harsh. You serve Fu-Manchu, lure men to their
destruction, and in return he loads you with jewels, lavishes gifts—
"
"Ah! so!"
She sprang forward, raising flaming eyes to mine; her lips were
slightly parted. With that wild abandon which betrayed the desert
blood in her veins, she wrenched open the neck of her bodice and
slipped a soft shoulder free of the garment. She twisted around, so
that the white skin was but inches removed from me.
"These are some of the gifts that he lavishes upon me!"
I clenched my teeth. Insane thoughts flooded my mind. For that
creamy skin was red with the marks of the lash!
She turned, quickly rearranging her dress, and watching me the
while. I could not trust myself to speak for a moment, then:
"If I am a stranger to you, as you claim, why do you give me
your confidence?" I asked.
"I have known you long enough to trust you!" she said simply,
and turned her head aside.
"Then why do you serve this inhuman monster?"
She snapped her fingers oddly, and looked up at me from under
her lashes. "Why do you question me if you think that everything I
say is a lie?"
It was a lesson in logic—from a woman! I changed the subject.
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