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The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu


open, and, in the bright light of the hall-way, I saw Slattin
standing—swaying and seemingly fighting with the empty air.
"What is it? For God's sake, what has happened!" reached my
ears dimly—and the man Burke showed behind his master. White-
faced I saw him to be; for now Smith and I were racing up the
steps.
Ere we could reach him, Slattin, uttering another choking cry,
pitched forward and lay half across the threshold.
We burst into the hall, where Burke stood with both his hands
raised dazedly to his head. I could hear the sound of running feet
upon the gravel, and knew that Carter was coming to join us.
Burke, a heavy man with a lowering, bull-dog type of face,
collapsed onto his knees beside Slattin, and began softly to laugh
in little rising peals.
"Drop that!" snapped Smith, and grasping him by the shoulders,
he sent him spinning along the hallway, where he sank upon the
bottom step of the stairs, to sit with his outstretched fingers
extended before his face, and peering at us grotesquely through the
crevices.
There were rustlings and subdued cries from the upper part of
the house. Carter came in out of the darkness, carefully stepping
over the recumbent figure; and the three of us stood there in the
lighted hall looking down at Slattin.
"Help us to move him back," directed Smith, tensely; "far
enough to close the door."
Between us we accomplished this, and Carter fastened the door.
We were alone with the shadow of Fu-Manchu's vengeance; for as
I knelt beside the body on the floor, a look and a touch sufficed to
tell me that this was but clay from which the spirit had fled!
Smith met my glance as I raised my head, and his teeth came
together with a loud snap; the jaw muscles stood out prominently
beneath the dark skin; and his face was grimly set in that odd, half-
despairful expression which I knew so well but which boded so ill
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