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The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu


CHAPTER IX. THE CLIMBER
Our search of the house of Abel Slattin ceased only with the
coming of the dawn, and yielded nothing but disappointment.
Failure followed upon failure; for, in the gray light of the morning,
our own quest concluded, Inspector Weymouth returned to report
that the girl, Karamaneh, had thrown him off the scent.
Again he stood before me, the big, burly friend of old and
dreadful days, a little grayer above the temples, which I set down
for a record of former horrors, but deliberate, stoical, thorough, as
ever. His blue eyes melted in the old generous way as he saw me,
and he gripped my hand in greeting.
"Once again," he said, "your dark-eyed friend has been too
clever for me, Doctor. But the track as far as I could follow, leads
to the old spot. In fact,"—he turned to Smith, who, grim-faced and
haggard, looked thoroughly ill in that gray light—"I believe Fu-
Manchu's lair is somewhere near the former opium-den of Shen-
Yan—'Singapore Charlie.'"
Smith nodded.
"We will turn our attention in that direction," he replied, "at a
very early date."
Inspector Weymouth looked down at the body of Abel Slattin.
"How was it done?" he asked softly.
"Clumsily for Fu-Manchu," I replied. "A snake was introduced
into the house by some means—"
"By Karamaneh!" rapped Smith.
"Very possibly by Karamaneh," I continued firmly. "The thing
has escaped us."
"My own idea," said Smith, "is that it was concealed about his
clothing. When he fell by the open door it glided out of the house.
We must have the garden searched thoroughly by daylight."
"He"—Weymouth glanced at that which lay upon the floor—
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