The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu
tightly about my throat, and with a feeling of insupportable agony
at the base of my skull, and a sudden supreme knowledge that I
was being strangled—hanged—I lost consciousness!
How long I remained unconscious, I was unable to determine at
the time, but I learned later, that it was for no more than half an
hour; at any rate, recovery was slow.
The first sensation to return to me was a sort of repetition of the
asphyxia. The blood seemed to be forcing itself into my eyes—I
choked—I felt that my end was come. And, raising my hands to
my throat, I found it to be swollen and inflamed. Then the floor
upon which I lay seemed to be rocking like the deck of a ship, and
I glided back again into a place of darkness and forgetfulness.
My second awakening was heralded by a returning sense of
smell; for I became conscious of a faint, exquisite perfume.
It brought me to my senses as nothing else could have done, and
I sat upright with a hoarse cry. I could have distinguished that
perfume amid a thousand others, could have marked it apart from
the rest in a scent bazaar. For me it had one meaning, and one
She was near to me, or had been near to me!
And in the first moments of my awakening, I groped about in
the darkness blindly seeking her.
Then my swollen throat and throbbing head, together with my
utter inability to move my neck even slightly, reminded me of the
facts as they were. I knew in that bitter moment that Karamaneh
was no longer my friend; but, for all her beauty and charm, was the
most heartless, the most fiendish creature in the service of Dr. Fu-
Manchu. I groaned aloud in my despair and misery.
Something stirred, near to me in the room, and set my nerves
creeping with a new apprehension. I became fully alive to the
possibilities of the darkness.
To my certain knowledge, Dr. Fu-Manchu at this time had been
in England for fully three months, which meant that by now he