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The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu


captives found ourselves alone with Dr. Fu-Manchu. The scene
was unforgettable; that dimly lighted passage, its extremities
masked in shadow, and the tall, yellow-robed figure of the Satanic
Chinaman towering over us where we lay.
He had recovered his habitual calm, and as I peered at him
through the gloom I was impressed anew with the tremendous
intellectual force of the man. He had the brow of a genius, the
features of a born ruler; and even in that moment I could find time
to search my memory, and to discover that the face, saving the
indescribable evil of its expression, was identical with that of Seti,
the mighty Pharaoh who lies in the Cairo Museum.
Down the passage came leaping and gamboling the doctor's
marmoset. Uttering its shrill, whistling cry, it leaped onto his
shoulder, clutched with its tiny fingers at the scanty, neutral-
colored hair upon his crown, and bent forward, peering grotesquely
into that still, dreadful face.
Dr. Fu-Manchu stroked the little creature; and crooned to it, as a
mother to her infant. Only this crooning, and the labored breathing
of Smith and myself, broke that impressive stillness.
Suddenly the guttural voice began:
"You come at an opportune time, Mr. Commissioner Nayland
Smith, and Dr. Petrie; at a time when the greatest man in China
flatters me with a visit. In my absence from home, a tremendous
honor has been conferred upon me, and, in the hour of this
supreme honor, dishonor and calamity have befallen! For my
services to China—the New China, the China of the future—I have
been admitted by the Sublime Prince to the Sacred Order of the
White Peacock."
Warming to his discourse, he threw wide his arms, hurling the
chattering marmoset fully five yards along the corridor.
"O god of Cathay!" he cried, sibilantly, "in what have I sinned
that this catastrophe has been visited upon my head! Learn, my two
dear friends, that the sacred white peacock brought to these misty
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