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|The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu||Sax Rohmer|
|Page 3 of 4||
But West went on hoarsely:
"Just before the blank came a name flashed before my eyes. It was `Bayard Taylor.'"
At that I interrupted West.
"I understand!" I cried. "I understand! Another name has just occurred to me, Mr. West--that of the Frenchman, Moreau."
"You have solved the mystery," said Smith. "It was natural Mr. West should have thought of the American traveler, Bayard Taylor, though. Moreau's book is purely scientific. He has probably never read it."
"I fought with the stupor that was overcoming me," continued West, "striving to associate that vaguely familiar name with the fantastic things through which I moved. It seemed to me that the room was empty again. I made for the hall, for the telephone. I could scarcely drag my feet along. It seemed to take me half-an-hour to get there. I remember calling up Scotland Yard, and I remember no more."
There was a short, tense interval.
In some respects I was nonplused; but, frankly, I think Inspector Weymouth considered West insane. Smith, his hands locked behind his back, stared out of the window.
"ANDAMAN--SECOND" he said suddenly. "Weymouth, when is the first train to Tilbury?"
"Five twenty-two from Fenchurch Street," replied the Scotland Yard man promptly.
"Too late!" rapped my friend. "Jump in a taxi and pick up two good men to leave for China at once! Then go and charter a special to Tilbury to leave in twenty-five minutes. Order another cab to wait outside for me."
Weymouth was palpably amazed, but Smith's tone was imperative. The Inspector departed hastily.
I stared at Smith, not comprehending what prompted this singular course.
"Now that you can think clearly, Mr. West," he said, "of what does your experience remind you? The errors of perception regarding time; the idea of SEEING A SOUND; the illusion that the room alternately increased and diminished in size; your fit of laughter, and the recollection of the name Bayard Taylor. Since evidently you are familiar with that author's work-- 'The Land of the Saracen,' is it not?--these symptoms of the attack should be familiar, I think."
Norris West pressed his hands to his evidently aching head.
"Bayard Taylor's book," he said dully. "Yes!. . .I know of what my brain sought to remind me--Taylor's account of his experience under hashish. Mr. Smith, someone doped me with hashish!"
Smith nodded grimly.
"Cannabis indica," I said--"Indian hemp. That is what you were drugged with. I have no doubt that now you experience a feeling of nausea and intense thirst, with aching in the muscles, particularly the deltoid. I think you must have taken at least fifteen grains."
Smith stopped his perambulations immediately in front of West, looking into his dulled eyes.
"Someone visited your chambers last night," he said slowly, "and for your chloral tabloids substituted some containing hashish, or perhaps not pure hashish. Fu-Manchu is a profound chemist."
Norris West started.
"Someone substituted--" he began.
"Exactly," said Smith, looking at him keenly; "someone who was here yesterday. Have you any idea whom it could have been?"
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