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|The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu||Sax Rohmer|
|Page 6 of 6||
"No name!" I cried.
"You may call me Karamaneh," she said. "As Karamaneh I was sold to Dr. Fu-Manchu, and my brother also he purchased. We were cheap at the price he paid." She laughed shortly, wildly.
"But he has spent a lot of money to educate me. My brother is all that is left to me in the world to love, and he is in the power of Dr. Fu-Manchu. You understand? It is upon him the blow will fall. You ask me to fight against Fu-Manchu. You talk of protection. Did your protection save Sir Crichton Davey?"
I shook my head sadly.
"You understand now why I cannot disobey my master's orders--why, if I would, I dare not betray him."
I walked to the window and looked out. How could I answer her arguments? What could I say? I heard the rustle of her ragged skirts, and she who called herself Karamaneh stood beside me. She laid her hand upon my arm.
"Let me go," she pleaded. "He will kill him! He will kill him!"
Her voice shook with emotion.
"He cannot revenge himself upon your brother when you are in no way to blame," I said angrily. "We arrested you; you are not here of your own free will."
She drew her breath sharply, clutching at my arm, and in her eyes I could read that she was forcing her mind to some arduous decision.
"Listen." She was speaking rapidly, nervously. "If I help you to take Dr. Fu-Manchu--tell you where he is to be found ALONE-- will you promise me, solemnly promise me, that you will immediately go to the place where I shall guide you and release my brother; that you will let us both go free?"
"I will," I said, without hesitation. "You may rest assured of it."
"But there is a condition," she added.
"What is it?"
"When I have told you where to capture him you must release me."
I hesitated. Smith often had accused me of weakness where this girl was concerned. What now was my plain duty? That she would utterly decline to speak under any circumstances unless it suited her to do so I felt assured. If she spoke the truth, in her proposed bargain there was no personal element; her conduct I now viewed in a new light. Humanity, I thought, dictated that I accept her proposal; policy also.
"I agree," I said, and looked into her eyes, which were aflame now with emotion, an excitement perhaps of anticipation, perhaps of fear.
She laid her hands upon my shoulders.
"You will be careful?" she said pleadingly.
"For your sake," I replied, "I shall."
"Not for my sake."
"Then for your brother's."
"No." Her voice had sunk to a whisper. "For your own."
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