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|The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu||Sax Rohmer|
|Page 1 of 5||
"You say you have two items of news for me?" said Nayland Smith, looking across the breakfast table to where Inspector Weymouth sat sipping coffee.
"There are two points--yes," replied the Scotland Yard man, whilst Smith paused, egg-spoon in hand, and fixed his keen eyes upon the speaker. "The first is this: the headquarters of the Yellow group is no longer in the East End."
"How can you be sure of that?"
"For two reasons. In the first place, that district must now be too hot to hold Dr. Fu-Manchu; in the second place, we have just completed a house-to-house inquiry which has scarcely overlooked a rathole or a rat. That place where you say Fu-Manchu was visited by some Chinese mandarin; where you, Mr. Smith," and--glancing in my direction--"you, Doctor, were confined for a time--"
"Yes?" snapped Smith, attacking his egg.
"Well," continued the inspector, "it is all deserted, now. There is not the slightest doubt that the Chinaman has fled to some other abode. I am certain of it. My second piece of news will interest you very much, I am sure. You were taken to the establishment of the Chinaman, Shen-Yan, by a certain ex-officer of New York Police-- Burke . . ."
"Good God!" cried Smith, looking up with a start; "I thought they had him!"
"So did I," replied Weymouth grimly; "but they haven't! He got away in the confusion following the raid, and has been hiding ever since with a cousin, a nurseryman out Upminster way . . ."
"Hiding?" snapped Smith.
"Exactly--hiding. He has been afraid to stir ever since, and has scarcely shown his nose outside the door. He says he is watched night and day."
"Then how . . ."
"He realized that something must be done," continued the inspector, "and made a break this morning. He is so convinced of this constant surveillance that he came away secretly, hidden under the boxes of a market-wagon. He landed at Covent Garden in the early hours of this morning and came straight away to the Yard."
"What is he afraid of exactly?"
Inspector Weymouth put down his coffee cup and bent forward slightly.
"He knows something," he said in a low voice, "and they are aware that he knows it!"
"And what is this he knows?"
Nayland Smith stared eagerly at the detective.
"Every man has his price," replied Weymouth with a smile, "and Burke seems to think that you are a more likely market than the police authorities."
"I see," snapped Smith. "He wants to see me?"
"He wants you to go and see him," was the reply. "I think he anticipates that you may make a capture of the person or persons spying upon him."
"Did he give you any particulars?"
"Several. He spoke of a sort of gipsy girl with whom he had a short conversation one day, over the fence which divides his cousin's flower plantations from the lane adjoining."
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