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|The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu||Sax Rohmer|
Dark Eyes Looked Into Mine
|Page 4 of 5||
As she appeared in the doorway I almost entirely closed my eyes, but my gaze rested fascinatedly upon the little red slippers which she wore.
Again I detected the exquisite, elusive perfume, which, like a breath of musk, spoke of the Orient; and, as always, it played havoc with my reason, seeming to intoxicate me as though it were the very essence of her loveliness.
But I had a part to play, and throwing out one clenched hand so that my fist struck upon the floor, I uttered a loud groan, and made as if to rise upon my knees.
One quick glimpse I had of her wonderful eyes, widely opened and turned upon me with such an enigmatical expression as set my heart leaping wildly--then, stepping back, Karamaneh placed the lamp upon the boards of the passage and clapped her hands.
As I sank upon the floor in assumed exhaustion, a Chinaman with a perfectly impassive face, and a Burman, whose pock-marked, evil countenance was set in an apparently habitual leer, came running into the room past the girl.
With a hand which trembled violently, she held the lamp whilst the two yellow ruffians tied me. I groaned and struggled feebly, fixing my gaze upon the lamp-bearer in a silent reproach which was by no means without its effect.
She lowered her eyes, and I could see her biting her lip, whilst the color gradually faded from her cheeks. Then, glancing up again quickly, and still meeting that reproachful stare, she turned her head aside altogether, and rested one hand upon the wall, swaying slightly as she did so.
It was a singular ordeal for more than one of that incongruous group; but in order that I may not be charged with hypocrisy or with seeking to hide my own folly, I confess, here, that when again I found myself in darkness, my heart was leaping not because of the success of my strategy, but because of the success of that reproachful glance which I had directed toward the lovely, dark-eyed Karamaneh, toward the faithless, evil Karamaneh! So much for myself.
The door had not been closed ten seconds, ere Smith again was spitting out the gag, swearing under his breath, and stretching his cramped limbs free from their binding. Within a minute from the time of my trussing, I was a free man again; save that look where I would--to right, to left, or inward, to my own conscience--two dark eyes met mine, enigmatically.
"What now?" I whispered.
"Let me think," replied Smith. A false move would destroy us."
"How long have you been here?"
"Since last night."
"Fu-Manchu is here!" replied Smith, grimly--and not only Fu-Manchu, but--another."
"A higher than Fu-Manchu, apparently. I have an idea of the identity of this person, but no more than an idea. Something unusual is going on, Petrie; otherwise I should have been a dead man twenty-four hours ago. Something even more important than my death engages Fu-Manchu's attention--and this can only be the presence of the mysterious visitor. Your seductive friend, Karamaneh, is arrayed in her very becoming national costume in his honor, I presume." He stopped abruptly; then added: "I would give five hundred pounds for a glimpse of that visitor's face!"
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