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|The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu||Sax Rohmer|
|Page 6 of 7||
Doubtless this was no more than a sub-conscious product of my observations respecting his abnormal breadth of shoulder. But whatever the origin of the impulse, I found myself unable to disobey it. Therefore, I merely nodded, turned on my heel and went back to Smith's room.
I closed the door, then turned to face Smith, who stood regarding me.
"Smith," I said, "that man sends cold water trickling down my spine!"
Still regarding me fixedly, my friend nodded his head.
"You are curiously sensitive to this sort of thing," he replied slowly; "I have noticed it before as a useful capacity. I don't like the look of the man myself. The fact that he has been in Van Roon's employ for some years goes for nothing. We are neither of us likely to forget Kwee, the Chinese servant of Sir Lionel Barton, and it is quite possible that Fu-Manchu has corrupted this man as he corrupted the other. It is quite possible . . ."
His voice trailed off into silence, and he stood looking across the room with unseeing eyes, meditating deeply. It was quite dark now outside, as I could see through the uncurtained window, which opened upon the dreary expanse stretching out to haunted Sedgemoor. Two candles were burning upon the dressing table; they were but recently lighted, and so intense was the stillness that I could distinctly hear the spluttering of one of the wicks, which was damp. Without giving the slightest warning of his intention, Smith suddenly made two strides forward, stretched out his long arms, and snuffed the pair of candles in a twinkling.
The room became plunged in impenetrable darkness.
"Not a word, Petrie!" whispered my companion.
I moved cautiously to join him, but as I did so, perceived that he was moving too. Vaguely, against the window I perceived him silhouetted. He was looking out across the moor, and:
"See! see!" he hissed.
With my heart thumping furiously in my breast, I bent over him; and for the second time since our coming to Cragmire Tower, my thoughts flew to "The Fenman."
There are shades in the fen; ghosts of women and men
A light was dancing out upon the moor, a witchlight that came and went unaccountably, up and down, in and out, now clearly visible, now masked in the darkness!
"Lock the door!" snapped my companion--"if there's a key."
I crept across the room and fumbled for a moment; then:
"There is no key," I reported.
"Then wedge the chair under the knob and let no one enter until I return!" he said, amazingly.
With that he opened the window to its fullest extent, threw his leg over the sill, and went creeping along a wide concrete ledge, in which ran a leaded gutter, in the direction of the tower on the right!
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