Monday, January 30, 2017

Fu-Manchu Chapter Thirty

(I have been reading the book published in the US as The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu and in the UK and Commonwealth as The Mystery of Dr Fu-Manchu and have come to the final chapter. If you are one of the approximately two people who have followed the entire series, or even if you aren't, and have a suggestion for anything else I should read etc. let me know. There will be another entry tomorrow in which I sum up.)

Petrie jumps ahead and tells us what we already guessed and didn't really need to know; Inspector Weymouth, turned mad by Dr Fu-Manchu, has been living rough near his old house.  "Literally, he had returned to primitive savagery and some of his food had been that of the lower animals, though he had not scrupled to steal, as we learned when his lair was discovered."*

We return to the night they captured him and travel by car to New Court Inn where Professor Monde has been arrested in his rooms filled with Asian knick-knacks. Smith approaches him. "Almost savagely, he tore away the beard, tore off the snowy wig dashed the smoked glasses upon the floor. A great, high brow was revealed, and green, malignant eyes, which fixed themselves upon him with an expression I never can forget. IT WAS DR. FU-MANCHU!"

Fu-Manchu reveals that the real Professor Monde has been detained in China**. Smith and Petrie interrogate him alone.

Smith asks if he can restore Inspector Weymouth's sanity, admitting that he has nothing to offer***. Fu-Manchu agrees; he injected him from necessity and regrets it.**** He says he will not reveal the antidote, but put him and Weymouth together, alone, and he will cure him. Smith suspects a trick but Fu-Manchu swears not to "The God of Cathay."

"The most awful visitor who ever threatened the peace of England, the end of the visit of Fu-Manchu was characteristic—terrible—inexplicable." Great Petrie, now we know what you think of it. Weymouth emerges from a cottage the police have surrounded, sane, then it explodes in flame. "From the heat of the holocaust a voice proclaimed itself—a voice raised, not in anguish but in TRIUMPH!"*****

Petrie admits that the ending he's writing is bad. Don't be so hard on yourself old man! So after the fire in the cottage dies down there is no sign of any human bones. In Weymouth's pocket is this note:

 "To Mr. Commissioner NAYLAND SMITH and Dr. PETRIE—

"Greeting! I am recalled home by One who may not be denied. In much that I came to do I have failed. Much that I have done I would undo; some little I have undone. Out of fire I came—the smoldering fire of a thing one day to be a consuming flame; in fire I go. Seek not my ashes. I am the lord of the fires! Farewell.


How, then," says Petrie, "shall I conclude this very unsatisfactory account? Shall I tell you, finally, of my parting with lovely, dark-eyed Karamaneh, on board the liner which was to bear her to Egypt?"

Apparently not as he actually finishes with this call to adventure from Nayland Smith:

"I sail for Burma in a fortnight, Petrie. I have leave to break my journey at the Ditch******. How would a run up the Nile fit your programme? Bit early for the season, but you might find something to amuse you!"

Roll credits.

* Also "his trick of knocking upon his own door at half-past two each morning (a sort of dawning of sanity mysteriously linked with old custom) will be a familiar class of symptom to all students of alienation." Alienation was the discipline that includes what we would term psychology and psychiatry.

** "In truth and in justice I am compelled to say that Fu-Manchu was absolutely fearless." Fu-Manchu is as self possessed when captured as when he is in control.

*** "I cannot save you from the hangman, nor"—his fists clenched convulsively—"would I if I could; but—"

**** He could be lying but this, Fu-Manchu as ruthless yet with scruples, knocks a hole in the "incredible cruelty" part of his character.

***** I assume he's telling them that the world will hear from him again.

****** The Suez Canal

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