Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fu-Manchu Chapter Twenty Six

(I'm reading The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu and at the start of chapter twenty six our heroes have been captured by Fu-Manchu. Again.)

Petrie wakes up bound, gagged, secured to an iron ring and aboard "an electric launch". Unfortunately this is not the result of a stag night gone wrong, and he, Nayland Smith, and Inspector Weymouth are all prisoners of Fu-Manchu. It's very foggy.

The boat is hailed by a familiar voice, Inspector Ryland of the river police and his boat is "within biscuit-throw* of that upon which we lay!" Fu-Manchu races away and Ryland's launch is in pursuit.

Weymouth gets his hands free but before he can do more has to pretend to be tied again as Fu-Manchu explains why he hasn't killed them (yet). "Dr. Petrie you shall be my honored guest at my home in China. You shall assist me to revolutionize chemistry. Mr. Smith, I fear you know more of my plans than I had deemed it possible for you to have learned, and I am anxious to know if you have a confidant. Where your memory fails you, and my files and wire jackets** prove ineffectual, Inspector Weymouth's recollections may prove more accurate."

Fu Manchu has also finally noticed that Petrie has a crush. "You have seemed to display an undue interest in the peach and pearl*** which render my Karamaneh so delightful, In the supple grace of her movements and the sparkle of her eyes." He is going to inject her with something that will turn her into a shrieking hag so she won't distract him, when Weymouth attacks. They grapple, the needle being a point of danger, until they both fall over the side.

"There are moments of which no man can recall his mental impressions, moments so acutely horrible that, mercifully, our memory retains nothing of the emotions they occasioned." Petrie skips a bit and the next thing he knows they have run aground and are being flooded. Fortunately the water wakes Karamaneh and she lets them loose.

* This is a nautical term; if you could throw a piece of hard tack and hit something from the deck then you are sailing TOO CLOSE. In this case, Petrie is happy they are that close and would happily throw biscuits at them if he were free and had a packet to hand.

** Methods of torture. A wire jacket might be used to perform 'the death of a thousand cuts', a practice that had been outlawed in China (in 1905).

*** Oo-er.

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