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Chapter 48 - I Really Awaken

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« on: January 04, 2023, 08:16:38 pm »

“NINE o’clock, sir. Are you ready for your tea?”

I opened my eyes and stared into the face of Betts. Upon a salver he carried the morning papers and a pile of correspondence. Placing them upon the table, he crossed and drew back the curtains before the windows.

“A beautiful morning again, sir,” he went on; “I hope this will continue.”

I sat up.

“Shall I bring your tea, sir?”

“Yes, please do.”

As that venerable old scoundrel, whose job was one of those which every butler is looking for, went out of the room, I stared about me in search of my dressing gown.

There it was, thrown over the back of an armchair—upon which also I saw my dress clothes. I jumped out of bed, put on the old Arab slippers, and then the dressing gown.

Never in my life had I been visited by so singular, so vivid a dream . . . a dream? Where had dreaming left off? I must make notes while the facts were clear in my memory.

I went out and down to the library; grabbed a writing pad and a pencil. I was on the point of returning upstairs when that query, “Where had dreaming left off?” presented itself in a new aspect.

Dropping pad and pencil, I hurried along the gallery and into the Museum Room. . . .

I could not forget that Petrie, that man of scientific mind, had once endeavoured to shoot his oldest friend, Sir Denis, under some damnable influence controlled by Dr. Fu Manchu. And had I not myself seen Ramin, actuated by the same unholy power, obeying the deathly orders of Fah Lo Suee?

The Museum Room looked exactly as I had left it—except that Betts, or one of the maids, had cleaned the ash tray in which I remembered having placed the stub of a cigarette. The table prepared for my eleven o’clock appointment was in order. Everything was in order.

And—that which above all engaged my particular attention—the small case containing the relics of Mokanna showed no signs of disturbance. There were the mask, the plates, and the sword.

I returned to the library for pencil and writing pad. If I had dreamed, it had been a clairvoyant dream, vivid as an actual experience. It had given me certain knowledge which might prove invaluable to Nayland Smith.

Perhaps analysis of that piece of slender twine which I knew was in Sir Denis’s possession would show it to be indeed composed of spider web. I wondered if the mystery of the forcing of the safe on the Indramatra had been solved for me. And I wondered if the liquid smelling strongly of mimosa which still remained in that spray found upon the dead Negro in Ispahan would respond to any test known to science?

Strangest fact of all, I loathed the memory of Fah Lo Suee!

I was ashamed, humiliated, utterly overcome by those dream recollections.

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