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|The Quest of the Sacred Slipper||Sax Rohmer|
How We Were Reenforced
|Page 1 of 3||
Hilton, I learned, was living the simple life at "Uplands." The place was not yet decorated and was only partly furnished. But with his man, Soar, he had been in solitary occupation for a week.
"Feel better now?" he asked anxiously.
I reached for my tumbler and blew a cloud of smoke into the air. I could hear Soar's footsteps as he made the round of bolts and bars, testing each anxiously.
"Thanks, Hilton," I said. "I'm quite all right. You are naturally wondering what the devil it all means? Well, then, I wired you from Euston that I was coming by the 6:55
"H Post Office shuts at 7. I shall get your wire in the morning!"
"That explains your failing to meet me. Now for my explanation!"
"Surrounding this house at the present moment," I continued, "are members of an Eastern organization - the Hashishin, founded in Khorassan in the eleventh century and flourishing to-day!"
"Do you mean it, Cavanagh?"
"I do! One Hassan of Aleppo is the present Sheikh of the order, and he has come to England, bringing a fiendish company in his train, in pursuit of the sacred slipper of Mohammed, which was stolen by the late Professor Deeping - "
"Surely I have read something about this?"
"Probably. Deeping was murdered by Hassan! The slipper was placed in the Antiquarian Museum - "
"From which it was stolen again!"
"Correct - by Earl Dexter, America's foremost crook! But the real facts have never got into print. I am the only pressman who knows them, and I have good reason for keeping my knowledge to myself! Dexter is dead (I believe I saw his ghost to-day). But although, to the best of my knowledge, the accursed slipper is in the hands of Hassan and Company, I have been watched since I left Euston, and on my way to "Uplands" my life was attempted!"
"For God's sake, why?"
"I cannot surmise, Hilton. Deeping, for certain reasons that are irrelevant at the moment, left the keys of the case at the Museum in my perpetual keeping - but the case was rifled a second time - "
"I read of it!"
"And the keys were stolen from me. I am utterly at a loss to understand why the Hashishin - for it is members of that awful organization who, without a doubt, surround this house at the present moment - should seek my life. Hilton, I have brought trouble with me!"
"It's almost incredible!" said Hilton, staring at me. "Why do these people pursue you?"
Ere I had time to reply Soar entered, arrayed, as was Hilton, in his night attire. Soar was an ex-dragoon and a model man.
"Everything fast, sir," he reported; "but from the window of the bedroom over here - the room I got ready for Mr. Cavanagh - I thought I saw someone in the orchard."
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