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His Excellency Ormuz Khan
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"Yes, sir," said Parker. "Quite so, your excellency." And he dropped the box and the shoes upon the floor. "Just a moment, sir?"
From an inner pocket he drew out a large sheet of white paper, a pencil, and a tape measure. "Will you place your foot upon this sheet of paper, sir?"
Ormuz Khan raised his right foot listlessly.
"Slipper off, please, sir."
"I am waiting," replied the other, never removing his gaze from Parker's face.
"Oh, I beg your pardon sir, your excellency," muttered the bootmaker.
Dropping upon one knee, he removed the furred slipper from a slender, arched foot, bare, of the delicate colour of ivory, and as small as a woman's.
The ivory foot was placed upon the sheet of paper, and very clumsily Parker drew its outline. He then took certain measurements and made a number of notes with a stub of thick pencil. Whenever his none too clean hands touched Ormuz Khan's delicate skin the Oriental perceptibly shuddered.
"Of course, sir," said Parker at last, "I should really have taken your measurement with the sock on."
"I wear only the finest silk."
"Very well, sir. As you wish."
Parker replaced paper, pencil, and measure, and, packing up the rejected shoes, made for the door.
"Oh, bootmaker!" came the musical voice.
Parker turned. "Yes, sir?"
"They will be ready by Monday?"
"If possible, your excellency."
"Otherwise I shall not accept them."
Ormuz Khan drew a hyacinth from a vase close beside him and languidly waved it in dismissal.
In the outer room the courteous secretary awaited Parker, and there was apparently no one else in the place, for the Hindu conducted him to the lobby and opened the door.
Parker said "Good morning, sir," and would have departed without his hat had not the secretary smilingly handed it to him.
When, presently, the cobbler emerged from the elevator, below, he paused before leaving the hotel to mop his perspiring brow with a large, soiled handkerchief. The perfume of hyacinths seemed to have pursued him, bringing with it a memory of the handsome, effeminate ivory face of the man above. He was recalled to his senses by the voice of the impudent page.
"Been kicked out, gov'nor?" the youth inquired. "You're the third this morning."
"Is that so?" answered Parker. "Who were the other two, lad?"
"The girl wot comes to do his nails. A stunnin' bird, too. She came down cryin' a few minutes ago. Then--"
"Shut up, Chivers!" cried the hall porter. "You're asking for the sack, and I'm the man to get it for you."
Chivers did not appear to be vastly perturbed by this prospect, and he grinned agreeably at Parker as the latter made his way out into the courtyard.
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