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Fire-Tongue Sax Rohmer

What Happened To Harley

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The night was tropically brilliant, hot, and still, but saving the distant murmur of the city, and ordinary comings and goings along the country roads, there was nothing to account for a growing anxiety of which he became conscious.

He was in gunshot of Old Claybury church tower, when the sight of a haystack immediately inside a meadow gate suggested a likely hiding place for the racer; and, having run the car under cover, Harley proceeded on foot to the little railway station. He approached a porter who leaned in the doorway. "Could you direct me to the house of his excellency Ormuz Khan?" he inquired.

"Yes, sir," was the reply. "If you follow the uphill road on the other side of the station until you come to the Manor Park--you will see the gates--and then branch off to the right, taking the road facing the gates. Hillside--that's the name of the house--is about a quarter of a mile along."

Dusk was beginning to fall and, although the nature of his proposed operations demanded secrecy, he recognized that every hour was precious. Accordingly he walked immediately back to the spot at which he had left the car and, following the porter's directions, drove over the line at the level crossing immediately beyond the station, and proceeded up a tree-lined road until he found himself skirting the railing of an extensive tract of park land.

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Presently heavy gates appeared in view; and then, to the right, another lane in which the growing dusk had painted many shadows. He determined to drive on until he should find a suitable hiding place. And at a spot, as he presently learned, not a hundred yards from Hillside, he discovered an opening in the hedge which divided the road from a tilled field. Into this, without hesitation, he turned the racer, backing in, in order that he might be ready for a flying start in case of emergency. Once more he set out on foot.

He proceeded with caution, walking softly close to the side of the road, and frequently pausing to listen. Advancing in this fashion, he found himself standing ere long before an open gateway, and gazing along a drive which presented a vista of utter blackness. A faint sound reached his ear--the distant drone of a powerful engine. A big car was mounting the slope from Lower Claybury Station.

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