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0105_001E The Quest of the Sacred Slipper Sax Rohmer

My Last Meeting With Hassan Of Aleppo

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He jerked his cigar in the direction of his grip, which lay now on the rug at his feet.

"I lost a useful right hand," he went on - "and I lost every cent I had. It was a dead rotten speculation - for I lost my good name! I mean it! Believe me, I've handled some shady propositions in the past, but I did it right in the sunlight! Up to the time I went out for that damned slipper I could have had lunch with any detective from Broadway to the Strand! I didn't need any false whiskers and the Ritz was good enough for The Stetson Man. What now? I'm 'wanted!' Enough said."

He tossed the cigar - he had smoked scarce an inch of it - into the empty grate.

"I'm an Aunt Sally for any man to shy at," he resumed bitterly. "My place henceforth is in the dark. Right! I've finished; the book's closed. From the time I quit England - if I can quit - I'm on the straight! I've promised Carneta, and I mean to keep my word. See here - "

Dexter turned to me.

"You'll want to know how I escaped from the cursed death-trap at Hassan's house in Kent? I'll tell you. I was never in it! I was hiding and waiting my chance. You know what was left to guard the slipper while the Sheikh - rot him - was away looking after arrangements for getting his mob out of the country?"

I nodded.

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"You fell into the trap - you and Carneta. By God! I didn't know till it was all over! But two minutes later I was inside that place - and three minutes later I was away with the slipper! Oh, it wasn't a duplicate; it was the goods! What then? Carneta had had a sickening of the business and she just invited me to say Yes or No. I said Yes; and I'm a straight man onward."

"Then what were you doing on the train with the slipper?" asked Hilton sharply.

"I was going to Liverpool, sir!" snapped The Stetson Man, turning on him. "I was going to try to get aboard the Mauretania and then make terms for my life! What happened? I slipped out at Birmingham for a drink - grip in hand! I put it down beside me, and Mr. Cavanagh here, all in a hustle, must have rushed in behind me, snatched a whisky and snatched my grip and started for H-!"

A vivid flash of lightning flickered about the, room. Then came the deafening boom of the thunder, right over the house it seemed.

"I knew from the weight of the grip it wasn't mine," said Dexter, "and I was the most surprised guy in Great Britain and Ireland when I found whose it was! I opened it, of course! And right on top was a waistcoat and right in the first pocket was a telegram. Here it is!"

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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper
Sax Rohmer

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