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0100_005E The Quest of the Sacred Slipper Sax Rohmer

The Hashishin Watch

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Two men, both tall, stood in the shadow of a doorway on the Opposite side of the street, staring intently up at the Museum windows. It was a tropically hot afternoon and they stood in deepest shadow. No one else was in Orchard Street - that odd little backwater - at the time, and they stood gazing upward intently and gave me not even a passing glance.

But I knew one for the Oriental visitor of the morning, and despite broad noonday and the hum of busy London about me, my blood seemed to turn to water. I stood rooted to the spot, held there by a most surprising horror.

For the gray-bearded figure of the other watcher was one I could never forget; its benignity was associated with the most horrible hours of my life, with deeds so dreadful that recollection to this day sometimes breaks my sleep, arousing me in the still watches, bathed in a cold sweat of fear.

It was Hassan of Aleppo!

If he saw me, if either of them saw me, I cannot say. What I should have done, what I might have done it is useless to speak of here - for I did nothing. Inert, thralled by the presence of that eerie, dreadful being, I watched them leave the shadow of the doorway and pace slowly on with their dignified Eastern gait.

Then, knowing how I had failed in my plain duty to my fellow-men - how, finding a serpent in my path, I had hesitated to crush it, had weakly succumbed to its uncanny fascination - I made my way round to the door of the Museum.

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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper
Sax Rohmer

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