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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper Sax Rohmer

The Three Messages

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Again I doubted the wisdom of Bristol's plan. Had I not fled to the Astoria to escape from the dangerous solitude of my rooms? That he was laying some trap for the Hashishin was sufficiently evident, and whilst I could not justly suspect him of making a pawn of me I was quite unable to find any other explanation of this latest move.

I was torn between conflicting doubts. I glanced at my watch. Yes! There was just time for me to revisit the bank ere joining Bristol at my chambers! I hesitated. After all, in what possible way could it jeopardize his plans for me merely to pretend to bring the keys?

"Hang it all!" I said, and jumped to my feet. "These maddening conjectures will turn my brain! I'll let matters stand as they are, and risk the consequences!"

I hesitated no longer, but passed out from the hotel and once more directed my steps in the direction of Fleet Street.

As I passed in under the arch through which streamed many busy workers, I told myself that to dread entering my own chambers at high noon was utterly childish. Yet I did dread doing so! And as I mounted the stair and came to the landing, which was always more or less dark, I paused for quite a long time before putting the key in the lock.

The affair of the accursed slipper was playing havoc with my nerves, and I laughed dryly to note that my hand was not quite steady as I turned the key, opened my door, and slipped into the dim hallway.

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As I closed it behind me, something, probably a slight noise, but possibly something more subtle - an instinct - made me turn rapidly.

There facing me stood Hassan of Aleppo.

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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper
Sax Rohmer

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