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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper Sax Rohmer

The Woman With The Basket

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The nationality of the assailant from the first had marked the affair for no ordinary one, and now a hazy notion of what lay behind all this began to come to me.

Keeping well in the shadows on the opposite side of the way, I followed the woman with the basket. The lane was quite deserted; for, the disturbance over, those few residents who had raised their windows had promptly lowered them again. She came out into Waterloo Road, crossed over, and stood waiting by a stopping-place for electric cars. I saw her arranging a cloth over her basket in such a way as effectually to conceal the contents. A strong mental excitement possessed me. The detective fever claims us all at one time or another, I think, and I had good reason for pursuing any inquiry that promised to lead to the elucidation of the slipper mystery. A theory, covering all the facts of the assault incident, now presented itself, and I stood back in the shadow, watchful; in a degree, exultant.

A Greenwich-bound car was hailed by the woman with the basket. I could not be mistaken, I felt sure, in my belief that she cast furtive glances about her as she mounted the steps. But, having seen her actually aboard, my attention became elsewhere engaged.

All now depended upon securing a cab before the tram car had passed from view!

I counted it an act of Providence that a disengaged taxi appeared at that moment, evidently bound for Waterloo Station. I ran out into the road with cane upraised.

As the man drew up -

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"Quick!" I cried. "You see that Greenwich car-nearly at the Ophthalmic Hospital? Follow it. Don't get too near. I will give you further instructions through the tube." I leapt in. We were off!

The rocking car ahead was rounding the bend now toward St. George's Circus. As it passed the clock and entered South London Road it stopped. I raised the tube.

"Pass it slowly!"

We skirted the clock tower, and bore around to the right. Then I drew well back in the corner of the cab.

The woman with the basket was descending! "Pull up a few yards beyond!" I directed. As the car re-started, and passed us, the taxi became stationary. I peered out of the little window at the back.

The woman was returning in the direction of Waterloo Road!

"Drive slowly back along Waterloo Road," was my next order. "Pretend you are looking for a fare; I will keep out of sight."

The man nodded. It was unlikely that any one would notice the fact that the cab was engaged.

I was borne back again upon my course. The woman kept to the right, and, once we were entered into the straight road which leads to the bridge, I again raised the speakingtube.

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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper
Sax Rohmer

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