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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper Sax Rohmer

We Meet Mr. Isaacs

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"But I thought," said Carneta, innocently, "you said the old gentleman who was here on Wednesday went to take some?"

"He went, yes, miss; but I don't know if he succeeded."

Carneta poured out some tea.

"Now that you speak of it," she said, "I too have heard that the Gate House is very picturesque. What objection can Mr. Isaacs have to photographers?"

"Well, you see, miss, to get a picture of the house, you have to pass right through the grounds."

"I should walk right up to the house and ask permission. Is Mr. Isaacs at home, I wonder?"

"I couldn't say. - He hasn't passed this way to-day."

"We might meet him on the way," said I. "What is he like?"

"A Jewish gentleman sir, very dark, with a white beard. Wears gold glasses. Keeps himself very much to himself. I don't know anything about his household; none of them ever come here."

Carneta inquired the direction of Cadham Hall and of the Gate House, and the landlord left us to ourselves. My companion exhibited signs of growing agitation, and it seemed to me that she had much ado to restrain herself from setting out without a moment's delay for the Gate House, which, I readily perceived, was the place to which our strange venture was leading us.

I found something very stimulating in the reflection that, rash though the expedition might be, and, viewed from whatever standpoint, undeniably perilous, it promised to bring me to that secret stronghold of deviltry where the sinister Hassan of Aleppo so successfully had concealed himself.

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The work of the modern journalist had many points of contact with that of the detective; and since the murder of Professor Deeping I had succumbed to the man-hunting fever more than once. I knew that Scotland Yard had failed to locate the hiding-place of the remarkable and evil man who, like an efreet of Oriental lore, obeyed the talisman of the stolen slipper, striking down whomsoever laid hand upon its sacredness. It was a novel sensation to know that, aided by this beautiful accomplice of a rogue, I had succeeded where the experts had failed!

Misgivings I had and shall not deny. If our scheme succeeded it would mean that Deeping's murderer should be brought to justice. If it failed-well, frankly, upon that possibility I did not dare to reflect!

It must be needless for me to say that we two strangely met allies were ill at ease, sometimes to the point of embarrassment. We proceeded on our way in almost unbroken silence, and, save for a couple of farm hands, without meeting any wayfarer, up to the time that we reached the brow of the hill and had our first sight of the Gate House lying in a little valley beneath. It was a small Tudor mansion, very compact in plan and its roof glowed redly in the rays of the now setting sun.

>From the directions given by the host of the Vine pole it was impossible to mistake the way or to mistake the house. Amid well-wooded grounds it stood, a place quite isolated, but so typically English that, as I stood looking down upon it, I found myself unable to believe that any other than a substantial country gentleman could be its proprietor.

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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper
Sax Rohmer

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