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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper Sax Rohmer

We Meet Mr. Isaacs

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I glanced at Carneta. Her violet eyes were burning feverishly, but her lips twitched in a bravely pitiful way.

Clearly now my adventure lay before me; that red-roofed homestead seemed to have rendered it all substantial which hitherto had been shadowy; and I stood there studying the Gate House gravely, for it might yet swallow me up, as apparently it had swallowed Earl Dexter.

There, amid that peaceful Kentish landscape, fantasy danced and horrors unknown lurked in waiting. . .

The eminence upon which we were commanded an extensive prospect, and eastward showed a tower and flagstaff which marked the site of Cadham Hall. There were homeward-bound labourers to be seen in the lanes now, and where like a white ribbon the Watling Street lay across the verdant carpet moved an insect shape, speedily.

It was a car, and I watched it with vague interest. At a point where a dense coppice spread down to the roadway and a lane crossed west to east, the car became invisible. Then I saw it again, nearer to us and nearer to the Gate House. Finally it disappeared among the trees.

I turned to Carneta. She, too, had been watching. Now her gaze met mine.

"Mr. Isaacs!" she said; and her voice was less musical than usual. "His chauffeur, who learned his business in Cairo, is probably the only one of his servants who remains in England."

"What!" I began - and said no more.

Where the road upon which we stood wound down into the valley and lost itself amid the trees surrounding the Gate House, the car suddenly appeared again, and began to mount the slope toward us!

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"Heavens!" whispered Carneta. "He may have seen us - with glasses! Quick! Let us walk back until the hill-top conceals us; then we must hide somewhere!"

I shared her excitement. Without a moment's hesitation we both turned and retraced our steps. Twenty paces brought us to a spot where a stack of mangel wurzels stood at the roadside.

"This will do!" I said.

We ran around into the field, and crouched where we could peer out on the road without ourselves being seen. Nor had we taken up this position a moment too soon.

Topping the slope came a light-weight electric, driven by a man who, in his spruce uniform, might have passed at a glance for a very dusky European. The car had a limousine back, and as the chauffeur slowed down, out from the open windows right and left peered the solitary occupant.

He had the cast of countenance which is associated with the best type of Jew, with clear-cut aquiline features wholly destitute of grossness. His white beard was patriarchal and he wore gold-rimmed pince-nez and a glossy silk hat. Such figures may often be met with in the great money-markets of the world, and Mr. Isaacs would have passed for a successful financier in even more discerning communities than that of Cadham.

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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper
Sax Rohmer

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