“Useless, Petrie!” he said—“useless. This room is in the base of the east tower, yours is above it and mine at the top. The corridors approaching the three floors deceive one, but the fact remains. I have no positive evidence, but I would wager all I possess that there is a stair in the thickness of the wall, and hidden doors in the paneling of the three apartments. The Yellow group has somehow obtained possession of a plan of the historic secret passages and chambers of Graywater Park. Homopoulo is the spy in the household; and Sir Lionel, with his man Kennedy, was removed directly the invitation to us had been posted. The group will know by now that we have escaped them, but Karamaneh ...”
“Smith!” I groaned, “Smith! What can we do? What has befallen her? ...”
“This way!” he snapped. “We are not beaten yet!”
“We must arouse the servants!”
“Why? It would be sheer waste of priceless time. There are only three men who actually sleep in the house (excepting Homopoulo) and these are in the northwest wing. No, Petrie; we must rely upon ourselves.”
He was racing recklessly along the tortuous corridors and up the oddly placed stairways of that old-world building. My anguish had reinforced the atropine which I had employed as an antidote to the opiate in the wine, and now my blood, that had coursed sluggishly, leapt through my veins like fire and I burned with a passionate anger.
Into a large and untidy bedroom we burst. Books and papers littered about the floor; curios, ranging from mummied cats and ibises to Turkish yataghans and Zulu assegais, surrounded the place in riotous disorder. Beyond doubt this was the apartment of Sir Lionel Barton. A lamp burned upon a table near to the disordered bed, and a discolored Greek statuette of Orpheus lay overturned on the carpet close beside it.
“Homopoulo was on the point of leaving this room at the moment that I peered in at the window,” said Smith, breathing heavily. “From here there is another entrance to the secret passages. Have your pistol ready.”
He stepped across the disordered room to a little alcove near the foot of the bed, directing the ray of the pocket-lamp upon the small, square paneling.
“Ah!” he cried, a note of triumph in his voice—“he has left the door ajar! A visit of inspection was not anticipated to-night, Petrie! Thank God for an Indian liver and a suspicious mind.”
He disappeared into a yawning cavity which now I perceived to exist in the wall. I hurried after him, and found myself upon roughly fashioned stone steps in a very low and narrow descending passage. Over his shoulder—
“Note the direction,” said Smith breathlessly. “We shall presently find ourselves at the base of the east tower.”
Down we went and down, the ray of the electric lamp always showing more steps ahead, until at last these terminated in a level, arched passage, curving sharply to the right. Two paces more brought us to a doorway, less, than four feet high, approached by two wide steps. A blackened door, having a most cumbersome and complicated lock, showed in the recess.