“Look at this!” I cried.
“I am looking,” snapped Smith.
He suddenly stood up, and entering the room beyond, turned on the light there. I saw him staring at the Tulun-Nur box, and I knew what had been in his mind. But the box, undisturbed, stood upon the table as we had left it. I saw Smith tugging irritably at the lobe of his ear, and staring from the box towards the man beside whom I knelt.
“For God’s sake, what does it man?” said Inspector Weymouth in a voice hushed with wonder. “How did he get in? What did he come for?—and what has happened to him?”
“As to what has happened to him,” I replied, “unfortunately I cannot tell you. I only know that unless something can be done his end is not far off.”
“Shall we lay him on the bed?”
I nodded, and together we raised the slight figure and placed it upon the bed where so recently I had lain.
As we did so, the man suddenly opened his eyes, which were glazed with delirium. He tore himself from our grip, sat bolt upright, and holding his hands, fingers outstretched, before his face, stared at them frenziedly.
“The golden pomegranates!” he shrieked, and a slight froth appeared on his blanched lips. “The golden pomegranates!”
He laughed madly, and fell back inert.
“He’s dead!” whispered Weymouth; “he’s dead!”
Hard upon his words came a cry from Smith:
THE ROOM BELOW
I ran into the sitting-room, to discover Nayland Smith craning out of the now widely opened window. The blind had been drawn up, I did not know by whom; and, leaning out beside my friend, I was in time to perceive some bright object moving down the gray stone wall. Almost instantly it disappeared from sight in the yellow banks below.
Smith leapt around in a whirl of excitement.
“Come in, Petrie!” he cried, seizing my arm. “You remain here, Weymouth; don’t leave these rooms whatever happens!”
We ran out into the corridor. For my own part I had not the vaguest idea what we were about. My mind was not yet fully recovered from the frightful shock which it had sustained; and the strange words of the dying man—“the golden pomegranates”—had increased my mental confusion. Smith apparently had not heard them, for he remained grimly silent, as side by side we raced down the marble stairs to the corridor immediately below our own.
Although, amid the hideous turmoil to which I had awakened, I had noted nothing of the hour, evidently the night was far advanced. Not a soul was to be seen from end to end of the vast corridor in which we stood ... until on the right-hand side and about half-way along, a door opened and a woman came out hurriedly, carrying a small hand-bag.
She wore a veil, so that her features were but vaguely distinguished, but her every movement was agitated; and this agitation perceptibly increased when, turning, she perceived the two of us bearing down upon her.