Something he cried back at me, furiously—and like an enraged animal, his teeth gleaming out from his beard, he darted from the room. The front door banged loudly.
Shaken and quivering, I got upon my feet. On the threshold, in a state of pitiable hesitancy, stood the pale, beautiful accomplice of Earl Dexter. One quick glance she flashed at me, then turned and ran!
Again the door slammed. I ran to the window, looking out into the court. The girl came hurrying down the steps, and with never a backward glance ran on and was lost to view in one of the passages opening riverward.
Out under the arch, statelily passed a tall figure—and Inspector Bristol was entering! I saw the detective glance aside as the two all but met. He stood still, and looked back!
“Bristol!” I cried, and waved my arms frantically.
“Stop him! Stop him! It’s Hassan of Aleppo!”
Bristol was not the only one to hear my wild cry—not the only one to dash back under the arch and out into Fleet Street.
But Hassan of Aleppo was gone!
THE LIGHT OF EL-MEDINEH
Bristol and I walked slowly in the direction of the entrance of the British Antiquarian Museum. It was the day following upon the sensational scene in my chambers.
“There’s very little doubt,” said Bristol, “that Earl Dexter has the slipper and that Hassan of Aleppo knows where Dexter is in hiding. I don’t know which of the two is more elusive. Hassan apparently melted into thin air yesterday; and although The Stetson Man has never within my experience employed disguises, no one has set eyes upon him since the night that he vanished from his lodgings off the Waterloo Road. It’s always possible for a man to baffle the police by remaining closely within doors, but during all the time that has elapsed Dexter must have taken a little exercise occasionally, and the missing hand should have betrayed him.”
“The wonder to me is,” I replied, “that he has escaped death at the hands of the Hashishin. He is a supremely daring man, for I should think that he must be carrying the slipper of the Prophet about with him!”
“I would rather he did it than I!” commented Bristol. “For sheer audacity commend me to The Stetson Man! His idea no doubt was to use you as intermediary in his negotiations with the Museum authorities, but that plan failing, he has written them direct, thoughtfully omitting his address, of course!”
We were, in fact, at that moment bound for the Museum to inspect this latest piece of evidence.
“The crowning example of the man’s audacity and cleverness,” added my companion, “is his having actually approached Hassan of Aleppo with a similar proposition! How did he get in touch with him? All Scotland Yard has failed to find any trace of that weird character!”