The Quest of the Sacred Slipper eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 190 pages of information about The Quest of the Sacred Slipper.

Again I doubted the wisdom of Bristol’s plan.  Had I not fled to the Astoria to escape from the dangerous solitude of my rooms?  That he was laying some trap for the Hashishin was sufficiently evident, and whilst I could not justly suspect him of making a pawn of me I was quite unable to find any other explanation of this latest move.

I was torn between conflicting doubts.  I glanced at my watch.  Yes!  There was just time for me to revisit the bank ere joining Bristol at my chambers!  I hesitated.  After all, in what possible way could it jeopardize his plans for me merely to pretend to bring the keys?

“Hang it all!” I said, and jumped to my feet.  “These maddening conjectures will turn my brain!  I’ll let matters stand as they are, and risk the consequences!”

I hesitated no longer, but passed out from the hotel and once more directed my steps in the direction of Fleet Street.

As I passed in under the arch through which streamed many busy workers, I told myself that to dread entering my own chambers at high noon was utterly childish.  Yet I did dread doing so!  And as I mounted the stair and came to the landing, which was always more or less dark, I paused for quite a long time before putting the key in the lock.

The affair of the accursed slipper was playing havoc with my nerves, and I laughed dryly to note that my hand was not quite steady as I turned the key, opened my door, and slipped into the dim hallway.

As I closed it behind me, something, probably a slight noise, but possibly something more subtle—­an instinct—­made me turn rapidly.

There facing me stood Hassan of Aleppo.



That moment was pungent with drama.  In the intense hush of the next five seconds I could fancy that the world had slipped away from me and that I was become an unsubstantial thing of dreams.  I was in no sense master of myself; the effect of the presence of this white-bearded fanatic was of a kind which I am entirely unable to describe.  About Hassan of Aleppo was an aroma of evil, yet of majesty, which marked him strangely different from other men—­from any other that I have ever known.  In his venerable presence, remembering how he was Sheikh of the Assassins, and recalling his bloody history, I was always conscious of a weakness, physical and mental.  He appalled me; and now, with my back to the door, I stood watching him and watching the ominous black tube which he held in his hand.  It was a weapon unknown to Europe and therefore more fearful than the most up-to-date of death-dealing instruments.

Hassan of Aleppo pointed it toward me.

“The keys, effendim,” he said; “hand me the keys!”

He advanced a step; his manner was imperious.  The black tube was less than a foot removed from my face.  That I had my revolver in my pocket could avail me nothing, for in my pocket it must remain, since I dared to make no move to reach it under cover of that unfamiliar, terrible weapon.

Project Gutenberg
The Quest of the Sacred Slipper from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook