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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 149 pages of information about The Quest of the Sacred Slipper.

They were locked!

Without a moment’s hesitation I hurled my grip over the top and clambered up the bars!  As I got astride, from the blackness of the lane came the ominous hum, and my hat went spinning away across the lawn!—­the black cloud veiled the moon and complete darkness fell.

Then I dropped and ran for the house—­shouting, though all but winded—­“Hilton!  Hilton!  Open the door!”

Sinking exhausted on the steps, I looked toward the gates—­but they showed only dimly in the dense shadows of the trees.

Bzzz!  Buzz!

I dropped flat in the portico as something struck the metal knob of the door and rebounded over me.  A shower of gravel told of another misdirected projectile.

Crack!  Crack!  Crack!  The revolver spoke its short reply into the mysterious darkness; but the night gave up no sound to tell of a shot gone home.

“Hilton!  Hilton!” I cried, banging on the panels with the butt of the weapon.  “Open the door!  Open the door!”

And now I heard the coming footsteps along the hall within; heavy bolts were withdrawn—­the door swung open—­and Hilton, pale-faced, appeared.  His hand shot out, grabbed my coat collar; and weak, exhausted, I found myself snatched into safety, and the door rebolted.

“Thank God!” I whispered.  “Thank God!  Hilton, look to all your bolts and fastenings.  Hell is outside!”

CHAPTER XXXIII

HOW WE WERE REINFORCED

Hilton, I learned, was living the simple life at “Uplands.”  The place was not yet decorated and was only partly furnished.  But with his man, Soar, he had been in solitary occupation for a week.

“Feel better now?” he asked anxiously.

I reached for my tumbler and blew a cloud of smoke into the air.  I could hear Soar’s footsteps as he made the round of bolts and bars, testing each anxiously.

“Thanks, Hilton,” I said.  “I’m quite all right.  You are naturally wondering what the devil it all means?  Well, then, I wired you from Euston that I was coming by the 6:55.”

“H—­ Post Office shuts at 7.  I shall get your wire in the morning!”

“That explains your failing to meet me.  Now for my explanation!”

“Surrounding this house at the present moment,” I continued, “are members of an Eastern organization—­the Hashishin, founded in Khorassan in the eleventh century and flourishing to-day!”

“Do you mean it, Cavanagh?”

“I do!  One Hassan of Aleppo is the present Sheikh of the order, and he has come to England, bringing a fiendish company in his train, in pursuit of the sacred slipper of Mohammed, which was stolen by the late Professor Deeping—–­”

“Surely I have read something about this?”

“Probably.  Deeping was murdered by Hassan!  The slipper was placed in the Antiquarian Museum—­”

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