The Quest of the Sacred Slipper
30. At The Gate House
From sunset to dusk I lurked about the neighbourhood of the Gate House with my
beautiful accomplice - watching and waiting: a man bound upon stranger business, I dare
swear, than any other in the county of Kent that night.
Our endeavour now was to avoid observation by any one, and in this, I think, we
succeeded. At the same time, Carneta, upon whose experience I relied implicitly,
regarded it as most important that we should observe (from a safe distance) any one who
entered or quitted the gates.
But none entered, and none came out. When, finally, we made along the narrow footpath
skirting the west of the grounds, the night was silent - most strangely still.
The trees met overhead, but no rustle disturbed their leaves and of animal life no
indication showed itself. There was no moon.
A full appreciation of my mad folly came to me, and with it a sense of heavy depression.
This stillness that ruled all about the house which sheltered the awful Sheikh of the
Assassins was ominous, I thought. In short, my nerves were playing me tricks.
"We have little to fear," said my companion, speaking in a hushed and quivering voice.
"The whole of the party left England some days ago."
"Are you sure?"
"Certain! We learned that before Earl made his attempt. Hassan remains, for some
reason; Hassan and one other - the one who drives the car."
"But the slipper?"
"If Hassan remains, so does the slipper!" From the knapsack, which, as you will have
divined, did not contain a camera, she took out an electric pocket lamp, and directed its
beam upon the hedge above us.
"There is a gap somewhere here!" she said. "See if you can find it. I dare not show the
light too long."
Darkness followed. I clambered up the bank and sought for the opening of which Carneta
"The light here a moment," I whispered. "I think I have it!"