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The Quest of the Sacred Slipper

16. The Dwarf
The manner in which we next heard of the whereabouts of the Prophet's slipper was
utterly unforeseen, wildly dramatic. That the Hashishin were aware that I, though its legal
trustee, no longer had charge of the relic nor knowledge of its resting-place, was
sufficiently evident from the immunity which I enjoyed at this time from that ceaseless
haunting by members of the uncanny organization ruled by Hassan. I had begun to feel
more secure in my chambers, and no longer worked with a loaded revolver upon the table
beside me. But the slightest unusual noise in the night still sufficed to arouse me and set
me listening intently, to chill me with dread of what it might portend. In short, my nerves
were by no means recovered from the ceaseless strain of the events connected with and
arising out of the death of my poor friend, Professor Deeping.
One evening as I sat at work in my chambers, with the throb of busy Fleet Street and its
thousand familiar sounds floating in to me through the open windows, my phone bell
rang.
Even as I turned to take up the receiver a foreboding possessed me that my trusteeship
was no longer to be a sinecure. It was Bristol who had rung me up, and upon very strange
business.
"A development at last!" he said; "but at present I don't know what to make of it. Can you
come down now?"
"Where are you speaking from?"
"From the Waterloo Road - a delightful neighbourhood. I shall be glad if you can meet
me at the entrance to Wyatt's Buildings in half an hour."
"What is it? Have you found Dexter?"
"No, unfortunately. But it's murder!"
I knew as I hung up the receiver that my brief period of peace was ended; that the lists of
assassination were reopened. I hurried out through the court into Fleet Street, thinking of
the key of the now empty case at the Museum which reposed at my bankers, thinking of
the devils who pursued the slipper, thinking of the hundred and one things, strange and
terrible, which went to make up the history of that gruesome relic.
Wyatt's Buildings, Waterloo Road, are a gloomy and forbidding block of dwellings
which seem to frown sullenly upon the high road, from which they are divided by a dark
and dirty courtyard. Passing an iron gateway, you enter, by way of an arch, into this
sinister place of uncleanness. Male residents in their shirt sleeves lounge against the
several entrances. Bedraggled women nurse dirty infants and sit in groups upon the stone
steps, rendering them almost impassable. But to-night a thing had happened in Wyatt's
 
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