Fire-Tongue HTML version

12. The Veil Is Raised
Rising from the writing table in the library, Paul Harley crossed to the
mantelpiece and stared long and hungrily at a photograph in a silver frame. So
closely did he concentrate upon it that he induced a sort of auto-hypnosis, so that
Phil Abingdon seemed to smile at him sadly. Then a shadow appeared to
obscure the piquant face. The soft outline changed, subtly; the lips grew more
full, became voluptuous; the eyes lengthened and grew languorous. He found
himself looking into the face of Ormuz Khan.
"Damn it!" he muttered, awakened from his trance.
He turned aside, conscious of a sudden, unaccountable chill. It might have been
caused by the mental picture which he had conjured up, or it might be another of
those mysterious warnings of which latterly he had had so many without
encountering any positive danger. He stood quite still, listening.
Afterward he sometimes recalled that moment, and often enough asked himself
what he had expected to hear. It was from this room, on an earlier occasion, that
he had heard the ominous movements in the apartment above. To-day he heard
"Benson," he called, opening the library door. As the man came along the hall: "I
have written a note to Mr. Innes, my secretary," he explained. "There it is, on the
table. When the district messenger, for whom you telephoned, arrives, give him
the parcel and the note. He is to accept no other receipt than that of Mr. Innes."
"Very good, sir."
Harley took his hat and cane, and Benson opened the front door.