The Quest of the Sacred Slipper HTML version

28. Carneta
I am entirely at your mercy; you can do as you please with me. But before you do
anything I should like you to listen to what I have to say."
Her beautiful face was pale and troubled. Violet eyes looked sadly into mine.
"For nearly an hour I have been waiting for this chance - until I knew you were alone,"
she continued. "If you are thinking of giving me up to the police, at least remember that I
came here of my own free will. Of course, I know you are quite entitled to take advantage
of that; but please let me say what I came to say!"
She pleaded so hard, with that musical voice, with her evident helplessness, most of all
with her wonderful eyes, that I quite abandoned any project I might have entertained to
secure her arrest. I think she divined this masculine weakness, for she said, with greater
confidence -
"Your friend, Professor Deeping, was murdered by the man called Hassan of Aleppo. Are
you content to remain idle while his murderer escapes?"
God knows I was not. My idleness in the matter was none of my choosing. Since poor
Deeping's murder I had come to handgrips with the assassins more than once, but Hassan
had proved too clever for me, too clever for Scotland Yard. The sacred slipper was once
more in the hands of its fanatic guardian.
One man there was who might have helped the search, Earl Dexter. But Earl Dexter was
himself wanted by Scotland Yard!
>From the time of the bank affair up to the moment when this beautiful visitor had come
to my chambers I had thought Dexter, as well as Hassan, to have fled secretly from
England. But the moment that I saw Carneta at my door I divined that The Stetson Man
must still be in London.
She sat watching me and awaiting my answer.
"I cannot avenge my friend unless I can find his murderer."
Eagerly she bent forward.
"But if I can find him?"
That made me think, and I hesitated before speaking again.