The Quest of the Sacred Slipper HTML version

29. We Meet Mr. Isaacs
Quitting the wayside station, and walking down a short lane, we came out upon Watling
Street, white and dusty beneath the afternoon sun. We were less than an hour's train
journey from London but found ourselves amid the Kentish hop gardens, amid a rural
peace unbroken. My companion carried a camera case slung across her shoulder, but its
contents were less innocent than one might have supposed. In fact, it contained a neat set
of those instruments of the burglar's art with whose use she appeared to be quite familiar.
"There is an inn," she said, "about a mile ahead, where we can obtain some vital
information. He last wrote to me from there."
Side by side we tramped along the dusty road. We both were silent, occupied with our
own thoughts. Respecting the nature of my companion's I could entertain little doubt, and
my own turned upon the foolhardy nature of the undertaking upon which I was
embarked. No other word passed between us then, until upon rounding a bend and
passing a cluster of picturesque cottages, the yard of the Vinepole came into view.
"Do they know you by sight here?" I asked abruptly.
"No, of course not; we never made strategic mistakes of that kind. If we have tea here, no
doubt we can learn all we require."
1 entered the little parlour of the inn, and suggested that tea should be served in the pretty
garden which opened out of it upon the right.
The host, who himself laid the table, viewed the camera case critically.
"We get a lot of photographers down here," he remarked tentatively.
"No doubt," said my companion. "There is some very pretty scenery in the
The landlord rested his hands upon the table.
"There was a gentleman here on Wednesday last," he said; "an old gentleman who had
met with an accident, and was staying somewhere hereabouts for his health. But he'd got
his camera with him, and it was wonderful the way he could use it, considering he hadn't
got the use of his right hand."
"He must have been a very keen photographer," I said, glancing at the girl beside me.
"He took three or four pictures of the Vinepole," replied the landlord (which I doubted,
since probably his camera was a dummy); "and he wanted to know if there were any
other old houses in the neighbourhood. I told him he ought to take Cadham Hall, and he