The Quest of the Sacred Slipper HTML version

8. The Violet Eyes Again
At four o'clock in the afternoon I had heard nothing further from Bristol, but I did not
doubt that he would advise me of his arrangements in good time. I sought by hard work
to forget for a time the extraordinary business of the stolen slipper; but it persistently
intruded upon my mind. Particularly, my thoughts turned to the night of Professor
Deeping's murder, and to the bewitchingly pretty woman who had warned me of the
impending tragedy. She had bound me to secrecy - a secrecy which had proved irksome,
for it had since appeared to me that she must have been an accomplice of Hassan of
Aleppo. At the time I had been at a loss to define her peculiar accent, now it seemed
evidently enough to have been Oriental.
I threw down my pen in despair, for work was impossible, went downstairs, and walked
out under the arch into Fleet Street. Quite mechanically I turned to the left, and, still
engaged with idle conjectures, strolled along westward.
Passing the entrance to one of the big hotels, I was abruptly recalled to the realities - by a
woman's voice.
"Wait for me here," came musically to my ears.
I stopped, and turned. A woman who had just quitted a taxi-cab was entering the hotel.
The day was hot and thunderously oppressive, and this woman with the musical voice
wore a delicate costume of flimsiest white. A few steps upward she paused and glanced
back. I had a view of a Greek profile, and for one magnetic instant looked into eyes of the
deepest and most wonderful violet.
Then, shaking off inaction, I ran up the steps and overtook the lady in white as a porter
swung open the door to admit her. We entered together.
"Madame," I said in a low tone, "I must detain you for a moment. There is something I
have to ask."
She turned, exhibiting the most perfect composure, lowered her lashes and raised them
again, the gaze of the violet eyes sweeping me from head to foot with a sort of frigid
"I fear you have made a mistake, sir. We have never met before!"
Her voice betrayed no trace of any foreign accent!
"But," I began - and paused.
I felt myself flush; for this encounter in the foyer of an hotel, with many curious
onlookers, was like to prove embarrassing if my beautiful acquaintance persisted in her