The strangling cord!
Whilst speaking to his father he had taken it out from the drawer, and when he quitted the room it had lain upon the blotting-pad.
He stepped back towards the outer door.
Something fluttered past his face, and he turned in a mad panic. The dreadful, bodiless hands groped in the darkness between himself and the exit!
Vaguely it came home to him that the menace might be avoidable. He was bathed in icy perspiration.
He dropped the revolver into his pocket, and placed his hands upon his throat. Then he began to grope his way towards the closed door of his bedroom.
Lowering his left hand, he began to feel for the doorknob. As he did so, he saw—and knew the crowning horror of the night—that he had made a false move. In retiring he had thrown away his last, his only, chance.
The phantom 佛山桑拿按摩一条龙 hands, a yard apart and holding the silken cord stretched tightly between them, were approaching him swiftly!
He lowered his head, and charged along the passage, with a wild cry.
The cord, stretched taut, struck him under the chin.
Back he reeled.
The cord was about his throat!
“God!” he choked, and thrust up his hands.
Madly, he strove to pluck the deadly silken thing from his neck. It was useless. A grip of steel was drawing it tightly—and ever more tightly—about him….
Despair touched him, and almost he resigned himself. Then,
“Rob! Rob! open the door!”
Dr. Cairn was outside.
A new strength came—and he knew that it was the last atom left to him. To remove the rope was humanly impossible. He dropped his cramped hands, bent his body by a mighty physical effort, and hurled himself forward upon the door.
The latch, now, was just above his head.
He stretched up … and was plucked back. But the fingers of his right hand grasped the knob convulsively.
Even as that superhuman force jerked him back, he turned the knob—and fell.
All his weight hung upon the fingers which were locked about that brass disk in a grip which even the powers of Darkness could not relax.
The door swung open, and Cairn swung back with it.
He collapsed, an inert heap, upon the floor. Dr. Cairn leapt in over him.
When he reopened his eyes, he lay in bed, and his father was bathing his inflamed throat.
“All right, boy! There’s no damage done, thank God….”
“I quite understand. But I saw no hands but your own, Rob; and if it had come to an inquest I could not even have raised my voice against a verdict of suicide!”
“But I—opened 佛山桑拿论坛浦友 the door!”
“They would have said that you repented your awful act, too late. Although it is almost impossible for a man to strangle himself under such conditions, there is no jury in England who would
have believed that Antony Ferrara had done the deed.”
CHAPTER XXVIII THE HIGH PRIEST, HORTOTEF
The breakfast-room of Dr. Cairn’s house in Half-Moon Street presented a cheery appearance, and this despite the gloom of the morning; for thunderous clouds hung low in the sky, and there were distant mutterings ominous of a brewing storm.
Robert Cairn stood looking out of the window. He was thinking of an afternoon at Oxford, when, to such an accompaniment as this, he had witnessed the first scene in the drama of evil wherein the man called Antony Ferrara sustained the leading rôle.
That the denouément was at any moment to be anticipated, his reason told him; and some instinct that was not of his reason forewarned him, too, that he and his father, Dr. Cairn, were now upon the eve of that final, decisive struggle which
should determine the triumph of good over evil—or of evil over good. Already the doctor’s house was invested by the uncanny forces marshalled by Antony Ferrara against them. The distinguished patients, who daily flocked to the consulting-room of the celebrated specialist, who witnessed his perfect self-possession and took comfort from his confidence, knowing it for the confidence of strength, little suspected that a greater ill than any flesh is heir to, assailed the doctor to whom they came for healing.
A menace, dreadful and unnatural, hung over that home as now the thunder clouds hung over it. This well-ordered household, so modern, so typical of twentieth century culture and refinement, presented none of the appearances of a beleaguered garrison; yet the house of Dr. Cairn in Half-Moon Street, was nothing less than an invested fortress.
A peal of distant thunder boomed from the direction of Hyde Park. Robert Cairn looked up at the lowering sky as if seeking a portent. To his eyes it seemed that a livid face, malignant with the malignancy of a devil, looked down out of the clouds.
Myra Duquesne came into the breakfast-room.
He turned to greet her, and, in his capacity of accepted lover, was about to kiss the tempting lips, when he hesitated—and contented himself with kissing her hand. A sudden sense of the proprieties had assailed him; he reflected that the presence of the girl beneath the same roof as himself—although dictated by imperative need—might be open 佛山桑拿技师招聘 to misconstruction by the prudish. Dr. Cairn had decided that for the present Myra Duquesne must dwell beneath his own roof, as, in feudal days, the Baron at first hint of an approaching enemy formerly was, accustomed to call within the walls of the castle, those whom it was his duty to protect. Unknown to the world, a tremendous battle raged in London, the outer works were in the possession of the enemy—and he was now before their very gates.
Myra, though still pale from her recent illness, already was recovering some of the freshness of her beauty, and in her simple morning dress, as she busied herself about the breakfast table, she was a sweet picture enough, and good to look upon. Robert Cairn stood beside her, looking into her eyes, and she smiled up at him with a happy contentment, which filled him with a new longing.佛山南海区桑拿娱乐会所 But: