The Weavers: a tale of England and Egypt of fifty years ago - Volume 2 (2024)

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Weavers: a tale of England and Egypt of fifty years ago - Volume 2

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States andmost other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictionswhatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the termsof the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or onlineat If you are not located in the United States,you will have to check the laws of the country where you are locatedbefore using this eBook.

Title: The Weavers: a tale of England and Egypt of fifty years ago - Volume 2

Author: Gilbert Parker

Release date: August 1, 2004 [eBook #6262]
Most recently updated: December 29, 2020

Language: English

Credits: This eBook was produced by David Widger


This eBook was produced by David Widger <>

By Gilbert Parker





Some months later the following letter came to David Claridge in Cairofrom Faith Claridge in Hamley:

David, I write thee from the village and the land of the people which thou didst once love so well. Does thee love them still? They gave thee sour bread to eat ere thy going, but yet thee didst grind the flour for the baking. Thee didst frighten all who knew thee with thy doings that mad midsummer time. The tavern, the theatre, the cross-roads, and the co*ckpit—was ever such a day!

Now, Davy, I must tell of a strange thing. But first, a moment. Thee remembers the man Kimber smitten by thee at the public-house on that day? What think thee has happened? He followed to London the lass kissed by thee, and besought her to return and marry him. This she refused at first with anger; but afterwards she said that, if in three years he was of the same mind, and stayed sober and hard- working meanwhile, she would give him an answer, she would consider. Her head was high. She has become maid to a lady of degree, who has well befriended her.

How do I know these things? Even from Jasper Kimber, who, on his return from London, was taken to his bed with fever. Because of the hard blows dealt him by thee, I went to make amends. He welcomed me, and soon opened his whole mind. That mind has generous moments, David, for he took to being thankful for thy knocks.

Now for the strange thing I hinted. After visiting Jasper Kimber at Heddington, as I came back over the hill by the path we all took that day after the Meeting—Ebn Ezra Bey, my father, Elder Fairley, and thee and me—I drew near the chairmaker's but where thee lived alone all those sad months. It was late evening; the sun had set. Yet I felt that I must needs go and lay my hand in love upon the door of the empty hut which had been ever as thee left it. So I came down the little path swiftly, and then round the great rock, and up towards the door. But, as I did so, my heart stood still, for I heard voices. The door was open, but I could see no one. Yet there the voices sounded, one sharp and peevish with anger, the other low and rough. I could not hear what was said. At last, a figure came from the door and went quickly down the hillside. Who, think thee, was it? Even "neighbour Eglington." I knew the walk and the forward thrust of the head. Inside the hut all was still. I drew near with a kind of fear, but yet I came to the door and looked in.

As I looked into the dusk, my limbs trembled under me, for who should be sitting there, a half-finished chair between his knees, but Soolsby the old chair-maker! Yes, it was he. There he sat looking at me with his staring blue eyes and shock of redgrey hair. "Soolsby! Soolsby!" said I, my heart hammering at my breast; for was not Soolsby dead and buried? His eyes stared at me in fright. "Why do you come?" he said in a hoarse whisper. "Is he dead, then? Has harm come to him?"

By now I had recovered myself, for it was no ghost I saw, but a human being more distraught than was myself. "Do you not know me, Soolsby?" I asked. "You are Mercy Claridge from beyond—beyond and away," he answered dazedly. "I am Faith Claridge, Soolsby," answered I. He started, peered forward at me, and for a moment he did not speak; then the fear went from his face. "Ay, Faith Claridge, as I said," he answered, with apparent understanding, his stark mood passing. "No, thee said Mercy Claridge, Soolsby," said I, "and she has been asleep these many years." "Ay, she has slept soundly, thanks be to God!" he replied, and crossed himself. "Why should thee call me by her name?" I inquired. "Ay, is not her tomb in the churchyard?" he answered, and added quickly, "Luke Claridge and I are of an age to a day—which, think you, will go first?"

He stopped weaving, and peered over at me with his staring blue eyes, and I felt a sudden quickening of the heart. For, at the question, curtains seemed to drop from all around me, and leave me in the midst of pains and miseries, in a chill air that froze me to the marrow. I saw myself alone—thee in Egypt and I here, and none of our blood and name beside me. For we are the last, Davy, the last of the Claridges. But I said coldly, and with what was near to anger, that he should link his name and fate with that of Luke Claridge: "Which of ye two goes first is God's will, and according to His wisdom. Which, think thee," added I—and now I cannot forgive myself for saying it—"which, think thee, would do least harm in going?" "I know which would do most good," he answered, with a harsh laugh in his throat. Yet his blue eyes looked kindly at me, and now he began to nod pleasantly. I thought him a little mad, but yet his speech had seemed not without dark meaning. "Thee has had a visitor," I said to him presently. He laughed in a snarling way that made me shrink, and answered: "He wanted this and he wanted that—his high-handed, second-best lordship. Ay, and he would have it, because it pleased him to have it—like his father before him. A poor sparrow on a tree-top, if you tell him he must not have it, he will hunt it down the world till it is his, as though it was a bird of paradise. And when he's seen it fall at last, he'll remember but the fun of the chase; and the bird may get to its tree-top again—if it can—if it can—if it can, my lord! That is what his father was, the last Earl, and that is what he is who left my door but now. He came to snatch old Soolsby's palace, his nest on the hill, to use it for a telescope, or such whimsies. He has scientific tricks like his father before him. Now is it astronomy, and now chemistry, and suchlike; and always it is the Eglington mind, which let God A'mighty make it as a favour. He would have old Soolsby's palace for his spy-glass, would he then? It scared him, as though I was the devil himself, to find me here. I had but come back in time—a day later, and he would have sat here and seen me in the Pit below before giving way. Possession's nine points were with me; and here I sat and faced him; and here he stormed, and would do this and should do that; and I went on with my work. Then he would buy my Colisyum, and I wouldn't sell it for all his puffball lordship might offer. Isn't the house of the snail as much to him as the turtle's shell to the turtle? I'll have no upstart spilling his chemicals here, or devilling the stars from a seat on my roof." "Last autumn," said I, "David Claridge was housed here. Thy palace was a prison then." "I know well of that. Haven't I found his records here? And do you think his makeshift lordship did not remind me?" "Records? What records, Soolsby?" asked I, most curious. "Writings of his thoughts which he forgot— food for mind and body left in the cupboard." "Give them to me upon this instant, Soolsby," said I. "All but one," said he, "and that is my own, for it was his mind upon Soolsby the drunken chair-maker. God save him from the heathen sword that slew his uncle. Two better men never sat upon a chair!" He placed the papers in my hand, all save that one which spoke of him. Ah, David, what with the flute and the pen, banishment was no pain to thee! . . . He placed the papers, save that one, in my hands, and I, womanlike, asked again for all. "Some day," said he, "come, and I will read it to you. Nay, I will give you a taste of it now," he added, as he brought forth the writing. "Thus it reads."

Here are thy words, Davy. What think thee of them now?

"As I dwell in this house I know Soolsby as I never knew him when he lived, and though, up here, I spent many an hour with him. Men leave their impressions on all around them. The walls which have felt their look and their breath, the floor which has taken their footsteps, the chairs in which they have sat, have something of their presence. I feel Soolsby here at times so sharply that it would seem he came again and was in this room, though he is dead and gone. I ask him how it came he lived here alone; how it came that he made chairs, he, with brains enough to build great houses or great bridges; how it was that drink and he were such friends; and how he, a Catholic, lived here among us Quakers, so singular, uncompanionable, and severe. I think it true, and sadly true, that a man with a vice which he is able to satisfy easily and habitually, even as another satisfies a virtue, may give up the wider actions of the world and the possibilities of his life for the pleasure which his one vice gives him, and neither miss nor desire those greater chances of virtue or ambition which he has lost. The simplicity of a vice may be as real as the simplicity of a virtue."

Ah, David, David, I know not what to think of those strange words; but old Soolsby seemed well to understand thee, and he called thee "a first-best gentleman." Is my story long? Well, it was so strange, and it fixed itself upon my mind so deeply, and thy writings at the hut have been so much in my hands and in my mind, that I have put it all down here. When I asked Soolsby how it came he had been rumoured dead, he said that he himself had been the cause of it; but for what purpose he would not say, save that he was going a long voyage, and had made up his mind to return no more. "I had a friend," he said, "and I was set to go and see that friend again. . . . But the years go on, and friends have an end. Life spills faster than the years," he said. And he would say no more, but would walk with me even to my father's door. "May the Blessed Virgin and all the Saints be with you," he said at parting, "if you will have a blessing from them. And tell him who is beyond and away in Egypt that old Soolsby's busy making a chair for him to sit in when the scarlet cloth is spread, and the East and West come to salaam before him. Tell him the old man says his fluting will be heard."

And now, David, I have told thee all, nearly. Remains to say that thy one letter did our hearts good. My father reads it over and over, and shakes his head sadly, for, truth is, he has a fear that the world may lay its hand upon thee. One thing I do observe, his heart is hard set against Lord Eglington. In degree it has ever been so; but now it is like a constant frown upon his forehead. I see him at his window looking out towards the Cloistered House; and if our neighbour comes forth, perhaps upon his hunter, or now in his cart, or again with his dogs, he draws his hat down upon his eyes and whispers to himself. I think he is ever setting thee off against Lord Eglington; and that is foolish, for Eglington is but a man of the earth earthy. His is the soul of the adventurer.

Now what more to be set down? I must ask thee how is thy friend Ebn Ezra Bey? I am glad thee did find all he said was true, and that in Damascus thee was able to set a mark by my uncle's grave. But that the Prince Pasha of Egypt has set up a claim against my uncle's property is evil news; though, thanks be to God, as my father says, we have enough to keep us fed and clothed and housed. But do thee keep enough of thy inheritance to bring thee safe home again to those who love thee. England is ever grey, Davy, but without thee it is grizzled—all one "Quaker drab," as says the Philistine. But it is a comely and a good land, and here we wait for thee.

In love and remembrance.

I am thy mother's sister, thy most loving friend.


David received this letter as he was mounting a huge white Syrian donkeyto ride to the Mokattam Hills, which rise sharply behind Cairo, burningand lonely and large. The cities of the dead Khalifas and Mamelukesseparated them from the living city where the fellah toiled, and Arab,Bedouin, Copt strove together to intercept the fruits of his toiling, asit passed in the form of taxes to the Palace of the Prince Pasha; whilein the dark corners crouched, waiting, the cormorant usurers—Greeks,Armenians, and Syrians, a hideous salvage corps, who saved the house ofa man that they might at last walk off with his shirt and the cloth underwhich he was carried to his grave. In a thousand narrow streets andlanes, in the warm glow of the bazaars, in earth-damp huts, by blisteringquays, on the myriad ghiassas on the river, from long before sunrise tillthe sunset-gun boomed from the citadel rising beside the great mosquewhose pinnacles seem to touch the blue, the slaves of the city of PrinceKaid ground out their lives like corn between the millstones.

David had been long enough in Egypt to know what sort of toiling it was.A man's labour was not his own. The fellah gave labour and taxes andbacksheesh and life to the State, and the long line of tyrants above him,under the sting of the kourbash; the high officials gave backsheesh tothe Prince Pasha, or to his Mouffetish, or to his Chief Eunuch, or to hisbarber, or to some slave who had his ear.

But all the time the bright, unclouded sun looked down on a smiling land,and in Cairo streets the din of the hammers, the voices of the boysdriving heavily laden donkeys, the call of the camel-drivers leadingtheir caravans into the great squares, the clang of the brasses of thesherbet-sellers, the song of the vendor of sweetmeats, the drone of themerchant praising his wares, went on amid scenes of wealth and luxury,and the city glowed with colour and gleamed with light. Dark facesgrinned over the steaming pot at the door of the cafes, idlers on thebenches smoked hasheesh, female street-dancers bared their facesshamelessly to the men, and indolent musicians beat on their tiny drums,and sang the song of "O Seyyid," or of "Antar"; and the reciter gave hissing-song tale from a bench above his fellows. Here a devout Muslim,indifferent to the presence of strangers, turned his face to the East,touched his forehead to the ground, and said his prayers. There, hung toa tree by a deserted mosque near by, the body of one who was with themall an hour before, and who had paid the penalty for some real orimaginary crime; while his fellows blessed Allah that the storm hadpassed them by. Guilt or innocence did not weigh with them; and the deadcriminal, if such he were, who had drunk his glass of water and prayed toAllah, was, in their sight, only fortunate and not disgraced, and had"gone to the bosom of Allah." Now the Muezzin from a minaret called toprayer, and the fellah in his cotton shirt and yelek heard, laid his loadaside, and yielded himself to his one dear illusion, which would enablehim to meet with apathy his end—it might be to-morrow!—and go forth tothat plenteous heaven where wives without number awaited him, wherefields would yield harvests without labour, where rich food in golddishes would be ever at his hand. This was his faith.

David had now been in the country six months, rapidly perfecting hisknowledge of Arabic, speaking it always to his servant Mahommed Hassan,whom he had picked from the streets. Ebn Ezra Bey had gone upon his ownbusiness to Fazougli, the tropical Siberia of Egypt, to liberate, byorder of Prince Kaid,—and at a high price—a relative banished there.David had not yet been fortunate with his own business—the settlementof his Uncle Benn's estate—though the last stages of negotiation withthe Prince Pasha seemed to have been reached. When he had brought theinfluence of the British Consulate to bear, promises were made, doorswere opened wide, and Pasha and Bey offered him coffee and talked to himsympathetically. They had respect for him more than for most Franks,because the Prince Pasha had honoured him with especial favour. Perhapsbecause David wore his hat always and the long coat with high collar likea Turk, or because Prince Kaid was an acute judge of human nature, andalso because honesty was a thing he greatly desired—in others—and neverfound near his own person; however it was, he had set David high in hisesteem at once. This esteem gave greater certainty that any backsheeshcoming from the estate of Benn Claridge would not be sifted through manyhands on its way to himself. Of Benn Claridge Prince Kaid had scarcelyeven heard until he died; and, indeed, it was only within the past fewyears that the Quaker merchant had extended his business to Egypt and hadmade his headquarters at Assiout, up the river.

David's donkey now picked its way carefully through the narrow streets ofthe Moosky. Arabs and fellaheen squatting at street corners looked athim with furtive interest. A foreigner of this character they had neverbefore seen, with coat buttoned up like an Egyptian official in thepresence of his superior, and this wide, droll hat on his head. Davidknew that he ran risks, that his confidence invited the occasionalmadness of a fanatical mind, which makes murder of the infidel a passportto heaven; but as a man he took his chances, and as a Christian hebelieved he would suffer no mortal hurt till his appointed time. He wasmore Oriental, more fatalist, than he knew. He had also early in hislife learned that an honest smile begets confidence; and his face, graveand even a little austere in outline, was usually lighted by a smile.

From the Mokattam Hills, where he read Faith's letter again, his backagainst one of the forts which Napoleon had built in his Egyptian days,he scanned the distance. At his feet lay the great mosque, and thecitadel, whose guns controlled the city, could pour into it a lava streamof shot and shell. The Nile wound its way through the green plains,stretching as far to the north as eye could see between the opal andmauve and gold of the Libyan Hills. Far over in the western vista a longline of trees, twining through an oasis flanking the city, led out to apoint where the desert abruptly raised its hills of yellow sand. Here,enormous, lonely, and cynical, the pyramids which Cheops had built, thestone sphinx of Ghizeh, kept faith with the desert in the glow ofrainless land-reminders ever that the East, the mother of knowledge, willby knowledge prevail; that:

"The thousand years of thy insolence
The thousand years of thy faith,
Will be paid in fiery recompense,
And a thousand years of bitter death."

"The sword—for ever the sword," David said to himself, as he looked:"Rameses and David and Mahomet and Constantine, and how many conquestshave been made in the name of God! But after other conquests there havebeen peace and order and law. Here in Egypt it is ever the sword, thesurvival of the strongest."

As he made his way down the hillside again he fell to thinking upon allFaith had written. The return of the drunken chair-maker made a deepimpression on him—almost as deep as the waking dreams he had had of hisuncle calling him.

"Soolsby and me—what is there between Soolsby and me?" he asked himselfnow as he made his way past the tombs of the Mamelukes. "He and I are asfar apart as the poles, and yet it comes to me now, with a strangeconviction, that somehow my life will be linked with that of the drunkenRomish chair-maker. To what end?" Then he fell to thinking of his UncleBenn. The East was calling him. "Something works within me to hold mehere, a work to do."

From the ramparts of the citadel he watched the sun go down, bathing thepyramids in a purple and golden light, throwing a glamour over all thewestern plain, and making heavenly the far hills with a plaintive colour,which spoke of peace and rest, but not of hope. As he stood watching, hewas conscious of people approaching. Voices mingled, there was lightlaughter, little bursts of admiration, then lower tones, and then he wasroused by a voice calling. He turned round. A group of people weremoving towards the exit from the ramparts, and near himself stood a manwaving an adieu.

"Well, give my love to the girls," said the man cheerily. Merry faceslooked back and nodded, and in a moment they were gone. The man turnedround, and looked at David, then he jerked his head in a friendly sort ofway and motioned towards the sunset.

"Good enough, eh?"

"Surely, for me," answered David. On the instant he liked the red,wholesome face, and the keen, round, blue eyes, the rather opulentfigure, the shrewd, whimsical smile, all aglow now with beamingsentimentality, which had from its softest corner called out:"Well, give my love to the girls."

"Quaker, or I never saw Germantown and Philadelphy," he continued, with afriendly manner quite without offence. "I put my money on Quakers everytime."

"But not from Germantown or Philadelphia," answered David, declining acigar which his new acquaintance offered.

"Bet you, I know that all right. But I never saw Quakers anywhere else,and I meant the tribe and not the tent. English, I bet? Of course, oryou wouldn't be talking the English language—though I've heard they talkit better in Boston than they do in England, and in Chicago they'remaking new English every day and improving on the patent. If Chicagocan't have the newest thing, she won't have anything. 'High hopes thatburn like stars sublime,' has Chicago. She won't let Shakespeare orMilton be standards much longer. She won't have it—simply won't haveEngland swaggering over the English language. Oh, she's dizzy, isChicago—simply dizzy. I was born there. Parents, one Philadelphy, oneNew York, one Pawtucket—the Pawtucket one was the step-mother. Fatherliked his wives from the original States; but I was born in Chicago. Myname is Lacey—Thomas Tilman Lacey of Chicago."

"I thank thee," said David.

"And you, sir?"

"David Claridge."


"Of Hamley."

"Mr. Claridge of Hamley. Mr. Claridge, I am glad to meet you." Theyshook hands. "Been here long, Mr. Claridge?"

"A few months only."

"Queer place—gilt-edged dust-bin; get anything you like here, from afresh gutter-snipe to old Haroun-al-Raschid. It's the biggest jack-poton earth. Barnum's the man for this place—P. T. Barnum. Golly, how thewhole thing glitters and stews! Out of Shoobra his High Jinks Pashakennels with his lions and lives with his cellars of gold, as if he wasgoing to take them with him where he's going—and he's going fast. Here—down here, the people, the real people, sweat and drudge between a cakeof dourha, an onion, and a balass of water at one end of the day, and ahemp collar and their feet off the ground at the other."

"You have seen much of Egypt?" asked David, feeling a strange confidencein the garrulous man, whose frankness was united to shrewdness and aquick, observant eye.

"How much of Egypt I've seen, the Egypt where more men get lost, strayed,and stolen than die in their beds every day, the Egypt where a eunuch ismore powerful than a minister, where an official will toss away a life asI'd toss this cigar down there where the last Mameluke captain made hisgreat jump, where women—Lord A'mighty! where women are divorced by oneevil husband, by the dozen, for nothing they ever did or left undone,and yet 'd be cut to pieces by their own fathers if they learned that'To step aside is human—' Mr. Claridge, of that Egypt I don't know muchmore'n would entitle me to say, How d'ye do. But it's enough for me.You've seen something—eh?"

"A little. It is not civilised life here. Yet—yet a few strongpatriotic men—"

Lacey looked quizzically at David.

"Say," he said, "I thought that about Mexico once. I said Manana—this Manana is the curse of Mexico. It's always to-morrow—to-morrow—to-morrow. Let's teach 'em to do things to-day. Let's show 'em whatbusiness means. Two million dollars went into that experiment, butManana won. We had good hands, but it had the joker. After five yearsI left, with a bald head at twenty-nine, and a little book of noblethoughts—Tips for the Tired, or Things you can say To-day on what youcan do to-morrow. I lost my hair worrying, but I learned to be patient.The Dagos wanted to live in their own way, and they did. It's one thingto be a missionary and say the little word in season; it's another torun your soft red head against a hard stone wall. I went to Mexico aconquistador, I left it a child of time, who had learned to smile; andI left some millions behind me, too. I said to an old Padre down therethat I knew—we used to meet in the Cafe Manrique and drink chocolate—I said to him, 'Padre, the Lord's Prayer is a mistake down here.''Si, senor,' he said, and smiled his far-away smile at me. 'Yes,' saidI, 'for you say in the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day our dailybread."' 'Si, senor,' he says, 'but we do not expect it till to-morrow!'The Padre knew from the start, but I learned at great expense, and wentout of business—closed up shop for ever, with a bald head and my Tipsfor the Tired. Well, I've had more out of it all, I guess, than if I'dtrebled the millions and wiped Manana off the Mexican coat of arms."

"You think it would be like that here?" David asked abstractedly.

Lacey whistled. "There the Government was all right and the people allwrong. Here the people are all right and the Government all wrong. Say,it makes my eyes water sometimes to see the fellah slogging away. He's aJim-dandy—works all day and half the night, and if the tax-gathererisn't at the door, wakes up laughing. I saw one"—his light blue eyestook on a sudden hardness—"laughing on the other side of his mouth onemorning. They were 'kourbashing' his feet; I landed on them as the solescame away. I hit out." His face became grave, he turned the cigar roundin his mouth. "It made me feel better, but I had a close call. Luckyfor me that in Mexico I got into the habit of carrying a pop-gun. Itsaved me then. But it isn't any use going on these special missions.We Americans think a lot of ourselves. We want every land to do aswe do; and we want to make 'em do it. But a strong man here at thehead, with a sword in his hand, peace in his heart, who'd be just andpoor—how can you make officials honest when you take all you can getyourself—! But, no, I guess it's no good. This is a rotten cottonshow."

Lacey had talked so much, not because he was garrulous only, but becausethe inquiry in David's eyes was an encouragement to talk. Whatever hismisfortunes in Mexico had been, his forty years sat lightly on him, andhis expansive temperament, his childlike sentimentality, gave him anappearance of beaming, sophisticated youth. David was slowlyapprehending these things as he talked—subconsciously, as it were;for he was seeing pictures of the things he himself had observed, throughthe lens of another mind, as primitive in some regards as his own, butinfluenced by different experiences.

"Say, you're the best listener I ever saw," added Lacey, with a laugh.

David held out his hand. "Thee sees things clearly," he answered.

Lacey grasped his hand.

At that moment an orderly advanced towards them. "He's after us—one ofthe Palace cavalry," said Lacey.

"Effendi—Claridge Effendi! May his grave be not made till the karadh-gatherers return," said the orderly to David.

"My name is Claridge," answered David.

"To the hotel, effendi, first, then to the Mokattam Hills after thee,then here—from the Effendina, on whom be God's peace, this letter forthee."

David took the letter. "I thank thee, friend," he said.

As he read it, Lacey said to the orderly in Arabic "How didst thou knowhe was here?"

The orderly grinned wickedly.

"Always it is known what place the effendi honours. It is not dark wherehe uncovers his face."

Lacey gave a low whistle.

"Say, you've got a pull in this show," he said, as David folded up theletter and put it in his pocket.

"In Egypt, if the master smiles on you, the servant puts his nose in thedust."

"The Prince Pasha bids me to dinner at the Palace to-night. I have noclothes for such affairs. Yet—" His mind was asking itself if this wasa door opening, which he had no right to shut with his own hand. Therewas no reason why he should not go; therefore there might be a reason whyhe should go. It might be, it no doubt was, in the way of facilitatinghis business. He dismissed the orderly with an affirmative andceremonial message to Prince Kaid—and a piece of gold.

"You've learned the custom of the place," said Lacey, as he saw the goldpiece glitter in the brown palm of the orderly.

"I suppose the man's only pay is in such service," rejoined David."It is a land of backsheesh. The fault is not with the people; it iswith the rulers. I am not sorry to share my goods with the poor."

"You'll have a big going concern here in no time," observed Lacey. "Now,if I had those millions I left in Mexico—" Suddenly he stopped. "Is ityou that's trying to settle up an estate here—at Assiout—belonged to anuncle?"

David inclined his head.

"They say that you and Prince Kaid are doing the thing yourselves, andthat the pashas and judges and all the high-mogul sharks of the Medjidiethink that the end of the world has come. Is that so?"

"It is so, if not completely so. There are the poor men and humble—thepashas and judges and the others of the Medjidie, as thee said, are notpoor. But such as the orderly yonder—" He paused meditatively.

Lacey looked at David with profound respect. "You make the poorestyour partners, your friends. I see, I see. Jerusalem, that's masterly!I admire you. It's a new way in this country." Then, after a moment:"It'll do—by golly, it'll do! Not a bit more costly, and you do somegood with it. Yes—it—will—do."

"I have given no man money save in charity and for proper service doneopenly," said David, a little severely.

"Say—of course. And that's just what isn't done here. Everything goesto him who hath, and from him who hath not is taken away even that whichhe hath. One does the work and another gets paid—that's the way here.But you, Mr. Claridge, you clinch with the strong man at the top, and,down below, you've got as your partners the poor man, whose name isLegion. If you get a fall out of the man at the top, you're solid withthe Legion. And if the man at the top gets up again and salaams andstrokes your hand, and says, 'Be my brother,' then it's a full Nile, andthe fig-tree putteth forth its tender branches, and the date-palmflourisheth, and at the village pond the thanksgiving turkey gobbles andis glad. 'Selah'!"

The sunset gun boomed out from the citadel. David turned to go, and
Lacey added:

"I'm waiting for a pasha who's taking toll of the officers inside there—Achmet Pasha. They call him the Ropemaker, because so many passthrough his hands to the Nile. The Old Muslin I call him, because he'sso diaphanous. Thinks nobody can see through him, and there's nobodythat can't. If you stay long in Egypt, you'll find that Achmet is theworst, and Nahoum the Armenian the deepest, pasha in all this sickeningland. Achmet is cruel as a tiger to any one that stands in his way;Nahoum, the whale, only opens out to swallow now and then; but whenNahoum does open out, down goes Jonah, and never comes up again. He's adeep one, and a great artist is Nahoum. I'll bet a dollar you'll seethem both to-night at the Palace—if Kaid doesn't throw them to the lionsfor their dinner before yours is served. Here one shark is swallowed byanother bigger, till at last the only and original sea-serpent swallows'em all."

As David wound his way down the hills, Lacey waved a hand after him.

"Well, give my love to the girls," he said.



"Claridge Effendi!"

As David moved forward, his mind was embarrassed by many impressions.He was not confused, but the glitter and splendour, the Orientalgorgeousness of the picture into which he stepped, excited his eye,roused some new sense in him. He was a curious figure in thosesurroundings. The consuls and agents of all the nations save one werein brilliant uniform, and pashas, generals, and great officials weresplendid in gold braid and lace, and wore flashing Orders on theirbreasts. David had been asked for half-past eight o'clock, and he wasthere on the instant; yet here was every one assembled, the Prince Pashaincluded. As he walked up the room he suddenly realised this fact, and,for a moment, he thought he had made a mistake; but again he remembereddistinctly that the letter said half-past eight, and he wondered now ifthis had been arranged by the Prince—for what purpose? To affordamusem*nt to the assembled company? He drew himself up with dignity,his face became graver. He had come in a Quaker suit of blackbroadcloth, with grey steel buttons, and a plain white stock; and he worehis broad-brimmed hat—to the consternation of the British Consul-Generaland the Europeans present, to the amazement of the Turkish and nativeofficials, who eyed him keenly. They themselves wore red tarbooshes, asdid the Prince; yet all of them knew that the European custom of showingrespect was by doffing the hat. The Prince Pasha had settled that withDavid, however, at their first meeting, when David had kept on his hatand offered Kaid his hand.

Now, with amusem*nt in his eyes, Prince Kaid watched David coming up thegreat hall. What his object was in summoning David for an hour when allthe court and all the official Europeans should be already present,remained to be seen. As David entered, Kaid was busy receiving salaams,and returning greeting, but with an eye to the singularly boyish yetgallant figure approaching. By the time David had reached the group, thePrince Pasha was ready to receive him.

"Friend, I am glad to welcome thee," said the Effendina, sly humourlurking at the corner of his eye. Conscious of the amazement of allpresent, he held out his hand to David.

"May thy coming be as the morning dew, friend," he added, taking David'swilling hand.

"And thy feet, Kaid, wall in goodly paths, by the grace of God thecompassionate and merciful."

As a wind, unfelt, stirs the leaves of a forest, making it rustledelicately, a whisper swept through the room. Official Egypt wasdumfounded. Many had heard of David, a few had seen him, and now alleyed with inquisitive interest one who defied so many of the customs ofhis countrymen; who kept on his hat; who used a Mahommedan salutationlike a true believer; whom the Effendina honoured—and presently honouredin an unusual degree by seating him at table opposite himself, where hisChief Chamberlain was used to sit.

During dinner Kaid addressed his conversation again and again to David,asking questions put to disconcert the consuls and other official folkpresent, confident in the naive reply which would be returned. For therewas a keen truthfulness in the young man's words which, however suave andcarefully balanced, however gravely simple and tactful, left no doubt asto their meaning. There was nothing in them which could be challenged,could be construed into active criticism of men or things; and yet muchhe said was horrifying. It made Achmet Pasha sit up aghast, and NahoumPasha, the astute Armenian, for a long time past the confidant andfavourite of the Prince Pasha, laugh in his throat; for, if there wasa man in Egypt who enjoyed the thrust of a word or the bite of a phrase,it was Nahoum. Christian though he was, he was, nevertheless, Orientalto his farthermost corner, and had the culture of a French savant. Hehad also the primitive view of life, and the morals of a race who, in theclash of East and West, set against Western character and directness, andloyalty to the terms of a bargain, the demoralised cunning of the desertfolk; the circuitous tactics of those who believed that no man spoke thetruth directly, that it must ever be found beneath devious and misleadingwords, to be tracked like a panther, as an Antipodean bushman once said,"through the sinuosities of the underbrush." Nahoum Pasha had also arich sense of grim humour. Perhaps that was why he had lived so near theperson of the Prince, had held office so long. There were no GrandViziers in Egypt; but he was as much like one as possible, and he had oneuncommon virtue, he was greatly generous. If he took with his right handhe gave with his left; and Mahommedan as well as Copt and Armenian, andbeggars of every race and creed, hung about his doors each morning toreceive the food and alms he gave freely.

After one of David's answers to Kaid, which had had the effect of causinghis Highness to turn a sharp corner of conversation by addressing himselfto the French consul, Nahoum said suavely:

"And so, monsieur, you think that we hold life lightly in the East—thatit is a characteristic of civilisation to make life more sacred, tocherish it more fondly?"

He was sitting beside David, and though he asked the question casually,and with apparent intention only of keeping talk going, there was alurking inquisition in his eye. He had seen enough to-night to make himsure that Kaid had once more got the idea of making a European hisconfidant and adviser; to introduce to his court one of those madEnglishmen who cared nothing for gold—only for power; who lovedadministration for the sake of administration and the foolish joy oflabour. He was now set to see what sort of match this intellect couldplay, when faced by the inherent contradictions present in all truths orthe solutions of all problems.

"It is one of the characteristics of that which lies behind civilisation,as thee and me have been taught," answered David.

Nahoum was quick in strategy, but he was unprepared for David's knowledgethat he was an Armenian Christian, and he had looked for another answer.

But he kept his head and rose to the occasion. "Ah, it is high, it isnoble, to save life—it is so easy to destroy it," he answered. "I sawhis Highness put his life in danger once to save a dog from drowning. Tocherish the lives of others, and to be careless of our own; to give thatof great value as though it were of no worth—is it not the GreatLesson?" He said it with such an air of sincerity, with suchdissimulation, that, for the moment, David was deceived. There was,however, on the face of the listening Kaid a curious, cynical smile.He had heard all, and he knew the sardonic meaning behind Nahoum's words.

Fat High Pasha, the Chief Chamberlain, the corrupt and corruptible,intervened. "It is not so hard to be careless when care would beuseless," he said, with a chuckle. "When the khamsin blows the dust-storms upon the caravan, the camel-driver hath no care for his camels.'Malaish!' he says, and buries his face in his yelek."

"Life is beautiful and so difficult—to save," observed Nahoum, in a tonemeant to tempt David on one hand and to reach the ears of the notoriousAchmet Pasha, whose extortions, cruelties, and taxations had built hismaster's palaces, bribed his harem, given him money to pay the intereston his European loans, and made himself the richest man in Egypt, whosespies were everywhere, whose shadow was across every man's path. Kaidmight slay, might toss a pasha or a slave into the Nile now and then,might invite a Bey to visit him, and stroke his beard and call himbrother and put diamond-dust in the coffee he drank, so that he diedbefore two suns came and went again, "of inflammation and a naturaldeath"; but he, Achmet Pasha, was the dark Inquisitor who tortured everyday, for whose death all men prayed, and whom some would have slain, butthat another worse than himself might succeed him.

At Nahoum's words the dusky brown of Achmet's face turned as black as thesudden dilation of the pupil of an eye deepens its hue, and he said witha guttural accent:

"Every man hath a time to die."

"But not his own time," answered Nahoum maliciously.

"It would appear that in Egypt he hath not always the choice of thefashion or the time," remarked David calmly. He had read the malicebehind their words, and there had flashed into his own mind tales toldhim, with every circ*mstance of accuracy, of deaths within and withoutthe Palace. Also he was now aware that Nahoum had mocked him. He wasconcerned to make it clear that he was not wholly beguiled.

"Is there, then, for a man choice of fashion or time in England,effendi?" asked Nahoum, with assumed innocence.

"In England it is a matter between the Giver and Taker of life andhimself—save where murder does its work," said David.

"And here it is between man and man—is it that you would say?" asked

"There seem wider privileges here," answered David drily.

"Accidents will happen, privileges or no," rejoined Nahoum, with loweringeyelids.

The Prince intervened. "Thy own faith forbids the sword, forbids war,or—punishment."

"The Prophet I follow was called the Prince of Peace, friend," answered
David, bowing gravely across the table.

"Hast thou never killed a man?" asked Kaid, with interest in his eyes.
He asked the question as a man might ask another if he had never visited

"Never, by the goodness of God, never," answered David.

"Neither in punishment nor in battle?"

"I am neither judge nor soldier, friend."

"Inshallah, thou hast yet far to go! Thou art young yet. Who can tell?"

"I have never so far to go as that, friend," said David, in a voice thatrang a little.

"To-morrow is no man's gift."

David was about to answer, but chancing to raise his eyes above thePrince Pasha's head, his glance was arrested and startled by seeing aface—the face of a woman-looking out of a panel in a mooshrabieh screenin a gallery above. He would not have dwelt upon the incident, he wouldhave set it down to the curiosity of a woman of the harem, but that theface looking out was that of an English girl, and peering over hershoulder was the dark, handsome face of an Egyptian or a Turk.

Self-control was the habit of his life, the training of his faith,and, as a rule, his face gave little evidence of inner excitement.Demonstration was discouraged, if not forbidden, among the Quakers, andif, to others, it gave a cold and austere manner, in David it tempered toa warm stillness the powerful impulses in him, the rivers of feelingwhich sometimes roared through his veins.

Only Nahoum Pasha had noticed his arrested look, so motionless did he
sit; and now, without replying, he bowed gravely and deferentially to
Kaid, who rose from the table. He followed with the rest. Presently the
Prince sent Higli Pasha to ask his nearer presence.

The Prince made a motion of his hand, and the circle withdrew. He waved
David to a seat.

"To-morrow thy business shall be settled," said the Prince suavely, "andon such terms as will not startle. Death-tribute is no new thing in theEast. It is fortunate for thee that the tribute is from thy hand to myhand, and not through many others to mine."

"I am conscious I have been treated with favour, friend," said David."I would that I might show thee kindness. Though how may a man of noaccount make return to a great Prince?"

"By the beard of my father, it is easily done, if thy kindness is a realthing, and not that which makes me poorer the more I have of it—asthough one should be given a herd of horses which must not be sold butstill must be fed."

"I have given thee truth. Is not truth cheaper than falsehood?"

"It is the most expensive thing in Egypt; so that I despair of buyingthee. Yet I would buy thee to remain here—here at my court; here by myhand which will give thee the labour thou lovest, and will defend thee ifdefence be needed. Thou hast not greed, thou hast no thirst for honour,yet thou hast wisdom beyond thy years. Kaid has never besought men, buthe beseeches thee. Once there was in Egypt, Joseph, a wise youth, whoserved a Pharaoh, and was his chief counsellor, and it was well with theland. Thy name is a good name; well-being may follow thee. The ageshave gone, and the rest of the world has changed, but Egypt is the sameEgypt, the Nile rises and falls, and the old lean years and fat yearscome and go. Though I am in truth a Turk, and those who serve and rob mehere are Turks, yet the fellah is the same as he was five thousand yearsago. What Joseph the Israelite did, thou canst do; for I am no moreunjust than was that Rameses whom Joseph served. Wilt thou stay withme?"

David looked at Kaid as though he would read in his face the reply thathe must make, but he did not see Kaid; he saw, rather, the face of one hehad loved more than Jonathan had been loved by the young shepherd-princeof Israel. In his ears he heard the voice that had called him in hissleep-the voice of Benn Claridge; and, at the same instant, there flashedinto his mind a picture of himself fighting outside the tavern beyondHamley and bidding farewell to the girl at the crossroads.

"Friend, I cannot answer thee now," he said, in a troubled voice.

Kaid rose. "I will give thee an hour to think upon it. Come with me."
He stepped forward. "To-morrow I will answer thee, Kaid."

"To-morrow there is work for thee to do. Come." David followed him.

The eyes that followed the Prince and the Quaker were not friendly. WhatKaid had long foreshadowed seemed at hand: the coming of a Europeancounsellor and confidant. They realised that in the man who had justleft the room with Kaid there were characteristics unlike those they hadever met before in Europeans.

"A madman," whispered High Pasha to Achmet the Ropemaker.

"Then his will be the fate of the swine of Gadarene," said Nahoum Pasha,who had heard.

"At least one need not argue with a madman." The face of Achmet the
Ropemaker was not more pleasant than his dark words.

"It is not the madman with whom you have to deal, but his keeper,"rejoined Nahoum.

Nahoum's face was heavier than usual. Going to weight, he was stillmuscular and well groomed. His light brown beard and hair and blue eyesgave him a look almost Saxon, and bland power spoke in his face and inevery gesture.

He was seldom without the string of beads so many Orientals love tocarry, and, Armenian Christian as he was, the act seemed almostreligious. It was to him, however, like a ground-wire in telegraphy—it carried off the nervous force tingling in him and driving him toimpulsive action, while his reputation called for a constant outwardurbanity, a philosophical apathy. He had had his great fight for placeand power, alien as he was in religion, though he had lived in Egyptsince a child. Bar to progress as his religion had been at first, it hadbeen an advantage afterwards; for, through it, he could exclude himselffrom complications with the Wakfs, the religious court of the Muslimcreed, which had lands to administer, and controlled the laws of marriageand inheritance. He could shrug his shoulders and play with his beads,and urbanely explain his own helplessness and ineligibility when hisinfluence was summoned, or it was sought to entangle him in warringinterests. Oriental through and through, the basis of his creed wassimilar to that of a Muslim: Mahomet was a prophet and Christ was aprophet. It was a case of rival prophets—all else was obscured into alegend, and he saw the strife of race in the difference of creed. Forthe rest, he flourished the salutations and language of the Arab asthough they were his own, and he spoke Arabic as perfectly as he didFrench and English.

He was the second son of his father. The first son, who was but a yearolder, and was as dark as he was fair, had inherited—had seized—all hisfather's wealth. He had lived abroad for some years in France andEngland. In the latter place he had been one of the Turkish Embassy,and, having none of the outward characteristics of the Turk, and beingin appearance more of a Spaniard than an Oriental, he had, by his gifts,his address and personal appearance, won the good-will of the duch*ess ofMiddlesex, and had had that success all too flattering to the soul of alibertine. It had, however, been the means of his premature retirementfrom England, for his chief at the Embassy had a preference for anOriental entourage. He was called Foorgat Bey.

Sitting at table, Nahoum alone of all present had caught David's arrestedlook, and, glancing up, had seen the girl's face at the panel ofmooshrabieh, and had seen also over her shoulder the face of his brother,Foorgat Bey. He had been even more astonished than David, and far moredisturbed. He knew his brother's abilities; he knew his insinuatingaddress—had he not influenced their father to give him wealth while hewas yet alive? He was aware also that his brother had visited the Palaceoften of late. It would seem as though the Prince Pasha was ready tomake him, as well as David, a favourite. But the face of the girl—itwas an English face! Familiar with the Palace, and bribing when it wasnecessary to bribe, Foorgat Bey had evidently brought her to see thefunction, there where all women were forbidden. He could little imagineFoorgat doing this from mere courtesy; he could not imagine any woman,save one wholly sophisticated, or one entirely innocent, trusting herselfwith him—and in such a place. The girl's face, though not that of onein her teens, had seemed to him a very flower of innocence.

But, as he stood telling his beads, abstractedly listening to the scandaltalked by Achmet and Higli, he was not thinking of his brother, but ofthe two who had just left the chamber. He was speculating as to whichroom they were likely to enter. They had not gone by the door convenientto passage to Kaid's own apartments. He would give much to hear theconversation between Kaid and the stranger; he was all too conscious ofits purport. As he stood thinking, Kaid returned. After looking roundthe room for a moment, the Prince came slowly over to Nahoum, and,stretching out a hand, stroked his beard.

"Oh, brother of all the wise, may thy sun never pass its noon!" said
Kaid, in a low, friendly voice.

Despite his will, a shudder passed through Nahoum Pasha's frame.How often in Egypt this gesture and such words were the prelude toassassination, from which there was no escape save by death itself. IntoNahoum's mind there flashed the words of an Arab teacher, "There is norefuge from God but God Himself," and he found himself blindly wondering,even as he felt Kaid's hand upon his beard and listened to the honeyedwords, what manner of death was now preparing for him, and what death ofhis own contriving should intervene. Escape, he knew, there was none, ifhis death was determined on; for spies were everywhere, and slaves in thepay of Kaid were everywhere, and such as were not could be bought orcompelled, even if he took refuge in the house of a foreign consul. Thelean, invisible, ghastly arm of death could find him, if Kaid willed,though he delved in the bowels of the Cairene earth, or climbed to aneagle's eyrie in the Libyan Hills. Whether it was diamond-dust orAchmet's thin thong that stopped the breath, it mattered not; it wassure. Yet he was not of the breed to tremble under the descending sword,and he had long accustomed himself to the chance of "sudden demise." Ithad been chief among the chances he had taken when he entered the highand perilous service of Kaid. Now, as he felt the secret joy of thesedark spirits surrounding him—Achmet, and High Pasha, who kept sayingbeneath his breath in thankfulness that it was not his turn, Praise be toGod!—as he, felt their secret self-gratulations, and their evil joy overhis prospective downfall, he settled himself steadily, made a lowsalutation to Kaid, and calmly awaited further speech. It came soonenough.

"It is written upon a cucumber leaf—does not the world read it?—thatNahoum Pasha's form shall cast a longer shadow than the trees; so thatevery man in Egypt shall, thinking on him, be as covetous as Ashaah, whoknew but one thing more covetous than himself—the sheep that mistook therainbow for a rope of hay, and, jumping for it, broke his neck."

Kaid laughed softly at his own words.

With his eye meeting Kaid's again, after a low salaam, Nahoum madeanswer:

"I would that the lance of my fame might sheathe itself in the breasts ofthy enemies, Effendina."

"Thy tongue does that office well," was the reply. Once more Kaid laida gentle hand upon Nahoum's beard. Then, with a gesture towards theconsuls and Europeans, he said to them in French: "If I might but begyour presence for yet a little time!" Then he turned and walked away.He left by a door leading to his own apartments.

When he had gone, Nahoum swung slowly round and faced the agitatedgroups.

"He who sleeps with one eye open sees the sun rise first," he said, witha sarcastic laugh. "He who goes blindfold never sees it set."

Then, with a complacent look upon them all, he slowly left the room bythe door out of which David and Kaid had first passed.

Outside the room his face did not change. His manner had not beenbravado. It was as natural to him as David's manner was to himself.Each had trained himself in his own way to the mastery of his will, andthe will in each was stronger than any passion of emotion in them. Sofar at least it had been so. In David it was the outcome of his faith,in Nahoum it was the outcome of his philosophy, a simple, fearlessfatalism.

David had been left by Kaid in a small room, little more than an alcove,next to a larger room richly furnished. Both rooms belonged to aspacious suite which lay between the harem and the major portion of thePalace. It had its own entrance and exits from the Palace, opening onthe square at the front, at the back opening on its own garden, whichalso had its own exits to the public road. The quarters of the ChiefEunuch separated the suite from the harem, and Mizraim, the present ChiefEunuch, was a man of power in the Palace, knew more secrets, was morecourted, and was richer than some of the princes. Nahoum had an officein the Palace, also, which gave him the freedom of the place, and broughthim often in touch with the Chief Eunuch. He had made Mizraim a fastfriend ever since the day he had, by an able device, saved the ChiefEunuch from determined robbery by the former Prince Pasha, with whom hehad suddenly come out of favour.

When Nahoum left the great salon, he directed his steps towards thequarters of the Chief Eunuch, thinking of David, with a vague desire forpursuit and conflict. He was too much of a philosopher to seek to doDavid physical injury—a futile act; for it could do him no good in theend, could not mend his own fortunes; and, merciless as he could be onoccasion, he had no love of bloodshed. Besides, the game afoot was notof his making, and he was ready to await the finish, the more so becausehe was sure that to-morrow would bring forth momentous things. There wasa crisis in the Soudan, there was trouble in the army, there was darkconspiracy of which he knew the heart, and anything might happento-morrow! He had yet some cards to play, and Achmet and Higli—andanother very high and great—might be delivered over to Kaid's deadlypurposes rather than himself tomorrow. What he knew Kaid did not know.He had not meant to act yet; but new facts faced him, and he must makeone struggle for his life. But as he went towards Mizraim's quarters hesaw no sure escape from the stage of those untoward events, save by theexit which is for all in some appointed hour.

He was not, however, more perplexed and troubled than David, who, in thelittle room where he had been brought and left alone with coffee andcigarettes, served by a slave from some distant portion of the Palace,sat facing his future.

David looked round the little room. Upon the walls hung weapons of everykind—from a polished dagger of Toledo to a Damascus blade, suits ofchain armour, long-handled, two-edged Arab swords, pistols which had beenused in the Syrian wars of Ibrahim, lances which had been taken from theDruses at Palmyra, rude battle-axes from the tribes of the Soudan, andneboots of dom-wood which had done service against Napoleon at Damietta.The cushions among which he sat had come from Constantinople, the rug athis feet from Tiflis, the prayer-rug on the wall from Mecca.

All that he saw was as unlike what he had known in past years as thoughhe had come to Mars or Jupiter. All that he had heard recalled to himhis first readings in the Old Testament—the story of Nebuchadnezzar, ofBelshazzar, of Ahasuerus—of Ahasuerus! He suddenly remembered the facehe had seen looking down at the Prince's table from the panel ofmooshrabieh. That English face—where was it? Why was it there? Whowas the man with her? Whose the dark face peering scornfully over hershoulder? The face of an English girl in that place dedicated to sombreintrigue, to the dark effacement of women, to the darker effacement oflife, as he well knew, all too often! In looking at this prospect forgood work in the cause of civilisation, he was not deceived, he was notallured. He knew into what subterranean ways he must walk, through whatmazes of treachery and falsehood he must find his way; and though he didnot know to the full the corruption which it was his duty to Kaid to turnto incorruption, he knew enough to give his spirit pause. What would be—what could be—the end? Would he not prove to be as much out of placeas was the face of that English girl? The English girl! England rushedback upon him—the love of those at home; of his father, the only fatherhe had ever known; of Faith, the only mother or sister he had ever known;of old John Fairley; the love of the woods and the hills where he hadwandered came upon him. There was work to do in England, work too littledone—the memory of the great meeting at Heddington flashed upon him.Could his labour and his skill, if he had any, not be used there? Ah,the green fields, the soft grey skies, the quiet vale, the brave, self-respecting, toiling millions, the beautiful sense of law and order andgoodness! Could his gifts and labours not be used there? Could not—

He was suddenly startled by a smothered cry, then a call of distress.
It was the voice of a woman.

He started up. The voice seemed to come from a room at his right; notthat from which he had entered, but one still beyond this where he was.He sprang towards the wall and examined it swiftly. Finding a divisionin the tapestry, he ran his fingers quickly and heavily down the crackbetween. It came upon the button of a spring. He pressed it, the dooryielded, and, throwing it back, he stepped into the room-to see a womanstruggling to resist the embraces and kisses of a man. The face was thatof the girl who had looked out of the panel in the mooshrabieh screen.Then it was beautiful in its mirth and animation, now it was pale andterror-stricken, as with one free hand she fiercely beat the face pressedto hers.

The girl only had seen David enter. The man was not conscious of hispresence till he was seized and flung against the wall. The violence ofthe impact brought down at his feet two weapons from the wall above him.He seized one-a dagger-and sprang to his feet. Before he could moveforward or raise his arm, however, David struck him a blow in the neckwhich flung him upon a square marble pedestal intended for a statue. Infalling his head struck violently a sharp corner of the pedestal. Helurched, rolled over on the floor, and lay still.

The girl gave a choking cry. David quickly stooped and turned the bodyover. There was a cut where the hair met the temple. He opened thewaistcoat and thrust his hand inside the shirt. Then he felt the pulseof the limp wrist.

For a moment he looked at the face steadily, almost contemplatively itmight have seemed, and then drew both arms close to the body.

Foorgat Bey, the brother of Nahoum Pasha, was dead.

Rising, David turned, as if in a dream, to the girl. He made a motion ofthe hand towards the body. She understood. Dismay was in her face, butthe look of horror and desperation was gone. She seemed not to realise,as did David, the awful position in which they were placed, the deedwhich David had done, the significance of the thing that lay at theirfeet.

"Where are thy people?" said David. "Come, we will go to them."

"I have no people here," she said, in a whisper.

"Who brought thee?"

She made a motion behind her towards the body. David glanced down. Theeyes of the dead man were open. He stooped and closed them gently. Thecollar and tie were disarranged; he straightened them, then turned againto her.

"I must take thee away," he said calmly. "But it must be secretly." Helooked around, perplexed. "We came secretly. My maid is outside thegarden—in a carriage. Oh, come, let us go, let us escape. They willkill you—!" Terror came into her face again. "Thee, not me, is indanger—name, goodness, future, all. . . . Which way did thee come?"

"Here—through many rooms—" She made a gesture to curtains beyond."But we first entered through doors with sphinxes on either side,with a room where was a statue of Mehemet Ali."

It was the room through which David had come with Kaid. He took herhand. "Come quickly. I know the way. It is here," he said, pointing tothe panel-door by which he had entered.

Holding her hand still, as though she were a child, he led her quicklyfrom the room, and shut the panel behind them. As they passed through,a hand drew aside the curtains on the other side of the room which theywere leaving.

Presently the face of Nahoum Pasha followed the hand. A swift glance tothe floor, then he ran forward, stooped down, and laid a hand on hisbrother's breast. The slight wound on the forehead answered his rapidscrutiny. He realised the situation as plainly as if it had been writtendown for him—he knew his brother well.

Noiselessly he moved forward and touched the spring of the door throughwhich the two had gone. It yielded, and he passed through, closed thedoor again and stealthily listened, then stole a look into the fartherchamber. It was empty. He heard the outer doors close. For a moment helistened, then went forward and passed through into the hall. Softlyturning the handle of the big wooden doors which faced him, he openedthem an inch or so, and listened. He could hear swiftly retreatingfootsteps. Presently he heard the faint noise of a gate shutting. Henodded his head, and was about to close the doors and turn away, when hisquick ear detected footsteps again in the garden. Some one—the man,of course—was returning.

"May fire burn his eyes for ever! He would talk with Kald, then go againamong them all, and so pass out unsuspected and safe. For who but I—whobut I could say he did it? And I—what is my proof? Only the wordswhich I speak."

A scornful, fateful smile passed over his face. "'Hast thou never killed
a man?' said Kaid. 'Never,' said he—'by the goodness of God, never!'
The voice of Him of Galilee, the hand of Cain, the craft of Jael. But
God is with the patient."

He went hastily and noiselessly-his footfall was light for so heavy aman-through the large room to the farther side from that by which Davidand Kaid had first entered. Drawing behind a clump of palms near a dooropening to a passage leading to Mizraim's quarters, he waited. He sawDavid enter quickly, yet without any air of secrecy, and pass into thelittle room where Kaid had left him.

For a long time there was silence.

The reasons were clear in Nahoum's mind why he should not act yet. A newfactor had changed the equation which had presented itself a short halfhour ago.

A new factor had also entered into the equation which had been presentedto David by Kaid with so flattering an insistence. He sat in the placewhere Kaid had left him, his face drawn and white, his eyes burning, butwith no other "sign of agitation. He was frozen and still. His look wasfastened now upon the door by which the Prince Pasha would enter, nowupon the door through which he had passed to the rescue of the Englishgirl, whom he had seen drive off safely with her maid. In their swiftpassage from the Palace to the carriage, a thing had been done of evengreater moment than the killing of the sensualist in the next room. Inthe journey to the gateway the girl David served had begged him to escapewith her. This he had almost sharply declined; it would be no escape, hehad said. She had urged that no one knew. He had replied that Kaidwould come again for him, and suspicion would be aroused if he were gone.

"Thee has safety," he had said. "I will go back. I will say that Ikilled him. I have taken a life, I will pay for it as is the law."

Excited as she was, she had seen the inflexibility of his purpose. Shehad seen the issue also clearly. He would give himself up, and the wholestory would be the scandal of Europe.

"You have no right to save me only to kill me," she had said desperately."You would give your life, but you would destroy that which is more thanlife to me. You did not intend to kill him. It was no murder, it waspunishment." Her voice had got harder. "He would have killed my lifebecause he was evil. Will you kill it because you are good? Will you bebrave, quixotic, but not pitiful? . . . No, no, no!" she had said,as his hand was upon the gate, "I will not go unless you promise that youwill hide the truth, if you can." She had laid her hand upon hisshoulder with an agonised impulse. "You will hide it for a girl who willcherish your memory her whole life long. Ah—God bless you!"

She had felt that she conquered before he spoke as, indeed, he did notspeak, but nodded his head and murmured something indistinctly. But thatdid not matter, for she had won; she had a feeling that all would bewell. Then he had placed her in her carriage, and she was driven swiftlyaway, saying to herself half hysterically: "I am safe, I am safe. Hewill keep his word."

Her safety and his promise were the new factor which changed the equationfor which Kaid would presently ask the satisfaction. David's life hadsuddenly come upon problems for which his whole past was no preparation.Conscience, which had been his guide in every situation, was nowdisarmed, disabled, and routed. It had come to terms.

In going quickly through the room, they had disarranged a table. Thegirl's cloak had swept over it, and a piece of brie-a-brae had beenthrown upon the floor. He got up and replaced it with an attentive air.He rearranged the other pieces on the table mechanically, seeing, feelinganother scene, another inanimate thing which must be for ever and forever a picture burning in his memory. Yet he appeared to be casuallydoing a trivial and necessary act. He did not definitely realise hisactions; but long afterwards he could have drawn an accurate plan of thetable, could have reproduced upon it each article in its exact place ascorrectly as though it had been photographed. There were one or twospots of dust or dirt on the floor, brought in by his boots from thegarden. He flicked them aside with his handkerchief.

How still it was! Or was it his life which had become so still? Itseemed as if the world must be noiseless, for not a sound of the life inother parts of the Palace came to him, not an echo or vibration of thecity which stirred beyond the great gateway. Was it the chilly hand ofdeath passing over everything, and smothering all the activities? Hispulses, which, but a few minutes past, were throbbing and pounding likedrums in his ears, seemed now to flow and beat in very quiet. Was this,then, the way that murderers felt, that men felt who took human life—sofrozen, so little a part of their surroundings? Did they move as deadmen among the living, devitalised, vacuous calm?

His life had been suddenly twisted out of recognition. All that hishabit, his code, his morals, his religion, had imposed upon him had beenoverturned in one moment. To take a human life, even in battle, wasagainst the code by which he had ever been governed, yet he had takenlife secretly, and was hiding it from the world.

Accident? But had it been necessary to strike at all? His presencealone would have been enough to save the girl from further molestation;but, he had thrown himself upon the man like a tiger. Yet, somehow, hefelt no sorrow for that. He knew that if again and yet again he wereplaced in the same position he would do even as he had done—even as hehad done with the man Kimber by the Fox and Goose tavern beyond Hamley.He knew that the blow he had given then was inevitable, and he had neverfelt real repentance. Thinking of that blow, he saw its sequel in theblow he had given now. Thus was that day linked with the present, thushad a blow struck in punishment of the wrong done the woman at thecrossroads been repeated in the wrong done the girl who had just lefthim.

A sound now broke the stillness. It was a door shutting not far off.Kaid was coming. David turned his face towards the room where FoorgatBey was lying dead. He lifted his arms with a sudden passionate gesture.The blood came rushing through his veins again. His life, which hadseemed suspended, was set free; and an exaltation of sorrow, of pain, ofaction, possessed him.

"I have taken a life, O my God!" he murmured. "Accept mine in servicefor this land. What I have done in secret, let me atone for in secret,for this land—for this poor land, for Christ's sake!"

Footsteps were approaching quickly. With a great effort of the will heruled himself to quietness again. Kaid entered, and stood before him insilence. David rose. He looked Kaid steadily in the eyes. "Well?"said Kaid placidly.

"For Egypt's sake I will serve thee," was the reply. He held out hishand. Kaid took it, but said, in smiling comment on the action: "As theViceroy's servant there is another way!"

"I will salaam to-morrow, Kaid," answered David.

"It is the only custom of the place I will require of thee, effendi.

A few moments later they were standing among the consuls and officials inthe salon.

"Where is Nahoum?" asked Kaid, looking round on the agitated throng.

No one answered. Smiling, Kaid whispered in David's ear.



One by one the lights went out in the Palace. The excited guests werenow knocking at the doors of Cairene notables, bent upon gossip of thenight's events, or were scouring the bazaars for ears into which to pourthe tale of how David was exalted and Nahoum was brought low; how, beforethem all, Kaid had commanded Nahoum to appear at the Palace in themorning at eleven, and the Inglesi, as they had named David, at ten. Butthey declared to all who crowded upon their words that the Inglesi leftthe Palace with a face frozen white, as though it was he that had metdebacle, while Nahoum had been as urbane and cynical as though he hadcome to the fulness of his power.

Some, on hearing this, said: "Beware Nahoum!" But those who had been atthe Palace said: "Beware the Inglesi!" This still Quaker, with the whiteshining face and pontifical hat, with his address of "thee" and "thou,"and his forms of speech almost Oriental in their imagery and simplicity,himself an archaism, had impressed them with a sense of power. He hadprompted old Diaz Pasha to speak of him as a reincarnation, so separateand withdrawn he seemed at the end of the evening, yet with an uncannymastery in his dark brown eyes. One of the Ulema, or holy men, presenthad said in reply to Diaz: "It is the look of one who hath walked withDeath and bought and sold with Sheitan the accursed." To Nahoum Pasha,Dim had said, as the former left the Palace, a cigarette between hisfingers: "Sleep not nor slumber, Nahoum. The world was never lost by oneearthquake." And Nahoum had replied with a smooth friendliness: "Theworld is not reaped in one harvest."

"The day is at hand—the East against the West," murmured old Diaz, as hepassed on.

"The day is far spent," answered Nahoum, in a voice unheard by Diaz; and,with a word to his coachman, who drove off quickly, he disappeared in theshrubbery.

A few minutes later he was tapping at the door of Mizraim, the ChiefEunuch. Three times he tapped in the same way. Presently the dooropened, and he stepped inside. The lean, dark figure of Mizraim bowedlow; the long, slow fingers touched the forehead, the breast, and thelips.

"May God preserve thy head from harm, excellency, and the night give theesleep," said Mizraim. He looked inquiringly at Nahoum.

"May thy head know neither heat nor cold, and thy joys increase,"responded Nahoum mechanically, and sat down.

To an European it would have seemed a shameless mockery to have wishedjoy to this lean, hateful dweller in the between-worlds; to Nahoum it waspart of a life which was all ritual and intrigue, gabbling superstitionand innate fatalism, decorated falsehood and a brave philosophy.

"I have work for thee at last, Mizraim," said Nahoum.

"At last?"

"Thou hast but played before. To-night I must see the sweat of thybrow."

Mizraim's cold fingers again threw themselves against his breast,forehead, and lips, and he said:

"As a woman swims in a fountain, so shall I bathe in sweat for thee, whohath given with one hand and hath never taken with the other."

"I did thee service once, Mizraim—eh?"

"I was as a bird buffeted by the wind; upon thy masts my feet found rest.
Behold, I build my nest in thy sails, excellency."

"There are no birds in last year's nest, Mizraim, thou dove," saidNahoum, with a cynical smile. "When I build, I build. Where I swear bythe stone of the corner, there am I from dark to dark and from dawn todawn, pasha." Suddenly he swept his hand low to the ground and a ghastlysort of smile crossed over his face. "Speak—I am thy servant. Shall Inot hear? I will put my hand in the entrails of Egypt, and wrench themforth for thee."

He made a gesture so cruelly, so darkly, suggestive that Nahoum turnedhis head away. There flashed before his mind the scene of death in whichhis own father had lain, butchered like a beast in the shambles, a victimto the rage of Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Mehemet Ali.

"Then listen, and learn why I have need of thee to-night."

First, Nahoum told the story of David's coming, and Kaid's treatment ofhimself, the foreshadowing of his own doom. Then of David and the girl,and the dead body he had seen; of the escape of the girl, of David'sreturn with Kaid—all exactly as it had happened, save that he did; notmention the name of the dead man.

It did not astonish Mizraim that Nahoum had kept all this secret. Thatcrime should be followed by secrecy and further crime, if need be, seemsnatural to the Oriental mind. Mizraim had seen removal follow uponremoval, and the dark Nile flowed on gloomily, silently, faithful to thehelpless ones tossed into its bosom. It would much have astonished himif Nahoum had not shown a gaping darkness somewhere in his tale, and hefelt for the key to the mystery.

"And he who lies dead, excellency?"

"My brother."

"Foorgat Bey!"

"Even he, Mizraim. He lured the girl here—a mad man ever. The othermadman was in the next room. He struck—come, and thou shalt see."

Together they felt their way through the passages and rooms, andpresently entered the room where Foorgat Bey was lying. Nahoum struck alight, and, as he held the candle, Mizraim knelt and examined the bodyclosely. He found the slight wound on the temple, then took the candlefrom Nahoum and held it close to the corner of the marble pedestal. Afaint stain of blood was there. Again he examined the body, and ran hisfingers over the face and neck. Suddenly he stopped, and held the lightclose to the skin beneath the right jaw. He motioned, and Nahoum laidhis fingers also on the spot. There was a slight swelling.

"A blow with the fist, excellency—skilful, and English." He lookedinquiringly at Nahoum. "As a weasel hath a rabbit by the throat, so isthe Inglesi in thy hands."

Nahoum shook his head. "And if I went to Kaid, and said, 'This is thework of the Inglesi,' would he believe? Kaid would hang me for the lie—would it be truth to him? What proof have I, save the testimonyof mine own eyes? Egypt would laugh at that. Is it the time, whileyet the singers are beneath the windows, to assail the bride? Allbridegrooms are mad. It is all sunshine and morning with the favourite,the Inglesi. Only when the shadows lengthen may he be stricken. Notnow."

"Why dost thou hide this from Kaid, O thou brother of the eagle?"

"For my gain and thine, keeper of the gate. To-night I am weak, becauseI am poor. To-morrow I shall be rich and, it may be, strong. If Kaidknew of this tonight, I should be a prisoner before co*ckcrow. Whatclaims has a prisoner? Kaid would be in my brother's house at dawn,seizing all that is there and elsewhere, and I on my way to Fazougli, tobe strangled or drowned."

"O wise and far-seeing! Thine eye pierces the earth. What is there todo? What is my gain—what thine?"

"Thy gain? The payment of thy debt to me." Mizraim's face lengthened.His was a loathsome sort of gratitude. He was willing to pay in kind;but what Oriental ever paid a debt without a gift in return, even as abartering Irishman demands his lucky penny.

"So be it, excellency, and my life is thine to spill upon the ground, ascarlet cloth for thy feet. And backsheesh?"

Nahoum smiled grimly. "For backsheesh, thy turban full of gold."

Mizraim's eyes glittered-the dull black shine of a mongrel terrier's. Hecaught the sleeve of Nahoum's coat and kissed it, then kissed his hand.

Thus was their bargain made over the dead body; and Mizraim had an almostsuperstitious reverence for the fulfilment of a bond, the one virtuerarely found in the Oriental. Nothing else had he, but of all men inEgypt he was the best instrument Nahoum could have chosen; and of all menin Egypt he was the one man who could surely help him.

"What is there now to do, excellency?"

"My coachman is with the carriage at the gate by which the English girlleft. It is open still. The key is in Foorgat's pocket, no doubt;stolen by him, no doubt also. . . . This is my design. Thou wiltdrive him"—he pointed to the body—"to his palace, seated in thecarriage as though he were alive. There is a secret entrance. The bowabof the gate will show the way; I know it not. But who will deny thee?Thou comest from high places—from Kaid. Who will speak of this? Willthe bowab? In the morning Foorgat will be found dead in his bed! Theslight bruise thou canst heal—thou canst?"

Mizraim nodded. "I can smooth it from the sharpest eye."

"At dawn he will be found dead; but at dawn I shall be knocking at hisgates. Before the world knows I shall be in possession. All that is hisshall be mine, for at once the men of law shall be summoned, and myinheritance secured before Kaid shall even know of his death. I shalltake my chances for my life."

"And the coachman, and the bowab, and others it may be?"

"Shall not these be with thee—thou, Kaid's keeper of the harem, the lionat the door of his garden of women? Would it be strange that Foorgat,who ever flew at fruit above his head, perilous to get or keep, should befound on forbidden ground, or in design upon it? Would it be strange tothe bowab or the slave that he should return with thee stark and still?They would but count it mercy of Kaid that he was not given to theserpents of the Nile. A word from thee—would one open his mouth? Wouldnot the shadow of thy hand, of the swift doom, be over them? Would nota handful of gold bind them to me? Is not the man dead? Are they notmine—mine to bind or break as I will?"

"So be it! Wisdom is of thee as the breath of man is his life. I willdrive Foorgat Bey to his home."

A few moments later all that was left of Foorgat Bey was sitting in hiscarriage beside Mizraim the Chief Eunuch—sitting upright, stony, andstill, and in such wise was driven swiftly to his palace.



David came to know a startling piece of news the next morning-thatFoorgat Bey had died of heart-disease in his bed, and was so found by hisservants. He at once surmised that Foorgat's body had been carried outof the Palace; no doubt that it might not be thought he had come to hisdeath by command of Kaid. His mind became easier. Death, murder, crimein Egypt was not a nine days' wonder; it scarce outlived one day. When aman was gone none troubled. The dead man was in the bosom of Allah; thenwhy should the living be beset or troubled? If there was foul play, whymake things worse by sending another life after the life gone, even inthe way of justice?

The girl David saved had told him her own name, and had given him thename of the hotel at which she was staying. He had an early breakfast,and prepared to go to her hotel, wishing to see her once more. Therewere things to be said for the first and last time and then be buried forever. She must leave the country at once. In this sick, mad land, inthis whirlpool of secret murder and conspiracy, no one could tell whatplot was hatching, what deeds were forward; and he could not yet be surethat no one save himself and herself knew who had killed Foorgat Bey.Her perfect safety lay in instant flight. It was his duty to see thatshe went, and at once—this very day. He would go and see her.

He went to the hotel. There he learned that, with her aunt, she had leftthat morning for Alexandria en route to England.

He approved her wisdom, he applauded her decision. Yet—yet, somehow,as he bent his footsteps towards his lodgings again he had a sense ofdisappointment, of revelation. What might happen to him—evidently thathad not occurred to her. How could she know but that his life might bein danger; that, after all, they might have been seen leaving the fatalroom? Well, she had gone, and with all his heart he was glad that shewas safe.

His judgment upon last night's event was not coloured by a singledirect criticism upon the girl. But he could not prevent the suggestionsuddenly flashing into his mind that she had thought of herself first andlast. Well, she had gone; and he was here to face the future,unencumbered by aught save the weight of his own conscience.

Yet, the weight of his conscience! His feet were still free—free forone short hour before he went to Kaid; but his soul was in chains. As heturned his course to the Nile, and crossed over the great bridge, therewent clanking by in chains a hundred conscripts, torn from their homes inthe Fayoum, bidding farewell for ever to their friends, receiving theirlast offerings, for they had no hope of return. He looked at theirhaggard and dusty faces, at their excoriated ankles, and his eyes closedin pain. All they felt he felt. What their homes were to them, thesefellaheen, dragged forth to defend their country, to go into the desertand waste their lives under leaders tyrannous, cruel, and incompetent,his old open life, his innocence, his integrity, his truthfulness andcharacter, were to him. By an impulsive act, by a rash blow, he hadasserted his humanity; but he had killed his fellow-man in anger. Heknew that as that fatal blow had been delivered, there was no thought ofpunishment—it was blind anger and hatred: it was the ancient virusworking which had filled the world with war, and armed it at the expense,the bitter and oppressive expense, of the toilers and the poor. Thetaxes for wars were wrung out of the sons of labour and sorrow. Thesepoor fellaheen had paid taxes on everything they possessed. Taxes,taxes, nothing but taxes from the cradle! Their lands, houses, and palm-trees would be taxed still, when they would reap no more. And havinggiven all save their lives, these lives they must now give under the whipand the chain and the sword.

As David looked at them in their single blue calico coverings, in whichthey had lived and slept-shivering in the cold night air upon the bareground—these thoughts came to him; and he had a sudden longing to followthem and put the chains upon his own arms and legs, and go forth andsuffer with them, and fight and die? To die were easy. To fight?. . . .Was it then come to that? He was no longer a man of peace, but a man ofthe sword; no longer a man of the palm and the evangel, but a man ofblood and of crime! He shrank back out of the glare of the sun; for itsuddenly seemed to him that there was written upon his fore head, "Thisis a brother of Cain." For the first time in his life he had a shrinkingfrom the light, and from the sun which he had loved like a Persian, had,in a sense, unconsciously worshipped.

He was scarcely aware where he was. He had wandered on until he had cometo the end of the bridge and into the great groups of traffickers who, atthis place, made a market of their wares. Here sat a seller of sugarcane; there wandered, clanking his brasses, a merchant of sweet waters;there shouted a cheap-jack of the Nile the virtues of a knife fromSheffield. Yonder a camel-driver squatted and counted his earnings; anda sheepdealer haggled with the owner of a ghiassa bound for the sands ofthe North. The curious came about him and looked at him, but he did notsee or hear. He sat upon a stone, his gaze upon the river, followingwith his eyes, yet without consciously observing, the dark riverinepopulation whose ways are hidden, who know only the law of the river andspend their lives in eluding itpirates and brigands now, and yet againthe peaceful porters of commerce.

To his mind, never a criminal in this land but less a criminal than he!For their standard was a standard of might the only right; but he—hiswhole life had been nurtured in an atmosphere of right and justice, hadbeen a spiritual demonstration against force. He was with out fear, ashe was without an undue love of life. The laying down of his life hadnever been presented to him; and yet, now that his conscience was hisonly judge, and it condemned him, he would gladly have given his life topay the price of blood.

That was impossible. His life was not his own to give, save by suicide;and that would be the unpardonable insult to God and humanity. He hadgiven his word to the woman, and he would keep it. In those briefmoments she must have suffered more than most men suffer in a long life.Not her hand, however, but his, had committed the deed. And yet a suddenwave of pity for her rushed over him, because the conviction seized himthat she would also in her heart take upon herself the burden of hisguilt as though it were her own. He had seen it in the look of her facelast night.

For the sake of her future it was her duty to shield herself from anyimputation which might as unjustly as scandalously arise, if the facts ofthat black hour ever became known. Ever became known? The thought thatthere might be some human eye which had seen, which knew, sent a shiverthrough him.

"I would give my life a thousand times rather than that," he said aloudto the swift-flowing river. His head sank on his breast. His lipsmurmured in prayer:

"But be merciful to me, Thou just Judge of Israel, for Thou hast made me,and Thou knowest whereof I am made. Here will I dedicate my life to Theefor the land's sake. Not for my soul's sake, O my God! If it be Thywill, let my soul be cast away; but for the soul of him whose body Islew, and for his land, let my life be the long sacrifice."

Dreams he had had the night before—terrible dreams, which he could neverforget; dreams of a fugitive being hunted through the world, escaping andeluding, only to be hemmed in once more; on and on till he grew grey andgaunt, and the hunt suddenly ended in a great morass, into which heplunged with the howling world behind him. The grey, dank mists camedown on him, his footsteps sank deeper and deeper, and ever the cries, asof damned spirits, grew in his ears. Mocking shapes flitted past him,the wings of obscene birds buffeted him, the morass grew up about him;and now it was all a red moving mass like a dead sea heaving about him.With a moan of agony he felt the dolorous flood above his shoulders, andthen a cry pierced the gloom and the loathsome misery, and a voice heknew called to him, "David, David, I am coming!" and he had awaked withthe old hallucination of his uncle's voice calling to him in the dawn.

It came to him now as he sat by the water-side, and he raised his face tothe sun and to the world. The idlers had left him alone; none werestaring at him now. They were all intent on their own business, each manlabouring after his kind. He heard the voice of a riverman as he toiledat a rope standing on the corn that filled his ghiassa from end to end,from keel to gunwale. The man was singing a wild chant of cheerfullabour, the soul of the hard-smitten of the earth rising above the rackand burden of the body:

"O, the garden where to-day we sow and to-morrow we reap!
O, the sakkia turning by the garden walls;
O, the onion-field and the date-tree growing,
And my hand on the plough-by the blessing of God;
Strength of my soul, O my brother, all's well!"

The meaning of the song got into his heart. He pressed his hand to hisbreast with a sudden gesture. It touched something hard. It was hisflute. Mechanically he had put it in his pocket when he dressed in themorning. He took it out and looked at it lovingly. Into it he hadpoured his soul in the old days—days, centuries away, it seemed now. Itshould still be the link with the old life. He rose and walked towardshis home again. The future spread clearly before him. Rapine, murder,tyranny, oppression, were round him on every side, and the ruler of theland called him to his counsels. Here a great duty lay—his life forthis land, his life, and his love, and his faith. He would expiate hiscrime and his sin, the crime of homicide for which he alone wasresponsible, the sin of secrecy for which he and another wereresponsible. And that other? If only there had been but one wordof understanding between them before she left!

At the door of his house stood the American whom he had met at thecitadel yesterday-it seemed a hundred years ago.

"I've got a letter for you," Lacey said. "The lady's aunt and herselfare cousins of mine more or less removed, and originally at home in theU. S. A. a generation ago. Her mother was an American. She didn't knowyour name—Miss Hylda Maryon, I mean. I told her, but there wasn't timeto put it on." He handed over the unaddressed envelope.

David opened the letter, and read:

"I have seen the papers. I do not understand what has happened, but Iknow that all is well. If it were not so, I would not go. That is thetruth. Grateful I am, oh, believe me! So grateful that I do not yetknow what is the return which I must make. But the return will be made.I hear of what has come to you—how easily I might have destroyed all!My thoughts blind me. You are great and good; you will know at leastthat I go because it is the only thing to do. I fly from the storm witha broken wing. Take now my promise to pay what I owe in the hour Fatewills—or in the hour of your need. You can trust him who brings this toyou; he is a distant cousin of my own. Do not judge him by his odd andfoolish words. They hide a good character, and he has a strong nature.He wants work to do. Can you give it? Farewell."

David put the letter in his pocket, a strange quietness about his heart.

He scarcely realised what Lacey was saying. "Great girl that. Troubledabout something in England, I guess. Going straight back."

David thanked him for the letter. Lacey became red in the face. Hetried to say something, but failed. "Thee wishes to say something to me,friend?" asked David.

"I'm full up; I can't speak. But, say—"

"I am going to the Palace now. Come back at noon if you will."

He wrung David's hand in gratitude. "You're going to do it. You'regoing to do it. I see it. It's a great game—like Abe Lincoln's. Say,let me black your boots while you're doing it, will you?"

David pressed his hand.



"To-day has come the fulfilment of my dream, Faith. I am given to my appointed task; I am set on a road of life in which there is no looking back. My dreams of the past are here begun in very truth and fact. When, in the night, I heard Uncle Benn calling, when in the Meeting-house voices said, 'Come away, come away, and labour, thou art idle,' I could hear my heart beat in the ardour to be off. Yet I knew not whither. Now I know.

"Last night the Prince Pasha called me to his Council, made me adviser, confidant, as one who has the ear of his captain—after he had come to terms with me upon that which Uncle Benn left of land and gold. Think not that he tempted me.

"Last night I saw favourites look upon me with hate because of Kaid's favour, though the great hall was filled with show of cheerful splendour, and men smiled and feasted. To-day I know that in the Palace where I was summoned to my first: duty with the Prince, every step I took was shadowed, every motion recorded, every look or word noted and set down. I have no fear of them. They are not subtle enough for the unexpected acts of honesty in the life of a true man. Yet I do not wonder men fail to keep honest in the midst of this splendour, where all is strife as to who shall have the Prince's favour; who shall enjoy the fruits of bribery, backsheesh, and monopoly; who shall wring from the slave and the toil-ridden fellah the coin his poor body mints at the corvee, in his own taxed fields of dourha and cucumbers.

"Is this like anything we ever dreamed at Hamley, Faith? Yet here am I set, and here shall I stay till the skein be ravelled out. Soon I shall go into the desert upon a mission to the cities of the South, to Dongola, Khartoum, and Darfur and beyond; for there is trouble yonder, and war is near, unless it is given to me to bring peace. So I must bend to my study of Arabic, which I am thankful I learned long ago. And I must not forget to say that I shall take with me on my journey that faithful Muslim Ebn Ezra. Others I shall take also, but of them I shall write hereafter.

"I shall henceforth be moving in the midst of things which I was taught to hate. I pray that I may not hate them less as time goes on. To-morrow I shall breathe the air of intrigue, shall hear footsteps of spies behind me wherever I go; shall know that even the roses in the garden have ears; that the ground under my feet will telegraph my thoughts. Shall I be true? Shall I at last whisper, and follow, and evade, believe in no one, much less in myself, steal in and out of men's confidences to use them for my own purposes? Does any human being know what he can bear of temptation or of the daily pressure of the life around him? what powers of resistance are in his soul? how long the vital energy will continue to throw off the never-ending seduction, the freshening force of evil? Therein lies the power of evil, that it is ever new, ever fortified by continuous conquest and achievements. It has the rare fire of aggression; is ever more upon the offence than upon the defence; has, withal, the false lure of freedom from restraint, the throbbing force of sympathy.

"Such things I dreamed not of in Soolsby's but upon the hill, Faith, though, indeed, that seemed a time of trial and sore-heartedness. How large do small issues seem till we have faced the momentous things! It is true that the larger life has pleasures and expanding capacities; but it is truer still that it has perils, events which try the soul as it is never tried in the smaller life—unless, indeed, the soul be that of the Epicurean. The Epicurean I well understand, and in his way I might have walked with a wicked grace. I have in me some hidden depths of luxury, a secret heart of pleasure, an understanding for the forbidden thing. I could have walked the broad way with a laughing heart, though, in truth, habit of mind and desire have kept me in the better path. But offences must come, and woe to him from whom the offence cometh! I have begun now, and only now, to feel the storms that shake us to our farthest cells of life. I begin to see how near good is to evil; how near faith is to unfaith; and how difficult it is to judge from actions only; how little we can know to-day what we shall feel tomorrow. Yet one must learn to see deeper, to find motive, not in acts that shake the faith, but in character which needs no explanation, which—"

He paused, disturbed. Then he raised his head, as though not consciousof what was breaking the course of his thoughts. Presently he realised alow, hurried knocking at his door. He threw a hand over his eyes, andsprang up. An instant later the figure of a woman, deeply veiled, stoodwithin the room, beside the table where he had been writing. There wassilence as they faced each other, his back against the door.

"Oh, do you not know me?" she said at last, and sank into the chairwhere he had been sitting.

The question was unnecessary, and she knew it was so; but she could notbear the strain of the silence. She seemed to have risen out of theletter he had been writing; and had he not been writing of her—of whatconcerned them both? How mean and small-hearted he had been, to havethought for an instant that she had not the highest courage, though ingoing she had done the discreeter, safer thing. But she had come—shehad come!

All this was in his eyes, though his face was pale and still. He wasalmost rigid with emotion, for the ancient habit of repose and self-command of the Quaker people was upon him.

"Can you not see—do you not know?" she repeated, her back upon him now,her face still veiled, her hands making a swift motion of distress.

"Has thee found in the past that thee is so soon forgotten?"

"Oh, do not blame me!" She raised her veil suddenly, and showed a faceas pale as his own, and in the eyes a fiery brightness. "I did not know.It was so hard to come—do not blame me. I went to Alexandria—I feltthat I must fly; the air around me seemed full of voices crying out. Didyou not understand why I went?"

"I understand," he said, coming forward slowly. "Thee should not havereturned. In the way I go now the watchers go also."

"If I had not come, you would never have understood," she answeredquickly. "I am not sorry I went. I was so frightened, so shaken. Myonly thought was to get away from the terrible Thing. But I should havebeen sorry all my life long had I not come back to tell you what I feel,and that I shall never forget. All my life I shall be grateful. Youhave saved me from a thousand deaths. Ah, if I could give you but onelife! Yet—yet—oh, do not think but that I would tell you the wholetruth, though I am not wholly truthful. See, I love my place in theworld more than I love my life; and but for you I should have lost all."

He made a protesting motion. "The debt is mine, in truth. But for you Ishould never have known what, perhaps—" He paused.

His eyes were on hers, gravely speaking what his tongue faltered to say.She looked and looked, but did not understand. She only saw troubleddepths, lighted by a soul of kindling purpose. "Tell me," she said,awed.

"Through you I have come to know—" He paused again. What he was goingto say, truthful though it was, must hurt her, and she had been sorelyhurt already. He put his thoughts more gently, more vaguely.

"By what happened I have come to see what matters in life. I was behindthe hedge. I have broken through upon the road. I know my goal now.The highway is before me."

She felt the tragedy in his words, and her voice shook as she spoke. "Iwish I knew life better. Then I could make a better answer. You are onthe road, you say. But I feel that it is a hard and cruel road—oh, Iunderstand that at least! Tell me, please, tell me the whole truth. Youare hiding from me what you feel. I have upset your life, have I not?You are a Quaker, and Quakers are better than all other Christian people,are they not? Their faith is peace, and for me, you—" She covered herface with her hands for an instant, but turned quickly and looked him inthe eyes: "For me you put your hand upon the clock of a man's life, andstopped it."

She got to her feet with a passionate gesture, but he put a hand gentlyupon her arm, and she sank back again. "Oh, it was not you; it was I whodid it!" she said. "You did what any man of honour would have done,what a brother would have done."

"What I did is a matter for myself only," he responded quickly. "Had Inever seen your face again it would have been the same. You were theoccasion; the thing I did had only one source, my own heart and mind.There might have been another way; but for that way, or for the way I didtake, you could not be responsible."

"How generous you are!" Her eyes swam with tears; she leaned over thetable where he had been writing, and the tears dropped upon his letter.Presently she realised this, and drew back, then made as though to drythe tears from the paper with her handkerchief. As she did so the wordsthat he had written met her eye: "'But offences must come, and woe to himfrom whom the offence cometh!' I have begun now, and only now, to feelthe storms that shake us to our farthest cells of life."

She became very still. He touched her arm and said heavily: "Come away,come away."

She pointed to the words she had read. "I could not help but see, andnow I know what this must mean to you."

"Thee must go at once," he urged. "Thee should not have come. Thee wassafe—none knew. A few hours and it would all have been far behind. Wemight never have met again."

Suddenly she gave a low, hysterical laugh. "You think you hide the realthing from me. I know I'm ignorant and selfish and feeble-minded, but Ican see farther than you think. You want to tell the truth about—aboutit, because you are honest and hate hiding things, because you want to bepunished, and so pay the price. Oh, I can understand! If it were notfor me you would not. . . . " With a sudden wild impulse she got toher feet. "And you shall not," she cried. "I will not have it." Colourcame rushing to her cheeks.

"I will not have it. I will not put myself so much in your debt. I willnot demand so much of you. I will face it all. I will stand alone."

There was a touch of indignation in her voice. Somehow she seemed movedto anger against him. Her hands were clasped at her side rigidly, herpulses throbbing. He stood looking at her fixedly, as though trying torealise her. His silence agitated her still further, and she spokeexcitedly:

"I could have, would have, killed him myself without a moment's regret.He had planned, planned—ah, God, can you not see it all! I would havetaken his life without a thought. I was mad to go upon such anadventure, but I meant no ill. I had not one thought that I could nothave cried out from the housetops, and he had in his heart—he had whatyou saw. But you repent that you killed him—by accident, it was byaccident. Do you realise how many times others have been trapped by himas was I? Do you not see what he was—as I see now? Did he not say asmuch to me before you came, when I was dumb with terror? Did he not makeme understand what his whole life had been? Did I not see in a flash thewomen whose lives he had spoiled and killed? Would I have had pity?Would I have had remorse? No, no, no! I was frightened when it wasdone, I was horrified, but I was not sorry; and I am not sorry. It wasto be. It was thetrue end to his vileness. Ah!"

She shuddered, and buried her face in her hands for a moment, then wenton: "I can never forgive myself for going to the Palace with him. I wasmad for experience, for mystery; I wanted more than the ordinary share ofknowledge. I wanted to probe things. Yet I meant no wrong. I thoughtthen nothing of which I shall ever be ashamed. But I shall always beashamed because I knew him, because he thought that I—oh, if I were aman, I should be glad that I had killed him, for the sake of all honestwomen!"

He remained silent. His look was not upon her, he seemed lost in adream; but his face was fixed in trouble.

She misunderstood his silence. "You had the courage, the impulse to—todo it," she said keenly; "you have not the courage to justify it. I willnot have it so.

"I will tell the truth to all the world. I will not shrink I shrankyesterday because I was afraid of the world; to-day I will face it, Iwill—"

She stopped suddenly, and another look flashed into her face. Presentlyshe spoke in a different tone; a new light had come upon her mind. "ButI see," she added. "To tell all is to make you the victim, too, of whathe did. It is in your hands; it is all in your hands; and I cannot speakunless—unless you are ready also."

There was an unintended touch of scorn in her voice. She had beentroubled and tried beyond bearing, and her impulsive nature revolted athis silence. She misunderstood him, or, if she did not whollymisunderstand him, she was angry at what she thought was a needlessremorse or sensitiveness. Did not the man deserve his end?

"There is only one course to pursue," he rejoined quietly, "and that isthe course we entered upon last night. I neither doubted yourself noryour courage. Thee must not turn back now. Thee must not alter thecourse which was your own making, and the only course which thee could,or I should, take. I have planned my life according to the word I gaveyou. I could not turn back now. We are strangers, and we must remainso. Thee will go from here now, and we must not meet again. I am—"

"I know who you are," she broke in. "I know what your religion is; thatfighting and war and bloodshed is a sin to you."

"I am of no family or place in England," he went on calmly. "I come ofyeoman and trading stock; I have nothing in common with people of rank.Our lines of life will not cross. It is well that it should be so. Asto what happened—that which I may feel has nothing to do with whether Iwas justified or no. But if thee has thought that I have repented doingwhat I did, let that pass for ever from your mind. I know that I shoulddo the same, yes, even a hundred times. I did according to my nature.Thee must not now be punished cruelly for a thing thee did not do.Silence is the only way of safety or of justice. We must not speak ofthis again. We must each go our own way."

Her eyes were moist. She reached out a hand to him timidly. "Oh,forgive me," she added brokenly, "I am so vain, so selfish, and thatmakes one blind to the truth. It is all clearer now. You have shown methat I was right in my first impulse, and that is all I can say formyself. I shall pray all my life that it will do you no harm in theend."

She remained silent, for a moment adjusting her veil, preparing to go.Presently she spoke again: "I shall always want to know about you—whatis happening to you. How could it be otherwise?"

She was half realising one of the deepest things in existence, that theclosest bond between two human beings is a bond of secrecy upon a thingwhich vitally, fatally concerns both or either. It is a power at oncemalevolent and beautiful. A secret like that of David and Hylda will doin a day what a score of years could not accomplish, will insinuateconfidences which might never be given to the nearest or dearest. Inneither was any feeling of the heart begotten by their experiences; andyet they had gone deeper in each other's lives than any one either hadknown in a lifetime. They had struck a deeper note than love orfriendship. They had touched the chord of a secret and mutual experiencewhich had gone so far that their lives would be influenced by it for everafter. Each understood this in a different way.

Hylda looked towards the letter lying on the table. It had raised in hermind, not a doubt, but an undefined, undefinable anxiety. He saw theglance, and said: "I was writing to one who has been as a sister to me.She was my mother's sister though she is almost as young as I. Her nameis Faith. There is nothing there of what concerns thee and me, though itwould make no difference if she knew." Suddenly a thought seemed tostrike him. "The secret is of thee and me. There is safety. If itbecame another's, there might be peril. The thing shall be between usonly, for ever?"

"Do you think that I—"

"My instinct tells me a woman of sensitive mind might one day, out of anunmerciful honesty, tell her husband—"

"I am not married-"

"But one day—"

She interrupted him. "Sentimental egotism will not rule me. Tell me,"she added, "tell me one thing before I go. You said that your course wasset. What is it?"

"I remain here," he answered quietly. "I remain in the service of Prince

"It is a dreadful government, an awful service—" "That is why I stay."

"You are going to try and change things here—you alone?"

"I hope not alone, in time."

"You are going to leave England, your friends, your family, your place—in Hamley, was it not? My aunt has read of you—my cousin—" she paused.

"I had no place in Hamley. Here is my place. Distance has little to dowith understanding or affection. I had an uncle here in the East fortwenty-five years, yet I knew him better than all others in the world.Space is nothing if minds are in sympathy. My uncle talked to me overseas and lands. I felt him, heard him speak."

"You think that minds can speak to minds, no matter what the distance—real and definite things?"

"If I were parted from one very dear to me, I would try to say to him orher what was in my mind, not by written word only, but by the flyingthought."

She sat down suddenly, as though overwhelmed. "Oh, if that werepossible!" she said. "If only one could send a thought like that!"Then with an impulse, and the flicker of a sad smile, she reached out ahand. "If ever in the years to come you want to speak to me, will youtry to make me understand, as your uncle did with you?"

"I cannot tell," he answered. "That which is deepest within us obeysonly the laws of its need. By instinct it turns to where help lies,as a wild deer, fleeing, from captivity, makes for the veldt and thewatercourse."

She got to her feet again. "I want to pay my debt," she said solemnly."It is a debt that one day must be paid—so awful—so awful!" A swiftchange passed over her. She shuddered, and grew white. "I said bravewords just now," she added in a hoarse whisper, "but now I see him lyingthere cold and still, and you stooping over him. I see you touch hisbreast, his pulse. I see you close his eyes. One instant full of thepulse of life, the next struck out into infinite space. Oh, I shallnever—how can I ever-forget!" She turned her head away from him, thencomposed herself again, and said quietly, with anxious eyes: "Why wasnothing said or done? Perhaps they are only waiting. Perhaps they know.Why was it announced that he died in his bed at home?"

"I cannot tell. When a man in high places dies in Egypt, it may be onedeath or another. No one inquires too closely. He died in Kaid Pasha'sPalace, where other men have died, and none has inquired too closely.To-day they told me at the Palace that his carriage was seen to leavewith himself and Mizraim the Chief Eunuch. Whatever the object, he wassecretly taken to his house from the Palace, and his brother Nahoumseized upon his estate in the early morning.

"I think that no one knows the truth. But it is all in the hands of God.
We can do nothing more. Thee must go. Thee should not have come. In
England thee will forget, as thee should forget. In Egypt I shall
remember, as I should remember."

"Thee," she repeated softly. "I love the Quaker thee. My grandmotherwas an American Quaker. She always spoke like that. Will you not usethee and thou in speaking to me, always?"

"We are not likely to speak together in any language in the future," heanswered. "But now thee must go, and I will—"

"My cousin, Mr. Lacey, is waiting for me in the garden," she answered."I shall be safe with him." She moved towards the door. He caught thehandle to turn it, when there came the noise of loud talking, and thesound of footsteps in the court-yard. He opened the door slightly andlooked out, then closed it quickly. "It is Nahoum Pasha," he said."Please, the other room," he added, and pointed to a curtain. "There isa window leading on a garden. The garden-gate opens on a street leadingto the Ezbekiah Square and your hotel."

"But, no, I shall stay here," she said. She drew down her veil, thentaking from her pocket another, arranged it also, so that her face washidden.

"Thee must go," he said—"go quickly." Again he pointed.

"I will remain," she rejoined, with determination, and seated herself ina chair.



There was a knocking at the door. David opened it. Nahoum Pasha steppedinside, and stood still a moment looking at Hylda. Then he made lowsalutation to her, touched his hand to his lips and breast salutingDavid, and waited.

"What is thy business, pasha?" asked David quietly, and motioned towardsa chair.

"May thy path be on the high hills, Saadat-el-basha. I come for a favourat thy hands." Nahoum sat down. "What favour is mine to give to NahoumPasha?"

"The Prince has given thee supreme place—it was mine but yesterday. Itis well. To the deserving be the fruits of deserving."

"Is merit, then, so truly rewarded here?" asked David quietly.

"The Prince saw merit at last when he chose your Excellency forcouncillor."

"How shall I show merit, then, in the eyes of Nahoum Pasha?"

"Even by urging the Prince to give me place under him again. Not asheretofore—that is thy place—yet where it may be. I have capacity.I can aid thee in the great task. Thou wouldst remake our Egypt—and myheart is with you. I would rescue, not destroy. In years gone by Itried to do good to this land, and I failed. I was alone. I had not thestrength to fight the forces around me. I was overcome. I had toolittle faith. But my heart was with the right—I am an Armenian and aChristian of the ancient faith. I am in sorrow. Death has humbled me.My brother Foorgat Bey—may flowers bloom for ever on his grave!—he isdead,"—his eyes were fixed on those of David, as with a perfectlyassured candour—"and my heart is like an empty house. But man must notbe idle and live—if Kaid lets me live. I have riches. Are notFoorgat's riches mine, his Palace, his gardens, his cattle, and hisplantations, are they not mine? I may sit in the court-yard and hear thesingers, may listen to the tale-tellers by the light of the moon; I mayhear the tales of Al-Raschid chanted by one whose tongue never falters,and whose voice is like music; after the manner of the East I may givebread and meat to the poor at sunset; I may call the dancers to thefeast. But what comfort shall it give? I am no longer a youth. I wouldwork. I would labour for the land of Egypt, for by work shall we fulfilourselves, redeem ourselves. Saadat, I would labour, but my master hastaken away from me the anvil, the fire, and the hammer, and I sit withoutthe door like an armless beggar. What work to do in Egypt save to helpthe land, and how shall one help, save in the Prince's service? Therecan be no reform from outside. If I laboured for better things outsideKaid's Palace, how long dost thou think I should escape the Nile, or thediamond-dust in my coffee? The work which I did, is it not so that it,with much more, falls now to thy hands, Saadat, with a confidence fromKaid that never was mine?"

"I sought not the office."

"Have I a word of blame? I come to ask for work to do with thee. Do Inot know Prince Kaid? He had come to distrust us all. As stale waterwere we in his taste. He had no pleasure in us, and in our deeds hefound only stones of stumbling. He knew not whom to trust. One by onewe all had yielded to ceaseless intrigue and common distrust of eachother, until no honest man was left; till all were intent to save theirlives by holding power; for in this land to lose power is to lose life.No man who has been in high place, has had the secrets of the Palace andthe ear of the Prince, lives after he has lost favour. The Prince, forhis safety, must ensure silence, and the only silence in Egypt is thegrave. In thee, Saadat, Kaid has found an honest man. Men will callthee mad, if thou remainest honest, but that is within thine own bosomand with fate. For me, thou hast taken my place, and more. Malaish, itis the decree of fate, and I have no anger. I come to ask thee to savemy life, and then to give me work."

"How shall I save thy life?"

"By reconciling the Effendina to my living, and then by giving meservice, where I shall be near to thee; where I can share with thee,though it be as the ant beside the beaver, the work of salvation inEgypt. I am rich since my brother was—" He paused; no covert look wasin his eyes, no sign of knowledge, nothing but meditation and sorrowfulfrankness—"since Foorgat passed away in peace, praise be to God! He layon his bed in the morning, when one came to wake him, like a sleepingchild, no sign of the struggle of death upon him."

A gasping sound came from the chair where Hylda sat; but he took nonotice. He appeared to be unconscious of David's pain-drawn face, as hesat with hands upon his knees, his head bent forward listening, as thoughlost to the world.

"So did Foorgat, my brother, die while yet in the fulness of his manhood,life beating high in his veins, with years before him to waste. He was apleasure-lover, alas! he laid up no treasure of work accomplished; and soit was meet that he should die as he lived, in a moment of ease. Andalready he is forgotten. It is the custom here. He might have died bydiamond-dust, and men would have set down their coffee-cups in surprise,and then would have forgotten; or he might have been struck down by thehand of an assassin, and, unless it was in the Palace, none would havepaused to note it. And so the sands sweep over his steps upon the shoreof time."

After the first exclamation of horror, Hylda had sat rigid, listeningas though under a spell. Through her veil she gazed at Nahoum with acramping pain at her heart, for he seemed ever on the verge of the truthshe dreaded; and when he spoke the truth, as though unconsciously, shefelt she must cry out and rush from the room. He recalled to her thescene in the little tapestried room as vividly as though it was therebefore her eyes, and it had for the moment all the effect of a hideousnightmare. At last, however, she met David's eyes, and they guided her,for in them was a steady strength and force which gave her confidence.At first he also had been overcome inwardly, but his nerves were cool,his head was clear, and he listened to Nahoum, thinking out his coursemeanwhile.

He owed this man much. He had taken his place, and by so doing hadplaced his life in danger. He had killed the brother upon the same daythat he had dispossessed the favourite of office; and the debt was heavy.In office Nahoum had done after his kind, after the custom of the placeand the people; and yet, as it would seem, the man had had stirringswithin him towards a higher path. He, at any rate, had not amassedriches out of his position, and so much could not be said of any otherservant of the Prince Pasha. Much he had heard of Nahoum's powerfulwill, hidden under a genial exterior, and behind his friendly, smilingblue eyes. He had heard also of cruelty—of banishment, and of enemiesremoved from his path suddenly, never to be seen again; but, on thewhole, men spoke with more admiration of him than of any other publicservant, Armenian Christian in a Mahommedan country though he was. Thatvery day Kaid had said that if Nahoum had been less eager to control theState, he might still have held his place. Besides, the man was aChristian—of a mystic, half-legendary, obscure Christianity; yet havingin his mind the old faith, its essence and its meaning, perhaps. Mightnot this Oriental mind, with that faith, be a power to redeem the land?It was a wonderful dream, in which he found the way, as he thought, toatone somewhat to this man for a dark injury done.

When Nahoum stopped speaking David said: "But if I would have it, if itwere well that it should be, I doubt I have the power to make it so."

"Saadat-el-bdsha, Kaid believes in thee to-day; he will not believeto-morrow if thou dost remain without initiative. Action, howeverstartling, will be proof of fitness. His Highness shakes a long spear.Those who ride with him must do battle with the same valour. Excellency,I have now great riches—since Death smote Foorgat Bey in the forehead"—still his eyes conveyed no meaning, though Hylda shrank back—"and Iwould use them for the good thou wouldst do here. Money will be needed,and sufficient will not be at thy hand-not till new ledgers be opened,new balances struck."

He turned to Hylda quietly, and with a continued air of innocence said:"Shall it not be so-madame? Thou, I doubt not, are of his kin. It wouldseem so, though I ask pardon if it be not so—wilt thou not urge hisExcellency to restore me to Kaid's favour? I know little of the English,though I know them humane and honest; but my brother, Foorgat Bey, hewas much among them, lived much in England, was a friend to many greatEnglish. Indeed, on the evening that he died I saw him in the gallery ofthe banquet-room with an English lady—can one be mistaken in an Englishface? Perhaps he cared for her; perhaps that was why he smiled as he layupon his bed, never to move again. Madame, perhaps in England thou maysthave known my brother. If that is so, I ask thee to speak for me to hisExcellency. My life is in danger, and I am too young to go as my brotherwent. I do not wish to die in middle age, as my brother died."

He had gone too far. In David's mind there was no suspicion that Nahoumknew the truth. The suggestion in his words had seemed natural; but,from the first, a sharp suspicion was in the mind of Hylda, and his lastwords had convinced her that if Nahoum did not surely know the truth, hesuspected it all too well. Her instinct had pierced far; and as sherealised his suspicions, perhaps his certainty, and heard his words ofcovert insult, which, as she saw, David did not appreciate, anger anddetermination grew in her. Yet she felt that caution must mark herwords, and that nothing but danger lay in resentment. She felt theeverlasting indignity behind the quiet, youthful eyes, the determinedpower of the man; but she saw also that, for the present, the courseNahoum suggested was the only course to take. And David must not evenfeel the suspicion in her own mind, that Nahoum knew or suspected thetruth. If David thought that Nahoum knew, the end of all would come atonce. It was clear, however, that Nahoum meant to be silent, or he wouldhave taken another course of action. Danger lay in every direction, but,to her mind, the least danger lay in following Nahoum's wish.

She slowly raised her veil, showing a face very still now, with eyes assteady as David's. David started at her action, he thought it rash; butthe courage of it pleased him, too.

"You are not mistaken," she said slowly in French; "your brother wasknown to me. I had met him in England. It will be a relief to all hisfriends to know that he passed away peacefully." She looked him in theeyes determinedly. "Monsieur Claridge is not my kinsman, but he is myfellow-countryman. If you mean well by monsieur, your knowledge and yourriches should help him on his way. But your past is no guarantee of goodfaith, as you will acknowledge."

He looked her in the eyes with a far meaning. "But I am givingguarantees of good faith now," he said softly. "Will you—not?"

She understood. It was clear that he meant peace, for the moment atleast.

"If I had influence I would advise him to reconcile you to Prince Kaid,"she said quietly, then turned to David with an appeal in her eyes.

David stood up. "I will do what I can," he said. "If thee means as wellby Egypt as I mean by thee, all may be well for all."

"Saadat! Saadat!" said Nahoum, with show of assumed feeling, and madesalutation. Then to Hylda, making lower salutation still, he said: "Thouhast lifted from my neck the yoke. Thou hast saved me from the shadowand the dust. I am thy slave." His eyes were like a child's, wide andconfiding.

He turned towards the door, and was about to open it, when there came aknocking, and he stepped back. Hylda drew down her veil. David openedthe door cautiously and admitted Mizraim the Chief Eunuch. Mizraim'seyes searched the room, and found Nahoum.

"Pasha," he said to Nahoum, "may thy bones never return to dust, nor thelight of thine eyes darken! There is danger."

Nahoum nodded, but did not speak.

"Shall I speak, then?" He paused and made low salutation to David,saying, "Excellency, I am thine ox to be slain."

"Speak, son of the flowering oak," said Nahoum, with a sneer in hisvoice. "What blessing dost thou bring?"

"The Effendina has sent for thee."

Nahoum's eyes flashed. "By thee, lion of Abdin?" The lean, ghastlybeing smiled. "He has sent a company of soldiers and Achmet Pasha."

"Achmet! Is it so? They are here, Mizraim, watcher of the morning?"

"They are at thy palace—I am here, light of Egypt."

"How knewest thou I was here?"

Mizraim salaamed. "A watch was set upon thee this morning early. Thewatcher was of my slaves. He brought the word to me that thou wast herenow. A watcher also was set upon thee, Excellency"—he turned to David."He also was of my slaves. Word was delivered to his Highness that thou"—he turned to Nahoum again—"wast in thy palace, and Achmet Pashawent thither. He found thee not. Now the city is full of watchers, andAchmet goes from bazaar to bazaar, from house to house which thou waswont to frequent—and thou art here."

"What wouldst thou have me do, Mizraim?"

"Thou art here; is it the house of a friend or a foe?" Nahoum did notanswer. His eyes were fixed in thought upon the floor, but he wassmiling. He seemed without fear.

"But if this be the house of a friend, is he safe here?" asked David.

"For this night, it may be," answered Mizraim, "till other watchers beset, who are no slaves of mine. Tonight, here, of all places in Cairo,he is safe; for who could look to find him where thou art who hast takenfrom him his place and office, Excellency—on whom the stars shine forever! But in another day, if my lord Nahoum be not forgiven by theEffendina, a hundred watchers will pierce the darkest corner of thebazaar, the smallest room in Cairo."

David turned to Nahoum. "Peace be to thee, friend. Abide here tillto-morrow, when I will speak for thee to his Highness, and, I trust,bring thee pardon. It shall be so—but I shall prevail," he added, withslow decision; "I shall prevail with him. My reasons shall convince hisHighness."

"I can help thee with great reasons, Saadat," said Nahoum. "Thou shaltprevail. I can tell thee that which will convince Kaid."

While they were speaking, Hylda had sat motionless watching. At firstit seemed to her that a trap had been set, and that David was to be thevictim of Oriental duplicity; but revolt, as she did, from the miserablecreature before them, she saw at last that he spoke the truth.

"Thee will remain under this roof to-night, pasha?" asked David.

"I will stay if thy goodness will have it so," answered Nahoum slowly."It is not my way to hide, but when the storm comes it is well toshelter."

Salaaming low, Mizraim withdrew, his last glance being thrown towardsHylda, who met his look with a repugnance which made her face rigid. Sherose and put on her gloves. Nahoum rose also, and stood watching herrespectfully.

"Thee will go?" asked David, with a movement towards her.

She inclined her head. "We have finished our business, and it is late,"she answered.

David looked at Nahoum. "Thee will rest here, pasha, in peace. In amoment I will return." He took up his hat.

There was a sudden flash of Nahoum's eyes, as though he saw an outcome ofthe intention which pleased him, but Hylda, saw the flash, and her senseswere at once alarmed.

"There is no need to accompany me," she said. "My cousin waits for me."

David opened the door leading into the court-yard. It was dark, save forthe light of a brazier of coals. A short distance away, near the outergate, glowed a star of red light, and the fragrance of a strong cigarcame over.

"Say, looking for me?" said a voice, and a figure moved towards David."Yours to command, pasha, yours to command." Lacey from Chicago held outhis hand.

"Thee is welcome, friend," said David.

"She's ready, I suppose. Wonderful person, that. Stands on her own feetevery time. She don't seem as though she came of the same stock as me,does she?"

"I will bring her if thee will wait, friend."

"I'm waiting." Lacey drew back to the gateway again and leaned againstthe wall, his cigar blazing in the dusk.

A moment later David appeared in the garden again, with the slim,graceful figure of the girl who stood "upon her own feet." David drewher aside for a moment. "Thee is going at once to England?" he asked.

"To-morrow to Alexandria. There is a steamer next day for Marseilles.
In a fortnight more I shall be in England."

"Thee must forget Egypt," he said. "Remembrance is not a thing of thewill," she answered.

"It is thy duty to forget. Thee is young, and it is spring with thee.Spring should be in thy heart. Thee has seen a shadow; but let it notfright thee."

"My only fear is that I may forget," she answered.

"Yet thee will forget."

With a motion towards Lacey he moved to the gate. Suddenly she turned tohim and touched his arm. "You will be a great man herein Egypt," shesaid. "You will have enemies without number. The worst of your enemiesalways will be your guest to-night."

He did not, for a moment, understand. "Nahoum?" he asked. "I take hisplace. It would not be strange; but I will win him to me."

"You will never win him," she answered. "Oh, trust my instinct in this!Watch him. Beware of him." David smiled slightly. "I shall have needto beware of many. I am sure thee does well to caution me. Farewell,"he added.

"If it should be that I can ever help you—" she said, and paused.

"Thee has helped me," he replied. "The world is a desert. Caravans fromall quarters of the sun meet at the cross-roads. One gives the otherfood or drink or medicine, and they move on again. And all grows dimwith time. And the camel-drivers are forgotten; but the cross-roadsremain, and the food and the drink and the medicine and the cattle helpedeach caravan upon the way. Is it not enough?"

She placed her hand in his. It lay there for a moment. "God be withthee, friend," he said.

The next instant Thomas Tilman Lacey's drawling voice broke the silence.

"There's something catching about these nights in Egypt. I suppose it'sthe air. No wind—just the stars, and the ultramarine, and the nothingto do but lay me down and sleep. It doesn't give you the jim-jumps likeMexico. It makes you forget the world, doesn't it? You'd do things herethat you wouldn't do anywhere else."

The gate was opened by the bowab, and the two passed through. David wasstanding by the brazier, his hand held unconsciously over the coals, hiseyes turned towards them. The reddish flame from the fire lit up hisface under the broad-brimmed hat. His head, slightly bowed, was thrustforward to the dusk. Hylda looked at him steadily for a moment. Theireyes met, though hers were in the shade. Again Lacey spoke. "Don't beanxious. I'll see her safe back. Good-bye. Give my love to the girls."

David stood looking at the closed gate with eyes full of thought andwonder and trouble. He was not thinking of the girl. There was nosentimental reverie in his look. Already his mind was engaged inscrutiny of the circ*mstances in which he was set. He realised fully hissituation. The idealism which had been born with him had met its rewardin a labour herculean at the least, and the infinite drudgery of thepractical issues came in a terrible pressure of conviction to his mind.The mind did not shrink from any thought of the dangers in which he wouldbe placed, from any vision of the struggle he must have with intrigue,and treachery and vileness. In a dim, half-realised way he felt thathonesty and truth would be invincible weapons with a people who did notknow them. They would be embarrassed, if not baffled, by a formula oflife and conduct which they could not understand.

It was not these matters that vexed him now, but the underlying forces oflife set in motion by the blow which killed a fellow-man. This fact haddriven him to an act of redemption unparalleled in its intensity andscope; but he could not tell—and this was the thought that shook hisbeing—how far this act itself, inspiring him to a dangerous and immensework in life, would sap the best that was in him, since it must remain asecret crime, for which he could not openly atone. He asked himself ashe stood by the brazier, the bowab apathetically rolling cigarettes athis feet, whether, in the flow of circ*mstance, the fact that he couldnot make open restitution, or take punishment for his unlawful act, wouldundermine the structure of his character. He was on the threshold of hiscareer: action had not yet begun; he was standing like a swimmer on ahigh shore, looking into depths beneath which have never been plumbed bymortal man, wondering what currents, what rocks, lay beneath the surfaceof the blue. Would his strength, his knowledge, his skill, be equal tothe enterprise? Would he emerge safe and successful, or be carried awayby some strong undercurrent, be battered on unseen rocks?

He turned with a calm face to the door behind which sat the displacedfavourite of the Prince, his mind at rest, the trouble gone out of hiseyes.

"Uncle Benn! Uncle Benn!" he said to himself, with a warmth at hisheart as he opened the door and stepped inside.

Nahoum sat sipping coffee. A cigarette was between his fingers. Hetouched his hand to his forehead and his breast as David closed the doorand hung his hat upon a nail. David's servant, Mahommed Hassan, whom hehad had since first he came to Egypt, was gliding from the room—a large,square-shouldered fellow of over six feet, dressed in a plain blue yelek,but on his head the green turban of one who had done a pilgrimage toMecca. Nahoum waved a hand after Mahommed and said:

"Whence came thy servant sadat?"

"He was my guide to Cairo. I picked him from the street."

Nahoum smiled. There was no malice in the smile, only, as it might seem,a frank humour. "Ah, your Excellency used independent judgment. Thouart a judge of men. But does it make any difference that the man is athief and a murderer—a murderer?"

David's eyes darkened, as they were wont to do when he was moved orshocked.

"Shall one only deal, then, with those who have neither stolen nor slain—is that the rule of the just in Egypt?"

Nahoum raised his eyes to the ceiling as though in amiable inquiry, andbegan to finger a string of beads as a nun might tell her paternosters."If that were the rule," he answered, after a moment, "how should any manbe served in Egypt? Hereabouts is a man's life held cheap, else I hadnot been thy guest to-night; and Kaid's Palace itself would be empty, ifevery man in it must be honest. But it is the custom of the place forpolitical errors to be punished by a hidden hand; we do not call itmurder."

"What is murder, friend?"

"It is such a crime as that of Mahommed yonder, who killed—"

David interposed. "I do not wish to know his crime. That is no affairbetween thee and me."

Nahoum fingered his beads meditatively. "It was an affair of thehousetops in his town of Manfaloot. I have only mentioned it because Iknow what view the English take of killing, and how set thou art to havethy household above reproach, as is meet in a Christian home. So, I tookit, would be thy mind—which Heaven fill with light for Egypt's sake!—that thou wouldst have none about thee who were not above reproach,neither liars, nor thieves, nor murderers."

"But thee would serve with me, friend," rejoined David quietly. "Theehas men's lives against thy account."

"Else had mine been against their account."

"Was it not so with Mahommed? If so, according to the custom of theland, then Mahommed is as immune as thou art."

"Saadat, like thee I am a Christian, yet am I also Oriental, and what iscrime with one race is none with another. At the Palace two days pastthou saidst thou hadst never killed a man; and I know that thy religioncondemns killing even in war. Yet in Egypt thou wilt kill, or thou shaltthyself be killed, and thy aims will come to naught. When, as thouwouldst say, thou hast sinned, hast taken a man's life, then thou wiltunderstand. Thou wilt keep this fellow Mahommed, then?"

"I understand, and I will keep him."

"Surely thy heart is large and thy mind great. It moveth above smallthings. Thou dost not seek riches here?"

"I have enough; my wants are few."

"There is no precedent for one in office to withhold his hand from profitand backsheesh."

"Shall we not try to make a precedent?"

"Truthfulness will be desolate—like a bird blown to sea, beating 'gainstit* doom."

"Truth will find an island in the sea."

"If Egypt is that sea, Saadat, there is no island."

David came over close to Nahoum, and looked him in the eyes.

"Surely I can speak to thee, friend, as to one understanding. Thou art aChristian—of the ancient fold. Out of the East came the light. ThyChurch has preserved the faith. It is still like a lamp in the mist andthe cloud in the East. Thou saidst but now that thy heart was with mypurpose. Shall the truth that I would practise here not find an islandin this sea—and shall it not be the soul of Nahoum Pasha?"

"Have I not given my word? Nay, then, I swear it by the tomb of mybrother, whom Death met in the highway, and because he loved the sun,and the talk of men, and the ways of women, rashly smote him out of thegarden of life into the void. Even by his tomb I swear it."

"Hast thou, then, such malice against Death? These things cannot happensave by the will of God."

"And by the hand of man. But I have no cause for revenge. Foorgat diedin his sleep like a child. Yet if it had been the hand of man, PrinceKaid or any other, I would not have held my hand until I had a life forhis."

"Thou art a Christian, yet thou wouldst meet one wrong by another?"

"I am an Oriental." Then, with a sudden change of manner, he added:"But thou hast a Christianity the like of which I have never seen. Iwill learn of thee, Saadat, and thou shalt learn of me also many thingswhich I know. They will help thee to understand Egypt and the placewhere thou wilt be set—if so be my life is saved, and by thy hand."

Mahommed entered, and came to David. "Where wilt thou sleep, Saadat?"he asked.

"The pasha will sleep yonder," David replied, pointing to another room.
"I will sleep here." He laid a hand upon the couch where he sat.

Nahoum rose and, salaaming, followed Mahommed to the other room.

In a few moments the house was still, and remained so for hours. Justbefore dawn the curtain of Nahoum's room was drawn aside, the Armenianentered stealthily, and moved a step towards the couch where David lay.Suddenly he was stopped by a sound. He glanced towards a corner nearDavid's feet. There sat Mahommed watching, a neboot of dom-wood acrosshis knees.

Their eyes remained fixed upon each other for a moment. Then Nahoumpassed back into his bedroom as stealthily as he had come.

Mahommed looked closely at David. He lay with an arm thrown over hishead, resting softly, a moisture on his forehead as on that of a sleepingchild.

"Saadat! Saadat!" said Mahommed softly to the sleeping figure, scarcelyabove his breath, and then with his eyes upon the curtained roomopposite, began to whisper words from the Koran:

"In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful—"



Achmet the Ropemaker was ill at ease. He had been set a task in whichhe had failed. The bright Cairene sun starkly glittering on the Frenchchandeliers and Viennese mirrors, and beating on the brass trays andbraziers by the window, irritated him. He watched the flies on the wallabstractedly; he listened to the early peripatetic salesmen crying theirwares in the streets leading to the Palace; he stroked his cadaverouscheek with yellow fingers; he listened anxiously for a footstep.Presently he straightened himself up, and his fingers ran down the frontof his coat to make sure that it was buttoned from top to bottom. Hegrew a little paler. He was less stoical and apathetic than mostEgyptians. Also he was absurdly vain, and he knew that his vanity wouldreceive rough usage.

Now the door swung open, and a portly figure entered quickly. For solarge a man Prince Kaid was light and subtle in his movements. His facewas mobile, his eye keen and human.

Achmet salaamed low. "The gardens of the First Heaven be thine, and theuttermost joy, Effendina," he said elaborately.

"A thousand colours to the rainbow of thy happiness," answered Kaidmechanically, and seated himself cross-legged on a divan, taking anarghileh from the black slave who had glided ghostlike behind him.

"What hour didst thou find him? Where hast thou placed him?" he added,after a moment.

Achmet salaamed once more. "I have burrowed without ceasing, but theholes are empty, Effendina," he returned, abjectly and nervously.

He had need to be concerned. The reply was full of amazement and anger."Thou hast not found him? Thou hast not brought Nahoum to me?" Kaid'seyes were growing reddish; no good sign for those around him, for anythat crossed him or his purposes.

"A hundred eyes failed to search him out. Ten thousand piastres did notfind him; the kourbash did not reveal him."

Kaid's frown grew heavier. "Thou shalt bring Nahoum to me by midnightto-morrow!"

"But if he has escaped, Effendina?" Achmet asked desperately. He had apeasant's blood; fear of power was ingrained.

"What was thy business but to prevent escape? Son of a Nile crocodile,if he has escaped, thou too shalt escape from Egypt—into Fazougli.Fool, Nahoum is no coward. He would remain. He is in Egypt."

"If he be in Egypt, I will find him, Effendina. Have I ever failed?
When thou hast pointed, have I not brought? Have there not been many,
Effendina? Should I not bring Nahoum, who has held over our heads the

Kaid looked at him meditatively, and gave no answer to the question.
"He reached too far," he muttered. "Egypt has one master only."

The door opened softly and the black slave stole in. His lips moved, butscarce a sound travelled across the room. Kaid understood, and made agesture. An instant afterwards the vast figure of Higli Pasha bulkedinto the room. Again there were elaborate salutations and salaams, andKaid presently said:


"Effendina," answered High, "it is not known how he died. He was in thisPalace alive at night. In the morning he was found in bed at his ownhome."

"There was no wound?"

"None, Effendina."

"The thong?"

"There was no mark, Effendina."


"There was no sign, Effendina."


"Impossible, Effendina. There was not time. He was alive and well hereat the Palace at eleven, and—" Kaid made an impatient gesture. "By thestone in the Kaabah, but it is not reasonable that Foorgat should die inhis bed like a babe and sleep himself into heaven! Fate meant him for aviolent end; but ere that came there was work to do for me. He had agift for scenting treason—and he had treasure." His eyes shut andopened again with a look not pleasant to see. "But since it was that hemust die so soon, then the loan he promised must now be a gift from thedead, if he be dead, if he be not shamming. Foorgat was a dire jester."

"But now it is no jest, Effendina. He is in his grave."

"In his grave! Bismillah! In his grave, dost thou say?"

High's voice quavered. "Yesterday before sunset, Effendina. By Nahoum'sorders."

"I ordered the burial for to-day. By the gates of hell, but who shalldisobey me!"

"He was already buried when the Effendina's orders came," High pleadedanxiously.

"Nahoum should have been taken yesterday," he rejoined, with malice inhis eyes.

"If I had received the orders of the Effendina on the night when the
Effendina dismissed Nahoum—" Achmet said softly, and broke off.

"A curse upon thine eyes that did not see thy duty!" Kaid repliedgloomily. Then he turned to High. "My seal has been put upon Foorgat'sdoors? His treasure-places have been found? The courts have beencommanded as to his estate, the banks—"

"It was too late, Effendina," replied High hopelessly. Kaid got to hisfeet slowly, rage possessing him. "Too late! Who makes it too late whenI command?"

"When Foorgat was found dead, Nahoum at once seized the palace and thetreasures. Then he went to the courts and to the holy men, and claimedsuccession. That was while it was yet early morning. Then he instructedthe banks. The banks hold Foorgat's fortune against us, Effendina."

"Foorgat had turned Mahommedan. Nahoum is a Christian. My will is law.Shall a Christian dog inherit from a true believer? The courts, theWakfs shall obey me. And thou, son of a burnt father, shalt find Nahoum!Kaid shall not be cheated. Foorgat pledged the loan. It is mine. Allahscorch thine eyes!" he added fiercely to Achmet, "but thou shalt findthis Christian gentleman, Nahoum."

Suddenly, with a motion of disgust, he sat down, and taking the stem ofthe narghileh, puffed vigorously in silence. Presently in a red fury hecried: "Go—go—go, and bring me back by midnight Nahoum, and Foorgat'streasures, to the last piastre. Let every soldier be a spy, if thine ownspies fail."

As they turned to go, the door opened again, the black slave appeared,and ushered David into the room. David salaamed, but not low, and stoodstill.

On the instant Kaid changed, The rage left his face. He leaned forwardeagerly, the cruel and ugly look faded slowly from his eyes.

"May thy days of life be as a river with sands of gold, effendi," he saidgently. He had a voice like music. "May the sun shine in thy heart andfruits of wisdom flourish there, Effendina," answered David quietly. Hesaluted the others gravely, and his eyes rested upon Achmet in a waywhich Higli Pasha noted for subsequent gossip.

Kaid pulled at his narghileh for a moment, mumbling good-humouredly tohimself and watching the smoke reel away; then, with half-shut eyes, hesaid to David: "Am I master in Egypt or no, effendi?"

"In ruling this people the Prince of Egypt stands alone," answered David.
"There is no one between him and the people. There is no Parliament."

"It is in my hand, then, to give or to withhold, to make or to break?"Kaid chuckled to have this tribute, as he thought, from a Christian, whodid not blink at Oriental facts, and was honest.

David bowed his head to Kaid's words.

"Then if it be my hand that lifts up or casts down, that rewards or thatpunishes, shall my arm not stretch into the darkest corner of Egypt tobring forth a traitor? Shall it not be so?"

"It belongs to thy power," answered David. "It is the ancient custom ofprinces here. Custom is law, while it is yet the custom."

Kaid looked at him enigmatically for a moment, then smiled grimly—hesaw the course of the lance which David had thrown. He bent his lookfiercely on Achmet and Higli. "Ye have heard. Truth is on his lips.I have stretched out my arm. Ye are my arm, to reach for and gather inNahoum and all that is his." He turned quickly to David again. "I havegiven this hawk, Achmet, till to-morrow night to bring Nahoum to me," heexplained.

"And if he fails—a penalty? He will lose his place?" asked David, withcold humour.

"More than his place," Kaid rejoined, with a cruel smile.

"Then is his place mine, Effendina," rejoined David, with a look whichcould give Achmet no comfort. "Thou will bring Nahoum—thou?" askedKaid, in amazement.

"I have brought him," answered David. "Is it not my duty to know thewill of the Effendina and to do it, when it is just and right?"

"Where is he—where does he wait?" questioned Kaid eagerly.

"Within the Palace—here," replied David. "He awaits his fate in thineown dwelling, Effendina." Kaid glowered upon Achmet. "In the yearswhich Time, the Scytheman, will cut from thy life, think, as thou fastestat Ramadan or feastest at Beiram, how Kaid filled thy plate when thouwast a beggar, and made thee from a dog of a fellah into a pasha. Go tothy dwelling, and come here no more," he added sharply. "I am sick ofthy yellow, sinful face."

Achmet made no reply, but, as he passed beyond the door with Higli, hesaid in a whisper: "Come—to Harrik and the army! He shall be deposed.The hour is at hand." High answered him faintly, however. He had notthe courage of the true conspirator, traitor though he was.

As they disappeared, Kaid made a wide gesture of friendliness to David,and motioned to a seat, then to a narghileh. David seated himself, tookthe stem of a narghileh in his mouth for an instant, then laid it downagain and waited.

"Nahoum—I do not understand," Kaid said presently, his eyes gloating.

"He comes of his own will, Effendina."

"Wherefore?" Kaid could not realise the truth. This truth was notOriental on the face of it. "Effendina, he comes to place his life inthy hands. He would speak with thee."

"How is it thou dost bring him?"

"He sought me to plead for him with thee, and because I knew his peril,
I kept him with me and brought him hither but now."

"Nahoum went to thee?" Kaid's eyes peered abstractedly into the distancebetween the almost shut lids. That Nahoum should seek David, who haddisplaced him from his high office, was scarcely Oriental, when his everycue was to have revenge on his rival. This was a natural sequence to hisdownfall. It was understandable. But here was David safe and sound.Was it, then, some deeper scheme of future vengeance? The Orientalinstinctively pierced the mind of the Oriental. He could have realisedfully the fierce, blinding passion for revenge which had almost overcomeNahoum's calculating mind in the dark night, with his foe in the nextroom, which had driven him suddenly from his bed to fall upon David, onlyto find Mahommed Hassan watching—also with the instinct of the Oriental.

Some future scheme of revenge? Kaid's eyes gleamed red. There would beno future for Nahoum. "Why did Nahoum go to thee?" he asked againpresently.

"That I might beg his life of thee, Highness, as I said," David replied.

"I have not ordered his death."

David looked meditatively at him. "It was agreed between us yesterdaythat I should speak plainly—is it not so?"

Kaid nodded, and leaned back among the cushions.

"If what the Effendina intends is fulfilled, there is no other way butdeath for Nahoum," added David. "What is my intention, effendi?"

"To confiscate the fortune left by Foorgat Bey. Is it not so?"

"I had a pledge from Foorgat—a loan."

"That is the merit of the case, Effendina. I am otherwise concerned.There is the law. Nahoum inherits. Shouldst thou send him to Fazougli,he would still inherit."

"He is a traitor."

"Highness, where is the proof?"

"I know. My friends have disappeared one by one—Nahoum. Lands havebeen alienated from me—Nahoum. My income has declined—Nahoum. I havegiven orders and they have not been fulfilled—Nahoum. Always, alwayssome rumour of assassination, or of conspiracy, or the influence andsecret agents of the Sultan—all Nahoum. He is a traitor. He has grownrich while I borrow from Europe to pay my army and to meet the demands ofthe Sultan."

"What man can offer evidence in this save the Effendina who would profitby his death?"

"I speak of what I know. I satisfy myself. It is enough."

"Highness, there is a better way; to satisfy the people, for whom theelives. None should stand between. Is not the Effendina a father tothem?"

"The people! Would they not say Nahoum had got his due if he wereblotted from their sight?"

"None has been so generous to the poor, so it is said by all. His handhas been upon the rich only. Now, Effendina, he has brought hither thefull amount of all he has received and acquired in thy service. He wouldoffer it in tribute."

Kaid smiled sardonically. "It is a thin jest. When a traitor dies the
State confiscates his goods!"

"Thee calls him traitor. Does thee believe he has ever conspired againstthy life?"

Kaid shrugged his shoulders.

"Let me answer for thee, Effendina. Again and again he has defeatedconspiracy. He has blotted it out—by the sword and other means. He hasbeen a faithful servant to his Prince at least. If he has done after themanner of all others in power here, the fault is in the system, not inthe man alone. He has been a friend to thee, Kaid."

"I hope to find in thee a better."

"Why should he not live?"

"Thou hast taken his place."

"Is it, then, the custom to destroy those who have served thee, when theycease to serve?" David rose to his feet quickly. His face was shiningwith a strange excitement. It gave him a look of exaltation, his lipsquivered with indignation. "Does thee kill because there is silence inthe grave?"

Kaid blew a cloud of smoke slowly. "Silence in the grave is a factbeyond dispute," he said cynically.

"Highness, thee changes servants not seldom," rejoined David meaningly."It may be that my service will be short. When I go, will the long armreach out for me in the burrows where I shall hide?"

Kaid looked at him with ill-concealed admiration. "Thou art anEnglishman, not an Egyptian, a guest, not a subject, and under no lawsave my friendship." Then he added scornfully: "When an Englishman inEngland leaves office, no matter how unfaithful, though he be a friend ofany country save his own, they send him to the House of Lords—or so Iwas told in France when I was there. What does it matter to thee whatchances to Nahoum? Thou hast his place with me. My secrets are thine.They shall all be thine—for years I have sought an honest man. Thou artsafe whether to go or to stay."

"It may be so. I heed it not. My life is as that of a gull—if the windcarry it out to sea, it is lost. As my uncle went I shall go one day.Thee will never do me ill; but do I not know that I shall have foes atevery corner, behind every mooshrabieh screen, on every mastaba, in thepasha's court-yard, by every mosque? Do I not know in what peril I serveEgypt?"

"Yet thou wouldst keep alive Nahoum! He will dig thy grave deep, andwait long."

"He will work with me for Egypt, Effendina." Kaid's face darkened.

"What is thy meaning?"

"I ask Nahoum's life that he may serve under me, to do those things thouand I planned yesterday—the land, taxation, the army, agriculture, theSoudan. Together we will make Egypt better and greater and richer—thepoor richer, even though the rich be poorer."

"And Kaid—poorer?"

"When Egypt is richer, the Prince is richer, too. Is not the PrinceEgypt? Highness, yesterday—yesterday thee gave me my commission. Ifthee will not take Nahoum again into service to aid me, I must notremain. I cannot work alone."

"Thou must have this Christian Oriental to work with thee?" He looked atDavid closely, then smiled sardonically, but with friendliness to Davidin his eyes. "Nahoum has prayed to work with thee, to be a slave wherehe was master? He says to thee that he would lay his heart upon thealtar of Egypt?" Mordant, questioning humour was in his voice.

David inclined his head.

"He would give up all that is his?"

"It is so, Effendina."

"All save Foorgat's heritage?"

"It belonged to their father. It is a due inheritance."

Kaid laughed sarcastically. "It was got in Mehemet Ali's service."

"Nathless, it is a heritage, Effendina. He would give that fortune backagain to Egypt in work with me, as I shall give of what is mine, and ofwhat I am, in the name of God, the all-merciful!"

The smile faded out of Kaid's face, and wonder settled on it. Whatmanner of man was this? His life, his fortune for Egypt, a country aliento him, which he had never seen till six months ago! What kind of beingwas behind the dark, fiery eyes and the pale, impassioned face? Was hesome new prophet? If so, why should he not have cast a spell uponNahoum? Had he not bewitched himself, Kaid, one of the ablest princessince Alexander or Amenhotep? Had Nahoum, then, been mastered and won?Was ever such power? In how many ways had it not been shown! He hadfought for his uncle's fortune, and had got it at last yesterday withouta penny of backsheesh. Having got his will, he was now ready to givethat same fortune to the good of Egypt—but not to beys and pashas andeunuchs (and that he should have escaped Mizraim was the marvel beyondall others!), or even to the Prince Pasha; but to that which would make"Egypt better and greater and richer—the poor richer, even though therich be poorer!" Kaid chuckled to himself at that. To make the richpoorer would suit him well, so long as he remained rich. And, if richescould be got, as this pale Frank proposed, by less extortion from thefellah and less kourbash, so much the happier for all.

He was capable of patriotism, and this Quaker dreamer had stirred it inhim a little. Egypt, industrial in a real sense; Egypt, paying her ownway without tyranny and loans: Egypt, without corvee, and with an armyhired from a full public purse; Egypt, grown strong and able to resistthe suzerainty and cruel tribute—that touched his native goodness ofheart, so long, in disguise; it appealed to the sense of leadership inhim; to the love of the soil deep in his bones; to regard for the commonpeople—for was not his mother a slave? Some distant nobleness trembledin him, while yet the arid humour of the situation flashed into his eyes,and, getting to his feet, he said to David: "Where is Nahoum?"

David told him, and he clapped his hands. The black slave entered,received an order, and disappeared. Neither spoke, but Kaid's face wasfull of cheerfulness.

Presently Nahoum entered and salaamed low, then put his hand upon histurban. There was submission, but no cringing or servility in hismanner. His blue eyes looked fearlessly before him. His face was notpaler than its wont. He waited for Kaid to speak.

"Peace be to thee," Kaid murmured mechanically.

"And to thee, peace, O Prince," answered Nahoum. "May the feet of Timelinger by thee, and Death pass thy house forgetful."

There was silence for a moment, and then Kaid spoke again. "What are thyproperties and treasure?" he asked sternly.

Nahoum drew forth a paper from his sleeve, and handed it to Kaid withouta word. Kaid glanced at it hurriedly, then said: "This is but nothing.What hast thou hidden from me?"

"It is all I have got in thy service, Highness," he answered boldly.
"All else I have given to the poor; also to spies—and to the army."

"To spies—and to the army?" asked Kaid slowly, incredulously.

"Wilt thou come with me to the window, Effendina?" Kaid, wondering, wentto the great windows which looked on to the Palace square. There, drawnup, were a thousand mounted men as black as ebony, wearing shining whitemetal helmets and fine chain-armour and swords and lances like medievalcrusaders. The horses, too, were black, and the mass made a barbaricdisplay belonging more to another period in the world's history. Thisregiment of Nubians Kaid had recruited from the far south, and hadmaintained at his own expense. When they saw him at the window now,their swords clashed on their thighs and across their breasts, and theyraised a great shout of greeting.

"Well?" asked Kaid, with a ring to the voice. "They are loyal,Effendina, every man. But the army otherwise is honeycombed withtreason. Effendina, my money has been busy in the army paying andbribing officers, and my spies were costly. There has been sedition—conspiracy; but until I could get the full proofs I waited; I could butbribe and wait. Were it not for the money I had spent, there might havebeen another Prince of Egypt."

Kald's face darkened. He was startled, too. He had been taken unawares.
"My brother Harrik—!"

"And I should have lost my place, lost all for which I cared. I had nolove for money; it was but a means. I spent it for the State—for theEffendina, and to keep my place. I lost my place, however, in anotherway."

"Proofs! Proofs!" Kaid's voice was hoarse with feeling.

"I have no proofs against Prince Harrik, no word upon paper. But thereare proofs that the army is seditious, that, at any moment, it mayrevolt."

"Thou hast kept this secret?" questioned Kaid darkly and suspiciously.

"The time had not come. Read, Effendina," he added, handing some papersover.

"But it is the whole army!" said Kaid aghast, as he read. He wasconvinced.

"There is only one guilty," returned Nahoum. Their eyes met. Orientalfatalism met inveterate Oriental distrust and then instinctively Kaid'seyes turned to David. In the eyes of the Inglesi was a different thing.The test of the new relationship had come. Ferocity was in his heart, avitriolic note was in his voice as he said to David, "If this be true—the army rotten, the officers disloyal, treachery under every tunic—bismillah, speak!"

"Shall it not be one thing at a time, Effendina?" asked David. He madea gesture towards Nahoum. Kaid motioned to a door. "Wait yonder," hesaid darkly to Nahoum. As the door opened, and Nahoum disappearedleisurely and composedly, David caught a glimpse of a guard of armedNubians in leopard-skins filed against the white wall of the other room.

"What is thy intention towards Nahoum, Effendina?" David askedpresently.

Kaid's voice was impatient. "Thou hast asked his life—take it; it isthine; but if I find him within these walls again until I give him leave,he shall go as Foorgat went."

"What was the manner of Foorgat's going?" asked David quietly.

"As a wind blows through a court-yard, and the lamp goes out, so he went—in the night. Who can say? Wherefore speculate? He is gone. It isenough. Were it not for thee, Egypt should see Nahoum no more."

David sighed, and his eyes closed for an instant. "Effendina, Nahoum hasproved his faith—is it not so?" He pointed to the documents in Kaid'shands.

A grim smile passed over Kaid's face. Distrust of humanity, incredulity,cold cynicism, were in it. "Wheels within wheels, proofs within proofs,"he said. "Thou hast yet to learn the Eastern heart. When thou seestwhite in the East, call it black, for in an instant it will be black.Malaish, it is the East! Have I not trusted—did I not mean well by all?Did I not deal justly? Yet my justice was but darkness of purpose, thehidden terror to them all. So did I become what thou findest me and dostbelieve me—a tyrant, in whose name a thousand do evil things of which Ineither hear nor know. Proof! When a woman lies in your arms, it is notthe moment to prove her fidelity. Nahoum has crawled back to my feetwith these things, and by the beard of the Prophet they are true!" Helooked at the papers with loathing. "But what his purpose was when hespied upon and bribed my army I know not. Yet, it shall be said, he hasheld Harrik back—Harrik, my brother. Son of Sheitan and slime of theNile, have I not spared Harrik all these years!"

"Hast thou proof, Effendina?"

"I have proof enough; I shall have more soon. To save their lives,
these, these will tell. I have their names here." He tapped the papers.
"There are ways to make them tell. Now, speak, effendi, and tell me what
I shall do to Harrik."

"Wouldst thou proclaim to Egypt, to the Sultan, to the world that thearmy is disloyal? If these guilty men are seized, can the army betrusted? Will it not break away in fear? Yonder Nubians are not enough—a handful lost in the melee. Prove the guilt of him who perverted thearmy and sought to destroy thee. Punish him."

"How shall there be proof save through those whom he has perverted?
There is no writing."

"There is proof," answered David calmly.

"Where shall I find it?" Kaid laughed contemptuously.

"I have the proof," answered David gravely. "Against Harrik?"

"Against Prince Harrik Pasha."

"Thou—what dost thou know?"

"A woman of the Prince heard him give instructions for thy disposal,Effendina, when the Citadel should turns its guns upon Cairo and thePalace. She was once of thy harem. Thou didst give her in marriage,and she came to the harem of Prince Harrik at last. A woman from withoutwho sang to her—a singing girl, an al'mah—she trusted with the paper towarn thee, Effendina, in her name. Her heart had remembrance of thee.Her foster-brother Mahommed Hassan is my servant. Him she told, andMahommed laid the matter before me this morning. Here is a sign by whichthee will remember her, so she said. Zaida she was called here." Hehanded over an amulet which had one red gem in the centre.

Kaid's face had set into fierce resolution, but as he took the amulet hiseyes softened.

"Zaida. Inshallah! Zaida, she was called. She has the truth almost ofthe English. She could not lie ever. My heart smote me concerning her,and I gave her in marriage." Then his face darkened again, and his teethshowed in malice. A demon was roused in him. He might long ago havebanished the handsome and insinuating Harrik, but he had allowed himwealth and safety—and now . . .

His intention was unmistakable.

"He shall die the death," he said. "Is it not so?" he added fiercely toDavid, and gazed at him fixedly. Would this man of peace plead for thetraitor, the would-be fratricide?

"He is a traitor; he must die," answered David slowly.

Kald's eyes showed burning satisfaction. "If he were thy brother, thouwouldst kill him?"

"I would give a traitor to death for the country's sake. There is noother way."

"To-night he shall die."

"But with due trial, Effendina?"

"Trial—is not the proof sufficient?"

"But if he confess, and give evidence himself, and so offer himself todie?"

"Is Harrik a fool?" answered Kaid, with scorn.

If there be a trial and sentence is given, the truth concerning the armymust appear. Is that well? Egypt will shake to its foundations—to thejoy of its enemies."

"Then he shall die secretly."

"The Prince Pasha of Egypt will be called a murderer."

Kaid shrugged his shoulders.

"The Sultan—Europe—is it well?"

"I will tell the truth," Kaid rejoined angrily.

"If the Effendina will trust me, Prince Harrik shall confess his crimeand pay the penalty also."

"What is thy purpose?"

"I will go to his palace and speak with him."

"Seize him?"

"I have no power to seize him, Effendina."

"I will give it. My Nubians shall go also."

"Effendina, I will go alone. It is the only way. There is great dangerto the throne. Who can tell what a night will bring forth?"

"If Harrik should escape—"

"If I were an Egyptian and permitted Harrik to escape, my life would payfor my failure. If I failed, thou wouldst not succeed. If I am to serveEgypt, there must be trust in me from thee, or it were better to pausenow. If I go, as I shall go, alone, I put my life in danger—is it notso?"

Suddenly Kaid sat down again among his cushions. "Inshallah! In thename of God, be it so. Thou art not as other men. There is something inthee above my thinking. But I will not sleep till I see thee again."

"I shall see thee at midnight, Effendina. Give me the ring from thyfinger."

Kaid passed it over, and David put it in his pocket. Then he turned togo.

"Nahoum?" he asked.

"Take him hence. Let him serve thee if it be thy will. Yet I cannotunderstand it. The play is dark. Is he not an Oriental?"

"He is a Christian."

Kaid laughed sourly, and clapped his hands for the slave.

In a moment David and Nahoum were gone. "Nahoum, a Christian!Bismillah!" murmured Kaid scornfully, then fell to pondering darkly overthe evil things he had heard.

Meanwhile the Nubians in their glittering armour waited without in theblistering square.



"Allah hu Achbar! Allah hu Achbar! Ashhadu an la illaha illalla!" Thesweetly piercing, resonant voice of the Muezzin rang far and commandinglyon the clear evening air, and from bazaar and crowded street the faithfulsilently hurried to the mosques, leaving their slippers at the door,while others knelt where the call found them, and touched their foreheadsto the ground.

In his palace by the Nile, Harrik, the half-brother of the Prince Pasha,heard it, and breaking off from conversation with two urgent visitors,passed to an alcove near, dropping a curtain behind him. Kneelingreverently on the solitary furniture of the room—a prayer-rug fromMedina—he lost himself as completely in his devotions as though his lifewere an even current of unforbidden acts and motives.

Cross-legged on the great divan of the room he had left, his less piousvisitors, unable to turn their thoughts from the dark business on whichthey had come, smoked their cigarettes, talking to each other in tones solow as would not have been heard by a European, and with apparentlistlessness.

Their manner would not have indicated that they were weighing matters oflife and death, of treason and infamy, of massacre and national shame.Only the sombre, smouldering fire of their eyes was evidence of thelighted fuse of conspiracy burning towards the magazine. One look ofsurprise had been exchanged when Harrik Pasha left them suddenly—timewas short for what they meant to do; but they were Muslims, and theyresigned themselves.

"The Inglesi must be the first to go; shall a Christian dog rule overus?"

It was Achmet the Ropemaker who spoke, his yellow face wrinkling withmalice, though his voice but murmured hoarsely.

"Nahoum will kill him." Higli Pasha laughed low—it was like the gurgleof water in the narghileh—a voice of good nature and persuasiveness froma heart that knew no virtue. "Bismillah! Who shall read the meaning ofit? Why has he not already killed?"

"Nahoum would choose his own time—after he has saved his life by thewhite carrion. Kaid will give him his life if the Inglesi asks. TheInglesi, he is mad. If he were not mad, he would see to it that Nahoumwas now drying his bones in the sands."

"What each has failed to do for the other shall be done for them,"answered Achmet, a hateful leer on his immobile features. "To-night manythings shall be made right. To-morrow there will be places empty andplaces filled. Egypt shall begin again to-morrow."


Achmet stopped smoking for a moment. "When the khamsin comes, when thecamels stampede, and the children of the storm fall upon the caravan, canit be foretold in what way Fate shall do her work? So but the end be thesame—malaish! We shall be content tomorrow."

Now he turned and looked at his companion as though his mind had chancedon a discovery. "To him who first brings word to a prince who inherits,that the reigning prince is dead, belong honour and place," he said.

"Then shall it be between us twain," said High, and laid his hot palmagainst the cold, snaky palm of the other. "And he to whom the honourfalls shall help the other."

"Aiwa, but it shall be so," answered Achmet, and then they spoke in lowertones still, their eyes on the curtain behind which Harrik prayed.

Presently Harrik entered, impassive, yet alert, his slight, handsomefigure in sharp contrast to the men lounging in the cushions before him,who salaamed as he came forward. The features were finely chiselled, theforehead white and high, the lips sensuous, the eyes fanatical, the lookconcentrated yet abstracted. He took a seat among the cushions, and,after a moment, said to Achmet, in a voice abnormally deep and powerful:"Diaz—there is no doubt of Diaz?"

"He awaits the signal. The hawk flies not swifter than Diaz will act."

"The people—the bazaars—the markets?"

"As the air stirs a moment before the hurricane comes, so the whisper hasstirred them. From one lip to another, from one street to another, fromone quarter to another, the word has been passed—'Nahoum was aChristian, but Nahoum was an Egyptian whose heart was Muslim. Thestranger is a Christian and an Inglesi. Reason has fled from the PrincePasha, the Inglesi has bewitched him. But the hour of deliverancedraweth nigh. Be ready! To-night!' So has the whisper gone."

Harrik's eyes burned. "God is great," he said. "The time has come. TheChristians spoil us. From France, from England, from Austria—it isenough. Kaid has handed us over to the Greek usurers, the Inglesi andthe Frank are everywhere. And now this new-comer who would rule Kaid,and lay his hand upon Egypt like Joseph of old, and bring back Nahoum,to the shame of every Muslim—behold, the spark is to the tinder, itshall burn."

"And the hour, Effendina?"

"At midnight. The guns to be trained on the Citadel, the Palacesurrounded. Kaid's Nubians?"

"A hundred will be there, Effendina, the rest a mile away at theirbarracks." Achmet rubbed his cold palms together in satisfaction.

"And Prince Kaid, Effendina?" asked Higli cautiously.

The fanatical eyes turned away. "The question is foolish—have ye nobrains?" he said impatiently.

A look of malignant triumph flashed from Achmet to High, and he said,scarce above a whisper: "May thy footsteps be as the wings of the eagle,Effendina. The heart of the pomegranate is not redder than our heartsare red for thee. Cut deep into our hearts, and thou shalt find the lastbeat is for thee—and for the Jehad!"

"The Jehad—ay, the Jehad! The time is at hand," answered Harrik,glowering at the two. "The sword shall not be sheathed till we haveredeemed Egypt. Go your ways, effendis, and peace be on you and on allthe righteous worshippers of God!"

As High and Achmet left the palace, the voice of a holy man—admittedeverywhere and treated with reverence—chanting the Koran, camesomnolently through the court-yard: "Bismillah hirrahmah, nirraheem.Elhamdu lillahi sabbila!"

Rocking his body backwards and forwards and dwelling sonorously on eachvowel, the holy man seemed the incarnation of Muslim piety; but as thetwo conspirators passed him with scarce a glance, and made their way to asmall gate leading into the great garden bordering on the Nile, his eyeswatched them sharply. When they had passed through, he turned towardsthe windows of the harem, still chanting. For a long time he chanted.An occasional servant came and went, but his voice ceased not, and hekept his eyes fixed ever on the harem windows.

At last his watching had its reward. Something fluttered from a windowto the ground. Still chanting, he rose and began walking round the greatcourt-yard. Twice he went round, still chanting, but the third time hestooped to pick up a little strip of linen which had fallen from thewindow, and concealed it in his sleeve. Presently he seated himselfa*gain, and, still chanting, spread out the linen in his palm and read thecharacters upon it. For an instant there was a jerkiness to the voice,and then it droned on resonantly again. Now the eyes of the holy manwere fixed on the great gates through which strangers entered, and he wasseated in the way which any one must take who came to the palace doors.

It was almost dark, when he saw the bowab, after repeated knocking,sleepily and grudgingly open the gates to admit a visitor. There seemedto be a moment's hesitation on the bowab's part, but he was presentlyassured by something the visitor showed him, and the latter made his waydeliberately to the palace doors. As the visitor neared the holy man,who chanted on monotonously, he was suddenly startled to hear between thelong-drawn syllables the quick words in Arabic:

"Beware, Saadat! See, I am Mahommed Hassan, thy servant! At midnightthey surround Kaid's palace—Achmet and Higli—and kill the Prince Pasha.Return, Saadat. Harrik will kill thee."

David made no sign, but with a swift word to the faithful MahommedHassan, passed on, and was presently admitted to the palace. As thedoors closed behind him, he would hear the voice of the holy man stillchanting: "Waladalleen—Ameen-Ameen! Waladalleen—Ameen!"

The voice followed him, fainter and fainter, as he passed through thegreat bare corridors with the thick carpets on which the footsteps madeno sound, until it came, soft and undefined, as it were from a greatdistance. Then suddenly there fell upon him a sense of the peril of hisenterprise. He had been left alone in the vast dim hall while a slave,made obsequious by the sight of the ring of the Prince Pasha, sought hismaster. As he waited he was conscious that people were moving aboutbehind the great screens of mooshrabieh which separated this room fromothers, and that eyes were following his every motion. He had gainedeasy ingress to this place; but egress was a matter of some speculation.The doors which had closed behind him might swing one way only! He hadvoluntarily put himself in the power of a man whose fatal secret he knew.He only felt a moment's apprehension, however. He had been moved to comefrom a whisper in his soul; and he had the sure conviction of thepredestinarian that he was not to be the victim of "The Scytheman" beforehis appointed time. His mind resumed its composure, and he watchfullywaited the return of the slave.

Suddenly he was conscious of some one behind him, though he had heard noone approach. He swung round and was met by the passive face of theblack slave in personal attendance on Harrik. The slave did not speak,but motioned towards a screen at the end of the room, and moved towardsit. David followed. As they reached it, a broad panel opened, and theypassed through, between a line of black slaves. Then there was a suddendarkness, and a moment later David was ushered into a room blazing withlight. Every inch of the walls was hung with red curtains. No door wasvisible. He was conscious of this as the panel clicked behind him, andthe folds of the red velvet caught his shoulder in falling. Now he sawsitting on a divan on the opposite side of the room Prince Harrik.

David had never before seen him, and his imagination had fashioned adifferent personality. Here was a combination of intellect, refinement,and savagery. The red, sullen lips stamped the delicate, fanatical facewith cruelty and barbaric indulgence, while yet there was an intensity inthe eyes that showed the man was possessed of an idea which mastered him—a root-thought. David was at once conscious of a complex personality,of a man in whom two natures fought. He understood it. By instinctthe man was a Mahdi, by heredity he was a voluptuary, that strangecommingling of the religious and the evil found in so many criminals.In some far corner of his nature David felt something akin. Therebellion in his own blood against the fine instinct of his Quaker faithand upbringing made him grasp the personality before him. Had he himselfbeen born in these surroundings, under these influences! The thoughtflashed through his mind like lightning, even as he bowed before Harrik,who salaamed and said: "Peace be unto thee!" and motioned him to a seaton a divan near and facing him.

"What is thy business with me, effendi?" asked Harrik.

"I come on the business of the Prince Pasha," answered David.

Harrik touched his fez mechanically, then his breast and lips, and acruel smile lurked at the corners of his mouth as he rejoined:

"The feet of them who wear the ring of their Prince wait at no man'sdoor. The carpet is spread for them. They go and they come as the feetof the doe in the desert. Who shall say, They shall not come; who shallsay, They shall not return!"

Though the words were spoken with an air of ingenuous welcome, David feltthe malignity in the last phrase, and knew that now was come the mostfateful moment of his life. In his inner being he heard the dreadfulchallenge of Fate. If he failed in his purpose with this man, he wouldnever begin his work in Egypt. Of his life he did not think—his lifewas his purpose, and the one was nothing without the other. No other manwould have undertaken so Quixotic an enterprise, none would have exposedhimself so recklessly to the dreadful accidents of circ*mstance. Therehad been other ways to overcome this crisis, but he had rejected them fora course fantastic and fatal when looked at in the light of ordinaryreason. A struggle between the East and the West was here to be foughtout between two wills; between an intellectual libertine steeped inOriental guilt and cruelty and self-indulgence, and a being selfless,human, and in an agony of remorse for a life lost by his hand.

Involuntarily David's eyes ran round the room before he replied. Howmany slaves and retainers waited behind those velvet curtains?

Harrik saw the glance and interpreted it correctly. With a look of darktriumph he clapped his hands. As if by magic fifty black slavesappeared, armed with daggers. They folded their arms and waited likestatues.

David made no sign of discomposure, but said slowly: "Dost thou think Idid not know my danger, Eminence? Do I seem to thee such a fool? I camealone as one would come to the tent of a Bedouin chief whose son one hadslain, and ask for food and safety. A thousand men were mine to command,but I came alone. Is thy guest imbecile? Let them go. I have that tosay which is for Prince Harrik's ear alone."

An instant's hesitation, and Harrik motioned the slaves away. "What isthe private word for my ear?" he asked presently, fingering the stem ofthe narghileh.

"To do right by Egypt, the land of thy fathers and thy land; to do rightby the Prince Pasha, thy brother."

"What is Egypt to thee? Why shouldst thou bring thine insolence here?
Couldst thou not preach in thine own bazaars beyond the sea?"

David showed no resentment. His reply was composed and quiet. "I amcome to save Egypt from the work of thy hands."

"Dog of an unbeliever, what hast thou to do with me, or the work of myhands?"

David held up Kaid's ring, which had lain in his hand. "I come from themaster of Egypt—master of thee, and of thy life, and of all that isthine."

"What is Kaid's message to me?" Harrik asked, with an effort atunconcern, for David's boldness had in it something chilling to hisfierce passion and pride.

"The word of the Effendina is to do right by Egypt, to give thyself tojustice and to peace."

"Have done with parables. To do right by Egypt wherein, wherefore?"
The eyes glinted at David like bits of fiery steel.

"I will interpret to thee, Eminence."

"Interpret." Harrik muttered to himself in rage. His heart was dark,he thirsted for the life of this arrogant Inglesi. Did the fool not seehis end? Midnight was at hand! He smiled grimly.

"This is the interpretation, O Prince! Prince Harrik has conspiredagainst his brother the Prince Pasha, has treacherously seduced officersof the army, has planned to seize Cairo, to surround the Palace and takethe life of the Prince of Egypt. For months, Prince, thee has done this:and the end of it is that thee shall do right ere it be too late. Theeis a traitor to thy country and thy lawful lord."

Harrik's face turned pale; the stem of the narghileh shook in hisfingers. All had been discovered, then! But there was a thing of darkmagic here. It was not a half-hour since he had given the word to strikeat midnight, to surround the Palace, and to seize the Prince Pasha.Achmet—Higli, had betrayed him, then! Who other? No one else knewsave Zaida, and Zaida was in the harem. Perhaps even now his own palacewas surrounded. If it was so, then, come what might, this masterfulInglesi should pay the price. He thought of the den of lions hard by,of the cage of tigers-the menagerie not a thousand feet away. He couldhear the distant roaring now, and his eyes glittered. The Christian tothe wild beasts! That at least before the end. A Muslim would winheaven by sending a Christian to hell.

Achmet—Higli! No others knew. The light of a fateful fanaticism was inhis eyes. David read him as an open book, and saw the madness come uponhim.

"Neither Higli, nor Achmet, nor any of thy fellow-conspirators hasbetrayed thee," David said. "God has other voices to whisper the truththan those who share thy crimes. I have ears, and the air is full ofvoices."

Harrik stared at him. Was this Inglesi, then, with the grey coat,buttoned to the chin, and the broad black hat which remained on his headunlike the custom of the English—was he one of those who saw visions anddreamed dreams, even as himself! Had he not heard last night a voicewhisper through the dark "Harrik, Harrik, flee to the desert! The lionsare loosed upon thee!" Had he not risen with the voice still in his earsand fled to the harem, seeking Zaida, she who had never cringed beforehim, whose beauty he had conquered, but whose face turned from him whenhe would lay his lips on hers? And, as he fled, had he not heard, as itwere, footsteps lightly following him—or were they going before him?Finding Zaida, had he not told her of the voice, and had she not said:"In the desert all men are safe—safe from themselves and safe fromothers; from their own acts and from the acts of others"? Were thelions, then, loosed upon him? Had he been betrayed?

Suddenly the thought flashed into his mind that his challenger would nothave thrust himself into danger, given himself to the mouth of the Pit,if violence were intended. There was that inside his robe, than whichlightning would not be more quick to slay. Had he not been a hunter ofrepute? Had he not been in deadly peril with wild beasts, and was he notquicker than they? This man before him was like no other he had evermet. Did voices speak to him? Were there, then, among the Christianssuch holy men as among the Muslims, who saw things before they happened,and read the human mind? Were there sorcerers among them, as among theArabs?

In any case his treason was known. What were to be the consequences?Diamond-dust in his coffee? To be dropped into the Nile like a dog? Tobe smothered in his sleep?—For who could be trusted among all his slavesand retainers when it was known he was disgraced, and that the PrincePasha would be happier if Harrik were quiet for ever?

Mechanically he drew out his watch and looked at it. It was nineo'clock. In three hours more would have fallen the coup. But from thisman's words he knew that the stroke was now with the Prince Pasha. Yet,if this pale Inglesi, this Christian sorcerer, knew the truth in a visiononly, and had not declared it to Kaid, there might still be a chance ofescape. The lions were near—it would be a joy to give a Christian tothe lions to celebrate the capture of Cairo and the throne. He listenedintently to the distant rumble of the lions. There was one cagededicated to vengeance. Five human beings on whom his terrible angerfell in times past had been thrust into it alive. Two were slaves, onewas an enemy, one an invader of his harem, and one was a woman, his wife,his favourite, the darling of his heart. When his chief eunuch accusedher of a guilty love, he had given her paramour and herself to that awfuldeath. A stroke of the vast paw, a smothered roar as the teeth gave intothe neck of the beautiful Fatima, and then—no more. Fanaticism hadcaught a note of savage music that tuned it to its height.

"Why art thou here? For what hast thou come? Do the spirit voices givethee that counsel?" he snarled.

"I am come to ask Prince Harrik to repair the wrong he has done. Whenthe Prince Pasha came to know of thy treason—"

Harrik started. "Kaid believes thy tale of treason?" he burst out.

"Prince Kaid knows the truth," answered David quietly. "He might havesurrounded this palace with his Nubians, and had thee shot against thepalace walls. That would have meant a scandal in Egypt and in Europe.I besought him otherwise. It may be the scandal must come, but inanother way, and—"

"That I, Harrik, must die?" Harrik's voice seemed far away. In his ownears it sounded strange and unusual. All at once the world seemed to bea vast vacuum in which his brain strove for air, and all his senses werenumbed and overpowered. Distempered and vague, his soul seemed spinningin an aching chaos. It was being overpowered by vast elements, and lifeand being were atrophied in a deadly smother. The awful forces behindvisible being hung him in the middle space between consciousness anddissolution. He heard David's voice, at first dimly, thenunderstandingly.

"There is no other way. Thou art a traitor. Thou wouldst have been afratricide. Thou wouldst have put back the clock in Egypt by a hundredyears, even to the days of the Mamelukes—a race of slaves and murderers.God ordained that thy guilt should be known in time. Prince, thou artguilty. It is now but a question how thou shalt pay the debt oftreason."

In David's calm voice was the ring of destiny. It was dispassionate,judicial; it had neither hatred nor pity. It fell on Harrik's ear asthough from some far height. Destiny, the controller—who could escapeit?

Had he not heard the voices in the night—"The lions are loosed uponthee"? He did not answer David now, but murmured to himself like one ina dream.

David saw his mood, and pursued the startled mind into the pit ofconfusion. "If it become known to Europe that the army is disloyal,that its officers are traitors like thee, what shall we find? England,France, Turkey, will land an army of occupation. Who shall gainsayTurkey if she chooses to bring an army here and recover control, removethy family from Egypt, and seize upon its lands and goods? Dost thou notsee that the hand of God has been against thee? He has spoken, and thyevil is discovered."

He paused. Still Harrik did not reply, but looked at him with dilated,fascinated eyes. Death had hypnotised him, and against death and destinywho could struggle? Had not a past Prince Pasha of Egypt safeguardedhimself from assassination all his life, and, in the end, had he not beensmothered in his sleep by slaves?

"There are two ways only," David continued—"to be tried and die publiclyfor thy crimes, to the shame of Egypt, its present peril, and lastinginjury; or to send a message to those who conspired with thee, commandingthem to return to their allegiance, and another to the Prince Pasha,acknowledging thy fault, and exonerating all others. Else, how many ofthy dupes shall die! Thy choice is not life or death, but how thou shaltdie, and what thou shalt do for Egypt as thou diest. Thou didst loveEgypt, Eminence?"

David's voice dropped low, and his last words had a suggestion which wentlike an arrow to the source of all Harrik's crimes, and that also whichredeemed him in a little. It got into his inner being. He rousedhimself and spoke, but at first his speech was broken and smothered.

"Day by day I saw Egypt given over to the Christians," he said. "TheGreek, the Italian, the Frenchman, the Englishman, everywhere theyreached out, their hands and took from us our own. They defiled ourmosques; they corrupted our life; they ravaged our trade, they stole ourcustomers, they crowded us from the streets where once the faithful livedalone. Such as thou had the ear of the Prince, and such as Nahoum, alsoan infidel, who favoured the infidels of Europe. And now thou hast come,the most dangerous of them all! Day by day the Muslim has loosed hishold on Cairo, and Alexandria, and the cities of Egypt. Street uponstreet knows him no more. My heart burned within me. I conspired forEgypt's sake. I would have made her Muslim once again. I would havefought the Turk and the Frank, as did Mehemet Ali; and if the infidelscame, I would have turned them back; or if they would not go, I wouldhave destroyed them here. Such as thou should have been stayed at thedoor. In my own house I would have been master. We seek not to take upour abode in other nations and in the cities of the infidel. Shall wegive place to them on our own mastaba, in our own court-yard—hand tothem the keys of our harems? I would have raised the Jehad if they vexedme with their envoys and their armies." He paused, panting.

"It would not have availed," was David's quiet answer. "This land maynot be as Tibet—a prison for its own people. If the door opens outward,then must it open inward also. Egypt is the bridge between the East andthe West. Upon it the peoples of all nations pass and repass. Thy planwas folly, thy hope madness, thy means to achieve horrible. Thy dream isdone. The army will not revolt, the Prince will not be slain. Now onlyremains what thou shalt do for Egypt—"

"And thou—thou wilt be left here to lay thy will upon Egypt. Kaid's earwill be in thy hand—thou hast the sorcerer's eye. I know thy meaning.Thou wouldst have me absolve all, even Achmet, and Higli, and Diaz, andthe rest, and at thy bidding go out into the desert"—he paused—"or intothe grave."

"Not into the desert," rejoined David firmly. "Thou wouldst not rest.There, in the desert, thou wouldst be a Mahdi. Since thou must die, wiltthou not order it after thine own choice? It is to die for Egypt."

"Is this the will of Kaid?" asked Harrik, his voice thick with wonder,his brain still dulled by the blow of Fate.

"It was not the Effendina's will, but it hath his assent. Wilt thouwrite the word to the army and also to the Prince?"

He had conquered. There was a moment's hesitation, then Harrik picked uppaper and ink that lay near, and said: "I will write to Kaid. I willhave naught to do with the army."

"It shall be the whole, not the part," answered David determinedly. "Thetruth is known. It can serve no end to withhold the writing to the army.Remember what I have said to thee. The disloyalty of the army must notbe known. Canst thou not act after the will of Allah, the all-powerful,the all-just, the all-merciful?"

There was an instant's pause, and then suddenly Harrik placed the paperin his palm and wrote swiftly and at some length to Kaid. Laying itdown, he took another and wrote but a few words—to Achmet and Diaz.This message said in brief, "Do not strike. It is the will of Allah.The army shall keep faithful until the day of the Mahdi be come.I spoke before the time. I go to the bosom of my Lord Mahomet."

He threw the papers on the floor before David, who picked them up, readthem, and put them into his pocket.

"It is well," he said. "Egypt shall have peace. And thou, Eminence?"

"Who shall escape Fate? What I have written I have written."

David rose and salaamed. Harrik rose also. "Thou wouldst go, havingaccomplished thy will?" Harrik asked, a thought flashing to his mindagain, in keeping with his earlier purpose. Why should this man be leftto trouble Egypt?

David touched his breast. "I must bear thy words to the Palace and the

"Are there not slaves for messengers?" Involuntarily Harrik turned hiseyes to the velvet curtains. No fear possessed David, but he felt thekeenness of the struggle, and prepared for the last critical moment offanaticism.

"It were a foolish thing to attempt my death," he said calmly. "I havebeen thy friend to urge thee to do that which saves thee from publicshame, and Egypt from peril. I came alone, because I had no fear thatthou wouldst go to thy death shaming hospitality."

"Thou wast sure I would give myself to death?"

"Even as that I breathe. Thou wert mistaken; a madness possessed thee;but thou, I knew, wouldst choose the way of honour. I too have haddreams—and of Egypt. If it were for her good, I would die for her."

"Thou art mad. But the mad are in the hands of God, and—"

Suddenly Harrik stopped. There came to his ears two distant sounds—thefaint click of horses' hoofs and that dull rumble they had heard as theytalked, a sound he loved, the roar of his lions.

He clapped his hands twice, the curtains parted opposite, and a slaveslid silently forward.

"Quick! The horses! What are they? Bring me word," he said.

The slave vanished. For a moment there was silence. The eyes of the twomen met. In the minds of both was the same thing.

"Kaid! The Nubians!" Harrik said, at last. David made no response.

The slave returned, and his voice murmured softly, as though the matterwere of no concern: "The Nubians—from the Palace." In an instant he wasgone again.

"Kaid had not faith in thee," Harrik said grimly. "But see, infidelthough thou art, thou trustest me, and thou shalt go thy way. Take themwith thee, yonder jackals of the desert. I will not go with them. I didnot choose to live; others chose for me; but I will die after my ownchoice. Thou hast heard a voice, even as I. It is too late to flee tothe desert. Fate tricks me. 'The lions are loosed on thee'—so thevoice said to me in the night. Hark! dost thou not hear them—thelions, Harrik's lions, got out of the uttermost desert?"

David could hear the distant roar, for the menagerie was even part of thepalace itself.

"Go in peace," continued Harrik soberly and with dignity, "and when Egyptis given to the infidel and Muslims are their slaves, remember thatHarrik would have saved it for his Lord Mahomet, the Prophet of God."

He clapped his hands, and fifty slaves slid from behind the velvetcurtains.

"I have thy word by the tomb of thy mother that thou wilt take the
Nubians hence, and leave me in peace?" he asked.

David raised a hand above his head. "As I have trusted thee, trust thoume, Harrik, son of Mahomet." Harrik made a gesture of dismissal, andDavid salaamed and turned to go. As the curtains parted for his exit,he faced Harrik again. "Peace be to thee," he said.

But, seated in his cushions, the haggard, fanatical face of Harrik wasturned from him, the black, flaring eyes fixed on vacancy. The curtaindropped behind David, and through the dim rooms and corridors he passed,the slaves gliding beside him, before him, and behind him, until theyreached the great doors. As they swung open and the cool night breezeblew in his face, a great suspiration of relief passed from him. What hehad set out to do would be accomplished in all. Harrik wouldkeep his word. It was the only way.

As he emerged from the doorway some one fell at his feet, caught hissleeve and kissed it. It was Mahommed Hassan. Behind Mahommed was alittle group of officers and a hundred stalwart Nubians. David motionedthem towards the great gates, and, without speaking, passed swiftly downthe pathway and emerged upon the road without. A moment later he wasriding towards the Citadel with Harrik's message to Achmet. In the red-curtained room Harrik sat alone, listening until he heard the far clatterof hoofs, and knew that the Nubians were gone. Then the other distantsound which had captured his ear came to him again. In his fancy it grewlouder and louder. With it came the voice that called him in the night,the voice of a woman—of the wife he had given to the lions for a crimeagainst him which she did not commit, which had haunted him all theyears. He had seen her thrown to the king of them all, killed in oneswift instant, and dragged about the den by her warm white neck—thisslave wife from Albania, his adored Fatima. And when, afterwards, hecame to know the truth, and of her innocence, from the chief eunuch whowith his last breath cleared her name, a terrible anger and despair hadcome upon him. Time and intrigue and conspiracy had distracted his mind,and the Jehad became the fixed aim and end of his life. Now this wasgone. Destiny had tripped him up. Kaid and the infidel Inglesi had won.

As the one great passion went out like smoke, the woman he loved, whomhe had given to the lions, the memory of her, some haunting part of her,possessed him, overcame him. In truth, he had heard a voice in thenight, but not the voice of a spirit. It was the voice of Zaida, who,preying upon his superstitious mind—she knew the hallucination whichpossessed him concerning her he had cast to the lions—and having giventhe terrible secret to Kaid, whom she had ever loved, would still saveHarrik from the sure vengeance which must fall upon him. Her design hadworked, but not as she intended. She had put a spell of superstition onhim, and the end would be accomplished, but not by flight to the desert.

Harrik chose the other way. He had been a hunter.

He was without fear. The voice of the woman he loved called him. Itcame to him through the distant roar of the lions as clear as when, withone cry of "Harrik !" she had fallen beneath the lion's paw. He knew nowwhy he had kept the great beast until this hour, though tempted again andagain to slay him.

Like one in a dream, he drew a dagger from the cushions where he sat, androse to his feet. Leaving the room and passing dark groups of waitingslaves, he travelled empty chambers and long corridors, the voices of thelions growing nearer and nearer. He sped faster now, and presently cameto two great doors, on which he knocked thrice. The doors opened, andtwo slaves held up lights for him to enter. Taking a torch from one ofthem, he bade them retire, and the doors clanged behind them.

Harrik held up the torch and came nearer. In the centre of the room wasa cage in which one great lion paced to and fro in fury. It roared athim savagely. It was his roar which had come to Harrik through thedistance and the night. He it was who had carried Fatima, the beloved,about his cage by that neck in which Harrik had laid his face so often.

The hot flush of conflict and the long anger of the years were on him.Since he must die, since Destiny had befooled him, left him the victim ofthe avengers, he would end it here. Here, against the thing of savagehate which had drunk of the veins and crushed the bones of his fair wife,he would strike one blow deep and strong and shed the blood of sacrificebefore his own was shed.

He thrust the torch into the ground, and, with the dagger graspedtightly, carefully opened the cage and stepped inside. The door clickedbehind him. The lion was silent now, and in a far corner prepared tospring, crouching low.

"Fatima!" Harrik cried, and sprang forward as the wild beast rose athim. He struck deep, drew forth the dagger—and was still.



War! War! The chains of the conscripts clanked in the river villages;the wailing of the women affrighted the pigeons in a thousand dovecoteson the Nile; the dust of despair was heaped upon the heads of the old,who knew that their young would no more return, and that the fields ofdourha would go ungathered, the water-channels go unattended, and theonion-fields be bare. War! War! War! The strong, the broad-shouldered—Aka, Mahmoud, Raschid, Selim, they with the bodies of Seti and thefaces of Rameses, in their blue yeleks and unsandalled feet—would gointo the desert as their forefathers did for the Shepherd Kings. Butthere would be no spoil for them—no slaves with swelling breasts andlips of honey; no straight-limbed servants of their pleasure to wait onthem with caressing fingers; no rich spoils carried back from the fieldsof war to the mud hut, the earth oven, and the thatched roof; no rings ofsoft gold and necklaces of amber snatched from the fingers and bosoms ofthe captive and the dead. Those days were no more. No vision of loot orluxury allured these. They saw only the yellow sand, the ever-recedingoasis, the brackish, undrinkable water, the withered and fruitless date-tree, handfuls of dourha for their food by day, and the keen, sharp nightto chill their half-dead bodies in a half-waking sleep. And then thesavage struggle for life—with all the gain to the pashas and the beys,and those who ruled over them; while their own wounds grew foul, and, inthe torturing noon-day heat of the white waste, Death reached out anddragged them from the drooping lines to die. Fighting because they mustfight—not patriot love, nor understanding, nor sacrifice in theirhearts. War! War! War! War!

David had been too late to stop it. It had grown to a head withrevolution and conspiracy. For months before he came conscripts had beengathered in the Nile country from Rosetta to Assouan, and here and there,far south, tribes had revolted. He had come to power too late to deviseanother course. One day, when this war was over, he would go alone, savefor a faithful few, to deal with these tribes and peoples upon anotherplane than war; but here and now the only course was that which had beenplanned by Kaid and those who counselled him. Troubled by a deep dangerdrawing near, Kaid had drawn him into his tough service, half-blindlycatching at his help, with a strange, almost superstitious belief thatluck and good would come from the alliance; seeing in him a protectionagainst wholesale robbery and debt—were not the English masters offinance, and was not this Englishman honest, and with a brain of fireand an eye that pierced things?

David had accepted the inevitable. The war had its value. It would drawoff to the south—he would see that it was so—Achmet and Higli and Diazand the rest, who were ever a danger. Not to himself: he did not thinkof that; but to Kaid and to Egypt. They had been out-manoeuvred, beaten,foiled, knew who had foiled them and what they had escaped; congratulatedthemselves, but had no gratitude to him, and still plotted hisdestruction. More than once his death had been planned, but the darkdesign had come to light—now from the workers of the bazaars, whosewires of intelligence pierced everywhere; now from some hungry fellahwhose yelek he had filled with cakes of dourha beside a bread-shop; nowfrom Mahommed Hassan, who was for him a thousand eyes and feet and hands,who cooked his food, and gathered round him fellaheen or Copts orSoudanese or Nubians whom he himself had tested and found true, and ruledthem with a hand of plenty and a rod of iron. Also, from Nahoum's spieshe learned of plots and counterplots, chiefly on Achmet's part; and thesehe hid from Kaid, while he trusted Nahoum—and not without reason, asyet.

The day of Nahoum's wrath and revenge was not yet come; it was his deepdesign to lay the foundation for his own dark actions strong on a rock ofapparent confidence and devotion. A long torture and a great over-whelming was his design. He knew himself to be in the scheme of amaster-workman, and by-and-by he would blunt the chisel and bend the saw;but not yet. Meanwhile, he hated, admired, schemed, and got a sweettaste on his tongue from aiding David to foil Achmet—Higli and Diaz wereof little account; only the injury they felt in seeing the sluices beingclosed on the stream of bribery and corruption kept them in the toils ofAchmet's conspiracy. They had saved their heads, but they had notlearned their lesson yet; and Achmet, blinded by rage, not at all.Achmet did not understand clemency. One by one his plots had failed,until the day came when David advised Kaid to send him and his friendsinto the Soudan, with the punitive expedition under loyal generals. Itwas David's dream that, in the field of war, a better spirit might enterinto Achmet and his friends; that patriotism might stir in them.

The day was approaching when the army must leave. Achmet threw dice oncemore.

Evening was drawing down. Over the plaintive pink and golden glow ofsunset was slowly being drawn a pervasive silver veil of moonlight. Acaravan of camels hunched alone in the middle distance, making for thewestern desert. Near by, village life manifested itself in heavily ladendonkeys; in wolfish curs stealing away with refuse into the waste; inwomen, upright and modest, bearing jars of water on their heads; inevening fires, where the cover of the pot clattered over the boiling masswithin; in the voice of the Muezzin calling to prayer.

Returning from Alexandria to Cairo in the special train which Kaid hadsent for him, David watched the scene with grave and friendly interest.There was far, to go before those mud huts of the thousand years wouldgive place to rational modern homes; and as he saw a solitary horsemanspread his sheepskin on the ground and kneel to say his evening prayer,as Mahomet had done in his flight between Mecca and Medina, the distancebetween the Egypt of his desire and the ancient Egypt that moved roundhim sharply impressed his mind, and the magnitude of his task settledheavily on his spirit.

"But it is the beginning—the beginning," he said aloud to himself,looking out upon the green expanses of dourha and Lucerne, and eyeinglovingly the cotton-fields here and there, the origin of the industrialmovement he foresaw—"and some one had to begin. The rest is as it mustbe—"

There was a touch of Oriental philosophy in his mind—was it not Galileeand the Nazarene, that Oriental source from which Mahomet also drew? Buthe added to the "as it must be" the words, "and as God wills." He wasalone in the compartment with Lacey, whose natural garrulity had had asevere discipline in the months that had passed since he had asked to beallowed to black David's boots. He could now sit for an hour silent,talking to himself, carrying on unheard conversations. Seeing David'smood, he had not spoken twice on this journey, but had made notes in alittle "Book of Experience,"—as once he had done in Mexico. At last,however, he raised his head, and looked eagerly out of the window asDavid did, and sniffed.

"The Nile again," he said, and smiled. The attraction of the Nile wasupon him, as it grows on every one who lives in Egypt. The Nile andEgypt—Egypt and the Nile—its mystery, its greatness, its benevolence,its life-giving power, without which Egypt is as the Sahara, it conquersthe mind of every man at last.

"The Nile, yes," rejoined David, and smiled also. "We shall cross itpresently."

Again they relapsed into silence, broken only by the clang, clang of themetal on the rails, and then presently another, more hollow sound—theengine was upon the bridge. Lacey got up and put his head out of thewindow. Suddenly there was a cry of fear and horror over his head, awarning voice shrieking:

"The bridge is open—we are lost. Effendi—master—Allah!" It was thevoice of Mahommed Hassan, who had been perched on the roof of the car.

Like lightning Lacey realised the danger, and saw the only way of escape.He swung open the door, even as the engine touched the edge of the abyssand shrieked its complaint under the hand of the terror-strickendriver, caught David's shoulder, and cried: "Jump-jump into the river—quick!"

As the engine toppled, David jumped—there was no time to think,obedience was the only way. After him sprang, far down into the grey-blue water, Lacey and Mahommed. When they came again to the surface, thelittle train with its handful of human freight had disappeared.

Two people had seen the train plunge to destruction—the solitaryhorseman whom David had watched kneel upon his sheepskin, and who nowfrom a far hill had seen the disaster, but had not seen the three jumpfor their lives, and a fisherman on the bank, who ran shouting towards avillage standing back from the river.

As the fisherman sped shrieking and beckoning to the villagers, David,Lacey, and Mahommed fought for their lives in the swift current, swimmingat an angle upstream towards the shore; for, as Mahommed warned them,there were rocks below. Lacey was a good swimmer, but he was heavy, andDavid was a better, but Mahommed had proved his merit in the past on manyan occasion when the laws of the river were reaching out strong hands forhim. Now, as Mahommed swam, he kept moaning to himself, cursing hisfather and his father's son, as though he himself were to blame for thecrime which had been committed. Here was a plot, and he had discoveredmore plots than one against his master. The bridge-opener—when he foundhim he would take him into the desert and flay him alive; and find him hewould. His watchful eyes were on the hut by the bridge where this manshould be. No one was visible. He cursed the man and all his ancestryand all his posterity, sleeping and waking, until the day when he,Mahommed, would pinch his flesh with red hot irons. But now he had otherand nearer things to occupy him, for in the fierce struggle towards theshore Lacey found himself failing, and falling down the stream.Presently both Mahommed and David were beside him, Lacey angrilyprotesting to David that he must save himself.

"Say, think of Egypt and all the rest. You've got to save yourself—letme splash along!" he spluttered, breathing hard, his shoulders low inthe water, his mouth almost submerged.

But David and Mahommed fought along beside him, each determined that itmust be all or none; and presently the terror-stricken fisherman who hadroused the village, still shrieking deliriously, came upon them in aflat-bottomed boat manned by four stalwart fellaheen, and the tragedy ofthe bridge was over. But not the tragedy of Achmet the Ropemaker.



Mahommed Hassan had vowed a vow in the river, and he kept it in so far aswas seemly. His soul hungered for the face of the bridge-opener, and thehunger grew. He was scarce passed from the shivering Nile into a dryyelek, had hardly taken a juicy piece from the cooking-pot at the houseof the village sheikh, before he began to cultivate friends who couldhelp him, including the sheikh himself; for what money Mahommed lackedwas supplied by Lacey, who had a reasoned confidence in him, and by thefiercely indignant Kaid himself, to whom Lacey and Mahommed wentsecretly, hiding their purpose from David. So, there were a score ofvillages where every sheikh, eager for gold, listened for the whisper ofthe doorways, and every slave and villager listened at the sheikh's door.But neither to sheikh nor to villager was it given to find the man.

But one evening there came a knocking at the door of the house whichMahommed still kept in the lowest Muslim quarter of the town, a woman whohid her face and was of more graceful figure than was familiar in thosedark purlieus. The door was at once opened, and Mahommed, with a cry,drew her inside.

"Zaida—the peace of God be upon thee," he said, and gazed lovingly yetsadly upon her, for she had greatly changed.

"And upon thee peace, Mahommed," she answered, and sat upon the floor,her head upon her breast.

"Thou hast trouble at," he said, and put some cakes of dourha and ameated cucumber beside her. She touched the food with her fingers, butdid not eat. "Is thy grief, then, for thy prince who gave himself to thelions?" he asked.

"Inshallah! Harrik is in the bosom of Allah. He is with Fatima in thefields of heaven—was I as Fatima to him? Nay, the dead have done withhurting."

"Since that night thou hast been lost, even since Harrik went. Isearched for thee, but thou wert hid. Surely, thou knewest mine eyeswere aching and my heart was cast down—did not thou and I feed at thesame breast?"

"I was dead, and am come forth from the grave; but I shall go again intothe dark where all shall forget, even I myself; but there is that which Iwould do, which thou must do for me, even as I shall do good to thee,that which is the desire of my heart."

"Speak, light of the morning and blessing of thy mother's soul," he said,and crowded into his mouth a roll of meat and cucumber. "Against thyfeddan shall be set my date-tree; it hath been so ever."

"Listen then, and by the stone of the Kaabah, keep the faith which hasbeen throe and mine since my mother, dying, gave me to thy mother, whosemilk gave me health and, in my youth, beauty—and, in my youth, beauty!"Suddenly she buried her face in her veil, and her body shook with sobswhich had no voice. Presently she continued: "Listen, and by Abraham andChrist and all the Prophets, and by Mahomet the true revealer, give methine aid. When Harrik gave his life to the lions, I fled to her whom Ihad loved in the house of Kaid—Laka the Syrian, afterwards the wife ofAchmet Pasha. By Harrik's death I was free—no more a slave. Once Lakahad been the joy of Achmet's heart, but, because she had no child, shewas despised and forgotten. Was it not meet I should fly to her whosesorrow would hide my loneliness? And so it was—I was hidden in theharem of Achmet. But miserable tongues—may God wither them!—toldAchmet of my presence. And though I was free, and not a bondswoman, hebroke upon my sleep. . . ."

Mahommed's eyes blazed, his dark skin blackened like a coal, and hemuttered maledictions between his teeth. ". . . In the morning therewas a horror upon me, for which there is no name. But I laughed alsowhen I took a dagger and stole from the harem to find him in the quartersbeyond the women's gate. I found him, but I held my hand, for one waswith him who spake with a tone of anger and of death, and I listened.Then, indeed, I rejoiced for thee, for I have found thee a road to honourand fortune. The man was a bridge-opener—" "Ah!—O, light of a thousandeyes, fruit of the tree of Eden!" cried Mahommed, and fell on his kneesat her feet, and would have kissed them, but that, with a cry, she said:"Nay, nay, touch me not. But listen. . . . Ay, it was Achmet whosought to drown thy Pasha in the Nile. Thou shalt find the man in thelittle street called Singat in the Moosky, at the house of Haleel thedate-seller."

Mahommed rocked backwards and forwards in his delight. "Oh, now art thoulike a lamp of Paradise, even as a star which leadeth an army of stars,beloved," he said. He rubbed his hands together. "Thy witness and hisshall send Achmet to a hell of scorpions, and I shall slay the bridge-opener with my own hand—hath not the Effendina secretly said so to me,knowing that my Pasha, the Inglesi, upon whom be peace for ever andforever, would forgive him. Ah, thou blossom of the tree of trees—"

She rose hastily, and when he would have kissed her hand she drew back tothe wall. "Touch me not—nay, then, Mahommed, touch me not—"

"Why should I not pay thee honour, thou princess among women? Hast thounot the brain of a man, and thy beauty, like thy heart, is it not—"

She put out both her hands and spoke sharply. "Enough, my brother,"she said. "Thou hast thy way to great honour. Thou shalt yet have athousand feddans of well-watered land and slaves to wait upon thee. Getthee to the house of Haleel. There shall the blow fall on the head ofAchmet, the blow which was mine to strike, but that Allah stayed my handthat I might do thee and thy Pasha good, and to give the soul-slayer andthe body-slayer into the hands of Kaid, upon whom be everlasting peace!"Her voice dropped low. "Thou saidst but now that I had beauty. Is thereyet any beauty in my face?" She lowered her yashmak and looked at himwith burning eyes.

"Thou art altogether beautiful," he answered, "but there is a strangenessto thy beauty like none I have seen; as if upon the face of an angelthere fell a mist—nay, I have not words to make it plain to thee."

With a great sigh, and yet with the tenseness gone from her eyes, sheslowly drew the veil up again till only her eyes were visible. "It iswell," she answered. "Now, I have heard that to-morrow night Prince Kaidwill sit in the small court-yard of the blue tiles by the harem to feastwith his friends, ere the army goes into the desert at the next sunrise.Achmet is bidden to the feast."

"It is so, O beloved!"

"There will be dancers and singers to make the feast worthy?"

"At such a time it will be so."

"Then this thou shalt do. See to it that I shall be among the singers,and when all have danced and sung, that I shall sing, and be broughtbefore Kaid."

"Inshallah! It shall be so. Thou dost desire to see Kaid—in truth,thou hast memory, beloved."

She made a gesture of despair. "Go upon thy business. Dost thou notdesire the blood of Achmet and the bridge-opener?"

Mahommed laughed, and joyfully beat his breast, with whisperedexclamations, and made ready to go. "And thou?" he asked.

"Am I not welcome here?" she replied wearily. "O, my sister, thou artthe master of my life and all that I have," he exclaimed, and a momentafterwards he was speeding towards Kaid's Palace.

For the first time since the day of his banishment Achmet the Ropemakerwas invited to Kaid's Palace. Coming, he was received with carelessconsideration by the Prince. Behind his long, harsh face and sullen eyesa devil was raging, because of all his plans that had gone awry, andbecause the man he had sought to kill still served the Effendina, puttinga blight upon Egypt. To-morrow he, Achmet, must go into the desert withthe army, and this hated Inglesi would remain behind to have his willwith Kaid. The one drop of comfort in his cup was the fact that thedispleasure of the Effendina against himself was removed, and that hehad, therefore, his foot once more inside the Palace. When he came backfrom the war he would win his way to power again. Meanwhile, he cursedthe man who had eluded the death he had prepared for him. With his owneyes had he not seen, from the hill top, the train plunge to destruction,and had he not once more got off his horse and knelt upon his sheepskinand given thanks to Allah—a devout Arab obeying the sunset call toprayer, as David had observed from the train?

One by one, two by two, group by group, the unveiled dancers came andwent; the singers sang behind the screen provided for them, so that nonemight see their faces, after the custom. At last, however, Kaid and hisguests grew listless, and smoked and talked idly. Yet there was in theeyes of Kaid a watchfulness unseen by any save a fellah who squatted in acorner eating sweetmeats, and a hidden singer waiting until she should becalled before the Prince Pasha. The singer's glances continually flashedbetween Kaid and Achmet. At last, with gleaming eyes, she saw six Nubianslaves steal silently behind Achmet. One, also, of great strength, camesuddenly and stood before him. In his hands was a leathern thong.

Achmet saw, felt the presence of the slaves behind him, and shrank backnumbed and appalled. A mist came before his eyes; the voice he heardsummoning him to stand up seemed to come from infinite distances. Thehand of doom had fallen like a thunderbolt. The leathern thong in thehands of the slave was the token of instant death. There was no chanceof escape. The Nubians had him at their mercy. As his brain struggledto regain its understanding, he saw, as in a dream, David enter thecourt-yard and come towards Kaid.

Suddenly David stopped in amazement, seeing Achmet. Inquiringly helooked at Kaid, who spoke earnestly to him in a low tone. WhereuponDavid turned his head away, but after a moment fixed his eyes on Achmet.

Kaid motioned all his startled guests to come nearer. Then in strong,unmerciful voice he laid Achmet's crime before them, and told the storyof the bridge-opener, who had that day expiated his crime in the desertby the hands of Mahommed—but not with torture, as Mahommed had hopedmight be.

"What shall be his punishment—so foul, so wolfish?" Kaid asked of themall. A dozen voices answered, some one terrible thing, some another.

"Mercy!" moaned Achmet aghast. "Mercy, Saadat!" he cried to David.

David looked at him calmly. There was little mercy in his eyes as heanswered: "Thy crimes sent to their death in the Nile those who neverinjured thee. Dost thou quarrel with justice? Compose thy soul, and Ipray only the Effendina to give thee that seemly death thou didst denythy victims." He bowed respectfully to Kaid.

Kaid frowned. "The ways of Egypt are the ways of Egypt, and not of theland once thine," he answered shortly. Then, under the spell of thatinfluence which he had never yet been able to resist, he added to theslaves: "Take him aside. I will think upon it. But he shall die atsunrise ere the army goes. Shall not justice be the gift of Kaid for anexample and a warning? Take him away a little. I will decide."

As Achmet and the slaves disappeared into a dark corner of the court-yard, Kaid rose to his feet, and, upon the hint, his guests, murmuringpraises of his justice and his mercy and his wisdom, slowly melted fromthe court-yard; but once outside they hastened to proclaim in the fourquarters of Cairo how yet again the English Pasha had picked from theTree of Life an apple of fortune.

The court-yard was now empty, save for the servants of the Prince, Davidand Mahommed, and two officers in whom David had advised Kaid to puttrust. Presently one of these officers said: "There is another singer,and the last. Is it the Effendina's pleasure?"

Kaid made a gesture of assent, sat down, and took the stem of a narghilehbetween his lips. For a moment there was silence, and then, out upon thesweet, perfumed night, over which the stars hung brilliant and soft andnear, a voice at first quietly, then fully, and palpitating with feeling,poured forth an Eastern love song:

"Take thou thy flight, O soul! Thou hast no more
The gladness of the morning! Ah, the perfumed roses
My love laid on my bosom as I slept!
How did he wake me with his lips upon mine eyes,
How did the singers carol—the singers of my soul
That nest among the thoughts of my beloved! . . .
All silent now, the choruses are gone,
The windows of my soul are closed; no more
Mine eyes look gladly out to see my lover come.
There is no more to do, no more to say:
Take flight, my soul, my love returns no more!"

At the first note Kaid started, and his eyes fastened upon the screenbehind which sat the singer. Then, as the voice, in sweet anguish,filled the court-yard, entrancing them all, rose higher and higher, felland died away, he got to his feet, and called out hoarsely: "Come—comeforth!"

Slowly a graceful, veiled figure came from behind the great screen. Hetook a step forward.

"Zaida! Zaida!" he said gently, amazedly.

She salaamed low. "Forgive me, O my lord!" she said, in a whisperingvoice, drawing her veil about her head. "It was my soul's desire to lookupon thy face once more."

"Whither didst thou go at Harrik's death? I sent to find thee, and givethee safety; but thou wert gone, none knew where."

"O my lord, what was I but a mote in thy sun, that thou shouldst seekme?"

Kaid's eyes fell, and he murmured to himself a moment, then he saidslowly: "Thou didst save Egypt, thou and my friend"—he gestured towardsDavid"—and my life also, and all else that is worth. Therefore bounty,and safety, and all thy desires were thy due. Kaid is no ingrate—no,by the hand of Moses that smote at Sinai!"

She made a pathetic motion of her hands. "By Harrik's death I am free, aslave no longer. O my lord, where I go bounty and famine are the same."

Kaid took a step forward. "Let me see thy face," he said, somethingstrange in her tone moving him with awe.

She lowered her veil and looked him in the eyes. Her wan beauty smotehim, conquered him, the exquisite pain in her face filled Kaid's eyeswith foreboding, and pierced his heart.

"O cursed day that saw thee leave these walls! I did it for thy good—thou wert so young; thy life was all before thee! But now—come, Zaida,here in Kaid's Palace thou shalt have a home, and be at peace, for I seethat thou hast suffered. Surely it shall be said that Kaid honoursthee." He reached out to take her hand.

She had listened like one in a dream, but, as he was about to touch her,she suddenly drew back, veiled her face, save for the eyes, and said in avoice of agony: "Unclean, unclean! My lord, I am a leper!"

An awed and awful silence fell upon them all. Kaid drew back as thoughsmitten by a blow.

Presently, upon the silence, her voice sharp with agony said: "I am aleper, and I go to that desert place which my lord has set apart forlepers, where, dead to the world, I shall watch the dreadful years comeand go. Behold, I would die, but that I have a sister there these manyyears, and her sick soul lives in loneliness. O my lord, forgive me!Here was I happy; here of old I did sing to thee, and I came to sing tothee once more a death-song. Also, I came to see thee do justice, ere Iwent from thy face for ever."

Kaid's head was lowered on his breast. He shuddered. "Thou art sobeautiful—thy voice, all! Thou wouldst see justice—speak! Justiceshall be made plain before thee."

Twice she essayed to speak, and could not; but from his sweetmeats andthe shadows Mahommed crept forward, kissed the ground before Kaid, andsaid: "Effendina, thou knowest me as the servant of thy high servant,Claridge Pasha."

"I know thee—proceed."

"Behold, she whom God has smitten, man smote first. I am her foster-brother—from the same breast we drew the food of life. Thou wouldst dojustice, O Effendina; but canst thou do double justice—ay, athousandfold? Then"—his voice raised almost shrilly—"then do it uponAchmet Pasha. She—Zaida—told me where I should find the bridge-opener."

"Zaida once more!" Kaid murmured.

"She had learned all in Achmet's harem—hearing speech between Achmet andthe man whom thou didst deliver to my hands yesterday."

"Zaida-in Achmet's harem?" Kaid turned upon her.

Swiftly she told her dreadful tale, how, after Achmet had murdered all ofher except her body, she rose up to kill herself; but fainting, fell upona burning brazier, and her hand thrust accidentally in the live coalsfelt no pain. "And behold, O my lord, I knew I was a leper; and Iremembered my sister and lived on." So she ended, in a voice numbed andtuneless.

Kaid trembled with rage, and he cried in a loud voice: "Bring Achmetforth."

As the slave sped upon the errand, David laid a hand on Kaid's arm, andwhispered to him earnestly. Kaid's savage frown cleared away, and hisrage calmed down; but an inflexible look came into his face, a look whichpetrified the ruined Achmet as he salaamed before him.

"Know thy punishment, son of a dog with a dog's heart, and prepare for adaily death," said Kaid. "This woman thou didst so foully wrong, evenwhen thou didst wrong her, she was a leper."

A low cry broke from Achmet, for now when death came he must go uncleanto the after-world, forbidden Allah's presence. Broken and abject helistened.

"She knew not, till thou wert gone," continued Kaid. She is innocentbefore the law. But thou—beast of the slime—hear thy sentence. Thereis in the far desert a place where lepers live. There, once a year, onecaravan comes, and, at the outskirts of the place unclean, leaves foodand needful things for another year, and returns again to Egypt aftermany days. From that place there is no escape—the desert is as the sea,and upon that sea there is no ghiassa to sail to a farther shore. It isthe leper land. Thither thou shalt go to wait upon this woman thou hastsavagely wronged, and upon her kind, till thou diest. It shall be so."

"Mercy! Mercy!" Achmet cried, horror-stricken, and turned to David.
"Thou art merciful. Speak for me, Saadat."

"When didst thou have mercy?" asked David. "Thy crimes are againsthumanity."

Kaid made a motion, and, with dragging feet, Achmet passed from thehaunts of familiar faces.

For a moment Kaid stood and looked at Zaida, rigid and stricken in thatawful isolation which is the leper's doom. Her eyes were closed, but herhead was high. "Wilt thou not die?" Kaid asked her gently.

She shook her head slowly, and her hands folded on her breast. "Mysister is there," she said at last. There was an instant's stillness,then Kaid added with a voice of grief: "Peace be upon thee, Zaida. Lifeis but a spark. If death comes not to-day, it will tomorrow, for thee—for me. Inshallah, peace be upon thee!"

She opened her eyes and looked at him. Seeing what was in his face, theylighted with a great light for a moment.

"And upon thee peace, O my lord, for ever and for ever!" she saidsoftly, and, turning, left the court-yard, followed at a distance byMahommed Hassan.

Kaid remained motionless looking after her.

David broke in on his abstraction. "The army at sunrise—thou wilt speakto it, Effendina?"

Kaid roused himself. "What shall I say?" he asked anxiously.

"Tell them they shall be clothed and fed, and to every man or his familythree hundred piastres at the end."

"Who will do this?" asked Kaid incredulously. "Thou, Effendina—Egyptand thou and I."

"So be it," answered Kaid.

As they left the court-yard, he said suddenly to an officer behind him:

"The caravan to the Place of Lepers—add to the stores fifty camel-loadsthis year, and each year hereafter. Have heed to it. Ere it starts,come to me. I would see all with mine own eyes."


Allah hu Achbar——God is most Great.
Al'mah——Female professional singers, signifying "a learned female."
Ardab——A measure equivalent to five English bushels.

Backsheesh——Tip, douceur.
Balass——Earthen vessel for carrying water.
Bismillah——In the name of God.
Bowdb——A doorkeeper.

Dahabieh——A Nile houseboat with large lateen sails.
Darabukkeh——A drum made of a skin stretched over an earthenware funnel.

Effendina——Most noble.
El Azhar——The Arab University at Cairo.

Fedddn——A measure of land representing about an acre.
Fellah——The Egyptian peasant.

Ghiassa——Small boat.

Hasheesh——Leaves of hemp.

Inshallah——God willing.

Kdnoon——A musical instrument like a dulcimer.
Kavass——An orderly.
Kemengeh——A cocoanut fiddle.
Khamsin——A hot wind of Egypt and the Soudan.

Kourbash——A whip, often made of rhinoceros hide.

La ilaha illa-llah——There is no deity but God.

Malaish——No matter.
Mastaba——A bench.
Medjidie——A Turkish Order.
Mooshrabieh——Lattice window.
Moufettish——High Steward.
Mudir——The Governor of a
Mudirieh, or province.
Muezzin——The sheikh of the mosque who calls to prayer.

Narghileh——A Persian pipe.
Nebool——A quarter-staff.

Ramadan——The Mahommedan season of fasting.

Saadat-el-bdsha——Excellency Pasha.
Sakkia——The Persian water-wheel.
Salaam——Eastern salutation.
Sheikh-el-beled——Head of a village.

Tarboosh——A Turkish turban.

Ulema——Learned men.

Wakf——Mahommedan Court dealing with succession, etc.
Welee——A holy man or saint.

Yashmak——A veil for the lower part of the face.
Yelek——A long vest or smock.


Begin to see how near good is to evil
But the years go on, and friends have an end
Does any human being know what he can bear of temptation
Heaven where wives without number awaited him
Honesty was a thing he greatly desired—in others
How little we can know to-day what we shall feel tomorrow
How many conquests have been made in the name of God
One does the work and another gets paid
To-morrow is no man's gift
We want every land to do as we do; and we want to make 'em do it


Updated editions will replace the previous one—the old editions willbe renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyrightlaw means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the UnitedStates without permission and without paying copyrightroyalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use partof this license, apply to copying and distributing ProjectGutenberg™ electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG™concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,and may not be used if you charge for an eBook, except by followingthe terms of the trademark license, including paying royalties for useof the Project Gutenberg trademark. If you do not charge anything forcopies of this eBook, complying with the trademark license is veryeasy. You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose such as creationof derivative works, reports, performances and research. ProjectGutenberg eBooks may be modified and printed and given away—you maydo practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks not protectedby U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the trademarklicense, especially commercial redistribution.



To protect the Project Gutenberg™ mission of promoting the freedistribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase “ProjectGutenberg”), you agree to comply with all the terms of the FullProject Gutenberg™ License available with this file or online

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg™electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg™electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree toand accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by allthe terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return ordestroy all copies of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works in yourpossession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to aProject Gutenberg™ electronic work and you do not agree to be boundby the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the personor entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B. “Project Gutenberg” is a registered trademark. It may only beused on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people whoagree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a fewthings that you can do with most Project Gutenberg™ electronic workseven without complying with the full terms of this agreement. Seeparagraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with ProjectGutenberg™ electronic works if you follow the terms of thisagreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg™electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation (“theFoundation” or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collectionof Project Gutenberg™ electronic works. Nearly all the individualworks in the collection are in the public domain in the UnitedStates. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in theUnited States and you are located in the United States, we do notclaim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long asall references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hopethat you will support the Project Gutenberg™ mission of promotingfree access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg™works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping theProject Gutenberg™ name associated with the work. You can easilycomply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in thesame format with its attached full Project Gutenberg™ License whenyou share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also governwhat you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries arein a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of thisagreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or anyother Project Gutenberg™ work. The Foundation makes norepresentations concerning the copyright status of any work in anycountry other than the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or otherimmediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg™ License must appearprominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg™ work (any workon which the phrase “Project Gutenberg” appears, or with which thephrase “Project Gutenberg” is associated) is accessed, displayed,performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg™ electronic work isderived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does notcontain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of thecopyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone inthe United States without paying any fees or charges. If you areredistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase “ProjectGutenberg” associated with or appearing on the work, you must complyeither with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 orobtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg™trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg™ electronic work is postedwith the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distributionmust comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and anyadditional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional termswill be linked to the Project Gutenberg™ License for all worksposted with the permission of the copyright holder found at thebeginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg™License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of thiswork or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg™.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute thiselectronic work, or any part of this electronic work, withoutprominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 withactive links or immediate access to the full terms of the ProjectGutenberg™ License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, includingany word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide accessto or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg™ work in a formatother than “Plain Vanilla ASCII” or other format used in the officialversion posted on the official Project Gutenberg™ website(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expenseto the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a meansof obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original “PlainVanilla ASCII” or other form. Any alternate format must include thefull Project Gutenberg™ License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg™ worksunless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providingaccess to or distributing Project Gutenberg™ electronic worksprovided that:

  • • You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from the use of Project Gutenberg™ works calculated using the method you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg™ trademark, but he has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in Section 4, “Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.”
  • • You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg™ License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg™ works.
  • • You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of receipt of the work.
  • • You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free distribution of Project Gutenberg™ works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a ProjectGutenberg™ electronic work or group of works on different terms thanare set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writingfrom the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the manager ofthe Project Gutenberg™ trademark. Contact the Foundation as setforth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerableeffort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofreadworks not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the ProjectGutenberg™ collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg™electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, maycontain “Defects,” such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurateor corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or otherintellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk orother medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage orcannot be read by your equipment.

1.F.2. LIMITED WARRANTY, DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES - Except for the “Rightof Replacement or Refund” described in paragraph 1.F.3, the ProjectGutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the ProjectGutenberg™ trademark, and any other party distributing a ProjectGutenberg™ electronic work under this agreement, disclaim allliability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legalfees. YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE, STRICTLIABILITY, BREACH OF WARRANTY OR BREACH OF CONTRACT EXCEPT THOSEPROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 1.F.3. YOU AGREE THAT THE FOUNDATION, THETRADEMARK OWNER, AND ANY DISTRIBUTOR UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WILL NOT BELIABLE TO YOU FOR ACTUAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE ORINCIDENTAL DAMAGES EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCHDAMAGE.

1.F.3. LIMITED RIGHT OF REPLACEMENT OR REFUND - If you discover adefect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you canreceive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending awritten explanation to the person you received the work from. If youreceived the work on a physical medium, you must return the mediumwith your written explanation. The person or entity that provided youwith the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy inlieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the personor entity providing it to you may choose to give you a secondopportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. Ifthe second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writingwithout further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forthin paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you ‘AS-IS’, WITH NOOTHER WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOTLIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE.

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain impliedwarranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types ofdamages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreementviolates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, theagreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer orlimitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity orunenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void theremaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, thetrademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyoneproviding copies of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works inaccordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with theproduction, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg™electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any ofthe following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of thisor any Project Gutenberg™ work, (b) alteration, modification, oradditions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg™ work, and (c) anyDefect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg™

Project Gutenberg™ is synonymous with the free distribution ofelectronic works in formats readable by the widest variety ofcomputers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. Itexists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donationsfrom people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with theassistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg™’sgoals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg™ collection willremain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the ProjectGutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secureand permanent future for Project Gutenberg™ and futuregenerations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg LiteraryArchive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, seeSections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non-profit501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of thestate of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the InternalRevenue Service. The Foundation’s EIN or federal tax identificationnumber is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg LiteraryArchive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted byU.S. federal laws and your state’s laws.

The Foundation’s business office is located at 809 North 1500 West,Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and upto date contact information can be found at the Foundation’s websiteand official page at

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project GutenbergLiterary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg™ depends upon and cannot survive without widespreadpublic support and donations to carry out its mission ofincreasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can befreely distributed in machine-readable form accessible by the widestarray of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exemptstatus with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulatingcharities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the UnitedStates. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes aconsiderable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep upwith these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locationswhere we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SENDDONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular statevisit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where wehave not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibitionagainst accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states whoapproach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot makeany statements concerning tax treatment of donations received fromoutside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg web pages for current donationmethods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of otherways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. Todonate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg™ electronic works

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the ProjectGutenberg™ concept of a library of electronic works that could befreely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced anddistributed Project Gutenberg™ eBooks with only a loose network ofvolunteer support.

Project Gutenberg™ eBooks are often created from several printededitions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright inthe U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do notnecessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paperedition.

Most people start at our website which has the main PG searchfacility:

This website includes information about Project Gutenberg™,including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg LiteraryArchive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how tosubscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.

The Weavers: a tale of England and Egypt of fifty years ago - Volume 2 (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duane Harber

Last Updated:

Views: 5752

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Duane Harber

Birthday: 1999-10-17

Address: Apt. 404 9899 Magnolia Roads, Port Royceville, ID 78186

Phone: +186911129794335

Job: Human Hospitality Planner

Hobby: Listening to music, Orienteering, Knapping, Dance, Mountain biking, Fishing, Pottery

Introduction: My name is Duane Harber, I am a modern, clever, handsome, fair, agreeable, inexpensive, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.