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Title: Donovan Pasha, and Some People of Egypt — Volume 2
Author: Parker, Gilbert
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Donovan Pasha, and Some People of Egypt — Volume 2" ***

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DONOVAN PASHA AND SOME PEOPLE OF EGYPT

By Gilbert Parker

Volume 2.



FIELDING HAD AN ORDERLY
THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE
A TREATY OF PEACE
AT THE MERCY OF TIBERIUS
ALL THE WORLD'S MAD



FIELDING HAD AN ORDERLY

His legs were like pipe-stems, his body was like a board, but he was
straight enough, not unsoldierly, nor so bad to look at when his back was
on you; but when he showed his face you had little pleasure in him.  It
seemed made of brown putty, the nose was like india-rubber, and the eyes
had that dull, sullen look of a mongrel got of a fox-terrier and a bull-
dog.  Like this sort of mongrel also his eyes turned a brownish-red when
he was excited.

You could always tell when something had gone wrong with Ibrahim the
Orderly, by that curious dull glare in his eyes.  Selamlik Pasha said to
Fielding that it was hashish; Fielding said it was a cross breed of
Soudanese and fellah.  But little Dicky Donovan said it was something
else, and he kept his eye upon Ibrahim.  And Dicky, with all his faults,
could screw his way from the front of a thing to the back thereof like no
other civilised man you ever knew.  But he did not press his opinions
upon Fielding, who was an able administrator and a very clever fellow
also, with a genial habit of believing in people who served him: and that
is bad in the Orient.

As an orderly Ibrahim was like a clock: stiff in his gait as a pendulum,
regular as a minute.  He had no tongue for gossip either, so far as
Fielding knew.  Also, five times a day he said his prayers--an unusual
thing for a Gippy soldier-servant; for as the Gippy's rank increases he
soils his knees and puts his forehead in the dust with discretion.  This
was another reason why Dicky suspected him.

It was supposed that Ibrahim could not speak a word of English;
and he seemed so stupid, he looked so blank, when English was spoken,
that Fielding had no doubt the English language was a Tablet of Abydos to
him.  But Dicky was more wary, and waited.  He could be very patient and
simple, and his delicate face seemed as innocent as a girl's when he said
to Ibrahim one morning: "Ibrahim, brother of scorpions, I'm going to
teach you English!" and, squatting like a Turk on the deck of the
Amenhotep, the stern-wheeled tub which Fielding called a steamer, he
began to teach Ibrahim.

"Say 'Good-morning, kind sir,'" he drawled.

No tongue was ever so thick, no throat so guttural, as Ibrahim's when he
obeyed this command.  That was why suspicion grew the more in the mind of
Dicky.  But he made the Gippy say: "Good-morning, kind sir," over and
over again.  Now, it was a peculiar thing that Ibrahim's pronunciation
grew worse every time; which goes to show that a combination of Soudanese
and fellah doesn't make a really clever villain.  Twice, three times,
Dicky gave him other words and phrases to say, and practice made Ibrahim
more perfect in error.

Dicky suddenly enlarged the vocabulary thus: "An old man had three sons:
one was a thief, another a rogue, and the worst of them all was a
soldier.  But the soldier died first!"

As he said these words he kept his eyes fixed on Ibrahim in a smiling,
juvenile sort of way; and he saw the colour--the brownish-red colour--
creep slowly into Ibrahim's eyes.  For Ibrahim's father had three sons:
and certainly one was a thief, for he had been a tax-gatherer; and one
was a rogue, for he had been the servant of a Greek money-lender; and
Ibrahim was a soldier!

Ibrahim was made to say these words over and over again, and the red fire
in his eyes deepened as Dicky's face lighted up with what seemed a mere
mocking pleasure, a sort of impish delight in teasing, like that of a
madcap girl with a yokel.  Each time Ibrahim said the words he jumbled
them worse than before.  Then Dicky asked him if he knew what an old man
was, and Ibrahim said no.  Dicky said softly in Arabic that the old man
was a fool to have three such sons--a thief and a rogue and a soldier.
With a tender patience he explained what a thief and a rogue were, and
his voice was curiously soft when he added, in Arabic: "And the third son
was like you, Mahommed--and he died first."

Ibrahim's eyes gloomed under the raillery--under what he thought the
cackle of a detested Inglesi with a face like a girl, of an infidel who
had a tongue that handed you honey on the point of a two-edged sword.
In his heart he hated this slim small exquisite as he had never hated
Fielding.  His eyes became like little pots of simmering blood, and he
showed his teeth in a hateful way, because he was sure he should glut his
hatred before the moon came full.

Little Dicky Donovan knew, as he sleepily told Ibrahim to go, that for
months the Orderly had listened to the wholesome but scathing talk of
Fielding and himself on the Egyptian Government, and had reported it to
those whose tool and spy he was.

That night, the stern-wheeled tub, the Amenhotep, lurched like a turtle
on its back into the sands by Beni Hassan.  Of all the villages of Upper
Egypt, from the time of Rameses, none has been so bad as Beni Hassan.
Every ruler of Egypt, at one time or another, has raided it and razed it
to the ground.  It was not for pleasure that Fielding sojourned there.

This day, and for three days past, Fielding had been abed in his cabin
with a touch of Nilotic fever.  His heart was sick for Cairo, for he had
been three months on the river; and Mrs. Henshaw was in Cairo--Mrs.
Henshaw, the widow of Henshaw of the Buffs, who lived with her brother, a
stone's-throw from the Esbekieh Gardens.  Fielding longed for Cairo, but
Beni Hassan intervened.  The little man who worried Ibrahim urged him the
way his private inclinations ran, but he was obdurate: duty must be done.

Dicky Donovan had reasons other than private ones for making haste to
Cairo.  During the last three days they had stopped at five villages on
the Nile, and in each place Dicky, who had done Fielding's work of
inspection for him, had been met with unusual insolence from the Arabs
and fellaheen, officials and others; and the prompt chastisement he
rendered with his riding-whip in return did not tend to ease his mind,
though it soothed his feelings.  There had been flying up the river
strange rumours of trouble down in Cairo, black threats of rebellion--
of a seditious army in the palm of one man's hand.  At the cafes on the
Nile, Dicky himself had seen strange gatherings, which dispersed as he
came on them.  For, somehow, his smile had the same effect as other men's
frowns.

This evening he added a whistle to his smile as he made his inspection of
the engine-room and the galley and every corner of the Amenhotep,
according to his custom.  What he whistled no man knew, not even himself.
It was ready-made.  It might have been a medley, but, as things happened,
it was an overture; and by the eyes, the red-litten windows of the mind
of Mahommed Ibrahim, who squatted beside the Yorkshire engineer at the
wheel, playing mankalah, he knew it was an overture.

As he went to his cabin he murmured to himself "There's the devil to pay:
now I wonder who pays?"  Because he was planning things of moment, he
took a native drum down to Fielding's cabin, and made Fielding play it,
native fashion, as he thrummed his own banjo and sang the airy ballad,
"The Dragoons of Enniskillen."  Yet Dicky was thinking hard all the time.

Now there was in Beni Hassan a ghdzeeyeh, a dancing-woman of the Ghawazee
tribe, of whom, in the phrase of the moralists, the less said the better.
What her name was does not matter.  She was well-to-do.  She had a
husband who played the kemengeh for her dancing.  She had as good a house
as the Omdah, and she had two female slaves.

Dicky Donovan was of that rare type of man who has the keenest desire to
know all things, good or evil, though he was fastidious when it came to
doing them.  He had a gift of keeping his own commandments.  If he had
been a six-footer and riding eighteen stone--if he hadn't been, as
Fielding often said, so "damned finicky," he might easily have come a
cropper.  For, being absolutely without fear, he did what he listed and
went where he listed.  An insatiable curiosity was his strongest point,
save one.  If he had had a headache--though he never had--he would at
once have made an inquiry into the various kinds of headache possible to
mortal man, with pungent deductions from his demonstrations.  So it was
that when he first saw a dancing-girl in the streets of Cairo he could
not rest until by circuitous routes he had traced the history of dancing-
girls back through the ages, through Greece and the ruby East, even to
the days when the beautiful bad ones were invited to the feasts of the
mighty, to charm the eyes of King Seti or Queen Hatsu.

He was an authority on the tribe of the Ghawazee, proving, to their
satisfaction and his own, their descent from the household of Haroon al
Rashid.  He was, therefore, welcome among them.  But he had found also,
as many another wise man has found in "furrin parts," that your greatest
safety lies in bringing tobacco to the men and leaving the women alone.
For, in those distant lands, a man may sell you his nuptial bed, but he
will pin the price of it to your back one day with the point of a lance
or the wedge of a hatchet.

Herebefore will be found the reason why Dicky Donovan--twenty-five and
no moustache, pink-cheeked and rosy-hearted, and "no white spots on his
liver"--went straight, that particular night, to the house of the chief
dancing-girl of Beni Hassan for help in his trouble.  From her he had
learned to dance the dance of the Ghawazee.  He had learned it so that,
with his insatiable curiosity, his archaeological instinct, he should be
able to compare it with the Nautch dance of India, the Hula-Hula of the
Sandwich Islanders, the Siva of the Samoans.

A half-hour from the time he set his foot in Beni Hassan two dancing-
girls issued from the house of the ghdzeeyeh, dressed in shintiydn and
muslin tarah, anklets and bracelets, with gold coins about the forehead
--and one was Dicky Donovan.  He had done the rare thing: he had trusted
absolutely that class of woman who is called a "rag" in that far country,
and a "drab" in ours.  But he was a judge of human nature, and judges of
human nature know you are pretty safe to trust a woman who never trusts,
no matter how bad she is, if she has no influence over you.  He used to
say that the better you are and the worse she is, the more you can trust
her.  Other men may talk, but Dicky Donovan knows.

What Dicky's aunt, the Dowager Lady Carmichael, would have said to have
seen Dicky flaunting it in the clothes of a dancing-girl through the
streets of vile Beni Hassan, must not be considered.  None would have
believed that his pink-and-white face and slim hands and staringly white
ankles could have been made to look so boldly handsome, so impeachable.
But henna in itself seems to have certain qualities of viciousness in its
brownish-red stain, and Dicky looked sufficiently abandoned.  The risk
was great, however, for his Arabic was too good and he had to depend upon
the ghdzeeyeh's adroitness, on the peculiar advantage of being under the
protection of the mistress of the house as large as the Omdah's.

From one cafe to another they went.  Here a snakecharmer gathered a
meagre crowd about him; there an 'A'l'meh, or singing-girl, lilted a
ribald song; elsewhere hashish-smokers stretched out gaunt, loathsome
fingers towards them; and a Sha'er recited the romance of Aboo Zeyd.  But
Dicky noticed that none of the sheikhs, none of the great men of the
village, were at these cafes; only the very young, the useless, the
licentious, or the decrepit.  But by flickering fires under the palm-
trees were groups of men talking and gesticulating; and now and then an
Arab galloped through the street, the point of his long lance shining.
Dicky felt a secret, like a troubled wind, stirring through the place,
a movement not explainable by his own inner tremulousness.

At last they went to the largest cafe beside the Mosque of Hoseyn.  He
saw the Sheikh-el-beled sitting on his bench, and, grouped round him,
smoking, several sheikhs and the young men of the village.  Here he and
the ghdzeeyeh danced.  Few noticed them; for which Dicky was thankful;
and he risked discovery by coming nearer the circle.  He could, however,
catch little that they said, for they spoke in low tones, the Sheikh-el-
beled talking seldom, but listening closely.

The crowd around the cafe grew.  Occasionally an Arab would throw back
his head and cry: "Allahu Akbar!"  Another drew a sword and waved it in
the air.  Some one in front of him whispered one startling word to a
camel-driver.

Dicky had got his cue.  To him that whisper was as loud and clear as the
"La ilaha illa-llah!" called from the top of a mosque.  He understood
Ibrahim the Orderly now; he guessed all--rebellion, anarchy, massacre.
A hundred thoughts ran through his head: what was Ibrahim's particular
part in the swaggering scheme was the first and the last of them.

Ibrahim answered for himself, for at that moment he entered the burning
circle.  A movement of applause ran round, then there was sudden silence.
The dancing-girls were bid to stop their dancing, were told to be gone.
The ghazeeyeh spat at them in an assumed anger, and said that none but
swine of Beni Hassan would send a woman away hungry.  And because the
dancing-girl has power in the land, the Sheikh-el-beled waved his hand
towards the cafe, hastily calling the name of a favourite dish.  Eyes
turned unconcernedly towards the brown clattering ankles of the two as
they entered the cafe and seated themselves immediately behind where the
Sheikh-el-beled squatted.  Presently Dicky listened to as sombre a tale
as ever was told in the darkest night.  The voice of the tale-teller was
that of Ibrahim, and the story was this: that the citadel at Cairo was
to be seized, that the streets of Alexandria were to be swept free of
Europeans, that every English official between Cairo and Kordofan was to
be slain.  Mahommed Ibrahim, the spy, who knew English as well as Donovan
Pasha knew Arabic, was this very night to kill Fielding Bey with his own
hand!

This night was always associated in Dicky's mind with the memory of
stewed camel's-meat.  At Ibrahim's words he turned his head from the rank
steam, and fingered his pistol in the loose folds of his Arab trousers.
The dancing-girl saw the gesture and laid a hand upon his arm.

"Thou art one against a thousand," she whispered; "wait till thou art one
against one."

He dipped his nose in the camel-stew, for some one poked a head in at the
door--every sense in him was alert, every instinct alive.

"To-night," said Mahommed Ibrahim, in the hoarse gutturals of the
Bishareen, "it is ordered that Fielding Bey shall die--and by my hand,
mine own, by the mercy of God!  And after Fielding Bey the clean-faced
ape that cast the evil eye upon me yesterday, and bade me die.  'An old
man had three sons,' said he, the infidel dog, 'one was a thief, another
a rogue, and the third a soldier--and the soldier died first.'  'A camel
of Bagdad,' he called me.  Into the belly of a dead camel shall he go, be
sewn up like a cat's liver in a pudding, and cast into the Nile before
God gives tomorrow a sun."

Dicky pushed away the camel-stew.  "It is time to go," he said.

The ghdzeeyeh rose with a laugh, caught Dicky by the hand, sprang out
among the Arabs, and leapt over the head of the village barber, calling
them all "useless, sodden greybeards, with no more blood than a Nile
shad, poorer than monkeys, beggars of Beni Hassan!"  Taking from her
pocket a handful of quarter-piastres, she turned on her heels and tossed
them among the Arabs with a contemptuous laugh.  Then she and Dicky
disappeared into the night.



II

When Dicky left her house, clothed in his own garments once more, but the
stains of henna still on his face and hands and ankles, he pressed into
the ghazeeyeh's hand ten gold-pieces.  She let them fall to the ground.

"Love is love, effendi," she said.  "Money do they give me for what is no
love.  She who gives freely for love takes naught in return but love, by
the will of God!"  And she laid a hand upon his arm.

"There is work to do!" said Dicky; and his hand dropped to where his
pistol lay--but not to threaten her.  He was thinking of others.

"To-morrow," she said; "to-morrow for that, effendi," and her beautiful
eyes hung upon his.

"There's corn in Egypt, but who knows who'll reap it to-morrow?  And I
shall be in Cairo to-morrow."

"I also shall be in Cairo to-morrow, O my lord and master!" she
answered.

"God give you safe journey," answered Dicky, for he knew it was useless
to argue with a woman.  He was wont to say that you can resolve all women
into the same simple elements in the end.

Dicky gave a long perplexed whistle as he ran softly under the palms
towards the Amenhotep, lounging on the mud bank.  Then he dismissed the
dancing-girl from his mind, for there was other work to do.  How he
should do it he planned as he opened the door of Fielding's cabin softly
and saw him in a deep sleep.

He was about to make haste on deck again, where his own nest was, when,
glancing through the window, he saw Mahommed Ibrahim stealing down the
bank to the boat's side.  He softly drew-to the little curtain of the
cabin window, leaving only one small space through which the moonlight
streamed.  This ray of light fell just across the door through which
Mahommed Ibrahim would enter.  The cabin was a large one, the bed was in
the middle.  At the head was a curtain slung to protect the sleeper from
the cold draughts of the night.

Dicky heard a soft footstep in the companionway, then before the door.
He crept behind the curtain.  Mahommed Ibrahim was listening without.
Now the door opened very gently, for this careful Orderly had oiled the
hinges that very day.  The long flabby face, with the venomous eyes,
showed in the streak of moonlight.  Mahommed Ibrahim slid inside, took a
step forward and drew a long knife from his sleeve.  Another move towards
the sleeping man, and he was near the bed; another, and he was beside it,
stooping over.  .  .

Now, a cold pistol suddenly thrust in your face is disconcerting, no
matter how well laid your plans.  It was useless for the Orderly to raise
his hand: a bullet is quicker than the muscles of the arm and the stroke
of a knife.

The two stood silent an instant, the sleeping man peaceful between them.
Dicky made a motion of his head towards the door.  Mahommed Ibrahim
turned.  Dicky did not lower his pistol as the Orderly, obeying, softly
went as he had softly come.  Out through the doorway, up the stairs, then
upon the moonlit deck, the cold muzzle of the pistol at the head of
Mahommed Ibrahim.

Dicky turned now, and faced him, the pistol still pointed.

Then Mahommed Ibrahim spoke.  "Malaish!" he said.  That was contempt.
It was Mahommedan resignation; it was the inevitable.  "Malaish--no
matter!" he said again; and "no matter" was in good English.

Dicky's back was to the light, the Orderly's face in the full glow of it.
Dicky was standing beside the wire communicating with the engineer's
cabin.  He reached out his hand and pulled the hook.  The bell rang
below.  The two above stood silent, motionless, the pistol still
levelled.

Holgate, the young Yorkshire engineer, pulled himself up to the deck two
steps of the ladder at a time.  "Yes, sir," he said, coming forward
quickly, but stopping short when he saw the levelled pistol.  "Drop the
knife, Ibrahim," said Dicky in a low voice.  The Orderly dropped the
knife.

"Get it, Holgate," said Dicky; and Holgate stooped and picked it up.
Then he told Holgate the story in a few words.  The engineer's fingers
tightened on the knife.

"Put it where it will be useful, Holgate," said Dicky.  Holgate dropped
it inside his belt.

"Full steam, and turn her nose to Cairo.  No time to lose!"  He had told
Holgate earlier in the evening to keep up steam.

He could see a crowd slowly gathering under the palm-trees between the
shore and Beni Hassan.  They were waiting for Mahommed Ibrahim's signal.

Holgate was below, the sailors were at the cables.  "Let go ropes!"
Dicky called.

A minute later the engine was quietly churning away below; two minutes
later the ropes were drawn in; half a minute later still the nose of the
Amenhotep moved in the water.  She backed from the Nile mud, lunged free.

"An old man had three sons; one was a thief, another a rogue, and the
worst of the three was a soldier--and he dies first!  What have you got
to say before you say your prayers?" said Dicky to the Orderly.

"Mafish!" answered Mahommed Ibrahim, moveless.  "Mafish--nothing!"  And
he said "nothing" in good English.

"Say your prayers then, Mahommed Ibrahim," said Dicky in that voice like
a girl's; and he backed a little till he rested a shoulder against the
binnacle.

Mahommed Ibrahim turned slightly till his face was towards the east.  The
pistol now fell in range with his ear.  The Orderly took off his shoes,
and, standing with his face towards the moon, and towards Mecca, he
murmured the fatihah from the Koran.  Three times he bowed, afterwards he
knelt and touched the deck with his forehead three times also.  Then he
stood up.  "Are you ready?" asked Dicky.

"Water!" answered Mahommed Ibrahim in English.  Dicky had forgotten that
final act of devotion of the good Mahommedan.  There was a filter of
Nile-water near.  He had heard it go drip-drip, drip-drip, as Mahommed
Ibrahim prayed.

"Drink," he said, and pointed with his finger.  Mahommed Ibrahim took the
little tin cup hanging by the tap, half filled it, drank it off, and
noiselessly put the cup back again.  Then he stood with his face towards
the pistol.

"The game is with the English all the time," said Dicky softly.

"Malaish!" said Mahommed.  "Jump," said Dicky.

One instant's pause, and then, without a sound, Ibrahim sprang out over
the railing into the hard-running current, and struck out for the shore.
The Amenhotep passed him.  He was in the grasp of a whirlpool so strong
that it twisted the Amenhotep in her course.  His head spun round like a
water-fly, and out of the range of Dicky's pistol he shrieked to the
crowd on the shore.  They burst from the palm-trees and rushed down to
the banks with cries of rage, murder, and death; for now they saw him
fighting for his life.  But the Amenhotep's nose was towards Cairo, and
steam was full on, and she was going fast.  Holgate below had his men
within range of a pistol too.  Dicky looked back at the hopeless fight as
long as he could see.

Down in his cabin Fielding Bey slept peacefully, and dreamed of a woman
in Cairo.



THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE

In spite of being an Englishman with an Irish name and a little Irish
blood, Dicky Donovan had risen high in the favour of the Khedive,
remaining still the same Dicky Donovan he had always been--astute but
incorruptible.  While he was favourite he used his power wisely, and it
was a power which had life and death behind it.  When therefore, one day,
he asked permission to take a journey upon a certain deadly business of
justice, the Khedive assented to all he asked, but fearing for his
safety, gave him his own ring to wear and a line under his seal.

With these Dicky set forth for El Medineh in the Fayoum, where his
important business lay.  As he cantered away from El Wasta, out through
the green valley and on into the desert where stands the Pyramid of
Maydoum, he turned his business over and over in his mind, that he might
study it from a hundred sides.  For miles he did not see a human being--
only a caravan of camels in the distance, some vultures overhead and the
smoke of the train behind him by the great river.  Suddenly, however, as
he cantered over the crest of a hill, he saw in the desert-trail before
him a foot-traveller, who turned round hastily, almost nervously, at the
sound of his horse's feet.

It was the figure of a slim, handsome youth, perhaps twenty, perhaps
thirty.  The face was clean-shaven, and though the body seemed young and
the face was unlined, the eyes were terribly old.  Pathos and fanaticism
were in the look, so Dicky Donovan thought.  He judged the young Arab to
be one of the holy men who live by the gifts of the people, and who do
strange acts of devotion; such as sitting in one place for twenty years,
or going without clothes, or chanting the Koran ten hours a day, or
cutting themselves with knives.  But this young man was clothed in the
plain blue calico of the fellah, and on his head was a coarse brown fez
of raw wool.  Yet round the brown fez was a green cloth, which may only
be worn by one who has been a pilgrimage to Mecca.

"Nehar-ak koom said--God be with you!" said Dicky in Arabic.

"Nehar-ak said, efendi--God prosper thy greatness!" was the reply, in a
voice as full as a man's, but as soft as a woman's--an unusual thing in
an Arab.  "Have you travelled far?" asked Dicky.

"From the Pyramid of Maydoum, effendi," was the quiet reply.

Dicky laughed.  "A poor tavern; cold sleeping there, Mahommed."

"The breath of Allah is warm," answered the Arab.  Dicky liked the lad's
answer.  Putting a hand in his saddle-bag, he drew out a cake of dourha
bread and some onions--for he made shift to live as the people lived,
lest he should be caught unawares some time, and die of the remembrance
of too much luxury in the midst of frugal fare.

"Plenty be in your home, Mahommed!" he said, and held out the bread and
onions.

The slim hands came up at once and took the food, the eyes flashed a
strange look at Dicky.  "God give you plenty upon your plenty, effendi,
and save your soul and the souls of your wife and children, if it be your
will, effendi!"

"I have no wife, praise be to God," said Dicky; "but if I had, her soul
would be saved before my own, or I'm a dervish!"  Then something moved
him further, and he unbuttoned his pocket--for there really was a button
to Dicky's pocket.  He drew out a five-piastre piece, and held it down to
the young Arab.  "For the home-coming after Mecca," he said, and smiled.

The young Arab drew back.  "I will eat thy bread, but no more, effendi,"
he said quickly.

"Then you're not what I thought you were," said Dicky under his breath,
and, with a quick good-bye, struck a heel into the horse's side and
galloped away toward El Medineh.

In El Medineh Dicky went about his business--a bitter business it was, as
all Egypt came to know.  For four days he pursued it, without halting and
in some danger, for, disguise himself as he would in his frequenting of
the cafes, his Arabic was not yet wholly perfect.  Sometimes he went
about in European dress, and that was equally dangerous, for in those
days the Fayoum was a nest of brigandage and murder, and an European--an
infidel dog--was fair game.

But Dicky had two friends--the village barber, and the moghassil of the
dead, or body-washer, who were in his pay; and for the moment they were
loyal to him.  For his purpose, too, they were the most useful of
mercenaries: for the duties of a barber are those of a valet-de-chambre,
a doctor, registrar and sanitary officer combined; and his coadjutor in
information and gossip was the moghassil, who sits and waits for some one
to die, as a raven on a housetop waits for carrion.  Dicky was patient,
but as the days went by and nothing came of all his searching, his lips
tightened and his eyes became more restless.  One day, as he sat in his
doorway twisting and turning things in his mind, with an ugly knot in his
temper, the barber came to him quickly.

"Saadat el basha, I have found the Englishwoman, by the mercy of Allah!"

Dicky looked at Achmed Hariri for a moment without stirring or speaking;
his lips relaxed, his eyes softening with satisfaction.

"She is living?"

"But living, saadat el basha."

Dicky started to his feet.  "At the mudirieh?"

"At the house of Azra, the seller of sherbet, saadat el basha."

"When did she leave the mudirieh?"

"A week past, effendi."

"Why did she leave?"

"None knows save the sister of Azra, who is in the harem.  The
Englishwoman was kind to her when she was ill, and she gave her aid."

"The Mudir has not tried to find her?"

"Will the robber make a noise if the horse he has stolen breaks free,
effendi?"

"Why has she not flown the place?"

"Effendi, can the broken-winged bird fly!"

"She is ill?"  He caught the barber by the arm.

"As a gazelle with an arrow in its breast."

Dicky's small hand tightened like a vice on the barber's thin arm.  "And
he who sped the arrow, Achmed Hariri?"

Achmed Hariri was silent.

"Shall he not die the death?"

Achmed Hariri shrank back.

Dicky drew from his pocket a paper with seals, and held it up to the
barber's eyes.  The barber stared, drew back, salaamed, bowed his head,
and put a hand upon his turban as a slave to his master.

"Show me the way, Mahommed," said Dicky, and stepped out.

Two hours later Dicky, with pale face, and fingers clutching his heavy
riding-whip fiercely, came quickly towards the bridge where he must cross
to go to the mudirieh.  Suddenly he heard an uproar, and saw men hurrying
on in front of him.  He quickened his footsteps, and presently came to a
house on which had been freshly painted those rough, staring pictures of
"accidents by flood and field," which Mecca pilgrims paint on their
houses like hatchments, on their safe return--proclamation of their
prestige.

Presently he saw in the grasp of an infuriated crowd the Arab youth he
had met in the desert, near the Pyramid of Maydoum.  Execrations,
murderous cries arose from the mob.  The youth's face was deathly pale,
but it had no fear.  Upon the outskirts of the crowd hung women, their
robes drawn half over their faces, crying out for the young man's death.
Dicky asked the ghaflir standing by what the youth had done.

"It is no youth, but a woman," he answered--"the latest wife of the
Mudir.  In a man's clothes--"

He paused, for the head sheikh of El Medineh, with two Ulema, entered the
throng.  The crowd fell back.  Presently the Sheikh-el-beled mounted the
mastaba by the house, the holy men beside him, and pointing to the Arab
youth, spoke loudly:

"This sister of scorpions and crocodiles has earned a thousand deaths.
She was a daughter of a pasha, and was lifted high.  She was made the
wife of Abbas Bey, our Mudir.  Like a wanton beast she cut off her hair,
clothed herself as a man, journeyed to Mecca, and desecrated the tomb of
Mahomet, who hath written that no woman, save her husband of his goodness
bring her, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

He paused, and pointed to the rough pictures on the walls.  "This
morning, dressed as a man, she went in secret to the sacred purple pillar
for barren women in the Mosque of Amrar, by the Bahr-el-Yusef, and was
found there with her tongue to it.  What shall be done to this accursed
tree in the garden of Mahomet?"

"Cut it down!" shouted the crowd; and the Ulema standing beside the
Sheikh-el-beled said: "Cut down for ever the accursed tree."

"To-morrow, at sunrise, she shall die as a blasphemer, this daughter of
Sheitan the Evil One," continued the holy men.

"What saith the Mudir?" cried a tax-gatherer.  "The Mudir himself shall
see her die at sunrise," answered the chief of the Ulema.

Shouts of hideous joy went up.  At that moment the woman's eyes met
Dicky's, and they suddenly lighted.  Dicky picked his way through the
crowd, and stood before the Sheikh-el-beled.  With an Arab salute, he
said:

"I am, as you know, my brother, a friend of our master the Khedive, and I
carry his ring on my finger."  The Sheikh-el-beled salaamed as Dicky held
up his hand, and a murmur ran through the crowd.  "What you have done to
the woman is well done, and according to your law she should die.  But
will ye not let her tell her story, so it may be written down, that when
perchance evil voices carry the tale to the Khedive he shall have her own
words for her condemnation?"

The Ulema looked at the Sheikh-el-beled, and he made answer: "It is well
said; let the woman speak, and her words be written down."

"Is it meet that all should hear?" asked Dicky, for he saw the look in
the woman's eyes.  "Will she not speak more freely if we be few?"

"Let her be taken into the house," said the Sheikhel-beled.  Turning to
the holy men, he added: "Ye and the Inglesi shall hear."

When they were within the house, the woman was brought in and stood
before them.

"Speak," said the Sheikh-el-beled to her roughly.  She kept her eyes
fixed on Dicky as she spoke: "For the thing I have done I shall answer.
I had no joy in the harem.  I gave no child to my lord, though often I
put my tongue to the sacred pillar of porphyry in the Mosque of Amrar.
My lord's love went from me.  I was placed beneath another in the harem.
.  .  .  Was it well?  Did I not love my lord?  was the sin mine that no
child was born to him?  It is written that a woman's prayers are of no
avail, that her lord must save her at the last, if she hath a soul to be
saved.  .  .  .  Was the love of my lord mine?"  She paused, caught a
corner of her robe and covered her face.

"Speak on, O woman of many sorrows," said Dicky.  She partly uncovered
her face, and spoke again: "In the long night, when he came not and I was
lonely and I cried aloud, and only the jackals beyond my window answered,
I thought and thought.  My brain was wild, and at last I said: 'Behold, I
will go to Mecca as the men go, and when the fire rises from the
Prophet's tomb, bringing blessing and life to all, it may be that I shall
have peace, and win heaven as men win it.  For behold!  what is my body
but a man's body, for it beareth no child.  And what is my soul but a
man's soul, that dares to do this thing!' .  .  ."

"Thou art a blasphemer," broke in the chief of the Ulema.

She gave no heed, but with her eyes on Dicky continued:

"So I stole forth in the night with an old slave, who was my father's
slave, and together we went to Cairo.  .  .  .  Behold, I have done all
that Dervishes do: I have cut myself with knives, I have walked the
desert alone, I have lain beneath the feet of the Sheikh's horse when he
makes his ride over the bodies of the faithful, I have done all that a
woman may do and all that a man may do, for the love I bore my lord.  Now
judge me as ye will, for I may do no more."

When she had finished, Dicky turned to the Sheikhel-beled and said: "She
is mad.  Behold, Allah hath taken her wits!  She is no more than a wild
bird in the wilderness."

It was his one way to save her; for among her people the mad, the blind,
and the idiot are reputed highly favoured of God.

The Sheikh-el-beled shook his head.  "She is a blasphemer.  Her words are
as the words of one who holds the sacred sword and speaks from the high
pulpit," he said sternly; and his dry lean face hungered like a wolf's
for the blood of the woman.

"She has blasphemed," said the Ulema.

Outside the house, quietness had given place to murmuring, murmuring to a
noise, and a noise to a tumult, through which the yelping and howling of
the village dogs streamed.

"She shall be torn to pieces by wild dogs," said the Sheikh-el-beled.

"Let her choose her own death," said Dicky softly; and, lighting a
cigarette, he puffed it indolently into the face of the Arab sitting
beside him.  For Dicky had many ways of showing hatred, and his tobacco
was strong.  The sea has its victims, so had Dicky's tobacco.

"The way of her death shall be as we choose," said the Sheikh-el-beled,
his face growing blacker, his eyes enlarging in fury.

Dicky yawned slightly, his eyes half closed.  He drew in a long breath of
excoriating caporal, held it for a moment, and then softly ejected it in
a cloud which brought water to the eyes of the Sheikh-el-beled.  Dicky
was very angry, but he did not look it.  His voice was meditative, almost
languid as he said:

"That the woman should die seems just and right--if by your kindness and
the mercy of God ye will let me speak.  But this is no court, it is no
law: it is mere justice ye would do."

"It is the will of the people," the chief of the Ulema interjected.  "It
is the will of Mussulmans, of our religion, of Mahomet," he said.

"True, O beloved of Heaven, who shall live for ever," said Dicky, his
lips lost in an odorous cloud of 'ordinaire.'  "But there be evil tongues
and evil hearts; and if some son of liars, some brother of foolish tales,
should bear false witness upon this thing before our master the Khedive,
or his gentle Mouffetish--"

"His gentle Mouffetish" was scarcely the name to apply to Sadik Pasha,
the terrible right-hand of the Khedive.  But Dicky's tongue was in his
cheek.

"There is the Mudir," said the Sheikh-el-beled: "he hath said that the
woman should die, if she were found."

"True; but if the Mudir should die, where would be his testimony?" asked
Dicky, and his eyes half closed, as though in idle contemplation of a
pleasing theme.  "Now," he added, still more negligently, "I shall see
our master the Khedive before the moon is full.  Were it not well that I
should be satisfied for my friends?"

Dicky smiled, and looked into the eyes of the Mussulmans with an
incorruptible innocence; he ostentatiously waved the cigarette smoke away
with the hand on which was the ring the Khedive had given him.

"Thy tongue is as the light of a star," said the bright-eyed Sheikh-el-
beled; "wisdom dwelleth with thee."  The woman took no notice of what
they said.  Her face showed no sign of what she thought; her eyes were
unwaveringly fixed on the distance.

"She shall choose her own death," said the Sheikhel-beled; "and I will
bear word to the Mudir."

"I dine with the Mudir to-night; I will carry the word," said Dicky; "and
the death that the woman shall die will be the death he will choose."

The woman's eyes came like lightning from the distance, and fastened upon
his face.  Then he said, with the back of his hand to his mouth to hide a
yawn:

"The manner of her death will please the Mudir.  It must please him."

"What death does this vulture among women choose to die?" said the
Sheikh-el-beled.

Her answer could scarcely be heard in the roar and the riot surrounding
the hut.

A half-hour later Dicky entered the room where the Mudir sat on his divan
drinking his coffee.  The great man looked up in angry astonishment--for
Dicky had come unannounced-and his fat hands twitched on his breast,
where they had been folded.  His sallow face turned a little green.
Dicky made no salutation.

"Dog of an infidel!" said the Mudir under his breath.

Dicky heard, but did no more than fasten his eyes upon the Mudir for a
moment.

"Your business?" asked the Mudir.

"The business of the Khedive," answered Dicky, and his riding-whip tapped
his leggings.  "I have come about the English girl."  As he said this, he
lighted a cigarette slowly, looking, as it were casually, into the
Mudir's eyes.

The Mudir's hand ran out like a snake towards a bell on the cushions, but
Dicky shot forward and caught the wrist in his slim, steel-like fingers.
There was a hard glitter in his eyes as he looked down into the eyes of
the master of a hundred slaves, the ruler of a province.

"I have a command of the Khedive to bring you to Cairo, and to kill you
if you resist," said Dicky.  "Sit still--you had better sit still," he
added, in a soothing voice behind which was a deadly authority.

The Mudir licked his dry, colourless lips, and gasped, for he might make
an outcry, but he saw that Dicky would be quicker.  He had been too long
enervated by indulgence to make a fight.

"You'd better take a drink of water," said Dicky, seating himself upon a
Louis Quinze chair, a relic of civilisation brought by the Mudir from
Paris into an antique barbarism.  Then he added sternly: "What have you
done with the English girl?"

"I know nothing of an English girl," answered the Mudir.

Dicky's words were chosen as a jeweller chooses stones for the ring of a
betrothed woman.  "You had a friend in London, a brother of hell like
yourself.  He, like you, had lived in Paris; and that is why this thing
happened.  You had your own women slaves from Kordofan, from Circassia,
from Syria, from your own land.  It was not enough: you must have an
English girl in your harem.  You knew you could not buy her, you knew
that none would come to you for love, neither the drab nor the lady.
None would lay her hand in that of a leprous dog like yourself.  So you
lied, your friend lied for you--sons of dogs of liars all of you, beasts
begotten of beasts!  You must have a governess for your children,
forsooth!  And the girl was told she would come to a palace.  She came
to a stable, and to shame and murder."

Dicky paused.

The fat, greasy hands of the Mudir fumbled towards the water-glass.  It
was empty, but he raised it to his lips and drained the air.

Dicky's eyes fastened him like arrows.  "The girl died an hour ago," he
continued.  "I was with her when she died.  You must pay the price, Abbas
Bey."  He paused.

There was a moment's silence, and then a voice, dry like that of one who
comes out of chloroform, said: "What is the price?"

The little touch of cruelty in Dicky's nature, working with a sense of
justice and an ever-ingenious mind, gave a pleasant quietness to the
inveterate hate that possessed him.  He thought of another woman--of her
who was to die to-morrow.

"There was another woman," said Dicky: "one of your own people.  She was
given a mind and a soul.  You deserted her in your harem--what was there
left for her to think of but death?  She had no child.  But death was a
black prospect; for you would go to heaven, and she would be in the outer
darkness; and she loved you!  A woman's brain thinks wild things.  She
fled from you, and went the pilgrimage to Mecca.  She did all that a man
might do to save her soul, according to Mahomet.  She is to die to-morrow
by the will of the people--and the Mudir of the Fayoum."

Dicky paused once more.  He did not look at the Mudir, but out of the
window towards the Bahr-el-Yusef, where the fellaheen of the Mudir's
estate toiled like beasts of burden with the barges and the great
khiassas laden with cotton and sugar-cane.

"God make your words merciful!" said the Mudir.  "What would you have me
do?"

"The Khedive, our master, has given me your life," said Dicky.  "I will
make your end easy.  The woman has done much to save her soul.  She
buries her face in the dust because she hath no salvation.  It is written
in the Koran that a man may save the soul of his wife.  You have your
choice: will you come to Cairo to Sadik Pasha, and be crucified like a
bandit of your own province, or will you die with the woman in the
Birket-el-Kurun to-morrow at sunrise, and walk with her into the Presence
and save her soul, and pay the price of the English life?"

"Malaish!" answered the Mudir.  "Water," he added quickly.  He had no
power to move, for fear had paralysed him.  Dicky brought him a goolah of
water.

The next morning, at sunrise, a strange procession drew near to the
Birket-el-Kurun.  Twenty ghaffirs went ahead with their naboots; then
came the kavasses, then the Mudir mounted, with Dicky riding beside,
his hand upon the holster where his pistol was.  The face of the Mudir
was like a wrinkled skin of lard, his eyes had the look of one drunk with
hashish.  Behind them came the woman, and now upon her face there was
only a look of peace.  The distracted gaze had gone from her eyes, and
she listened without a tremor to the voices of the wailers behind.

Twenty yards from the lake, Dicky called a halt--Dicky, not the Mudir.
The soldiers came forward and put heavy chains and a ball upon the
woman's ankles.  The woman carried the ball in her arms to the very verge
of the lake, by the deep pool called "The Pool of the Slaughtered One."

Dicky turned to the Mudir.  "Are you ready?" he said.

"Inshallah!" said the Mudir.

The soldiers made a line, but the crowd overlapped the line.  The
fellaheen and Bedouins looked to see the Mudir summon the Ulema to
condemn the woman to shame and darkness everlasting.  But suddenly Abbas
Bey turned and took the woman's right hand in his left.

Her eyes opened in an ecstasy.  "O lord and master, I go to heaven with
thee!" she said, and threw herself forward.

Without a sound the heavy body of the Mudir lurched forward with her, and
they sank into the water together.  A cry of horror and wonder burst from
the crowd.

Dicky turned to them, and raised both hands.

"In the name of our master the Khedive!" he cried.

Above the spot where the two had sunk floated the red tarboosh of the
Mudir of the Fayoum.



A TREATY OF PEACE

Mr. William Sowerby, lieutenant in the Mounted Infantry, was in a
difficult situation, out of which he was little likely to come with
credit--or his life.  It is a dangerous thing to play with fire, so it
is said; it is a more dangerous thing to walk rough-shod over Oriental
customs.  A man ere this has lost his life by carrying his shoe-leather
across the threshold of a mosque, and this sort of thing William Sowerby
knew, and of his knowledge he heeded.  He did not heed another thing,
however; which is, that Oriental ladies are at home to but one man in all
the world, and that your acquaintance with them must be modified by a
mushrabieh screen, a yashmak, a shaded, fast-driving brougham, and a
hideous eunuch.

William Sowerby had not been long in Egypt, he had not travelled very
far or very wide in the Orient; and he was an impressionable and harmless
young man whose bark and bite were of equal value.  His ideas of a harem
were inaccurately based on the legend that it is necessarily the
habitation of many wives and concubines and slaves.  It had never
occurred to him that there might be a sort of family life in a harem;
that a pasha or a bey might have daughters as well as wives; or might
have only one wife--which is less expensive; and that a harem is not
necessarily the heaven of a voluptuary, an elysium of rosy-petalled love
and passion.  Yet he might have known it all, and should have known it
all, if he had taken one-fifth of the time to observe and study Egyptian
life which he gave to polo and golf and racquets.  Yet even if he had
known the life from many stand-points he would still have cherished
illusions, for, as Dicky Donovan, who had a sense of satire, said in some
satirical lines, the cherished amusements of more than one dinner table:

                   "Oh, William William Sowerby
                    Has come out for to see
                    The way of a bimbashi
                    With Egyptian Cavalree.
                    But William William Sowerby
                    His eyes do open wide
                    When he sees the Pasha's chosen
                    In her "bruggam" and her pride.
                    And William William Sowerby,
                    He has a tender smile,
                    Which will bring him in due season
                    To the waters of the Nile
                    And the cheery crocodile!"

It can scarcely be said that Dicky was greatly surprised when Mahommed
Yeleb, the servant of "William William Sowerby," came rapping at his door
one hot noon-day with a dark tale of disaster to his master.  This was
the heart of the thing--A languid, bored, inviting face, and two dark
curious eyes in a slow-driving brougham out on the Pyramid Road;
William's tender, answering smile; his horse galloping behind to within a
discreet distance of the palace, where the lady alighted, shadowed by the
black-coated eunuch.  The same thing for several days, then a device to
let the lady know his name, then a little note half in Arabic, half in
French, so mysterious, so fascinating--William Sowerby walked on air!
Then, a nocturnal going forth, followed by his frightened servant, who
dared not give a warning, for fear of the ever-ready belt which had
scarred his back erstwhile; the palace wall, an opening door, the figure
of his master passing through, the closing gate; and then no more--
nothing more, for a long thirty-six hours!

Mahommed Yeleb's face would have been white if his skin had permitted--
it was a sickly yellow; his throat was guttural with anxiety, his eyes
furtive and strained, for was he not the servant of his master, and might
not he be marked for the early tomb if, as he was sure, his master was
gone that way?

"Aiwa, efendi, it is sure," he said to Dicky Donovan, who never was
surprised at anything that happened.  He had no fear of anything that
breathed; and he kept his place with Ismail because he told the truth
pitilessly, was a poorer man than the Khedive's barber, and a beggar
beside the Chief Eunuch; also, because he had a real understanding of the
Oriental mind, together with a rich sense of humour.

"What is sure?" said Dicky to the Arab with assumed composure; for
it was important that he should show neither anxiety nor astonishment,
lest panic seize the man, and he should rush abroad with grave scandal
streaming from his mouth, and the English fat be in the Egyptian fire for
ever.  "What is sure, Mahommed Yeleb?" repeated Dicky, lighting a
cigarette idly.

"It is as God wills; but as the tongue of man speaks, so is he--Bimbashi
Sowerby, my master--swallowed up these thirty-six hours in the tomb
prepared for him by Selamlik Pasha."

Dicky felt his eyelids twitch, and he almost gave a choking groan of
anxiety, for Selamlik Pasha would not spare the invader of his harem; an
English invader would be a delicate morsel for his pitiless soul.  He
shuddered inwardly at the thought of what might have occurred, what might
occur still.

If Sowerby had been trapped and was already dead, the knowledge would
creep through the bazaars like a soft wind of the night, and all the Arab
world would rejoice that a cursed Inglesi, making the unpardonable breach
of their code, had been given to the crocodiles, been smothered, or
stabbed, or tortured to death with fire.  And, if it were so, what could
be done?  Could England make a case of it, avenge the life of this young
fool who had disgraced her in the eyes of the world, of the envious
French in Cairo, and of that population of the palaces who hated her
because Englishmen were the enemies of backsheesh, corruption, tyranny,
and slavery?  And to what good the attempt?  Exists the personal law of
the Oriental palace, and who may punish any there save by that personal
law?  What outside law shall apply to anything that happens within those
mysterious walls?  Who shall bear true witness, when the only judge is he
whose palace it is?  Though twenty nations should unite to judge, where
might proof be found--inside the palace, where all men lie and bear false
witness?

If Sowerby was not dead, then resort to force?  Go to Selamlik Pasha the
malignant, and demand the young officer?  How easy for Selamlik Pasha to
deny all knowledge of his existence!  Threaten Selamlik--and raise a
Mahommedan crusade?  That would not do.

Say nought, then, and let Sowerby, who had thrust his head into the jaws
of the tiger, get it out as best he might, or not get it out, as the case
might be?

Neither was that possible to Dicky Donovan, even if it were the more
politic thing to do, even if it were better for England's name.  Sowerby
was his friend, as men of the same race are friends together in a foreign
country.  Dicky had a poor opinion of Sowerby's sense or ability, and yet
he knew that if he were in Sowerby's present situation--living or dead--
Sowerby would spill his blood a hundred useless times, if need be, to
save him.

He had no idea of leaving Sowerby where he was, if alive; or of not
avenging him one way or another if dead.  But how that might be he was
not on the instant sure.  He had been struck as with a sudden blindness
by the news, though he showed nothing of this to Mahommed Yeleb.  His
chief object was to inspire the Arab with confidence, since he was
probably the only man outside Selamlik's palace who knew the thing as
yet.  It was likely that Selamlik Pasha would be secret till he saw
whether Sowerby would be missed and what inquiry was made for him.  It
was important to Dicky, in the first place, that this Mahommed Yeleb be
kept quiet, by being made a confidant of his purposes so far as need be,
an accomplice in his efforts whatever they should be.  Kept busy, with a
promise of success and backsheesh when the matter was completed, the Arab
would probably remain secret.  Besides, as Dicky said to himself, while
Mahommed kept his head, he would not risk parading himself as the servant
of the infidel who had invaded the Pasha's harem.  Again, it was certain
that he had an adequate devotion to his master, who had given him as many
ha'pence as kicks, and many cast-off underclothes and cigarettes.

Thus it was that before Dicky had arranged what he should do, though
plans were fusing in his brain, he said to Mahommed Yeleb seriously,
as befitting the crime Sowerby had committed--evenly, as befitted the
influence he wished to have over the Arab: "Keep your tongue between
your teeth, Mahommed.  We will pull him through all right."

"But, effendi, whom God honour, for greatness is in all thy ways, friend
of the Commander of the Faithful as thou art--but, saadat el basha, if he
be dead?"

"He is not dead.  I know it by the eyes of my mind, Mahommed--yea, by the
hairs of my head, he is not dead!"

"Saadat el basha, thou art known as the truth-teller and the
incorruptible--this is the word of the Egyptian and of the infidel
concerning thee.  I kiss thy feet.  For it is true he hath deserved
death, but woe be to him by whom his death cometh!  And am I not his
servant to be with him while he hath life, and hath need of me?  If thou
sayest he is alive, then is he alive, and my heart rejoices."

Dicky scarcely heard what the Arab said, for the quick conviction he had
had that Sowerby was alive was based on the fact, suddenly remembered,
that Selamlik Pasha had only returned from the Fayoum this very morning,
and that therefore he could not as yet have had any share in the fate of
Sowerby, but had probably been sent for by the Chief Eunuch.  It was but
an hour since that he had seen Selamlik Pasha driving hastily towards his
palace.

His mind was instantly made up, his plans formed to his purpose.

"Listen, Mahommed," he said to the Arab.  "Listen to each word I say, as
though it were the prayer to take thee into Paradise.  Go at once to
Selamlik Pasha.  Carry this ring the Khedive gave to me--he will know it.
Do not be denied his presence.  Say that it is more than life and death;
that it is all he values in the world.  Once admitted, say these words:
'Donovan Pasha knows all, and asks an audience at midnight in this
palace.  Until that hour Donovan Pasha desires peace.  For is it not the
law, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?  Is not a market a place
to buy and sell?'"

Four times did Dicky make the Arab repeat the words after him, till they
ran like water from his tongue, and dismissed him upon the secret errand
with a handful of silver.

Immediately the Arab had gone, Dicky's face flushed with excitement, in
the reaction from his lately assumed composure.  For five minutes he
walked up and down, using language scarcely printable, reviling Sowerby,
and setting his teeth in anger.  But he suddenly composed himself, and,
sitting down, stared straight before him for a long time without stirring
a muscle.  There was urgent need of action, but there was more urgent
need of his making no mistake, of his doing the one thing necessary, for
Sowerby could only be saved in one way, not many.

It was useless to ask the Khedive's intervention--Ismail dared not go
against Selamlik in this.  Whatever was done must be done between
Selamlik Pasha, the tigerish libertine, and Richard Donovan, the little
man who, at the tail end of Ismail's reign, was helping him hold things
together against the black day of reckoning, "prepared for the devil and
all his angels," as Dicky had said to Ismail on this very momentous
morning, when warning him of the perils in his path.  Now Dicky had been
at war with Selamlik ever since, one day long ago on the Nile, he and
Fielding had thwarted his purposes; and Dicky had earned the Pasha's
changeless hatred by calling him "Trousers"--for this name had gone
up and down throughout Egypt as a doubtful story travels, drawing easy
credit everywhere.  Those were the days when Dicky was irresponsible.
Of all in Egypt who hated him most, Selamlik Pasha was the chief.  But
most people hated Selamlik, so the world was not confounded by the great
man's rage, nor did they dislike Dicky simply because the Pasha chose to
do so.  Through years Selamlik had built up his power, until even the
Khedive feared him, and would have been glad to tie a stone round his
neck and drop him into the Nile.  But Ismail could no longer do this sort
of thing without some show of reason--Europe was hanging on his actions,
waiting for the apt moment to depose him.

All this Dicky knew, and five minutes from the time Mahommed Yeleb had
left him he was on his way to Ismail's palace, with his kavass behind
him, cool and ruminating as usual, now answering a salute in Turkish
fashion, now in English, as Egyptians or Europeans passed him.



II

There was one being in the Khedive's palace whose admiration for Dicky
was a kind of fetish, and Dicky loathed him.  Twice had Dicky saved
this Chief Eunuch's life from Ismail's anger, and once had he saved his
fortune--not even from compassion, but out of his inherent love of
justice.  As Dicky had said: "Let him die--for what he has done, not for
something he has not done.  Send him to the devil with a true bill of
crime."  So it was that Dicky, who shrank from the creature whom
Ministers and Pashas fawned upon--so powerful was his unique position in
the palace--went straight to him now to get his quid-pro-quo, his measure
for measure.

The tall, black-coated, smooth-faced creature, silent and watchful and
lean, stepped through the doorway with the footfall of a cat.  He slid
forward, salaamed to the floor-Dicky wondered how a body could open and
shut so like the blade of a knife--and, catching Dicky's hand, kissed it.

"May thy days be watered with the dew of heaven, saadat el basha," said
the Chief Eunuch.

"Mine eyes have not seen since thy last withdrawal," answered Dicky
blandly, in the high-flown Oriental way.

"Thou hast sent for me.  I am thy slave."

"I have sent for thee, Mizraim.  And thou shalt prove thyself, once for
all, whether thy hand moves as thy tongue speaks."

"To serve thee I will lay down my life--I will blow it from me as the
wind bloweth the cotton flower.  Have I not spoken thus since the Feast
of Beiram, now two years gone?"

Dicky lowered his voice.  "Both Mustapha Bey, that son of the he-wolf
Selamlik Pasha, still follow the carriage of the Khedive's favourite,
and hang about the walls, and seek to corrupt thee with gold, Mahommed
Mizraim?"

"Saadat el basha, but for thy word to wait, the Khedive had been told
long since."

"It is the sport to strike when the sword cuts with the longest arm, O
son of Egypt!"

The face of Mizraim was ugly with the unnatural cruelty of an unnatural
man.  "Is the time at hand, saadat el basha?"

"You hate Selamlik Pasha?"

"As the lion the jackal."

Dicky would have laughed in scorn if he might have dared--this being to
class himself with lions!  But the time was not fit for laughter.  "And
the son of Selamlik Pasha, the vile Mustapha Bey?" he asked.

"I would grind him like corn between the stones!  Hath he not sent
messages by the women of the bazaar to the harem of my royal master, to
whom God give glory in heaven?  Hath he not sought to enter the harem as
a weasel crawls under a wall?  Hath he not sought to steal what I hoard
by a mighty hand and the eye of an eagle for Ismail the Great?  Shall I
love him more than the dog that tears the throat of a gazelle?"  The
gesture of cruelty he made was disgusting to the eyes of Dicky Donovan,
but he had in his mind the peril to Sowerby, and he nodded his head in
careless approval, as it were.

"Then, Mizraim, thou son of secrecy and keeper of the door, take heed to
what I say, and for thine honour and my need do as I will.  Thou shalt
to-night admit Mustapha Bey to the harem--at the hour of nine o'clock!"

"Saadat el basha!"  The eunuch's face was sickly in its terrified wonder.

"Even so.  At nine."

"But, saadat--"

"Bring him secretly, even to the door of the favourite's room; then, have
him seized and carried to a safe place till I send for him."

"Ah, saadat el basha--"  The lean face of the creature smiled, and the
smile was not nice to see.

"Let no harm be done him, but await my messenger, Mahommed Yeleb, and
whatsoever he bids you to do, do it; for I speak."

"Ah, saadat el basha, you would strike Selamlik Pasha so--the great
beast, the black river pig, the serpent of the slime....!"

"You will do this thing, Mizraim?"

"I shall lure him, as the mirage the pilgrim.  With joy I will do this,
and a hundred times more."

"Even if I asked of thee the keys of the harem?" asked Dicky grimly.

"Effendi, thou wouldst not ask.  All the world knows thee.  For thee the
harem hath no lure.  Thou goest not by dark ways to deeds for thine own
self.  Thou hast honour.  Ismail himself would not fear thee."

"See, thou master of many, squeak not thy voice so high.  Ismail will
take thy head and mine, if he discovers to-night's business.  Go then
with a soft tread, Mizraim.  Let thy hand be quick on his mouth, and
beware that no one sees!"



III

Upon the stroke of midnight Dicky entered the room where Selamlik Pasha
awaited him with a malicious and greasy smile, in which wanton cruelty
was uppermost.  Selamlik Pasha knew well the object of this meeting.  He
had accurately interpreted the message brought by Mahommed Yeleb.  He
knew his power; he knew that the Englishman's life was in his hands to do
with what he chose, for the law of the harem which defies all outside law
was on his side.  But here he was come to listen to Dicky Donovan, the
arrogant little favourite, pleading for the life of the English boy who
had done the thing for which the only penalty was death.

Dicky showed no emotion as he entered the room, but salaamed, and said:
"Your Excellency is prompt.  Honour and peace be upon your Excellency!"
"Honour and the bounty of the stars be upon thee, saadat el basha!"

There was a slight pause, in which Dicky seated himself, lighted a
cigarette, and summoned a servant, of whom he ordered coffee.  They did
not speak meantime, but Dicky sat calmly, almost drowsily, smoking, and
Selamlik Pasha sat with greasy hands clasping and unclasping, his yellow
eyes fixed on Dicky with malevolent scrutiny.

When the coffee was brought, the door had been shut, and Dicky had drawn
the curtain across, Selamlik Pasha said: "What great affair brings us
together here, saadat el basha?"

"The matter of the Englishman you hold a prisoner, Excellency."

"It is painful, but he is dead," said the Pasha, with a grimace of
cruelty.

Dicky's eyes twitched slightly, but he answered with coolness, thrusting
his elbow into the cushions and smoking hard: "But, no, he is not dead.
Selamlik Pasha has as great an instinct for a bargain as for revenge.
Also Selamlik Pasha would torture before he kills.  Is it not so?"

"What is your wish?"

"That the man be set free, Excellency."

"He has trespassed.  He has stolen his way into the harem.  The infidel
dog has defiled the house of my wives."

"He will marry the woman, with your permission, Excellency.  He loved
her--so it would seem."

"He shall die--the dog of an infidel!"

Dicky was now satisfied that Sowerby was alive, and that the game was
fairly begun.  He moved slowly towards his purpose.

"I ask his life, as a favour to me.  The Khedive honours me, and I can
serve you betimes, Excellency."

"You called me 'Trousers,' and all Egypt laughed," answered the Pasha
malignantly.

"I might have called you worse, but I did not.  You may call me what you
will--I will laugh."

"I will call you a fool for bringing me here to laugh at you, who now
would kiss Selamlik Pasha's shoe.  I would he were your brother.  I would
tear out his fingernails, pierce his eyes, burn him with hot irons, pour
boiling oil over him and red cinders down his throat--if he were your
brother."

"Remember I am in the confidence of the Khedive, Pasha."

"Ismail!  What dare he do?  Every Egyptian in the land would call him
infidel.  Ismail would dare do nothing."  His voice was angrily guttural
with triumph.

"England will ask the price of the young man's life of you, Excellency."

"England dare not move--is thy servant a fool?  Every Mussulman in the
land would raise the green flag--the Jehad would be upon ye!"

"He is so young.  He meant no ill.  The face of your daughter drew him
on.  He did not realise his crimen--or its penalty."

"It is a fool's reasoning.  Because he was a stranger and an infidel, so
has he been told of dark things done to those who desecrate our faith."

"Had he been an Egyptian or a Turk--"

"I should slay him, were he Ismail himself.  Mine own is mine own, as
Mahomet hath said.  The man shall die--and who shall save him?  Not even
the Sultan himself."

"There are concessions in the Fayoum--you have sought them long."

"Bah!"

"There is the Grand Cordon of the Mejidieh; there is a way to it,
Excellency."

"The man's blood!"

"There is a high office to be vacant soon, near to the person of the
Khedive, with divers moneys and loans--"

"To see Donovan Pasha cringe and beg is better."

"There is that mercy which one day you may have to ask for yourself or
for your own--"

"The fool shall die.  And who shall save him?"

"Well, I will save him," said Dicky, rising slowly to his feet.

"Pish!  Go to the Khedive with the tale, and I will kill the man within
the hour, and tell it abroad, and we shall see where Donovan Pasha will
stand to-morrow.  The Khedive is not stronger than his people--and there
are the French, and others!"  He spat upon the floor at Dicky's feet.
"Go, tell the Khedive what you will, dog of an Englishman, son of a dog
with a dog's heart!"  Dicky took a step forward, with an ominous flare of
colour in his cheek.  There was a table between him and Selamlik Pasha.
He put both hands upon it, and leaning over said in a voice of steel:

"So be it, then.  Shall I go to the Khedive and say that this night
Mustapha Bey, eldest and chosen son of Selamlik Pasha, the darling of his
fat heart, was seized by the Chief Eunuch, the gentle Mizraim, in the
harem of his Highness?  Shall I tell him that, Trousers?"

As Dicky spoke, slowly, calmly, Selamlik Pasha turned a greenish-yellow,
his eyes started from his head, his hand chafed the air.

"Mustapha Bey--Khedive's harem!" he stammered in a husky voice.

"By the gentle Mizraim, I said," answered Dicky.  "Is Mustapha Bey's life
worth an hour's purchase?  Is Selamlik Pasha safe?"

"Is--is he dead?" gasped the cowardly Egyptian, furtively glancing
towards the door.  Suddenly he fell back fainting, and Dicky threw some
water in his face, then set a cup of it beside him.

"Drink, and pull yourself together, if you would save yourself," said
Dicky.

"Save--save myself," said Selamlik Pasha, recovering; then, with quick
suspicion, and to gain time, added quickly: "Ah, it is a trick!  He is
not a prisoner--you lie!"

"I have not a reputation for lying," rejoined Dicky quietly.  "But see!"
he added; and throwing open a door, pointed to where the Chief Eunuch
stood with Mahommed Yeleb, Mustapha Bey gagged and bound between them.
Dicky shut the door again, as Selamlik Pasha shrank back among the
cushions, cowardice incarnate.

"You thought," said Dicky with a soft fierceness" you thought that I
would stoop to bargain with Selamlik Pasha and not know my way out of the
bargain?  You thought an Englishman would beg, even for a life, of such
as you!  You thought me, Donovan Pasha, such a fool!"

"Mercy, Excellency!" said Selamlik, spreading out his hands.

Dicky laughed.  "You called me names, Selamlik--a dog, and the son of a
dog with a dog's heart.  Was it wise?"

"Is there no way?  Can no bargain be made?"

Dicky sat down, lighting a cigarette.

"To save a scandal in Egypt," answered Dicky drily, "I am ready to grant
you terms."

"Speak-Excellency."

"The life of the Englishman for the life of your son and your own.  Also,
the freedom of the six Circassian slaves whom you house now at Beni
Hassan, ready to bring to your palace.  Also, for these slaves two
hundred Turkish pounds apiece.  Also, your written word that you will
bring no more slaves into Egypt.  Is the bargain fair?"

"Mizraim may still betray us," said Selamlik, trembling, with relief, but
yet apprehensive.

"Mizraim is in my power--he acts for me," said Dicky.  "Whose life is
safe here save my own?"

"Malaish!  It shall be as your will is, Excellency," answered Selamlik
Pasha, in a shaking voice; and he had time to wonder even then how an
Englishman could so outwit an Oriental.  It was no matter how Mustapha
Bey, his son, was lured; he had been seized in the harem, and all truth
can be forsworn in Egypt, and the game was with this Donovan Pasha.

"Send to your palace, commanding that the Englishman be brought here,"
said Dicky.  Selamlik Pasha did so.

Sowerby of the Mounted Infantry was freed that night, and the next day
Dicky Donovan had six Circassian slaves upon his hands.  He passed them
over to the wife of Fielding Bey with whom he had shared past secrets and
past dangers.

Selamlik Pasha held his peace in fear; and the Khedive and Cairo never
knew why there was a truce to battle between Dicky Donovan and that vile
Pasha called Trousers.



AT THE MERCY OF TIBERIUS

In a certain year when Dicky Donovan was the one being in Egypt who had
any restraining influence on the Khedive, he suddenly asked leave of
absence to visit England.  Ismail granted it with reluctance, chiefly
because he disliked any interference with his comforts, and Dicky was one
of them--in some respects the most important.

"My friend," he said half petulantly to Dicky, as he tossed the plans for
a new palace to his secretary and dismissed him, are you not happy here?
Have you not all a prince can give?"

"Highness," answered Dicky, "I have kith and kin in England.  Shall a man
forget his native land?"  The Khedive yawned, lighted a cigarette, and
murmured through the smoke: "Inshallah!  It might be pleasant--betimes."

"I have your Highness's leave to go?" asked Dicky.  "May God preserve
your head from harm!" answered Ismail in farewell salutation, and,
taking a ring from his finger set with a large emerald, he gave it to
Dicky.  "Gold is scarce in Egypt," he went on, "but there are jewels
still in the palace--and the Khedive's promises-to-pay with every money-
barber of Europe!" he added, with a cynical sneer, and touched his
forehead and his breast courteously as Dicky retired.

Outside the presence Dicky unbuttoned his coat like an Englishman again,
and ten minutes later flung his tarboosh into a corner of the room; for
the tarboosh was the sign of official servitude, and Dicky was never the
perfect official.  Initiative was his strong point, independence his
life; he loathed the machine of system in so far as he could not command
it; he revolted at being a cog in the wheel.  Ismail had discovered this,
and Dicky had been made a kind of confidential secretary who seldom wrote
a line.  By his influence with Ismail he had even more power at last than
the Chief Eunuch or the valet-de-chambre, before whom the highest
officials bowed low.  He was hated profoundly by many of the household,
cultivated by certain of the Ministers, fawned upon by outsiders, trusted
by the Khedive, and entirely believed in by the few Englishmen and
Frenchmen who worked for decent administration faithfully but without
hope and sometimes with nausea.

It was nausea that had seized upon Dicky at last, nausea and one other
thing--the spirit of adventure, an inveterate curiosity.  His was the
instinct of the explorer, his feet were the feet of the Wandering Jew.
He knew things behind closed doors by instinct; he was like a thought-
reader in the sure touch of discovery; the Khedive looked upon him as
occult almost and laughed in the face of Sadik the Mouffetish when he
said some evil things of Dicky.  Also, the Khedive told the Mouffetish
that if any harm came to Dicky there would come harm to him.  The Khedive
loved to play one man off against another, and the death of Sadik or the
death of Dicky would have given him no pain, if either seemed necessary.
For the moment, however, he loved them both after his fashion; for Sadik
lied to him, and squeezed the land dry, and flailed it with kourbashes
for gold for his august master and himself; and Dicky told him the truth
about everything--which gave the Khedive knowledge of how he really stood
all round.

Dicky told the great spendthrift the truth about himself; but he did not
tell the truth when he said he was going to England on a visit to his
kith and kin.  Seized by the most irresistible curiosity of his life,
moved by desire for knowledge, that a certain plan in his mind might be
successfully advanced he went south and east, not west and north.

For four months Egypt knew him not.  For four months the Khedive was
never told the truth save by European financiers, when truths were
obvious facts; for four long months never saw a fearless or an honest eye
in his own household.  Not that it mattered in one sense; but Ismail was
a man of ideas, a sportsman of a sort, an Iniquity with points; a man who
chose the broad way because it was easier, not because he was
remorseless.  At the start he meant well by his people, but he meant
better by himself; and not being able to satisfy both sides of the
equation, he satisfied one at the expense of the other and of that x
quantity otherwise known as Europe.  Now Europe was heckling him; the
settling of accounts was near.  Commissioners had been sent to find where
were the ninety millions he had borrowed.  Only Ismail and Sadik the
Mouffetish, once slave and foster-brother, could reply.  The Khedive
could not long stave off the evil day when he must "pay the debt of the
lobster," and Sadik give account of his stewardship.  Meanwhile, his mind
turned to the resourceful little Englishman with the face of a girl and
the tongue of an honest man.

But the day Dicky had set for his return had come and gone, and Dicky
himself had not appeared.  With a grim sort of satisfaction, harmonious
with his irritation, Ismail went forth with his retinue to the Dosah, the
gruesome celebration of the Prophet's birthday, following on the return
of the pilgrimage from Mecca.  At noon he entered his splendid tent at
one side of a square made of splendid tents, and looked out listlessly,
yet sourly, upon the vast crowds assembled--upon the lines of banners,
the red and green pennons embroidered with phrases from the Koran.  His
half-shut, stormy eyes fell upon the tent of the chief of the dervishes,
and he scarcely checked a sneer, for the ceremony to be performed
appealed to nothing in him save a barbaric instinct, and this barbaric
instinct had been veneered by French civilisation and pierced by the
criticism of one honest man.  His look fell upon the long pathway
whereon, for three hundred yards, matting had been spread.  It was a
field of the cloth of blood; for on this cloth dervishes returned from
Mecca, mad with fanaticism and hashish, would lie packed like herrings,
while the Sheikh of the Dosah rode his horse over their bodies, a
pavement of human flesh and bone.

As the Khedive looked, his lip curled a little, for he recalled what
Dicky Donovan had said about it; how he had pleaded against it,
describing loathsome wounds and pilgrims done to death.  Dicky had ended
his brief homily by saying: "And isn't that a pretty dish to set before a
king!" to Ismail's amusement; for he was no good Mussulman, no Mussulman
at all, in fact, save in occasional violent prejudices got of inheritance
and association.

To-day, however, Ismail was in a bad humour with Dicky and with the
world.  He had that very morning flogged a soldier senseless with his own
hand; he had handed over his favourite Circassian slave to a ruffian Bey,
who would drown her or sell her within a month; and he had dishonoured
his own note of hand for fifty thousand pounds to a great merchant who
had served him not wisely but too well.  He was not taking his troubles
quietly, and woe be to the man or woman who crossed him this day!
Tiberius was an hungered for a victim to his temper.  His entourage knew
it well, and many a man trembled that day for his place, or his head, or
his home.  Even Sadik the Mouffetish--Sadik, who had four hundred women
slaves dressed in purple and fine linen--Sadik, whose kitchen alone cost
him sixty thousand pounds a year, the price of whose cigarette ash-trays
was equal to the salary of an English consul--even Sadik, foster-brother,
panderer, the Barabbas of his master, was silent and watchful to-day.

And Sadik, silent and watchful and fearful, was also a dangerous man.
As Sadik's look wandered over the packed crowds, his faded eyes scarce
realising the bright-coloured garments of the men, the crimson silk tents
and banners and pennons, the gorgeous canopies and trappings and plumes
of the approaching dervishes, led by the Amir-el-Haj or Prince of the
Pilgrims, returned from Mecca, he wondered what lamb for the sacrifice
might be provided to soothe the mind of his master.  He looked at the
matting in the long lane before them, and he knew that the bodies which
would lie here presently, yielding to the hoofs of the Sheikh's horse,
were not sufficient to appease the rabid spirit tearing at the Khedive's
soul.  He himself had been flouted by one ugly look this morning, and one
from Ismail was enough.

It did his own soul good now to see the dervish fanatics foaming at the
mouth, their eyes rolling, as they crushed glass in their mouths and ate
it, as they swallowed fire, as they tore live serpents to pieces with
their teeth and devoured them, as they thrust daggers and spikes of steel
through their cheeks, and gashed their breasts with knives and swords.
He watched the effect of it on the Khedive; but Ismail had seen all this
before, and he took it in the stride.  This was not sufficient.

Sadik racked his brain to think who in the palace or in official life
might be made the scapegoat, upon whom the dark spirit in the heart of
the Khedive might be turned.  His mean, colourless eyes wandered
inquiringly over the crowd, as the mad dervishes, half-naked, some with
masses of dishevelled hair, some with no hair at all, bleached, haggard,
moaning and shrieking, threw themselves to the ground on the matting,
while attendants pulled off their slippers and placed them under their
heads, which lay face downwards.  At last Sadik's eyes were arrested by a
group of ten dervishes, among them one short in stature and very slight,
whose gestures were not so excited as those of his fellows.  He also saw
that one or two of the dervishes watched the slight man covertly.

Five of the little group suddenly threw themselves upon the matting,
adding their bodies to the highway of bones and flesh.  Then another and
another did the same, leaving three who, with the little man, made a
fanatical chorus.  Now the three near the little man began to cut
themselves with steel and knives, and one set fire to his jibbeh and
began to chew the flames.  Yet the faces of all three were turned towards
the little man, who did no more than shriek and gesticulate and sway his
body wildly up and down.  He was tanned and ragged and bearded and thin,
and there was a weird brilliance in his eyes, which watched his
companions closely.

So fierce and frenzied were the actions of those with him, that the
attention of the Khedive was drawn; and Sadik, looking at his master,
saw that his eyes also were intently fixed on the little man.  At that
instant the little man himself caught the eye of the Khedive, and Ismail
involuntarily dropped a hand upon his sword, for some gesture of this
dervish, some familiar turn of his body, startled him.  Where had he seen
the gesture before?  Who was this pilgrim who did not cut and wound
himself like his companions?  Suddenly the three mad dervishes waved
their hands towards the matting and shrieked something into his ear.  The
little man's eyes shot a look at the Khedive.  Ismail's ferret eye
fastened on him, and a quick fear as of assassination crossed his face as
the small dervish ran forward with the other three to the lane of human
flesh, where there was still a gap to be filled, and the cry rose up that
the Sheikh of the Dosah had left his tent and was about to begin his
direful ride.

Sadik the Mouffetish saw the Khedive's face, and suddenly said in his
ear: "Shall my slave seize him, Highness whom God preserve?"

The Khedive did not reply, for at that moment he recognised the dervish;
and now he understood that Dicky Donovan had made the pilgrimage to Mecca
with the Mahmal caravan; that an infidel had desecrated the holy city;
and that his Englishman had lied to him.  His first impulse was to have
Dicky seized and cast to the crowd, to be torn to pieces.  Dicky's eyes
met his without wavering--a desperate yet resolute look--and Ismail knew
that the little man would sell his life dearly, if he had but half a
chance.  He also saw in Dicky's eyes the old honesty, the fearless
straightforwardness--and an appeal too, not humble, but still eager and
downright.  Ismail's fury was great, for the blue devils had him by the
heels that day; but on the instant he saw the eyes of Sadik the
Mouffetish, and their cunning, cruelty, and soulless depravity, their
present search for a victim to his master's bad temper, acted at once
on Ismail's sense of humour.  He saw that Sadik half suspected something,
he saw that Dicky's three companions suspected, and his mind was made up
on the instant--things should take their course--he would not interfere.
He looked Dicky squarely in the face, and Dicky knew that the Khedive's
glance said as plainly as words:

"Fool of an Englishman, go on!  I will not kill you, but I will not save
you.  The game is in your hands alone.  You can only avert suspicion by
letting the Sheikh of the Dosah make a bridge of your back.  Mecca is a
jest you must pay for."

With the wild cry of a dervish fanatic Dicky threw himself down, his head
on his arms, and the vengeful three threw themselves down beside him.
The attendants pulled off their slippers and thrust them under their
faces, and now the siais of the Sheikh ran over their bodies lightly,
calling out for all to lie still--the Sheikh was coming on his horse.

Dicky weighed his chances with a little shrinking, but with no fear: he
had been in imminent danger for four long months, and he was little
likely to give way now.  The three men lying beside him had only
suspected him for the last three days, and during that time they had
never let him out of heir sight.  What had roused their suspicion he did
not know: probably a hesitation concerning some Arab custom or the
pronunciation of some Arab word--the timbre of the Arab voice was rougher
and heavier.  There had been no chance of escape during these three days,
for his three friends had never left his side, and now they were beside
him.  His chances were not brilliant.  If he escaped from the iron hoofs
of the Sheikh's horse, if the weight did not crush the life out of his
small body, there was a fair chance; for to escape unhurt from the Dosah
is to prove yourself for ever a good Mussulman, who has undergone the
final test and is saved evermore by the promise of the Prophet.  But even
if he escaped unhurt, and the suspicions of his comrades were allayed,
what would the Khedive do?  The Khedive had recognised him, and had done
nothing--so far.  Yet Ismail, the chief Mussulman in Egypt, should have
thrown him like a rat to the terriers!  Why he had acted otherwise he was
not certain: perhaps to avoid a horrible sensation at the Dosah and the
outcry of the newspapers of Europe; perhaps to have him assassinated
privately; perhaps, after all, to pardon him.  Yet this last alternative
was not reasonable, save from the stand-point that Ismail had no religion
at all.

Whatever it was to be, his fate would soon come, and in any case he had
done what only one European before him had done--he had penetrated to the
tomb of Mahomet at Mecca.  Whatever should come, he had crowded into his
short life a thousand unusual and interesting things.  His inveterate
curiosity had served him well, and he had paid fairly for the candles of
his game.  He was ready.

Low moans came to his ears.  He could hear the treading hoofs of the
Sheikh's horse.  Nearer and nearer the frightened animal came; the shout
of those who led the horse was in his ears: "Lie close and still, O
brothers of giants!" he heard the ribs of a man but two from him break-
he heard the gurgle in the throat of another into whose neck the horse's
hoof had sunk.  He braced himself and drew his breast close to the
ground.

He could hear now the heavy breathing of the Sheikh of the Dosah, who, to
strengthen himself for his ride, had taken a heavy dose of hashish.  The
toe of the Arab leading the horse touched his head, then a hoof was on
him--between the shoulders, pressing-pressing down, the iron crushing
into the flesh--down--down--down, till his eyes seemed to fill with
blood.  Then another hoof--and this would crush the life out of him.  He
gasped, and nerved himself.  The iron shoe came down, slipped a little,
grazed his side roughly, and sank between himself and the dervish next
him, who had shrunk away at the last moment.

A mad act; for the horse stumbled, and in recovering himself plunged
forward heavily.  Dicky expected the hind hoofs to crush down on his back
or neck, and drew in his breath; but the horse, excited by the cries of
the people, drove clear of him, and the hind hoofs fell with a sickening
thud on the back and neck of the dervish who had been the cause of the
disaster.

Dicky lay still for a moment to get his breath, then sprang to his feet
lightly, cast a swift glance of triumph towards the Khedive, and turned
to the dervishes who had lain beside him.  The man who had shrunk away
from the horse's hoofs was dead, the one on the other side was badly
wounded, and the last, bruised and dazed, got slowly to his feet.

"God is great," said Dicky to him: "I have no hurt, Mahommed."

"It is the will of God.  Extolled be Him who created thee!" answered the
dervish, all suspicion gone, and admiration in his eyes, as Dicky cried
his Allah Kerim--"God is bountiful!"

A kavass touched Dicky on the arm.

"His Highness would speak with you," he said.  Dicky gladly turned his
back on the long lane of frantic immolation and the sight of the wounded
and dead being carried away.  Coming over to the Khedive he salaamed, and
kneeling on the ground touched the toe of Ismail's boot with his
forehead.

Ismail smiled, and his eyes dropped with satisfaction upon the prostrate
Dicky.  Never before had an Englishman done this, and that Dicky, of all
Englishmen, should do it gave him an ironical pleasure which chased his
black humour away.

"It is written that the true believer shall come unscathed from the hoofs
of the horse.  Thou hast no hurt, Mahommed?"

"None, Highness, whose life God preserve," said Dicky in faultless
Arabic, with the eyes of Sadik upon him searching his mystery.

"May the dogs bite the heart of thine enemies!  What is thy name?" said
Ismail.

"Rekab, so God wills, Highness."

"Thine occupation?"

"I am a poor scribe, Highness," answered Dicky with a dangerous humour,
though he had seen a look in the Khedive's face which boded only safety.

"I have need of scribes.  Get you to the Palace of Abdin, and wait upon
me at sunset after prayers," said Ismail.

"I am the slave of your Highness.  Peace be on thee, O Prince of the
Faithful!"

"A moment, Mahommed.  Hast thou wife or child?"

"None, Highness."

"Nor kith nor kin?"  Ismail's smile was grim.

"They be far away, beyond the blessed rule of your Highness."

"Thou wilt desire to return to them.  How long wilt thou serve me?"
asked Ismail slowly.

"Till the two Karadh-gatherers return," answered Dicky, quoting the old
Arabic saying which means for ever, since the two Karadh-gatherers who
went to gather the fruit of the sant and the leaves of the selem never
returned.

"So be it," said the Khedive, and, rising, waved Dicky away.  "At
sunset!"

"At sunset after prayers, Highness," answered Dicky, and was instantly
lost in the throng which now crowded upon the tent to see the Sheikh of
the Dosah arrive to make obeisance to Ismail.

That night at sunset, Dicky, once more clothed and shaven and well
appointed, but bronzed and weatherbeaten, was shown into the presence of
the Khedive, whose face showed neither pleasure nor displeasure.

"You have returned from your kith and kin in England?" asked Ismail,
with malicious irony.

"I have no excuses, Highness.  I have done what I set out to do."

"If I had given you to death as an infidel who had defiled the holy tomb
and the sacred city--"

"Your Highness would have lost a faithful servant," answered Dicky.  "I
took my chances."

"Even now it would be easy to furnish--accidents for you."

"But not wise, Highness, till my story is told."

"Sadik Pasha suspects you."

"I suspect Sadik Pasha," answered Dicky.

"Of what?" inquired Ismail, starting.  "He is true to me--Sadik is true
to me?" he urged, with a shudder; for if Sadik was false in this crisis,
with Europe clamouring for the payment of debts and for reforms, where
should he look for faithful knavery?

"He will desert your Highness in the last ditch.  Let me tell your
Highness the truth, in return for saving my life.  Your only salvation
lies in giving up to the creditors of Egypt your own wealth, and also
Sadik's, which is twice your own."

"Sadik will not give it up."

"Is not Ismail the Khedive master in Egypt?"

"Sit down and smoke," said Ismail eagerly, handing Dicky a cigarette.

                    ......................

When Dicky left the Khedive at midnight, he thought he saw a better day
dawning for Egypt.  He felt also that he had done the land a good turn
in trying to break the shameless contract between Ismail and Sadik the
Mouffetish; and he had the Khedive's promise that it should be broken,
given as Ismail pinned on his breast the Order of the Mejidieh.

He was not, however, prepared to hear of the arrest of the Mouffetish
before another sunset, and then of his hugger-mugger death, of which the
world talks to this day; though the manner of it is only known to a few,
and to them it is an ugly memory.



ALL THE WORLD'S MAD

Up to thirty-two years of age David Hyam, of the village of Framley, in
Staffordshire, was not a man of surprises.  With enough of this world's
goods to give him comfort of body and suave gravity of manner, the figure
he cut was becoming to his Quaker origin and profession.  No one
suspected the dynamic possibilities of his nature till a momentous day in
August, in the middle Victorian period, when news from Bristol came that
an uncle in chocolate had died and left him the third of a large fortune,
without condition or proviso.

This was of a Friday, and on the Saturday following David did his first
startling act--he offered marriage to Hope Marlowe, the only Quaker girl
in Framley who had ever dared to discard the poke bonnet even for a day,
and who had been publicly reproved for laughing in meeting--for Mistress
Hope had a curious, albeit demure and suggestive, sense of humour; she
was, in truth, a kind of sacred minuet in grey.  Hope had promptly
accepted David, at the same time taunting him softly with the fact that
he had recklessly declared he would never marry, even saying profanely
that upon his word and honour he never would!  She repeated to him what
his own mother once replied to his audacious worldly protests:

"If thee say thee will never, never, never do a thing, thee will some day
surely do it."

Then, seeing that David was a bit chagrined, Hope slipped one hand into
his, drew him back within the door, lifted the shovel hat off his
forehead, and whispered with a coquetry unworthy a Quaker maid:

"But thee did not say, friend David, thee would never, never, never smite
thy friend on both cheeks after she had flouted thee."

Having smitten her on both cheeks, after the manner of foolish men, David
gravely got him to his home and to a sound sleep that night.  Next
morning, the remembrance of the pleasant smiting roused him to an
outwardly sedate and inwardly vainglorious courage.  Going with steady
steps to the Friends' meeting-house at the appointed time, the Spirit
moved him, after a decorous pause, to announce his intended marriage to
the prettiest Quaker in Framley, even the maid who had shocked the
community's sense of decorum and had been written down a rebel--though
these things he did not say.

From the recesses of her poke bonnet Hope watched the effect of David's
words upon the meeting; but when the elders turned and looked at her, as
became her judges before the Lord, her eyes dropped; also her heart
thumped so hard she could hear it; and in the silence that followed it
seemed to beat time to the words like the pendulum of a clock: "Fear not-
Love on!  Fear not--Love on!"  But the heart beat faster still, the eyes
came up quickly, and the face flushed a deep, excited red when David,
rising again, said that, with the consent of the community--a consent
which his voice subtly insisted upon--he would take a long journey into
the Holy Land, into Syria, travelling to Baalbec and Damascus, and even
beyond as far as the desolate city of Palmyra; and then, afterwards, into
Egypt, where Joseph and the sons of Israel were captive aforetime.  He
would fain visit the Red Sea, and likewise confer with the Coptic
Christians in Egypt, "of whom thee and me have read to our comfort," he
added piously, looking at friend Fairley, the oldest and heretofore the
richest man in the community.

Friend Fairley rejoiced now that he had in by-gone days lent David books
to read; but he rejoiced secretly, for though his old bookman's heart
warmed at the thought that he should in good time hear, from one who had
seen with his own eyes, of the wonders of the East, it became him to
assume a ponderous placidity--for Framley had always been doubtful of his
bookishness and its influence on such as David.  They said it boded no
good; there were those even who called Fairley "a new light," that schism
in a sect.

These God-fearing, dull folk were present now, and, disapproving of
David's choice in marriage, disapproved far more of its consequence; for
so they considered the projected journey into the tumultuous world and
the garish Orient.  In the end, however, an austere approval was
promised, should the solemn commission of men and women appointed to
confer with and examine the candidates find in their favour--as in this
case they would certainly do; for thirty thousand pounds bulked potently
even in this community of unworldly folk, though smacking somewhat of the
world, the flesh and the devil.

If David, however, would stand to the shovel hat, and if Hope would be
faithful for ever to the poke bonnet and grey cloth, all might yet be
well.  At the same time, they considered that friend David's mind was
distracted by the things of this world, and they reasoned with the Lord
in prayer upon the point in David's presence.

In worldly but religiously controlled dudgeon David left the meeting-
house, and inside the door of Hope's cottage said to his own mother and
to hers some bitter and un-Quaker-like things against the stupid world--
for to him as yet the world was Framley, though he would soon mend that.

When he had done speaking against "the mad wits that would not see," Hope
laid her cool fingers on his arm and said, with a demure humour: "All the
world's mad but thee and me, David--and thee's a bit mad!"

So pleased was David's mother with this speech that then and there she
was reconciled to Hope's rebellious instincts, and saw safety for her son
in the hands of the quaint, clear-minded daughter of her old friend and
kinswoman, Mercy Marlowe.



II

Within three months David and Hope had seen the hills of Moab from the
top of the Mount of Olives; watched the sun go down over the Sea of
Galilee; plucked green boughs from the cedars on Lebanon; broken into
placid exclamations of delight in the wild orchard of nectarine blossoms
by the lofty ruins of Baalbac; walked in that street called Straight at
Damascus; journeyed through the desert with a caravan to Palmyra when the
Druses were up; and, at last, looked upon the spot where lived that
Pharaoh who knew not Joseph.

In this land they stayed; and even now far up the Nile you will hear of
the Two Strange People who travelled the river even to Dongola and some
way back--only some way back, for a long time.  In particular you will
hear of them from an old dragoman called Mahommed Ramadan Saggara, and a
white-haired jeweller of Assiout, called Abdul Huseyn.  These two men
still tell the tale of the two mad English folk with faces like no
English people ever seen in Egypt, who refused protection in their
travels, but went fearlessly among the Arabs everywhere, to do good and
fear not.  The Quaker hat and saddened drab worked upon the Arab mind to
advantage.

In Egypt, David and Hope found their pious mission--though historians
have since called it "whimsical and unpractical": David's to import the
great Syrian donkey, which was to banish the shame of grossly burdening
the small donkey of the land of Pharaoh; and Hope's to build schools
where English should be taught, to exclude "that language of Belial,"
as David called French.  When their schemes came home to Framley, with an
order on David's bankers for ten thousand pounds, grey-garbed
consternation walked abroad, and in meeting the First Day following no
one prayed or spoke for an hour or more.  At last, however, friend
Fairley rose in his place and said:

"The Lord shall deliver the heathen into their hands."

Then the Spirit moved freely and severely among them all, and friend
Fairley was, as he said himself, "crowded upon the rails by the yearlings
of the flock."  For he alone of all Framley believed that David and Hope
had not thrown away the Quaker drab, the shovel hat and the poke bonnet,
and had gone forth fashionable, worldly and an hungered, among the
fleshpots of Egypt.  There was talk of gilded palaces, Saracenic
splendours and dark suggestions from the Arabian Nights.

Still, the ten thousand pounds went to David and Hope where they
smilingly laboured through the time of high Nile and low Nile, and
khamsin and sirocco, and cholera, and, worse than all, the banishments
to the hot Siberia of Fazougli.

But Mahommed Ramadan Saggara babbles yet of the time when, for one day,
David threw away his shovel hat; and Abdul Huseyn, the jeweller, tells
how, on the same day, the Sitt--that is, Hope--bought of him a ring of
turquoises and put it on her finger with a curious smile.

That day David and Hope, the one in a pith helmet, the other with a
turquoise ring on her left hand, went to dine with Shelek Pasha, the
Armenian Governor of the province, a man of varied talents, not least of
which was deceit of an artistic kind.  For, being an Armenian, he said he
was a true Christian, and David believed him, though Hope did not; and
being an Oriental, he said he told the truth; and again David believed
him, though Hope did not.  He had a red beard, an eye that glinted red
also, and fat, smooth fingers which kept playing with a string of beads
as though it were a rosary.

As hard as he worked to destroy the Quaker in David, she worked against
him; and she did not fear the end, for she believed in David Hyam of
Framley.  It was Shelek Pasha's influence, persistently and adroitly used
for two years, which made friend David at last put aside for this one day
his Quaker hat.  And the Pasha rejoiced; for, knowing human nature after
a fashion, he understood that when you throw the outer sign away--the
sign to you since your birth, like the fingers of your hand--the inner
grace begins decadence and in due time disappears.

Shelek Pasha had awaited this with Oriental patience, for he was sure
that if David gave way in one thing he would give way in all--and with a
rush, some day.  Now, at last, he had got David and Hope to dine with
him; he had his meshes of deceit around them.

When they came to dinner Shelek Pasha saw the turquoise ring upon the
finger of friend Hope, and this startled him and pleased him.  Here, he
knew, was his greatest enemy where David was concerned, and yet this
pretty Saint Elizabeth was wearing a fine turquoise ring with a poke
bonnet, in a very worldly fashion.  He almost rubbed his eyes, it was so
hard to believe; for time and again he had offered antichi in bracelets,
rings and scarabs, and fine cottons from Beni-Mazar; and had been
promptly and firmly told that the Friends wore no jewelry nor gay attire.
Shelek Pasha, being a Christian--after the Armenian fashion--then desired
to learn of this strange religion, that his own nature might be bettered,
for, alas!  snares for the soul are many in the Orient.  For this Hope
had quietly but firmly referred him to David.

Then he had tried another tack: he had thrown in his interest with her
first school in his mudirieh; he got her Arab teachers from Cairo who
could speak English; he opened the large schoolhouse himself with great
ceremony, and with many kavasses in blue and gold.  He said to himself
that you never could tell what would happen in this world, and it was
well to wait, and to watch the approach of that good angel Opportunity.

With all his devices, however, he could not quite understand Hope, and he
walked warily, lest through his lack of understanding he should, by some
mischance, come suddenly upon a reef, and his plans go shipwreck.  Yet
all the time he laughed in his sleeve, for he foresaw the day when all
this money the Two Strange People were spending in his mudirieh should
become his own.  If he could not get their goods and estates peaceably,
riots were so easy to arrange; he had arranged them before.  Then, when
the Two Strange People had been struck with panic, the Syrian donkey-
market, and the five hundred feddans of American cotton, and the new
schools would be his for a song--or a curse.

When he saw the turquoise ring on the finger of the little Quaker lady he
fancied he could almost hear the accompaniment of the song.  He tore away
tender portions of roasted lamb with his fingers, and crammed them into
his mouth, rejoicing.  With the same greasy fingers he put upon Hope's
plate a stuffed cucumber, and would have added a clammy sweet and a
tumbler of sickly sherbet at the same moment; but Hope ate nothing save a
cake of dourha bread, and drank only a cup of coffee.

Meanwhile, Shelek Pasha talked of the school, of the donkey-market,
the monopoly of which the Khedive had granted David; and of the new
prosperous era opening up in Egypt, due to the cotton David had
introduced as an experiment.  David's heart waxed proud within him that
he had walked out of Framley to the regeneration of a country.  He
likened himself to Joseph, son of Jacob; and at once the fineness of his
first purposes became blunted.

As Shelek Pasha talked on, of schools, of taxes, of laws, of government,
to David, with no hat on--Samson without his hair--Hope's mind was
working as it had never worked before.  She realised what a prodigious
liar Shelek Pasha was; for, talking benignly of equitable administration
as he did, she recalled the dark stories she had heard of rapine and
cruel imprisonment in this same mudirieh.

Suddenly Shelek Pasha saw the dark-blue eyes fastened upon his face
with a curious intentness, a strange questioning; and the blue of the
turquoise on the hand folded over the other in the grey lap did not quite
reassure him.  He stopped talking, and spoke in a low voice to his
kavass, who presently brought a bottle of champagne--a final proof that
Shelek Pasha was not an ascetic or a Turk.  As the bottle was being
opened the Pasha took up his string of beads and began to finger them,
for the blue eyes in the poke bonnet were disconcerting.  He was about to
speak when Hope said, in a clear voice:

"Thee has a strange people beneath thee.  Thee rules by the sword,
or the word of peace, friend?"  The fat, smooth hands fingered the beads
swiftly.  Shelek Pasha was disturbed, as he proved by replying in French
--he had spent years of his youth in France: "Par la force morale,
toujours, madame--by moral force, always," he hastened to add in English.
Then, casting down his eyes with truly Armenian modesty, he continued in
Arabic: "By the word of peace, oh woman of the clear eyes--to whom God
give length of days!"

Shelek Pasha smiled a greasy smile, and held the bottle of champagne over
the glass set for friend David.

Never in his life had David the Quaker tasted champagne.  In his eyes, in
the eyes of Framley, it had been the brew especially prepared by Sheitan
to tempt to ruin the feeble ones of the earth.  But the doublet of
David's mind was all unbraced now; his hat was off, his Quaker drab was
spotted with the grease of a roasted lamb.  He had tasted freedom; he was
near to license now.

He took his hand from the top of the glass, and the amber liquid and the
froth poured in.  At that instant he saw Hope's eyes upon his, he saw her
hand go to the poke bonnet, as it were to unloosen the strings.  He saw
for the first time the turquoise ring; he saw the eyes of Shelek Pasha on
Hope with a look prophesying several kinds of triumph, none palatable to
him; and he stopped short on that road easy of gradient, which Shelek
Pasha was macadamising for him.  He put his hand up as though to pull his
hat down over his eyes, as was his fashion when troubled or when he was
setting his mind to a task.

The hat was not there; but Hope's eyes were on his, and there were a
hundred Quaker hats or Cardinals' hats in them.  He reached out quickly
and caught Hope's hand as it undid the strings of her grey bonnet.  "Will
thee be mad, Hope?"

"All the world's mad but thee and me, David, and thee's a bit mad," she
answered in the tongue of Framley.

"The gaud upon thy hand?" he asked sternly; and his eyes flashed from
her to Shelek Pasha, for a horrible suspicion crept into his brain--a
shameless suspicion; but even a Quaker may be human and foolish, as
history has shown.

"The wine at thine elbow, David, and thine hat!" she answered steadily.

David, the friend of peace, was bitterly angry.  He caught up the glass
of champagne and dashed it upon the fine prayer-rug which Shelek Pasha
had, with a kourbash, collected for taxes from a Greek merchant back from
Tiflis--the rug worth five hundred English pounds, the taxes but twenty
Turkish pounds.

"Thee is a villain, friend," he said to Shelek Pasha in a voice like a
noise in a barrel; "I read thee as a book."

"But through the eyes of your wife, effendi; she read me first--we
understand each other!" answered the Governor with a hateful smile,
knowing the end of one game was at hand, and beginning another instantly
with an intelligent malice.

Against all Quaker principles David's sinful arm was lifted to strike,
but Hope's hand prevented him, and Shelek Pasha motioned back the
Abyssinian slaves who had sprung forward menacingly from behind a screen.

Hope led the outraged David, hatless, into the street.



III

That evening the Two Strange People went to Abdul Huseyn, the jeweller,
and talked with him for more than an hour; for Abdul Huseyn, as Egyptians
go, was a kindly man.  He had taught Arabic to David and Hope.  He would
have asked more than twelve pieces of silver to betray them.

The next afternoon a riot occurred around the house of the Two Strange
People and the school they had built; and Shelek Pasha would have had
his spite of them, and his will of the donkey-market, the school, and
the cotton-fields, but for Abdul Huseyn and three Sheikhs, friends of
his--at a price--who addressed the crowd and quieted them.  They declared
that the Two were mad folk with whom even the English folk would have
naught to do; that they were of those from whom God had taken the souls,
leaving their foolish bodies on earth, and were therefore to be cared for
and protected, as the Koran said, be they infidel or the Faithful.

Furthermore, said Abdul Huseyn, in proof of their madness and a certain
sort of holiness, they wore hats always, as Arabs wore their turbans,
and were as like good Mahommedans as could be, sitting down to speak and
standing up to pray.  He also added that they could not be enemies of the
Faithful, or a Christian Mudir would not have turned against them.  And
Abdul Huseyn prevailed against Shelek Pasha--at a price; for Hope, seeing
no need for martyrdom, had not hesitated to open her purse.

Three days afterward, David, with Abdul Huseyn, went to the Palace of
the Khedive at Cairo, and within a week Shelek Pasha was on his way to
Fazougli, the hot Siberia.  For the rage of the Khedive was great when he
heard what David and Abdul Huseyn told him of the murderous riot Shelek
Pasha had planned.  David, being an honest Quaker--for now again he wore
his shovel hat--did not realise that the Khedive had only hungered for
this chance to confiscate the goods of Shelek Pasha.  Was it not justice
to take for the chosen ruler of the Faithful the goods an Armenian
Christian had stolen from the poor?  Before David left the Palace the
Khedive gave him the Order of the Mejidfeh, in token of what he had done
for Egypt.

In the end, however, David took three things only out of Egypt: his wife,
the Order of the Mejidfeh, and Shelek Pasha's pardon, which he strove for
as hard as he had striven for his punishment, when he came to know the
Khedive had sent the Mudir to Fazougli merely that he might despoil him.
He only achieved this at last, again on the advice of Abdul Huseyn, by
giving the Khedive as backsheesh the Syrian donkey-market, the five
hundred feddans of cotton, and Hope's new school.  Then, believing in no
one in Egypt any more, he himself went with an armed escort and his
Quaker hat, and the Order of the Khedive, to Fazougli, and brought Shelek
Pasha penniless to Cairo.

Nowadays, on the mastaba before his grandson's door, Abdul Huseyn, over
ninety "by the grace of Allah," still tells of the backsheesh he secured
from the Two Strange People for his help on a certain day.

In Framley, where the whole truth never came, David and Hope occasionally
take from a secret drawer the Order of the Mejidfeh to look at it, and,
as David says, to "learn the lesson of Egypt once again."  Having learned
it to some purpose--and to the lifelong edification of old friend
Fairley, the only one who knew the whole truth--they founded three great
schools for Quaker children.  They were wont to say to each other, as the
hurrying world made inroads on the strict Quaker life to which they had
returned: "All the world's mad but thee and me, and thee's a bit mad."



GLOSSARY

Aiwa, effendi----Yea, noble sir.
Allah----God.
Allah-haly 'm alla-haly----A singsong of river-workers.
Allah Kerim----God is bountiful.
Allshu Akbar----God is most Great.
A'l'meh----Female professional singers
Antichi----Antiquities.

Backsheesh----Tip, douceur, bribe.
Balass----Earthen vessel for carrying water.
Basha----Pasha.
Bersim----Grass.
Bimbashi----Major.
Bishareen----A native tribe.
Bismillah----In the name of God.
Bowab----A doorkeeper.

Corvee----Forced labour.

Dahabeah----A Nile houseboat with large lateen sails.
Darabukkeh----A drum made of a skin stretched over an earthenware funnel.
Doash----(Literally) Treading.  A ceremony performed on the return of the
         Holy Carpet from Mecca.
Dourha----Maize.

Effendina----Highness.
El aadah----The ordinary.
El Azhar----The Arab University at Cairo.
Fantasia----Celebration with music, dancing, and processions.
Farshoot----The name of a native tribe.
Fatihah----The opening chapter of the Koran, recited at weddings, etc.

Feddan----The most common measure of land--a little less than an acre.
          Also dried hay.
Fellah (plu. fellaheen)----The Egyptian peasant.
Felucca----A small boat, propelled by oars or sails.
Fessikh----Salted fish.
Ghaffirs----Humble village officials.
Ghawdzee----The tribe of public dancing-girls.  A female of this tribe is
            called "Ghazeeyeh," and a man "Ghazee," but the plural
            Ghawazee is generally understood as applying to the female.
Ghimah----The Mahommedan Sunday.

Gippy----Colloquial name for an Egyptian soldier.
Goolah----Porous water-jar of Nile mud.
Hakim----Doctor.
Hanouti----Funeral attendants.
Hari-kari----An Oriental form of suicide.
Hashish----Leaves of hemp.
Inshallah----God willing.
Jibbeh----Long coat or smock, worn by dervishes.
Kavass----An orderly.
Kemengeh----A cocoanut fiddle.
Khamsin----A hot wind of Egypt and the Soudan.
Khedive----The title granted in 1867 by the Sultan of Turkey to the ruler
           of Egypt.
Khiassa----Small boat.
Khowagah----Gentleman.
Koran----The Scriptures of the Mahommedans.
Kourbash----A stick, a whip.

La ilaha illa-llah----There is no God but God.
Mafish----Nothing.
Magnoon----Fool.
Malaish----No matter.
Mamour----A magistrate.
Mankalah----A game.
Mastaba----A bench.
Mejidieh----A Turkish Order.
Mirkaz----District.
Moghassils----Washers of the dead.
Moufetish----High steward.
Mudir----A Governor of a Mudirieh or province.
Muezzin----The sheikh of the mosque who calls to prayer.
Mushrabieh----Lattice window.

Naboot----Quarter staff.
Narghileh----The Oriental tobacco-pipe.
Nehar-ak koom said----Greeting to you.
Omdah----The head of a village.
Ooster----One of the best sort.

Ramadan----The Mahommedan season of fasting.
Reis----Pilot.

Saadat el basha----Excellency.
Sais----Groom.
Sakkia----Persian water-wheel.
Salaam----A salutation of the East; an obeisance, performed by bowing
          very low and placing the right palm on the forehead and on the
          breast.
Sarraf----An accountant.
Shadoof----Bucket and pole used by natives for lifting water.
Sha'er----A reciter.  (The singular of Sho'ara, properly signifying a
          poet.)
Sheikh-el-beled----Head of a village.
Shintiyan----Very wide trousers, worn by the women of the middle and
             higher orders.
Sitt----"The Lady."

Tarboosh----Fez or native turban.
Tarah----A veil for the head.
Ulema----Learned men.

Waled----A boy.
Wekeel----A deputy.
Welee----A favourite of Heaven; colloquially a saint.

Yashmak----A veil for the lower part of the face.
Yelek----A long vest or smock, worn over the shirt and shintiyan.

Zeriba----A palisade.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

All the world's mad but thee and me
He had tasted freedom; he was near to license





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