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Title: Donovan Pasha, and Some People of Egypt — Volume 3
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.

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DONOVAN PASHA AND SOME PEOPLE OF EGYPT

By Gilbert Parker

Volume 3.



THE MAN AT THE WHEEL
A TYRANT AND A LADY



THE MAN AT THE WHEEL

Wyndham Bimbashi's career in Egypt had been a series of mistakes.  In the
first place he was opinionated, in the second place he never seemed to
have any luck; and, worst of all, he had a little habit of doing grave
things on his own lightsome responsibility.  This last quality was
natural to him, but he added to it a supreme contempt for the native
mind and an unhealthy scorn of the native official.  He had not that
rare quality, constantly found among his fellow-countrymen, of working
the native up through his own medium, as it were, through his own customs
and predispositions, to the soundness of Western methods of government.
Therefore, in due time he made some dangerous mistakes.  By virtue of
certain high-handed actions he was the cause of several riots in native
villages, and he had himself been attacked at more than one village as he
rode between the fields of sugar-cane.  On these occasions he had behaved
very well--certainly no one could possibly doubt his bravery; but that
was a small offset to the fact that his want of tact and his overbearing
manner had been the means of turning a certain tribe of Arabs loose upon
the country, raiding and killing.

But he could not, or would not, see his own vain stupidity.  The climax
came in a foolish sortie against the Arab tribe he had offended.  In that
unauthorised melee, in covert disobedience to a general order not to
attack, unless at advantage--for the Gippies under him were raw levies--
his troop was diminished by half; and, cut off from the Nile by a flank
movement of the Arabs, he was obliged to retreat and take refuge in the
well-fortified and walled house which had previously been a Coptic
monastery.

Here, at last, the truth came home to Wyndham bimbashi.  He realised that
though in his six years' residence in the land he had acquired a command
of Arabic equal to that of others who had been in the country twice that
time, he had acquired little else.  He awoke to the fact that in his
cock-sure schemes for the civil and military life of Egypt there was
not one element of sound sense; that he had been all along an egregious
failure.  It did not come home to him with clear, accurate conviction--
his brain was not a first-rate medium for illumination; but the facts
struck him now with a blind sort of force; and he accepted the blank
sensation of failure.  Also, he read in the faces of those round him an
alien spirit, a chasm of black misunderstanding which his knowledge of
Arabic could never bridge over.

Here he was, shut up with Gippies who had no real faith in him, in the
house of a Sheikh whose servants would cut his throat on no provocation
at all; and not an eighth of a mile away was a horde of Arabs--a circle
of death through which it was impossible to break with the men in his
command.  They must all die here, if they were not relieved.

The nearest garrison was at Kerbat, sixty miles away, where five hundred
men were stationed.  Now that his cup of mistakes was full, Wyndham
bimbashi would willingly have made the attempt to carry word to the
garrison there.  But he had no right to leave his post.  He called for
a volunteer.  No man responded.  Panic was upon the Gippies.  Though
Wyndham's heart sickened within him, his lips did not frame a word of
reproach; but a blush of shame came into his face, and crept up to his
eyes, dimming them.  For there flashed through his mind what men at home
would think of him when this thing, such an end to his whole career,
was known.  As he stood still, upright and confounded, some one touched
his arm.

It was Hassan, his Soudanese servant.  Hassan was the one person in Egypt
who thoroughly believed in him.  Wyndham was as a god to Hassan, though
this same god had given him a taste of a belt more than once.  Hassan
had not resented the belt, though once, in a moment of affectionate
confidence, he had said to Wyndham that when his master got old and died
he would be the servant of an American or a missionary, "which no whack
Mahommed."

It was Hassan who now volunteered to carry word to the garrison at
Kerbat.

"If I no carry, you whack me with belt, Saadat," said Hassan, whose logic
and reason were like his master's, neither better nor worse.

"If you do, you shall have fifty pounds--and the missionary," answered
Wyndham, his eyes still cloudy and his voice thick; for it touched him in
a tender nerve that this one Soudanese boy should believe in him and do
for him what he would give much to do for the men under him.  For his
own life he did not care--his confusion and shame were so great.

He watched Hassan steal out into the white brilliance of the night.

"Mind you keep a whole skin, Hassan," he said, as the slim lad with the
white teeth, oily hair, and legs like ivory, stole along the wall, to
drop presently on his belly and make for some palm-trees a hundred yards
away.

The minutes went by in silence; an hour went by; the whole night went by;
Hassan had got beyond the circle of trenchant steel.

They must now abide Hassan's fate; but another peril was upon them.
There was not a goolah of water within the walls!

It was the time of low Nile when all the land is baked like a crust of
bread, when the creaking of the shadoofs and the singing croak of the
sakkia are heard the night long like untiring crickets with throats of
frogs.  It was the time succeeding the khamsin, when the skin dries like
slaked lime and the face is for ever powdered with dust; and the
fellaheen, in the slavery of superstition, strain their eyes day and
night for the Sacred Drop, which tells that the flood is flowing fast
from the hills of Abyssinia.

It was like the Egyptian that nothing should be said to Wyndham about the
dearth of water until it was all gone.  The house of the Sheikh, and its
garden, where were a pool and a fountain, were supplied from the great
Persian wheel at the waterside.  On this particular sakkia had been wont
to sit all day a patient fellah, driving the blindfolded buffaloes in
their turn.  It was like the patient fellah, when the Arabs, in pursuit
of Wyndham and his Gippies, suddenly cut in between him and the house, to
deliver himself over to the conqueror, with his hand upon his head in
sign of obedience.

It was also like the gentle Egyptian that he eagerly showed the besiegers
how the water could be cut off from the house by dropping one of the
sluice-gates; while, opening another, all the land around the Arab
encampments might be well watered, the pools well filled, and the grass
kept green for horses and camels.  This was the reason that Wyndham
bimbashi and his Gippies, and the Sheikh and his household, faced the
fact, the morning after Hassan left, that there was scarce a goolah of
water for a hundred burning throats.  Wyndham understood now why the
Arabs sat down and waited, that torture might be added to the oncoming
death of the Englishman, his natives, and the "friendlies."

All that day terror and ghastly hate hung like a miasma over the besieged
house and garden.  Fifty eyes hungered for the blood of Wyndham bimbashi;
not because he was Wyndham bimbashi, but because the heathen in these men
cried out for sacrifice; and what so agreeable a sacrifice as the
Englishman who had led them into this disaster and would die so well
--had they ever seen an Englishman who did not die well?

Wyndham was quiet and watchful, and he cudgelled his bullet-head, and
looked down his long nose in meditation all the day, while his tongue
became dry and thick, and his throat seemed to crack like roasting
leather.  At length he worked the problem out.  Then he took action.

He summoned his troop before him, and said briefly: "Men, we must have
water.  The question is, who is going to steal out to the sakkia to-
night, to shut the one sluice and open the other?"

No one replied.  No one understood quite what Wyndham meant.  Shutting
one sluice and opening the other did not seem to meet the situation.
There was the danger of getting to the sakkia, but there was also an
after.  Would it be possible to shut one sluice and open the other
without the man at the wheel knowing?  Suppose you killed the man at the
wheel--what then?

The Gippies and the friendlies scowled, but did not speak.  The bimbashi
was responsible for all; he was an Englishman, let him get water for
them, or die like the rest of them--perhaps before them!

Wyndham could not travel the sinuosities of their minds, and it would not
have affected his purpose if he could have done so.  When no man replied,
he simply said:

"All right, men.  You shall have water before morning.  Try and hold out
till then."  He dismissed them.  For a long time he walked up and down
the garden of straggling limes, apparently listless, and smoking hard.
He reckoned carefully how long it would take Hassan to get to Kerbat, and
for relief to come.  He was fond of his pipe, and he smoked now as if it
were the thing he most enjoyed in the world.  He held the bowl in the
hollow of his hand almost tenderly.  He seemed unconscious of the
scowling looks around him.  At last he sat down on the ledge of the rude
fountain, with his face towards the Gippies and the Arabs squatted on the
ground, some playing mankalah, others sucking dry lime leaves, many
smoking apathetically.

One man with the flicker of insanity in his eyes suddenly ran forward and
threw himself on the ground before Wyndham.

"In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful--water!" he cried.
"Water--I am dying, effendi whom God preserve!"

"Nile water is sweet; you shall drink it before morning, Mahommed,"
answered Wyndham quietly.  "God will preserve your life till the Nile
water cools your throat."

"Before dawn, O effendi?" gasped the Arab.  "Before dawn, by the mercy
of God," answered Wyndham; and for the first time in his life he had a
burst of imagination.  The Orient had touched him at last.

"Is not the song of the sakkia in thine ear, Mahommed?" he said

    "Turn, O Sakkia, turn to the right, and turn to the left.
     The Nile floweth by night and the balasses are filled at dawn--
     The maid of the village shall bear to thy bed the dewy grey
          goolah at dawn
                    Turn, O Sakkia!"

Wyndham was learning at last the way to the native mind.

The man rose from his knees.  A vision of his home in the mirkaz of
Minieh passed before him.  He stretched out his hands, and sang in the
vibrating monotone of his people:

    "Turn, O Sakkia, turn to the right, and turn to the left:
     Who will take care of me, if my father dies?
     Who will give me water to drink, and the cucumber vine at my door--
     Turn, O Sakkia!"

Then he crept back again to the wall of the house, where he huddled
between a Berberine playing a darabukkeh and a man of the Fayoum who
chanted the fatihah from the Koran.

Wyndham looked at them all and pondered.  "If the devils out there would
only attack us," he said between his teeth, "or if we could only attack
them!" he added, and he nervously hastened his footsteps; for to him
this inaction was terrible.  "They'd forget their thirst if they were
fighting," he muttered, and then he frowned; for the painful neighing of
the horses behind the house came to his ear.  In desperation he
went inside and climbed to the roof, where he could see the circle of the
enemy.

It was no use.  They were five to one, and his Gippies were demoralised.
It would be a fine bit of pluck to try and cut his way through the Arabs
to the Nile--but how many would reach it?

No, he had made his full measure of mistakes, he would not add to the
list.  If Hassan got through to Kerbat his Gippies here would no doubt be
relieved, and there would be no more blood on his head.  Relieved?  And
when they were relieved, what of himself, Wyndham bimbashi?  He knew what
men would say in Cairo, what men would say at the War Office in London
town, at "The Rag"--everywhere!  He could not look his future in the
face.  He felt that every man in Egypt, save himself, had known all along
that he was a complete failure.

It did not matter while he himself was not conscious of it; but now that
the armour-plate of conceit protecting his honest mind had been torn away
on the reefs of foolish deeds, it mattered everything.  For when his
conceit was peeled away, there was left a crimson cuticle of the Wyndham
pride.  Certainly he could not attack the Arabs--he had had his eternal
fill of sorties.

Also he could not wait for the relief party, for his Gippies and the
friendlies were famishing, dying of thirst.  He prayed for night.  How
slowly the minutes, the hours passed; and how bright was the moon when it
rose! brighter even than it was when Hassan crept out to steal through
the Arab lines.

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

At midnight, Wyndham stole softly out of a gate in the garden wall, and,
like Hassan, dropping to the ground, crept towards a patch of maize lying
between the house and the river.  He was dressed like a fellah, with the
long blue yelek, and a poor wool fez, and round the fez was a white
cloth, as it were to protect his mouth from the night air, after the
manner of the peasant.

The fires of the enemy were dying down, and only here and there Arabs
gossiped or drank coffee by the embers.  At last Wyndham was able to drop
into the narrow channel, now dry, through which, when the sluice was open
and the sakkia turned, the water flowed to the house.  All went well till
he was within a hundred yards of the wheel, though now and again he could
hear sentries snoring or talking just above him.  Suddenly he heard
breathing an arm's length before him, then a figure raised itself and a
head turned towards him.  The Arab had been asleep, but his hand ran to
his knife by instinct--too late, for Wyndham's fingers were at his
throat, and he had neither time nor chance to cry Allah!  before the
breath left him.

Wyndham crept on.  The sound of the sakkia was in his ears--the long,
creaking, crying song, filling the night.  And now there arose the Song
of the Sakkia from the man at the wheel:

    "Turn, O Sakkia, turn to the right, and turn to the left;
     The heron feeds by the water side--shall I starve in my onion-field!
     Shall the Lord of the World withhold his tears that water the land--
     Turn, O Sakkia!"

.  .  .  The hard white stars, the cold blue sky, the far-off Libyan
hills in a gold and opal glow, the smell of the desert, the deep swish of
the Nile, the Song of the Sakkia.  .  .  .

Wyndham's heart beat faster, his blood flowed quicker, he strangled a
sigh in his breast.  Here, with death on every hand, with immediate and
fearful peril before him, out of the smell of the desert and the ghostly
glow of the Libyan hills there came a memory--the memory of a mistake he
had made years before with a woman.  She had never forgiven him for the
mistake--he knew it at last.  He knew that no woman could ever forgive
the blunder he had made--not a blunder of love but a blunder of self-will
and an unmanly, unmannerly conceit.  It had nearly wrecked her life: and
he only realised it now, in the moment of clear-seeing which comes to
every being once in a lifetime.  Well, it was something to have seen the
mistake at last.

He had come to the sluice-gate.  It was impossible to open it without the
fellah on the water-wheel seeing him.

There was another way.  He crept close and closer to the wheel.  The
breath of the blindfolded buffalo was in his face, he drew himself up
lightly and quickly beside the buffalo--he was making no blunder now.

Suddenly he leapt from behind the buffalo upon the fellah and smothered
his mouth in the white cloth he had brought.  There was a moment's
struggle, then, as the wheel went slower and slower, and the patient
buffalo stopped, Wyndham dropped the gagged, but living, fellah into a
trench by the sakkia and, calling to the buffalo, slid over swiftly,
opened the sluice-gate of the channel which fed the house, and closed
that leading to the Arab encampment.

Then he sat down where the fellah had sat, and the sakkia droned its
mystic music over the river, the desert, and the plain.  But the buffalo
moved slowly-the fellah's song had been a spur to its travel, as the
camel-driver's song is to the caravan in the waste of sands.  Wyndham
hesitated an instant, then, as the first trickle of water entered the
garden of the house where his Gippies and the friendlies were, his voice
rose in the Song of the Sakkia:

    "Turn, O Sakkia, turn to the right, and turn to the left:
     Who will take care of me, if my father dies?
     Who will give me water to drink, and the cucumber vine at my door
     Turn, O Sakkia!"

If he had but one hour longer there would be enough water for men and
horses for days, twenty jars of water pouring all the time!

Now and again a figure came towards the wheel, but not close enough to
see that the one sluice-gate had been shut and the other opened.  A half-
hour passed, an hour, and then the end came.

The gagged fellah had managed to free his mouth, and though his feet were
bound also and he could not loose them, he gave a loud call for help.
From dying fires here and there Arab sentries sprang to their feet with
rifles and lances.

Wyndham's work was done.  He leapt from the sakkia, and ran towards the
house.  Shot after shot was fired at him, lances were thrown, and once an
Arab barred his way suddenly.  He pistoled him and ran on.  A lance
caught him in the left arm.  He tore it out and pushed forward.  Stooping
once, he caught up a sword from the ground.  When he was within fifty
yards of the house, four Arabs intercepted him.  He slashed through, then
turned with his pistol and fired as he ran quickly towards the now open
gate.  He was within ten yards of it, and had fired his last shot, when a
bullet crashed through his jaw.

A dozen Gippies ran out, dragged him in, and closed the gate.

The last thing Wyndham did before he died in the grey of dawn--and this
is told of him by the Gippies themselves-was to cough up the bullet from
his throat, and spit it out upon the ground.  The Gippies thought it a
miraculous feat, and that he had done it in scorn of the Arab foe.

Before another sunrise and sunset had come, Wyndham bimbashi's men were
relieved by the garrison of Kerbat, after a hard fight.

There are Englishmen in Egypt who still speak slightingly of Wyndham
bimbashi, but the British officer who buried him hushed a gossiping
dinner-party a few months ago in Cairo by saying:

         "Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
            And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him;
          But little he'll reek, if they let him sleep on
            In the grave where his Gippies have laid him."

And he did not apologise for paraphrasing the famous ballad.  He has
shamed Egypt at last into admiration for Wyndham bimbashi: to the deep
satisfaction of Hassan, the Soudanese boy, who received his fifty pounds,
and to this day wears the belt which once kept him in the narrow path of
duty.



A TYRANT AND A LADY

When Donovan Pasha discovered the facts for the first time, he found more
difficulty in keeping the thing to himself than he had ever found with
any other matter in Egypt.  He had unearthed one of those paradoxes which
make for laughter--and for tears.  It gave him both; he laughed till he
cried.  Then he went to the Khedivial Club and ordered himself four
courses, a pint of champagne and a glass of '48 port, his usual dinner
being one course, double portion, and a pint of claret.  As he sat eating
he kept reading a letter over and over, and each time he read he grinned
--he did not smile like a well-behaved man of the world, he did not
giggle like a well-veneered Egyptian back from Paris, he chuckled
like a cabman responding to a liberal fare and a good joke.  A more
unconventional little man never lived.  Simplicity was his very life,
and yet he had a gift for following the sinuosities of the Oriental mind;
he had a quality almost clairvoyant, which came, perhaps, from his Irish
forebears.  The cross-strain of English blood had done him good too; it
made him punctilious and kept his impulses within secure bounds.  It also
made him very polite when he was angry, and very angry when any one tried
to impose upon him, or flatter him.

The letter he read so often was from Kingsley Bey, the Englishman, who,
coming to Egypt penniless, and leaving estates behind him encumbered
beyond release, as it would seem, had made a fortune and a name in a
curious way.  For years he had done no good for himself, trying his hand
at many things--sugar, salt, cotton, cattle, but always just failing to
succeed, though he came out of his enterprises owing no one.  Yet he had
held to his belief that he would make a fortune, and he allowed his
estates to become still more encumbered, against the advice of his
solicitors, who grew more irritable as interest increased and rents
further declined.  The only European in Egypt who shared his own belief
in himself was Dicky Donovan.  Something in the unfailing good-humour,
the buoyant energy, the wide imagination of the man seized Dicky,
warranted the conviction that he would yet make a success.  There were
reasons why sugar, salt, cotton, cattle and other things had not done
well.  Taxes, the corvee, undue influence in favour of pashas who could
put his water on their land without compensation, or unearthed old unpaid
mortgages on his land, or absorbed his special salt concession in the
Government monopoly, or suddenly put a tax on all horses and cattle not
of native breed; all these and various other imposts, exactions, or
interferences engineered by the wily Mamour, the agent of the mouffetish,
or the intriguing Pasha, killed his efforts, in spite of labours
unbelievable.  The venture before the last had been sugar, and when he
arrived in Cairo, having seen his fields and factories absorbed in the
Khedive's domains, he had but one ten pounds to his name.

He went to Dicky Donovan and asked the loan of a thousand pounds.  It
took Dicky's breath away.  His own banking account seldom saw a thousand
--deposit.  Dicky told Kingsley he hadn't got it.  Kingsley asked him to
get it--he had credit, could borrow it from the bank, from the Khedive
himself!  The proposal was audacious--Kingsley could offer no security
worth having.  His enthusiasm and courage were so infectious, however,
though his ventures had been so fruitless, that Dicky laughed in his
face.  Kingsley's manner then suddenly changed, and he assured Dicky
that he would receive five thousand pounds for the thousand within a
year.  Now, Dicky knew that Kingsley never made a promise to any one that
he did not fulfil.  He gave Kingsley the thousand pounds.  He did more.
He went to the Khedive with Kingsley's whole case.  He spoke as he had
seldom spoken, and he secured a bond from Ismail, which might not be
broken.  He also secured three thousand pounds of the Khedive's
borrowings from Europe, on Kingsley's promise that it should be returned
five-fold.

That was how Kingsley got started in the world again, how he went mining
in the desert afar, where pashas and mamours could not worry him.  The
secret of his success was purely Oriental.  He became a slave-owner.  He
built up a city of the desert round him.  He was its ruler.  Slavery gave
him steady untaxed labour.  A rifle-magazine gave him security against
marauding tribes, his caravans were never over powered; his blacks were
his own.  He had a way with them; they thought him the greatest man in
the world.  Now, at last, he was rich enough.  His mines were worked out,
too, and the market was not so good; he had supplied it too well.
Dicky's thousand had brought him five thousand, and Ismail's three
thousand had become fifteen thousand, and another twenty thousand
besides.  For once the Khedive had found a kind of taxation, of which he
got the whole proceeds, not divided among many as heretofore.  He got it
all.  He made Kingsley a Bey, and gave him immunity from all other
imposts or taxation.  Nothing but an Egyptian army could have removed him
from his desert-city.

Now, he was coming back--to-night at ten o'clock he would appear at the
Khedivial Club, the first time in seven years.  But this was not all.  He
was coming back to be married as soon as might be.

This was the thing which convulsed Dicky.

Upon the Nile at Assiout lived a young English lady whose life was
devoted to agitation against slavery in Egypt.  Perhaps the Civil War in
America, not so many years before, had fired her spirit; perhaps it was
pious enthusiasm; perhaps it was some altruistic sentiment in her which
must find expression; perhaps, as people said, she had had a love affair
in England which had turned out badly.  At any rate she had come over to
Egypt with an elderly companion, and, after a short stay at the
Consulate, had begun the career of the evangel.  She had now and then
created international difficulty, and Ismail, tolerant enough, had been
tempted to compel her to leave the country, but, with a zeal which took
on an aspect of self-opinionated audacity, she had kept on.  Perhaps her
beauty helped her on her course--perhaps the fact that her superb egotism
kept her from being timorous, made her career possible.  In any case,
there she was at Assiout, and there she had been for years, and no
accident had come to her; and, during the three months she was at
Cairo every year, pleading against slavery and the corvee, she increased
steadily the respect in which she was held; but she was considered mad as
Gordon.  So delighted had Ismail been by a quiet, personal attack she
made upon him, that without malice, and with an obtuse and impulsive
kindness, he sent her the next morning a young Circassian slave, as a
mark of his esteem, begging her through the swelling rhetoric of his
messenger to keep the girl, and more than hinting at her value.  It
stupefied her, and the laughter of Cairo added to her momentary
embarrassment; but she kept the girl, and prepared to send her back
to her people.

The girl said she had no people, and would not go; she would stay with
"My Lady"--she would stay for ever with "My Lady."  It was confusing, but
the girl stayed, worshipping the ground "My Lady" walked on.  In vain My
Lady educated her.  Out of hearing, she proudly told whoever would listen
that she was "My Lady's slave."  It was an Egyptian paradox; it was in
line with everything else in the country, part of the moral opera boufe.

In due course, the lady came to hear of the English slave-owner, who
ruled the desert-city and was making a great fortune out of the labours
of his slaves.  The desert Arabs who came down the long caravan road,
white with bleached bones, to Assiout, told her he had a thousand slaves.
Against this Englishman her anger, was great.  She unceasingly condemned
him, and whenever she met Dicky Donovan she delivered her attack with
delicate violence.  Did Dicky know him?  Why did not he, in favour with
Ismail, and with great influence, stop this dreadful and humiliating
business?  It was a disgrace to the English name.  How could we preach
freedom and a higher civilisation to the Egyptians while an Englishman
enriched himself and ruled a province by slavery?  Dicky's invariable
reply was that we couldn't, and that things weren't moving very much
towards a higher civilisation in Egypt.  But he asked her if she ever
heard of a slave running away from Kingsley Bey, or had she ever heard
of a case of cruelty on his part?  Her reply was that he had given slaves
the kourbash, and had even shot them.  Dicky thereupon suggested that
Kingsley Bey was a government, and that the kourbash was not yet
abolished in the English navy, for instance; also that men had to be shot
sometimes.

At last she had made a direct appeal to Kingsley Bey.  She sent an
embassy to him--Dicky prevented her from going herself; he said he would
have her deported straightway, if she attempted it.  She was not in such
deadly earnest that she did not know he would keep his word, and that the
Consulate could not help her would have no time to do so.  So, she
confined herself to an elaborate letter, written in admirable English and
inspired by most noble sentiments.  The beauty that was in her face was
in her letter in even a greater degree.  It was very adroit, too, very
ably argued, and the moral appeal was delicate and touching, put with an
eloquence at once direct and arresting.  The invocation with which the
letter ended was, as Kingsley Bey afterwards put it, "a pitch of poetry
and humanity never reached except by a Wagner opera."

Kingsley Bey's response to the appeal was a letter to the lady, brought
by a sarraf, a mamour and six slaves, beautifully mounted and armed,
saying that he had been deeply moved by her appeal, and as a proof of the
effect of her letter, she might free the six slaves of his embassy.  This
she straightway did joyfully, and when they said they wished to go to
Cairo, she saw them and their horses off on the boat with gladness, and
she shook them each by the hand and prayed Heaven in their language to
give them long plumes of life and happiness.  Arrived at Cairo these
freemen of Assiout did as they had been ordered by Kingsley--found
Donovan Pasha, delivered a certain letter to him, and then proceeded,
also as they had been ordered, to a certain place in the city, even to
Ismail's stables, to await their master's coming.

This letter was now in Dicky's hand, and his mirth was caused by the
statement that Kingsley Bey had declared that he was coming to marry My
Lady--she really was "My Lady," the Lady May Harley; that he was coming
by a different route from "his niggers," and would be there the same day.
Dicky would find him at ten o'clock at the Khedivial Club.

My Lady hated slavery--and unconsciously she kept a slave; she regarded
Kingsley Bey as an enemy to civilisation and to Egypt, she detested him
as strongly as an idealistic nature could and should--and he had set out
to marry her, the woman who had bitterly arraigned him at the bar of her
judgment.  All this play was in Dicky's hands for himself to enjoy, in a
perfect dress rehearsal ere ever one of the Cairene public or the English
world could pay for admission and take their seats.  Dicky had in more
senses than one got his money's worth out of Kingsley Bey.  He wished he
might let the Khedive into the secret at once, for he had an opinion of
Ismail's sense of humour; had he not said that very day in the presence
of the French Consul, "Shut the window, quick!  If the consul sneezes,
France will demand compensation!"  But Dicky was satisfied that things
should be as they were.  He looked at the clock--it was five minutes to
ten.  He rose from the table, and went to the smoking-room.  In vain it
was sought to draw him into the friendly circles of gossiping idlers and
officials.  He took a chair at the very end of the room and opposite the
door, and waited, watching.

Precisely at ten the door opened and a tall, thin, loose-knit figure
entered.  He glanced quickly round, saw Dicky, and swung down the room,
nodding to men who sprang to their feet to greet him.  Some of the
Egyptians looked darkly at him, but he smiled all round, caught at one or
two hands thrust out to him, said: "Business--business first!" in a deep
bass voice, and, hastening on, seized both of Dicky's hands in his, then
his shoulders, and almost roared: "Well, what do you think of it?  Isn't
it all right?  Am I, or am I not, Dicky Pasha?"

"You very much are," answered Dicky, thrust a cigar at him, and set him
down in the deepest chair he could find.  He sprawled wide, and lighted
his cigar, then lay back and looked down his long nose at his friend.

"I mean it, too," he said after a minute, and reached for a glass of
water the waiter brought.  "No, thanks, no whiskey--never touch it--good
example to the slaves!"  He laughed long and low, and looked at Dicky out
of the corner of his eye.  "Good-looking lot I sent you, eh?"

"Oosters, every one of 'em.  Butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.  I
learnt their grin, it suits my style of beauty."  Dicky fitted the action
to the word.  "You'll start with me in the morning to Assiout?"

"I can start, but life and time are short."

"You think I can't and won't marry her?"

"This isn't the day of Lochinvar."

"This is the day of Kingsley Bey, Dicky Pasha."

Dicky frowned.  He had a rare and fine sense where women were concerned,
were they absent or present.  "How very artless--and in so short a time,
too!" he said tartly.

Kingsley laughed quietly.  "Art is long, but tempers are short!" he
retorted.

Dicky liked a Roland for his Oliver.  "It's good to see you back again,"
he said, changing the subject.

"How long do you mean to stay?"

"Here?" Dicky nodded.  "Till I'm married."

Dicky became very quiet, a little formal, and his voice took on a curious
smoothness, through which sharp suggestion pierced.

"So long?--Enter our Kingsley Bey into the underground Levantine world."

This was biting enough.  To be swallowed up by Cairo life and all that it
involves, was no fate to suggest to an Englishman, whose opinion of the
Levantine needs no defining.  "Try again, Dicky," said Kingsley, refusing
to be drawn.  "This is not one huge joke, or one vast impertinence, so
far as the lady is concerned.  I've come back-b-a-c-k" (he spelled the
word out), "with all that it involves.  I've come back, Dicky."

He quieted all at once, and leaned over towards his friend.  "You know
the fight I've had.  You know the life I've lived in Egypt.  You know
what I left behind me in England--nearly all.  You've seen the white man
work.  You've seen the black ooster save him.  You've seen the ten-times-
a-failure pull out.  Have I played the game?  Have I acted squarely?
Have I given kindness for kindness, blow for blow?  Have I treated my
slaves like human beings?  Have I--have I won my way back to life--life?"
He spread out a hand with a little grasping motion.  "Have I saved the
old stand off there in Cumberland by the sea, where you can see the snow
on Skaw Fell?  Have I?  Do you wonder that I laugh?  Ye gods and little
fishes!  I've had to wear a long face years enough--seven hard years,
seven fearful years, when I might be murdered by a slave, and I and my
slaves might be murdered by some stray brigade, under some general of
Ismail's, working without orders, without orders, of course--oh, very
much of course!  Why shouldn't I play the boy to-day, little Dicky
Donovan?  I am a Mahommedan come Christian again.  I am a navvy again
come gentleman.  I am an Arab come Englishman once more.

"I am an outcast come home.  I am a dead man come to life."

Dicky leaned over and laid a hand on his knee.  "You are a credit to
Cumberland," he said.  "No other man could have done it.  I won't ask any
more questions.  Anything you want of me, I am with you, to do, or say,
or be."

"Good.  I want you to go to Assiout to-morrow."

"Will you see Ismail first?  It might be safer--good policy."

"I will see My Lady first.  .  .  .  Trust me.  I know what I'm doing.
You will laugh as I do."  Laughter broke from his lips.  It was as though
his heart was ten years old.  Dicky's eyes moistened.  He had never seen
anything like it--such happiness, such boyish confidence.  And what had
not this man experienced!  How had he drunk misfortune to the dregs!
What unbelievable optimism had been his!  How had he been at once hard
and kind, tyrannical and human, defiant and peaceful, daring yet
submissive, fierce yet just!  And now, here, with so much done, with a
great fortune and great power, a very boy, he was planning to win the
heart of, and marry, his avowed foe, the woman who had condemned him
without stint.



II

On her wide veranda, a stone's-throw from the banks of the Nile, My Lady
sat pen in hand and paper-pad upon her knee.  She had written steadily
for an hour, and now she raised her head to look out on the swift-
flowing, muddy water, where broad khiassas floated down the stream, laden
with bersim; where feluccas covered the river, bearing natives and
donkeys; where faithful Moslems performed their ablutions, and other
faithful Moslems, their sandals laid aside, said their prayers with their
faces towards Mecca, oblivious of all around; where blue-robed women
filled their goolahs with water, and bore them away, steady and stately;
where a gang of conscripts, chained ankle to ankle, followed by a crowd
of weeping and wailing women, were being driven to the anchorage of the
stern-wheeled transport-steamer.  All these sights she had seen how many
hundred times!  To her it was all slavery.  The laden khiassas
represented the fruits of enforced labour; the ablutions and prayers were
but signs of submission to the tyranny of a religion designed for the
benefit of the few at the expense of the many, a creed and code of gross
selfishness--were not women only admitted to Heaven by the intercession
of their husbands and after unceasing prayer?  Whether beasts of burden,
the girl with the goolah, women in the harem, or servants of pleasure,
they were all in the bonds of slavery, and the land was in moral
darkness.  So it seemed to her.

How many times had she written these things in different forms and to
different people--so often, too often, to the British Consul at Cairo,
whose patience waned.  At first, the seizure of conscripts, with all that
it involved, had excited her greatly.  It had required all her common-
sense to prevent her, then and there, protesting, pleading, with the
kavass, who did the duty of Ismail's Sirdar.  She had confined herself,
however, to asking for permission to give the men cigarettes and
slippers, dates and bread, and bags of lentils for soup.  Even this was
not unaccompanied by danger, for the Mahommedan mind could not at first
tolerate the idea of a lady going unveiled; only fellah women, domestic
cattle, bared their faces to the world.  The conscripts, too, going to
their death--for how few of them ever returned?--leaving behind all hope,
all freedom, passing to starvation and cruelty, at last to be cut down by
the Arab, or left dying of illness in the desert, they took her gifts
with sullen faces.  Her beautiful freedom was in such contrast to their
torture, slavery of a direful kind.  But as again and again the kavasses
came and opened midnight doors and snatched away the young men, her
influence had grown so fast that her presence brought comfort, and she
helped to assuage the grief of the wailing women.  She even urged upon
them that philosophy of their own, which said "Malaish" to all things--
the "It is no matter," of the fated Hamlet.  In time she began to be
grateful that an apathetic resignation, akin to the quiet of despair,
was the possession of their race.  She was far from aware that something
in their life, of their philosophy, was affecting her understanding.
She had a strong brain and a stronger will, but she had a capacity for
feeling greater still, and this gave her imagination, temperament, and--
though it would have shocked her to know it--a certain credulity, easily
transmutable into superstition.  Yet, as her sympathies were, to some
extent, rationalised by stern fact and everlasting custom, her opposition
to some things became more active and more fervid.

Looking into the distance, she saw two or three hundred men at work on a
canal, draining the property of Selamlik Pasha, whose tyrannies,
robberies, and intrigues were familiar to all Egypt, whose palaces were
almost as many as those of the notorious Mouffetish.  These men she saw
now working in the dread corvee had been forced from their homes by a
counterfeit Khedivial order.  They had been compelled to bring their own
tools, and to feed and clothe and house themselves, without pay or
reward, having left behind them their own fields untilled, their own
dourha unreaped, their date-palms, which the tax-gatherer confiscated.
Many and many a time--unless she was prevented, and this at first had
been often--she had sent food and blankets to these poor creatures who,
their day's work done, prayed to God as became good Mahommedans, and,
without covering, stretched themselves out on the bare ground to sleep.

It suggested that other slavery, which did not hide itself under the
forms of conscription and corvee.  It was on this slavery her mind had
been concentrated, and against it she had turned her energies and her
life.  As she now sat, pen in hand, the thought of how little she had
done, how futile had been all her crusade, came to her.  Yet there was,
too, a look of triumph in her eyes.  Until three days ago she had seen
little result from her labours.  Then had come a promise of better
things.  From the Englishman, against whom she had inveighed, had been
sent an olive branch, a token--of conversion?  Had he not sent six slaves
for her to free, and had she not freed them?  That was a step.  She
pictured to herself this harsh expatriated adventurer, this desert ruler,
this slave-holder--had he been a slave-dealer she could herself have
gladly been his executioner--surrounded by his black serfs, receiving her
letter.  In her mind's eye she saw his face flush as he read her burning
phrases, then turn a little pale, then grow stern.

She saw him, after a sleepless night, haunted by her warnings, her appeal
to his English manhood.  She saw him rise, meditative and relenting, and
send forthwith these slaves for her to free.  Her eye glistened again,
as it had shone while she had written of this thing to the British Consul
at Cairo, to her father in England, who approved of her sympathies and
lamented her actions.  Had her crusade been altogether fruitless, she
asked herself.  Ismail's freed Circassian was in her household, being
educated like an English girl, lifted out of her former degradation, made
to understand "a higher life"; and yesterday she had sent away six
liberated slaves, with a gold-piece each, as a gift from a free woman to
free men.  It seemed to her for a moment now, as she sat musing and
looking, that her thirty years of life had not been--rather, might not
be-in vain.

There was one other letter she would write--to Donovan Pasha, who had not
been ardent in her cause, yet who might have done so much through his
influence with Ismail, who, it was said, liked him better than any
Englishman he had known, save Gordon.  True, Donovan Pasha had steadily
worked for the reduction of the corvee, and had, in the name of the
Khedive, steadily reduced private corvee, but he had never set his face
against slavery, save to see that no slave-dealing was permitted below
Assouan.  Yet, with her own eyes she had seen Abyssinian slaves sold
in the market-place of Assiout.  True, when she appealed to him, Donovan
Pasha had seen to it that the slave-dealers were severely punished, but
the fact remained that he was unsympathetic on the large issue.  When
appealed to, the British Consul had petulantly told her that Donovan
Pasha was doing more important work.  Yet she could only think of England
as the engine of civilisation, as an evangelising power, as the John the
Baptist of the nations--a country with a mission.  For so beautiful a
woman, of so worldly a stock, of a society so in the front of things, she
had some Philistine notions, some quite middle-class ideals.  It was like
a duchess taking to Exeter Hall; but few duchesses so afflicted had been
so beautiful and so young, so much of the worldly world--her father was
high in the household of an illustrious person.  .  .  .  If she could
but make any headway against slavery--she had as disciples ten Armenian
pashas, several wealthy Copts, a number of Arab sheikhs, and three
Egyptian princes, sympathetic rather than active--perhaps, through her
father, she might be able to move the illustrious person, and so, in
time, the Government of England.

It was a delightful dream--the best she had imagined for many a day.  She
was roused from it by the scream of a whistle, and the hoonch-hoonch of a
sternwheel steamer.  A Government boat was hastening in to the bank,
almost opposite her house.  She picked up the field-glass from the
window-sill behind her, and swept the deck of the steamer.  There were
two figures in English dress, though one wore the tarboosh.  The figure
shorter and smaller than the other she recognised.  This was Donovan
Pasha.  She need not write her letter to him, then.  He would be sure to
visit her.  Disapprove of him as she did from one stand-point, he always
excited in her feelings of homesickness, of an old life, full of
interests--music, drama, art, politics, diplomacy, the court, the
hunting-field, the quiet house-party.  He troubled her in a way too,
for his sane certainty, set against her aspiring credulity, arrested,
even commanded, her sometimes.

Instinctively she put out her hand to gather in flying threads of hair,
she felt at the pearl fastening of her collar, she looked at her brown
shoes and her dress, and was satisfied.  She was spotless.  And never had
her face shone--really shone--to such advantage.  It had not now the
brilliant colours of the first years.  The climate, her work in hospital
building, her labours against slavery, had touched her with a little
whiteness.  She was none the less good to see.

Who was this striding along with Donovan Pasha, straight towards her
house?  No one she had ever seen in Egypt, and yet in manner like some
one she had seen before--a long time before.  Her mind flashed back
through the years to the time when she was a girl, and visited old
friends of her father in a castle looking towards Skaw Fell, above the
long valley of the Nidd.  A kind of mist came before her eyes now.

When she really saw again, they were at the steps of the veranda, and
Donovan Pasha's voice was greeting her.  Then, as, without a word but
with a welcoming smile, she shook hands with Dicky, her look was held,
first by a blank arrest of memory, then by surprise.

Dicky turned for his office of introduction but was stayed by the look
of amusement in his friend's face, and by the amazed recognition in that
of My Lady.  He stepped back with an exclamation, partly of chagrin.
He saw that this recognition was no coincidence, so far as the man was
concerned, though the woman had been surprised in a double sense.  He
resented the fact that Kingsley Bey had kept this from him--he had the
weakness of small-statured men and of diplomatic people who have
reputations for knowing and doing.  The man, all smiling, held out his
hand, and his look was quizzically humorous as he said:

"You scarcely looked to see me here, Lady May?"  Her voice trembled with
pleasure.  "No, of course.  When did you come, Lord Selden?  .  .  .
Won't you sit down?"

That high green terrace of Cumberland, the mist on Skaw Fell, the sun out
over the sea, they were in her eyes.  So much water had gone under the
bridges since!

"I was such a young girl then--in short frocks--it was a long time ago,
I fear," she added, as if in continuation of the thought flashing through
her mind.  "Let me see," she went on fearlessly; "I am thirty; that was
thirteen years ago."

"I am thirty-seven, and still it is thirteen years ago."

"You look older, when you don't smile," she added, and glanced at his
grey hair.

He laughed now.  She was far, far franker than she was those many years
ago, and it was very agreeable and refreshing.  "Donovan, there, reproved
me last night for frivolity," he said.

"If Donovan Pasha has become grave, then there is hope for Egypt," she
said, turning to Dicky with a new brightness.

"When there's hope for Egypt, I'll have lost my situation, and there'll
be reason for drawing a long face," said Dicky, and got the two at such
an angle that he could watch them to advantage.  "I thrive while it's
opera boufe.  Give us the legitimate drama, and I go with Ismail."

The lady shrank a little.  "If it weren't you, Donovan Pasha, I should
say that, associated with Ismail, as you are, you are as criminal as he."

"What is crime in one country, is virtue in another," answered Dicky.
"I clamp the wheel sometimes to keep it from spinning too fast.  That's
my only duty.  I am neither Don Quixote nor Alexander Imperator."

She thought he was referring obliquely to the corvee and the other thing
in which her life-work was involved.  She became severe.  "It is
compromising with evil," she said.

"No.  It's getting a breakfast-roll instead of the whole bakery," he
answered.

"What do you think?" she exclaimed, turning to Kingsley.

"I think there's one man in Egypt who keeps the boiler from bursting," he
answered.

"Oh, don't think I undervalue his Excellency here," she said with a
little laugh.  "It is because he is strong, because he matters so much,
that one feels he could do more.  Ismail thinks there is no one like him
in the world."

"Except Gordon," interrupted Kingsley.

"Except Gordon, of course; only Gordon isn't in Egypt.  And he would do
no good in Egypt.  The officials would block his way.  It is only in the
Soudan that he could have a free hand, be of real use.  There, a man, a
real man, like Gordon, could show the world how civilisation can be
accepted by desert races, despite a crude and cruel religion and low
standards of morality."

"All races have their social codes--what they call civilisation,"
rejoined Kingsley.  "It takes a long time to get custom out of the blood,
especially when it is part of the religion.  I'm afraid that expediency
isn't the motto of those who try to civilise the Orient and the East."

"I believe in struggling openly for principle," she observed a little
acidly.

"Have you succeeded?" he asked, trying to keep his gravity.  "How about
your own household, for instance?  Have you Christianised and civilised
your people--your niggers, and the others?"

She flushed indignantly, but held herself in control.  She rang a bell.
"I have no 'niggers,'" she answered quietly.  "I have some Berberine
servants, two fellah boatmen, an Egyptian gardener, an Arab cook, and a
Circassian maid.  They are, I think, devoted to me."

A Berberine servant appeared.  "Tea, Mahommed," she said.  "And tell
Madame that Donovan Pasha is here.  My cousin admires his Excellency so
much," she added to Kingsley, laughing.  "I have never had any real
trouble with them," she continued with a little gesture of pride towards
the disappearing Berberine.

"There was the Armenian," put in Dicky slyly; "and the Copt sarraf.  They
were no credit to their Christian religion, were they?"

"That was not the fault of the religion, but of the generations of
oppression--they lie as a child lies, to escape consequences.  Had they
not been oppressed they would have been good Christians in practice as in
precept."

"They don't steal as a child steals," laughed Dicky.

"Armenians are Oriental through and through.  They no more understand the
Christian religion than the Soudanese understand freedom."

He touched the right note this time.  Kingsley flashed a half-startled,
half-humorous look at him; the face of the lady became set, her manner
delicately frigid.  She was about to make a quiet, severe reply, but
something overcame her, and her eyes, her face, suddenly glowed.  She
leaned forward, her hands clasped tightly on her knees--Kingsley could
not but note how beautiful and brown they were, capable, handsome,
confident hands--and, in a voice thrilling with feeling, said:

"What is there in the life here that gets into the eyes of Europeans and
blinds them?  The United States spent scores of thousands of lives to
free the African slave.  England paid millions, and sacrificed ministries
and men, to free the slave; and in England, you--you, Donovan Pasha, and
men like you, would be in the van against slavery.  Yet here, where
England has more influence than any other nation--"

"More power, not influence," Dicky interrupted smiling.

"Here, you endure, you encourage, you approve of it.  Here, an Englishman
rules a city of slaves in the desert and grows rich out of their labour.
What can we say to the rest of the world, while out there in the desert"
--her eyes swept over the grey and violet hills--"that man, Kingsley Bey,
sets at defiance his race, his country, civilisation, all those things in
which he was educated?  Egypt will not believe in English civilisation,
Europe will not believe in her humanity and honesty, so long as he
pursues his wicked course."

She turned with a gesture of impatience, and in silence began to pour the
tea the servant had brought, with a message that Madame had a headache.
Kingsley Bey was about to speak--it was so unfair to listen, and she
would forgive this no more readily than she would forgive slavery.  Dicky
intervened, however.

"He isn't so black as he's painted, personally.  He's a rash, inflammable
sort of fellow, who has a way with the native--treats him well, too,
I believe.  Very flamboyant, doomed to failure, so far as his merit is
concerned, but with an incredible luck.  He gambled, and he lost a dozen
times; and then gambled again, and won.  That's the truth, I fancy.  No
real stuff in him whatever."

Their hostess put down her tea-cup, and looked at Dicky in blank
surprise.  Not a muscle in his face moved.  She looked at Kingsley.  He
had difficulty in restraining himself, but by stooping to give her fox-
terrier a piece of cake, he was able to conceal his consternation.

"I cannot--cannot believe it," she said slowly.  "The British Consul does
not speak of him like that."

"He is a cousin of the Consul," urged Dicky.  "Cousin--what cousin?  I
never heard--he never told me that."

"Oh, nobody tells anything in Egypt, unless he's kourbashed or thumb-
screwed.  It's safer to tell nothing, you know."

"Cousin!  I didn't know there were Kingsleys in that family.  What reason
could the Consul have for hiding the relationship?"

"Well, I don't know, you must ask Kingsley.  Flamboyant and garrulous as
he is, he probably won't tell you that."

"If I saw Kingsley Bey, I should ask him questions which interest me
more.  I should prefer, however, to ask them through a lawyer--to him in
the prisoner's dock."

"You dislike him intensely?"

"I detest him for what he has done; but I do not despise him as you
suggest I should.  Flamboyant, garrulous--I don't believe that.  I think
him, feel him, to be a hard man, a strong man, and a bad man--if not
wholly bad."

"Yet you would put him in the prisoner's dock," interposed Kingsley
musingly, and wondering how he was to tell her that Lord Selden and
Kingsley Bey were one and the same person.

"Certainly.  A man who commits public wrongs should be punished.  Yet I
am sorry that a man so capable should be so inhuman."

"Your grandfather was inhuman," put in Kingsley.  "He owned great West
Indian slave properties.

"He was culpable, and should have been punished--and was; for we are all
poor at last.  The world has higher, better standards now, and we should
live up to them.  Kingsley Bey should live up to them."

"I suppose we might be able to punish him yet," said Dicky meditatively.
"If Ismail turned rusty, we could soon settle him, I fancy.  Certainly,
you present a strong case."  He peered innocently into the distance.

"But could it be done--but would you?" she asked, suddenly leaning
forward.  "If you would, you could--you could!"

"If I did it at all, if I could make up my mind to it, it should be done
thoroughly--no half measures."

"What would be the whole measures?" she asked eagerly, but with a
certain faint shrinking, for Dicky seemed cold-blooded.

"Of course you never could tell what would happen when Ismail throws the
slipper.  This isn't a country where things are cut and dried, and done
according to Hoyle.  You get a new combination every time you pull a
string.  Where there's no system and a thousand methods you have to run
risks.  Kingsley Bey might get mangled in the machinery."

She shrank a little.  "It is all barbarous."

"Well, I don't know.  He is guilty, isn't he?  You said you would like to
see him in the prisoner's dock.  You would probably convict him of
killing as well as slavery.  You would torture him with prison, and then
hang him in the end.  Ismail would probably get into a rage--pretended,
of course--and send an army against him.  Kingsley would make a fight for
it, and lose his head--all in the interest of a sudden sense of duty on
the part of the Khedive.  All Europe would applaud--all save England, and
what could she do?  Can she defend slavery?  There'll be no kid-gloved
justice meted out to Kingsley by the Khedive, if he starts a campaign
against him.  He will have to take it on the devil's pitchfork.  You must
be logical, you know.

"You can't have it both ways.  If he is to be punished, it must be after
the custom of the place.  This isn't England."

She shuddered slightly, and Dicky went on: "Then, when his head's off,
and his desert-city and his mines are no more, and his slaves change
masters, comes a nice question.  Who gets his money?  Not that there's
any doubt about who'll get it, but, from your standpoint, who should get
it?"

She shook her head in something like embarrassment.

"Money got by slavery--yes, who should get it?" interposed Kingsley
carefully, for her eyes had turned to him for help.  "Would you favour
his heirs getting it?  Should it go to the State?  Should it go to the
slaves?  Should it go to a fund for agitation against slavery?  .  .  .
You, for instance, could make use of a fortune like his in a cause like
that, could you not?" he asked with what seemed boyish simplicity.

The question startled her.  "I--I don't know.  .  .  .  But certainly
not," she hastened to add; "I couldn't touch the money.  It is absurd--
impossible."

"I can't see that," steadily persisted Kingsley.  "This money was made
out of the work of slaves.  Certainly they were paid--they were, weren't
they?" he asked with mock ignorance, turning to Dicky, who nodded assent.
"They were paid wages by Kingsley--in kind, I suppose, but that's all
that's needed in a country like the Soudan.  But still they had to work,
and their lives and bodies were Kingsley's for the time being, and the
fortune wouldn't have been made without them; therefore, according to the
most finely advanced theories of labour and ownership, the fortune is
theirs as much as Kingsley's.  But, in the nature of things, they
couldn't have the fortune.  What would they do with it?  Wandering tribes
don't need money.  Barter and exchange of things in kind is the one form
of finance in the Soudan.  Besides, they'd cut each other's throats the
very first day they got the fortune, and it would strew the desert sands.
It's all illogical and impossible--"

"Yes, yes, I quite see that," she interposed.

"But you surely can see how the fortune could be applied to saving those
races from slavery.  What was wrung from the few by forced labour and
loss of freedom could be returned to the many by a sort of national
salvation.  You could spend the fortune wisely--agents and missionaries
everywhere; in the cafes, in the bazaars, in the palace, at court.
Judicious gifts: and, at last, would come a firman or decree putting down
slavery, on penalty of death.  The fortune would all go, of course, but
think of the good accomplished!"

"You mean that the fortune should be spent in buying the decree--in
backsheesh?" she asked bewildered, yet becoming indignant.

"Well, it's like company promoting," Dicky interposed, hugely enjoying
the comedy, and thinking that Kingsley had put the case shrewdly.  It was
sure to confuse her.  "You have to clear the way, as it were.  The
preliminaries cost a good deal, and those who put the machinery in
working order have to be paid.  Then there's always some important person
who holds the key of the situation; his counsel has to be asked.  Advice
is very expensive."

"It is gross and wicked!" she flashed out.

"But if you got your way?  If you suppressed Kingsley Bey, rid the world
of him--well, well, say, banished him," he quickly added, as he saw her
fingers tremble--" and got your decree, wouldn't it be worth while?  Fire
is fought with fire, and you would be using all possible means to do what
you esteem a great good.  Think of it--slavery abolished, your work
accomplished, Kingsley Bey blotted out!"

Light and darkness were in her face at once.  Her eyes were bright, her
brows became knitted, her foot tapped the floor.  Of course it was all
make-believe, this possibility, but it seemed too wonderful to think of
--slavery abolished, and through her; and Kingsley Bey, the renegade
Englishman, the disgrace to his country, blotted out.

"Your argument is not sound in many ways," she said at last, trying to
feel her course.  "We must be just before all.  The whole of the fortune
was not earned by slaves.  Kingsley Bey's ability and power were the
original cause of its existence.  Without him there would have been no
fortune.  Therefore, it would not be justice to give it, even indirectly,
to the slaves for their cause."

"It would be penalty--Kingsley Bey's punishment," said Dicky slyly.

"But I thought he was to be blotted out," she said ironically, yet
brightening, for it seemed to her that she was proving herself
statesmanlike, and justifying her woman's feelings as well.

"When he is blotted out, his fortune should go where it can remedy the
evil of his life."

"He may have been working for some good cause," quietly put in Kingsley.
"Should not that cause get the advantage of his 'ability and power,' as
you have called it, even though he was mistaken, or perverted, or cruel?
Shouldn't an average be struck between the wrong his 'ability and power'
did and the right that same 'ability and power' was intended to advance?"

She turned with admiration to Kingsley.  "How well you argue--I remember
you did years ago.  I hate slavery and despise and hate slave-dealers and
slave-keepers, but I would be just, too, even to Kingsley Bey.  But what
cause, save his own comfort and fortune, would he be likely to serve?
Do you know him?" she added eagerly.

"Since I can remember," answered Kingsley, looking through the field-
glasses at a steamer coming up the river.

"Would you have thought that he would turn out as he has?" she asked
simply.  "You see, he appears to me so dark and baleful a figure that I
cannot quite regard him as I regard you, for instance.  I could not
realise knowing such a man."

"He had always a lot of audacity," Kingsley replied slowly, "and he
certainly was a schemer in his way, but that came from his helpless
poverty."

"Was he very poor?" she asked eagerly.

"Always.  And he got his estates heavily encumbered.  Then there were
people--old ladies--to have annuities, and many to be provided for, and
there was little chance in England for him.  Good-temper and brawn
weren't enough."

"Egypt's the place for mother-wit," broke in Dicky.  "He had that anyhow.
As to his unscrupulousness, of course that's as you may look at it."

"Was he always unscrupulous?" she asked.  "I have thought him cruel and
wicked nationally--un-English, shamefully culpable; but a man who is
unscrupulous would do mean low things, and I should like to think that
Kingsley is a villain with good points.  I believe he has them, and I
believe that deep down in him is something English and honourable after
all--something to be reckoned with, worked on, developed.  See, here is a
letter I had from him two days ago"--she drew it from her pocket and
handed it over to Dicky.  "I cannot think him hopeless altogether .  .  .
I freed the slaves who brought the letter, and sent them on to Cairo.  Do
you not feel it is hopeful?" she urged, as Dicky read the letter slowly,
making sotto voce remarks meanwhile.

"Brigands and tyrants can be gallant--there are plenty of instances on
record.  What are six slaves to him?"

"He has a thousand to your one," said Kingsley slowly, and as though not
realising his words.

She started, sat up straight in her chair, and looked at him indignantly.
"I have no slaves," she said.

Kingsley Bey had been watching the Circassian girl Mata, in the garden
for some time, and he had not been able to resist the temptation to make
the suggestion that roused her now.

"I think the letter rather high-flown," said Dicky, turning the point,
and handing the open page to Kingsley.  "It looks to me as though written
with a purpose."

"What a cryptic remark!" said Kingsley laughing, yet a little chagrined.
"What you probably wish to convey is that it says one thing and means
another."

"Suppose it does," interposed the lady.  "The fact remains that he
answered my appeal, which did not mince words, in most diplomatic and
gentlemanly language.  What do you think of the letter?" she asked,
turning to Kingsley, and reaching a hand for it.

"I'll guarantee our friend here could do no better, if he sat up all
night," put in Dicky satirically.

"You are safe in saying so, the opportunity being lacking."  She laughed,
and folded it up.

"I believe Kingsley Bey means what he says in that letter.  Whatever his
purpose, I honestly think that you might have great influence over him,"
mused Dicky, and, getting up, stepped from the veranda, as though to go
to the bank where an incoming steamer they had been watching was casting
anchor.  He turned presently, however, came back a step and said "You
see, all our argument resolves itself into this: if Kingsley is to be
smashed only Ismail can do it.  If Ismail does it, Kingsley will have
the desert for a bed, for he'll not run, and Ismail daren't spare him.
Sequel, all his fortune will go to the Khedive.  Question, what are we
going to do about it?"

So saying he left them, laughing, and went down the garden-path to the
riverside.  The two on the veranda sat silent for a moment, then Kingsley
spoke.

"These weren't the things we talked about when we saw the clouds gather
over Skaw Fell and the sun shine on the Irish Sea.  We've done and seen
much since then.  Multitudes have come and gone in the world--and I have
grown grey!" he added with a laugh.

"I've done little-nothing, and I meant and hoped to do much," she almost
pleaded.  "I've grown grey too."

"Not one grey hair," he said, with an admiring look.  "Grey in spirit
sometimes," she reflected with a tired air.  "But you--forgive me, if I
haven't known what you've done.  I've lived out of England so long.  You
may be at the head of the Government, for all I know.  You look to me as
though you'd been a success.  Don't smile.  I mean it.  You look as
though you'd climbed.  You haven't the air of an eldest son whose way is
cut out for him, with fifty thousand a year for compensation.  What have
you been doing?  What has been your work in life?"

"The opposite of yours."

He felt himself a ruffian, but he consoled himself with the thought that
the end at which he aimed was good.  It seemed ungenerous to meet her
simple honesty by such obvious repartee, but he held on to see where the
trail would lead.

"That doesn't seem very clear," she said in answer.  "Since I came out
here I've been a sort of riverine missionary, an apostle with no
followers, a reformer with a plan of salvation no one will accept."

"We are not stronger than tradition, than the long custom of ages bred
in the bone and practised by the flesh.  You cannot change a people by
firmans; you must educate them.  Meanwhile, things go on pretty much the
same.  You are a generation before your time.  It is a pity, for you have
saddened your youth, and you may never live to see accomplished what you
have toiled for."

"Oh, as to that--as to that .  .  ."  She smoothed back her hair lightly,
and her eyes wandered over the distant hills-mauve and saffron and opal,
and tender with the mist of evening.  "What does it matter!" she added.
"There are a hundred ways to live, a hundred things to which one might
devote one's life.  And as the years went on we'd realise how every form
of success was offset by something undone in another direction, something
which would have given us joy and memory and content--so it seems.  But--
but we can only really work out one dream, and it is the working out--
a little or a great distance--which satisfies.  I have no sympathy with
those who, living out their dreams, turn regretfully to another course or
another aim, and wonder-wonder, if a mistake hasn't been made.  Nothing
is a mistake which comes of a good aim, of the desire for wrongs righted,
the crooked places made straight.  Nothing matters so that the dream was
a good one and the heart approves and the eyes see far."

She spoke as though herself in a dream, her look intent on the glowing
distance, as though unconscious of his presence.

"It's good to have lived among mountains and climbed them when you were
young.  It gives you bigger ideas of things.  You could see a long way
with the sun behind you, from Skaw Fell."

He spoke in a low voice, and her eyes drew back from the distance and
turned on him.  She smiled.

"I don't know.  I suppose it gives one proportion, though I've been told
by Donovan Pasha and the Consul that I have no sense of proportion.  What
difference does it make?  It is the metier of some people of this world
to tell the truth, letting it fall as it will, and offend where it will,
to be in a little unjust maybe, measure wrongly here and there, lest the
day pass and nothing be done.  It is for the world to correct, to adjust,
to organise, to regulate the working of the truth.  One person cannot do
all."

Every minute made him more and more regretful, while it deepened his
feelings for her.  He saw how far removed was her mind from the sordid
views of things, and how sincere a philosophy governed her actions and
her mission.

He was about to speak, but she continued: "I suppose I've done unwise
things from a worldly, a diplomatic, and a political point of view.
I've--I've broken my heart on the rock of the impossible, so my father
says.  .  .  .  But, no, I haven't broken my heart.  I have only given it
a little too much hope sometimes, too much disappointment at others.  In
any case--can one be pardoned for quoting poetry in these days?  I don't
know, I've been so long out of the world--

                   'Bruised hearts when all is ended,
                    Bear the better all after-stings;
                    Broken once, the citadel mended
                    Standeth through all things.'

I'm not--not hopeless, though I've had a long hard fight here in Egypt;
and I've done so little."  .  .  .  She kept smoothing out the letter she
had had from Kingsley Bey, as though unconsciously.  "But it is coming,
the better day.  I know it.  Some one will come who will do all that I
have pleaded for--stop the corvee and give the peasants a chance; stop
slavery, and purify the harem and start the social life on a higher
basis; remove a disgrace from the commerce of an afflicted land; remove
--remove once for all such men as Kingsley Bey; make it impossible for
fortunes to be made out of human flesh and blood."  She had the rapt look
of the dreamer.  Suddenly she recovered her more worldly mood: "What are
you doing here?" she added.  "Have you come to take up official life?
Have you some public position--of responsibility?  Ah, perhaps,"--she
laughed almost merrily,--"you are the very man; the great reformer.
Perhaps you think and feel as I do, though you've argued against me.
Perhaps you only wanted to see how real my devotion to this cause is.
Tell me, are you only a tourist--I was going to say idler, but I know you
are not; you have the face of a man who does things--are you tourist or
worker here?  What does Egypt mean to you?  That sounds rather non-
conformist, but Egypt, to me, is the saddest, most beautiful, most
mysterious place in the world.  All other nations, all other races, every
person in the world should be interested in Egypt.  Egypt is the lost
child of Creation--the dear, pitiful waif of genius and mystery of the
world.  She has kept the calendar of the ages--has outlasted all other
nations, and remains the same as they change and pass.  She has been the
watcher of the world, the one who looks on, and suffers, as the rest of
the nations struggle for and wound her in their turn.  What does Egypt
mean to you?  What would you do for her--anything?"

There was no more satirical laughter in his eyes.  He was deeply in
earnest, disturbed, even excited.  "Egypt means everything in the world
to me.  I would do what I could for her."

"What has she done for you?"

"She has brought me to you again--to make me know that what you were by
Skaw Fell all those years ago, you are now, and a thousand times more."

She parried the dangerous meaning in his voice, refused to see the
tenderness in his manner.

"I'm very sorry to hear that," she added in a tone vainly trying to be
unconcerned.  "It is a pity that our youth pursues us in forms so little
desirable.  .  .  .  Who are they?" she added quickly, nodding towards
the shore, from which Dicky was coming with an Egyptian officer and a
squad of soldiers.

"H'm," he responded laughing, "it looks like a matter of consequence.  A
Pasha, I should think, to travel with an escort like that."

"They're coming here," she added, and, calling to her servant, ordered
coffee.

Suddenly Kingsley got to his feet, with a cry of consternation; but sat
down again smiling with a shrug of the shoulders.

"What is it?" she asked, with something like anxiety, for she had seen
the fleeting suspicion in his look.

"I don't know," he answered lightly, and as though the suspicion had
gone.  He watched Dicky and his companions closely, however, though he
chatted unconcernedly while they stood in apparent debate, and presently
came on.  Dicky was whistling softly, but with an air of perplexity, and
he walked with a precision of step which told Kingsley of difficulty
ahead.  He had not long to wait, and as Dicky drew nearer and looked him
in the eyes, he came to his feet again, his long body gathering itself
slowly up, as though for deliberate action.  He felt trouble in the air,
matters of moment, danger for himself, though of precisely what sort was
not clear.  He took a step forward, as though to shield the lady from
possible affront.

"I fancy they want to see me," he said.  He recognised the officer--
Foulik Pasha of the Khedive's household.

The Pasha salaamed.  Dicky drew over to the lady, with a keen warning
glance at Kingsley.  The Pasha salaamed again, and Kingsley responded in
kind.  "Good-day to you, Pasha," he said.

"May the dew of the morning bring flowers to your life, Excellency," was
the reply.  He salaamed now towards the lady, and Kingsley murmured his
name to her.

"Will you not be seated," she said, and touched a chair as though to sit
down, yet casting a doubtful glance at the squad of men and the brilliant
kavass drawn up near by.  The Pasha looked from one to the other, and
Kingsley spoke.

"What is it, Pasha?  Her ladyship doesn't know why she should be
honoured."

"But that makes no difference," she interposed.  "Here is coffee--ah,
that's right, cigarettes too!  But, yes, you will take my coffee, Pasha,"
she urged.

The insolent look which had gathered in the man's face cleared away.  He
salaamed, hesitated, and took the coffee, then salaamed again to her.

She had caught at a difficulty; an instinctive sense of peril had taken
possession of her; and, feeling that the danger was for the Englishman
who had come to her out of her old life, she had interposed a diplomatic
moment.  She wanted to gain time before the mystery broke over her.  She
felt something at stake for herself.  Premonition, a troubling of the
spirit, told her that she was in the presence of a crisis out of which
she would not come unchanged.

Dicky was talking now, helping her--asking the Pasha questions of his
journey up the river, of the last news from Europe, of the Khedive's
health, though he and Kingsley had only left Cairo a half-day before the
Pasha.

The officer thanked the lady and salaamed again, then turned towards
Kingsley.

"You wished to speak with me, perhaps, Pasha," said Kingsley.

"If a moment of your time may have so little honour, saadat el bey."

Kingsley moved down the veranda shoulder to shoulder with the Pasha, and
the latter's men, responding to a glance, moved down also.  Kingsley saw,
but gave no heed.

"What's up, Pasha?" he asked in a low voice.  "The Khedive commands your
return to Cairo."

"With you?"

"So, effendi."

"Compulsion, eh?  I don't see quite.  I'm an Englishman, not a fellah."

"But I have my commands, saadat el bey."

"What's the row, Pasha?"

"Is it for the servant to know the mind of his master?"

"And if I don't go?"

The Pasha pointed to his men, and motioned towards the boat where forty
or fifty others showed.  "Bosh, Pasha!  That's no reason.  That's
flummery, and you know and the Highness knows it.  That would have been
all very well in the desert, but this is not the desert, and I'm not
doing business with the Highness any more.  What's the penalty if I don't
go?"

"Twenty men will lose their heads to-morrow morning, a riot will occur,
the bank where much gold is will be broken into, some one will be made
poor, and--"

"Come, never mind twaddle about my money--we'll see about that.  Those
twenty men--my men?"

"Your men, saadat el bey."

"They're seized?"

"They are in prison."

"Where?"

"At Abdin Palace."

Kingsley Bey had had a blow, but he was not dumfounded.  In Egypt, the
wise man is never surprised at anything, and Kingsley had gone from
experience to experience without dismay.  He realised the situation at
once.  The Khedive had been worked upon by some one in the circle, and
had put on this pressure, for purposes of backsheesh, or blackmail, or
whatever it might be called.  His mind was made up at once.

"Very well, Pasha.  Though there's no reason why I should go with you
except to suit myself.  You'll excuse me for a moment, please."  He
turned back.  Meanwhile, Dicky had been distracting the mind of the lady
with evasive and cheerful suggestions of urgent business calling Kingsley
to Cairo.  He saw the plot that had been laid, and it made him very
angry, but nothing could be done until he met the Khedive.

He guessed who had filled the Khedive's mind with cupidity.  He had seen
old Selamlik Pasha, who had lent the Khedive much money, entering the
palace as he left with Kingsley Bey thirty-six hours before.  He had hope
that he could save the situation, but meanwhile he was concerned for the
new situation created here at Assiout.  What would Kingsley do?  He knew
what he himself would do in the circumstances, but in crises few men of
character do the necessary thing in exactly the same way.  Here was
comedy of a high order, a mystery and necessary revelation of singular
piquancy.  To his thinking the revelation was now overdue.

He looked at the woman beside him, and he saw in her face a look it never
had had before.  Revelation of a kind was there; beauty, imagination,
solicitude, delicate wonder were there.  It touched him.  He had never
been arrested on his way of life by any dream of fair women, or any dream
of any woman.  It did not seem necessary--no one was necessary to him;
he lived his real life alone, never sharing with any one that of himself
which was not part of the life he lived before the world.  Yet he had
always been liked by men, and he had been agreeable in the sight of more
women than he knew, this little man with a will of iron and a friendly
heart.  But he laughed silently now as he saw Kingsley approaching; the
situation was so beautifully invented.  It did not seem quite like a
thing in real life.  In any other country than Egypt it would have been
comic opera--Foulik Pasha and his men so egregiously important; Kingsley
so overwhelmed by the duty that lay before him; the woman in a
whimsically embarrassing position with the odds, the laugh, against her,
yet little likely to take the obvious view of things and so make possible
a commonplace end.  What would she do?  What would Kingsley do?  What
would he, Dicky Donovan, do?  He knew by the look in Kingsley's eyes that
it was time for him to go.  He moved down to Foulik Pasha, and, taking
his arm, urged him towards the shore with a whispered word.  The Pasha
responded, followed by his men, but presently turned and, before Dicky
could intervene--for he wanted Kingsley to make his own revelation--said
courteously:

"May the truth of Allah be with you, I will await you at the boat,
Kingsley Bey."

Dicky did not turn round, but, with a sharp exclamation of profanity,
drew Foulik Pasha on his imbecile way.

As for Kingsley Bey, he faced a woman who, as the truth dawned upon her,
stared at him in a painful silence for a moment, and then drew back to
the doorway of the house as though to find sudden refuge.  Kingsley's
head went round.  Nothing had gone according to his anticipations.
Foulik Pasha had upset things.

"Now you know--I wished to tell you myself," he said.

She answered at once, quietly, coldly, and with an even formal voice:
"I did not know your name was Kingsley."

"It was my grandmother's name."

"I had forgotten--that is of no consequence, however; but--" she stopped.

"You realise that I am--"

"Yes, of course, Kingsley Bey--I quite understand.  I thought you Lord
Selden, an English gentleman.  You are--" she made an impatient gesture--
"well, you are English still!"

He was hit hard.  The suggestion of her voice was difficult to bear.

"I am not so ungentlemanly as you think.  I meant to tell you--almost at
once.  I thought that as an old friend I might wait a moment or two.  The
conversation got involved, and it grew harder every minute.  Then Foulik
Pasha came-and now.  .  .  ."

She showed no signs of relenting.  "It was taking advantage of an old-
acquaintance.  Against your evil influence here I have been working for
years, while you have grown rich out of the slavery I detest.  You will
pardon my plain speaking, but this is not London, and one has had to
learn new ways in this life here.  I do not care for the acquaintance of
slave-drivers, I have no wish to offer them hospitality.  The world is
large and it belongs to other people, and one has to endure much when one
walks abroad; but this house is my own place, a little spot all my own,
and I cherish it.  There are those who come to the back door, and they
are fed and clothed and sent away by the hand of charity; there are those
who come to the front door, and I welcome them gladly--all that I have is
theirs; there are those who come to a side door, when no one sees, and
take me unawares, and of them I am afraid, their presence I resent.  My
doors are not open to slave-drivers."

"What is the difference between the letter from the slave-driver's hand
and the slave-driver himself?"

She started and flushed deeply.  She took the letter slowly from her
pocket and laid it on the table.

"I thought it a letter from a man who was openly doing wrong, and who
repented a little of his wrongdoing.  I thought it a letter from a
stranger, from an Englishman who, perhaps, had not had such advantages
of birth and education as came to you."

"Yet you had a good opinion of the letter.  There seemed no want of
education and all that there--won't you be reasonable, and let me
explain?  Give me half a chance."

"I do not see that explanation can mend anything.  The men you sent me to
free: that was a-well, call it a manoeuvre, to achieve what, I cannot
tell.  Is it not so?  The men are not free.  Is it not so?"

"I am afraid they are not free," he answered, smiling in spite of
himself.

"Your coming here was a manoeuvre also--for what purpose I do not know.
Yet it was a manoeuvre, and I am--or was to be--the victim of the plot."
She smiled scornfully.  "I trust you may yet be the victim of your own
conduct."

"In more ways than one, maybe.  Don't you think, now that the tables are
turned, that you might have mercy on 'a prisoner and a captive'?"

She looked at him inquiringly, then glanced towards the shore where Dicky
stood talking with Foulik Pasha.  Her eyes came back slowly and again
asked a question.  All at once intelligence flashed into them.

"You wished to see Kingsley Bey a prisoner; you have your wish," he said
smiling.

"Whose prisoner?" she asked, still coldly.  "The Khedive's."

A flash of triumph crossed her face.  Her heart beat hard.  Had it come
at last, the edict to put down slavery?  Had the Khedive determined to
put an end to the work of Kingsley Bey in his desert-city-and to Kingsley
Bey himself?  .  .  .  Her heart stopped beating now.  She glanced
towards Dicky Donovan, and her pulses ran more evenly again.  Would the
Khedive have taken such a step unless under pressure?  And who in Egypt
could have, would have, persuaded him, save Dicky Donovan?  Yet Dicky was
here with his friend Kingsley Bey.  The mystery troubled her, and the
trouble got into her eyes.

"You are going to Cairo?" she said, glancing towards the boat.

"It would seem so."

"And Donovan Pasha goes too?"

"I hope so.  I am not sure."

"But he must go," she said a little sharply.

"Yes?"

"He--you must have somebody, and he has great power."

"That might or might not be to my benefit.  After all, what does it
matter?"--He saw that she was perturbed, and he pressed his advantage.

She saw, however, and retreated.  "We reap as we sow," she said, and made
as if to go inside the house.  "You have had the game, you must pay for
the candles out of your earnings."

"I don't mind paying what's fair.  I don't want other people to pay."

She turned angrily on him, he could not tell why.  "You don't want others
to pay!  As if you could do anything that doesn't affect others.  Did you
learn that selfishness at Skaw Fell, or was it born with you?  You are of
those who think they earn all their own success and happiness, and then,
when they earn defeat and despair, are surprised that others suffer.  As
if our penalties were only paid by ourselves!  Egotism, vanity!  So long
as you have your dance, it matters little to you who pays for the tune."

"I am sorry."  He was bewildered; he had not expected this.

"Does a man stoop to do in a foreign land what he would not do in his own
country--dare not do?--One is so helpless--a woman!  Under cover of an
old friend ship--ah!"  She suddenly turned, and, before he could say a
word, disappeared inside the house.  He spoke her name once, twice; he
ventured inside the house, and called, but she did not come.  He made his
way to the veranda, and was about to leave for the shore, when he heard a
step behind him.  He turned quickly.  It was the Circassian girl, Mata.

He spoke to her in Arabic, and she smiled at him.  "What is it?" he
asked, for he saw she had come from her mistress.

"My Lady begs to excuse--but she is tired," she said in English, which
she loved to use.

"I am to go on--to prison, then?"

"I suppose.  It has no matter.  My Lady is angry.  She has to say, 'Thank
you, good-bye.'  So, goodbye," she added naively, and held out her hand.

Kingsley laughed, in spite of his discomfiture, and shook it.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"I am My Lady's slave," she said proudly.

"No, no--her servant.  You can come and go as you like.  You have wages."

"I am Mata, the slave--My Lady's slave.  All the world knows I am her
slave.  Was I not given her by the Khedive whose slave I was?  May the
leaves of life be green always, but I am Mata the slave," she said
stubbornly, shaking her head.

"Do you tell My Lady so?"

"Wherefore should I tell My Lady what she knows?  Is not the truth the
truth?  Good-night!  I had a brother who went to prison.  His grave is by
Stamboul.  Good-night, effendi.  He was too young to die, but he had
gold, and the captain of the citadel needed money.  So, he had to die.
Malaish!  He is in the bosom of God, and prison does not last forever.
Goodnight, effendi.  If you, effendi, are poor, it is well; no man will
desire your life.  Then you can be a slave, and have quiet nights.  If
you are rich, effendi, remember my brother.  Good-night, effendi.  May
sacrifices be yours .  .  .  and My Lady says good-night."  Kingsley gave
her a gold-piece and went down to Foulik Pasha.

As they steamed away Kingsley looked in vain to the house on the shore.
There was no face at window or door, no sign of life about the place.

"Well, my bold bey," said Donovan Pasha to him at last, "what do you
think of Egypt now?"

"I'm not thinking of Egypt now."

"Did the lady deeply sympathise?  Did your prescription work?"

"You know it didn't.  Nothing worked.  This fool Foulik came at the wrong
moment."

"It wouldn't have made any difference.  You see you were playing with
marked cards, and that is embarrassing.  You got a certificate of
character by--"

"Yes, I know.  That's what she said.  Never mind.  I've played as I meant
to play, and I'll abide the result.  I said I'd marry her, and I mean to,
though she gently showed me the door--beautiful, proud person!"

"She is much too good for you."

"What does that matter, if she doesn't think so?"

"My opinion is she'll never touch you or your slave-gold with a mile-
measure."

Dicky did not think this, but it was his way of easing his own mind.
Inwardly he was studying the situation, and wondering how he could put
Kingsley's business straight.

"She thinks I'm still a 'slave-driver,' as she calls it--women are so
innocent.  You did your part, as well as could be expected, I'm bound to
say.  I only wish I wasn't so much trouble to you.  I owe you a lot,
Dicky Pasha--everything!  You got me the golden shillings to start with;
you had faith in me; you opened the way to fortune, to the thing that's
more than fortune--to success."

"I'm not altogether proud of you.  You've messed things to-day."

"I'll set them right to-morrow--with your help.  Ismail is going a bit
large this time."

"He is an Oriental.  A life or two--think of Sadik Pasha.  Your men--"

"Well?  You think he'd do it--think he'd dare to do it?"

"Suppose they disappeared?  Who could prove that Ismail did it?  And if
it could be proved--they're his own subjects, and the Nile is near!  Who
can say him nay?"

"I fancy you could--and I would."

"I can do something.  I've done a little in my day; but my day, like
Ismail's, is declining.  They are his subjects, and he needs money, and
he puts a price on their heads--that's about the size of it.  Question
How much will you have to pay?  How much have you in Cairo at the bank?"

"Only about ten thousand pounds."

"He'd take your draft on England, but he'll have that ten thousand
pounds, if he can get it."

"That doesn't matter, but as for my arrest--"

"A trick, on some trumped-up charge.  If he can hold you long enough
to get some of your cash, that's all he wants.  He knows he's got no
jurisdiction over you--not a day's hold.  He knows you'd give a good deal
to save your men."

"Poor devils!  But to be beaten by this Egyptian bulldozer--not if I know
it, Dicky"

"Still, it may be expensive."

"Ah!" Kingsley Bey sighed, and his face was clouded, but Dicky knew he
was not thinking of Ismail or the blackmail.  His eyes were on the house
by the shore, now disappearing, as they rounded a point of land.

"Ah" said Donovan Pasha, but he did not sigh.



III

"Ah!" said a lady, in a dirty pink house at Assiout, with an accent
which betrayed a discovery and a resolution, "I will do it.  I may be of
use some way or another.  The Khedive won't dare--but still the times are
desperate.  As Donovan Pasha said, it isn't easy holding down the safety-
valve all the time, and when it flies off, there will be dark days for
all of us.  .  .  .  An old friend--bad as he is!  Yes, I will go."

Within forty-eight hours of Donovan Pasha's and Kingsley Bey's arrival in
Cairo the lady appeared there, and made inquiries of her friends.  No one
knew anything.  She went to the Consulate, and was told that Kingsley Bey
was still in prison, that the Consulate had not yet taken action.

She went to Donovan Pasha, and he appeared far more mysterious and
troubled than he really was.  Kingsley Bey was as cheerful as might be
expected, he said, but the matter was grave.  He was charged with the
destruction of the desert-city, and maintaining an army of slaves in the
Khedive's dominions--a menace to the country.

"But it was with the Khedive's connivance," she said.  "Who can prove
that?  It's a difficult matter for England to handle, as you can see."

This was very wily of Dicky Donovan, for he was endeavouring to create
alarm and sympathy in the woman's mind by exaggerating the charge.  He
knew that in a few days at most Kingsley Bey would be free.  He had
himself given Ismail a fright, and had even gone so far as to suggest
inside knowledge of the plans of Europe concerning Egypt.  But if he
could deepen the roots of this comedy for Kingsley's benefit--and for the
lady's--it was his duty so to do.

"Of course," he made haste to add, "you cannot be expected to feel
sympathy for him.  In your eyes, he is a criminal.  He had a long
innings, and made a mint of money.  We must do all we can, and, of
course, we'll save his life--ah, I'm sure you wouldn't exact the fullest
penalty on him!"

Dicky was more than wily; he was something wicked.  The suggestion of
danger to Kingsley's life had made her wince, and he had added another
little barbed arrow to keep the first company.  The cause was a good one.
Hurt now to heal afterwards--and Kingsley was an old friend, and a good
fellow.  Anyhow, this work was wasting her life, and she would be much
better back in England, living a civilised life, riding in the Row, and
slumming a little, in the East End, perhaps, and presiding at meetings
for the amelioration of the unameliorated.  He was rather old-fashioned
in his views.  He saw the faint trouble in her eyes and face, and he made
up his mind that he would work while it was yet the day.  He was about to
speak, but she suddenly interposed a question.

"Is he comfortable?  How does he take it?"

"Why, all right.  You know the kind of thing: mud walls and floor--quite
dry, of course--and a sleeping-mat, and a balass of water, and cakes of
dourha, and plenty of time to think.  After all, he's used to primitive
fare."

Donovan Pasha was drawing an imaginary picture, and drawing it with
effect.  He almost believed it as his artist's mind fashioned it.  She
believed it, and it tried her.  Kingsley Bey was a criminal, of course,
but he was an old friend; he had offended her deeply also, but that was
no reason why he should be punished by any one save herself.  Her regimen
of punishments would not necessarily include mud walls and floor, and a
sleeping-mat and a balass of water; and whatever it included it should
not be administered by any hand save her own.  She therefore resented,
not quite unselfishly, this indignity and punishment the Khedive had
commanded.

"When is he to be tried?"

"Well, that is hardly the way to put it.  When he can squeeze the Khedive
into a corner he'll be free, but it takes time.  We have to go carefully,
for it isn't the slave-master alone, it's those twenty slaves of his,
including the six you freed.  Their heads are worth a good deal to the
Khedive, he thinks."

She was dumfounded.  "I don't understand," she said helplessly.

"Well, the Khedive put your six and fourteen others in prison for treason
or something--it doesn't matter much here what it is.  His game is to
squeeze Kingsley's gold orange dry, if he can."

A light broke over her face.  "Ah, now I see," she said, and her face
flushed deeply with anger and indignation.  "And you--Donovan Pasha, you
who are supposed to have influence with the Khedive, who are supposed to
be an English influence over him, you can speak of this quietly,
patiently, as a matter possible to your understanding.  This barbarous,
hideous black mail!  This cruel, dreadful tyranny!  You, an Englishman,
remain in the service of the man who is guilty of such a crime!"  Her
breath came hard.

"Well, it seems the wisest thing to do as yet.  You have lived a long
time in Egypt, you should know what Oriental rule is.  Question: Is one
bite of a cherry better than no bite of a cherry?  Egypt is like a
circus, but there are wild horses in the ring, and you can't ride them
just as you like.  If you keep them inside the barriers, that's
something.  Of course, Kingsley made a mistake in a way.  He didn't
start his desert-city and his slavery without the consent of the Khedive;
he shouldn't have stopped it and gone out of business without the same
consent.  It cut down the Effendina's tribute."

He spoke slowly, counting every word, watching the effect upon her.  He
had much to watch, and he would have seen more if he had known women
better.

"He has abandoned the mines--his city--and slavery?" she asked
chokingly, confusedly.  It seemed hard for her to speak.

"Yes, yes, didn't you know?  Didn't he tell you?"  She shook her head.
She was thinking back-remembering their last conversation, remembering
how sharp and unfriendly she had been with him.  He had even then freed
his slaves, had given her slaves to free.

"I wonder what made him do it?" added Dicky.  "He had made a great
fortune--poor devil, he needed it, for the estates were sweating under
the load.  I wonder what made him do it?"

She looked at him bewilderedly for a moment, then, suddenly, some faint
suspicion struck her.

"You should know.  You joined with him in deceiving me at Assiout."

"But, no," he responded quickly, and with rare innocence, "the situation
was difficult.  You already knew him very well, and it was the force of
circumstances--simply the force of circumstances.  Bad luck--no more.
He was innocent, mine was the guilt.  I confess I was enjoying the thing,
because--because, you see he had deceived me, actually deceived me, his
best friend.  I didn't know he knew you personally, till you two met on
that veranda at Assiout, and--"

"And you made it difficult for him to explain at once--I remember."

"I'm afraid I did.  I've got a nasty little temper at times, and I had a
chance to get even.  Then things got mixed, and Foulik Pasha upset the
whole basket of plums.  Besides, you see, I'm a jealous man, an envious
man, and you never looked so well as you did that day, unless it's
to-day."

She was about to interrupt him, but he went on.

"I had begun to feel that we might have been better friends, you and I;
that--that I might have helped you more; that you had not had the
sympathy you deserved; that civilisation was your debtor, and that--"

"No, no, no, you must not speak that way to me," she interposed with
agitation.  "It--it is not necessary.  It doesn't bear on the matter.
And you've always been a good friend--always a good friend," she added
with a little friendly quiver in her voice, for she was not quite sure of
herself.

Dicky had come out in a new role, one wherein he would not have been
recognised.  It was probably the first time he had ever tried the
delicate social art of playing with fire of this sort.  It was all true
in a way, but only in a way.  The truest thing about it was that it was
genuine comedy, in which there were two villains, and no hero, and one
heroine.

"But there it is," he repeated, having gone as far as his cue warranted.
"I didn't know he had given up his desert-city till two days before you
did, and I didn't know he knew you, and I don't know why he gave up his
desert-city--do you?"

There was a new light in her eyes, a new look in her face.  She was not
sure but that she had a glimmering of the reason.  It was a woman's
reason, and it was not without a certain exquisite egotism and vanity,
for she remembered so well the letter she had written him--every word was
etched into her mind; and she knew by heart every word of his reply.
Then there were the six slaves he sent to her-and his coming immediately
afterwards.  .  .  .  For a moment she seemed to glow, and then the
colour slowly faded and left her face rather grey and very quiet.

He might not be a slave-driver now, but he had been one--and the world of
difference it made to her!  He had made his great fortune out of the work
of the men employed as slaves, and--she turned away to the window with a
dejected air.  For the first time the real weight of the problem pressed
upon her heavily.

"Perhaps you would like to see him," said Dicky.  "It might show that you
were magnanimous."

"Magnanimous!  It will look like that--in a mud-cell, with mud floor, and
a piece of matting."

"And a balass of water and dourha-cakes," said Dicky in a childlike way,
and not daring to meet her eyes.

He stroked his moustache with his thumb-nail in a way he had when
perplexed.  Kingsley Bey was not in a mud-cell, with a mat and a balass
of water, but in a very decent apartment indeed, and Dicky was trying to
work the new situation out in his mind.  The only thing to do was to have
Kingsley removed to a mud-cell, and not let him know the author of his
temporary misfortune and this new indignity.  She was ready to visit him
now--he could see that.  He made difficulties, however, which would
prevent their going at once, and he arranged with her to go to Kingsley
in the late afternoon.

Her mind was in confusion, but one thing shone clear through the
confusion, and it was the iniquity of the Khedive.  It gave her a
foothold.  She was deeply grateful for it.  She could not have moved
without it.  So shameful was the Khedive in her eyes that the prisoner
seemed Criminal made Martyr.

She went back to her hotel flaming with indignation against Ismail.
It was very comforting to her to have this resource.  The six slaves
whom she had freed--the first-fruits of her labours: that they should be
murdered!  The others who had done no harm, who had been slaves by
Ismail's consent, that they should be now in danger of their lives
through the same tyrant!  That Kingsley Bey, who had been a slave-master
with Ismail's own approval and to his advantage, should now--she glowed
with pained anger.  .  .  .  She would not wait till she had seen
Kingsley Bey, or Donovan Pasha again; she herself would go to Ismail
at once.

So, she went to Ismail, and she was admitted, after long waiting in an
anteroom.  She would not have been admitted at all, if it had not been
for Dicky, who, arriving just before her on the same mission, had seen
her coming, and guessed her intention.  He had then gone in to the
Khedive with a new turn to his purposes, a new argument and a new
suggestion, which widened the scope of the comedy now being played.
He had had a struggle with Ismail, and his own place and influence had
been in something like real danger, but he had not minded that.  He had
suggested that he might be of service to Egypt in London and Paris.  That
was very like a threat, but it was veiled by a look of genial innocence
which Ismail admired greatly.  He knew that Donovan Pasha could hasten
the crisis coming on him.  He did not believe that Donovan Pasha would,
but that did not alter the astuteness and value of the move; and,
besides, it was well to run no foolish risks and take no chances.  Also,
he believed in Donovan Pasha's honesty.  He despised him in a worldly
kind of way, because he might have been rich and splendid, and he was
poor and unassuming.  He wanted Kingsley Bey's fortune, or a great slice
of it, but he wanted it without a struggle with Dicky Donovan, and with
the British Consulate--for that would come, too, directly.  It gave him
no security to know that the French would be with him--he knew which
country would win in the end.  He was preying on Kingsley Bey's humanity,
and he hoped to make it well worth while.  And all he thought and planned
was well understood by Dicky.

Over their coffee they both talked from long distances towards the
point of attack and struggle, Ismail carelessly throwing in glowing
descriptions of the palaces he was building.  Dicky never failed to show
illusive interest, and both knew that they were not deceiving the other,
and both came nearer to the issue by devious processes, as though these
processes were inevitable.  At last Dicky suddenly changed his manner and
came straight to the naked crisis.

"Highness, I have an invitation for Kingsley Bey to dine at the British
Consulate to-night.  You can spare his presence?"

"My table is not despicable.  Is he not comfortable here?"

"Is a mud floor, with bread and water and a sleeping-mat, comfortable?"

"He is lodged like a friend."

"He is lodged like a slave--in a cell."

"They were not my orders."

"Effendina, the orders were mine."

"Excellency!"

"Because there were no orders and Foulik Pasha was sleepless with anxiety
lest the prisoner should escape, fearing your Highness's anger, I gave
orders and trusted your Highness to approve."

Ismail saw a mystery in the words, and knew that it was all to be part of
Dicky's argument in the end.  "So be it, Excellency," he said, "thou hast
breathed the air of knowledge, thine actions shine.  In what quarter of
the palace rests he?  And Foulik Pasha?"

"Foulik Pasha sits by his door, and the room is by the doorway where the
sarrafs keep the accounts for the palaces your Highness builds.  Also,
abides near, the Greek, who toils upon the usury paid by your Highness
to Europe."

Ismail smiled.  The allusions were subtle and piercing.  There was a
short pause.  Each was waiting.  Dicky changed the attack.  "It is a pity
we should be in danger of riot at this moment, Highness."

"If riots come, they come.  It is the will of God, Excellency.  But in
our hand lies order.  We will quiet the storm, if a storm fall."

"There will be wreck somewhere."

"So be it.  There will be salvage."

"Nothing worth a riot, Highness."

The Khedive eyed Dicky with a sudden malice and a desire to slay--to slay
even Donovan Pasha.  He did not speak, and Dicky continued negligently:
"Prevention is better than cure."

The Khedive understood perfectly.  He knew that Dicky had circumvented
him, and had warned the Bank.

Still the Khedive did not speak.  Dicky went on.  "Kingsley Bey deposited
ten thousand pounds--no more.  But the gold is not there; only Kingsley
Bey's credit."

"His slaves shall die to-morrow morning."

"Not so, Highness."

The Khedive's fingers twisted round the chair-arm savagely.

"Who will prevent it?"

"Your Highness will.  Your Highness could not permit it--the time is far
past.  Suppose Kingsley Bey gave you his whole fortune, would it save one
palace or pay one tithe of your responsibilities?  Would it lengthen the
chain of safety?"

"I am safe."

"No, Highness.  In peril--here with your own people, in Europe with the
nations.  Money will not save you."

"What then?"

"Prestige.  Power--the Soudan.  Establish yourself in the Soudan with a
real army.  Let your name be carried to the Abyssinian mountains as the
voice of the eagle."

"Who will carry it?"  He laughed disdainfully, with a bitter, hopeless
kind of pride.  "Who will carry it?"

"Gordon-again."

The Khedive started from his chair, and his sullen eye lighted to
laughter.  He paced excitedly to and fro for a minute, and then broke
out:

"Thou hast said it!  Gordon--Gordon--if he would but come again!--But it
shall be so, by the beard of God's prophet, it shall.  Thou hast said the
thing that has lain in my heart.  Have I had honour in the Soudan since
his feet were withdrawn?  Where is honour and tribute and gold since his
hand ruled--alone without an army?  It is so--Inshallah!  but it is so.
He shall come again, and the people's eyes will turn to Khartoum and
Darfdr and Kordofan, and the greedy nations will wait.  Ah, my friend,
but the true inspiration is thine!  I will send for Gordon to night--even
to-night.  Thou shalt go--no, no, not so.  Who can tell--I might look for
thy return in vain!  But who--who, to carry my word to Gordon?"

"Your messenger is in the anteroom," said Dicky with a sudden thought.

"Who is it, son of the high hills?"

"The lady at Assiout--she who is such a friend to Gordon as I am to thee,
Highness."

"She whose voice and hand are against slavery?"

"Even so.  It is good that she return to England there to remain.  Send
her."

"Why is she here?"  The Khedive looked suspiciously at Dicky, for it
seemed that a plot had been laid.

Thereupon, Dicky told the Khedive the whole story, and not in years had
Ismail's face shown such abandon of humour.

"By the will of God, but it shall be!" he said.  "She shall marry
Kingsley Bey, and he shall go free."

"But not till she has seen him and mourned over him in his cell, with the
mud floor and the balass of water."

The Khedive laughed outright and swore in French.  "And the cakes of
dourha!  I will give her as a parting gift the twenty slaves, and she
shall bring her great work to a close in the arms of a slaver.  It is
worth a fortune."

"It is worth exactly ten thousand pounds to your Highness--ten thousand
pounds neither more nor less."

Ismail questioned.

"Kingsley Bey would make last tribute of thus much to your Highness."

Ismail would not have declined ten thousand centimes.  "Malaish!" he
said, and called for coffee, while they planned what should be said to
his Ambassadress from Assiout.

She came trembling, yet determined, and she left with her eyes full of
joyful tears.  She was to carry the news of his freedom and the freedom
of his slaves to Kingsley Bey, and she--she, was to bear to Gordon, the
foe of slavery, the world's benefactor, the message that he was to come
and save the Soudan.  Her vision was enlarged, and never went from any
prince a more grateful supplicant and envoy.

Donovan Pasha went with her to the room with the mud floor where Kingsley
Bey was confined.

"I owe it all to you," she said as they hastened across the sun-swept
square.  "Ah, but you have atoned!  You have done it all at once, after
these long years."

"Well, well, the time is ripe," said Dicky piously.  They found Kingsley
Bey reading the last issue of the French newspaper published in Cairo.
He was laughing at some article in it abusive of the English, and seemed
not very downcast; but at a warning sign and look from Dicky, he became
as grave as he was inwardly delighted at seeing the lady of Assiout.

As Kingsley Bey and the Ambassadress shook hands, Dicky said to her:
"I'll tell him, and then go."  Forthwith he said: "Kingsley Bey, son of
the desert, and unhappy prisoner, the prison opens its doors.  No more
for you the cold earth for a bed--relieved though it be by a sleeping-
mat.  No more the cake of dourha and the balass of Nile water.
Inshallah, you are as free as a bird on the mountain top, to soar
to far lands and none to say thee nay."

Kingsley Bey caught instantly at the meaning lying beneath Dicky's
whimsical phrases, and he deported himself accordingly.  He looked
inquiringly at the Ambassadress, and she responded:

"We come from the Khedive, and he bids us carry you his high
considerations--"

"Yes, 'high considerations,' he said," interjected Dicky with his eye
towards a fly on the ceiling.

"And to beg your company at dinner to-night."

"And the price?" asked Kingsley, feeling his way carefully, for he
wished no more mistakes where this lady was concerned.  At Assiout he had
erred; he had no desire to be deceived at Cairo.  He did not know how he
stood with her, though her visit gave him audacious hopes.  Her face was
ruled to quietness now, and only in the eyes resolutely turned away was
there any look which gave him assurance.  He seemed to hear her talking
from the veranda that last day at Assiout; and it made him discreet at
least.

"Oh, the price!" murmured Dicky, and he seemed to study the sleepy
sarraf who pored over his accounts in the garden.  "The price is
'England, home, and beauty.'  Also to prop up the falling towers of
Khedivia--ten thousand pounds!  Also, Gordon."

Kingsley Bey appeared, as he was, mystified, but he was not inclined to
spoil things by too much speaking.  He looked inquiry.

At that moment an orderly came running towards the door--Dicky had
arranged for that.  Dicky started, and turned to the lady.  "You tell
him.  This fellow is coming for me.  I'll be back in a quarter of an
hour."  He nodded to them both and went out to the orderly, who followed
his footsteps to the palace.

"You've forgiven me for everything--for everything at Assiout, I mean?"
he asked.

"I have no desire to remember," she answered.  "About Gordon--what is
it?"

"Ah, yes, about Gordon!"  She drew herself up a little.  "I am to go to
England--for the Khedive, to ask Gordon to save the Soudan."

"Then you've forgiven the Khedive?" he inquired with apparent innocence.

"I've no wish to prevent him showing practical repentance," she answered,
keenly alive to his suggestion, and a little nettled.  "It means no more
slavery.  Gordon will prevent that."

"Will he?" asked Kingsley, again with muffled mockery.

"He is the foe of slavery.  How many, many letters I have had from him!
He will save the Soudan--and Egypt too."

"He will be badly paid--the Government will stint him.  And he will give
away his pay--if he gets any."

She did not see his aim, and her face fell.  "He will succeed for all
that."

"He can levy taxes, of course."

"But he will not-for himself."

"I will give him twenty thousand pounds, if he will take it."

"You--you!--will give him--" Her eyes swam with pleasure.  "Ah, that is
noble!  That makes wealth a glory, to give it to those who need it.  To
save those who are down-trodden, to help those who labour for the good of
the world, to--" she stopped short, for all at once she remembered-
remembered whence his money came.  Her face suffused.  She turned to the
door.  Confusion overmastered her for the moment.  Then, anger at herself
possessed her.  On what enterprise was she now embarked?  Where was her
conscience?  For what was she doing all this?  What was the true meaning
of her actions?  Had it been to circumvent the Khedive?  To prevent him
from doing an unjust, a despicable, and a dreadful thing?  Was it only to
help the Soudan?  Was it but to serve a high ideal, through an ideal
life--through Gordon?

It came upon her with embarrassing force.  For none of these things was
she striving.  She was doing all for this man, against whose influence
she had laboured, whom she had bitterly condemned, and whose fortune she
had called blood-money and worse.  And now...

She knew the truth, and it filled her heart with joy and also pain.  Then
she caught at a straw: he was no slave-driver now.  He had--

"May I not help you--go with you to England?" he questioned over her
shoulder.

"Like Alexander Selkirk 'I shall finish my journey alone,'" she said,
with sudden but imperfectly assumed acerbity.

"Will you not help me, then?" he asked.  "We could write a book
together."

"Oh, a book!" she said.

"A book of life," he whispered.

"No, no, no--can't you see?--oh, you are playing me like a ball!"

"Only to catch you," he said, in a happier tone.

"To jest, when I am so unhappy!" she murmured.

"My jest is the true word."

She made a last rally.  "Your fortune was made out of slave labour."

"I have given up the slaves."

"You have the fortune."

"I will give it all to you--to have your will with it.  Now it is won,
I would give it up and a hundred times as much to hear you say, 'Come to
Skaw Fell again."'

Did he really mean it?  She thought he did.  And it seemed the only way
out of the difficulty.  It broke the impasse.

It was not necessary, however, to spend the future in the way first
suggested to her mind.  They discussed all that at Skaw Fell months
later.

Human nature is weak and she has become a slavedriver, after all.
But he is her only slave, and he hugs his bondage.



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:

As if our penalties were only paid by ourselves!
Credulity, easily transmutable into superstition
Paradoxes which make for laughter--and for tears
What is crime in one country, is virtue in another
Women only admitted to Heaven by the intercession of husbands





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