Affair in Araby eBook

Talbot Mundy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about Affair in Araby.

Narayan Singh had orders not to do anything but guard Grim against assault, for Grim judged it wise to leave Yussuf Dakmar at large than to precipitate a climax by arresting him.  He had the names of most of the local conspirators, and if the leader were seized too soon the equally dangerous rank and file might scatter and escape.

Down inside the Jaffa Gate, in a dark alley beside the Grand Hotel, there are usually two or three cabs standing at any hour of the night ready to care for belated Christian gentlemen who have looked on the wine when it was any colour that it chanced to be.  There were three there, and Grim took the first one, flourishing his envelope carelessly under the corner lamp.

Yussuf Dakmar took the next in line, and ordered the driver to follow Grim.  So we naturally took the last one, all three of us crowding on to the rear seat in order to watch the cabs in front.  But as soon as we had driven back outside the city gate Yussuf Dakmar looked behind him and, growing suspicious of us, ordered his driver to let us pass.

It would have been too obvious if we had stopped too, so we hid our faces as we passed, and then put Jeremy on the front seat, he looking like an Arab and being most unrecognizable.  Yussuf Dakmar followed us at long range, and as the lean horses toiled slowly up the Mount of Olives to headquarters the interval between the cabs grew greater.  By the time we reached the guard-house and answered the Sikh sentry’s challenge there was no sign of Grim in front, and we could only hear in the distance behind us the occasional click of a loose shoe to tell that Yussuf Dakmar was still following.


“Better the evil that we know...”

Yussuf Dakmar had his nerve with him that night, or possibly desperation robbed him of discretion.  He may have been a more than usually daring man with his wits about him, but you’d have to hunt down the valley of death before you could bring the psychoanalytic guns to bear on him for what they’re worth.  I can only tell you what he did, not why he did it.

The great hospice that the German nation built on the crown of the Mount of Olives to glorify their Kaiser stood like a shadow among shadows in its compound, surrounded by a fairly high wall.  There was a pretty strong’ guard under an Indian officer in the guard-house at the arched main gate where the sentry challenged us.

A sentry stood at the foot of the steps under the portico at the main entrance, and there was another armed man on duty patrolling the grounds.  But there were one or two other entrances, locked, though quite easy to negotiate, which the sentry could only observe while he marched toward them; for five minutes at a time, while his back was turned, at least two gates leading to official residences offered opportunity to an active man.

One lone light at a window on the top floor suggested that the officer of the night might be awake, but what with the screeching of owls and a wind that sighed among the shrubs, headquarters looked and sounded more like a deserted ancient castle than the cranium and brain-cells of Administration.

Project Gutenberg
Affair in Araby from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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