“Leave that to the French! Let them have all Syria to stew in! Go to England where your friends are. Let the politicians alone. Meet real folk and talk with them. Tell them the truth; for they don’t know it! Talk with the men and women who haven’t got political jobs to lose—with the fellows who did the fighting—with the men and women who have votes. They’ll believe you. They’ve given up believing politicians, and they’re learning how to twist the politicians’ tails. You’ll find yourself in Baghdad within a year or two, with all Mesopotamia to make a garden of and none but Arabs to deal with. That’s your field!”
Feisul smiled with the air of a man who recognizes but is unconvinced.
“There are always things that might have been,” he answered. “As it is, I cannot desert the army.”
“We’ll save what we can of the army,” Grim answered. “Your Syrians will save their own skins; it’s only the Arabs we’ve got to look out for—a line of retreat for the Arab regiments, and another for you. It’s not too late, and you know I’m right! Come on; let’s get busy and do it!”
Feisul’s smile was all affection and approval, but he shook his head.
“If what you say is true, I should only have the same problem in Mesopotamia—foreign financiers,” he answered.
“That’s exactly where you’re wrong!” Grim retorted triumphantly.
He stood up, and pointed at Jeremy.
“Here’s a man who owns a gold-mine. It lies between Mesopotamia and your father’s kingdom of the Hedjaz, and its exact whereabouts is a secret. He’s here tonight to make you a pres ent of the mine! And here’s another man,”—he pointed at me—“a mining expert, who’ll tell you what the thing’s worth. It’s yours, if you’ll agree to abandon Syria and lay a course for Baghdad!”
“You’ll be a virgin Victim!”
Feisul was interested; he couldn’t help being. And he was utterly convinced of Grim’s sincerity. But he wasn’t moved from his purpose, and not even Jeremy’s account of the gold-mine, or my professional opinion of its value, had the least effect toward cancelling the plans he had in mind. He was deeply affected by the offer, but that was all.
“Good heavens, man!” Grim exploded suddenly. “Surely you won’t throw the whole world into war again! You know what it will mean if the French kill or imprison you. There isn’t a Moslem of all the millions in Asia who won’t swear vengeance against the West—you know that! A direct descendant of Mohammed, and the first outstanding, conquering Moslem since Saladin—”
“The Allies should have thought of that before they broke promises,” said Feisul.
“Never mind them. Damn them!” answered Grim. “It’s up to you! The future of civilization is in your lap this minute! Can’t you see that if you lose you’ll be a martyr, and Islam will rise to avenge you?”