“Not indefinitely, my dear captain! And this time there will really be a deed that will please even such a rigorous lover of action as Mustapha Kemal!”
Grim shrugged his shoulders again.
“I leave for Damascus at dawn,” he said cynically. “I don’t care to be mocked there for bringing news of promises. We have had too many of those barren mares. I shall say that I have found everything here is sterile—the talk abortive—the men mere windy bellies without hearts in them!”
“I’ll have nothing to do with it!”
Noureddin Ali was pained and upset. Grim had pricked his conceit—had sent thrust home where he kept his susceptibilities. He blinked, peered this and that way, exchanged glances with the alligator person, and then tucked his legs up under him.
“In me you see a doer!” he announced. He looked the part. His lean, pointed nose and beady little eyes were of the interfering, meddling type. You could not imagine him, like the yellow-eyed ruminant next to him, sitting and waiting ruthlessly for things to happen. Noureddin Ali looked more likely to go out and be ruthless.
“So they all say!” Grim retorted.
“Some one should forewarn them in Damascus what a deed will occur here presently. Above all, word should reach Mustapha Kemal, in Anatolia, as soon as possible, so that he may be ready to act.”
“All day long,” said Grim, “I have wandered about Jerusalem, listening to this and that rumour of something that may happen. But I have not found one man who can tell me a fact.”
“That is because you did not meet me. I am—hee-hee! I am the father of facts. You say you leave for Damascus at dawn? You are positive? I could tell you facts that would put a sudden end to my career if they were spread about Jerusalem!”
“That is the usual boast of men who desire credit in the eyes of the Nationalist Party,” Grim retorted.
“I see you are skeptical. That is a wise man’s attitude, but I must be cautious, for my life is at stake. Now—how do you propose to leave Jerusalem? There is no train for Damascus at dawn tomorrow.”
“I am on a diplomatic mission,” answered Grim. “The Administration have placed a car at my disposal to take me as far as the border.”
“Ah! And tonight? Where will you be tonight?”
“Because I propose to make a disclosure. And—ah—hee-hee!—you would like to live, I take it, and not be sent back to Damascus in a coffin? I have—ah—some assistants who—hee-hee!—would watch your movements. If you were to betray me afterwards to the Administration, there would remain at least—the satisfaction— of—you understand me?—the certainty that you would suffer for it!”
Grim laughed dryly.
“I shall be at the hotel,” he answered. “In bed. Asleep. The car comes before dawn.”