Then, for the first time, Genevra peered in the darkness at the figure beside her. She stared in amazement as it sprang lightly erect and glided across to the patch of light. It was then that she recognised the figure of a woman—a slight, graceful woman in Oriental garb. The woman turned and lifted her face to the heights from which she had descended. In a shrill, eager voice she called out something in a language strange to the Princess, who knelt there and stared as if she were looking upon a being from another world. A faint shout came from on high, and once more the rope began to writhe.
The Princess passed her hand over her eyes, bewildered. The face of the woman in the light, half-shaded, half-illumined, was gloriously beautiful—young, dark, brilliant!
“Oh!” she exclaimed, starting to her feet, a look of understanding coming into her eyes. This was one of the Persians! He had saved her! A feeling of revulsion swept over her, combatting the first natural, womanly pride in the deed of a brave man.
Chase struggled weakly to his feet. He saw the tense, strained figure before him, and, putting out his hand, said:
“She is Selim’s wife. I am stronger than he, so I brought her down.” Then looking upward anxiously, he shouted:
“Be careful, Selim! It’s easy if you take your time to it.”
“Selim’s wife, Neenah, saved my life.” It was the next morning and Chase was relating his experiences to an eager marvelling company in the breakfast room. “She has a sister whose husband was one of the leaders in the attack. Neenah told Selim and Selim told me. That’s all. We were prepared for them when they came last night. Days ago, Selim and I cached the rope at the top of the cliff, anticipating just such an emergency as this, and intending to use it if we could reach the chateau in no other way. I figured that they would cut off all other means of getting into your grounds.
“Neenah came up from the village ahead of the attacking party, out of breath and terribly frightened. We didn’t waste a second, let me tell you. Grabbing up our guns, we got out through the rear and made a dash across the stable yard. It was near midnight. I had received the committee at nine and had given them my reasons for not resigning the post. They went away apparently satisfied, which aroused my suspicions. I knew that there was something behind that exhibition of meekness.
“The servants, all of whom were up and ready to join in the fight, attempted to head us off. We had a merry little touch of real warfare just back of the stables. It was as dark as pitch, and I don’t believe we hit anybody. But it was lively scrambling for a minute or two, let me tell you.” Chase shook his head in sober recollection of the preliminary affray.
Deppingham’s big blue eyes were fairly snapping. His wife put her hand on his shoulder with an impulse strange to her and Genevra saw a light blaze in her eyes. “I hope you potted a few of ’em. Serve ’em jolly well right if——”