“As you like, Abou Dal,” said Rasula, shrugging his pinched shoulders. “I shall come to the mill at six o’clock.” Turning to the prisoners, he bowed low and said, with a soft laugh: “Adios, my lady, and you, most noble sir. May your dreams be pleasant ones. Dream that you are wedded and have come into the wealth of Japat, but spare none of your dream to the husband and wife, who are lying awake and weeping for the foolish ones who would go searching for the forbidden fruit Folly is a hard road to travel and it leads to the graveyard of fools. Adios!”
Lady Agnes bent over and dropped her face into her hands. She was trembling convulsively. Browne did not show the slightest sign that he had heard the galling words.
At a single sharp command, the six men picked up the three chests and moved off rapidly down the road Rasula striding ahead with the flaring torch.
They were barely out of sight beyond the turn in the hill when Deppingham moved as though impulse was driving him into immediate attack upon the guards who were left behind with the unhappy prisoners. Chase laid a restraining hand upon his arm.
“Wait! Plenty of time. Wait an hour. Don’t spoil everything. We’ll save them sure,” he breathed in the other’s ear. Deppingham’s groan was almost loud enough to have been heard above the rustling leaves and the collective maledictions of the disgusted islanders.
The minutes slipped by with excruciating slowness The wakeful eyes of the three watchers missed nothing that took place in the little grass-grown niche below them They could have sprung almost into the centre of the group from the position they occupied. Utterly unconscious of the surveillance, the islanders gradually sunk into a morose, stupid silence. If the watchers hoped that they might go to sleep they were to be disappointed Two of the men sat with their backs to the rocks, their rifles across their knees. The others sprawled lazily upon the soft grass. Two torches, stuck in the earth, threw a weird light over the scene.
Bobby Browne was now lying with his shoulder against a fallen tree-trunk, staring with unswerving gaze at the woman across the way. She was looking off into the night, steadfastly refusing to glance in his direction. For fully half an hour this almost speaking tableau presented itself to the spectators above.
Then suddenly Lady Agnes arose to her feet and lifted her hands high toward the black dome of heaven, Salammbo-like, and prayed aloud to her God, the sneering islanders looking on in silent derision.
THE PERSIAN ANGEL
The man called Abou suddenly leaped to his feet, and, with the cry of an eager animal, sprang to her side. His arms closed about her slender figure with the unmistakable lust of the victor. A piteous, heart-rending shriek left her lips as he raised her clear of the ground and started toward the dense shadows across the road. Her terror-stricken face was turned to the light; her cries for mercy were directed to the brute’s companions.