“Yes, I have it all——”
The other took the letter and touched a match to it, stepping upon the crisp, blackened shell of fibre that fell to the floor. He carried back a New York draft for a large amount.
Bedient slept; that is, his body lay moveless from mid-evening to broad daylight, that first night at the hacienda. His consciousness had taken long journeys to Beth, remarkable pilgrimages to India (and found Beth there in the tonic altitudes). Always she regarded him with some strange terror that would not let her speak. Home from these far flights, he would see his body lying still in the splendid, silent room, fanned by soft night-winds, and quickly depart again.... It must have been the beautiful welcome from Falk and the natives. He had broken down quite absurdly, all his furious sustaining force had relaxed. Perhaps it had been necessary for him to break down before he could sleep.... Many times before, he had seen his body lying asleep.
He was more than ever tired and torn this day. Every vista of the hills held poignant hurt, because Beth Truba could not see this beauty. He dared not touch the orchestrelle. Falk brought coffee and fruit after Jaffier’s servant had departed. Coffee at the hacienda was a perfect achievement. Eight years of training under Captain Carreras, who had an ideal in the making, and who claimed the finest coffee in the world as the product of his own hills, had brought the beverage to a high point. Bedient drank with a relish almost forgotten, but instantly followed that crippling pang—that it was not for Beth; that she could not breathe the warm fragrant winds.... Bedient sprang up. Some hard, brain-filling, body-straining task was the cry of his mind. This was its first defensive activity against the tearing down of bitter loneliness. Until this moment, he had endured passively.
Bedient determined to go to The Pleiad. He had thought of various ways to get in contact with Jim Framtree, but there were obstacles in every path, from the point of view of one conceded by the whole Island to be Dictator Jaffier’s right hand, as Captain Carreras had been. The idea appealed more every second. It would startle all concerned, Jaffier and Celestino Rey especially. But the former had just received a large financial assurance of his loyalty, and there was value in giving the ex-pirate something formidable to cope with. Moreover, to meet Jim Framtree again was Bedient’s first reason for sudden return to Equatoria.... He called for a pony, and followed by a servant with a case of fresh clothing, rode down the trail to Coral City.
HOW STARTLING IS TRUTH
Bedient entered The Pleiad, and with relief breathed the coolness of the vast shadowed halls. One does not ride for pleasure on a June afternoon in Equatoria, and Bedient was far from fit.... There were no guests about. A pale, slender, sad-eyed gentleman appeared in a sort of throne of marble and mahogany, and perceiving the arrival, his look became fixed and glassy.