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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 64 pages of information about If.

DAOUD

Great master, even so I swore.

JOHN

. . . . to be true to me always.

DAOUD

There is no Shereef but my master.

JOHN

Daoud, you have kept your word.

DAOUD

I have sought to, master.

JOHN

You have helped me often, Daoud, warned me and helped me often.  Through you I knew those currents that run through the deeps of the market, in silence and all men feel them, but a ruler never.  You told me of them, and when I knew—­then I could look after myself, Daoud.  They could do nothing against me then.  Well, now I hold this people.  I hold them at last, Daoud, and now —­well, I can rest a little.

DAOUD

Not in the East, master.

JOHN

Not in the East, Daoud?

DAOUD

No, master.

JOHN

Why?  What do you mean?

DAOUD

In Western countries, master, whose tales I have read, in a wonderful book named the “Good Child’s History of England,” in the West a man hath power over a land, and lo! the power is his and descends to his son’s son after him.

JOHN

Well, doesn’t it in the East?

DAOUD

Not if he does not watch, master; in the night and the day, and in the twilight between the day and the night, and in the dawn between the night and the day.

JOHN

I thought you had pretty long dynasties in these parts, and pretty lazy ones.

DAOUD

Master, he that was mightiest of those that were kings in Babylon had a secret door prepared in an inner chamber, which led to a little room, the smallest in the palace, whose back door opened secretly to the river, even to great Euphrates, where a small boat waited all the days of his reign.

JOHN

Did he really now?  Well, he was taking no chances.  Did he have to use it?

DAOUD

No, master.  Such boats are never used.  Those that watch like that do not need to seek them, and the others, they would never be able to reach the river in time, even though the boat were there.

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