He was to go back to join Amory in some kind of tower, he knew; and he was infinitely resigned, for he remembered that this was in some way essential to his safety, and that it had to do with the ascent of Mount Khalak to-morrow night. For the rest St. George was certain of nothing save that he was floating once more in a sea of light, with the sweet of the world flowing in his veins; and upon his arm and against his shoulder he could still feel the thrill of the pressure of Olivia’s head.
The genie had come out of the jar—and never, never would he go back.
THE LINES LEAD UP
In the late hours of the next afternoon Rollo, with a sigh, uncoiled himself from the shadow of the altar to the god Melkarth, in the Ilex Temple, and stiffly rose. Vicissitudes were not for Rollo, who had not fathomed the joys of adaptability; and the savour of the sweet herbs which, from Jarvo’s wallet, he had that day served, was forgotten in his longing for a drop of tarragan vinegar and a bulb of garlic with which to dress the herbs. His lean and shadowed face wore an expression of settled melancholy.
“Sorrow’s nothing,” he sententiously observed. “It’s trouble that does for a man, sir.”
St. George, who lay at full length on a mossy sill of the king’s chapel counting the hours of his inaction, continued to look out over the glistening tops of the ilex trees.
“Speaking of trouble,” he said, “what would you say, Rollo, to getting back to the yacht to-night, instead of going up the mountain with us?”
Rollo dropped his eyes, but his face brightened under, as it were, his never-lifted mask.
“Oh, sir,” he said humbly, “a person is always willing to do whatever makes him the most useful.”
“Little Cawthorne and Bennietod,” went on St. George, “ten to one will take to the trail to-night, if they haven’t already. They’ll be coming to Med and reorganizing the police force, or raising a standing army or starting a subway. You’d do well to drop down and give them some idea of what’s happened, and I fancy you’d better all be somewhere about on the day after to-morrow, at noon. Not that there will be any wedding at that time,” explained St. George carefully, “although there may be something to see, all the same. But you might tell them, you know, that Miss Holland is due to marry the prince then. Can you get back to the yacht alone?”