So he calmly discussed with the Rajah the manner of carrying out their nefarious scheme; and His Highness, to show his appreciation, invited him to share his orgies that night. And in the smiles and embraces of a Kashmiri wanton, Chunerbutty forgot the English girl.
A BHUTTIA RAID
Dermot’s friendship with the Dalehams made rapid progress, and in the ensuing weeks he saw them often. In order to verify his suspicions as to the Bengalis, he made a point of cultivating the acquaintance of the planters, paid several visits to Payne and other members of the community, and was a frequent guest at the weekly gatherings at the club.
On one of his visits to Malpura he found Fred recovering from a sharp bout of malarial fever, and Dermot was glad of an opportunity of requiting their hospitality by inviting both the Dalehams to Ranga Duar to enable Fred to recuperate in the mountain air.
The invitation was gladly accepted. Their host came to fetch them himself with two elephants; Badshah, carrying a charjama, conveying them, while the other animal bore their luggage and servants. With jealous rage in his heart Chunerbutty watched them go.
Noreen enjoyed the journey through the forest and up the mountains, with Dermot sitting beside her to act as her guide, for on this occasion Ramnath drove Badshah. As they climbed the steep, winding road among the hills and rose out of the damp heat of the Plains, Fred declared that he felt better at once in the cool refreshing breezes that swept down from the lofty peaks above. The forest fell away behind them. The great teak and sal trees gave place to the lighter growths of bamboo, plantain, and sago-palm. A troop of small brown monkeys, feasting on ripe bananas, sprang away startled on all fours and vanished in all directions. A slim-bodied, long-tailed mongoose, stealing across the road, stopped in the middle of it to rise up on his hind legs and stare with tiny pink eyes at the approaching elephants. Then, dropping to the ground again with puffed-out, defiant tail, he trotted on into the undergrowth angry and unafraid.
Arrived at Ranga Duar the brother and sister exclaimed in admiration at the beauty of the lonely outpost nestling in the bosom of the hills. They gazed with interest at the stalwart sepoys of the detachment in khaki or white undress whom they passed and who drew themselves up and saluted their commanding sahib smartly.
Dermot had given up his small bungalow to his guests and gone to occupy the one vacant quarter in the Mess. Noreen was to sleep in his bedroom, and, as the girl looked round the scantily-furnished apartment with its small camp-bed, one canvas chair, a table, and a barrack chest of drawers, she tried to realise that she was actually to live for a while in the very room of the man who was fast becoming her hero. For