“This is our so-called civilisation,” I said bitterly.
At the sound of my voice a tall woman in the rank five feet deep from us turned instinctively round, and Liosha and I looked into each other’s eyes.
Jaffery caught sight of her at the same time and gripped my arm. Her eyes travelling from mine to his flashed indignant anger. Then she turned haughtily. We tried to edge nearer her, but she was just beyond the convergence of two side currents which pushed us even further away. The gangway was fixed and the movement of the conglomerate mass began. Presently Jaffery again seized my arm.
“There’s the brute waiting for her.”
And there on the quay, with a flower in his buttonhole and a smile on his fat face, stood Mr. Ras Fendihook. He met her at the foot of the gangway, and obviously told at once of our presence, sought us anxiously with his gaze; then with an air of bravado waved his hat—a hard white felt—and cried out: “Cheer O!” We did not respond. He grinned at us and linking his arm through Liosha’s joined the stream of passengers hurrying across the stones to the custom-sheds.
“Stop,” Jaffery roared.
They turned, as indeed did everybody within earshot. Fendihook would have gone on, but Liosha very proudly drew him out of the stream into a clear space and, prepared for battle, awaited us. When we had struggled our slow way down and reached the quay she advanced a few steps looking very terrible in her wrath.
“How dare you follow me?”
“Come further away from the crowd,” said Jaffery, and with an imperious gesture he swept the three of us along the quay to the stern of the boat, where only a few idle sailor men were lounging, and a sergeant de ville was pacing on his leisurely beat.
“I said you would make a fool of yourself one of these days if I didn’t play dragon,” he said, at a sudden halt. “I’ve come to play dragon with a vengeance.” He marched on Fendihook. “Now you.”
“How d’ye do, old cock? Didn’t expect you here,” he said jauntily.
“Don’t be insolent,” replied Jaffery in a remarkably quiet tone. “You know very well why I’m here.”
“Jaff Chayne—” Liosha began.
He waved her off. “Take her away, Hilary.”
“Come,” said I. “I’ll tell you all about it.”
“He has got to tell me, not you.”
“I certainly don’t know why the devil you’re here,” said Fendihook, with sudden nastiness.
“I’ve come to save this lady from a dirty blackguard.”
“How are you going to do it?”
Jaffery addressed Liosha. “You said in your letter—”
“You wrote to him, you crazy fool, after all my instructions?” snarled Fendihook.
“You said in your letter you were going to marry this man.”
“Sure,” said Liosha.
“And are you going to marry this lady?”