“No. He is coming back. Only gone to Cantonments—on business.”
“What sort of business?”
Dyan chewed his lip and looked uncomfortable.
“Never mind, old chap. I can see a church by daylight! He’s getting at the troops. Spreading lies about the Armistice. And after that——?”
“He is returning—about midnight, hoping to find me in a more reasonable mind——”
“And by Jove we won’t disappoint him!” cried Roy, who had seen his God-given chance. Springing up he gripped Dyan by the shoulder. “Your reasonable mind will take the form of scooting back with me, jut put; and we can slip out of Delhi by the night mail. Time’s precious. So hurry up.”
But Dyan did not stir. He sat there looking so plainly staggered that Roy burst out laughing.
“You’re not half awake yet. You’ve messed about so long with men who merely ‘agitate’ and ‘inaugurate,’ that you’ve forgotten the kind who act first and talk afterwards. I give you ten minutes to scribble a tender farewell. Then—we make tracks. It’s all I came here for—if you want to know. And I take it you’re willing?”
Dyan sighed. “I am willing enough. But—there are many complications. You do not know. They are organising big trouble over the Rowlatt Bill—and other things. I have not much secret information, or my life would probably not be worth a pin. But it is all one complicated network, and there are too easy ways in India for social and spiritual boycott——”
He enlarged a little; quoted cases that filled Roy with surprise and indignation, but no way shook his resolve.
“We needn’t go straight to Jaipur. Quite good fun to knock round a bit. Throw him off the scent, till he’s got over the shock. We can wire our news; Aruna will be too happy to fret over a little delay. And you won’t be ostracised among your own people. They want you. They want your help. Grandfather does. The best I could do was to run you to earth—open your eyes——”
“And by Indra you’ve done it, Roy.”
“You’ll come then?”
“Yes, I’ll come—and damn the consequences!”
The Dyan of Oxford days was visibly emerging now: a veritable awakening; the strained look gone from his face.
It was Roy’s ‘good minute’: and in the breathless rush that followed, he swept Dyan along with him—unresisting, exalted, amazed——
The farewell letter was written; and Dyan’s few belongings stowed into a basket-box. Then they hurried down, through the dark courtyard into the darker tunnel; and Roy felt unashamedly glad not to be alone. His feet would hurry, in spite of him; and that kept him a few paces ahead.
Passing a dark alcove, he swerved instinctively—and hoped to goodness Dyan had not seen.
Just before reaching the next one he tripped over something—taut string or wire stretched across the passage. It should have sent him headlong had he been less agile. As it was, he stumbled, cursed and kept his feet.