“’Ware man-trap!” he called back to Dyan, under his breath.
Next instant, from the alcove, a shot rang out: and it was Dyan who cursed; for the bullet had grazed his arm.
They both ran now; and made no bones about it. Roy’s sensations reminded him vividly of the night he and Lance fled from the Turks.
“We seem to have butted in and spoilt somebody’s little game!” he remarked, as they turned into a wider street and slackened speed. “How’s your arm?”
“Nothing. A mere scratch.” Dyan’s tone was graver. “But that’s most unusual. I can’t make it out——”
“You’re well quit of it all, anyhow,” said Roy, and slipped a hand through his arm.
* * * * *
Not till they were settling down for a few hours’ sleep in the night mail, did it dawn on Roy that the little game might possibly have been connected with himself. Chandranath had seen him in that dress before. He had just come very near quarrelling with Dyan. If he suspected Roy’s identity, he would suspect his influence....
He frankly spoke his thought to Dyan; and found it had occurred to him already. “Not himself, of course,” he added. “The gentleman is not partial to firearms! But suspecting—he might have arranged; hoping to catch you coming back—the swine! Naturally after this, he will go further than suspecting!”
“He can go to the devil—and welcome; now I’ve collared you!” said Roy;—and slept soundly upon that satisfying achievement, through all the rattle and clatter of the express.
[Footnote 17: At once.]
“God uses us to help each
It was distinctly one of Roy’s great moments when, at last, they four stood together in Sir Lakshman’s room: the old man, outwardly impassive—as became a Rajput—profoundly moved in the deep places of his heart; Aruna, in Oxford gown and sari, radiant one moment; the next—in spite of stoic resolves—crying softly in Dyan’s arms. And Roy understood only too well. The moment he held her hand and met her eyes—he knew. It was not only joy at Dyan’s return that evoked the veiled blush, the laugh that trembled into tears. Conceit or no conceit, his intuition was not to be deceived.
And the conviction did not pass. It was confirmed by every day, every hour he spent in her company. On the rare occasions, when they were alone together, the very thing that must be religiously stifled and hid, emanated from her like fragrance from a flower; sharply reawakening his own temptation to respond—were it only to ease her pain. And there was more in it than that—or very soon would be, if he hesitated much longer to clinch matters by telling her the truth; though every nerve shrank from the ordeal—for himself and her. Running away from oneself was plainly a futile experiment. To have so failed with her, disheartened him badly and dwarfed his proud achievement to an insignificant thing.