Not devoid of a certain simple dignity was the grim, rugged face that turned appealingly to the younger man’s in the light of the moon.
And Redmond, smiling inscrutably into the deep-set, glittering eyes, answered as simply: “I will, Sergeant!”
He declined an offer. “Nemoyah! (No) thanks, I’ve had enough.”
For some unaccountable reason, Slavin smiled also. His huge clamping right hand crushed George’s, while the left described an arc heavenwards. Came a throaty gurgle, a careless swing of the arm, and—
“Be lay loike a warrior takin’
“I misrimimber th’ tail-ind av ut,” sighed Sergeant Slavin, “’Tis toime we turned in.”
In silence they re-entered the detachment. Yorke, minus his moccasins, fur-coat and red-serge, lay stretched out upon his cot sleeping heavily, his flushed, reckless, high-bred face pillowed on one outflung arm. Above him, silent guardians of his rest, his grotesque mixture of prints gleamed duskily in the lamp-light.
Into Redmond’s mind—sunk into a deep oblivion of dreamy, chaotic thought—came again Slavin’s words:
“Shtudy thim picthures, bhoy! an’, by an’ large ye have th’ man himsilf”
Soon, too, he slept; and into his fitful slumbers drifted a ridiculously disturbing dream. That of actually witnessing the terrible scene of the long-dead Indian Mutiny hero, Major Hodson, executing with his own hand the three princes of Oude.
Inshalla! it was done—there! there! against the cart, amidst the gorgeous setting of Indian sunset and gleaming minaret. “Deen! Deen! Futteh Mohammed!” came a dying scream upon the last shot—the smoking carbine was jerked back to the “recover”—a moment the scarlet-turbaned, scarlet-sashed English officer gazed with ruthless satisfaction at his treacherous victims then, turning sharply, faced him.
And lo! to Redmond it seemed that the stern, intolerant, recklessly-handsome countenance he looked upon bore a striking resemblance to the face of Yorke.
Burn’d Marmion’s swarthy
cheek like fire,
And shook his very frame for ire,
And—“This to me!” he said,—
Early on the morrow it came to pass that Sergeant Slavin, cooking breakfast for all hands, heard Yorke’s voice uplifted in song, as that worthy made his leisurely toilet. He shot a slightly bilious glance at Redmond, who, “Morning Stables” finished, lounged nearby.
“Hear um?” he snorted enviously. “Singin’! singin’!—forever singin’!—eyah! sich nonsince, tu.”
But, to George, who possessed a musical ear, the ringing tenor sounded rather airily and sweetly—
“Hark! hark! the lark at Heaven’s
And Phoebus ’gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs—”