The Arab grins as though he enjoys the joke.
“It is coming, prepare to see the mighty Frank’s wonderful work.”
Even as he speaks, they hear loud shouts within the old mine—shouts that would indicate an upheaval—shouts from Arab lips, that echo from the Kabyle throats.
They seem to indicate astonishment—fear.
Above them rises the bellow of a Briton, rushing to the fray with the eagerness of an infuriated bull.
Oh, it is grand!—it is beautiful to see that one man hurl himself on half a dozen! Fear—he knows not the meaning of the word it seems—his opponents monopolize that.
John, looking in, is delighted with the spectacle, and laughs to himself as he sees how remarkably deadly are all Sir Lionel’s shots. A man falls every time he pulls trigger; if he rushes at a fellow, so great is the fear his awful presence inspires that the wretched Arab sinks down and actually expires through fright.
The doctor has seen some wonderful stage fights, but the equal of this, never. He laughs, yet finds himself almost stupefied with amazement. Truly, the Victoria cross would well become this remarkable hero.
One or two of the dead men do not seem to have had enough, or else are dissatisfied with the manner of their taking off. At any rate, they stagger to their feet, and have to be put to sleep again by energetic means.
Philander comes near making a mess of it all by his enthusiasm. It is a regular picnic to the small professor.
In the beginning he aimed his gun at one of the brigands. The weapon is strange to him, being a long Arabian affair, with a peculiar stock, but Philander has some knowledge of weapons, shuts his eyes, and pulls the trigger.
The report staggers him. When he opens his eyes, and sees the big, ragged Kabyle at whom he aimed lying flat on his back, with arms extended, the professor is horrified at first.
Then some of the warlike spirit that distinguished his ancestors at Lexington begins to flame up within him.
He gives a shrill war-cry that would doubtless please many a Greek scholar, and plunges headlong for the foe.
The way in which he swings that Arab gun is a sight to behold; in itself the apparition of Professor Sharpe thus advancing to the fray is enough to strike terror to the human heart.
One poor devil is in a position to receive a tremendous whack on the back with the gun, now used as a cudgel, and there is positively no fraud about the manner of his sprawling around.
After that the professor sweeps the air in vain with his weapon. Men who have met the terrors of the Algerian desert for years, fall down and expire before he can hasten their exit from this vale of tears.
Really, it is wonderful—he never before knew the tenets of the Mohammedan religion made its devotees so accommodating; they seem to court dissolution in the longing for paradise, where the prophet promises eternal happiness for all who die in battle.