It ends; even such obliging fellows as these do not need to be killed more than a couple of times. Lady Ruth had covered her eyes with her hands when the action began.
She is the daughter of a soldier race, and as brave as the majority of her sex; still she shudders to gaze upon the taking of human life.
Perhaps, too, she anticipates the death of the valorous Briton, who has hurled himself so impetuously into the breach, for under all ordinary conditions his chances would seem to be small.
When the dreadful racket is over, when the shouts, shrieks, and report of fire-arms die away, Lady Ruth uncovers her eyes.
She fully expects to see a slaughter-pen, with the valorous Sir Lionel and Philander among the slain. As to the latter, there are no lack of them, for they lie in every direction, and in every position the human mind can conceive.
And here is the hero warrior rushing up to her, a smoking revolver in one hand. His usual coolness and sang froid are gone—Sir Lionel is actually excited. It is not every day that even a veteran of the Cape wars is given a chance to thus immortalize himself after the manner of Samson.
“My dear Lady Ruth, the way is clear. We must fly before the rest of the rascals appear. Perhaps we may be fortunate enough to find horses outside, then a hot dash and the city will be gained. Permit me to assist you.”
The girl springs up, ready to accept the chance a kind fate has thrown in her way, and with a startled, curious glance at the piles of slain that incumber the cavern, follows her friends.
These strange events have occurred with great rapidity, and yet, of course, they have taken some little time.
It would seem as though the remainder of Bab Azoun’s band, if anywhere in the vicinity, might by this time have arrived on the spot, but they do not show up, which fact is a fortunate one for them, though it takes away from the luster of Sir Lionel’s fame.
When the four fugitives come out of the old mine into the moonlight, the soldier looks about him quickly.
“If we could only find horses,” he cries.
“What’s this?” asks Philander.
A whinny sounds close by.
“This way, friends. Bless me! if this isn’t the acme of good luck! Here are horses—three, four of them, just one apiece, by Jove!”
“Oh, how singular! I mean how fortunate!” exclaims Lady Ruth.
There are the animals, fastened to branches of the trees. Why they are separated from the remainder of the herd is not explained.
Sir Lionel never looks a gift of fortune in the face, but when his eyes fall upon the four miserable worn-out hacks which have thus fallen to their share, he grits his teeth, and Philander is puzzled to understand what he just catches: