AT THE PALACE
That limousine utterly routed the tiny little qualm which had been furtively worming into Arlee’s thrill of adventure. Nothing very strange or out-of-the-way, she thought, could be connected with such a modern car; it presented every symptom of effete civilization. Against the upholstery of delicate gray flamed the scarlet poinsettias hanging in wall vases of crystal overlaid with silver tracery; the mirror which confronted her was framed in silver, and beneath it a tiny cabinet revealed a frivolous store of powders and pins and scents. Decidedly the Oriental widow of said sequestration had a car very much up to times. The only difference which it presented from the cars of any modern city or of any modern lady was in the smallness of the window panes, whose contracted size confirmed the stories of the restrictions which Arlee had been told were imposed upon Moslem ladies by even those emancipated masculine relatives who conceded cars.
She peered out of the diminutive windows at the throng of life in the unquiet streets as they halted for the passing of a camel laden with bricks and stones from a demolished building; the poor thing teetered precariously past under such a back-breaking load that the girl felt it would have been a mercy to add the last straw and be done with it. After it bobbed what was apparently an animated load of hay, so completely were this other camel’s legs hidden by his smothering burden.
Then the car shot impatiently forward, passing a dog cart full of fair-haired English children, the youngest clasped in the arms of a dark-skinned nurse, and behind the cart ran an indefatigable sais, bare-legged and sinewy, his red headdress and gold-embroidered jacket and blue bloomers flashing in the sun. On the sidewalk a party of American tourists were capitulating to a post-card vender, and ahead of them a victoria load of German sightseers careened around the corner in the charge of a determined dragoman.
Arlee smiled in happy superiority over these mere outsiders. She was not going about the beaten track, peeping at mosques and tombs and bazaars and windows; she was penetrating into the real life of this fascinating city, getting behind the grills and veils to glimpse the inner secrets.
She thought, with a deepening of the sparkle in her blue eyes and a defiant lifting of the pointed chin, of a certain sandy-haired young Englishman and how wrong and reasonless and narrow and jealous were his strictures upon her politeness to young Turks, and she thought with a sense of vindicated pride of how thoroughly that nice young man who had managed to introduce himself last night had endorsed her views. Americans understood. And then her thoughts lingered about Billy and she caught herself wondering just how much he did mean about coming up the Nile again. For upon happening to meet Billy that morning—Billy had devoted two hours and a half to the accident of