Kathlyn reached for the revolver she carried and fired at the animals, not expecting to hit one of them, but hoping that the noise of the firearm would swerve them into the passage across the way. Instead, they came straight to where she stood.
She stepped inside and slammed the door, holding it and feeling about in vain for lock or bolt.
She then espied a ladder which gave to the roof top, and up this she climbed. They could not possibly follow her up the ladder, and as she reached the top and it turned back at her pressure, she knew that for the present she had nothing to fear from the lions.
Then, round the passage she saw a palanquin, carried by slaves. She leaned far over.
“Help!” she cried. “Help!”
The bearers paused abruptly, and the curtain of the palanquin was swept back. The dark sinister visage of Umballa was revealed.
Umballa left the palanquin, opened the door of the house, espied the rubbish in the hall; was in the act of mounting the first steps when one of the lions roared again. Drunk as he was, filled with a drunkard’s courage, Umballa started back. The lions! Out into the street he went. He turned to the bearers and ordered them to fire the inflammables in the hall. But they refused, for they recognized the chain armor. Mad with rage Umballa struck at them, entered the hall again, and threw a lighted match into the rubbish.
THE WHITE GODDESS
The painted dancing girl in the house where Umballa had taken temporary refuge began to gather her trinkets, her amber and turquoise necklaces, bracelets and anklets. These she placed in a brass enameled box and tucked it under her arm. Next she shook the sodden Umballa by the sleeve.
“Come!” she cried.
“I would sleep,” he muttered.
She seized a bowl containing some flowers and cast the contents into his face. “Fire, fire and death!” she shrilled at him.
The douche brought the man out of his stupor.
“Fire?” he repeated.
This time he followed her docilely, wiping his face on his sleeve.
They heard a great shouting in the street, but did not tarry to learn what had caused it.
One of Umballa’s bearers, upon realizing what his master had done, had run down the street for aid. He had had two objects in view—to save the white goddess and to buy his freedom.
A few hundred yards away, in another street, the colonel, Bruce and Ahmed were dragging a net for the purpose of laying it for a lion at bay in a blind alley. Into their presence rushed the wild-eyed bearer.
“Save the white goddess!” he cried.
Bruce seized him by the shoulder. “What is that?”
“The white goddess, Sahib! She is on the roof of a burning house. Durga Ram, my master, set fire to it. He is drunk and hiding in a house near by.”