“Save yourself!” said Kathlyn in despair: “there is no possible way of saving me. I have never in all my life injured any one, and yet God makes me go through all this. . . . I am mad, you are, the whole world is! . . . Run!”
Bruce laughed; it was that kind of laughter with which men enter battle. He drew Lal Singh’s revolvers and thrust one into her hand.
“Shoot at the keyhole. Leave the lion to me. With the pandemonium no one will note the shots, or if they do, will think that more explosions are on the way. I’ll get you out of this nightmare; that’s what I was born for.”
“There, now!”—as Kathlyn leaned dizzily against one of the supports.
“I’ve gone through a good deal,” she said. Without more ado she pressed the muzzle of the revolver into the keyhole and fired. She heard a shot behind her, another and another; but she kept on firing into and about the keyhole till the revolver was empty.
A firm hand drew her aside.
“Gone to sleep. Let me have a whack at that door.”
“Went back over the wall. Probably to warn Ahmed; maybe gone directly off toward camp. Anyhow, he has faith in me.”
“And, oh! so have I, so have I!”
Bruce bore his weight savagely against the door, once, twice, thrice; and pitched forward on his knees, outside. He was up instantly. He caught Kathlyn by the hand and hurried her along; and all she could think of was Winnie romping toward the canopied studio, her father half asleep on the veranda and the leopard cat sprawled on the divan!
“Sahib! Huzoor!” a voice called. “This way!”
“Ahmed! Ahmed!” cried Kathlyn.
“Yes, heaven born; but hurry, hurry! Umballa will return to search as soon as he can get the better of his legs. Siva take that battery that was worn out! Heaven born, you are now a queen in fact. . . .”
“I want to go home, Ahmed, home!”
“Here’s the gharry. Here, Sahib!” He held out a handful of cartridges toward Bruce. “These fit Lal Singh’s pistols. Hurry, hurry!”
Bruce helped Kathlyn into the vehicle and jumped in beside her, and Ahmed struck the horse. The gharry was a rickety old contrivance, every hinge creaking like some lost soul; but Ahmed had reasoned that the more dilapidated the vehicle, the less conspicuous it would be. He urged the horse. He wanted the flying mob to think that he was flying, too, which, indeed, he was. The gharry rolled and careened like a dory in a squall. A dozen times Bruce and Kathlyn were flung together, and quite unconsciously she caught hold of his lean, strong brown hand. It would not be true to say that he was unconscious of the act.
Presently they entered the paved streets of the bazaars, and the going improved. Kathlyn leaned back.
“I am Kathlyn Hare, and this is the year . . .”