Kathlyn was free.
Kathlyn flung herself into her father’s arms.
“Dad, dad! To leave you alone!”
“Kit, you are wasting time. Be off. Trust me; I wasn’t meant to die in this dog’s kennel, curse or no curse. Kiss me and go!”
“Curse? What do you mean, father?”
“Ahmed will tell you. In God’s name go, child!”
“Come, Miss Kathlyn,” Bruce called anxiously.
Kathlyn then climbed up to the window, and Bruce lifted her into his howdah, bidding her to lie low. How strong he was, she thought. Ah, something had whispered to her day by day that he would come when she needed him. Suddenly she felt her cheeks grow hot with shame. She snuggled her bare legs under her grass dress. Till this moment she had never given her appearance a single thought. There had been things so much more vital. But youth, and there is ever the way of a man with a maid.
Now, Kathlyn did not love this quiet, resourceful young man, at least if she did she was not yet aware of it; but the touch of his hand and the sound of his voice sent a shiver over her that was not due to the chill of the night. She heard him give his orders, low voiced.
“Do not lift your head above the howdah rim, Miss Kathlyn, till we are in the jungle. And don’t worry about your father. He’s alive, and that’s enough for Ahmed and me. What a strange world it is, and how fate shuffles us about! Forward!”
The curse: what did her father mean by that? It seemed to Kathlyn that hours passed before Bruce spoke again.
“Now you may sit up. What in the world have you got on? Good heavens, grass! You poor girl!” He took off his coat and threw it across her shoulders, and was startled by the contact of her warm flesh.
“I can not thank you in words,” she said faintly.
“Don’t. Pshaw, it was nothing. I would have gone——” He stopped embarrassedly.
“Well?” Perhaps it was coquetry which impelled the query; perhaps it was something deeper.
He laughed. “I was going to say that I would have gone into the depths of hell to serve you. We’ll be at your father’s bungalow in a minute or so, and then the final stroke. Umballa is not dependable. He may or may not pay a visit to the cell to-night. I can only pray that he will come down the moment I arrive.”
But he was not to meet Umballa that night. Umballa had won his point in regard to having his prisoners flogged; but, Oriental that he was, he went about the matter leisurely. He ate his supper, changed his clothes and dallied in the zenana for an hour. The rascal had made a thorough study of the word “suspense”; he knew the exquisite torture of making one’s victim wait. For the time being his passion for Kathlyn had subsided. He desired above all things just than revenge for the