Now the big gates of The Court opened and through them came a funeral. It advanced toward him with unnatural swiftness, as though it floated upon air, the whole melancholy procession of it. In a few seconds it had come and gone and yet during those seconds he suffered agony, for there arose in his mind a horrible terror that this was Barbara’s burying. He could not have endured it for another moment; he would have cried out or died, only now the mourners passed him following the coffin, and in the first carriage he saw Barbara seated, looking sad and somewhat troubled, but well. A little further down the line came another carriage, and in it was Sir Robert Aylward, staring before him with cold, impassive face.
In his dream Alan thought to himself that he must have borrowed this carriage, which would not be strange, as he generally used motors, for there was a peer’s coronet upon the panels and the silver-mounted harness.
The funeral passed and suddenly vanished into the churchyard gates, leaving Alan wondering why his cousin Haswell was not seated at Barbara’s side. Then it occurred to him that it might be because he was in the coffin, and at that moment in his dream he heard the Asika asking Jeekie what he saw; heard Jeekie answering also, “A burying in the country called England.”
“Of whom, Jeekie?” Then after some hesitation, the answer:
“Of a lady whom my lord loves very much. They bury her.”
“What was her name, Jeekie?”
“Her name was Barbara.”
“Bar-bara, why that you told me was the name of his mother and his sister. Which of them is buried?”
“Neither, O Asika. It was another lady who loved him very much and wanted to marry him, and that was why he ran away to Africa. But now she is dead and buried.”
“Are all women in England called Barbara, Jeekie?”
“Yes, O Asika, Barbara means woman.”
“If your lord loved this Barbara, why then did he run away from her? Well, it matters not since she is dead and buried, for whatever their spirits may feel, no man cares for a woman that is dead until she clothes herself in flesh again. That was a good vision and I will reward you for it.”
“I have earned nothing, O Asika,” answered Jeekie modestly, “who only tell you what I see as I must. Yet, O Asika,” he added with a note of anxiety in his voice, “why do you not read these magic writings for yourself?”
“Because I dare not, or rather because I can not,” she answered fiercely. “Be silent, slave, for now the power of the good broods upon my soul.”
The dream went on. A great forest appeared, such a forest as they had passed before they met the cannibals, and set beneath one of the trees, a tent and in that tent Barbara, Barbara weeping. Someone began to lift the flap of the tent. She sprang up, snatching at a pistol that lay beside her, turning its muzzle towards her breast. A man entered the tent. Alan saw his face, it was his own. Barbara let fall the pistol and fell backwards as though a bullet from it had pierced her heart. He leapt towards her, but before he came to where she lay everything had vanished and he heard Jeekie droning out his lies to the Asika, telling her that the vision he had seen was one of her and his master seated with their arms about each other in a chamber of the Golden House.