The horse paced slowly beneath the double load of dead and living; he would not urge the creature faster on; every movement that shook the drooping limbs, or jarred the repose of that last sleep, seemed desecration. He passed the place where his own horse was stretched; the vultures were already there. He shuddered; and then pressed faster on, as though the beasts and birds of prey would rob him of his burden ere he could give it sanctuary. And so he rode, mile after mile, over the barren land, with no companion save the dead.
The winds blew fiercely in his teeth; the sand was in his eyes and hair; the way was long, and weary, and sown thick with danger; but he knew of nothing, felt and saw nothing save that one familiar face so strangely changed and transfigured by that glory with which death had touched it.
“JE vous ACHETE Votre vie.”
Thus burdened, he made his way for over two leagues. The hurricane never abated, and the blinding dust rose around him in great waves. The horse fell lame; he had to dismount, and move slowly and painfully over the loose, heavy soil on foot, raising the drooping head of the lifeless rider. It was bitter, weary, cruel travail, of an intolerable labor, of an intolerable pain.
Once or twice he grew sick and giddy, and lost for a moment all consciousness; but he pressed onward, resolute not to yield and leave the vultures, hovering aloft, their prey. He was still somewhat weakened by the wounds of Zaraila; he had been bruised and exhausted by the skirmish of the past night; he was weary and heart-broken; but he did not yield to his longing to sink down on the sands, and let his life ebb out; he held patiently onward through the infinite misery of the passage. At last he drew near the caravanserai where he had been directed to obtain a change of horses. It stood midway in the distance that he had to traverse, and almost alone when the face of the country changed, and was more full of color, and more broken into rocky and irregular surfaces.
As a man walks in a dream, he led the sinking beast toward its shelter, as its irregular corner towers became dimly perceptible to him through the dizzy mists that had obscured his sight. By sheer instinct he found his route straight toward the open arch of its entrance-way, and into the square courtyard thronged with mules and camels and horses; for the caravanserai stood on the only road that led through that district to the south, and was the only house of call for drovers, or shelter for travelers and artists of Europe who might pass that way. The groups in the court paused in their converse and in their occupations, and looked in awe at the gray charger with its strange burden, and the French Chasseur who came so blindly forward like a man feeling his passage through the dark. There was something in the sight that had