The Garden of Allah eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 583 pages of information about The Garden of Allah.

And she went away slowly, leaving him standing on the moonlit road.

He did not remain there long, nor did he follow her into the hotel.  After she had disappeared he stood for a little while gazing up at the deserted verandah upon which the moon-rays fell.  Then he turned and looked towards the village, hesitated, and finally walked slowly back towards the tiny, shrouded alley in which on the narrow staircases the painted girls sat watching in the night.

CHAPTER IX

On the following morning Batouch arrived with a handsome grey Arab horse for Domini to try.  He had been very penitent the night before, and Domini had forgiven easily enough his pre-occupation with Suzanne, who had evidently made a strong impression upon his susceptible nature.  Hadj had been but slightly injured by Irena, but did not appear at the hotel for a very sufficient reason.  Both the dancer and he were locked up for the moment, till the Guardians of Justice in Beni-Mora had made up their minds who should be held responsible for the uproar of the previous night.  That the real culprit was the smiling poet was not likely to occur to them, and did not seem to trouble him.  When Domini inquired after Hadj he showed majestic indifference, and when she hinted at his crafty share in the causing of the tragedy he calmly replied,

“Hadj-ben-Ibrahim will know from henceforth whether the Mehari with the swollen tongue can bite.”

Then, leaping upon the horse, whose bridle he was holding, he forced it to rear, caracole and display its spirit and its paces before Domini, sitting it superbly, and shooting many sly glances at Suzanne, who leaned over the parapet of the verandah watching, with a rapt expression on her face.

Domini admired the horse, but wished to mount it herself before coming to any conclusion about it.  She had brought her own saddle with her and ordered Batouch to put it on the animal.  Meanwhile she went upstairs to change into her habit.  When she came out again on to the verandah Boris Androvsky was there, standing bare-headed in the sun and looking down at Batouch and the horse.  He turned quickly, greeted Domini with a deep bow, then examined her costume with wondering, startled eyes.

“I’m going to try that horse,” she said with deliberate friendliness.  “To see if I’ll buy him.  Are you a judge of a horse?”

“I fear not, Madame.”

She had spoken in English and he replied in the same language.  She was standing at the head of the stairs holding her whip lightly in her right hand.  Her splendid figure was defined by the perfectly-fitting, plain habit, and she saw him look at it with a strange expression in his eyes, an admiration that was almost ferocious, and that was yet respectful and even pure.  It was like the glance of a passionate schoolboy verging on young manhood, whose natural instincts were astir but whose temperament was unwarped by vice; a glance that was a burning tribute, and that told a whole story of sex and surely of hot, inquiring ignorance—­strange glances of a man no longer even very young.  It made something in her leap and quiver.  She was startled and almost angered by that, but not by the eyes that caused it.

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The Garden of Allah from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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