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The hawk of egypt

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Title:TheHawkofEgypt
Author:JoanConquest
ReleaseDate:April27,2005[EBook#15721]
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEHAWKOF
EGYPT***

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[Frontispiece:Tremblingfromheadtofootthegirlstoodbeforethetentwhich
nofootbuthishadtrod.]
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usableimage.]


THEHAWKOFEGYPT

By
JOANCONQUEST

Authorof"DesertLove","LeonieoftheJungle."


FRONTISPIECEBY
G.W.GAGE


NEWYORK
THEMACAULAYCOMPANY

Copyright,1922,
ByTheMacaulayCompany

PrintedintheUnitedStatesofAmerica


"INLOVEANDGRATITUDETOTHEDEAREST
OFWOMEN'MIVES'MYMOTHER"


THEHAWKOFEGYPT

Author'sNote:Allnamesinthisbookarefictitious.

[Transcriber'snote:AnumberofwordsinthisbookareArabic,usingcharacters
thatrequireUnicodetorenderproperly.Refertothetranscriber'snoteattheend
ofthisbookformoreinformation.]


THEHAWKOFEGYPT
CHAPTERI
"Forinthedaysweknownotof
Didfatebegin
Weavingthewebofdaysthatwove
Yourdoom."
SWINBURNE.


"...allahuakbar—lailaha—illa'llah!"
Acrossthegoldengloryoftheskyfloatedtheinsistentcallofthemuezzinjustas
Damaris,followedcloselybyWellington,herbulldog,turnedoutofthenarrow
streetintotheKhanel-Khalili.Shrillandsweet,fromfarandnearitcame,
callingthefaithfultoprayer,impellingmerchantstoleavetheirwares,buyers
theirpurchases,gossipstheirchatter,andtoturninthedirectionofMeccaand
offertheirpraisetoAllah,whoisGod.
Astheentiremalepopulationofthenativequarterknelt,thegirldrewback
beneathanawningofmanycolourswhichshadedsilkengoodsfromtheraysof
thesun,whilstcuriouseyespeepeddownuponherfrombehindtheshelterofthe
masharabeyeh,theharemlatticeoffinely-carvedwood.Yardsofsilkofevery
huelaytumbledinsideandoutsidethedukkanorshopinthesilk-market;silken
scarves,plainandembroidered,hungfromstrings;silkshawlswerespreadupon
Persiancarpets;averitableriotofcolouragainsttheyellow-whiteplasterofthe
shopwalls,abovewhichflamedthesky,acloakofblue,embroideredinroseand
goldandamethyst.
Thenativewomenbehindtheshelterofthewoodlatticeortheyashmakorthe


all-envelopingbarku,talkedsoftlytogetherastheywatchedthebeautifulgirl
whoserenelyandquiteunveiledwalkedamongstmenwithananimalof
surpassinghideousnessatherheels.
Shestoodwithherheaduncovered—itispermissibleatsunset—andwithher
facelifted,asshelistenedtothecalltoprayer,sothatasun-raysiltinginthrough
thesilksblazeddownuponthepositivelyredcurlswhichriotedalloverherhead
andwereofatonesharperthanhenna,yetmanytimesremovedfromtheshades
ofredknownascarrotsorginger.
Herskinwasmatte,hermouthcrimson,andcurved,theteethperfect,andher
heavily-lashedeyesofsodeepapurpleastoappearblack.Shewasslimand
supple,unencumberedbyanythingmoreconfiningthanasuspender-belt,a
fortnightoffhereighteenthbirthdayandentirelylovableinlooks,waysand
temperamentintheeyesofallmankind,whichincludeswomen.
Theprayerover,andthemenagainaboutthebusinessofthehour,sheenquired
herwayofthevendorofsilkswho,havingquicklyreplacedhisshoes,hadas
hastilyreturnedtohisshop,hisheartrejoicingattheprospectofperhapsoneor
twohours'morebargaining—forwhereistobefoundtheOrientalwhoknows
thevalueoftime?
Lovinganimals,Damariswantedtofindthatcornernearthesilk-marketwhere
canbepurchasedanythingfromacameltoahuntingcheetah,agreyhoundtoa
falcon.
ItisnotwiseforEuropeanwomentosaunterabouttheoldArabianquarter
unaccompanied,especiallyiftheyhavebeenblessedbythegodsinthewaysof
looks.DamarisHethencourtmostcertainlyoughtnottohavebeenthere,butyou
mustperforcefollowthepathFatehasmarkedoutforyou,whetheritleads
throughcountrylanes,orPiccadilly,ortheArabquarterofCairo.
Thevendorofsilkssalaameddeeplybeforeherbeautyandthegraciousnessof
hermanner,forshesmiledwhenshetalkedandspoketheprettiestbroken
Arabicintheworld.
So,puttingthehugetwo-year-oldbulldog,whichonedaywastoclaimtheproud
titleofchampion,ontheleash,shewendedherwaythroughthenarrowstreetsin
whichtwocamelsmayscarcesqueezepasteachotherandwherethe
masharabeyehoftheharemsalmostmeetoverhead.


Water-carriers,camels,sweetmeat-sellers;lowlywomeninblackgownand
yashmak;coffee-sellers;donkeyswhichcontinuallybrayanddogswhich
unceasinglybark;crackingofwhips;shrillcriesof"Dahrikyasittormusyu,"
("Thyback,lady,orsir");shoutsofU'au'a;clashingofbronzeware;snarlsof
anger;laughter;song;dustandcolour,alltheingredientswhichgotothe
entrancementofthebazaar.
Andtheodours?
Scentandperfume,aromaandodour;cedarsofLebanonandharemmusk;tang
ofthesandysea,fumeofthestreet;thetrailofsmokeandonions;themilkof
goats;thereekofhumanity;thebreathofkine.Makeabundleofthat,andtieit
withthesilkenlashesofwomen'seyes;secureitwiththesteelofaneedlepointedknife—andleaveitatthat.
ThereisnodescribingthesmelloftheEast.
Thesaleofreallygoodanimals—theotherkindyoucanbuybyliftingafinger
inthestreets—takesplacetwiceamonthinasmallsquareneartheSuk-en
Nahlesin;butasthewaytoitleadsthroughmanydirtyandtwistinglanes,few
Europeansevergetsofar.
Thestockistetheredtoironringsintheground,thevendorssquatnearby,butat
asafedistancefromteeth,clawsorhoofs;thepurchasersstandstillfartheroff;
theresometimesoccursafreefight,whenthelengthofthechainthattethersthe
jaguarnextthehuntingcheetahistoolongbyafootorso;andthenoiseis
alwaysdeafening.
Abdul,falconerofShammar—whichdistrictistobefoundontheholyroadto
Mecca—beingofthatlocalityspecialisesintheshahin,whichisaspeciesof
hawk;visitsthemarketbyappointmentonly,and,beingindependentanda
specialist,doesnotalwayskeepthatappointment.
Damaristurnedsuddenlyintothemarketandhurriedlylookedroundforshelter,
whichshefoundinanarcheddoorwayleadingtotheusualcourtofthenative
house.
Zulannahthecourtesanpeereddownuponherfrombetweenthesilkencurtains
ofherbalcony,andclappedherhandstwicesothatherwoman-slavesran
quicklytowatchandwhisperaboutthiswhitewomanwhostoodunattendedin


theopenmarket.TheygiggledintheinsufferableEasternway,andpointed
acrosstheSquare,wherethewholeofthemalepopulationsurgedabouttwo
men.ButZulannah,therecognisedbeautyoftheNorthofEgypt,shruggedher
dimpledshouldersasshestuffedover-largeportionsofsweetmeatsbetweenher
dazzlingteethandstretchedherselfuponadivantowatchthesceneoverthe
way.
Abdul,falconerofShammar,beardedandmiddle-aged,stoodwithashahinof
Jarazauponhisfistandahoodedeyess—whichmeansayounghawkornestling
takenfromthenest—ofthesamespeciesuponapaddedandspikedperchbeside
him,whilsthoodedorwithseeledeyes,uponperchorbough,wereotheryellow
ordark-eyedbirdsofprey;short-wingedhawks,abeardedvulture,ahobby,a
passageSaker.
ButitwasnotuponAbdulorhisstockthatthegirl'seyesrested,nor,
peradventure,theeyesbehindthesilkencurtains.
ThecentralfigureoftheglowingpicturewasthatofHughCardenAli,theeldest
andbest-belovedsonofHahmedtheSheikhel-UmbarandJill,hisbeautiful,
Englishandoneandonlywife;thesonconceivedinasurpassingloveandborn
uponthedesertsands.
"AnEnglishman,"saidDamarissoftlyasshewithdrewyetfurtherintothe
shelteringdoorwayandunleashedthedog;andstillfurtherback,whentheman
suddenlyturnedandlookedacrosstheSquareasthoughinsearchofsomeone.
"No!anative,"sheadded,asshenoticedthecrimsontarbusch."Andyet..."
Shewasbynomeansthefirsttowonderastothenationalityoftheman.
Inriding-kit,withbootsfromPeterYapp,helooked,exceptforthe
headcovering,exactlylikeanEnglishman.
Certainlytheshapeofthefacewasslightlymoreovalthaniscommontothe
sonsofanorthernrace,butnothingreallyoutoftheordinary,justastheeyes
wereanordinarykindofbrown,withadisconcertingwayoflookingsuddenly
intoyourface,sweepingitinanall-comprehensivelightningglanceandlooking
indifferentlyaway.
Thenosewasgoodandquitestraight;thehairthick,brownandcontrollable;the
mouthcoveringtheperfectteethwasdeceptive,ormaybeitwasthestrengthof


thejawwhichbeliedthegentleness,justastheslimnessofthesix-footofbody,
trainedtoahairfrombabyhood,gavenocluetothesteelmusclesunderlyinga
skinaswhiteasandagooddealwhiterthanthatofsomeEuropeans.
Hemovedwiththequicknessandquietnessofthoseaccustomedtothefar
horizonasabackground;hewasslowinspeech;anddead-slowinangeruntil
arousedbyopposition.
Forthephysicallyweak-born,hehadthegentlesympathyoftheverystrong;for
thephysicallyundevelopedandthemorallyweakhehadnousewhatever
—none.IntheWest,hisreservewithmenhadbeenlabelledtaciturnityor
swollen-headeduess,whichdidnotfitthecaseatall;whilst,inspiteofhis
perfectmannertowardsthem,hisindifferencetowomanenmasseorinthe
individualwassupremeandsincere.
HewasthedirectdescendantofthefounderofNinevehwherehorseswere
concerned,andhisstablesintheOasisofKhargeghwouldhavebeenoneofthe
sightsofEgypt,hadhepermittedsightseers.
EducatedatHarrow,wherehehadexcelledinsportandcaptainedtheElevenat
Lord'sfortwosucceedingyears;respectedbytheupperFormsandworshipped
bythelower,hehaddevelopedtheEnglishsideofhisdualnationalityuntil
mastersandschoolfellowshadcometolookuponhimasoneofthemselves.
FromHarrowhehadgonetoBrazenose;thenhadquitesuddenlythrownupthe
'VarsityandreturnedtoEgypt.
Love?
Notatall,forwasnothisindifferencetowomansupremeandsincere?
Justtheinevitableendingofaverycommonplace,sordidlittlestorywhichhad
taughttheyouthoneoflife'sbitterestlessons.
OneofamultitudeofguestsatHurdleyCastle,hehadmetawoman,beautiful
butpredatory,whoselooksweretakingonanautumnaltint,andwhosebanking
accounthadshrivelledunderthefrostofextravagance.
Hisutterindifferencetoherwilesandherbeautyhadculminatedinadegrading
sceneofangeronherpart,when,forgettingherbreeding,herbirthandher


nationality,shehadfirstofalltwittedhimandthenopenlylaughedathismixed
parentage.
Hehadstoodwithoututteringaword,whitetothelipsduringhertirade.
"Doyouthinkthatanywhitewomanwouldmarryyou—ahalf-caste?"hadcried
thewoman,whosebillswerecomingininshoals.
"Yes,many,"hehadquietlyansweredashebenttopickuphertorn,
handkerchief."AmInotarichman?"
HehadreturnedtoEgyptuponavisittotheFlatOasiswheredwelthisparents,
who,thoughnotingtheindescribablehurtintheeyesoftheirfirstborn,yetasked
noquestion,forinEgyptayouthishisownmasterandofttimesmarriedatthe
ageoffourteen;howmuchmore,therefore,isheamanatovertwentyyears?
HehadvisitedhisownhouseintheOasisofKhargegh,withthepurposeof
puttinghisstablesinorderandhisfalconersthroughastiffcatechism,andhad
finallysetouttoseesomethingoftheworld.
Notinadesiretocoverhishurt,forhewasasstoicalasanyhigh-bredArab;
and,Mohammedanfrombeliefaswellasearlytraining,didnotkickagainst
whathelookeduponasthecommandsofAllah.
Asforwomen—well!Thesweet,docilewomanofhisfather'sraceinterested
himnotatall,sothatherefusedtolistentoanyhintanentthedesirabilityofhis
takingawifeandestablishingthesuccessionoftheHouse'anMahabbha,which
istheeldestbranchoftheHouseel-Umbar;andracialdistinctionbarredhim
fromthevirile,lovelywomenofhismother'srace.
Hehadhishorses,hishawks,hishuntingcheetahs,hisdogs;onegreattreasure
whichheprizedandonelittleconceit.
ThetreasurehadbeenfoundintheruinsoftheTempleDeir-el-Bahari.An
ornamentofgoldsetwithpreciousstones.ItsshapewasthatoftheHawk,which
hadstoodasthesymboloftheNorthinthegloriousdaysofAncientEgypt.The
wingswereofemeraldstippedwithrubies;goldweretheclawsandgoldthe
SymbolofLifetheyheld;thebodyandtailwereamassofpreciousstones;and
theeyeofsomejet-blackstone,unknowntothepresentcentury.


Asanornamentitwasofgreatvalue;asanantiquityfoundintheShrineof
Anubis,theGodofDeath,itsvaluecouldnotevenbeguessedat;andhowithad
comeintothepossessionofHughGardenAliwillneverbeknown,thoughofa
truth,unlimitedwealthworkswonders.
Anduponhishorses'saddle-cloths,hisfalcons'hoods,hishounds'coats,andthe
finelinenandsatinsofhisEasternraimenthehadtheemblemworkedinthread
orsilkorjewels,orpaintedinsoftcolours.
Itwasjustaprettyconceit,butinconjunctionwithone-halfofhislineageand
hisloveforhisbirds,ithadearnedhimthetitleof"TheHawkofEgypt."
Andsuchwasthemanashestoodinthemarket-place,havingfollowedthepath
whichFatehadmarkedoutforhimthroughthetwistinglanesofthebazaar.


CHAPTERII
"Dog,ounce,bearandbull,Wolf,lion,horse."
DUBARTAS.

Damarisshouldnothavebeenstrollingbyherselfinthenativequarter.
Ifyouaredraborflatofchestorsoulorface,youcansaunteryourfillinany
bazaarwithoutadventurebefallingyou;if,however,natureshouldhave
endowedyouwiththecolouringofadesertsunset,if,inshort,youcanadda
splashofcolourtoanythingsocolourfulasanativebazaar,then'twerewiseto
doyoursaunteringunderthewingofavigilantchaperon,sothatthecuriosity
andinterestresultantonyoursplashmayreachyouobliquelyand"asthrougha
glass,darkly."
Buttherewasnoonetoworrythegirlatthishourbeforesunset,sothatlittleby
littleandquiteunconsciouslyshemovedforwarduntilshestoodoutsidethe
doorway.
Shestood,outlinedagainstabackgroundofblazingcolours,whichservedinno
waytodimherbeauty.Throughtheyellow-whitearchofthedoorwayshoweda
stretchofturquoise-blueskyacrosswhich,uponastring,swunggoldenonions
andscarletpeppercorns,whilstunderneathruminatedafine,superblyindifferent
dromedary.
ForamomentHughCardenAli,joggedbyFate,lookedstraightacrossatthe
beautifulpicture,stayinghistalkwithAbdul,who,withthecourtesyoftheEast,
didnotturnhisheadashestrokedthebreastandheadoftheshahinonhisfist.
ButDamaris,withenvyrampantinherheart,hadnoeyesformereman;she
wantedtowalkacrossandgetnearthecoal-blackstallionfromUnayza,a


districtfamousforitsbreedoflarge,heavy-builthorses.Hestoodimpatiently,
withanoccasionalplunkofahoofonthesandystones,ornuzzledhismaster's
sleeve,orpulledatitwithhisteeth,whilsttwoshaggydogsofBillilaystretched
outawaitingthesignaltobeupandgoing,perhaps,inasprintacrossthedesert
afterthehossenyorredrascalofafoxwhichhadbeentrappedandcagedforthe
solepurposeofhunting.
Rideoutwiththecagedhossenyonathoroughbredcamelorthoroughbred
horse,takewithyouacoupleofgreyhoundsandadogorsofromBilli,getright
offthetouristtrackandlettheredrascalout,andseeifyoudon'thavesomefun
beforebreakfast.
Onlygetoffthetouristtrack,elseyouwillhaveallthebazaarcamelsandponies
lopingalongbehindyou.
Theonlywildbeastthisafternoonforsalewasajaguar,blackasink,smoothas
satin,short,heavy,withhalf-closedgreeneyesfixedsteadfastlyuponaplump
whitepigeonfoolishlystruttingjustoutofreachofthesteel-pointedclaws.
"Takeheruponthyfist,OMaster,"saidAbdulofShammar,ashelengthenedthe
jesses,theshort,narrowstrapsofleatherorwovensilkorcottonwithwhichto
holdthehawk."See,sheiswellreclaimed,beingtameandgentleandaltogether
amiable.Whenthrown,sheisasabulletfromarifle,bindingherquarryinhigh
airevenasamanholdshiswomantohisheartupontheroof-topunderthestars.
Sheisfullsummed"—andheranhisslenderfingersthroughthenewfeathers,
fullandsoftaftermoulting;"sheiskeenasthewinterwind—beholdtheworn
andbluntednails;shewillnotgiveup,mymaster,yetwillshecometothelure
asquickly,asjoyfullyasamaidtoherlover."
HughCardenAli,thegreatestauthorityafterAbdulontheshahin,tookthebird
uponhisfist,lookedatthesunken,piercingeyeswhichwerepartiallyseeled;
ranhishandoverthenarrowbody,shorttailandblackback,andafingerover
thelargebeakanddeepmouth;helduptheuglyfacetothelight,examinedthe
flight-feathersand,movinghishandquicklyupanddown,causedthebirdto
flutteritswings—andsogivehimachanceofmeasuringthedistanceofthe
wingsfromthebody.Findingheraltogetherlovely,henoddedandhandedher
backtothedelightedfalconerofShammar,justaswithadecisivepatthejaguar
landed,itshugepawuponthestruttingpigeon,whichhadforgottentokeepits
distance.


Foramomenttheattentionofthespectators,whoweremostlysquattingontheir
heels,wasdivertedfromthemasterandthefalconer.Theylaughed,theymoved,
whilstsomeinthebackrowstooduptoseethefun,leavingforonesecondan
openspacethroughwhichDamariscouldseetheflutteringwhitebird.
"Ah!"shecried,heartbrokenatthesight;then,"Fetch!"shecommandedthedog,
pointingacrossthesquare.
Now,thedog,whohaddispensedwithhisspikedcollaronaccountoftheheat,
hadnomoreideathanthemaninthemoonwhathehadtofetchforhisbeloved
mistress;but,restlessfromprolongedinactivityandthesmellofstrangebeasts,
hehurledhimselfinthedirectionpointed;andhisspeed,oncehegotgoing,was
assurprisingasthatoftheelephantorrhinocerosandotherclumsy-looking
animals,andinverytruth,hisappearancewasjustasterrifying.
Hecrashedhead-foremostintothebackrowofspectators,which,asoneman,
yelledandfled;torealongthepathmadeclearforhim,andsensinganenemyin
thegrowlingjaguar,wasatitsthroatlikeathrownspear;missingitbyaninchas
theblackbeastflungitselfbacktothefulllengthofthesteelchainwhich
fastenedittoanironringintheground.
Damarisinherturnrushed,acrossthesquare,passingtheastoundedspectators,
whosalaamedassheran.Andassheransheshouted:
"Lettheanimalloose,"shecried."Giveitachance;letitloose."
ButHughCardenAli,notintheleastunderstandingthesuddenonslaught,but
witheverysportinginstinctuppermost,hadalreadyleantdownintheseething,
growlingmassoffurandhate,andloosenedthechain;whilst,withscreamsof
fearanddelight,thecrowdracedfortheadjacenthouses,fromtheupper
windowsofwhichtheycouldhanginsafetytowatchthefight.
Disgusting?
Quiteso!Buthaveyoueverheardofbull-fightingorpigeon-shootingin
civilised,humaneEurope?
Therefollowedafrightfulscene,duringwhichAbdul,havingpickedupthe
pigeon,hastilyflunghisbirdsfarbehindthegrowling,spitting,ragingcouple,
whilstthestallion,rearinginterror,nearlyjerkedhismaster,whohadthebridle


slippedoverhisarm,offhisfeet.
ThetwodogsofBilliandthetwogreyhoundsleaptandbarkedandsnappedat
thebelligerentsuntilWellington,takinganoff-chance,suddenlyturnedandbit
oneofthemcleanthroughtheshoulder;whereuponityelpedandhowledand
fled,whilstshoutsof"Masha-Allah"andmuchclappingcamefromtheupper
windows.
Damarisranstraighttowardstheman,who,slippingthebridle,putbotharms
roundhertodrawhertosafety;then,suddenlyrealisingthebeauty,theyouth
andthepurewhitenessofher,assuddenlylethergo.
"ShallIseparatethem?"heaskedsimply.
"No!Notevenifyoucould.Oncemydog'sbloodisup,nothingbutdeathwill
satisfyhim."
Shestoodquitestill,aswhiteasasheet,withbothhandsonhisarm,whilstthe
greatdoghurledhimselfatthespittingbrute,onlytomeettheteethandclaws
whichdrewbloodateveryattempt,untilthegroundwascrimsonwherethey
fought.
Andthen,withtearsstreamingdownhercheeks,Damarislookedupintothe
man'sface;thenburiedherfaceonhisshoulder.
Andtheseedoflovewhichisintheheartofeveryhumanburstthrough,the
cloggingmouldofcustomandconventionand,takingroot,putforthshootsand
spranginonemomentintothegreattreeofloveofwhichthefruits,beingthose
ofpurity,honourandsacrifice,aregolden.
Yethedidnottouchher,havinglearnedhislesson;instead,heraisedhisright
handabovehishead.
"Allah!"hesaid,inpraiseofthatwhichhadcomeuntohim,"Allah,thereisno
GodbutThee,"justas,withasuddenswish,aflockofstartledpigeonsflashing
likejewelsinthesettingsunnewlowdownacrosshishead,bringinganendto
thebattle.
Foronehalf-secondthejaguar'sgreeneyesshifted,andthedogwasatitsthroat.
Therewasamighty,convulsiveeffortofthehind-legswhichrippedthebulldog's


sides,aclick,ashiver,andtheblackbrutefelldead,asthedog,amassofblood,
foamandpride,hurledhimselfontotheskirtofhisbelovedmistress,whilstthe
enrapturedspectators,yellingwithexcitement,rushedoutintothesquarewith
shoutsof"Masha-Allah,"whichmeans,"Welldone,welldone!"
"Keepquitestill,"saidHughCardenAli,gently,asDamarismadeaneffortto
turn;then,speakingquicklytothebeaming,salaamingspectators,whohadhad
thetimeoftheirlivesgamblingonthechancesofeitheranimal,orderedthemto
removethedeadbeastandtostrewtheplacewithsand.And"IrjaSooltan,"he
calledtothestallion,which,terrifiedatthesoundsandsightandsmellofbattle,
hadboltedupasidestreet,wherehestoodfrettingandfidgetinghimselfintoa
finesweat,untilheheardtheclearcallwhichcouldalwaysbringhimbacktothe
manheloved.Hestoodforonesecond,thenflunguphisheelstothedevastation
ofastallofearthenware,andracedbacktothesquareatamostunseemlypace,
causingthespectatorsoncemoretoflyinalldirectionswithcriesof"U'au'a,"
whichmeans,"Lookout,lookout!"
Hepushedhissoftnosewithdeterminationagainstthewomanwhostoodso
closetohismaster,sothatshelookedup,andthensmiledandstretchedouther
arms.
"Youbeauty!"shecried."Oh,youbeauty!"
"Youride?"
Damaris,thinkingofthehack,theonlythingwiththeshapeofahorseshehad
beenabletogetsofar,anduponthebackofwhichsheloathedtobeseen,made
agrimace.
"Igooutonhorseback,"shesaid."IhavenotriddensinceIlefthome."
Theman'sreply,whateveritmighthavebeen,wasinterruptedbyAbdul,who,
allsmiles,stoodbeforethem,withthewhitepigeoninthelefthandandthe
shahinuponhisrightfist.
Thenativehadnointentionofcausingthewhitewomanpain;infact,wishingto
findfavourintheeyesofthenobles,heonlywantedtogivethemachanceof
witnessingalittleof,tohim,thefinestsportintheworld.
"Look,lady!"hecried.


Hetossedthepigeonhighintotheair,allowedheralittledistance,thenthrew
thehawk.
"No!Oh,no!don't!"criedDamaris,asthehawkrose,"stooped"andmissedthe
pigeonbyahair's-breadthasit"putin",whichmeansthatitflewstraightintoa
smallnicheofaminaretforcover.
"Ah!"criedDamaris,and"Bi-sma-llah!"ejaculatedAbdul,ashethrewthelure
ofadeadploverandcalledhishawkwiththeluringEasterncall."Coo-coo,"he
called;"coo-coo,"towhichthehawkrespondedasawell-trainedshahinshould.
HughCardenAlistoodwithhishandonthestallion'smane,lookingupatthe
sky,inwhichshoneagreatstar.
"ThehawkofEgyptfailed,"hesaidtohimself."Flownatawhitebird,itfailed.
TheHouseofAllah,whoisGod,gavesanctuarytothelittlewhitebird.Praise
betoAllahwhoisGod."
Helookeddownatthegirl,whowaskneeling,consolingthedog,who,reft
'tweenprideandpain,showedalamentablecountenance.Suddenlyshelooked
upandrose,andstoodsilently.
"Come,"hesaidsimply,whilehelongedtopickherupandridewithhertohis
homeintheOasis."Iwilltakeyoutoyourhotel."
"MycariswaitingformeintheSikketel-Gedideh,"shereplied.
*****
Later,avisionofloveliness,shewalkeddownthedining-roombehindthe
DuchessofLongacres,whilstcontinuouslamentationswerewaftedthroughthe
spring-doorsfromthespotwheresatadogwithsticking-plasteracrosshisnose
andmiddlegirtwithacummerbundofpinkboraciclint.
Besidethegirl'splacelayahugebunchofcrimsonrosestiedwithgolden
tassels;therewasnocard,namenormessage.
Sheaskednoquestion,neitherdidhergodmother.
Towhatpurposeshouldthey?Theoneknew;theotherfirmlybelievedin


allowingtheyoungtoworkoutthesalvationoftheirownsouls;whichdidnot,
however,meanthatshewouldnotkeepasharplook-outinthefutureoverthe
troubledseaofLife.
"Iknewsomethingwouldhappen,"thoughtthewiseoldlady,asshepasseda
biscuituptotheparrotonhershoulder.
"KathirKhairak,"itsaiddelightedly.
Itmerelymeans"thankyou,"buthadtakenweeksofteachingandrepeatingto
master.


CHAPTERIII
"Lor!butwomen'srumcattletodealwith,the
firstmanfoundthattohiscost;
AndIreckonit'sjustthroughawoman,thatthe
lastmanonearth'llbelost."
G.R.SIMS.

DamariswastheonlydaughterofSquireHethencourt.Hermotherwasan
ItalianfromtheUdino,wherethehairofthewomenisgenuine
Titian-redandtheeyesareblue;whichperhapsaccountedforher
colouringandsomepartofhertemperament.
Hertypeofbeautywascertainlyremarkable—given,itmustbeconfessed,toa
certainamountoffluctuation—andshedanceddivinely,whichgiftmustnotbe
countedasaparlour-trick;shewasslowinhermovementsandquietinher
manneruntilshetalkedofhorsesoranybodysheloved;thenhergreateyes
wouldflashandherlaughringout,alsoshewouldgesticulateashermotherhad
beenwonttodo,untiltheclimate,maybe,ofanortherncountryhadservedto
repressthespontaneityofherLatinmannerisms.
Shewassimpleandunsophisticatedandwouldhavemadeasplendidlittle
chum,ifonlyoneoutofeverythreemenwhometherhadnotbeenconsumed
withadesiretoannexherforlifebymeansofagoldring.
"Dads,"sheexclaimed,twomonthsbeforethebeginningofthisstory,having
enticedhimtoherbedroomonenightandofferedhimcreamchocolatesashe
eatatthefootofherbed,facingher."Dads,whatamItodo?GuyDanverssays
heiscomingtoseeyouto-morrow,andI—Iamsureitwillonlyturnouttobe—
well—you,know."


"But,Golliwogdear,I'mtheonetobepitied.Thismakesthe—howmanyisit?"
"Idon'tknow,Dads,anditisn'tthenumber;it'stheawfulhabitthey'vegotinto
—andIdon'tunderstandanythingandIdon'tencouragethem,doI?Dolendme
ahankie—thischocolatehasburst—andwhatamItodo?"
"Turnadeafear,oracoldshoulder,orputabravefaceon,until———"said
Dads,retrievinghishandkerchief.
"Untilwhat?"
"Untiltherightmancomesalong,darling,ashesurelywill."
Thegirl'slidssuddenlydroppeduntilthelasheslaylikeafringeuponthewhite
cheekoverwhichveryslowlybutverysurelycreptthefaintestofrose-colours.
"Hum!"saidDadstohimself,ashemadegreatuseofthehankie.
"Dosmoke,dearest!"
"No,thankyou,pet;Icouldn'there."
Themanwhoworshippedhiswifeandadoredhislittledaughterlookedround
thewhiteandsomewhataustereroom,andranhiseyeoverthebookstandathis
elbow.
Booksonhorses,atreatiseonbulldogs,theNewTestament,essaysinFrench
andinGerman,theHistoryofEgyptinArabic,Budge's"BookoftheDead,"and
"KingSolomon'sMines."
"ButwhatamIdomeanwhile,Dads?"andthegirlthrewoutherhands
imploringly.
"Becold,deaforbrave,Golliwog,asIhavesuggested."
"ButI'vebeenallthat,andit'squiteuseless.DoyouthinkitwouldhelpifIlet
myhairgrowanddiditupinatightknob?"
"Ithinkitwouldhelpalotifyoushavedyourheadentirely,kiddie."
Andthemanleantforwardandranhishandthroughtheredcurls.


OnceuponatimeDamarishadreadtheadvertisementofacertainpowder
guaranteedtodarkenhairofanycolour,andlifehavingbeenonelongtorment
owingtoherviolentcolouring,shehad,greatlydaring,acquiredapacket;had
followedthedirectionsbymixingthepowderwithwaterandcoveringherhead
withthemuddyresult,and,"tomakeassurancedoublysure,"hadsatwithher
claypateforanhourinsteadoftenminutesnearafire;hadcrackedtheclay,
washedherhead,andfoundherhairgrass-green.
Shehadchoppedtheverdantmassesoffwithoutathought,andhadeverafter
refusedtoallowittogrowtohairpinlength,andtoherfatheronlyhadgranted
theprivilegeofcallingherbythepetnameofGolliwog.
"Wouldyouliketotravelabit,pet?"Andthemansmiled,thoughhisheartwas
heavyatthethoughtoftheblankwhichhisGolliwog'sdeparturewouldleavein
thehomeandthedailyround.
"Travel!Travel!Oh!darling—toEgypt?
"WhyEgypt?WhynotFranceor—orItaly?"
"BecauseI'vegottogotoEgyptsometimeoranother,Dads.I'vegottoseethe
desertandthemosquesandthewhitesandbluesandorangesandcamels.It'sin
mehere,"andshethumpedhernightgownaboveherheart."Ishallneverbe
happyuntilIhaveseenthemall.Oh!Dads,Iwonderifyoucanunderstand;it—
itsoundsso—sosilly———"
"Tellme,"andthemanmovedovertotheheadofthebedandtookhisdaughter
gentlyinhisarms.
"I'msooutofthepicture,somehow,here,dearest,"saidthechild,strivingasbest
shecouldtodescribewhatwasreallyonlythepassingoftheborder-linebetween
girlandwomanhood."Thisterriblecolouringofmine,foronething.Why,
amongstothergirls,IamlikeaRaemaekerstuffedintoaHeathRobinsonfolio,
likeapalettedaubedwithoilshungamongstalotofwater-colours.Iwantto
findmyownnailandhangforonehourbymyself,ifit'sonabarn-doororthe
wallofamosque—aslongasIambymyself."
"GoodLord!"saidthemaninwardly,ashepattedhisdaughter'sarm;then,
aloud."Asithappens,Golliwogdarling,IhadaletterfromMarraineyesterday,
askingmetoletyougoouttoherinCairoforthewinterandseeasmuchas


possibleoftheordinarysights.We'lltalkitoverwithMotherto-morrow."
"Oh,Dads—howwonderful!Andcan'tyouandMothercome?Andoh!canI
takeWellington?"
"Ithinkso,dear,ifhehasn'thydrophobia,"andthemanbenttopattheheadof
thegreatdogwhichhadcreptfromunderthebedatthesoundofhisname.
AndlaterDadsstoodathiswindow,smokingtwolastpipes,whilstaglimpse
intothefuturewasallowedhim.
"Canitbe—canitpossiblybe,"hesaid,puffingcloudsofsmokeintothe
creeper,totheannoyanceofmanyinsects,"BigBenKelham?—andtheestates
runalongside.WonderifTeresahasnoticedanything.And—byJove!—of
course!—he'satHeliopolis,gettingoverhishuntingaccident.Iwonder———"
AndDamarissatatherwindow,withherarmsroundthedog,wholonged
inordinatelyforhismat.
"Thedesert,"shewhispered."Thepyramids—thebazaar—life—adventure.How
wonderful!"Therecamealong,longpause,andthensheadded,assheturned
towardsacolouredpictureoftheSphinxuponthewall,"Andwhocaresifthe
nailisatin-tackorascrew?"
Asithappened,itwasdestinedtobethejewel-hilted,double-edged,unsheathed
daggeroflove.
AndFate,havingmislaidherglasses,workedhershuttleathazardinandoutof
thatpictureofintricatepatterncalledLife,andhavingtangledandknotted
togetherthecrimsonthreadofpassion,thegoldenthreadofyouthandthehonest
brownofadeep,undemonstrativelove,sheleftthedisentanglementofthe
muddleinthehandsofOlivia,DuchessofLongacres.
HerGracewasovereighty.
OfalineofyeomenancestorsrangingbackdownthecenturiestotheWilliam
CarewwhohadfoughtforHarold,shehadbeen,aboutsixty-fiveyearsago,the
belleofDevon.Againstthewarningsofherheartandtothedelightofher
friendsandfamily,shehadmarriedtheDukeofLongacres,whoserovingeye
hadbeenarrestedbyherbeautyatameetoftheDevonandSomerset,andhis


equallyrovinghearttemporarilycapturedbytheindifferenceofherdemeanour
towardshisautocraticself.
Shehadlosthim,toallintentsandpurposes,twoyearsafterthemarriage,but
blindinghereyesandstuffingherears,hadheldhighherbeautifulheadandhigh
herhonour,fillingheremptyheartwiththeloveofhersonandtheesteemofher
legionofrealfriends;showingthebravestofbeautifulfacestotheworld,untila
happywidowhoodhadsetherfree.
Someyearsofabsolutehappinessofthesimplestkindhadfollowed;the
marriageofhersonandbirthofhergrandson,whohadcosthismotherherlife.
ThenthefollowingyearhadcometheBoerWar,andtheheroictragedyofSpion
Kop,whichleftherchildless;afterthat,manyyearsofutterdevotion,toher
grandson,whoadoredher;thentheGreatWarandtheBattleoftheFalkland
Islands,whichleftherabsolutelybereft,withthecareoftheboy'sgreatest
treasure,eventhegreyparrot,Quarter-Deck,Dekkoforshort.
Methuselahofbirds,itwaspossessedofanuncannygiftofhumanspeechand
understanding,andhadbeenpromotedthroughgenerationtogeneration,from
sailing-vesselviaMerchantServicetoBritishNavy.
Astimeandtragedyworkedhardtogethertosilverherhairandlineherface,so
didaveritableimpofmischief,bredofherdesolation,seemtopossesstheold
darling.Shecarednotabrassfarthingfortheopinionofherneighbours,sothat
afterthedeathofthegreatQueen,whohadbeenherstaunchestfriend,shehad
instructedMariaHobson,hermaidandalsostaunchestfriend,torevivethe
fadedrosesofhercheekswiththeaidofcosmetics.Thingshadgonefrombadto
worseinthatrespect,untilherprettysnow-whitehairhadbeencoveredbya
flagrantgoldenperruqueandthedearoldfacewithamaskofpinkandwhite
enamel.Hereyeswereblue,andkeenasahawk's,undimmedbythetearsshed
insecretduringhertumultuousandtragiclife;herteeth,eachoneinaperfect
andpearlystateofpreservation,wereherown,forwhichassetshewasnever
giventhebenefitofthedoubt;hertonguewasvitriolic;herheartofpuregold,
andsheownedarighthandwhichsaidnothingtotheleftofthespacesbetween
itsfingersthroughwhich,dailyrandeedsofkindnessandstreamsoflove
towardstheunfortunateonesoftheearth.
Herdresswasinvariablyofgreytaffetaorbrocade,bunchedatthebackand
trailingontheground;therewereruffles,ofpricelesslaceattheelbow-sleeves


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