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      Balmayne promptly collapsed into the chair that Beppo had put for him. He glanced in a white and agitated way round the room. There was not a friendly face to be seen anywhere. Given immunity from protection, and not one man there would have refused to cut his throat for a handful of coppers.

      with a beautiful new plot in my head, and I've been going about

      Then, two and two, carrying on their shoulders heavy trays piled with presents, women mount the steps of the house, the bridegroom standing at the bottom. The bride's mother comes forth to meet them in a dress of pale-coloured China crape covered with a fine white saree. She waves her closed hand three times over the gifts, and then, opening it, throws rice on the ground. This action[Pg 16] she repeats with sugar and sweetmeats, and finally with a coco-nut. And each time she empties her hand a naked boy appears from heaven knows where, gathers up what she flings on the ground, and vanishes again, lost at once in the shadows of the garden.

      of butlers, and if one opens the door I shall faint upon the step.I never told him about the orphan asylum, and I hated to explain

      The shock was dying away. After all, what was the accusation? And yet Charlton was looking at her with the eyes of a man who has found out everything. They stood confronting one another for some time in silence. It was Charlton who first spoke. He came a step or two nearer.

      same things you are. We spend a whole evening in nothing but talk--Not far from Ahmedabad, in a sandy desert[Pg 62] where, nevertheless, a few proliferous baobabs grow, there is a subterranean pagoda drowned in stagnant water that has filled three out of the six floors. These are now sacred baths, in which, when I went there, Hindoos were performing their pious ablutions. Sculptured arcades, upheld by fragile columns, skirt the pools; the stones are green under the water, and undistinguishable from the architecture reflected in the motionless surface that looks blue under the shadow of the great banyan trees meeting in an arch over the temple. A sickly scent of lotus and sandal-wood fills the moist air, and from afar, faint and shrill, the cries of monkeys and minah-birds die away into silence over the calm pool.


      CHAPTER XL. INVENTION.At the end of the garden, in a little temple, is a statue of the holy man of the size of life, in his favourite attitude, sitting on his crossed legs. Round the image were the most absurd toysand a photograph of the German Emperor! As I was leaving, the fakir called me back, asked me to think of him sometimes, and gave me one of the splendid yellow roses that hung about him like a glory.


      The Destruction of DinantShe tugged at Balmayne's arm. A cordon of men were drawn up across the road. With marvellous dexterity Balmayne whipped the car round almost into a set of men who scattered right and left. One clung to the back of the car for a moment, but Balmayne beat him off at length.