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Chapter XXXV - Kombo's Discovery.

THE High Priestess was alone with Aak in his garden. The western sun was shining full upon the Tortoise-god's domain, reddening the water in his bath, and making the ground round it glow with warmth. The monster had scooped a hole in the mass of heated sand, and lay basking luxuriously, his head indrawn, showing only the enormous bulk of his shell, which, as the light struck it, gave out fiery glints somewhat dulled by the age and opaqueness of the great carapace.

Usually, a little crowd collected in the afternoon outside the wall to see the god take his exercise; but to-day Aak was lazy, and the people, tired of waiting, had gone away some time since.

Anne was seated in an angle of an upstanding mass of rock, one of many huge boulders that had fallen from the cliff and been utilised in the construction of the wall, and which consequently was irregular both in height and shape. Her head leaned, supported by her two hands; her elbows rested on her knees, which were drawn up with her feet upon a stone which poked up out of the sand. She was half crouching on a ledge of the boulder, and from the outside of the enclosure would not have been easily seen. Any chance passer-by observing her would have supposed that she was absorbed in religious meditation. It had become her habit, now that her dread of the Tortoise-god was wearing-off, to seek the seclusion of Aak's pleasure-ground while the monster slept in the afternoon sun, ostensibly that she might commune with the god on matters relating to the Acan exodus, in reality to have some time to


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herself for quiet thought over the one question that filled her mind—how to escape from this rock prison. Daily did it seem more oppressive. Even the hours she spent out of doors could not reconcile her to the cave dwellings, the dark rock streets, and worse than all, the constant espionage to which she was subjected. Since her last walk with Hansen, when they ascended the monolith, she had been condemned in her excursions to the company of Kapoc and Ishtal, and had never again found an opportunity for any private conversation with Eric. In those days she scarcely saw him except when he crossed the market-place in the train of Keorah, bent upon a hunting expedition, or at the public banquets seated beside that enchantress. No doubt he was improving his knowledge of Acan customs and records, and he was apparently not ill-pleased with the present conditions of his lot. Keorah certainly seemed happy and triumphant, and was too evidently learning how to flirt in English.

A once familiar sound broke the thread of Anne's sorrowful meditations. It was the aboriginal note of warning.

“Wirra! Wirra! Kolle mal. Missa Anne—Missa Anne!”

Anne lifted her head, and peered cautiously round the boulder, looking to right and left. No one was in sight upon the terrace, but close to her, in the breach where a stone had been broken out of the wall, she saw Kombo's black face and glittering eyes. The boy was trembling with excitement. There was an ominous note in his voice; and indeed the ejaculation “Wirra! Wirra!” which is “Bad! Bad” in the native tongue, meant ill-tidings.

“Tsch'k! Tsch'k! Mine look out plenty long time for you. Mine frightened long-a red man. Ee-oogh!” Kombo cast an apprehensive glance at Aak. “Ibbui-bita-wanga! Ba'al mine see Mirrein (the Tortoise) sit down there. You believe that one big Debil-debil no hurt Kombo?”




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“That one have big fellow sleep—no look out long-a Kombo,” replied Anne re-assuringly. “You come sit down close-up long-a me, and tell me what you got to say.”

Kombo glanced rapidly round to make sure that he was unobserved, and vaulted like lightning over the wall, precipitating himself in the shadow at Anne's feet.

“Plenty mine frightened long-a Red Man,” said he. “That fellow always take waddy to Kombo. Ba'al mine want-im stop long-a Red Man. Nalla yan burra burri (Let us go away quickly), Missa Anne. To-day I go look out road inside of mountain. I find-im hole close-up river where that fellow make big noise, and fight long-a rocks. Big fellow rock go up, big fellow water go down.” Such was Kombo's description of the rapids and impassable water-way. “I find-im road—all dark—būjeri road, come out other side of mountain; plenty big for yarraman to come through. Missa Anne! …” Kombo dropped his voice mysteriously, his eyes and his whole countenance teeming with news—evidently great news, which his dramatic instinct bade him work up to a climax. “Missa Anne!” he whispered, “Mine been go long-a road. Mine been come out other side of mountain. Mine been look about; mine been see—yarraman!” (horses).

“Yarraman!” Anne exclaimed, fully alive to the importance of the information. “Do you mean white man's yarraman, Kombo? Not brumby?” (wild horse).

“Ba'al that one brumby, Missa Anne,” replied Kombo. “That one yarraman belonging to white man; yarraman belonging to Murnian (black trooper). Plenty mine want-im marra (steal) that fellow yarraman, and plant-im long-a cave. Mine think by-'m-by, Kombo, Missa Anne, Massa Hansen—suppose that fellow no want-im stop long-a Red Mary—man-im yarraman; make-im track and altogether yan. Yai! You pidney!” And Kombo gave the black's expressive gesture that signifies “Do you understand?”

Anne was deeply disturbed.




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“What for you no man-im yarraman to-day, and plant-im long-a cave?” she asked, restraining her impatience so that Kombo might tell his tale in his own way, by which she knew that she would get at particulars all the sooner.

“Murnian been look out,” replied Kombo laconically. “I been see two fellow Murnian in camp belonging to white man.”

“You been see white man?” queried Anne, her heart bounding against her chest in the anxiety she felt.

“Yo-ai (yes). Mine been see white man. Mine been see Massa Bedo.”

The bolt had fallen. It seemed to Anne that she had known all along what Kombo had now come to tell her. Elias Bedo was encamped outside the Tortoise Mountain. Sooner or later he would be discovered by the red men, and brought into the Heart of Aak, where he would most assuredly be confronted with his runaway wife.

“You been see Massa Bedo?” she repeated dully.

“Yo-ai,” returned the black, and Anne added—

“You been let Massa Bedo see you?”

“Bal!” retorted Kombo contemptuously. “Ba'al mine let-im Massa Bedo know where Kombo sit down. Massa Hansen, he say, ‘Kombo, you one big dam fool.’ Ba'al mine one big dam fool. Plenty mine look out inside kobra (head) belonging to me. Mine think inside kobra.” Kombo tapped his forehead. “By-'m-by, when Massa Bedo go to sleep, Murnian lie down and go to sleep too. Then mine marra (steal) yarraman, mine swim across river and plant-im long-a cave. Yai! You pidney!”

“Yo-ai,” assented Anne, but there was a hopeless note in her voice. It would not be so easy, she thought, to catch black troopers asleep, and to steal horses and conceal them in a cave. “Oh! Kombo,” she cried, “Mine plenty frightened. What are we to do?”

“Yan!” promptly answered Kombo. “Mine see


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about that. What for you jerrun?” (afraid). The boy roughly tried to console his mistress, seeing that she was discouraged, heartsore, and well-nigh broken in spirit. He stroked her sandalled feet with his black hands. “Missa Anne, I b'lieve Kombo one good fellow boy. Mine no one big fool. I believe that big fellow Red Mary make fool of Massa Hansen.”

Anne winced at Kombo's blunt summing up of the situation, but she said nothing. It might indeed be true that Keorah was making a fool of Hansen. Kombo went on, his face brightening—

“You see—mine no let Massa Bedo catch Missa Anne. What for run away from steamer? What for stop long-a Maianbars, suppose all no good, and Massa Bedo catch Missa Anne? I b'lieve that fellow cobbon woolla (very angry) long-a Missa Anne. I b'lieve that fellow take waddy, mumkull (kill) Missa Anne, and put Kombo long-a gaol. Ba'al mine let him do that.”

Anne nodded sadly. She felt it was not unlikely that Elias Bedo would beat her and perhaps kill her if he got her into his power, especially if it happened that he was plied with the strong drink of the Acans. He had beaten her before when he was drunk, and several times on board the steamer he had threatened to shoot her if he could only get her alone in the bush. Here, far from the law's jurisdiction, there would be nothing to prevent him from working his will upon her.

“Kombo,” she said desperately, “Ba'al mine know what to do. How can you? No time—no horses. Suppose to-morrow Red Man find Massa Bedo, that fellow say, ‘this wife belonging to me.’ Then Red Man plenty coolla. Red Man no believe any more that Yuro Kateena one big queen,—sister belonging to Mormodelik. No believe any more that Yuro Kateena pialla big debil-debil Mirrein,—Aak.” She pointed to the Tortoise-god which lay immovable in the sand. “Red Man take away this”—she lifted a fold of her Zuhua Kak's mantle; “take away fire-stone,”—she touched the opal on her forehead,—“and send away


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poor fellow me, outside of mountain long-a Massa Bedo.”

Kombo knocked his head upon the sand, and muttered mournfully, “Wirra-wirra! (bad! bad!) Red Men altogether like-it Būli. Mine want-im run away from red men, same as run away from Būli. Mine know what to do,” he went on more cheerfully. “You no fear. You believe mine look after you. Mine know how to get yarraman—you see. Suppose Massa Hansen want to stop long-a big Red Mary, all right. Me brother belonging to Missa Anne. Me no one big dam fool.”

Kombo chuckled malignly. He had his human weaknesses. Never in his inner consciousness—his kobra, as he would have put it—had he quite reconciled himself to Hansen's domination. There was always in him a lurking notion that he himself would have managed much better for Anne than to lead her into this devil-haunted region. Only weariness of Unda's savage charms, and dread lest he should be eaten by Multuggerah the king had caused him to fly from the Maianbars' camp. Often since, it had seemed to him that he was fallen between the devil and the deep sea. The Crocodile, Mirrein—or Aak—and the Red Men representing debil-debil, and Multuggerah the deep sea. His hide was sore from flagellations administered by Acan men, and his self love wounded by the snubbings he had received from Acan women. That a Red Mary would ever permit him to make love to her he had proved an illusive hope. And, man-like, he resented the fact that Hansen had secured to himself the biggest, the most beautiful, and the wealthiest of the Red Maries, while he, Kombo, was scornfully denied the favour of her waiting maid. Not only, too, was he flouted by Red Maries and beaten by their men-kind, but the booth-keepers, having suffered from his thieving propensities, had also risen up against him, so that in the entire Heart of Aak there was now small joy for Kombo beyond the legitimate satisfaction of his appetite


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by the food provided for him, and this was thrown at him as though he had been a pariah dog. The red race had a rooted prejudice against the barbarians of the bush, founded upon ancient dealings with the Maianbar tribe; and although Kombo was the specially commissioned servant of the High-Priestess, he had not succeeded in making himself popular with the Acans. Consequently, he had already determined to quit the place as soon as he possibly could, and was delighted at the prospect of having Anne to himself again, shrewdly suspecting that Hansen would be loth to leave either Keorah, or the hieroglyphics that entranced him, at a moment's notice.

Kombo was nothing if not dramatic. He did not immediately unfold his scheme, but point by point told the story of that day's doings in his queer mixture of pidgin-English and blacks' language, which would have been almost unintelligible to an outsider.

First he had essayed a passage that in his wanderings he had discovered through the wall of rock encircling the earth-basin wherein the Acans had their farms and gardens. This was a tunnel piercing the cliff diagonally and giving upon the alluvial tract beyond the rapids and the breach in the wall where the river widened and shallowed on its way westward. But Kombo found that this alluvial belt was bounded on one side by a continuation of the ridge-wall, on the other, where he stood, by, as it were, a second line of fortification—another mighty wall of rock cutting down from the higher level at the head of the Valley of Desolation by which the wanderers had entered the Heart of Aak. As may often be seen in Australia, an enormous slice seemed to have been cut out of the land below the Tortoise hump, leaving a V-shaped, flat-bottomed gorge like the end of a long flat trough with unscaleable sides and no visible end. That was how Anne pictured the place from Kombo's description, after its own queer fashion, sufficiently graphic.

The black boy's idea had been that he would round


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the Tortoise mountain and see what possibilities for escape the country offered by heading the range and striking southward. So he had clambered up in the angle of the gorge, and had finally come upon an opening in the rock at the head of a slanting fissure encumbered with stones, but still practicable for a man, and even for a sure-footed beast. He had gone into the hole, which was high enough for him to stand upright inside, and there found another tunnel. Indeed, this whole mountainous region seemed burrowed with caverns and passages, and Anne wondered, as she listened, whether the Great Builders of Acan tradition had made them all, or if some, at least, were due to the action of internal forces. Kombo could not enlighten her on this point. He could only describe how he had walked along the tunnel, which inclined upward, and in parts was cut in steps making a subterranean stairway. He explained that he had been “plenty frightened lest he should altogether lose-im road,” but this underground way seemed to be both shorter and straighter than that by which the Red Men had led the travellers into the City of Refuge, and Kombo had eventually found daylight beneath the stone carapace of the Tortoise mountain, not very far from the original entrance. A desire for mogra (fish) had now seized Kombo, as he remembered the muddy pool in which he had caught the craw-fish of that delicious repast which had been followed by the arrival of the Red Men. He was making for the bit of scrub and the stream meandering through it, when he heard the clank of hobbles, and saw at a little distance, three horses grazing. He recognised the brands of the horses, and knew that they belonged to the company of native police commanded by Captain Cunninghame. At this point, Kombo squirmed on the ground at Anne's feet, speaking in a hoarse whisper, and illustrating his tale with appropriate gestures, as he told how in breathless excitement he had crawled noiselessly, “like-it snake,” among the rocks and undergrowth, and had presently


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sighted a white man's camp. There, engaged on their mid-day meal, he had seen two of the black troopers and Elias Bedo.

“Massa Bedo smoke and talk long-a Murnian. One fellow policeman very good tracker, and that one tell Massa Bedo he find track long-side of mountain. Mine think ba'al that fellow been see hole where Red Men come out. I believe only make camp yesterday. That one policeman find fire-stick and shell belonging to crab. He find, too, one billy that mine been forget when Red Man made me plenty frightened. That one Murnian tell Massa Bedo white man make-it camp like-it that place. He say very soon track white Missus. Then Massa Bedo jump up, and go look out camp. My word! He plenty swear! Mine stop little while till camp altogether quiet. S'st! S'st! Ba'al mine make a noise. Mine crawl close-up fire; mine see billy where tea sit down. My word! That būjeri tea! Mine been think, suppose pituri long-a tea, then Massa Bedo and Murnian drink when come back and sleep—altogether like-it that fellow bong. Massa Hansen no say Kombo one big fool that time!” The boy laughed impishly. “Mine been take out bag, and put pituri long-a tea. Then mine jump up and yan quick long-a hole. Mine want to tell Missa Anne to look out,—Massa Bedo close-up. No time to lose. I believe one day—two day—that fellow find out where Red Man sit down.”

Yes, there was no doubt that Elias Bedo had tracked his quarry to the lair. Anne sat overwhelmed, staring in a dazed manner at the huge shell of Aak, as he lay in the sand. She had not taken in the import of Kombo's operations at the camp fire, and even felt a dull irritation at the triumphant gleam in the black boy's eyes, as, his first terror gone, he went back in thought to what he had achieved. Anne could not realise that the native's quick wits had already conceived and partly executed a plan of escape. She herself could see nothing but disaster hemming them on every side. For a day or two, as Kombo pointed out,


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Elias Bedo would certainly be discovered by the Red Men. It remained a question how the Acans would receive the stranger; but from their peaceful proclivities it might be supposed that they would greet him without enmity, and listen to his story, which would now be more easy of comprehension by the Acans from the knowledge of English acquired by Keorah and Ishtal. Alas! what in this case would be her own and Hansen's fate? Anne shudderingly recollected Semaara's dark hints concerning the Door of Death.

“Kombo! Oh, what shall we do?” she said again in hapless consternation. The black boy gave the same answer as before.

“Man-im horse and yan. Look here, Missa Anne, mine been tell you, mine been put-in pituri long-a tea!”

“Pituri!” said Anne vaguely. It was the first she had heard of Kombo's find among the ridges near Gunīda Ulāla.

“Yo-ai,” said Kombo. “Mine been find-im close-up Tortoise Mountain. Ba'al mine been eat-im pituri, because that fellow make black-fellow plenty sleep—altogether stupid.

It argued force of character on Kombo's part that he had understood the temptation. No doubt, he had feared the consequences of giving himself up in a drugged condition to the tender mercies of the Acans; probably also in this land of cakes and ale the desire for that potent drug—a stimulant in small quantities, a powerful narcotic when freely taken—had been less insistant than when he had been enduring the hardships of the bush. Seeing that still she did not quite understand, the black boy opened his Acan jerkin and showed her lying upon his chest, which was most hideously wealed, a little bag that he had made himself out of opossum fur,—the kind of bag that is recognised at once among aboriginal tribes as containing the precious pituri, and the possession of which ensures safety to its bearer, no matter how hostile the people among whom he travels. He loosened the string of plaited grass by which the bag hung from his


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neck, and showed her a small lump of greyish-black dough,—pituri which had been prepared with ashes of the gidya tree, and chewed into a thick paste after the manner of the blacks.

Anne knew that the plant, extremely rare, for it grows only in a certain soil, is so highly prized among Australian natives, that sometimes messengers carry it for hundreds of miles, bartering it for food, weapons, and various valuable commodities. She began to understand Kombo's scheme. Now she grasped the black boy's hand, and patted it, saying—

“Būjeri you, Kombo! Plenty you brother belonging to me.”

“You see, Missa Anne, that all right now,” the boy cried, exultingly. “No fear! Pituri like-it debil-debil—no can wake up. You pidney? Mine go quick now long-a camp. While Massa Bedo and Murnian fast asleep, mine take saddle, bridle, swag. Mine put-im long-a yarraman. Mine drive three fellow yarraman inside mountain. Mine plant-im long-a cave—put plenty stone outside door—make-im fence, so no can run away. That take long time. I believe then sun jump up. Mine come back—look-out a ration and hide long-a cave. When Red Man no see, I catch little fellow iguana. Mine want-im take plenty cake; plenty corn; plenty tucker. By-'m-by, moon look out of sky—little fellow moon; mine come up long-a verandah; Missa Anne look out all ready. Missa Anne bring baby gun, and suppose Red Man saucy, Missa shoot. But I believe Red Man all sleep like Massa Bedo. Mine show Missa Anne where cave sit down; then man-im yarraman and make track long-a big water, where Red Man no can find.”

Such was Kombo's plan of campaign. It seemed practical, and was certainly ingenious. Once on horse-back, they might consider themselves free; the great difficulty in the enterprise had been got over by Kombo's cunning use of the pituri—that was, if Elias Bedo and the troopers had drunk of the drugged tea,


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and if the drug had duly taken effect, so that they were in a sleep deep for a time as that of death—as Kombo had put it, “altogether like-it bong.” But there was a chance that they might not drink the drugged tea—that the pituri might not act as was intended. Then—what if a rifle shot should act as was not intended—put an end to Kombo's daring scheme—perhaps to himself?

“Kombo,” said Anne, “ba'al you frightened that Massa Bedo wake up?”

“Yo-ai, Missa Anne. Plenty mine frightened suppose Massa Bedo wake up. I believe that fellow shoot Kombo. But mine no frightened when Massa Bedo drunk long-a pituri. Mine look out first. I believe Massa no wake up till sun walk long way. Then he feel bad like-it kobra; he no want to get up. By-'m-by he look out yarraman. No find! Suppose no yarraman, no can ride. Missa Anne get good start. Kombo and Missa Anne long way in the bush. Red Mary no good; mine no like-it Red Man; mine no like-it that one big god. Mine think debil-debil sit down inside. Mine like best Missa Anne pialla Mormodelik; sing song to Baiamè; and say prayer like-it white man.” Kombo rose from his crouching posture, stretched himself against the boulder, while after one apprehensive glance at the slumbering Aak, he gazed yearningly out over the wall of their mountain prison. Anne's breast throbbed too with the passion for liberty. Oh! to think that in two days they might be riding through gum-forest along the banks of the river, down towards the Gulf and Burke-town and ships and civilisation. She could scarcely believe in the possibility of such joy. Yet if Kombo could only contrive to secrete the horses and all went well with their scheme, it was more than possible.

She was longing to see Hansen and to tell him the news, and her mind was working with the thought of how she could manage to get some words with him in private. There was not in her mind, as in Kombo's, any idea of


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leaving Hansen behind. She got up, telling Kombo that she must go back to the nuns' house at once, and bade him be off and do his work well, giving him some parting injunctions as to the need for caution. The boy vaulted like a kangaroo over the low wall, and she retraced her steps to the temple, where Ishtal and another of the priestesses were waiting.

Anne desired that the Virgins would remain until Aak saw fit to bestir himself, saying that she would walk back by the market-place alone. Ishtal remonstrated. “It was not well that the Zuhua Kak should be seen in the city unattended,” and she was preparing to follow, but Anne haughtily waved her back in a way that brooked no denial, and passing through the door of Aak's sanctuary went down the long aisle of the temple and out into the rock street.

It was in this street, a little higher up, that Hansen had his lodging. In Anne's mind during all the latter part of her interview with Kombo there had been one dominant thought—how should she inform Eric of what had happened, and of their proposed flight? Kombo had suggested that he should not be told, had more than suggested that he would desire to remain with Keorah. Anne's heart sank like lead as she realised the possibility of this. Well, if he preferred what she considered slavery with Keorah to freedom with herself, so let it be, but at least he should have the chance of making a choice, and she resolved at all risks to give it him. Whatever might be his personal inclination in the matter, she knew that he would never betray them, and that he would help them to the best of his power. See him, therefore, she must without delay. So close was Keorah's watch upon him that there was danger as well as difficulty in the attempt, but she determined to make it, and that at once. She could not sleep knowing that he was in ignorance of the events of the day.

So, emerging from the temple, Anne mounted the narrow way, which at this hour was unfrequented and dim in the gathering dusk. She had a faint hope that


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chance might befriend her, and give her a sight of Eric. In this she was not disappointed. Her quick eyes perceived him before he saw her, standing on the rock steps which led to his cave dwelling. He was alone, and had evidently just returned from the chase, for his gun was in his hand—that wondrous weapon which was the envy of Hotan, and the terror and delight of the Acan huntsman. He started at the sound of Anne's low ‘Coo-ee’ uttered timorously, scarcely above her breath, and seeing the small figure in its feather-trimmed mantle of deep rose, that looked almost black in the evening light, he stepped briskly forward and saluted her. But she made a movement enjoining reticence, and walking quickly past, gave him a furtive sign to follow her.

The street was a cul de sac, and at the end of it shelved inward, making a recess, in the dimness of which they might exchange a few words secure, comparatively speaking, from observation. Anne went towards this spot, and drawing close into the shadow of the cliff, waited for him to join her. He sauntered leisurely along, making a feint of turning up a narrow alley which connected the street with one parallel to it, then gliding swiftly beneath the rock, was at her side.

Her mantle was partly drawn over her face; he could only see her dark eyes shining with excitement.

“What is it?” he whispered. “Do you want to speak to me?”

“Yes,” she answered shortly; “I have something very important to tell you, but I can't say it here. I am afraid that I may be watched. I left Ishtal in the temple behind, but she will certainly follow me if she dares. She is always at my elbow. I want to say that you must—.” She stopped suddenly, and her dark eyes avoided his. He was not sure whether the rosy red that flashed upon her cheeks where the mantle was drawn aside, was due to the reflection of the rose-coloured garment, or to a red gleam of the dying sun piercing the narrow opening of the street; or—could


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it be—to some hesitation in herself? But it was not like his little comrade to be deterred by conventional considerations. “I will do anything you wish,” he said hastily. “Only tell me what it is.”

She went on with an effort. “You must come to my rooms this evening—when it is quite dark, and the nuns have left me. I can't ask you to come openly, for that is against the rules, as you know, and there would be a fuss. I think you could climb the balcony. You—” She was going to say, “You have climbed the adjoining one,” remembering the occasion when he had lighted Keorah's lamp; but she hesitated again. He caught her up, perhaps reading her thoughts.

“Yes, yes, it is quite easy. I will manage it,—about ten o'clock. Will that do?”

“Thank you. I will be waiting. Now I mustn't stop. As it is, I am breaking rules by walking alone. But I must see you, and that's the only plan I can think of. Don't let anything prevent it. Every chance of escape—every hope—at least for me—hinges upon it. Be sure that you come.”

She clasped tightly on her breast the slight nervous hands which held together the folds of her mantle, and looked up at him, her large eyes bright with—he could hardly tell what. Never had he seen fear in Anne's eyes, yet now something like it seemed to look out from them, and appealed to his heart.

“Of course I will come, Chummy,” he said, and a sudden longing came over him to put his own hand upon those nervously clasped ones, but she made a warning sign. A stealthy footfall sounded in the street a few paces from them, and a dark shrouded form disappeared up the side alley.

“I must go,” she said. “To-night I shall expect you. Take care you are not followed. Look behind you; watch your own footsteps. Eric! We have been through a good deal of danger together—though in some ways it has seemed to us like a holiday trip—but we have never been in so great danger as now.”




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She turned. One upward flash of her eyes, and she was gone, the small form in its heavy mantle vanishing silently into the darkness of the rock street, for the afterglow was wiped out, and night had set in.

Hansen stood still, troubled and anxious. He already knew two Annes—the cheery comrade of his adventurous journey, the queenly and resourceful priestess, but this was a new Anne whom he did not know. She had sometimes seemed to him tantalisingly devoid of womanly weakness, and its consequent charm. Now, though loyal, courageous and enduring as ever, there was that about her that, while thrilling his pulses in human fashion, deeply stirred his inner being. He made a movement to follow her, but checked himself. She had bidden him be cautious. He peered out of the recess, making sure that the upper part of the street was empty, then he walked down the intervening space, and quietly entered his cave-lodging.

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