Chapter 65584112

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Chapter NumberXXX.
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1883-07-10
Page Number0
Word Count1826
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleKerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (Vic. : 1877 - 1889)
Trove TitleAdventures of Three Young Ladies
article text ADVENTURES'OF THREE YOUNG LADIES -0 CHAPTER Xx. At this critical moment when if Edith had preserved her senses sne might have supported the view of the worthy Mrs Bacon, one of th gu dians of the harem fi-ed a shot. e The bullet whistled close past the girl's ear and she fainted dead off. With a low but savage cry that has done no discredit to a she-tiger, the captain fled carrying with him the, to him, dearest treas sure the world contained. He wrecked not which way he took, cared not in what direction he fled, only knew that behind was death and wae, in the front liberty and love, linBut with all the devotion in the world, it is impossible for any man to fly very far with a woman half fainting and dead in his arms. He suddenly drew up, exhausted and faint in a thicket on the banks of a small stream. Placing Edith on the ground under a tree. he sprinkled water on her face, and soon revived her sinking frame. She sat up and looked wildly around. Consciousness came to her rapidly enough but not the memory of what had occured. 'What has happened.' she said faintly, look ing around in the dim half gloaming. We have escaped,' he began. 'Take me back,' was her.half hysterical, half efiant reply. 'This is not generious. Where are my friends. 'But Edith-Miss Montague, I should say if you will listen to me, you will understand hat I have actol for the best,' he said depro datingly, 'I will listen,' was her chilly response. He told her. 'I did not wish to leave,' she added with a shudder. 'I know it was wrong; I w::, ver persuaded. Can you take me back. '" can; the road is not far. And if I have of fended you, at all events, it will be so tmuch the better if I am slain.' he said snoodly. 'Not offended me-no; but I should like to be with my friends,' she.added. 'Edith MIontague,'he said, proudly, and al. most fiercely, 'you are alone with me here in the deserts of Africa, faraway from the haunts aofg'civilisation. unprotected by a mother's love and by the companionship of your own sex but s safe from suspicion as if you were a queen guarded by her steel-clad warriors. 'I know it,' was the more gentle reply, 'buh the situation is none the less unpleasant.' 'I know it. Select where yon will pass the night, and I will keep watch, I have my dagger and'pistol, and none will reach you except over my dead body. Edith looked up in the captain's face and said, etulantly 'In which case I shall have nobody to protect me. 'Edith, I am your slave your devoted and sworn knight,' said the captain. ,Command msi in all you wish. Shall I seat myself beside you under this tree.' -Yes,' she said shortly. For some moments, not a word more passed. Edith sat gazing on vacancy. The young captain gave full swing to his tumultuous thoughts. However little it might forward his interest he was happy in the society of the lady of his love under such romssantic-though, perhaps, fatally dangerous circumstances. All was silent and still, except that on the sandy plain in the dis!ance could be heard the occasional cry of the jackal. At this Edith started, 'You are alarmed,' he said, in an earnest, impassioned tone. Fear nothing. Am I not here?' 'Ido not fear,' she replied, with a shudder 'hbut how will it end. 'Heaven may help us,' he cried. 'If wo can only roeach the coast, a beat can be hired. Many of the fishermen would lend tus a boat for a few pounds, and then, Malta and Gib ralter once reached-' He paused. 'What then?' she innocently asked. 'A clorgyman would soon give me the right to guard your person and your name,' heo faý tered. 'Captain Thompson,' she cried, in a tone of real and angry amazement, 'what do you mean?' 'Edith, pardon me if I have been abrupt, un generous, unkind, but my love has overflowed' Ever since 1 thought I had lost you for ever my heart told me how wildly, how dearly, how passionately I loved you - 'Stop.' sho gasped in tones of mortal agony, 'This is what I feared-what I dreaded.' 'Oh, Edith, can it be true that I am hateful to you?' he said, in low, mournful tones, 'Nono. But now, while I am under your protection, when you should treat me as a brother, it is unkind-it is ungenious,' she cried, saying, in fact, she scarcely knew what in her anxious fear of an explanation,' it is 'Enough Miss Montague,' he interrupted 't will be neither unkind nor ungenerous,' and, as you express it; I will acnet the part of a brother.' 'Thank yon--thank youi'she anxiously re torted, her poor heart tossed hither and thither by conflicting emotions; 'I shall never forget your kindness.' Tha captain made no reply. He was bitterly hurt. This fear of him cut him to the voer soul. No man could be more honourable and, manly than this young soldier, and though he allowed mnch for the norvewsness of a m aiden cast upon the protection of a comparative stranger, under such peculiar circumstances. still he was galled and his pride touched: At some little distance was a low palm tree of the kind of the boughs of which swept the ground: The soldier had some time since discarded the flowing burnous which had enabled him to play the part of au Arab woman. 'You had better soak repose,' the' captain said quietly, almost coldly, after a while; 'under yondar palm tree you will be safe from the dews, and this cloak will preserve you from the damps of the ground.' 'But you?' she murmured; 'I am a soldier and it is my trade to keep watch and warJ,' he answered, taking her hand and leadinz hen towards the tree' 'Good night,' she said in a very low, besis tating tone. 'Good night,Miss Moon.agu,' he replied,'and turning, he took his post under the tree th-y had j.ust left. He was in that mood when men are ready to risk'their lives for the merest trifle, holding them to cheap to be valued. Had a tiger or a lion faced him at that moment be would have done battle with him 'I can see it all,' he said to himself. That infernal felliw, the moollab, has bewitched her. 'Pon my soul, it is very anoying to be cut out by'a chap like that. And he walked up and down. 'Ashurstdoes say he is a gentlioman, but hang it, he shows very false pretoances.' He thrust his hands into his pockets, and, to his great satisfac'ion, found a pips and some tobacco 'Ah!' he muttered with inteonse satisfaction, 'I shall not be quite so lonely es I thought. In his present moo', it was indeed a satis factorp discovery. He succeeded m lighting it. and soon found the soothing effect of the narcotic weed. After walking about for some time, he s ated himself onthe grass under the tree, and be. gan thinking in a more satisfied and composed manner, At last ho felt sleepy, and slumber over. coming him, sankwith closed eyes under the tree. It was daybreak when he awakened, went to the brook to sluice his face and hands, and then resumed his post, to await the pleasure of Miss Montogue. But she did not stir, Coughing rather loudly, he approached the spt wh-rteo she had lain theinight befpre, Ifiss Montogue" he cried, fthe hour is get ting late, and whatever we are about to do must be done ere the heat of the day.' No answer, 'By heaven!' he cried, 'she cannot sleep so soundly; besides yonder is my cloak.' He rushed in, oterror-stricken and alarmed, and found indeed the cloak where it had been used as a shelter by Edith, but no sign of the girl He cried aloud, he made earnest and frantic appeals to her, vowed his love over and over again, promised to be her slave until such time as she would favour his suit, and all in vain. 'What can have hnappenedi'he cried, when along and patient survey of the neighbourhood afforded him no cils to the absence of Edith; 'surely she cannot have fled to avoid one who loves the very ground she walks upon. But no it cannot he.' And he seated himself on the ground, in a vain attempt to think ourt the matter calmly. What had happened was very simple. Several times before he h6d fallen off to sleep, he had occasion to light up his pipe, end the action had excited the attention of a party camped at no great distan ce. It consisted of the slave dealer, Sir Thomas, the earl and their followers. They had left the capital of Morocco, and rode so for on their way to visit the hill-fort robber, of whom Suloiman had spoken. Having travelled as far as they thought fit, they had pitched a tent under a small cluster of date palms. Sir Thomas had retired to rest, but the earl restless always, induced the slavoedealer to join him in a smoke on the plain. While they were conversing, the earl several times noticed a faint light at no great distance under a clump of trees. 'Some fellow hiding,' he said at lnst. 'He had said his prayers,' replied Captain Suleiman, bluntly- Let us see what Knfir he his. And they walked in the direction of the clump, but they:saw no more light; in fact ere they started on their way, the captain had fallen off into a sound sleep. With nothing else to guard them, therefore no wonder their eyes fell upon the white burnous. Urged by curiosity, they advanced without a word. Both stood underneath the tree, just as a radiant burst of the moon fell upon the faeo of the sleeping girl. 'By heaven ?' gasped the earl; 'my affanced wife. 'The empres--elect of Morocco,' said the slave-dealer, coldoly, 'the chosen bride of his most serene highness the emperor.' 'What can it mean?' whispered the earl. 'Never mind, so that we secure the prize,' said the pirate. My cloak is thick and warm; besides, it is dark. I will rap her in it, and before she can make a cry.' With a dexterity born of long practice, the pirate cast aside the white burnous, and fling ing his own over the recumbent form,:raised it in his nervous and powerful arms. 'Follow, and make no noise,' he said; 'who knows whotmiay be about?' It thush ppened, that Edith awoke in the tent of Captain Suleiman. the corsia the pirate to find herself face to face wiih her gnardian Sir Thomas and her lover, the earl of Ravens bourne. (To be continued.)