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ava espied his quarry. The fact that
O'Rourke was dining with one eye
on ine clock and in a dust-proof, dust
colored suit of drill, was enough to
disturb seriously the poise of the Eng
Exasperation stirred in O'Rourke.
He eyed the youngman rather morose
ly throughout the balance of his meal,
a purpose farming in his mind and
attaining the stature of a definite plan
of action without opposition from the
dictates of prudence. And at length
swallowing his coffee and feeing his
servitor, he rose, crossed the room
with a firm tread, and came to a full
stop at the Honorable Mr. Glynn's ta
Momentarily he held his tongue,
staring down at the young man while
drumming on the marble with the fin
gers of one hand. Then Glynn, glanc
ing up in a state of somewhat panic
stricken rnquiry which strove vainly
to seem insouciant, met the level
stare of the adventurer and noticed
the tense lines of his lips.
"I-I say," he floundered, "what's
the matter with you, anyway? Can't
you leave me a-lone?"
"I've been thinking," said O'Rourke
crisply, disregarding the other's re
mark entirely, "that lt might be of in
terest to ye to save ye a bit of bother
ation to know that I'm going up to
Biskra by tonight's train. It leaves in
ten minutes, so I'll have to forego the
pleasure of your society on the trip."
Glynn got a grip on himself and
pulh d together the elements of his
manhood. He managed to infuse blank
insolence into his stare, and said
' Ow?" with that singularly madtlening
.nflection of which the Englishman
alone is master; as who should say:
"Why the dccce d'you annoy UH with
your bally plans?"
"Don't relieve I know you, do I?"
"I don't believe ye do, me lad."
"Can't say I wish to very badly,
"I believe that," O'Rourke chuckled
The meaning In his tone sent the
blood into the young man's face, a
fiery flood of resentment.
"Oh, I'm not afraid of you, y'know,"
he said, bristling. "Of course you're
not going to Biskra, or you wouldn't
tell me so. But If you do, I shall make
lt my business to find out and follow
by the next train-bringing Des
Trebes with me."
"Oh, will ye so? Ye mean to warn
me he's in Algeria, too?"
"His boat's due now; I'm expecting
him at any moment, if you wish to
know." O'Rourke's smiling contempt
was angering the young man and ren
dering him reckless. "You'll be glad
to know you've made a dem' ass of
yourself-if you really are going to
"Praise from Sir Hubert-"
"Oh. dcn't you think I mind giving
you a twelve-hour start; you ?fton't
gain anything by it. Y'see I know
where you're going, and I know it's
n6t there. If you'll take a fool's ad
vice, you'll turn back now. You'll
come br ck empty-handed anyway. I
don't mi?'d telling you that we mean
to have ihat ruby, Des Trebes and I,
and we know where it is. You're only
taking needless trouble by interfer
Truth was speaking from the bottom
of the absinthe tumbler. O'Rourke's
brows went up and he whistled noise
lessly, for he realized that at least
Glynn believed what he was admit
ting "So that's the way of it. eh?
I admire your candor, me boy; but be
careful and not go too far with lt
'Twill likely prove disastrous to ye,
I'm fearing. . . . But tit-for-tat;
ye've made me a handsome present
according to your lights, of what ye
most aptly term a fool's advice, and
'Us meself who'll not be outdone at
that game. For yourself, then, take
warning from the experience of one
who's seen a blt more of this side of
the earth than most men'have, and
-don't let Des Trebes know ye've
talked so freely. He's a bad-tempered
port and . . . But I'm obliged to
ye and I bid ye a good evening."
South of Biskra there ls always
trouble to be had for the seeking;
south of Briska there is never peace.
A guerilla warfare ls waged peren
nially between the lords of the desert,
the Touaregg on the one hand, and
the advance agents of civilization, as
personified by the reckless French
Condemned Corps and the Foreign Le
gion on the other. Year after year
military expeditions set- out from the
oasis of Biskra to penetrate the wil
derness, either by caravan route to
Timbuctoo or along the proposed
route of the Trans-Saharan Railway
to Lake Tchad; and their lines of
march are traced-- m red upon the
Toward this debatable land O'Rourke
set hir "ace with a will, gladly; for
he loved it. He had fought over it
of old; in his memory its sands were
sanctified with the blood of comrades,
men by whose side he had been proud
to fight, men of his own stamp wh
friendship he had hcen proud to o
Mentally serene, if physically the
verse of comfortable, O'R^urke do
through the interminable twe
hours of the journey to El-Guerr
arriving at which place after eight
following morning, he transferred b
self and his hand-bags (for now
was traveling light) to the connect
train on the Biskra branch. The
ter, scheduled to reach the oasis
four-thirty in the afternoon, loafed :
ually up the line, arriving at the te
inus after dark.^
The Irishman, thoroughly fag?
but complacent in tho knowledge t
he had left both vicomte and hor
able a day behind him, kept him:
from bed by main wi'l-power for h
the night, while he made the rour
of cafes and dance halls, in search
a trustworthy and competent guide
no easy thing to find.
The French force by then was thi
days out from the oasis, and no dot
since lt was technically a "flying c
umn," calculated to move briskly fr<
point to point in imitation of Tou?
egg tactics, hourly putting a greal
distance between itself and its sta
lng point. Moreover, the pursuit cc
templated by the adventurer was o
attended by no inconsiderable peri
By dint of indomitable persister
unflagging good-nature and such i
fluence as he could bring personal
to bear upon the authorities, O'Kour]
got what he desired-a compete
guide and two racing camels, or rx
hera, with a pack animal that wou
serve their purpose.
By dawn they were ready to star
and so, in the level rays of a sun th
seemed a dazzling sphere of intole
able light, poising itself in the eastaj
rim of the world as if undecid?
whether or no to take up its fligl
across the firmament, the little car
van rocked out' into the fastness i
the desert, the Irishman in the VJ
sitting a blooded meharl as one to tl
On the seventh night they bivouac
ed hard on the heels cf the flying cc
umn, having for seven days pursue
lt this way and that, zigzagging int
the heart of the parched land.
Now, when they were come withl
six hours of their goal, reluctantl
long after nightfall, O'Rourke gat
consent to halt, conceding the n
cessity; for weariness weighed upc
their should?rs a great burden, an
the camels had become unusually su
len and evil tempered; If rest wei
denied them presently they woul
become obstinate and refuse to folio
O'Rourke closed his eyes and lo?
consciousness with a sensation of fal
lng headlong into a great pit of ol
llvion, bottomless, eternal. Yet
ceemed no more than a moment er
he was sitting up and rubbing sigt
into his eyes, shaken out of slumbc
by his guide.
He stumbled to his feet and lurche
toward the camels, still but hal
awake. "When his senses cleared ii
ritation possessed him. His guide ha
been overzealous. He Urned upon th
man and seized him roughly by th
"What the divv'?!" he grumbled ai
grily, between a j ^wn and a chatte
of teeth-for the air wa.s bitter cold
"The moon's not yet up!"
"Hush. Sidi!" Something in th
guide's tone stilled his wrath. "Th
Touaregg are all about us. They havi
been passing us throughout th
"Ye knew this and did not wak
"There was no need; we could no
have moved ere this without detection
Now, they are all a-stlr, and we li
the night, may pass for them-unti
The guide turned away to rouse th?
mehara, prodding them up, mutinous
snarling and ugly. In another five
minutes they were again moving for
ward. By the time the silver rim ol
the moon peered over the edge of th?
east they were pelting on at full speed
as yet, apparently, undetected by the
An hour passed, and the chill In th?
air became more intense; dawn was
at hand. A sense of security, of dan
Ho Had Found Chambret
gers left behind, came to the Irish
man; he began to breathe more free
ly, though still the polished butt of a
repeating rifle swinging from the sad
dle remained a comfort to his palm.
He grew more confident, mentally at
ease, seeing the desert take shape1
in the moonlight and show itself deso
late on every hand.
Even as he gained assurance from
this thought, the guide turned in his
saddle and cried a warning: "TheTou
aregg!" From that moment on both
wielded merciless whips. For out of
the moonlit wastes behind them had
shrilled a voice, cruel and wild, an
nouncing discovery and the inception
of the chase. The fugitives had need
of no sharper spur.
A rifle shot rang sharp on the echoes
of that cry, but the bullet must have
fallen far short. A moment later, in
deed, they opened a brisk, scattering
fire-naturally ineffectual, though the
bullets dropping right and left in the
sand proved that the chase had got
Even with that warning, the end
was nearer than he had dreamed or
hoped. It came in a twinkling and as
unexpected as a bolt out of a clear
sky: a flash of fire ahead, a spitful
snap and-pttt!-the song of a bullet
speeding past his head.
The guide pulled up with a Jerk.
O'Rourke, reining in desperately,
swung bis camel wide to avert the
threatened collision. Simultaneously
the sharp "Qui vive?" of a French
sentry rang out, loud and sweet to
"Thank God!" said the adventurer
In his heart. And aloud, "Friends!"
he cried, driving past the sentry in a
cloud of dust
By a blessed miracle the man was
quick of wit, and swift to grasp the
situation-of which, however, he
must have had some warning from
the rattle of firing. He screamed
something in O'Rourke's ear as the
latter passed, and turning threw him
self flat and began to pump the trig
ger of his carbine, emptying the maga
zine at the on-sweeping line of Tou
The alarm waa hardly needed;
O'Rourke and the guide swept on
over the slip of a depression in the
desert and halted in the midst of a
camp already quickened and alive
with shadowy figures running method
ically to their posts, carbine and ac
coutrement gleaming in the moon
light: men of the camel crops, hard
ened to and familiar with their work.
They buckled down to it in a busi
ness-like way that thrilled the heart
of O'Rourke. In a trice they were
doubling out past lines of tethered
mehara, past the white' hillocks of
the officers' shelter-tents and, like the
sentry, throwing themselves down
upon the ground to take sheller of
whatever Inequalities the faxse oTtfce'
desert offered; and their firing ringed
the bivouac with a fringe of flame.
O'Rourke slipped from his camel
and turned to watch the skirmish.
Massed, the Touaregg, in strength
greater than the adventurer had be
lieved-something like two hundred
mounted men, in all-charged down
upon the camp as if to over-run and
Yet at the critical moment, when
it seemed that of a surety there was
no stopping them, they divided and
swung round the camp In two wide
circles, scattering into open order and
firing as they scattered. Here and
there a horse fell, a rider threw out
his hands and toppled from his sad
dle, a camel seemed to buckle at full
tilt like a faulty piece of machinery;
and so gaps appeared in the flying
For the men of the flying column
were picked shots. They had need to
be, who had such tasks as this to cope
Nor-for that matter-were the Tou
aregg the only sufferers. Here and
there in the camp a man plunged for
ward in mid-stride, and on the firing
lino beyond the tents now and again
a sharpshooter shuddered and lay still
upon his arms. Even at O'Rourke's
side an officer was shot as he ran to
the front, and would have fallen had
not the Irishman caught him with
ready arms and let him easily to the
earth. As he did so the stricken man
rolled an agonized eye upward.
"O'Rourke!" he said between a
groan and a sigh.
And O'Rourke, kneeling at his side
and peering Into his face, gave a bit
ter cry. For he had found Chambret
Preparations for breakfast- were to
ward; an aroma of coffee and bacon
hung In the still, crisp air. The troop
ers were bustling about as if noth
ing had happened, laughing and jok
ing, cleaning rifles, feeding the me
hara, striking tents, drawing water
from the palm-ringed . well round
which the camp had been made. ?
? Out of sight beyond the edge' of the
sunken oasis a detachment 'wa? dig
ging shallow trenches for the dead.
In the open Chambret lay dying, a
stark grim figure in the growing
light. O'Rourke sat by his sida, near
the head of the improvised litter, el
bow in knee, chin in hand,, eyes fixed
on the face of his friend.
Just before sunrise the man on the
litter stirred, moaned, opened his eyes
and turned his head to see O'Rourke.
He smiled wanly. "Mon ami," he said
in tones fafnt yet thick.
The Irishman rose. "Don't'talk,"
said he. "I'll be calling the surgeon."
But Chambret stayed him with a
gesture. "Has he not told you, dear
friend?" he asked.
(Continued on Next Page)
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