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Burlington weekly free press. [volume] (Burlington, Vt.) 1866-1928, August 30, 1906, Image 10

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THE BURLINGTON FREEPRESS : THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 190t5.
A
The
B
Ml
'By RIDE'Il
Author of "S'ie," "King
CO PTRIGIIT, 1903-1901,
CHAPTEIl X.
OSAMt'ND iv:i led from the
hall of Ht"eph across the
meadow down to the tiimy t
Steeple eteek, where u groat
poAi wnlted. In fill the bund embark
Jed, plnvltiu tholr dead and wounded,
JWlth one or two to tend them, In tho
Jjushlng shift that had belonged to her
Jfathor. This skliT having been made
fast to tho stern ot the boat, they jitish
d off nnd In utter silence rowrd down
he creek till they rem lied tho tidal
Stream of the Blackwator. where they
turned their bow seaward. Through
Ihe thick night and the fulling Know
Slowly they felt their way along. The
journey proved dangerous, for they
rould Bcaively see the shore.
Tho end of It was that they grounded
on a mud bank and, do what they
would, could not thrust themselves
free. But at the full tide they iloated
off the bank ami drifted with the ebb
down toward iti p-n. At the first
break of dawn IVnaniiind looked up,
nnd there, loon'ng lar.'o In the mist,
lay n galley, anchored In fie mouth of
the river The baud brought her
iihonrd nnd le i her toward the rnbln.
On the poop s'nod a tall man who was
commanding Hi" -s'ltlovs that they
should fret mi Ihe anchor. Ai she ratne
lie advaneel to her. bowing ami say
ing: "Lady Rosamund, thus you find me
mice more, wh doubtless you never
thought to see again."
She looked at him in the faint light,
nnd her blood went coll. It was the
knight Lozelle.
"Where you are, there 1 am," be said,
with n sneer upon bis coarse, handsome
face.
"You here'" she said. "You. a Chris
linn knight, and in the pay of Saladin!1'
"In the pay of any one who leads mo
Jo you. Rosamund " Then, seeing the
rinlr Hassan approach, he turned to
jrlvo some orders to the sailors, and she
'jiassed on to the cabin and In her
ilgony fell upon her knees
When Rosamund rose from them she
felt that the ship was moving and, de
siring to look her List on Esex land,
,weut out again upon the poop, where
Hassan and Sir Hugh placed them
'solves, one upon either side of her.
tThen It was that she saw the tower of
1st. Petcr's-on-tho-Wall and her cousliw
,eeated on horseback In front of It. She
eaw Wulf spur his horse Into the sea
'and faintly heard his great cry of
"Fear not! "We follow! We follow'."
Now the wind caught the sail, and the
Ship went forward swiftly, so that ssoou
Bho lost sight of thpni. In her grief
end rage Rosamund turned upon Sir
(Hugh Lozelle and beat him with bitter
( words till he shrank before her. Then,
turning, she fled to the cabin and east
jlierself down and wept till i-ho thought
jUiat her heart would break.
Well might Itosamund weep, whoso
ibeloved sire wa.i slain, who was torn
I from her home to find herself In the
power of a man she hated. Yet there
iwas hope for hr. Hassan, eastern
trickster as he might be, was her
friend; nnd her uncle. Paladin, at least
would never wish that she should be
shamed.
Tho ship swayed; she grew sick and
faint. Hassan brought her food with
.Ills own hands, but she loathed It who
lonly desired to tile. The day turned to
night, the night turned to day again,
'and always Hassan brought her food
nnd strove to comfort her, till at length
'he remembered no more.
Then came a long, long sleep, and In
Hie sleep dreams of her falhcr nnd God
jwin and Wulf. She nwoke to feel the
turn streaming warmly through the
Shutter of her cabin, and from that time
Jorward, floating on the calm Mediter
ranean sen, her strength began to come
wack ngaln rnpldly. Three days latet
the was helped to tho deck, where the
first man she saw was Has3an, who
canjo forward to greet her with many
eastern salutations.
"I give thanks to Allah for your
take and my own," he said "for yours
that you still live whom I thought
would die, and for myself that had
you died your life would havo been re
quired at my hands by Salalicd-dln."
"If so, ho should have blamed Az
rael, not you," answered Itosamund,
smiling, then suddenly turned cold, for
before her was Sir Hugh Lozelle, who
also thanked heaven that sho had re
covered. She listened to him coldly,
and presently he went nway, hut soon
was at her sldo again. Indeed, she
i could never be free of him. Always
he sat near, talking In his fnlse, hate
ful voice nnd devouring her with the
greedy eyes which she could feel ilxed
upon her face. With hhn often was
his Jackal, the false palmer Nicholas,
, hut to this man hho would never speak
I a word.
, At last sho could hear It no longer,
i and when her health had returned to
1 her summoned Hassan to her cabin
' "Tell me. prince," she said, "why
rules upon this vesnel'"
"Three people," he answered, bow
ing "the knight Sir Hush Lozelle.
,who, as a skilled navigator. Is the cap
tain nnd rules the sallow; I, who rule
the fighting meu, and you, princess,
.who rule us all.'
"Then I command that the rogue-
aamed Nicholas nlmll not be allowed tc
approach me,"
"Your order ulmll be oboyod. To toll
jrou tuo truth, ladv, I hate tho fellow,
iwfco 1 but a common spy,"
1 doslro alao," wont on Roaanuind
"to speak no mora with Blr Hugh Lo
Mllo."
"That U moro difficult," raid Hassan
"Inco ho It tho cipinln whom my mas
ttr ordorud mo to nlioy In all thing
that bnvo to do with I ho ship,"
"I havo uotlilnic to do m IIIi tho hlp,"
answered noyailiuud, "mid tinrnly till
rrlncojni of nnulhon, f fin am, muy
abooso her own nompnitlons, I wits
to HflB mora of ya and Ions of Hip II Hit
rethren
HAGGARD,
Solomon's Mines," Etc.
H Y lilDTi HAGGARD
will do my best."
For some days after this, nlthougt
tie was always watching her, Lozelle
approached Itosamund but seldom, nnd
whenever he did so he found Hassan at
her side.
At length, ns It chanced, tho prlnco
was taken with n sickness from drink
ing bad water which held him to his
bed for some days, and then Lozelle
found his opportunity. Itosamund
strove to keep her cabin to avoid him,
but the heat of the summer sun In tho
Mediterranean drove her out ot It to
a place beneath an nwnlng on the poop.
Here Lozelle npproached her, pretend
ing to bring her food or to Inquire after
her comfort, but she would answer
him nothing. 'I hen he said:
"Lady, how sorely you misjudge me!
What Is my crime against you? 1 am
nn Essex man of good lineage, who met
you lu Essex and learned to love you
there. Your father said mo nay, and you
said me nay, and, stung by my disap
pointment, I talked as I should not
have done. For this I was called to
nccount with Justice, and your cousin,
the young knight Godwin, who was
then n squire, struck me In the face.
Well, he worsted and wounded me,
fortune favoring him, nnd I departed
with my vessel to tho east, for that Is
my business, to trade between Syria
and England.
"Now, as It chanced, there being
peace at the lime between tho sultan
nnd the Christians, I visited Damascus
to buy merchandise. While I was there
Saladin sent for me ami asked if It
were true that I belonged to n part of
England called Essex. When I an
swered yes ho asked If I knew Sir
Andrew IVArcy nnd his daughter.
Again I said yes, whereon he told me
that strange talc of your klnMilp to
him, of which I had heard already;
also n still stranger tale of some dream
that he had dreamed concerning you.
In the end he offered to hire my Ilnest
ship for n large sum If 1 would sail It
to England to fetch you, but ho did
not tell me that any force was to bo
used, and I on my part said that I
would lift no hand against you or your
father, nor, Indeed, have I done so."
"Who remembered tho swords of
Godwin and Wulf," broke hi Rosa
mund scornfully, "and preferred that
braver men should face them."
"Lady," answered Lozelle, cglorlng,
"hitherto none has accused me of a
lack of courage Of your courtesy,
listen, I pray you. 1 did wrong to en
ter on this business; but, lady, It was
love for you that drove me to It."
ne looked about him cautiously.
"Within a week from now, If all goes
well, we cast anchor at Limazol, In
Cyprus, to take In food nnd water be
fore we run to a secret port near An-;
tloch, whence you are to be taken over
land to Damascus, avoiding all cities
of the Franks. Now, the Emperor
Isanc of Cyprus Is my friend, nnd over
him Saladin has no power. Once In his
court you would be safe until such time
ns you found opportunity to return to
England. This, then, is my plan that
you should escape from the ship at
night, ns I can arrange."
"And what is your payment," she
asked, "who are n merchant knight?"
"My payment, lady, Is yourself. In
Cyprus we will be wed. Oh, think be
fore you answer! At Damascus many
dangers await you. With ine you will
find safety and a Christian husband
who loves you well."
"Have done," she said coldly. "Soon
er will I trust myself to nn honest Sar
acen thnn to you. Yes, sooner would I
tnke death for my lord than you, for
your own base ends devised the plot
that brought my father to his murder
tiud mo to slavery. Have done, 1 say,
and never daro again to speak of love
to me." And, rising, she walked to her
cabin.
But Lozelle, looking after her, mut
tered to himself, "Nay, fair lady, 1 havo
but begun, nor will I forget your bit
ter words, for which you f.kall pay the
merchant knight In kisses."
From her cabin Itosamund sent a
message to Hassan. He came, still
pale with Illness, and asked her will,
whereon she told him what had passed
between Lozelle and herself, demand
ing his protection against this man.
"Yonder ho stands," said Hassan,
"alone. Will you come with me and
speak to him?"
Sho bowed her head, and ho led her
to the poop.
"Sir Captain," he began, addressing
Lozelle, "the princess here tells me a
strange story that you have dared to
offer your love to her, a niece of Salahed-dln."
"What of It, Sir Saracen?" answered
Lozelle Insolently. "Is not a Christian
knight fit male for the blood of an east
ern chief?"
"You," nnswercd Hnasau, with rago
In his low voice "you, huckstering
thief and renegade, who swear by Mo
hammed in Damascus and by your
prophet Jesus In England! You her fit
mate? Why, were It not that you must
guide this ship nnd that my master
bade mo not to quarrel with you till
your task wni done I would behead
you now I" And as be spoka he grip
pod tho handle of his sclmlter.
Loxolle quallod before bin floreo eyes,
for woll lie knew Kascan nnd know
alio that if It caroo to fighting his sail
ors were no match for tho emir and
bin BaraceiiH.
"Deforo Balaluod-din you ibnll on
fewer for your tronchnryl" added Has
nn, "Of what, then, nm I nccunod,"
HRkftl Lo!telie"nf loving ths Lady tloa
nimind, tin tin nil ttiPit, perhaps your
BPlf, old iinil witlinretl tin you nre,
anient! inpttiV"
"A'p, nuil for thttt crime I will repay
ynib old nnd witberfn ah t rimi Hir Hen
wtlPl Hut Willi NnlfllbPfl'tllii yaw Jirtve
ftnf)(ii(f pears to hhiup tunt uy prflinis
HiH iiPP.esetiDQ js-eu triad v sMiies iiw
"Were this true," replied Lozelle,
"the sultnn might have cnuse of com
plaint ngalnst me, but It Is not true.
Hearken, slneo speak I must. The Indy
Rosamund prayed me to do tills deed.
She snld that If I did but snvo her from
you Saracens I should not go without
my reward, since she would wed me.
Again, although It cost me sore, I an
swered that It might not be, but when
once I had brought my ship to land t
was her true knight and, being freed of
my oath, would do my best to savo
her."
"Princess, you hear," said Hassan,.
"What nay you?"
"I say," she answered coldly, "that
this man lies to save himself. I say,
moreover, that I answered to him that
nooncr would I die than that he should
lay a linger on me."
"I hold, also, that he lien," said Has
san. "Nay; unclasp that dagger If you
would live lo see another sun. Here, 1
will not light with you, but Snlah-ed-
illu shall learn all this case when we
reach his court."
"I.el him learn It when we reach his
court," answered Lozelle, with mean
ing; then added: "Havo you aught else
to say to me, l'rlnco Hassan? Recnuso
If not I must be attending to the busi
ness of my ship."
"Tho ship Is the sultnn's nnd not
yours, for he bought It from you, and
henceforth this Indy will be guarded
day and night, nnd doubly guarded
when we come to the shores of Cy
prus." "I think," said Itosamund when Lo
wile had gone, "that we Miall be fortu
nalo If we land safe In Syria."
"That was lu my mind also, lady. I
think, too, that It would be best to kill
him If It were not that he alone has the
skill lo navigate the ship, which Is
trade that he has followed from his
yonlh."
From that time forward Rosamund
kms not trnrbled by Lozelle Only with
the man Nicholas he spoke much.
At length upon one golden evening
they came lo the shores of Cyprus and
Lo.:ct!c ituttletf before hi ji trie eiu.
cast anchor. Reforo them, stretched
along the beach, lay the white town of
Limazol, with palm trees standing up
nm!d Its gardens. Sick and weary of
tho eud!us occau. Rosamund gazed
with rapture at tills green and beau
teous shore and sighed to thluk that on
It she might hct no foot. Lozelle saw
her look nnd heard her sigh, and as lie
climbed into the boat mocked her, Bay
ing: 'Will you not change your mind,
lady, uud come with mo to visit my
friend the Emperor Isaac?"
Rosamund made, no answer, and Lo
zelle, descending Into the bont, was
rowed shoreward through the breakers.
For ten whole days they rolled off
Limazol, although the weather was fair
and the wind blew straight for Syria.
When Rosamund asked why they bided
there so long Hassan stamped his foot
and said It was because the emperor
refused to supply them with more food
or water than was sufficient for their
dally need unless he. Hassan, would
land and travel to an Inland town
called Nicosia, where his court lay, nnd
there do homage to him. This, scent
lug a trap, h feared to do, nor could
they put nut to sea without provisions.
"Cannot Sir Hugh Lozelle see to it?"
asked Rosamund.
'Doubtless, If he will, but he swears
he Is powerless."
At length Hassan would bear It no
more. One morning Lozelle came off
from Limazol, where he slept at night,
bringing with him three Cyprian lords,
who visited the ship not to bargain, ns
they protended, but to obtnin sight of
the beauteous Princess Rosamund
Thereon the common talk began of
homage that must be paid before food
was granted, falling which the emperor
would bid his seamen enpture tho ship,
Hassan listened awhile, then suddenly
Issued an order that the lords should
be seized.
"Now," he said to Lozelle, "bid your
sailors haul up the anchor and let ns
begone for Syria. As well die of thirst
and starvation on the sea as rot here
with fever. Rid the sailors lift tho an
chor and hoist tho sull, or I loose my
sclmlters among them."
Now Lozelle stamped nnd foamed,
but without avail, so he turned to the
three lords, who wero pale with fear.
nnd said;
"Which will you do find food nnd
wnter for this Ehlp, or put to sea with
out them, which Is but to die?"
They nnswercd that they would go
ashore and supply all that was need
ful.
"Nay," snld Hassan, "you bide here
until It comes."
In the end, then, this happened, for
one of tho lords chanced to be a neph
cw of the emperor, who when be learn
ed that bo was captive sent supplies In
plenty. Thus it came about that the
Cyprian lordi, having boon sent back
with tho last empty boat, within two
day tboy were at sea ngaln,
Now Rosamund missed tho bated face
of ths py Nicholas, nnd told Hassan,
who made Inquiry, to And or bo laid
H.i-.e'.t-thht ho wont ashoro and van
itlKd thcro on tho first day of their
mtuSltit! in Cypnii, though whotuor hi
it ad Imoti klllurt in womo brawl or fallen
il U ov hidden htmaulf: uwny ho did not
ruow,
Wlitm tlia ffdlloy wan iiluo rtnyout
frum Cyprus, utotu'liiu for tho cowl
6t Hyrlti, u wind biu'iiuy up that grow
mdually to n galu, blowlnti toward
Mil
iwlftly. Worse and stronger grew Unit
gale till ou the evening of the second
,luy, when they seemed In no llttto
langer of being pooped, they saw u
great mountain far nwny, nt tho sight
of which Lozelle thanked God aloud.
"Aro those the mountains near Autl
oi h?" asked Hassan.
"Nay," he answered; "they aro nioro
than fifty miles south of them, betwuen
I.adlklya and Jebela. There, by the
mercy of heaven, Is n good haven."
"Hut wo are steering for Darbesak,
not for n haven near .lebcla, which Is n
l'ranklsh port," answered Hassan an
grily. "Then put tho ship about and steer
thcro yourself," said Lozelle, "and 1
promlso you this that within two
hours every one of you will be dead at
the bottom of the. sea."
Hassan considered. It was true, fot
then tho waves would strike them
broadside on.
"On your head be it," ho answered
shortly.
All that night they pitched and roll
ed. At length they saw the top of the.
loftiest mountain grow luminous with
the coming dawn.
"Take courage!" cried Lozelle. "1
think that wo aro saved!" And h
hoisted u second lantern at his mast
head, why they did not know.
After this the sea began to fall, only
to grow rough again for awhile as they
crossed some bar, to find themselves lu
calm water and on cither side of them
what appeared In tho dim, uncertain
light to be the IiuhIi clad banks of a
river. For awhile they ran on, till Lo
zelle called lu n loud voice to the bail
ors to let the anchor go and sent n mes
senger to say that ull might rest now,
as they were safe. So they laid them
down and tried to sleep.
Rut Rosamund could not sleep.
Presently she rose and, throwing on
her cloak, went to the door of the
cabin. It was n lonely place at least
she could see no town or house, al
though they were lying not lll'ty yards
from the tree hidden shore. As she
stood thus she hoard the sound of
boats being rowed through the mist
and perceived three or four of these ap
proaching the ship in silence; perceived
also that Lozelle, who stood alone upon
ihe deck, was watching their approach.
Now the first boat made fast, and a
man In the prow rose up and began to
speak to Lozelle In a low voice. As he ,
did so the hood fell back from his head,
and Rosnmund saw Ihe face. It was
that of the spy Nicholas! For a mo
ment sho stood amazoJ; then sho cried
aloud:
Treachery! Prince Hassan, there Is
treachery!"
As the words left her lips tierce, wild
looking mcji began to scramble aboard
nt the low waist cf the galley, to which
boat after boat made fast. The Sara
cens also tumbled from the benches
where they slept and ran aft to the
deck where Rosamund was. Prince
Hassan appeared, too, sclmlter In hand,
clad In his Jeweled turban and coat of
mall, but without his cloak, shouting
orders as he came. To him Rosamund
cried out that they were betrayed, and
"Trcnchcry!"
by Nicholas, whom sJie had seen. Then
a great man, wearing a white liurnoose
and holding a naked sword In his hand,
stepped forward and said in Arabic:
"Yield you now, for you. are outnum
bered, and your captain Is captured,"
and he pointed to Lozelle, who was be
ing held by two men while his arms
wero bound behind him.
"In whoso name do you bid me
yield?" asked the prince, glaring about
him like u lion in a trap.
"In the dread name of Siuan, In the
name of the lord Al-je-bal, O servant
of Salah-ed-dln."
At these words a groan of fear went
up even from tho bravo Saracens, for
now they learned that they had to do
with the terrible chief of the assassins.
"Is there then war between the sul
tan and Sinan?"
"Aye, there is always war. More
over, you havo one with you," nnd he
pointed to Rosamund, "who Is dear to
Salah-ed-dln, whom, therefore, my mas
ter desires as a hostage."
"How knew you that?" said Hassan,
to gain tlmo while his men formed up.
"How does the lord Slnan know nil
things?" was tho answer. "Come,
yield, nnd perhaps ho will show you
mercy,"
"Nay, we yield not," snld HaRsan.
"And here, assassins, you have to do
not with poisons nnd the knife, but
with bare swords and brave men. Aye,
iud 1 warn you and your lord that
Salah-ed-dln will take vengeauce."
"Let him try it if he wishes to die,
who hitherto 1ms beou spared," answer
ed the tall man quietly. Then ho Bald
to his folUwers, "Cut them down, nil
save the woman and Emir Hassan,
whom I am commanded to bring liv
ing to Masynf,"
"Back to your cabin, lady," said Has
san, "and romember that, whate'er bo
falls, we havo done our best to save
you. Now, soldiers of Salah-ed-dln,
fight and die as he has taught you
bow."
They answered with a fierce, guttural
cry. Then, as Rosamund fled to tho
cabin, the fray began, u hideout fray.
On caino the unhussIum with sword nud
dagger, striving to itorm tho dock.
Again and ngutu they woro button
buck, but more boat load canto from
tho shore, nnd Ma atu'iiemii woro hut
fow, worn ulio with Ntorm mid nick
litian, bo nt hut ltORtumuHl, puopltiB-bu
uuutli tior lmmi, nuw Unit tho poop w
g&f ff M " 5""
1 ,
gained,
Hero nnd there a man fought ou un
til ho fell beneath tho cruel knives in
tho midst of the circle of the dead,
among them tho warrior 1'rluco Has
san, Seel Ills foot slipped ou tho
blood stained deck. He was down,
and ere he could rise again they hud
thrown cloaks over lilin, these tierce,
silent men, who eveu with their lives
at btakc remembered the commnnd of
their captain to take him living, Rosa
mund noted it nud, remembering that
his command wus also that she should
be brought lo him unharmed, know
that she had no violence to fear nt tho
hands of these cruel murderers.
"It Is finished," said the tall man In
his cold voice. "Cast these dogs Into
tho sea who have dared to disobey tho
command of Al-je-bal."
So they took them up, deod nnd liv
ing together, nud throw them Into the
water, where they sank, nor did one of,
tho wounded HaruceuB pray them for
mercy. Then they served their own
dead likewise. This done, the tall man
advanced to the cabin and said;
"Lady, come. We ure ready to start
upon our Journey."
Having no choice, Rosamund obeyed
him, and, followed by Trlnce Hassun,
he led her to the boat.
CHAPTER XL
PRAY you have done," said God
win. "It is but a scratch from
the bcast'n claws. Give mo n lit
tle water."
Ho asked It of Wulf, but Masouda
rose without a word and fetched tho
water. In which she mingled wine.
Godwin drunk of It, nnd his falntness
left hhn, so that he was able to stand
up and move hlfi arms nnd leg.
"Why," lie said, "it Is nothing. I was
only shaken. That lioness did not hurt
me at all. Lady Masouda, when last
I saw you you were hanging from those
Jaws, Say, aro you hurt?"
"Nay," she answered, "for I wear
mail, like you, and the teeth glanced
on It so that she held me by the cloak
only. Come; let us skin the beast and
take Its pelt as a present to the lord
Al-Je-bnl."
"Good," wild Godwin. "And I give
you the claws for a necklace."
"Re sure that I will wear them," she
answered ana Helped w uii 10 nay me
lioness while lie sat by resting.
"Come; let us begone from this place
ns swiftly as we can."
So, having shown them the skin of
tho lion that they might know It was
but a dead thing, at the sight of which
they snorted and trembled, they packed
it upon one of the mules and rode off
slowlv Into a valley some live mile.?
away, where was water, but no trees.
Here, since Godwin needed rest, they
Mopped all that day and tho night. The
next morning, having slept well, ho
was lriniself again, and they started
forward through a broken country to
ward a deep cleft, on either side of
which stood a tall mountain.
"This is Al-Je-bal's gateway." said
Masouda, "and tonight wo should sleep
in the pate, whence one day's rldo
brings us to his city."
So on they rode till at length, perched
upon the sides of the cleft, they saw n
castle, a great building, with high
walls, to which they came at sunset. It
I seemed that they were expected In this
i place, for meu hastened to miet them,
, who greeted Masouda and eyed the
, brethren curiously. Thes'e took thnn
not into Ihe castle, but to n kind of
hostelry at Its back
I Next morning they went ou again to
I a hilly country with beautiful and fer-
tile valleys. Through this they rode
for two hours, pacing on their way
several villages, where somber eyed
people were laboring In the fields
Prom each village as they drew near
to it horseimai would gallop out aud
challenge them, whereon Masouda rode
forward and spoke with the leader
alone. Then bo would touch Ills fore
head with his hand and bow bis head,
and they rode on unmolested.
"See." she said when they had thus
been stopped for the fourth time,
"what chaiK-o you had of winning
through to Masynf unguarded."
Now they rode up a long slope and
nt its crest paused to look upon a mar
velous scene. Relnw them stretched a
vast plain, full of villages, cornfields,
olive groves and vineyards. In the
renter of this plain, some fifteen nilhs
uwny, rose a great mountain, which
seemed to be walled sill about. Within
the wall was a city of which the white,
flat roofed houses climbed the slopes
of the mountain, and on Its crest n lev
el spnee of land covered with trees and
a great, many towered castlo surround
ed by nioro houses.
"Rehold the home of Al-je-bal, lord of
the mountain," said Masouda, "where
we must sleep tonight. Now, brethren,
listen to mo. Few strangers who en
ter that rustle come thence living.
There Is still time. I can ,pass you
back as I passed you hither. Will you
go ou?"
"We will go on," they answered with
ono breath.
"Why? What have you to gain? You
seek a certain maiden. Why seek her
here whom you say has been taken to
Salah-ed-din? Recause the Al-je-bal In
bygone days swore to befriend one of
your blood. Rut that Al-je-bal Is dead,
iud auother of his line rules who took
tin such oath. How do you know that
lie will befriend you- how that he will
not enslave or kill you? I have power
lu this land, why or how does not mat
ter, and 1 cai protect you against all
that dwell In It as 1 swear I will, for
did not one of you snvo my life?" and
tho glanced at Godwin "except my
lord Slnan, against whom 1 have uo
power, for I am his slave,"
"Ho is tho enemy of Saladin nnd may
help us for his hate's sake. Whatever
chances, wo will obey the commaud of
tho dead."
Sho heard nnd bowed her head In as
sent, then snld, looking up again:
"So bo it. You nro not easily turned
from your purpose, and I like that
spirit well, Rut hear my counsel. Whilo
you are in this city speak no Arabic
and pretend to understand none, Also
drluk nothing but water, which U good
here, for tho lord Blnnn sets struugo
whins boforo hU guestN that, if they
pass tho Hps, produce visions and n
kind of waking madnom lu which you
might do dodn whereof you woro aft
orwurd nalmrnvd,"
"Ftwr not," muwernd Wulf, "Wnter
slinll ho our drluk, who havo had
ciumuu of lii'iigiimt wtiu.
'You, Mir Uotlwlu,- ,7-"t on Mmou
da, "hnvo about your neck a certnln
ring which you were mad enough to
show to me, n stranger, a ring with
writing on it which none can read savo
tho great men that lu this lnud ore
called the dnls. Well, ns It chnnces, the
secret is snfo with nie, but be wise;
say nothing of that ring and let no eyes
see It, It Is, or was once, the great
signet, and n day may come when It
wllUsavo your lives. Doubtless when
the lord who Is dead thought It gone
forever he caused auother to be fash
ioned, so like that I who hnvo had both
lu my hand could not toll tho two
apart. To him who holds that ring all
gates arc open, but to let It be known
that you havo Its double means death.
Do you understand ?"
They nodded, uud Masouda contin
ued: "Lastly, though you may think that
this seems much to ask, trust me al
ways, eveu If I seem to play you false,
who for your sakes,' and she sighed,
"havo broken oaths aud spoken words
for which the punishment Is to die by
torment. Nay, thunk mc not, for I do
only what I must who am a slave a
slave."
"A slave to whom?" asked Godwin,
stnrlng nt her.
"To tho lord of nil the mountnlnB,"
sho answered, with n smile that was
sweet yet very sad, and without anoth
er word spurred on her horse.
They crossed the plain, nnd townrd
evening came to the wall of tho outer
city. They passed up n street very
steep nnd narrow, from the roofs nnd
windows of the hoifes on either side
of which hundreds of people, many of
whom seemed to be engaged nt their
evening prayer, watched them go by.
At the head of this street they reached
a fortified gateway, on the turrets of
which, so motionless that at first they
took them to be statues cut In stone,
stood guards wrapped In long whlto
robes. After parley this was opened
to them, and they rodo through triplo
doors.
Then they saw all the wotider of that
place, for between the outer city where
they stood and the castle, with Its Inner
town which was built around and be
neath It, yawned a vast gulf over nine
ty feet In depth. Across this gulf, built
of blocks of stone, quite unrnlled and
not more than three paces 4wlde, ran u
causeway some 'JOO yards In length,
which causeway was supported upon
arches reared up at Intervals from the
bottom of tho gulf.
"Hide on and have no fear," said
Maouda. "Your horses aro trained to
heights, and tho mules nnd mine will
follow,"
At length they were across nnd, pass
ing under another gateway which had
broad terraces on cither side of it.
rode up tho long slreet beyond and
entered n great courtyard, around
which stood the castle, a vast and
frowning fortress. Here a white robed
ofllcer on mo forward, greeting them
with n low bow, and with him serv
ants, who Desisted them to dismount.
Theo men took the horses to a rango
whither the brethren followed to see
their beasts groomed and fed. Then
the ohVcr, who had stood patiently by
tho while, couducted them through
doorways and down passnges to the
guest chambers, largo stone roofed
rooms, where they found their baggage
ready for them. Hero Masouda said
that she would see their, again on the
following morning and departed In
company with the ofllcer.
Wulf looked round the great vaulted
chamber, which, now that the dark had
fallen, was lit by flickering lamps set
in iron brackets upon the wall, and
bald:
"Well, for my part, I had rather pass
the night in n desert among the lions
than iu this dismal place "
Scarcely were tin; words out of his
lips when curtains swung aside, and
beautiful women entered, clad lu gauzy
veils and bearing dishes of food. These
they placed upon the ground before
them. Inviting them to eat. Then they
sit down nnd nte the food that was
strange to them, but very pleasant to
the taste. Wlno was offered to them
also, but of this, remembering Masou
tin's words, they would not drink, ask
ing by signs for wnter, which was
brought after a little puue.
When their meal was done the beau
tiful women bore away the dishes and
black slaves appeared. Those men led
them to baths such as they had never
icen, where they washed iu hot water,
then iu cold. Afterward they were
rubbed with spicy smelling oils and,
having been wrapped In white robes,
conducted back to their chamber, where
they found beds spread for them. On
the-e, being very weary, they lay down,
when strange, sweet mutlc broke out,
uud to the sound of It they fell asleep.
When they awoko It was to see the
light streaming through tho high, lat
ticed windows.
"Did you sleep well, Godwin?" nsked
Wulf.
"Well enough," nnswered his orother,
"only I dreamed that throughout the
ulght people camo and looked at me."
"I dreamed that aUo" said Wulf.
"Moreover, I think that It was not all
a dream, since there Is n coverlet on
my bed which was not there when 1
went to sleep."
They rose nnd dressed themselves,
putting on clean garments and their
best cloaks that they had brought with
them on the mules, after which the veil
ed women entered the room with break
fast, nnd they ate. When this was fin
ished, having nothing else to do, they
made signs to one of the womeu that
they wished for cloths wherewith to
clean their armor, for, as they had
been bidden, they pretended to under
stand no word of Arabic. She nodded
and presently returned with a compan
ion carrying leathers and paste In a Jar.
Nor did they leave them, but. sitting
upon tho ground, whether tbe brethren
willed it or no, took the shirts of mall
and rubbed them till they Mione like
sliver, while Godwin and Wulf polished
their holms, spurs nnd bucklers, clonus
Ing their swords and daggers also.
Now, os thess women worked they
began to talk to each other In a low
voice, and some of their talk, though
not mi, tiio tirothrou understood.
"A haudsomo pair truly," iinld tho
nrst. "Wo should ho fortunnto l( w
had such men for huabauds, although
thoy urn Krnuk and lufldiiln,"
"It wait rruol of tho Indy Masouda
to bring theso bird Into lbi ituutt'r'
not, Mho might hnvo wnrnod thorn,"
"Mimoudtt. won over orutl," niuwarod
tho othtir, "who Imte nil uirii, which
U unnatural. Vat I thluk If iub lovfid
a mnn she would love him well, nnd
perhaps that might be worse for blm
than her hate,"
"Are these knights spies?" nsked the
first.
"I iuppo.se so," wns the answer, "sil
ly fellows who think that they can epy
upon a nation of spies. They would
huve doue better to keep to fighting, at
which doubtless they Hro good enough.
Whnt will happen to them?"
"What always happens, I suppose a
pleasant time nt first; then, if they can
bo put to no other use, n choice be
tween the faith nnd the cup. Or per
haps, ns they seem meu of rank, they
may be Imprisoned In tho dungeon tow
er and hold to ransom."
Just then the curtain wns drawn, and
through It entered Mnsouda herself.
She was dressed In a white robe that
had a dagger worked In red over the
left breast. Never had they seen her
look so beautiful as sho seemed thus.
"Greetings, brothers Peter nnd ,lohu,"
silo snld In French.
The brethren rose nnd bowed to her.
Tho women who were cleaning tho
mall bowed also, for It seemed that
here Masouda was a person of Impor
tance. She took the hauberks from
thlr hnnds.
"Ill cleansed," sho said sharply. "I
think that you girls talk better than
you work. Nay, they must serve. Help
these lords to don them. Fools, that
Is the Milrt of the gray eyed knight.
Give it me. I will bo his squire." And
she snatched the hauberk from their
hands, whereat, when her back was
turned, they ginnced at ono another.
"Now," she said when they were ful
ly armed and had donned their man
tles, "you brethren look ns pilgrims
should. Listen, I havo a message for
you. The muster will receive you in
an hour's time, till when, If it pleuso
you, we can walk In the gardens."
So they went out with her, and ns
they passed toward tho curtain uha
whispered:
"For your lives' sakes, remember all
that I have told you above everything
about tho wine and the ring, for if you
dream the drink dream you will bo
searched. Speak no word to me save
of common matters."
In the passage beyond the curtain
white robed guards wero standing,
armed with spears, who turned and fol
lowed them without a word. They
passed through an archway into the fa
mous gardens, which were said to be
the most beautiful In all tho east. Beau
tiful they were indeed, planted with
trees, shrubs and flowers such as are
seldom seen, whlto between fern clad
rocks flowed rills which fell over deep
cliffs In waterfalls of foam. On they
walked, down the sand strewn paths
for a mile or more, nccompanled hy
Masouda nnd tho guard. At length,
passing through a brake of whispering,
reed like plants, of a sudden they came
to a low wall and saw, yawning black
and wide at their very feet, that vast
cleft which they had crossed before
they entered the castle.
"It encircles the inner city, the for
tress and its grounds," said Masouda,
"and who lives today that could throw
a bridge across It? Now come back."
So, following the gulf round, they re
turned to the castlo by another path
nnd were ushered into an anteroom
wheri stood a watch of twelve men.
Here Masouda left them In the midst
of the men. who stared at them with
stony eyes. Presently sho returned and
beckoned to them to follow her. Walk
ing down a long passage, they came t6
curtulns, in front of which were two
sentries, who drew theso curtains aa
they approached. Then, side by side
they entered a great hall, loug as Stun
gate Abbey church, and passed througl
a number of people, all crouched upou
the ground. Beyond these the hall nar
rowed. Hern sat and stood moro people,
Gereo eyed, tnrbaned men, who wore
great kulves in their girdles. These, as
they learned afterward, were cnlled the
fednls, the sworn asansntus, who lived
but to do the command of their lord,
the great assnssln. At the end of this
chancel were more curtains, beyond
which was a guarded door. It opened,
nnd on Its farther sldo they found
themselves in full sunlight ou an un
walled terrace, surrounded by thf
mighty gulf Into which it was built ou'..
On the right and left edges of this Ue
race sat old and bearded men, twe'v
in number, their heads bowed hurr.bly
nnd their eyes fixed upon the grcund.
These were the dais or councilors.
At the head of the terrace, un'er an
open aud beautifully carved pavilion
ot wood, stood two gigantic eoldlzrs.
having the red dagger bin-zoned on
their white robes. Between them was
a black cushion, and on the cushion a
black heap. At tlrst, staring out of tho
bright sunlight at this heap In tho
shadow, tho brethreu wondered what
It might be. Then they caught sight of
the glitter of eyes and knew that tho
heap was a man who woro n black tur
ban on his head nnd a black, bell shap
ed robe clasped at the breast with a
red Jewel. He looked like a colled up
snake; the dark and glittering eyes
also wre those of a snake. Of his fea
tures, in the deep shade of the canopy
aud of the wldo black turban, they
could see nothing.
CHAPTER XIT.
ASOUDA ran forward and
prostrated herself at full
length, but Godwin and
Wulf stared at the heap, and
the heap stared at them. Then, at
some motion of his chin, Masouda arose
and said:
"StransoM, you stand In the pres
ence of the master, Slnan, lord of death.
Kneel and do homage to the master."
But the brethren stiffened their backs
and would not kneel. They lifted their
bands to their brows In salute, but no
more.
Then trom between tho black turban
and tho black cloak came a hollow
voice, speaking In Arabic, and saying:
"Aro theso tho men who brought m
tho lion's skin? Wall, what aoek yo,
Franks i"
Thoy stood allont.
"Dread lord," said Masouda, "thet
knlfhti nro but now como from Rug
land oversea and do not understand
our tonguo."
"flat out tholr story nnd tholr ra
quost," said Al-Jo-bnl,
"Draart lord," nimweml Mnsoudn, "ni
I out you wont, they say that thoy am
tho ktti of n certain knight who In but
tlMved the tlfo of hliu who rulwi bf

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