CHAPTER THE NINTH
‘“Only, wonderful to be alive and see and smell.
And to touch you.”’

Subchapter i

IT was hardly dawn the next day when Georgios came beating anxiously at the flap of my tent.

“Mon colonel!”

Dressing, I drew aside the flap. He thrust a hasty cup of tea in my hand.

“Madame la princesse—she is waiting for you. Twice she has made the hoot-hoot.”

And there, at the junction of Pelagueya’s road and the track that led to ours, was verily a small automobile. As I drank the tea it hooted again, urgently. The air was crisp and cold and clear, but with already a shadowy warmth. Against the far desert rim the cypress trees of Gault’s castle stood as if caught to a dark silence by the coming of the morning— peering into the west, perhaps, to hear the wind that sang their owner dead in far Mesheen. One leg very much tucked up, an ibis stood straight and stiff above its nest near the canal. A flight of cranes passed overhead towards Abu Zabal. The klaxon of Pelagueya’s automobile broke into a lunatic yammer.

-115-

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