MERIEM had traversed half the length of the village street when a score of white-robed negroes and half-castes leaped out upon her from the dark interiors of surrounding huts. She turned to flee, but heavy hands seized her, and when she turned at last to plead with them her eyes fell upon the face of a tall, grim, old man glaring down upon her from beneath the folds of his burnous.
At sight of him she staggered back in shocked and terrified surprise. It was The Sheik!
Instantly all the old fears and terrors of her childhood returned upon her. She stood trembling before this horrible old man, as a murderer before the judge about to pass sentence of death upon him. She knew that The Sheik recognized her. The years and the changed raiment had not altered her so much but what one who had known her features so well in childhood would know her now.
"So you have come back to your people, eh?" snarled The Sheik. "Come back begging for food and protection, eh?"
"Let me go," cried the girl. "I ask nothing of