HotFreeBooks.com
Yussuf the Guide - The Mountain Bandits; Strange Adventure in Asia Minor
by George Manville Fenn
1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Yussuf the Guide; or, the Mountain Bandits, being a Story of Adventure in Asia Minor, by George Manville Fenn.



Lawrence is a boy in his late teens, who has consumption, which makes him feel very tired and helpless. He says one day that he would love a holiday somewhere hot and sunny. He has no relations, but there is a guardian, a local lawyer; and a doctor and a retired professor elect to go to Turkey with him, to look at the antiquities.

They travel first to Greece, where they find a lot of dishonesty, in particular in the crew of the little ship in which they sail to Turkey. Luckily they had sent their luggage on ahead, but the experiences they had were not very nice. They had already employed a very charming and resourceful Turk as guide.

But when they get to Turkey, they find that as they travel inland people become progressively less helpful, until eventually they are captured by bandits, and a ransom is demanded. How do they get out of this? And is Turkey still like this?

An exciting thriller. Recommended.



YUSSUF THE GUIDE; OR, THE MOUNTAIN BANDITS, BEING A STORY OF ADVENTURE IN ASIA MINOR, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.



CHAPTER ONE.

MEDICAL AND LEGAL.

"But it seems so shocking, sir."

"Yes, madam," said the doctor, "very sad indeed. You had better get that prescription made up at once."

"And him drenched with physic!" cried Mrs Dunn; "when it doesn't do him a bit of good."

"Not very complimentary to me, Mrs Dunn," said the doctor smiling.

"Which I didn't mean any harm, sir; but wouldn't it be better to let the poor boy die in peace, instead of worrying him to keep on taking physic?"

"And what would you and his friends say if I did not prescribe for him?"

"I should say it was the best thing, sir; and as to his friends, why, he hasn't got any."

"Mr Burne?"

"What! the lawyer, sir? I don't call him a friend. Looks after the money his poor pa left, and doles it out once a month, and comes and takes snuff and blows his nose all over the room, as if he was a human trombone, and then says, 'hum!' and 'ha!' and 'send me word how he is now and then,' and goes away."

"But his father's executor, Professor Preston?"

"Lor' bless the man! don't talk about him. I wrote to him last week about how bad the poor boy was; and he came up from Oxford to see him, and sat down and read something out of a roll of paper to him about his dog."

"About his dog, Mrs Dunn?"

"Yes, sir, about his dog Pompey, and then about tombs—nice subject to bring up to a poor boy half-dead with consumption! And as soon as he had done reading he begins talking to him. You said Master Lawrence was to be kept quiet, sir?"

"Certainly, Mrs Dunn."

"Well, if he didn't stand there sawing one of his hands about and talking there, shouting at the poor lad as if he was in the next street, or he was a hout-door preacher, till I couldn't bear it any longer, and I made him go."

"Ah, I suppose the professor is accustomed to lecture."

"Then he had better go and lecture, sir. He sha'n't talk my poor boy to death."

"Well, quiet is best for him, Mrs Dunn," said the doctor smiling at the rosy-faced old lady, who had turned quite fierce; "but still, change and something to interest him will do good."

"More good than physic, sir?"

"Well, yes, Mrs Dunn, I will be frank with you—more good than physic. What did Mr Burne say about the poor fellow going to Madeira or the south of France?"

"Said, sir, that he'd better take his Madeira out of a wine-glass and his south of France out of a book. I don't know what he meant, and when I asked him he only blew his nose till I felt as if I could have boxed his ears. But now, doctor, what do you really think about the poor dear? You see he's like my own boy. Didn't I nurse him when he was a baby, and didn't his poor mother beg of me to always look after him? And I have. Nobody can't say he ever had a shirt with a button off, or a hole in his clean stockings, or put on anything before it was aired till it was dry as a bone. But now tell me what you really think of him."

"That I can do nothing whatever, Mrs Dunn," said the doctor kindly. "Our London winters are killing him, and I have no faith in the south of England doing any good. The only hope is a complete change to a warmer land."

"But I couldn't let him go to a horrible barbarous foreign country, sir."

"Not to save his life, Mrs Dunn?"

"Oh, dear! oh, dear! oh, dear!" sighed the old lady. "It's very hard when I'd lay down my life to save him, and me seeing him peek and pine away and growing so weak. I know it was that skating accident as did it. Him nearly a quarter of an hour under the ice, and the receiving-house doctor working for an hour before he could bring him to."

"I'm afraid that was the start of his illness, Mrs Dunn."

"I'm sure of it, doctor. Such a fine lad as he was, and he has never been the same since. What am I to do? Nobody takes any interest in the poor boy but me."

"Well, I should write at once to the professor and tell him that Mr Lawrence is in a critical condition, and also to his father's executor, Mr Burne, and insist upon my patient being taken for the winter to a milder clime."

"And they won't stir a peg. I believe they'll both be glad to hear that he is dead, for neither of them cares a straw about him, poor boy."

There had been a double knock while this conversation was going on in Guildford Street, Russell Square, and after the pattering of steps on the oil-cloth in the hall the door was opened, and the murmur of a gruff voice was followed by the closing of the front door, and then a series of three sounds, as if someone was beginning to learn a deep brass instrument, and Mrs Dunn started up.

"It's Mr Burne. Now, doctor, you tell him yourself."

Directly after, a keen-eyed grey little gentleman of about fifty was shown in, with a snuff-box in one hand, a yellow silk handkerchief in the other, and he looked sharply about as he shook hands in a hurried way, and then sat down.

"Hah! glad to see you, doctor. Now about this client of yours. Patient I mean. You're not going to let him slip through your fingers?"

"I'm sorry to say, Mr Burne—"

"Bless me! I am surprised. Been so busy. Poor boy! Snuff snuff snuff. Take a pinch? No, you said you didn't. Bad habit. Bless my soul, how sad!"

Mr Burne, the family solicitor, jumped up when he blew his nose. Sat down to take some more snuff, and got up again to offer a pinch to the doctor.

"Really, Mr Burne, there is only one thing that I can suggest—"

"And that's what Mrs Dunn here told me."

There was a most extraordinary performance upon the nose, which made Mrs Dunn raise her hands, and then bring them down heavily in her lap, and exclaim:

"Bless me, man, don't do that!"

"Ah, Mrs Dunn," cried the lawyer; "what have you been about? Nothing to do but attend upon your young master, and you've got him into a state like this."

"Well of all—"

"Tut tut! hold your tongue, Mrs Dunn, what's gone by can't be recalled. I've been very busy lately fighting a cousin of the poor boy, who was trying to get his money."

"And what's the good of his money, sir, if he isn't going to live?"

"Tut tut, Mrs Dunn," said the lawyer, blowing his nose more softly, "but he is. I telegraphed to Oxford last night for Professor Preston to meet me here at eleven this morning. I have had no answer, but he may come. Eccentric man, Mrs Dunn."

"Why you're never going to have him here to talk the poor boy to death."

"Indeed but I am, Mrs Dunn, for I do not believe what you say is possible, unless done by a woman—an old woman," said the lawyer looking at the old lady fixedly.

"Well I'm sure!" exclaimed Mrs Dunn, and the doctor rose.

"You had better get that prescription made up, Mrs Dunn, and go on as before."

"One moment, doctor," said the lawyer, and he drew him aside for a brief conversation to ensue.

"Bless me! very sad," said the lawyer; and then, as Mrs Dunn showed the doctor out, the old gentleman took some more snuff, and then performed upon his nose in one of the windows; opposite the fire; in one corner; then in another; and then he was finishing with a regular coach-horn blast when he stopped half-way, and stared, for Mrs Dunn was standing in the doorway with her large florid cap tilted forward in consequence of her having stuck her fingers in her ears.

"Could you hear me using my handkerchief, Mrs Dunn?" said the lawyer.

"Could I hear you? Man alive!" cried the old lady, in a tone full of withering contempt, "could I hear that!"



CHAPTER TWO.

THE SECOND GUARDIAN.

"That!" to which Mrs Dunn alluded was a double knock at the front door; a few minutes later the maid ushered in a tall broad-shouldered man of about forty. His hair was thin upon the crown, but crisp and grizzled, and its spareness seemed due to the fact that nature required so much stuff to keep up the supply for his tremendous dark beard that his head ran short. It was one of those great beards that are supposed to go with the portrait of some old patriarch, and over this could be seen a pair of beautiful large clear eyes that wore a thoughtful dreamy aspect, and a broad high white forehead. He was rather shabbily dressed in a pepper-and-salt frock-coat, vest, and trousers, one of which had been turned up as if to keep it out of the mud while the other was turned down; and both were extremely baggy and worn about the knees. Judging from appearances his frock-coat might have been brushed the week before last, but it was doubtful, though his hat, which he placed upon the table as he entered, certainly had been brushed very lately, but the wrong way.

He did not wear gloves upon his hands, but in his trousers pockets, from which he pulled them to throw them in his hat, after he had carefully placed two great folio volumes, each minus one cover, upon a chair, and then he shook hands, smiling blandly, with Mrs Dunn, and with the lawyer.

"Bless the man!" said Mrs Dunn to herself, "one feels as if one couldn't be cross with him; and there's a button off the wrist-band of his shirt."

"'Fraid you had not received my telegram, sir," said the lawyer in rather a contemptuous tone, for Mrs Dunn had annoyed him, and he wanted to wreak his irritation upon someone else.

"Telegram?" said the professor dreamily. "Oh, yes. It was forwarded to me from Oxford. I was in town."

"Oh! In town?"

"Yes. At an hotel in Craven Street. I am making preparations, you know, for my trip."

"No, I don't know," said the lawyer snappishly. "How should I know?"

"Of course not," said the professor smiling. "The fact is, I've been so much—among books—lately—that—these are fine. Picked them up at a little shop near the Strand. Buttknow's Byzantine Empire."

He picked up the two musty old volumes, and opened them upon the table, as a blast rang out.

The professor started and stared, his dreamy eyes opening wider, but seeing that it was only the lawyer blowing his nose, he smiled and turned over a few leaves.

"A good deal damaged; but such a book is very rare, sir."

"My dear sir, I asked you to come here to talk business," said the lawyer, tapping the table with his snuff-box, "not books."

"True. I beg your pardon," said the professor. "I was in town making the final preparations for my departure to the Levant, and I did not receive the telegram till this morning. That made me so late."

"Humph!" ejaculated the lawyer, and he took some more snuff.

"And how is Lawrence this morning?" said the professor in his calm, mild way. "I hope better, Mrs Dunn."

"Bless the man! No. He is worse," cried Mrs Dunn shortly.

"Dear me! I am very sorry. Poor boy! I'm afraid I have neglected him. His poor father was so kind to me."

"Everybody has neglected him, sir," cried Mrs Dunn, "and the doctor says that the poor boy will die."

"Mrs Dunn, you shock me," cried the professor, with the tears in his eyes, and his whole manner changing. "Is it so bad as this?"

"Quite, sir," cried the lawyer, "and I want to consult you as my co-executor and trustee about getting the boy somewhere in the south of England or to France."

"But medical assistance," said the professor. "We must have the best skill in London."

"He has had it, sir," cried Mrs Dunn, "and they can't do anything for him. He's in a decline."

"There, sir, you hear," said the lawyer. "Now, then, what's to be done?"

"Done!" cried the professor, with a display of animation that surprised the others. "He must be removed to a warmer country at once. I had no idea that matters were so bad as this. Mr Burne, Mrs Dunn, I am a student much interested in a work I am writing on the Byzantine empire, and I was starting in a few days for Asia Minor. My passage was taken. But all that must be set aside, and I will stop and see to my dear old friend's son."

Poo woomp poomp. Pah!

Mr Burne blew a perfectly triumphal blast with his pocket-handkerchief, took out his snuff-box, put it back, jumped up, and, crossing to where the professor was standing, shook his hand very warmly, and without a word, while Mrs Dunn wiped her eyes upon her very stiff watered silk apron, but found the result so unsatisfactory that she smoothed it down, and hunted out a pocket-handkerchief from somewhere among the folds of her dress and polished her eyes dry.

Then she seemed as if she put a sob in that piece of white cambric, and wrapped it up carefully, just as if it were something solid, doubling the handkerchief over and over and putting it in her pocket before going up to the professor and kissing his hand.

"Ha!" said the latter, smiling at first one and then the other. "This is very good of you. I don't often find people treat me so kindly as this. You see, I am such an abstracted, dreamy man. I devote myself so much to my studies that I think of nothing else. My friends have given me up, and—and I'm afraid they laugh at me. I am writing, you see, a great work upon the old Roman occupation of—. Dear me! I'm wandering off again. Mrs Dunn, can I not see my old friend's son?"

"To be sure you can, sir. Pray, come," cried the old lady; and, leading the way, she ushered the two visitors out into the hall, the professor following last, consequent upon having gone back to fetch the two big folio volumes; but recollecting himself, and colouring like an ingenuous girl, he took them back, and laid them upon the dining-room table.

Mrs Dunn paused at the drawing-room door and held up a finger.

"Please, be very quiet with him, gentlemen," she said. "The poor boy is very weak, and you must not stay long."

The lawyer nodded shortly, the professor bent his head in acquiescence, and the old lady opened the drawing-room door.



CHAPTER THREE.

A PLAN IS MADE.

As they entered, a pale attenuated lad of about seventeen, who was lying back in an easy-chair, with his head supported by a pillow, and a book in his hand, turned to them slightly, and his unnaturally large eyes had in them rather a wondering look, which was succeeded by a smile as the professor strode to his side, and took his long, thin, girlish hand.

"Why, Lawrence, my boy, I did not know you were so ill."

"Ill? Nonsense, man!" said the lawyer shortly. "He's not ill. Are you, my lad?"

He shook hands rather roughly as he spoke from the other side of the invalid lad's chair, while Mrs Dunn gave her hands an impatient jerk, and went behind to brush the long dark hair from the boy's forehead.

He turned up his eyes to her to smile his thanks, and then laid his cheek against the hand that had been smoothing his hair.

"No, Mr Burne, I don't think I'm ill," he said in a low voice. "I only feel as if I were so terribly weak and tired. I get too tired to read sometimes, and I never do anything at all to make me so."

"Hah!" ejaculated the lawyer.

"I thought it was the doctor come back," continued the lad. "I say, Mr Preston—you are my guardian, you know—is there any need for him to come? I am so tired of cod-liver oil."

"Yah!" ejaculated the lawyer; "it would tire anybody but a lamp."

He snorted this out, and then blew another blast upon his nose, which made some ornament upon the chimney-piece rattle.

"Doctor?" said the professor rather dreamily, as he sat down beside the patient. "I suppose he knows best. I did not know you were so ill, my boy."

"I'm not ill, sir."

"But they say you are, my lad. I was going abroad; but I heard that you were not so well, and—and I came up."

"I am very glad," said the lad, "for it is very dull lying here. Old Dunny is very good to me, only she will bother me so to take more medicine, and things that she says will do me good, and I do get so tired of everything. How is the book getting on, sir?"

"Oh, very slowly, my lad," said the professor, with more animation. "I was going abroad to travel and study the places about which I am writing, but—"

"When do you go?" cried the lad eagerly.

"I was going within a few days, but—"

"Whereto?"

"Smyrna first, and then to the south coast of Asia Minor, and from thence up into the mountains."

"Is it a beautiful country, Mr Preston?"

"Yes; a very wild and lovely country, I believe."

"With mountains and valleys and flowers?"

"Oh, yes, a glorious place."

"And when are you going?"

"I was going within a few days, my boy," said the professor kindly; "but—"

"Is it warm and sunshiny there, sir?"

"Very."

"In winter?"

"Oh, yes, in the valleys; in the mountains there is eternal snow."

"But it is warm in the winter?"

"Oh, yes; the climate is glorious, my lad."

"And here, before long, the leaves will fall from that plane-tree in the corner of the square, that one whose top you can just see; and it will get colder, and the nights long, and the gas always burning in the lamps, and shining dimly through the blinds; and then the fog will fill the streets, and creep in through the cracks of the window; and the blacks will fall and come in upon my book, and it will be so bitterly cold, and that dreadful cough will begin again. Oh, dear!"

There was silence in the room as the lad finished with a weary sigh; and though it was a bright morning in September, each of the elder personages seemed to conjure up the scenes the invalid portrayed, and thought of him lying back there in the desolate London winter, miserable in spirit, and ill at ease from his complaint.

Then three of the four present started, for the lawyer blew a challenge on his trumpet.

"There is no better climate anywhere, sir," he said, addressing the professor, "and no more healthy spot than London."

"Bless the man!" ejaculated Mrs Dunn.

"I beg to differ from you, sir," said the professor in a loud voice, as if he were addressing a class. "By the reports of the meteorological society—"

"Hang the meteorological society, sir!" cried the lawyer, "I go by my own knowledge."

"Pray, gentlemen!" cried Mrs Dunn, "you forget how weak the patient is."

"Hush, Mrs Dunn," said the lad eagerly; "let them talk. I like to hear."

"I beg pardon," said the professor; "and we are forgetting the object of our visit. Lawrence, my boy, would you like to go to Brighton or Hastings, or the Isle of Wight?"

"No," said the lad sadly, "it is too much bother."

"To Devonshire, then—to Torquay?"

"No, sir. I went there last winter, and I believe it made me worse. I don't want to be always seeing sick people in invalid chairs, and be always hearing them talk about their doctors. How long shall you be gone, sir?"

"How long? I don't know, my lad. Why?"

The boy was silent, and lay back gazing out of the window in a dreamy way for some moments before he spoke again, and then his hearers were startled by his words.

"I feel," he said, speaking as if to himself, "as if I should soon get better if I could go to a land where the sun shone, and the sea was blue, and the sweet soft cool breezes blew down from the mountains that tower up into the clear sky—where there were fresh things to see, and there would be none of this dreadful winter fog."

The professor and the lawyer exchanged glances, and the latter took a great pinch of snuff out of his box, and held it half-way up towards his nose.

Then he started, and let it fall upon the carpet—so much brown dust, for the boy suddenly changed his tone, and in a quick excited manner exclaimed, as he started forward:

"Oh! Mr Preston, pray—pray—take me with you when you go."

"But, my dear boy," faltered the professor, "I am not going now. I have altered my plans."

"Then I must stop here," cried the boy in a passionate wailing tone—"stop here and die."

There was a dead silence once more as the lad covered his face with his thin hands, only broken by Mrs Dunn's sobs as she laid her head upon the back of the chair and wept aloud, while directly after Mr Burne took out his yellow handkerchief, prepared for a blow, and finally delivered himself of a mild and gentle sniff.

"Lawrence!"

It was the deep low utterance of a strong man who was deeply moved, and as the boy let fall his thin white fingers from before his eyes he saw that the professor was kneeling by his chair ready to take one of his hands and hold it between his broad palms.

"Lawrence, my boy," he said; "your poor father and I were great friends, and he was to me as a brother; your mother as a sister. He left me as it were the care and charge of you, and it seems to me that in my selfish studies I have neglected my trust; but, Heaven helping me, my boy, I will try and make up for the past. You shall so with me, my dear lad, and we will search till we find a place that shall restore you to health and strength."

"You will take me with you?" cried the boy with a joyous light in his eyes.

"That I will," cried the professor.

"And when?"

"As soon as you can be moved."

"But," sighed the lad wearily, "it will cost so much."

"Well?" said the professor, "What of that? I am not a poor man. I never spend my money."

"Oh! if it came to that," said the lawyer, taking some more snuff and snapping his fingers, "young Lawrence here has a pretty good balance lying idle."

"Mr Burne, for shame!" cried Mrs Dunn; "here have I been waiting to hear you speak, and you encourage the wild idea, instead of stamping upon it like a black beadle."

"Wild idea, ma'am?" cried the lawyer, blowing a defiant blast.

"Yes, sir; to talk about taking that poor weak sickly boy off into foreign lands among savages, and cannibals, and wild beasts, and noxious reptiles."

"Stuff, ma'am, stuff!"

"But it isn't stuff, sir. The doctor said—"

"Hang the doctor, ma'am!" cried the lawyer. "The doctor can't cure him, poor lad, so let's see if we can't do a little better."

"Why, I believe you approve of it, sir!" cried Mrs Dunn with a horror-stricken look.

"Approve of it, ma'am? To be sure, I do. The very thing. Asia Minor, didn't you say, Mr Preston?"

The professor bowed.

"Yes; I've heard that you get summer weather there in winter. I think you have hit the right nail on the head."

"And you approve of it, sir?" cried the boy excitedly.

"To be sure, I do, my lad."

"It will kill him," said Mrs Dunn emphatically.

"Tchah! stuff and nonsense, ma'am!" cried the lawyer. "The boy's too young and tough to kill. We'll take him out there and make a man of him."

"We, sir?" exclaimed the professor.

"Yes, sir, we," said the lawyer, taking some more snuff, and dusting his black waistcoat. "Hang it all! Do you think you are the only man in England who wants a holiday?"

"I beg your pardon," said the professor mildly; "of course not."

"I haven't had one worth speaking of," continued Mr Burne, "for nearly—no, quite thirty years, and all that time I've been in dingy stuffy Sergeant's Inn, sir. Yes; we'll go travelling, professor, and bring him back a man."

"It will kill him," cried Mrs Dunn fiercely, and ruffling up and coming forward like an angry hen in defence of her solitary chick, the last the rats had left.

The lawyer sounded his trumpet, as if summoning his forces to a charge.

"I say he shall not go."

"Mrs Dunn," began the professor blandly.

"Stop!" cried the lawyer; "send for Doctor Shorter."

"But he has been, sir," remonstrated Mrs Dunn.

"Then let him come again, ma'am. He shall have his fee," cried the lawyer; "send at once."

Mrs Dunn's lips parted to utter a protest, but the lawyer literally drove her from the room, and then turned back, taking snuff outrageously, to where the professor was now seated beside the sick lad.

"That's routing the enemy," cried the lawyer fiercely. "Why, confound the woman! She told me that the doctor said he ought to be taken to a milder clime."

"But do you really mean, Mr Burne, that, supposing the doctor gives his consent, you would accompany us abroad?"

"To be sure I do, sir, and I mean to make myself as unpleasant as I can. I've a right to do so, haven't I."

"Of course," said the professor coldly.

"And I've a right to make myself jolly if I like, haven't I, sir?"

"Certainly," replied the professor, gazing intently at the fierce grizzled little man before him, and wondering how much he spent a-year in snuff.

"It will not cost you anything, and I shall not charge my expenses to the estate, any more than I shall let you charge yours, sir."

"Of course not, sir," said the professor more coldly still, and beginning to frown.

"You shall pay your expenses, I'll pay mine, and young Lawrence here shall pay his; and I tell you what, sir, we three will have a thoroughly good outing. We'll take it easy, and we'll travel just where you like, and while you make notes, Lawrence here and I will fish and run about and catch butterflies, eh? Hang it, I haven't caught a butterfly these three or four and thirty years, and I think it's time I had a try. Eh, what are you laughing at, sir?"

Lawrence Grange's laugh was low and feeble, but it brightened up his sad face, and was contagious, for it made the professor smile as well. The cold stern look passed away, and he held out his hand to the lawyer.

"Agreed, sir," he said. "If the doctor gives his consent, we will all three go, and, please Heaven, we will restore our young friend here his health and strength."

"Agreed, sir; with the doctor's consent or without," cried the lawyer, grasping the extended hand. "By George, we must begin to make our preparations at once! and as for the doctor—Oh, here he is!"

For there was a double knock, and directly after Mrs Dunn, appearing very much agitated, ushered in the doctor, who did not look quite so cool as he did when he left.

"Oh!" he ejaculated, "I was afraid from Mrs Dunn's manner that something was wrong."

"No, doctor, nothing," said the lawyer. "We only want to ask you what you think of our young friend here being taken to spend the winter in Turkey."

"Admirable!" said the doctor, "if it could be managed."

"Oh, Doctor Shorter!" wailed Mrs Dunn, "I thought you would stop this mad plan."

"There, madam, there!" cried the lawyer; "what did I say?"

"But he is not fit to move," cried Mrs Dunn, while the boy's cheeks were flushed, and his eyes wandered eagerly from speaker to speaker.

"Only with care," said the doctor. "I should not take a long sea trip, I think; but cross to Paris, and then go on gently, stopping where you pleased, to Brindisi, whence the voyage would be short."

"The very thing!" cried the lawyer, giving one emphatic blow with his nose. "What do you say, professor?"

"It is the plan I had arranged if I had gone alone," was the reply; "and I think if Doctor Shorter will furnish us with the necessary medicines—"

"He requires change more than medicines," said the doctor. "Care against exertion, and—there, your own common sense will tell you what to do."

"Doctor! doctor! doctor!" sobbed Mrs Dunn; "I didn't think it of you. What's to become of me?"

"You, madam?" replied the doctor. "You can read and write letters to our young friend here, and thank Heaven that he has friends who will take him in charge and relieve him from the risk of another winter in our terrible climate."

"Hear, hear!" and "No, no!" cried the lawyer. "Doctor Shorter, ours is not a bad climate, and I will not stand here and listen to a word against it. Look at me, sir! Thirty years in Sergeant's Inn—fog, rain, snow, and no sunshine; and look at me, sir—look at me!"

"My dear sir," said the doctor smiling, "you know the old saying about one man's meat being another man's poison? Suppose I modify my remark, and say terrible climate for our young friend. You are decided, then, to take him?"

"Certainly," said the professor.

"To Turkey?"

"Turkey in Asia, sir, where I propose to examine the wonderful ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman cities."

"And hunt up treasures of all kinds, eh?" said the doctor smiling.

"I hope we may be fortunate enough to discover something worthy of the search."

"But, let me see—the climate; great heat in the plains; intense cold in the mountains; fever and other dangers. You must be careful, gentlemen. Brigands—real brigands of the fiercest kind—men who mean heavy ransoms, or chopped-off heads. Then you will have obstinate Turks, insidious and tricking Greeks, difficulties of travel. No child's play, gentlemen."

"The more interest, sir," replied the professor, "the greater change."

"Well," said the doctor, "I shall drop in every day till you start, and be able to report upon our friend's health. Now, good day."

The doctor left the room with Mrs Dunn, and as he went out Mr Burne blew a flourish, loud enough to astonish the professor, who wondered how it was that so much noise could be made by such a little man, till he remembered the penetrating nature of the sounds produced by such tiny creatures as crickets, and then he ceased to be surprised.



CHAPTER FOUR.

A VERBAL SKIRMISH.

It seemed wonderful: one day in London, then the luggage all ticketed, the young invalid carefully carried by a couple of porters to a first-class carriage, and seated in a snug corner, when one of them touched his cap and exclaimed:

"Glad to see you come back, sir, strong enough to carry me. Pore young chap!" he said to his mate; "it do seem hard at his time o' life."

"Hang the fellow!" cried the lawyer; "so it does at any time of life. I don't want to be carried by a couple of porters."

Then there was a quick run down to Folkestone, with the patient tenderly watched by his two companions, the professor looking less eccentric in costume, for he had trusted to his tailor to make him some suitable clothing; but the lawyer looking more so, for he had insisted upon retaining his everyday-life black frock-coat and check trousers, the only change he had made being the adoption of a large leghorn straw hat with a black ribbon; on the whole as unsuitable a costume as he could have adopted for so long a journey.

"But I've got a couple of Holland blouses in one of my portmanteaus," he said to Lawrence, "and these I shall wear when we get into a hotter country."

At Folkestone, Lawrence showed no fatigue; on the contrary, when the professor suggested staying there for the night he looked disappointed, and begged that they might cross to Boulogne, as he was so anxious to see France.

Judging that it was as well not to disappoint him, and certainly advisable to take advantage of a lovely day with a pleasant breeze for the crossing, the professor decided to proceed—after a short conversation between the two elders, when a little distant feeling was removed, for the professor had felt that the lawyer was not going to turn out a very pleasant travelling companion.

"What do you think, sir?" he had said to the fierce-looking little man, who kept on attracting attention by violently blowing his nose.

"I'll tell you what I think, professor," was the reply. "It seems to me that the boy is a little sore and upset with his parting from his old nurse. Milk-soppish, but natural to one in his state. He wants to get right away, so as to forget the trouble in new impressions. Then, as you see, the journey so far has not hurt him, and he feels well enough to go on. Sign, sir, that nature says he is strong enough, so don't thwart him. Seems to me, sir—snuff, snuff, snuff—that the way to do him good is to let him have his own way, so long as he doesn't want to do anything silly. Forward!"

So they went forward, a couple of the steamer's men lifting Lawrence carefully along the gangway and settling him in a comfortable part of the deck, which he preferred to going below; and ten minutes later the machinery made the boat quiver, the pier seemed to be running away, and the professor said quietly: "Good-bye to England."

The sea proved to be more rough than it had seemed from the pier, and, out of about seventy passengers, it was not long before quite sixty had gone below, leaving the deck very clear; and the professor, who kept walking up and down, while the lawyer occupied a seat near Lawrence, kept watching the invalid narrowly.

But there was no sign of illness. The lad looked terribly weak and delicate, but his eyes were bright, and the red spots on his cheeks were unchanged.

"I say, Preston," said the lawyer, when they had been to sea about a quarter of an hour, "you look very pale: if you'd like to go below I'll stay with him."

"Thanks, no," was the reply; "I prefer the deck. How beautiful the chalky coast looks, Lawrence!"

"Yes, lovely," was the reply; "but I was trying to look forward to see France. I want to see health. Looking back seems like being ill."

The professor nodded, and said that the French coast would soon be very plain, and he stalked up and down, a magnificent specimen of humanity, with his great beard blown about by the wind, which sought in vain to play with his closely-cut hair.

"I'm sure you had better go below, professor. You look quite white," said the lawyer again; but Mr Preston laughed.

"I am quite well," he said; and he took another turn up and down to look at the silvery foam churned up by the beating paddles.

"Look here!" cried the lawyer again, as the professor came and stood talking to Lawrence; "had you not better go down?"

"No. Why go down to a cabin full of sick people, when I am enjoying the fresh air, and am quite well?"

"But are you really quite well?"

"Never better in my life."

"Then it's too bad, sir," cried the lawyer. "I've been waiting to see you give up, and if you will not, I must, for there's something wrong with this boat."

"Nonsense! One of the best boats on the line."

"Then, there's something wrong with me. I can't enjoy my snuff, and it's all nonsense for this boy to be called an invalid. I'm the invalid, sir, and I am horribly ill. Help me below, there's a good fellow."

Mr Burne looked so deplorably miserable, and at the same time so comic, that it was impossible to avoid smiling, and as he saw this he stamped his foot.

"Laughing at me, eh? Both of you. Now, look here. I know you both feel so poorly that you don't know what to do, and I'll stop up on deck and watch you out of spite."

"Nonsense! I could not help smiling," said the professor good-humouredly. "Let me help you down."

"Thank you, no," said the lawyer taking off his hat to wipe his moist brow, and then putting it on again, wrong way first. "I'm going to stop on deck, sir—to stop on deck."

He seemed to be making a tremendous effort to master the qualmish feeling that had attacked him, and in this case determination won.

A night at Boulogne, and at breakfast-time next morning Lawrence seemed no worse for the journey, so they went on at once to Paris, where a day's rest was considered advisable, and then, the preliminaries having been arranged, the train was entered once more, and after two or three stoppages to avoid over-wearying the patient, Trieste was reached, where a couple of days had to be passed before the arrival of the steamer which was to take them to Smyrna, and perhaps farther, though the professor was of opinion that it might be wise to make that the starting-place for the interior.

But when the steamer arrived a delay of five days more ensued before a start was made; and all this time the invalid's companions watched him anxiously.

It was in these early days a difficult thing to decide, and several times over the professor and Mr Burne nearly came to an open rupture— one sufficiently serious to spoil the prospects of future friendly feeling.

But these little tiffs always took place unknown to Lawrence, who remained in happy ignorance of what was going on.

The disagreements generally happened something after this fashion.

Lawrence would be seated in one of the verandahs of the hotel enjoying the soft warm sea-breeze, and gazing out at the scene glowing in all the brightness of a southern sun, when the old lawyer would approach the table where, out of the lad's sight and hearing, the professor was seated writing.

The first notice the latter had of his fellow-traveller's approach would be the loud snapping of the snuff-box, which was invariably followed by a loud snuffling noise, and perhaps by a stentorian blast. Then the lawyer would lean his hand upon the table where the professor was writing with:

"Really, my dear sir, you might put away your pens and ink for a bit. I've left mine behind. Here, I want to talk to you."

The professor politely put down his pen, leaned back in his chair and folded his arms.

"Hah! that's better," said Mr Burne. "Now we can talk. I wanted to speak to you about that boy."

"I am all attention," said the professor.

"Well, sir, there's a good German physician here as well as the English one. Don't you think we ought to call both in, and let them have a consultation?"

"What about?" said the professor calmly.

"About, sir? Why, re Lawrence."

"But he seems certainly better, and we have Doctor Snorter's remedies if anything is necessary."

"Better, sir? decidedly worse. I have been watching him this morning, and he is distinctly more feeble."

"Why, my dear Mr Burne, he took my arm half an hour ago, and walked up and down that verandah without seeming in the least distressed."

"Absurd, sir!"

"But I assure you—"

"Tut, tut, sir! don't tell me. I watch that boy as I would an important case in a court of law. Nothing escapes me, and I say he is much worse."

"Really, I should be sorry to contradict you, Mr Burne," replied the professor calmly; "but to me it seems as if this air agreed with him, and I should have said that, short as the time has been since he left home, he is better."

"Worse, sir, worse decidedly."

"Really, Mr Burne, I am sorry to differ from you," replied the professor stiffly; "but I must say that Lawrence is, to my way of thinking, decidedly improved."

"Pah! Tchah! Absurd!" cried the lawyer; and he went off blowing his nose.

Another day he met the professor, who had just left Lawrence's side after sitting and talking with him for some time, and there was an anxious, care-worn look in his eyes that impressed the sharp lawyer at once.

"Hallo!" he exclaimed; "what's the matter?"

The professor shook his head.

"Lawrence," he said sadly.

"Eh? Bless me! You don't say so," cried Mr Burne; and he hurried out into the verandah, which was the lad's favourite place.

There Mr Burne stayed for about a quarter of an hour, and then went straight to where the professor was writing a low-spirited letter to Mrs Dunn, in which he had said that he regretted bringing Lawrence right away into those distant regions, for though Trieste was a large port, and there was plenty of medical attendance to be obtained, it was not like being at home.

"I say! Look here!" cried Mr Burne, "you ought to know better, you know."

"I do not understand you," replied the professor quietly.

"Crying wolf, you know. It's too bad."

"Really," said the professor, who was in one of his dreamy, abstracted moods, "you are mistaken, Mr Burne. I did not say a word about a wolf."

"Well, whoever said you did, man?" cried the lawyer impatiently as he took out his snuff-box and whisked forth a pinch, flourishing some of the fine dry dust about where he stood. "Can't you, a university man, understand metaphors—shepherd boy calling wolf when there was nothing the matter? The patient's decidedly better, sir."

"Really, Mr Burne—ertchishewertchishew!"

Old Mr Burne stood looking on, smiling grimly, as the professor had a violent fit of sneezing, and in mocking tones held out his snuff-box and said:

"Have a good pinch? Stop the sneezing. Ah! that's better," he added, as the professor finished off with a tremendous burst. "Your head will be clear now, and you can understand what I say. That boy's getting well."

"I wish I could think so," said the professor, sniffing so very quietly that, as if to give him a lesson, his companion blew off one of his blasts, with the result that a waiter hurried into the room to see what was wrong.

"Think? there is no occasion to think so. He is mending fast, sir; and if you have any doubt about it, and cannot trust in the opinion of a man of the world, go and watch him, and see how interested he seems in all that is going on. Why, a fortnight ago he lay back in his chair dreaming and thinking of nothing but himself. Now he is beginning to forget that there is such a person. He's better, sir, better."

The fact was that the lawyer was right, and so was the professor, for at that time Lawrence was as changeable of aspect as an April day, and his friends could only judge him by that which he wore when they went to his side.

At last the morning came when the steamer started for Smyrna, and the pair were for once in a way agreed. They had been breakfasting with Lawrence, noting his looks, his appetite, listening to every word, and at last, when he rose feebly, and went out into the verandah to gaze down at the busy crowd of mingled European and Eastern people, whose dress and habits seemed never tiring to the lad, the lawyer turned to the professor and exclaimed:

"You did not say a word to him about sailing to-day."

"No. Neither did you."

"Well, why didn't you?"

"Because I thought that it seemed useless, and that we had better stay."

"Well, I don't often agree with you, professor, but I must say that I do to-day. The boy is not equal to it. But he is better."

"Ye-es," said the professor. "I think he is better."

Just then Lawrence returned from the verandah, looking flushed and excited.

"Why, the Smyrna boat sails to-day, Mr Preston," he exclaimed. "One of the waiters has just told me. Hadn't we better get ready at once?"

"Get ready?" said the professor kindly. "We thought that perhaps we had better wait for the next boat."

"Oh!" exclaimed Lawrence, with his countenance changing. "I shall be so disappointed. I felt so much better too, and I've been longing to see some of the Grecian isles."

"Do you really feel yourself equal to the journey, my dear boy?" said the professor.

"Oh yes. I don't know when I have felt so well," said Lawrence eagerly.

"Bless my soul!" cried the old lawyer, opening and shutting his snuff-box as if for the purpose of hearing it snap, and sending the fine dust flying, "what a young impostor you are! Here, let's get our bill paid, and our traps on board. There's no time to spare."

Lawrence's face brightened again, and he left the room.

"Tell you what, professor," said Mr Burne, "you and I have been ready to quarrel several times over about what we do not understand. Now, look here. I want to enjoy this trip. What do you say to burying the hatchet?"

"Burying the hatchet? Oh! I see. Let there be peace."

"To be sure," cried the lawyer, shaking hands warmly, "and we'll keep the fighting for all the Greeks, Turks, brigands, and the like who interfere with us."

"With all my heart," said the professor smiling; but Mr Burne still lingered as if he had something to say.

"Fact is," he exclaimed at last, "I'm a curious crotchety sort of fellow. Had too much law, and got coated over with it; but I'm not bad inside when you come to know me."

"I'm sure you are not, Burne," said the professor warmly; "and if you come to that, I have spent so many years dealing with dead authors, and digging up musty legends, that I am abstracted and dreamy. I do not understand my fellow-men as I should, but really I esteem you very highly for the deep interest you take in Lawrence."

"That's why I esteem you, sir," said the lawyer; "and—no, I won't take any more snuff now; it makes you sneeze. There, be off, and get ready while I pay the bills."

That evening, in the golden glow of the setting sun, they set sail for Smyrna.



CHAPTER FIVE.

SOME FELLOW-TRAVELLERS.

It was one bright morning, after a delightful passage, that the steamer made its way into the port of Smyrna, where everything around seemed to be full of novelty—strange craft manned by strange-looking crews, Turks with white turbans, Turks with scarlet fezzes and baggy breeches, and Turks with green turbans to show their reputation among their compatriots. Greeks, too—small, lithe, dark men, with keen faces and dark eyes, differing wonderfully from the calm, dignified, handsome Turks, but handsome in their way if it had not been for a peculiarly sharp, shifty expression that suggested craftiness and a desire to overreach, if not cheat.

There was a constant succession of fresh sights, from the Turkish man-of-war that was of British build, to the low fishing-boat with its long graceful lateen sail, spread out upon its curved and tapering spar.

Ashore it was the same. The landing-place swarmed with fresh faces, fresh scenes. Everything looked bright, and as if the atmosphere was peculiarly clear, while the shadows were darker and sharper as they were cast by the glowing sun.

For the sun did glow. The time was short since they had left England, with symptoms coming on of falling leaves, lengthening nights, and chills in the air, while here all was hot summer time, and one of the first things Mr Burne said was:

"There's no mistake about it, I must have out a blouse."

They were soon comfortably settled in the best hotel, from whence the professor decided to sally forth at once to call upon and deliver his letters of recommendation to the British consul; but he was not fated to go alone.

"I want to see everything and everybody," said Mr Burne, "and I'll go with you. Look here, Lawrence, my boy, I would not get in the sun. I'd go and lie down for an hour or two till we get back."

"The sun seems to give me strength," said Lawrence eagerly. "I have seen so little of it in London. I want to go with you, please."

The professor darted a look at Mr Burne which seemed to say, "Let him have his own way;" and the landlord having been consulted, a Greek guide or dragoman was soon in readiness, and they started.

"Look here," said Mr Burne, taking hold of the professor's sleeve. "I don't like the look of that chap."

"What, the guide?"

"Yes! I thought Greeks were nice straightforward chaps, with long noses drawn down in a line from their foreheads, like you see in the British Museum. That fellow looks as if he wouldn't be long in England before he'd be looking at a judge and jury, and then be sent off to penal servitude. Greek statues are humbug. They don't do the Greeks justice."

"It does not matter as long as he does his duty by us for the short time we are here. Be careful. He understands English."

"Well, I am careful," said Mr Burne; "and I'm looking after my pocket-book, watch, and purse; and if I were you I should do the same. He's a rogue, I'm sure."

"Nonsense!"

"'Tisnt nonsense, sir; you're too ready to trust everybody. Did you hear his name?"

"I did," said Lawrence smiling. "Xenos Stephanos."

"Yes," grumbled Mr Burne. "There's a name. I don't believe any man could be honest with a name like that."

The professor showed his white teeth as he laughed heartily, and Mr Burne took snuff, pulled out a glaring yellow silk handkerchief, and blew a blast that was like the snort of a wild horse.

It was done so suddenly that a grave-looking Turkish gentlemen in front started and turned round.

"Well, what is it?" said Mr Burne fiercely. "Did you never see an Englishman take snuff before?"

The Turk bowed, smiled, and continued his way.

"Such rudeness. Savages!" snorted out Mr Burne. "Don't believe they know what a pocket-handkerchief is."

"I beg your pardon," said the Turk, turning round and smiling as he spoke in excellent English, "I think you will find we do, but we have not the use for them here that you have in England."

"I—er—er—er. Bless my soul, sir! I beg your pardon," cried the old lawyer. "I did not know you understood English, or—"

"Pray, say no more, sir," said the Turkish gentleman gravely. And he turned to cross the street.

"Snubbed! Deserved it!" cried Mr Burne, taking off his straw hat, and doubling his fist, as if he were going to knock the crown out. "Let this be a lesson to you, Lawrence. Bless me! Thought I was among savages. Time I travelled."

"You forgot that you were still amongst steam, and post-offices, and telegraph wires, and—"

"Bless me! yes," cried Mr Burne; "and, look there, an English name up, and Bass's pale ale. Astonishing!"

Just then the Greek guide stopped and pointed to a private house as being the English consul's, and upon entering they were at once shown into a charmingly furnished room, in which were a handsome bronzed middle-aged gentleman, in earnest conversation with a tall masculine-looking lady with some pretensions to beauty, and a little easy-looking man in white flannel, a glass in one eye, and a very high shirt collar covered with red spots, as if a number of cochineal insects had been placed all over it at stated intervals and then killed.

He was smooth-faced all but a small moustache; apparently about thirty; plump and not ill-favoured, though his hair was cut horribly close; but a spectator seemed to have his attention taken up at once by the spotted collar and the eye-glass.

"Glad to see you, Mr Preston," said the bronzed middle-aged man. "You too, Mr Burne. And how are you, Mr Grange? I hope you have borne the voyage well. Let me introduce you," he continued, after shaking hands, "to our compatriots Mr and Mrs Charles Chumley. We can't afford, out here, not to know each other."

Mutual bowing took place, and the consul continued:

"Mr and Mrs Chumley are bound on the same errand as you are—a trip through the country here."

"Yes," said the gentleman; "we thought—"

"Hush, Charley! don't," interrupted the lady; "let me speak. Are you Professor Preston?"

"My name is Preston," said the professor, bowing.

"Glad to meet you. Mr Chumley and I are going to do Turkey this year. Mr Thompson here said that you and your party were going to travel. He had had letters of advice. We are going to start directly and go through the mountains; I suppose you will do the same."

"No," said the professor calmly; "we are going to take steamer round to one of the southern ports and start from there."

"Oh, I say, what a pity!" said the little gentleman, rolling his head about in his stiff collar, where it looked something like a ball in a cup. "We might have helped one another and been company."

"I wish you would not interfere so, Charley," cried the lady. "You know what I said."

"All right, Agnes," said the little gentleman dolefully. "Are you people staying at Morris's?"

"Yes," said the professor.

"So are we. See you at dinner, perhaps."

"Charley!" exclaimed the lady in tones that were quite Amazonic, they were so deep and stern.

Then a short conversation took place with the consul, and the strange couple left, leaving their host free to talk to the other visitors.

"I had very kind letters from Mr Linton at the Foreign Office respecting you, gentlemen," said the consul.

"I know Linton well," said the professor.

"He is an old friend of mine too," said the consul. "Well, I have done all I could for you."

"About passports or what is necessary?" said the professor.

"I have a properly-signed firman for you," said the consul smiling; "and the showing of that will be sufficient to ensure you good treatment, help, and protection from the officials in every town. They will provide you with zaptiehs or cavasses—a guard when necessary, and generally see that you are not molested or carried off by brigands, or such kind of folk."

"But is it a fact, sir," said Mr Burne, "that you have real brigands in the country?"

"Certainly," said the consul smiling.

"What! in connection with postal arrangements, and steam, and telegraphs?"

"My dear sir, we have all these things here; but a score or so of miles out in the country, and you will find the people, save that firearms are common, just about as they were a thousand years ago."

"Bless my heart!" exclaimed Mr Burne.

"It is a fact, sir; and I should advise great care, not only as to whom you trust among the people, but as to your health. The country is in a horrible state of neglect; the government does nothing."

"But I do not see how that is to affect us," said the professor, "especially as we have that firman."

"It will not affect you in the more settled districts, but you may run risks in those which are more remote. I have been warning Mr and Mrs Chumley about the risks, but the lady laughed and said that she always carried a revolver."

"Bless me!" exclaimed Mr Burne, "a lady with a revolver! She would not dare to fire it."

"I don't know about that," said the professor.

"Of course," continued the consul, "I am at your service, Mr Preston. If you are in need of aid, and are anywhere within reach of the telegraph wires, pray send to me and I will do my best. Can I do anything more for you?"

This was a plain hint to go, for it was evident that others were waiting for an interview with the representative of England; so a friendly farewell was taken and the little party returned to the hotel.

"I'm glad you decided to go a different way to those people, Preston," said Mr Burne.

"The decision was made on the instant, my dear sir; for I did mean to start from here."

"Ah, you thought those people would be a nuisance?"

"Indeed I did."

The professor had hardly spoken when Lawrence touched his arm; for the parties alluded to approached, and the lady checked her lord, who was going to speak, by saying:

"I thought I would give you a hint about going pretty well-armed. You will not have to use your weapons if you let the people see that you have them."

"Arms, ma'am! Stuff! rubbish!" cried Mr Burne. "The proper arms of an Englishman are the statutes at large, bound in law calf, with red labels on their back."

"Statutes at large!" said the lady wonderingly.

"Yes, ma'am—the laws of his country, or the laws of the country where he is; and the proper arms of a lady, madam, are her eyes."

"And her tongue," said the professor to himself, but not in so low a voice that it was not heard by Lawrence, who gave him a sharp look full of amusement.

Mrs Chumley smiled and bowed.

"Very pretty, sir!" she said; "but you forget that we are going to travel through a country where the laws are often a mere name, and people must take care of themselves."

"Take care of themselves—certainly, ma'am, but not by breaking the laws. If a pack of vagabonds were to attack me I should hand them over to the police, or apply at the nearest police-court for a summons. That would be a just and equitable way of treating the matter."

"Where would you get your police, Burne? and whom would you get to serve your summons if you could procure one?"

"Nearest town, sir—anywhere."

The lady laughed heartily, and her little husband rubbed his hands and then patted her on the back.

"This lady is quite right, my dear Burne," said the professor. "I see that we shall be obliged to go armed."

"Armed, sir!—armed?"

"Yes. We shall for the greater part of our time be in places where the laws are of no avail, unless a body of troops are sent to enforce them."

"But then your firman will have furnished us with a Turkish soldier for our protection."

"But suppose the Turkish soldier prefers running away to fighting?" exclaimed the lady, "what then?"

"What then, ma'am?—what then?" cried the lawyer. "I flatter myself that I should be able to quell the people by letting them know that I was an English gentleman. Do you think that at my time of life I am going to turn butcher and carve folks with a sword, or drill holes through them with bullets?"

"Yes, sir, if it comes to a case of who is to be carved or drilled. There!—think it over. Come, Charley! let's have our walk."

Saying which the lady nodded and smiled to the two elders, and was going off in an assumed masculine way, when she caught sight of Lawrence lying back in an easy-chair, and her whole manner changed as she crossed to him and held out her hand with a sweet, tender, womanly look in her eyes.

"Good-bye for the present!" she said. "You must make haste and grow strong, so as to help me up the mountains if we meet somewhere farther in."



CHAPTER SIX.

MR. BURNE TRIES A GUN.

"Now that's just what I hate in women," said the old lawyer, viciously scattering snuff all over the place. "They put you in an ill temper, and rouse you up to think all sorts of bitter things, and then just as you feel ready to say them, they behave like that and disarm you. After the way in which she spoke to Lawrence there I can't abuse her."

"No, don't, please, Mr Burne," said Lawrence warmly, and with his cheeks flushing, "I am sure she is very nice when you come to know her."

"Can't be," cried the lawyer. "A woman who advocates fire and sword. Bah!"

"But as a protection against fire and sword," said the professor laughing.

"Tchah, sir! stuff!" cried the other. "Look here; I can be pretty fierce when I like, and with you so big and strong, and with such a way with you as you have—Bah! nonsense, sir, we shall want no arms."

"Well, I propose that we now consult the landlord."

"Oh, just as you like, sir; but if he advocates such a proceeding, I'm not going to stalk through Turkey carrying fire-irons in my belt and over my shoulder, like a sham footpad in a country show."

The landlord was summoned—a frank-looking Englishman, who listened to all the professor said in silence and then replied:

"Mr Thompson the consul is quite right, sir. We are not in England here, and though this is the nineteenth century the state of the country is terribly lawless. You know the old saying about when at Rome."

"Do as the Romans do, eh?"

"Exactly, sir. Every second man you meet here even in the town goes armed, even if his weapons are not seen, while in the country—quite in the interior, it is the custom to wear weapons."

"Then I shall not go," said Mr Burne decisively. "If you ask my advice, gentlemen, I should say, carry each of you a good revolver, a knife or dagger, a sword, and a double-barrelled gun."

"Sword, dagger, and gun!" cried the professor. "Surely a revolver would be sufficient."

"Why not push a nice large brass cannon before us in a wheel-barrow?" said Mr Burne sarcastically, and then leaning back in his chair to chuckle, as if he had said something very comical, and which he emphasised by winking and nodding at Lawrence, who was too much interested in the discussion upon weapons to heed him.

"A revolver is not sufficient, for more than one reason, gentlemen," said the landlord. "It is a deadly weapon in skilful hands; but you will meet scores of people who do not understand its qualities, but who would comprehend a sword or a gun. You do not want to have to use these weapons."

"Use them, sir? Of course not," roared the lawyer. "Of course not, sir," said the landlord. "If you go armed merely with revolvers you may have to use them; but if you wear, in addition, a showy-looking sword and knife, and carry each of you a gun, you will be so formidable in appearance that the people in the different mountain villages will treat you with the greatest of respect, and you may make your journey in safety."

"This is very reasonable," said the professor.

"I assure you, sir, that in a country such as this is now such precautions are as necessary as taking a bottle of quinine. And beside, you may require your guns for game."

"The country is very fine, of course?"

"Magnificent, sir," replied the landlord; "but it is in ruins. The neglect and apathy of the government are such that the people are like the land—full of weeds. Why, you will hardly find a road fit to traverse, and through the neglect of the authorities, what used to be smiling plains are turned to fever-haunted marshes spreading pestilence around."

"You will have to give way, Mr Burne," said the professor smiling, "and dress like a bandit chief."

"Never, sir," cried the lawyer. "You two may, but I am going through Asia Minor with a snuff-box and a walking-stick. Those will be enough for me."

"Where can we get arms?" said the professor smiling.

"At Politanie's, sir, about fifty yards from here. You will find him a very straightforward tradesman. Of course his prices are higher than you would pay in London; but he will not supply you with anything that is untrustworthy. Perhaps you may as well say that you are friends of our consul, and that I advised you."

"It is absurd!" exclaimed Mr Burne, as soon as they were alone. "What do you say, Lawrence, my boy? You don't believe in weapons of war, I'm sure."

"No," replied Lawrence quietly.

"There, professor."

"But," continued Lawrence, "I believe in being safe. I feel sure that the people will respect us all the more for being armed."

"And would you use a sword, sir?" cried the lawyer fiercely.

Lawrence drew his sleeve back from his thin arm, gazed at it mournfully, and then looked up in a wistful half-laughing way at his two friends.

"I don't think I could even pull it out of the sheath," he said sadly.

"Come, Burne, you will have to yield to circumstances."

"Not I, sir, not I," said Mr Burne emphatically. "I have been too much mixed up with the law all my life, and know its beauties too well, ever to break it."

"But you will come with us to the gunsmith's?"

"Oh, yes, I'll come and see you fool away your money, only I'm not going to have you carry loaded guns near me. If they are to be for show let them be for show. There, I'm ready."

"You will lie down for an hour, Lawrence, eh?" said the professor; "it is very hot." But the lad looked so dismayed that his friend smiled and said, "Come along, then."

A few minutes later they were in a store, whose owner seemed to sell everything, from tinned meat to telescopes; and, upon hearing their wants, the shrewd, clever-looking Greek soon placed a case of revolvers before them of English and American make, exhibiting the differences of construction with clever fingers, with the result that the professor selected a Colt, and Lawrence a Tranter of a lighter make.

"He's a keen one," said Mr Burne. "What a price he is asking for these goods!"

"But they seem genuine," said the professor; for the Greek had gone to the back of his store to make some inquiry about ammunition.

"Genuine fleecing," grumbled Mr Burne; and just then the dealer returned.

"You select those two, then, gentlemen," he said in excellent English. "But if you will allow me, sir," he continued to Lawrence, "this is a more expensive and more highly finished pistol than the other, and it is lighter in the hand; but if I were you, as my arm would grow stronger, I should have one exactly like my friend's."

"Why?" said Lawrence; "I like this one."

"It is a good choice, sir, but it requires different cartridges to your friend's, and as you are going right away, would it not be better to have to depend on one size only? I have both, but I offer the suggestion."

"Yes, that's quite right," said the old lawyer sharply; "quite right. I should have both the same; and, do you know, I think perhaps I might as well have one, in case either of you should lose yours."

Mr Preston felt ready to smile, but the speaker was looking full at him, as if in expectation thereof, and he remained perfectly serious.

The pistols having been purchased, with a good supply of ammunition, guns were brought out, and the professor invested in a couple of good useful double-barrelled fowling-pieces for himself and Lawrence; Mr Burne watching intently the whole transaction, and ending by asking the dealer to show him one.

"You see," he explained, "I should look odd to the people if I were not carrying the same weapons as you two, and besides I have often thought that I should like to go shooting. I don't see why I shouldn't; do you, Lawrence?"

"No, sir, certainly not," was the reply: and Mr Burne went on examining the gun before him, pulling the lever, throwing open the breech, and peeping through the barrels as if they formed a double telescope.

"Oh! that's the way, is it?" he said. "But suppose, when the thing goes off, the shots should come out at this end instead of the other?"

"But you don't fire it off when it's open like that, Mr Burne," cried Lawrence.

"My dear boy, of course not. Do you suppose I don't understand? You put in the cartridges like this. No, they won't go in that way. You put them in like that, and then you pull the trigger."

"No, no, no," cried Lawrence excitedly. "You shut the breech first."

"My dear boy—oh! I see. Yes, of course. Oh! that's what you meant. Of course, of course. I should have seen that directly. Now, then, it's all right. Loaded?"

"Sir! sir! sir!" cried the dealer, but he was too late, for the old lawyer had put the gun to his shoulder, pointing the barrel towards the door, and pulled both triggers.

The result was a deafening explosion, two puffs of smoke half filling the place, and the old gentleman was seated upon the floor.

"Good gracious, Burne!" cried the professor, rushing to him, "are you much hurt?"

Lawrence caught at the chair beside him, turning ashy pale, and gazing down at the prostrate man, while quite a little crowd of people filled the shop.

"Hurt?" cried Mr Burne fiercely—"hurt? Hang it, sir, do you think a man at my time of life can be bumped down upon the floor like that without being hurt?"

"But are you wounded—injured?"

"Don't I tell you, yes," cried Mr Burne, getting up with great difficulty. "I'm jarred all up the spinal column."

"But not wounded?"

"Yes, I am, sir—in my self-respect. Here, help me up. Oh, dear! Oh, lor'! Gently! Oh, my back! Oh, dear! No; I can't sit down. That's better. Ah!"

"Would you like a doctor fetched?"

"Doctor? Hang your doctor, sir. Do you think I've came out here to be poisoned by a foreign doctor. Oh, bless my soul! Oh, dear me! Confound the gun! It's a miserable cheap piece of rubbish. Went off in my hands. Anyone shot?"

"No, sir," said the dealer quietly; "fortunately you held the muzzle well up, and the charges went out of the upper part of the door."

"Oh! you're there, are you?" cried Mr Burne furiously, as he lay back in a cane chair, whose cushion seemed to be comfortable. "How dared you put such a miserable wretched piece of rubbish as that in my hands!"

The dealer made a deprecatory gesture.

"Here, clear away all these people. Be off with you. What are you staring at? Did you never see an English gentleman meet with an accident before? Oh, dear me! Oh, my conscience! Bless my heart, I shall never get over this."

The dealer went about from one to the other of the passers-by who had crowded in, and the grave gentlemanly Turks bowed and left in the most courteous manner, while the others, a very motley assembly, showed some disposition to stay, but were eventually persuaded to go outside, and the door was closed.

"To think of me, a grave quiet solicitor, being reduced to such a position as this. I'm crippled for life. I know I am. Serves me right for coming. Here, give me a little brandy or a glass of wine."

The latter was brought directly, and the old lawyer drank it, with the result that it seemed to make him more angry.

"Here, you, sir!" he cried to the dealer, who was most attentive; "what have you to say for yourself? It's a wonder that I did not shoot one of my friends here. That gun ought to be destroyed."

"My dear Burne," said the professor, who had taken the fowling-piece and tried the locks, cocking and recocking them over and over again; "the piece seems to me to be in very perfect order."

"Bah! stuff! What do you know about guns?"

"Certainly I have not used one much lately, and many improvements have been made since I used to go shooting; but still I do know how to handle a gun."

"Then, sir," cried the little lawyer in a towering fury, "perhaps you will be good enough to tell me how it was that this confounded piece of mechanism went off in my hands?"

"Simply," said the professor smiling, "because you drew both the triggers at once."

"It is false, sir. I just rested my fingers upon them as you are doing now."

"And the piece went off!" said the professor drily, but smiling the while. "It is a way that all guns and pistols have."

The dealer smiled his thanks, and Mr Burne started up in the chair, but threw himself back again.

"Oh, dear! oh, my gracious me!" he groaned; "and you two grinning at me and rejoicing over my sufferings."

"My dear sir, indeed I am very sorry," said the dealer.

"Yes, I know you are," said Mr Burne furiously, "because you think, and rightly, that I will not buy your precious gun. Bless my heart, how it does hurt! I feel as if I should never be able to sit up again. I know my vertebrae are all loose like a string of beads."

"Will you allow us to assist you into my private room, sir?" said the dealer.

"No, I won't," snapped the sufferer.

"But there is a couch there, and I will send for the resident English doctor."

"If you dare do anything of the kind, confound you, sir, I'll throw something at you. Can't you see that there is nothing the matter with me, only I'm in pain."

"But he might relieve you, Burne," said the professor kindly.

"I tell you I don't want to be relieved, sir," cried the little lawyer. "And don't stand staring at me like that, boy; I'm not killed."

"I am afraid that you are a great deal hurt," said Lawrence, going to his side and taking his hand.

"Oh, dear! oh, dear!" groaned the sufferer. "Well, I'm not, boy, not a bit. There."

"Let me send for a doctor, sir," said the dealer.

"I tell you I will not, man. Do you take me for a Greek or a Turk, or a heretic? Can't you see that I am an Englishman, sir, one who is never beaten, and never gives up? There, go on selling your guns."

"Oh, nonsense!" said the professor; "we cannot think of such things with you in that state."

"State? What state, sir? Here you, Mr What's-your-name, I beg your pardon. I ought to have known better. Not used to guns. Pens are more in my way. Confoundedly stupid thing to do. But I've learned more about a gun now than I should have learned in six months. I beg your pardon, sir."

"Pray, say no more, sir," replied the dealer; "it is not needed."

"Yes, it is, sir," cried the lawyer fiercely. "Didn't I tell you I was an English gentleman. An English gentleman always apologises when he is in the wrong. I apologise. I am very sorry for what I said."

The dealer smiled and bowed, and looked pleased as he handed the sufferer another glass of wine, which was taken and sipped at intervals between a few mild ohs! and ssfths!

"Not a bad wine this. What is it?"

"One of the Greek wines, sir."

"Humph! not bad; but not like our port. Now, you people, go on with your business, and don't stare at me as if I were a sick man. Here, Mr What's-your-name, put that gun in a case, and send it round to the hotel. I've taken a fancy to it."

"Send—this gun, sir?"

"Yes. Didn't I speak plainly? Didn't the professor, my friend here, say it was a good gun?"

"Yes, sir, yes: it is an excellent piece of the best English make."

"Well, I want a gun, and I suppose any piece would go off as that did if somebody handled it as stupidly as I did."

"Yes, sir, of course."

"Then send it on, and the pistol too. Ah, that's better—I'm easier; but I say, Preston, I shall have to be carried back."

"I'm very glad you are easier, but really if I were you I would see a doctor."

"I've no objection to seeing a doctor, my dear sir, but I'm not going to have him do anything to me."

"Then you really wish us to go on with our purchases?"

"Why, of course, man, of course. What did we come for? Go on, man, go on. Here, mister, show me one or two of these long carving knives."

"Carving knives?" said the dealer. "I do not keep them."

"Yes, you do: these," said Mr Burne, pointing to a case in which were several Eastern sabres.

"Oh, the swords!" said the dealer smiling. "Of course."

"You are not going to buy one of these, are you, Mr Burne?" said Lawrence eagerly.

"To be sure I am," was the reply. "Why shouldn't I play at soldiers if I like. There, what do you say to that?" he continued, drawing a light, keen-looking blade from its curved sheath. "Try it. Mind it don't go off—I mean, don't go slashing it round and cutting off the professor's legs or my head. Can you lift it?"

"Oh, yes," cried Lawrence, poising the keen weapon in his hand before examining its handsome silver inlaid hilt.

"Think that would do for me? Oh, dear me, what a twinge!"

"Yes, sir, admirably," replied Lawrence.

"Then I don't," was the gruff retort. "Seems to me that it would just suit you. There, buckle on the belt."

Lawrence did as he was told, but the belt was too large and had to be reduced.

"Hah! that's better," said Mr Burne. "There, that's a very handsome sword, Lawrence, and it will do to make you look fierce when we are in the country, and to hang up in your room at home to keep in memory of our journey. Will you accept it, my boy, as a present?"

"Oh, thank you," cried the lad excitedly.

"Took a fancy to it as soon as you saw it, you young dog. I saw you!" cried the old lawyer chuckling. "There, now for a dagger or knife to go with it."

The dealer produced one in an ornamental sheath directly, and explained that it was for use as a weapon, for hunting, or to divide food when on a journey.

"That will do, then, nicely. There, my boy, these are my presents. Now, Preston, I suppose we must each have one of these long choppers?"

"Yes, I think so," replied the professor. "They will make us look more formidable."

"Very well, then: choose one for me too, but I warn you, I shall fasten mine down in the sheath with gum. I'm not going to take mine out, for fear of cutting off somebody's legs or wings, or perhaps my own."

"You feel better now?" said the professor.

"Hold your tongue, sir—do! No: I don't feel better. I had forgotten my pain, but now you've made me think about it again. There!—choose two swords and knives and let's get back."

Two plain useful sabres were selected, and the dealer received his orders to send the weapons to the hotel, after which the injured man was helped into a standing position, but not without the utterance of several groans. Then he was walked up and down the shop several times, ending by declaring himself much better.

"There, Lawrence!" he cried, "that's the advantage of being an Englishman. Now, if I had been a Dutchman or a Frenchman I should have had myself carried back, sent for a couple of doctors, and been very bad for a month or two; but you see I'm better already, and I'm not going to give up to please the Grand Panjandrum himself. Dear me! bless my heart! panjandrum! Pan—pan—pan—jan—jan—jan—drum! Where did I hear that word?"

"In a sort of nursery ditty, sir," said Lawrence laughing.

"To be sure I did," cried the old man, "and I had forgotten it; but I say, don't laugh like that, boy."

"Why not, sir?"

"Because it will make us believe that you have been shamming all this time, and that you're really quite well, thank you, sir!—eh?"

"I—I think I am better," said Lawrence quickly. "I don't know why, but I have not been thinking about being ill these last few days, everything is so bright and sunshiny here, you see."

"Yes, I see," said the old lawyer, giving the professor a peculiar look; and they went back to the hotel.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

THE GREEK SKIPPER.

"No, I can't do it," said Mr Burne after several brave efforts; "I really am a good deal jarred, and it is quite impossible. I am quite right as long as I keep still, but in such pain if I move that I can hardly bear it."

"Then we will put off the journey for a week," said the professor decisively.

"And disappoint the lad?" said Mr Burne. "No; you two must go."

"How can you talk like that?" exclaimed Lawrence sharply, "when you have come on purpose to help me get strong again? Mr Preston, we shall stay here—shall we not?"

"Of course," replied the professor. "The enjoyment of our trip depends upon our being staunch to one another."

Mr Burne declared that it was absurd, and ridiculous, and nonsensical, and raked out a few other adjectives to give force to his sentiments, speaking in the most sour way possible; but it was very evident that he was highly pleased, and the steamer sailed without them.

The next day Mr Burne was so stiff that he could not walk about; but he refused to see a doctor, and a week passed before he could move without pain. Then one morning he declared that he was mending fast, and insisted upon inquiries being made respecting the sailing of the next steamer that would stop at one or other of the little towns on the south coast; but there was nothing bound in that direction, nor likely to be for another fortnight.

"And all my fault!" cried Mr Burne angrily. "Tut-tut-tut! Here, ring for the landlord."

The landlord came and was questioned.

No, there was no possibility of a passage being made for quite a fortnight, unless the visitors would go in a small sailing boat belonging to one or the other of the trading crews.

The professor glanced at Lawrence, thought of the probable discomfort, and shook his head.

"The very thing!" exclaimed Mr Burne sharply.

"We can make trips in steamers at anytime; but a trip in a Greek felucca, with real Greek sailors, is what I have longed for all my life. Eh, Lawrence, what do you say?"

"I think with you, sir, that it would be delightful—that is, if you are well enough to go."

"Well enough to go! of course I am. I'm longing to be off. Only a bit stiff. Look here, landlord, see what you can do for us. One moment, though; these Greeks—they will not rob us and throw us overboard—eh?"

"No fear, sir. I'll see that you go by a boat manned by honest fellows who come regularly to the port. Leave it to me."

The landlord departed and the question was discussed. The professor was ready enough to go in the manner proposed so long as Lawrence felt equal to the task, and this he declared he was; and certainly, imperceptibly as it had come about, there was an improvement in his appearance that was most hopeful.

The principal part of their luggage had gone on by steamer, and would be lying waiting for them at Ansina, a little port on the south coast which had been considered a suitable starting-point; and they had been suffering some inconvenience, buying just such few things as would do to make shift with till they overtook their portmanteaux.

Oddly enough, Mr Burne expressed the most concern about their new purchases, the weapons and ammunition, which had been sent on to the steamer by the landlord as soon as they arrived from the store.

"Such things must be so tempting to the people who see them," said the old lawyer.

"But they were all carefully packed in cases," said the professor. "They would not know what was inside."

"Nonsense, my dear sir. We English folk would not have known, but a Greek or a Turk would. These people smell powder just like crows in a corn-field. I'm afraid that if we don't make haste we shall find our things gone, and I wouldn't lose that gun for any money."

The landlord came back in about a couple of hours to say that he had had no success, but that it would become known that he had been inquiring, and an application might be made.

This turned out correct, for as the travellers were seated that evening over their dessert, enjoying by an open window the deliciously soft breeze, as Lawrence partook of the abundant grapes, and the professor puffed at a water-pipe—an example followed by Mr Burne, who diligently tried to like it, but always gave up in favour of a cigar at the end of a quarter of an hour—the waiter brought their coffee and announced that the master of a small vessel desired to see their excellencies.

The man was shown in, and proved to be a picturesque-looking fellow in a scarlet cap, which he snatched from his curly black hair and advanced into the room, saying some words in modern Greek whose import the professor made out; but his attempts to reply were too much for the skipper, who grew excited, shook his head, and finally rushed out of the room, to the great amusement of Mr Burne, who knocked the ash off the cigar he had recently lit.

"That's what I always say," he cried. "Book language is as different as can be from spoken language. I learned French for long enough when I was a boy, but I never could make a Frenchman understand what I meant."

"Let's ring and inquire," said the professor, to hide a smile. "I hope we have not driven the fellow away."

"Hope you have, you mean," said Mr Burne.

The professor rose to reach the bell, but just then the landlord entered with the Greek sailor, who smiled and showed his white teeth.

With the landlord as interpreter the matter became easy. The man was going to sail in three days, that was as soon as the little vessel, in which he had brought a cargo of oranges and other fruit from Beyrout, had discharged her load and was ready to return. He was going to Larnaca on his return voyage, but for a consideration he was ready to take the English excellencies to any port they liked on the south coast—Ansina if they wished—and he would make them as comfortable as the boat would allow; but they must bring their own food and wine.

The bargain was soon struck, the Greek asking a sum which the landlord named to the professor—so many Turkish pounds.

"But is not that a heavy price for the accommodation we shall receive?"

"Yes," said the landlord smiling. "I was going to suggest that you should offer him one-third of the amount."

"Then we shall offend him and drive him away," said Mr Burne.

"Oh, dear me! no, gentlemen. He does not expect to get what he asks, and the sum I name would be very fair payment. You leave the settlement in my hands."

The professor acquiesced, and the landlord turned to the Greek sailor to offer him just one-third of the sum he had asked.

"I thought as much," said the old lawyer. "The landlord thinks we're in England, and that it was a bill of costs that he had to tax. Look at the Greek, Lawrence!"

The latter needed no telling, for he was already watching the sailor, who was protesting furiously. One moment his hands were raised, the next they were clenched downwards as if about to strike the floor. Again they were lifted menacingly, and there seemed danger, for one rested upon a knife in his belt, but only for it to be beaten furiously in the other. Quick angry words, delivered with the greatest volubility, followed; and then, turning and looking round in the most scornful manner, the man seemed to fire a volley of words at the whole party and rushed from the room.

"I'm sorry for this," said the professor, "for we would have paid heavily sooner than wait longer."

"Humph! Yes," exclaimed Mr Burne. "Why not call the man back and offer him two-thirds of his price?"

"Because, sir," replied the landlord, "it would have been giving him twice as much as would pay him well. Don't you see, sir, that he is going back empty, and every piastre you pay him is great profit. Besides, I presume that you will take far more provisions than will suffice for your own use."

"Naturally," replied the professor.

"And this man and his little crew will reap the benefit?"

"But you have driven him away."

"Oh dear, no, sir!" replied the landlord smiling. "He will be back to-night, or at the latest to-morrow morning, to seal the bargain."

"Do you think so?" cried Lawrence, who looked terribly disappointed at this new delay.

"I am sure," said the landlord laughing. "Here he is."

For there was a quick step on the stair, the door was opened, and the swarthy face of the Greek was thrust in, the red cap snatched off, and, showing his white teeth in a broad smile, he came forward, nodding pleasantly to all in turn.

A few words passed, the bargain was made, and the tall lithe fellow strode out in high glee, it being understood that he was to well clean out the little cabin, and remove baskets and lumber forward so as to make the boat as comfortable as he could for his passengers; that he was to put in at any port they liked, or stop at any island they wished to see; and, moreover, he swore to defend them with his men against enemies of every kind, and to land them safely at Ansina, or suffer death in default.

This last was his own volunteered penalty, after which he darted back to say that their excellencies might bring a little tobacco for him and his men, if they liked, and that, in return, they might be sure of finding a plentiful supply of oranges, grapes, and melons for their use.

"Come, landlord," said Mr Burne, "I think you have done wonders for us."

"I have only kept you from being cheated, gentlemen," was the reply. "These men generally ask three or four times as much as they mean to take."

"And do the landlords?" said the professor drily.

"I hope not, sir," was the reply. "But now, gentlemen, if you will allow me, I should like to offer you a bit of advice."

"Pray, give it," said the professor gravely.

"I will, sir. It is this. You are going into a very wild country, where in places you will not be able to help yourselves in spite of your firman. That will be sufficient to get you everything where the law is held in anything like respect, but you will find yourselves in places where the rude, ignorant peasants will look upon you as Christian dogs, and will see you starve or die of exposure before they will give or even sell you food for yourselves or horses."

"Mighty pleasant set of barbarians to go amongst, I must say!" cried Mr Burne.

"I am telling you the simple truth, gentlemen. You will find no hotels or inns, only the resting-places—the khans—and often enough you will be away from them."

"He is quite right," said the professor calmly. "I was aware that we should sometimes have to encounter these troubles."

"Humph! 'Pon my word!" grumbled Mr Burne. "Look here, Lawrence, let's go back."

"What for?" cried the lad flushing. "Oh, no! we must go on."

The professor glanced at him quickly, and smiled in his calm grave way before turning to the landlord.

"You have not given us your advice," he said.

"It is very simple, gentlemen, and it is this: Take with you a man who knows the country well, who can act as guide, and from his frequent travels there can speak two or three languages—a faithful trusty fellow who will watch over you, guard you from extortion, and be ready to fight, if needs be, or force the people he comes among to give you or sell you what you need."

"Oh! but are they such savages as this—so near to the more civilised places of the East?"

"Quite, sir," replied the landlord.

"And where is this pearl among men to be found?" said the professor with a slight sneer. "Do you know such a one?"

"Yes, sir; he only returned from a journey yesterday. I happened to see him this morning, and thought directly of you."

"Would he go with us?" said the old lawyer quickly.

"I cannot say for certain," was the reply; "but if you will give me leave I will see him and sound him upon the subject."

"Humph!" from the old lawyer.

"He has just been paid, and would no doubt like to stay and rest here a little while, but I daresay I could prevail upon him to go with you if he saw you first."

"Then he is to be the master, not we?"

"Well, gentlemen, I don't say that," said the landlord smiling; "but people out here are very different to what they are at home. I have learned by bitter experience how independent they can be, and how strong their natural dislike is to Christians."

1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse