d, too—ther

g the gauzy folds of the dress with a light and caressing finger. “She’s a bit incredible, after all, you know! They were going to crush all that life and laughter clear down into the earth, and away she went dancing through their fingers into the dust that was just a flower garden to her. She’s more alive this minute than they’ll ever be in all their everlasting stale lives. Ah, Biddy darlin’, look at you now after flirtin’ with the fine young man from America, and you with the blessed saints to teach you wisdom all these weary long years.” Ledyard stared down at her, young and awed and tongue-tied. “She’s—she’s the pret

tiest thing that I ever saw—honestly.” “Oh, prettier than that, young Bill. She’s the prettiest thing that ever lived—or ever died. And she was such a lovely little lunatic herself that296 we get on famously. We know what a joke it all is, don’t we, Biddy? God be praised, we even know when it’s on us. There now, back you go, mavourneen, while Mr. Billee Ledyar’ and I start out hunting for another lady. Bill, take a look across the kampong at the sun while I hunt up my helmet—if it’s lower than Bhakdi’s roof you’d better be off. It goes down like a rocket in these parts, once it gets started.” Young Ledyard flu

ng open the great wooden door that had barred out the heat, and a

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little breeze came dancing in, barely stirring the strange glossy leaves that clustered about the ladder-like steps. The sky was blue as ste

el; behind the black shadow of the Sultan’s residence there were livid streaks—the world was silent and alien as a dream. He shivered strongly, and stepped back

into the room. “The sun’s set,” he said. “There’s someone coming across from that shack you call a palace.” The Hon

t tidings, Ghundi?” The bronze statue saluted with a grave and beautiful precisi

on. “Master, the Great One says that the white woman stays. Let your friend return down the waters without her.” The Honourable Tony lifted his brows. “Stays with the Great One, Ghundi?” “With the Great One, Master.” The Honourable Tony glanced pensively

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