Captain Brassbound's Conversion
Torrid forenoon filtered through small Moorish windows high up in the adobe
walls of the largest room in Leslie Rankin's house. A clean cool room, with the
table (a Christian article) set in the middle, a presidentially elbowed chair behind
it, and an inkstand and paper ready for the sitter. A couple of cheap American
chairs right and left of the table, facing the same way as the presidential chair,
give a judicial aspect to the arrangement. Rankin is placing a little tray with a jug
and some glasses near the inkstand when Lady Cicely's voice is heard at the
door, which is behind him in the corner to his right.
LADE CICELY. Good morning. May I come in?
RANKIN. Certainly. (She comes in, to the nearest end of the table. She has
discarded all travelling equipment, and is dressed exactly as she might be in
Surrey on a very hot day.) Sit ye doon, Leddy Ceecily.
LADY CICELY (sitting down). How nice you've made the room for the inquiry!
RANKIN (doubtfully). I could wish there were more chairs. Yon American captain
will preside in this; and that leaves but one for Sir Howrrd and one for your
leddyship. I could almost be tempted to call it a maircy that your friend that owns
the yacht has sprained his ankle and cannot come. I misdoubt me it will not look
judeecial to have Captain Kearney's officers squatting on the floor.
LADY CICELY. Oh, they won't mind. What about the prisoners?
RANKIN. They are to be broat here from the town gaol presently.
LADY CICELY. And where is that silly old Cadi, and my handsome Sheikh Sidi?
I must see them before the inquiry,or they'll give Captain Kearney quite a false
impression of what happened.
RANKIN. But ye cannot see them. They decamped last night, back to their
castles in the Atlas.
LADY CICELY (delighted). No!