Later that morning, some time after the galeasse had awakened to life and such languid
movement as might be looked for in a waiting crew, Sakr-el-Bahr went to visit
He found her brightened and refreshed by sleep, and he brought her reassuring messages
that all was well, encouraging her with hopes which himself he was very far from
entertaining. If her reception of him was not expressedly friendly, neither was it
unfriendly. She listened to the hopes he expressed of yet effecting her safe deliverance,
and whilst she had no thanks to offer him for the efforts he was to exert on her behalf--
accepting them as her absolute due, as the inadequate liquidation of the debt that lay
between them--yet there was now none of that aloofness amounting almost to scorn
which hitherto had marked her bearing towards him.
He came again some hours later, in the afternoon, by when his Nubians were once more
at their post. He had no news to bring her beyond the fact that their sentinel on the
heights reported a sail to westward, beating up towards the island before the very gentle
breeze that was blowing. But the argosy they awaited was not yet in sight, and he
confessed that certain proposals which he had made to Asad for landing her in France had
been rejected. Still she need have no fear, he added promptly, seeing the sudden alarm
that quickened in her eyes. A way would present itself. He was watching, and would miss
"And if no chance should offer?" she asked him.
"Why then I will make one," he answered, lightly almost. "I have been making them all
my life, and it would be odd if I should have lost the trick of it on my life's most
This mention of his life led to a question from her.
"How did you contrive the chance that has made you what you are? I mean," she added
quickly, as if fearing that the purport of that question might be misunderstood, "that has
enabled you to become a corsair captain."
"'Tis a long story that," he said. "I should weary you in the telling of it."
"No," she replied, and shook her head, her clear eyes solemnly meeting his clouded
glance. "You would not weary me. Chances may be few in which to learn it."
"And you would learn it?" quoth he, and added, "That you may judge me?"
"Perhaps," she said, and her eyes fell.