[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Henry took a step back, calling as he did so, ‘Abdul!’And the tail servant moved from the shadow of the cypress, tossing a rifle to his master.Ellen heard herself scream as the strengthening light ran like liquid silver along the blade of the drawn scimitar.There was a loud report and a blinding flash and Henry Bligh was flung backwards, his head striking the ground with a sharp crack.Dr.Ford had run to kneel by the other and feel for a pulse, and there was blood staining the white stone.‘I fear the rifle was defective.’ Abdul said.He had stepped forward, his face impassive, his voice gently regretful.‘I would call it a most unfortunate accident.’‘I am going to be sick, or faint!’ Farida declared in a high voice.‘No, madame, the daughter of El Assur Pasha does not behave with such lack of dignity,’ Abdul said.His tone was stern but respectful, the privileged servant admonishing a beloved but wayward mistress.For a moment Farida hesitated, and then she raised her chin, pulling her veil over her face, and said, ‘Abdul, will you have Mr.Bligh moved to some other place? I will go in and tell Christopher what has happened.Dr.Ford, a report will have to be made, won’t it?’‘Accidental death, as Abdul so rightly says.’ The doctor rose, patting Selina on the shoulder.‘Rami, won’t you come in for a few minutes?’ Farida asked.‘I thank you.’ Sheathing his weapon, he put his arm about Ellen and led her within.‘Where did you go?’ Selina was demanding.‘And what was all that about rebels? Are you—?’ She paused, her blue eyes on Rami’s face as he pulled off his concealing headdress.‘Rami El Said, Miss Selina.’ He bowed slightly.‘Your father and I are old acquaintances.I had the good fortune to find Miss Ellen when she had wandered away from the festival.’‘Oh?’ Selina glanced between them curiously.‘Miss Ellen and I are to be married as soon as possible,’ Rami said smoothly.‘I fear Mr.Bligh didn’t approve of the match.’‘I knew you’d fall in love and catch yourself a husband,’ Selina said.‘I can’t piece together what’s been happening, but I do wish you every happiness.’‘Marriage?’ Farida had come back into the lobby and stood, her hand on Christopher’s chair.‘Is it Rami you intend to marry? I knew there was somebody.That day of the picnic I thought I recognised you among the horsemen we glimpsed in the distance.’‘Your sight was always keen,’ Rami responded.‘And your taste in women always excellent,’ she returned.‘Farida has told me what happened,’ Christopher said.‘I’m trying to make sense of it.’‘Ellen and I met last night at the festival,’ Rami said slowly, ‘it was an accidental meeting after she’d strayed away from the main party at the festival, so I brought her home.Henry Bligh seems to have mistaken me for one of the rebels.’There was a long pause.Then the secretary’s eyes lifted to meet the dark ones of the other woman.‘Farida and I hope to marry in a few months’ time,’ he said, ‘and we will continue to live here at Silver Moon.I think I can assure you there will be no more defective guns sold to the Berbers.’‘I’m glad to hear it,’ Rami said gravely.‘I must go and help my father,’ Selina said.‘He will need to make out his report and I must get him to rest for he’s been up all night.’She gave them another faintly bewildered look and went out.‘The good doctor will make it all right,’ Farida soothed.‘Ellen, you look very untidy! Don’t you want to wash your face?’‘In future water will be something of a luxury,’ Rami said.‘You are really going to be married?’ Farida stared at them in undisguised pleasure, with no trace of envy in her smooth face.‘I am so glad, my dear Ellen! But you must understand that even though Christopher and I plan to marry, I was always faithful to Hywel and grateful to him for his kindness to me.’‘Dear Farida, I hope that you’ll be very happy,’ Ellen said, and kissed Farida impulsively on the cheek.‘Will you excuse us? I want to talk to Ellen.’ Rami took her hand and stepped to the courtyard door.‘I need to wash,’ she began, but he was leading her down towards the pool where the dolphins jetted spray into the clear morning air.‘You can wash later, and eat some breakfast,’ he said, ‘and when you have rested we’ll start our journey.’‘Journey?’ She blinked at him.‘To Cairo,’ he told her.‘We can be married there and see that man I was telling you about.’‘I never said I would marry you,’ she said faintly [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]