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A Young Lion Of Dedan
by [?]

Looking from the minaret the Two could see, far off, the Pyramids of Ghizeh and Sakkara, the wells of Helouan, the Mokattam Hills, the tombs of the Caliphs, the Khedive’s palace at distant Abbasiyeh. Nearer by, the life of the city was spread out. Little green oases of palms emerged from the noisy desert of white stone and plaster. The roofs of the houses, turned into gardens and promenades, made of the huge superficial city one broken irregular pavement. Minarets of mosques stood up like giant lamp-posts along these vast, meandering streets. Shiftless housewives lolled with unkempt hair on the housetops; women of the harem looked out of the little mushrabieh panels in the clattering, narrow bazaars.

Just at their feet was a mosque–one of the thousand nameless mosques of Cairo. It was the season of Ramadan, and a Friday, the Sunday of the Mahommedan–the Ghimah.

The “Two” were Donovan Pasha, then English Secretary to the Khedive, generally known as “Little Dicky Donovan,” and Captain Renshaw, of the American Consulate. There was no man in Egypt of so much importance as Donovan Pasha. It was an importance which could neither be bought nor sold.

Presently Dicky touched the arm of his companion. “There it comes!” he said.

His friend followed the nod of Dicky’s head, and saw, passing slowly through a street below, a funeral procession. Near a hundred blind men preceded the bier, chanting the death-phrases. The bier was covered by a faded Persian shawl, and it was carried by the poorest of the fellaheen, though in the crowd following were many richly attired merchants of the bazaars. On a cart laden with bread and rice two fellaheen stood and handed, or tossed out, food to the crowd–token of a death in high places. Vast numbers of people rambled behind chanting, and a few women, near the bier, tore their garments, put dust on their heads, and kept crying: “Salem ala ahali!–Remember us to our friends!”

Walking immediately behind the bier was one conspicuous figure, and there was a space around him which none invaded. He was dressed in white, like an Arabian Mahommedan, and he wore the green turban of one who has been the pilgrimage to Mecca.

At sight of him Dicky straightened himself with a little jerk, and his tongue clicked with satisfaction. “Isn’t he, though–isn’t he?” he said, after a moment. His lips, pressed together, curled in with a trick they had when he was thinking hard, planning things.

The other forbore to question. The notable figure had instantly arrested his attention, and held it until it passed from view.

“Isn’t he, though, Yankee?” Dicky repeated, and pressed a knuckle into the other’s waistcoat.

“Isn’t he what?”

“Isn’t he bully–in your own language?”

“In figure; but I couldn’t see his face distinctly.”

“You’ll see that presently. You could cut a whole Egyptian Ministry out of that face, and have enough left for an American president or the head of the Salvation Army. In all the years I’ve spent here I’ve never seen one that could compare with him in nature, character, and force. A few like him in Egypt, and there’d be no need for the money-barbers of Europe.”

“He seems an ooster here–you know him?”

“Do I!” Dicky paused and squinted up at the tall Southerner. “What do you suppose I brought you out from your Consulate for to see–the view from Ebn Mahmoud? And you call yourself a cute Yankee?”

“I’m no more a Yankee than you are, as I’ve told you before,” answered the American with a touch of impatience, yet smilingly. “I’m from South Carolina, the first State that seceded.”

“Anyhow, I’m going to call you Yankee, to keep you nicely disguised. This is the land of disguises.”

“Then we did not come out to see the view?” the other drawled. There was a quickening of the eye, a drooping of the lid, which betrayed a sudden interest, a sense of adventure.