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in low fierce tones; "it is he, but until I have seen him close I will do nothing. Come, then, and let us see if it is indeed this husband of mine who has sold my brother and the men of the tribe."

for I fear that by the time we get back we shall be too late."

"My task too needs haste," said her companion, "though it may be that he will not come in till the night or till to-morrow. At least he must go round by the upper path, or all will know whence he has come. Never fear, we will be ready for him when he comes, the thrice-cursed betrayer of the Faith."

They hastened across from ridge to ridge, moving laterally to intercept the line which the unconscious man was taking. Careful not to show themselves to one approaching from below, they sucoeeded in getting the nearer Feverishly they hurried back, view of him which they and reaching Raghza, they wanted, where a deep defile separated, Lalla going in in the hills allowed them to search of Khair Ali, while Nur see almost perpendicularly Jan, with hate and misery in below them the path the her heart, went to tell the men Informer was taking. They of the village what she had saw him appear, furtive and discovered. She passed one watchful; they saw him pause at a bend in the ravine and scan the path before him; they saw him hurry forward to the next bend and disappear from their view.

"It is enough," oried Nur Jan. "I know now, and never will I rest until the men know too, and deal with him as he deserves. Come, my sister, let us hasten, that I may prepare for him the welcome he has earned."

"Aye," said the girl, "hasten we must, and with all our speed. It may be that there is yet time to warn the raid. I would not believe, I would not believe, and we have let the men go to their death. If Khair Ali is at Raghza, I will send him after them. He is swift of foot, and may be in time; but the way is long. Ah! if only I could go myself;

on her way to her home, and telling him to bring such others as he could quickly find to her courtyard, she passed on, herself meeting two others, whom she took with her. In five minutes six men were gathered at her gate, listening to what she had to say. They heard with muttered execrations and violent gestures. In a moment their plan was made, the signal of Faiz Ullah's arrival agreed upon; and the men quickly dispersed, lest suspicion should be raised and any possible accomplice should contrive to warn him.

No accomplice had Faiz Ullah, but he had that which was better still for him-one who would have given her life for him. In a village near by, there lived, with a married sister of his, his old mother; and it happened that at this

time she was paying one of her frequent visits to her only son at Raghza. The old woman, grown prematurely senile, as is the way of her race, had largely lost her grip of things and lived for little but her love of her son and of her daughter's sons. None of the doings of the house she was now living in had become known to her, but the coincidence of her son's journey and of her daughterin-law's absence from home for these two days had stirred some half-dead protective interest in her old brain and had made her watchful. When Nur Jan hurried back in evident excitement and, taking no notice of the old orone who crouched at the hearth, had related her story to the men of the village at the gate of her courtyard, the old lady crept to the door of the house and listened and watched with all her powers.

Faiz Ullah spent the day in hiding. At dusk he commenced his journey, and having placed himself on the path by which he meant to approach his home, he waited until day and then walked boldly in. His house, lying to one side of the village, was reached before he met any of the inhabitants, but as he came close to the courtyard entrance he saw his old mother hobbling towards him. In a moment the cold hand of fear, which had borne him company at a distance for many a weary day, seized his heart and he hurried forward to meet her.

"Quick!" she said, panting with the exertion of her haste; "quick! they are awaiting you for evil. Nur Jan has set the men on you. Waste no time, but save your life by flight."

"Is it so, my mother? And it is through Nur Jan, my wife, that I must flee? Say, are the men already in my house, or do they come from without? And Nur Jan, where is she?"

"The men have gone, but they are surely waiting for you. Nur Jan is in the lower room of the tower. I heard little, but she spoke your name to them and they repeated it in bitter anger, even as she had spoken it."

He hastened into the courtyard, and crossing it with quick strides, climbed the ladder to the tower door, and pushed it open. His wife was standing at a loophole looking towards the village, and in her hand was a cloth. Faiz Ullah drew from its scabbard at his side the long knife which every Pathan carries habitually, and crossed the little chamber to where she stood. As the door swung open, letting a flood of light into the dark room, Nur Jan had started back from the loophole, and now stood facing him, knowing herself discovered, like some wild animal at bay, her head thrown back, her body upright, defiant and fearless. With a muttered exclamation of "Accursed one!" he raised the knife and sprang at her, thrusting downwards at her breast with all his force. Nur Jan raised her arm to save herself, and the knife, striking

her forearm, transfixed it, and sank deep into her shoulder beyond. She fell back against the wall, half-collapsed, and as her husband wrenched the knife out and lifted it anew, she raised her eyes and looked full into his. With a groan he loosed his hold on the bloody dagger, and, turning, rushed out of the tower and down the steep ladder, careless of risk, and groping his way like one struck blind. Some instinct, however, guided him with unerring cunning. He dashed into the house, and from their accustomed hidingplace in the thatch he dragged his rifle and cartridge belt.

The gate of the courtyard would be watched and guarded by now, but he avoided it by elimbing on to the low roof of the house and letting himself down at the back on to the open hillside. With the precision of one following a wellconsidered plan, he selected his direction, made for a path leading deep into the hills, and settled down to a flight which he well knew must be long and arduous.

The men, seven in number, split into three parties and set off in pursuit, and the courtyard once more lay silent in the bright sunshine of the clear morning.

V. RETRIBUTION.

It was past noon of the day before the wounding of Nur Jan and the flight of her husband, when Lalla, having found Khair Ali at Raghza, as she had hoped to do, told him the news of Faiz Ullah's treachery, and urged him to follow and warn the raiders of what had happened. He needed no urging. He was himself no raider, but he had many friends among the gang and could de no less than try his best to save them. He did not know where they were to lie up that day, for such secrets are kept as close as possible on the frontier, but he did know the object of their raid and the road they would probably take. His hope was to find them before they had left their hiding-place, and, turning aside but for a moment

to take his rifle and some Indian oorn bread, which Lalla hastened to bring him, he left the village on his way down the path to the plains. Travelling downhill and at his best pace, he reached the foothills just as the daylight was beginning to fade, and, stopping now and then to give a low but penetrating whistle, which might draw attention to him should he happen to pass near the rendezvous, he pressed on in order to place himself on the track by which the raiders would go forward during the night.

It happened that travelling thus, much faster than they, and having by good fortune hit upon the correct track, he actually caught up the gang after they had started, though he was only in time

partially to save them from disaster.

Faiz Ullah's knowledge of the plans of the gang had been confined, as were Khair Ali's, to a knowledge of the time and of the village they meant to attack. The authorities, acting on this uncertain information, had no opportunity of surrounding them in daylight, and decided to try and intercept them by placing troops across the two paths, by one of which they were almost certain to travel, at such a point that the ambush would probably account for most of them. This policy would have suoeeeded fully if it had not been that Khair Ali, coming up with the gang just as they were on the point of entering the trap, gave them his warning and stopped their advance. The officer in command of the soldiers, who had just begun to see the dim forms of the tribesmen in the nala below where he lay, seeing these suddenly come to a halt, believed that his carefullyhidden ambush must have been discovered, and without further hesitation gave the word to fire.

The stillness of the night was instantly shattered by a heavy outbreak of rifle-fire, in which the sharp rattle of a machine-gun joined. The raiders, who had just understood Khair Ali's message and were on the point of retreating on their own initiative, turned and bolted in the darkness, but not before five of their number had been struck down

by the unaimed but concentrated fire. Two more dropped as they ran, but the remainder, with Khair Ali among them, turned a bend of the nala and found themselves safe from immediate danger. They hurried on to gain the hills during the night, and would easily have done so had it not been that two of their number had been wounded in the nala. The consequence of the delay so occasioned was that the party was still in the lower hills when day breke. The villagers in British territory near the border had been warned to look out for the escaping tribesmen, and it happened that, though the pursuing troops missed the line they had taken, one party of villagers found them and started in pursuit. They were badly armed, and the raiders, sending on the wounded men, formed a rearguard and fought them off without loss, but some of them, and among these Khair Ali, were seen and recognised.

As soon as the gang were in safety, Khair Ali left them and pressed on to Raghza, to find Nur Jan badly hurt and Faiz Ullah fled, with some of the men in pursuit.

"Never shall I rest while he lives!" he oried. "I swore it when I heard that Makhmad had been taken or killed, and that oath is sacred. Where others fail I may well succeed, for I know where he will go, and as he dare not travel evidently fleeing by the main paths, I believe I may get ahead of him and cut him off. He will surely try and join

Hassan Khan in Khost. In Waziristan he may not stay."

All that day and all that night he travelled, with infrequent halts for food and water and without a thought of sleep. The next day he had reached the place where he hoped he might intercept the fugitive if he had rightly gauged his intention. He selected a deep and ominous rent in the hills, the only path by which a man might pass between the rugged masses which towered on either hand. Here above the path he lay down, utterly exhausted. His last effort must be used to keep himself awake. If he succeeded in that, and if Faiz Ullah came that way, he must surely die.

It was fortunate for him that he had not long to wait. He had hardly settled himself down for his vigil when along the path came the figure of a man stumbling, as he himself had been, with fatigue, but pressing on desperately with the fear of death behind him.

He had had a terrible time. Driven to avoid all human habitations, which would have delayed his flight, as to pass through without stopping would have caused all the more inquiry, he had had to travel at times by the worst tracks, in a country where the habitual salutation is, "May you not be weary." He had had no food, and nothing but his terror and a dogged determination to escape had kept him moving.

"Faiz Ullah!" came a voice

from close at hand. "Oh, Faiz Ullah, halt and see who it is that kills you!"

The man turned with the snarl of a jackal on the closing hound. Khair Ali's head and rifle showed over the edge of the little oliff on which he lay, not ten yards away. The rifle covered him, and his glance showed the grim purpose in the eyes that gleamed behind it. With a sudden movement he sprang aside and fired pointblank at the face which looked into his. The bullet, unaimed, but fired by one who had lived for years with his weapons ever at hand, almost achieved its purpose, for it scored Khair Ali's temple with a streaming gash; but though the shock of the wound threw up his head for a moment, it did not shake his aim. Coolly but instantaneously he brought his sights on to the man below, and shot him through the heart.

He rose, and stanching the blood which ran down his face with the fall of his turban, he made his way down to the nearest village and told his story. He was given food and a bed, while men went out to bury the dead man, who was a Mahommadan, whatever his faults. The next day he started back to Raghza, and when he arrived he told his story there too, and his deed was quickly approved of, without exultation, but as the simple duty that lay upon the community. The incident had come to a satis factory conclusion. Much harm had been occasioned, but the

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