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God Wills It! by William Stearns Davis

Iftikhar knew that the sight of her presence


"And

I, Richard Longsword, standing in the presence of death, do cite you, Iftikhar Eddauleh, to stand with me before no less a tribunal than the judgment seat of Almighty God. There to answer, not as Moslem to Christian, but as man to man, for the blood you have shed wantonly, the foul deeds you have plotted, the pure women you have wronged, the very saint of God you have brought to agony. At His judgment seat I will accuse you, and you shall make answer to Him and all His holy angels. So say I!"

"And I!" thundered Godfrey.

"And I!" cried Musa.

They saw the Ismaelian's face flush once more. By an effort he reined his curses. Without a word he vanished. Richard turned to his comrades.

"Dear friends, this is the last adventure," said he. "Heaven is witness I did not pray you to go with me to Aleppo."

"You did not," was the answer of both. And Musa added: "My brother and you, fair lord, we are at the end. You are praying to your gentle Issa; I to Allah, the One. Yet our hearts are pure; and be you right or I, do not think God will lift some to Paradise, and speed some to hell, because your mothers taught to call on Christ, and mine to call on Allah."'

The Spaniard fixed his sweet and winning gaze upon the great Duke of Lorraine, upon Godfrey, the chief of the slayers of the infidels;

and the Duke answered (only Richard knowing what the words meant from such lips):--

"No, by Our Lady of Pity; be you Moslem, be you Christian, Sir Musa,--I would that many of the army of the Cross stood so blameless as you in the sight of God. For never in all my life have I met more spotless cavalier than you have proved. I am proud to call you comrade."

One of the white-robed Ismaelians had entered the chamber, and uplifted his hand.

"The tribunal waits," he announced. "Come!"

* * * * *

Iftikhar Eddauleh left the gallery in the cellars of El Halebah with a strange storm raging in his breast. Victory, pride, the sense of having at last settled all grudges--in this he exulted. But with it all came the knowledge that the death of Richard Longsword meant the death of the last hope to make Mary the Greek other than his slave. She had truly said,--the Egyptian knew it,--old age might come, aeons might speed, but henceforth Iftikhar would be only to her as malevolent jinn. The grand prior cursed himself for the mad folly that had led him to bring Mary and Richard face to face. She had been brought to give agony; she had given strength. Iftikhar knew that the sight of her presence, the sound of her voice, had stolen away the sting of death from the Norman. Likewise he knew that, with all the "devoted," with all the glory of his state, he was weaker than the will of this unshielded woman, that he could put forth all his might to crush that will, and do it in vain. In the eyry apartment of Morgiana, he found the four around whom, next to himself, the life of El Halebah revolved--Mary, Zeyneb, Morgiana, and Hakem. The Greek was standing beside the divan whereon sat the Arabian wife. Her face was very pale, her eyes so bright that their fire seemed not of this world. She was calm, and her words came soft and slow. But not so Morgiana; Iftikhar foresaw the lightnings the moment he entered. He was, however, in no mood to quail. Ignoring the others, he strode to Morgiana, and began half severely:--

"Moon of the Arabs, it is late. I commanded you to retire early."


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