But Manöel had been here before; and the camel-drivers, if they had not visited this douar, were familiar with others. Max alone wondered at the great tent, whose many different compartments sheltered the Agha, his whole family, and servants brought from Djazerta.
In that case the Agha of Djazerta would have no right to search among the women. And Manöel's splendid at disguise. His actor's training has taught him that." "I feel now that he will get Ourïeda out of the country. They've suffered too much and dared too much to fail in the end." "I hope so; I think so," Max answered. But he knew that in real life stories did sometimes end badly.
It may be to me, or it may be to him. But something must happen." The Agha himself had caused to be built at Djazerta a hammam copied in miniature after a fine Moorish bath in Algiers, at which he bathed when he went north to attend the governor's yearly ball.
Sanda believed there would be tender romance for him, as for her, in the thought of the marriage near Touggourt, where his love had come to him from half across the world. Not a rap did the girl care for the hardships in front of her. She laughed and thought it a great adventure that she had no "trousseau," but only the few clothes which were wearable after her long visit to Djazerta.
Already there has been a day lost returning from Djazerta, where I heard that you were at your douar. A day and a half here, much as I should like to be your guest, would mean overstaying my leave. That, you will see, is impossible." "If it is impossible, I fear that thou must go from here with thy mission unfulfilled and without Mademoiselle," replied the Agha, irritatingly calm.
On the third morning the great dunes were left behind, and the bassourahs no longer swayed like towers in a rotary earthquake with the movements of the camels. Far away across a flat expanse of golden sand, silvered by saltpetre, a long, low cloud blue-green as a peacock's tail trailed on the horizon. It was the oasis of Djazerta, with its thousands of date palms.
Not far away sat the bride, raised high above the rest of the company on a kind of throne made of carved wood, painted red and thickly gilded. It had served generations of brides in the Agha's family, and had been brought out from Djazerta. Sanda glanced up from the divan of cushions on which she and the other women guests reclined to see if Ourïeda was looking her way.
According to his own account, he had been born in Djazerta, though he had lived in many places and learned French and Spanish in order to make money as an interpreter. When the caravan reached Djazerta they found the oasis town indulging in festivities because of the marriage of the Agha's daughter.
They ate sweets and drank pink sherbet or syrup-sweet coffee, and, instead of being bathed by one of the attendants, Ourïeda was waited upon by a great personage who came to Djazerta only for the weddings of the highest.
They had travelled through the night, after learning that Ben Râana and his family had gone from Djazerta, with intervals of rest no longer than those allowed to the Legion on march.