These countries being filled with hordes of Tartars, who were very little under the dominion of law, it would have been unsafe for a caravan of rich merchandise to pass through them without an escort. Genghis Khan was greatly pleased with the result of his embassy.
"In a week or two to answer seriously, old fellow," responded Tom. "Is it possible!" "Even so, my boy." "Here, at Disaways?" "No, in Richmond. Katy's family are refugees there, now; and I was going to escort her to Petersburg to-morrow, but for these rascals and I will do it, yet." "Good! I hope the way will be clear then! Let us go on. There is no time to lose in order to warn General Fitz!"
There, while awaiting his horses and escort, he had another glimpse of the happy Arcadian life of the Californians. Over the sand hills through which he had floundered twice that day rode young men in gala attire, a maiden, her attire as brilliant as the sunset along the western summits, on the saddle before them.
Gonzague's friends took advantage of the crowd and the confusion. They huddled around Gabrielle and her escort, laughing and chattering volubly. They hustled Cocardasse, they hustled Passepoil, treading on their toes and tweaking their elbows, much to the indignation of the Gascon and the Norman, each of whom tried angrily and unavailingly to get hold of one of his nimble tormentors.
After a week spent at this pleasant spot, they commenced their journey on the evening of the 10th of June, attended by a guard of Turkish soldiers, who were to act in the double capacity of escort and servants. Their dragoman was called Mahomet, and the principal guide Achmet. The former, though almost black, declared that his colour was of a light brown.
This, whilst lessening perhaps the comparative value of what we have given, at any rate lays the chief under some obligations to the Turks, and assists in making up a good round sum in payment for the trouble of coming all the way from Ghât to Mourzuk to escort us. By the way, Mr. Boro of Aghadez has been fetched back from his encampment at Tesaoua by a man on horseback.
He had never heard of Porter, nor of Superintendent Tavish, and inasmuch as the outfit was evidently a special escort to Fort Churchill it was very likely that Porter and his companions would not be thinking of outlaws, and especially of Jolly Roger McKay. This was his one chance. To attempt an escape through the blizzard was not only a desperate hazard. It was death.
The first victory was in favor of Henri, who, at the end of a hand dealt by Constantin Lenaieff, had won about three hundred Louis. Just at this moment the two women returned, accompanied by Desvanneaux. "I had some difficulty in persuading our charming friends to return," said he; "Mademoiselle Dorville was determined that some one should escort her to her own house."
"I don't think Sam Curtis is any too well fixed," said Tom, shaking his head. "And Mercy's long illness has been a great expense to them. Hello! here we are at the station, with plenty of time to spare." Mrs. Murchiston was not going with them; the trio of young folk were to travel alone, so Tom took the tickets, got the trunk checks, and otherwise played escort to the two girls.
Beverly was, of course, going to Woodbine, the boys to be her escort from Front Royal, to which junction she would be duly escorted by Miss Stetson, in company with Sally and Aileen, who were also going home.