Here you and Miss Westonhaugh have been calmly planning an extensive tiger-hunt, when you have promised to be in the neighbourhood of Keitung in three weeks, wherever that may be. I suppose it is in the opposite direction from here, for you will not find any tigers nearer than the Terai at this time of year." "I do not see the difficulty," he answered.
I will meet you a day's journey before you reach Keitung, somewhere on the road, and we will go together and do the business. But if I am to help you I will not promise not to perform some miracles, as you call them, though you know very well they are no such thing. Meanwhile, do as you please about the tiger-hunt; I shall say no more about it."
For the first half hour he was engaged in giving directions to the faithful Narain, who moved about noiselessly among the portmanteaus and gun-cases and boots which strewed the floor. At last all was settled for the start before dawn, and he turned to me. "We shall meet again in Simla, Griggs, of course?" "I hope so. Of course we shall, unless you are killed by those fellows at Keitung.
If Ram Lal had been able to prepare my way at such short notice here, with two more days at his disposal he would doubtless succeed in laying me a dâk most of the way from Julinder to Keitung. I will not dwell upon the details of the journey. I reached the railroad and prepared for forty-eight hours of jolting and jostling and broken sleep.
He expected that the Westonhaughs would have returned by this time, and he would doubtless go to them as soon as he had breakfasted. So we separated to dress and be shaved my beard was a week old at least and to make ourselves as comfortable as we deserved to be after our manifold exertions. We had been three days and a half from Keitung to Simla.
"We can be in Oude in two days from here; shoot tigers for ten days, and be here again in two days more. That is just a fortnight. It will not take me a week to reach Keitung. I am much mistaken if I do not get there in three days.
"Thanks, Ram Lal. It is this I would know. You are aware that I have undertaken a novel kind of bargain. The man you wot of is to be delivered to me near Keitung. I am anxious for the man's safety afterwards, and I would be glad of some hint about disposing of him.
"Ram Lal," he said, "has met me unexpectedly, and sends you this by his own means, which are swift as the flight of the eagle. It is indispensable that you meet us below Keitung, towards Sultanpoor, on the afternoon of the day when the moon is full. Travel by Julinder and Sultanpoor; you will easily overtake me, since I go by Simla. For friendship's sake, for love's sake, come.
Ghyrkins chuckled, and the man with the broken bones groaned. But between the different members of the party he would be a rich man before he was well. I amused myself with my favourite sport of potting peacocks with bullets; it is very good practice. Isaacs had told me that morning when we started that he would leave us the next day to meet Shere Ali near Keitung.
He had returned to Simla, and by his carefully made arrangements would be able to reach Keitung, or the spot near it, where the transaction was to take place, by constant changes of horses where riding was possible, and by a strong body of dooly-bearers wherever the path should prove too steep for four-footed beasts of burden.