In a minute he was covered by a rifle. In another minute the mullah had lashed his hands. In five minutes more the women were loaded again with his belongings and they were all half-way down the track in single file, the mullah bringing up the rear, descending backward with rifle ready against surprise, as if he expected Yasmini and her men to pounce out any minute to the rescue.

Thus reinforced, he could deal with the Hadda Mullah, and General Blood would be at liberty to join the 2nd Brigade in the Mamund Valley. General Ellis took up a position, with the two brigades at his disposal, at the mouth of the Bedmanai Pass; and sniping went on all night. Next morning the troops moved forward to the attack.

The Mullah had promised an easy victory and unlimited plunder; but behold, armed troopers of the Queen had risen out of the very earth, cutting, slashing, and riding down under the stars, so that no man knew where to turn, and all feared that they had brought an army about their ears, and ran back to the hills.

"These three men came, and one was a new man!" the mullah howled. "The other two were his witnesses! All three swore that the first man came from slaying an unbeliever in the teeth of written law. They said he ran from the law. So, as the custom is, I let all three enter!" "Good!" said the crowd. "Good!" They might have been five thousand judges, judging in equity, so grave they were.

"Will you fetch it?" said Shere Ali, and as Phillips walked off, he turned towards the nobles and the old mullah who stood amongst them. Phillips heard his voice, as he began to speak, and was surprised by a masterful quiet ring in it.

It was undoubtedly an insult that a Bengali, the son of a Bengali, should presume to administer the Border, but that fact did not, as the Mullah pretended, herald a general time of license and lifting; and the inexplicable madness of the English had not in the least impaired their power of guarding their marches.

The Great Fakir had mighty armies concealed among the mountains. When the moment came these would sally forth horse, foot and artillery and destroy the infidel. It was even stated that the Mullah had ordered that no one should go near a certain hill, lest the heavenly hosts should be prematurely revealed. So ran the talk. But among all these frothy fabrications there lay a solemn warning.

"The mullah Muhammad Anim answered he knows nothing of thee and cares less! He said and he said it with vehemence it is no more to him where a hakim sits than where the rats hide!" He watched King's face and seeing that, King allowed his facial muscles to express chagrin. "Between us, it is a poor time for messages to him. He is too full of pride that his lashkar should have beaten the British."

A day is fixed for a drag, and the big nets are overhauled and got in readiness. The head mullah, a wary grizzled old veteran, gives the orders. The big drag-net is bundled into the boat, which is quickly pushed off into the stream, and at a certain distance from shore the net is cast from the boat.

For the Mad Mullah they had no blame whatsoever; for the English they had the bitterest blame, the deepest hatred and the uttermost contempt. Who blames the lion for seeking and slaying his prey? Who defends the unspeakable creature that throws its friends and children to the lion in payment of its debts and in cancellation of its obligations to those friends and children?