This delightful scene around us, so perfectly filled and satisfied our sense of beauty that we reluctantly gave up our comfortable seats on the stern-deck, notwithstanding an advanced time of night. On the following morning the sun rose in his clearest splendor.
Under the stern-deck was stored a massive roll of tarpaulin, a corner of which made an excellent blanket, and my bundle a good pillow. It was a descent from the luxury of last night; but a spy, I reflected philosophically, cannot expect a feather bed two nights running, and this one was at any rate airier and roomier than the coffin-like bunk of the Dulcibella, and not so very much harder.
The low banks with their golden haze of dust, the cloudless sky, the sad and lonely white pagodas, charmed her; and the languor of the East crept stealthily into her northern blood. She was not conscious of the subtle change; she only knew that the world of yesterday was unlike that of today. Warrington, after depositing Rajah in the stateroom, sought the bench on the stern-deck.
In the common fear of the new danger the contending factions drew apart, friend and foe uniting in the universal effort to gain a place of safety. The wind caught the blaze and fanned it upward in a solid sheet of flame which blistered the varnish of the Richard's stern-deck. "Get down," Gregory shouted above the roar of the speed-boat's exhaust.
It gleamed with red and gold; flags and sails flapped lazily in a gentle breeze. The Cardinal sat on the stern-deck surrounded by his little court; most of his attendants he had left at home in York Palace, later known as Whitehall.
The dust had not yet risen. Elsa passed through the dining-saloon to the stern-deck and paused at the door. The scene was always a source of interest to her. There were a hundred or more natives squatting in groups on the deck. They were wrapped in ragged shawls, cotton rugs of many colors, and woolen blankets, and their turbans were as bright and colorful as a Holland tulip-bed.
We were unable to leave our seats on the stern-deck; for everything around us seemed to have assumed the character of enchantment, and had I been educated in the Grecian mythology I should scarcely have been surprised to find an assemblage of Dryads, Naiads and Oreads sporting on the plain beside us.