The Sheik (Chapter 10, page 1 of 29)


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Chapter 10

The night grew hotter and the atmosphere more oppressive. Wrapped in a
thin silk kimono Diana lay very still on the outside of the wide couch
in the inner room, propped high with pillows that the shaded light of
the little reading-lamp beside her might fall on the book she held, but
she was not reading.

It was Raoul's latest book, that he had brought with him, but she could
not concentrate her mind on it, and it lay idle on her knee--while her
thoughts were far away. It was three months since the night that Saint
Hubert had almost given up hope of being able to save the Sheik's
life--a night that had been followed by days of suspense that had
reduced Diana to a weary-eyed shadow of her former vigorous self, and
had left marks on Raoul that would never be effaced. But thanks to his
great strength and splendid constitution the Sheik had rallied and
after the first few weeks convalescence had been rapid. When the
terrible fear that he might die was past it had been a wonderful
happiness to wait on him. With the determination to live for the
moment, to which she had forced herself, she had banished everything
from her mind but the joy of being near him and of being necessary to
him. It had been a very silent service, for he would lie for hours with
closed eyes without speaking, and something that she could not master
kept her tongue-tied in his presence when they were alone. Only once he
had referred to the raid. As she bent over him to do some small office
his fingers closed feebly round her wrist and his eyes, with a
searching apprehension in them, looked into hers for the first time
since the night when she had fled from his curses.

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