The Sheik (Chapter 9, page 1 of 22)


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Chapter 9

It was evening when Diana opened drowsy and heavy eyes, a bitter taste
in her mouth from the effects of the drug that Saint Hubert had given
her. Everything had been laid out in readiness for her waking with the
little touches that were characteristic of Zilah's handiwork, but the
Arab girl herself was not visible. The lamp was lighted, and Diana
turned her head languidly, still half confused, to look at the clock
beside her. The tiny chime sounded seven times, and with a rush of
recollection she leaped up. More than twelve hours since she had knelt
beside him after drinking the coffee that Raoul had given her. She
guessed what he had done and tried to be grateful, but the thought of
what might have happened during the twelve hours she had lain like a
log was horrible. She dressed with feverish haste and went into the
outer room. It was filled with Arabs, many of whom she did not
recognise, and she knew that they must belong to the reinforcements
that Ahmed Ben Hassan had sent for. Two, who seemed from their
appearance to be petty chiefs, were talking in low tones to Saint
Hubert, who looked worn and tired. The rest were grouped silently about
the divan, looking at the still-unconscious Sheik. The restlessness and
delirium of the morning had passed and been succeeded by a death-like
stupor. Nearest to him stood Yusef, his usual swaggering self-assurance
changed into an attitude of deepest dejection, and his eyes, that were
fixed on Ahmed Ben Hassan's face, were like those of a whipped dog.

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