Then I shall confide to you a great secret; for it is right that you should be apprised of what is going on; and only you—with my assistance, to be sure—can hope to defeat the cunning plot that threatens to separate Aneth from you forever.”

Thereupon she related to him the details of the interview she had overheard between Kāra and the girl, and told of the promise Aneth had made to save her grandfather from disgrace by marrying the Egyptian.

But this is nonsense!” he exclaimed, angrily. The man is a fool to wish to force any woman to marry him, and a scoundrel to use such means to accomplish his purpose.”

I know; I have discussed this matter with Aneth long and earnestly, but all in vain. She is determined to sacrifice herself to save Lord Roane from this disgrace; and Prince Kāra is inflexible. For some unknown reason he has determined to make this girl his wife, although he did not talk like a lover, and she told him frankly she could never love or even esteem him. Really, it seems incomprehensible.”

I know his reason well enough,” answered Winston, moodily. He is acting under the influence of the strongest and most evil human passion—revenge. If you will kindly listen, my friend, I will relate a bit of{197} romance that should enable you to understand the Egyptian’s purpose.”

He proceeded to recount the story of Hatatcha and Lord Roane, adding his grounds for believing that Kāra had from the first contemplated the ruin of the entire Consinor family.

This is horrible!” cried Mrs. Everingham, indignantly. If what you say is true, this native prince is himself a grandson of Roane, and therefore Aneth’s cousin.”

I have called his attention to that fact, and he declares it is no bar to his marrying her. I imagine his real meaning is that the relationship is no bar to his prosecuting his nefarious plans. Does Lord Roane know of this proposed sacrifice of his granddaughter for his sake?”

No; and Aneth has made me promise to keep the secret from him. I cannot see that he would be able to assist us in any way, if he knew all that we know.”

Perhaps not. Is the story true? Has Roane actually embezzled this money?”

I do not know.”

It seems to me,” said the young man, thoughtfully, that our first action should be to discover the truth of Kāra’s assertion. He may have trumped up the charge to work upon Aneth’s feelings, and lead her to consent to marry him against her will.”

That is true,” she said. How can we investigate the matter?”{198}

Very easily. I will go to-morrow to the Rosetta Barrage and examine the embankment. Afterward I can look up the records and discover what sort of contract this man McFarland had, and how much money he collected for its execution. That will give us the truth of the matter, and I can accomplish it all in two days’ time.”