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IDALIA

them, out of common honesty. Cheats his creditors—clearly cheats his creditors!"

And so—having broken his bread and eaten his salt—they talked of him: there are a few rude nomad Arab virtues that have died out with civilisation; and the Sheikh will keep faith and return your hospitalities better than Society.

That evening, a Dalmatian, who was the body-servant of Victor Vane, a very polished and confidentially useful person, rode over to the little station nearest Lord Fitzallayne and sent a telegram, which he read from a slip of paper, to Paris. It ran thus, save that it was in a polyglot jumble of languages which would have defied any translation without a key:

"The Border Eagle flies eastward. Clip the last feather of the wing. Only La Picciola. Idalia or pearls of lead, as you like. Take no steps till beyond the King's. Then make sure, even if —— White coats in full muster; Crescent horns up; Perfide, as usual, brags but won't draw. N.B. The Eagle will give you beak and talons."

Which, simply translated, meant—

"Erceldoune, Queen's Courier, will take the F. O. bags into the Principalities. Relieve him of the last despatches he has with him. We only want