Shrill cries of alarm broke out from the darkened
room. " Aie ! Aie ! Allah protect us ! We are
God's and unto God shall we return ! "
The line of infantry swelled to a superhuman im-
mensity, seemed on the point of reaching the spec-
tators â and then there was darkness.
From the gloom came the voice of the German
" You have beheld, O children of the true Faith,
the infidel English ran like dogs ! "
" Like dogs they ran ! With our own eyes we
have seen it, praise be to Allah ! Death to the
infidel ! "
" Now see the soldiers of the Prophet, the victorious
army of the Sultan, destroying the Christian mosques
in the conquered country ! " announced the show-
man, in a voice of triumph.
On the wall was thrown the picture of a Belgian
village church. German soldiers were busy about it.
Then volumes of smoke began to issue from the
windows, tongues of flame. The roof fell in. The
church was reduced to a ruin.
" Behold ! Ye see with your own eyes ! "
" We see we see ! God is great ! Unto Him
THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN 115
be the praise ! " came the reply from the spec-
" Now see others ! " cried the German. " This
is the work of the Sultan's armies â will ye now
doubt that he has set his face against the Christian
infidels ? "
Picture after picture of ruined and desolated
churches followed upon the wall. The German
authorities had evidently prepared a special film of
them. Cries of wild approbation broke from the
fanatical tribesmen, the mullahs loudest.
" Once more, O people, look upon the English
prisoners, whose lives have been spared because they
have embraced the true faith, being led through the
Sultan's capital ! "
A film of a few British prisoners from Gallipoli
being marched through the streets of Constantinople
was then shown, amid shouts of applause.
The picture was taken off, but the beam of light
still blazed across the room. The German placed
himself full in it.
" Ye have seen with your own eyes, O warriors
of the hills ! Praise be to Allah for His mercies !
Ye will no longer doubt. In the name of the Prophet,
the Sultan Willem, the protector of Islam, commands
that ye rise up and sweep beyond the Indus. Every-
where the power of the English is broken. With
your own eyes ye have seen it. Only on your borders
do they still keep up a vain show. Rise up, O children
of the Prophet, and sweep these dogs of infidels into
the sea ! The rich lands of India and much loot will
be the reward of your valour. Paradise awaits
116 THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN
those who fall in the sacred fight ! The green banner
of Islam shall wave over the entire earth, for there
is no God but God, Mohammed is His Prophet, and
the Sultan Willem is His chosen instrument ! "
Karl Schultz felt an inward glow of triumph at
his own histrionic power as, his words ringing sonor-
ously through the stone apartment, he stood in the
full blaze of light and raised his arm. It evoked loud
shouts of fanatic frenzy from the excited assembly.
They clamoured to be led against the infidel there
and now. He kept his arm outstretched as though
to still the tumult, as though his discourse were yet
But the cries would not cease. " Great is Allah !
Death to the infidel! Death! Allah! Allah!
There is no God but God ! Allah ! Allah ! Allah !
Death to the infidel â death ! "
Suddenly there was a new element in the vocifera-
tion, a movement among the assembly far back in
the dark room. " Make way for the holy man with
great tidings from India ! Make way for the Haj !
In the name of the Prophet â make way, dogs that
ye are ! "
Schultz looked towards the venerable figure of
Muhammed Din pressing through the throng. A
sudden doubt leaped up in him, was extinguished
in self-confidence. The strange fakir approached.
The wild clamour of the tribesmen was stilled in
curiosity. They fell back in a sudden awe.
Schultz watched the venerable stranger advance
solemnly, silently, into the blaze of light in which
he himself stood. Again he was conscious of an
THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN 117
instinctive tremor. " The peace of Allah be with
thee, O Haj I " he said, and he found that he had
deliberately to control his own voice. There was
something uncannily impressive in the advance of
this silent, dignified old man.
" And with all the faithful ! " came the sonorous
reply, enigmatic to the German's ears.
He found himself looking into a pair of strangely
disturbing eyes ; heard, with a wild reeling shock
of the spirit, his own tongue spoken in a low, level
" Move not a finger and make not a sound, Schultz
Sahib, or you are a dead man ! " Schultz Sahib's eyes
glimpsed the muzzle of a pistol not six inches from
his chest. " Smile, Sahib ! or your friends may
interrupt us." ^
Having once ceded to the menace of the pistol,
the German's brain could not resist the command
of the imperative eyes that seemed to be boring
deep into him. He smiled â a deathly smile.
" You have forgotten me, Schultz Sahib ? It is
not so long since we worked together on the railway.
One of us at least learned a great deal about the other
in those days, Sahib. Smile ! â keep smiling ! "
A wild revolt surged up in the German, subsided,
without exterior evidence, under the glare of the
dominating eyes which held his fascinated. He tried
to turn away his gaze, was checked by the level,
purposeful voice of the fakir.
" Keep your eyes on mine, Sahib I Look else-
where and you are dead before you have looked ! "
He heard the words reverberating through him,
118 THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN
endlessly re-echoing in chambers of his soul magically
open to them. He felt himself fixed, immobile, in
a strange paralysis of the faculties. The terrible
eyes looked into his that he could not close â he felt,
as it were, waves of immeasurable strange force flow-
ing from them, rolling over him, submerging him.
And yet still he looked into the eyes of the fakir,
his own eyes an open port to their influence.
A subtle, pervading odour ascended his nostrils,
filled his lungs, mounted to his head. His brain
grew dizzy with it. And still the compelling eyes
held him, prevented him from turning his own eyes
to the source of the odour. He lost the sense of his
environment, was oblivious to the awed tribesmen
staring silently at the pair in the blaze of light. He
saw nothing but the eyes â lost consciousness of his
own body. He stared â and lost consciousness even
of the eyes at which he stared.
There was vacuity, oblivion, an annihilation of
time â and then out of that vacuity a voice com-
menced to speak. He heard it with a shock of the
nerves â it crashed through darkness with a mighty
power. He seemed suspended like a lost spirit in
everlasting night, fumbling around the vague yet
massive foundations of the worldâ indefinitely remote
from all that he had ever known. He could not
detach himself from those foundations. They
quivered under the booming voice, communicated
an unpleasant thrill to the core of him. An awful
unimaginable disaster seemed to envelop him. The
tiny germ of consciousness that was still his fought
for extension, strove to see. All was blackness â
THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN 119
blackness. And still the voice went on relentlessly,
driving through darkness, like a ploughshare thrust
forward by the firm grip of a mighty and inexorable
hand. Immeasurable results seemed dependent on
its progress. He listened to it â and as he focused
himself on the listening, a dim perception of his
environment came to him. He was vaguely con-
scious of a sea of faces, upturned, listening â as he
himself listened. Those faces â they were in some
relation to him, there was a link between them and
him â he could not determine it. He listened. The
words rang like sounding brass, the vowels roaringly
sonorous, the consonants clashing. He concentrated
himself on their meaning â penetrated to it suddenly
as through veils smitten asunder.
" Lies and again lies, children of the Prophet !
A mockery of lies ! The Sultan Willem is a servant
of Shaitan who feigneth religion that he may lure true
believers to their damnation while they unwittingly serve
the Evil One ! " His perception leaped up, clawing
at danger, and then was dragged down again, en-
gulfed. He felt himself like a man drowning in black
waters at night â down â down â and then, fighting
obscurely, he shot up again, heard the inexorable
voice continuing : " This magic you have looked upon
is a false magic â the magic of unbelievers in league
with Eblis ! " He heard the re-echoing denunciation
in a spasm of full consciousness â was suddenly
cognizant of the sea of faces, of fierce passions exhal-
ing from it â was completely aware of the menace
of utter ruin. A great revulsion surged in him. This
must be stopped â stopped ! The necessity for
120 THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN
instant protest was an anguish in him. All of him-
self that he could summon from the darkness as his
own shrieked the negative, and yet he did not utter
a sound â knew that he did not. " Climb up into
that box some of you, and ye shall find no magic but
a Frank there ! " He strained with all his soul
towards the faculty of speech â felt his powers
vanquishing the spell of dumbness â on the verge
of utterance shaped his words of denial. " Lo ! have
I not spoken the truth ? Yea, I cannot speak other
than the truth, for I am the runaway servant of Mu-
hammed Din, and his sanctity hath broken the compact
between me and the Evil One ! " In staggering horror
he realized â the voice was his own !
He stood fixed, incapable of movement, and saw
â like a man that has dreamed and cannot yet
distinguish dream from reality â the mob of tribes-
men surging obscurely in the long stone room, saw
the blinding white eye of the lantern still shining
steadfastly upon him â saw it waver, swing from side
to side, and then, with one last blinding flash, dis-
appear. In the utter darkness he heard shouts and
shrieks and fierce derisive laughter. He heard crash
upon crash as heavy objects were flung from a
height at the other end of the room. He heard a
piercing yell, an agonized, appealing utterance of
his own name. For a brief second it shocked him
into complete consciousness â his operator ! Then, ere
he could break his invisible bonds, he felt a pair of
cool hands pressed tightly against his brow, over his
eyes, and he relapsed totally â with a last little gasp
â into nothingness.
THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN 121
He awoke again to see the tribesmen surging round
him, fiercely shouting. The room re-echoed with
reiterated cries of " Sharm ! Sharm ! "* and a howl
that was so unmistakably for blood that it chilled
him to the heart. The room was lighter now â the
rags had been pulled down from the high loopholes
in the wall. He saw Muhammed Din standing before
Him, fending off his adversaries. He was still incap-
able of voluntary movement. A great faintness
swept over him. He reeled back ; found himself
supported by the angle of the wall. He had been
thrust back there all unconscious of the move-
Dazed and sick, he heard Muhammed Din speaking.
" O children of the Hills, Allah and His holy
Prophet sent me to you to rescue you from the snare
of the Evil One. On me is laid the charge of vengeance
upon this wretch, who was my slave ere he became
the possessed of Shaitan. But this much of ven-
geance will I grant ye, for this much is just. He
made a mock of you. Make ye a mock of him. Let
him be driven out of the village, face tailwards upon
an ass. The women and children shall cry derision
upon the runaway servant who came to deceive you
as a saint with the false magic of Shaitan ! "
Staring speechlessly before him, the exposed
charlatan heard the howls of approval of the mob.
His faintly working intellect wondered how the
mullah was taking this deception â perhaps even
yet He saw Muhammed Din hold up a large
* Sharm, a stain of dishonour that can only be obliterated in
blood. The conception that underlies the blood-feud.
122 THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN
bag of money. He recognized it with a last hope-
" This gold " â Muhammed Din emptied some of
it upon his hand â " this gold hath my servant surely
received from Shaitan. It is accursed unless some
holy man receive it. Therefore to you, O Mullah,
do I give it."
The mullah snatched at it.
" Great is Allah and for the meanest of His crea-
tures doth He provide ! " he said. " Thou speakest
truth, holy fakir. Praise be to Allah that I am
here to protect the faithful from the accursed magic
of this gold. As to this wretch, accursed of Allah,
let him be driven quickly forth as thou sayest, O
holy one ! It is meet that thy vengeance should
not have to linger."
There was a rush at the fallen magician. He
swooned into their arms.
Some little time later, when the last stone had been
flung and the last epithet of mocking insult had
ceased to echo from the hills, Schultz Sahib, his
hands bound behind his back, his feet tied under
the belly of his mount, raised his eyes from the ass's
tail that he had been contemplating.
" Thou hast won, O Muhammed Din â but even
yet I do not understand. What happened ? "
The fakir smiled.
" Thou hast thy magics, Schultz Sahib â what
thinkest thou of the magic of Muhammed Din ?
Hurry, O Willem, hurry ! " he cried, as his stick
descended with a resounding thwack upon the hind-
THE MAGIC OF MUHAMMED DIN 123
quarters of the ass. " Thou art laggard in thy
invasion of the territories of the English ! "
The Political Officer listened to the story, and,
embracing hypnotism in the studies of his exile, made
a note of it.
THE OTHER SIDE
A deep silence brooded over No. 3 Ward, Officers.
It was late afternoon in October, but the room was
as yet unillumined from within. The two long
lines of windows that confronted one another â the
ward was a temporary hut -building â did so in a
contrast of lights, the eastern windows, backed by
grey obscurity, reflecting broken beams of the glory
of gold and purple and fiery red that streamed in
from the west. The two lines of beds, the indistinct
greys and whites of the ward, were delicately touched
by the warm glow where they rose into its radiance.
It picked out the short curves of the turned-back
sheet, humped with the recumbent form beneath, in
an imponderable caress upon the broken humanity
that lay, desperately finite, under the splendour that
knows no final setting. A mingled odour of disin-
fectant and anaesthetic hung in the air, explanatory
of the dead quiet, of the heavy breathing that was
part of the silence. This was a ward of the severely
wounded, recently arrived. From the utmost climax
of human effort, thunderous to the ear, dreadful to
the eye, maddening to the soul whether it exulted
triumphant over the menace of instant extinction
or shrank appalled and paralysed in the horror of
brutal death, from the fierce superiority of the un-
THE OTHER SIDE 125
scathed killer, from the sudden shock, these men had
come, many of them unconsciously, by train and
ship and train and car to the white and green hospital
on the empty moorland, to the hushed screened peace
of the bed-ranked ward.
At the further end of the ward a Medical Officer
stood in murmured conversation with a Sister. He
was outlined black against the radiance of the sunset,
but on her the glow fell fully illuminant, rosy upon
the starched whiteness of the coif and apron, touch-
ing the pale face into faint colour. Her large, serious
eyes rested upon him, attentive to his instructions,
glanced away to the patient in the end bed as he
" Number Ten must be very carefully watched,
Sister," he said, the little smile upon his face indica-
tive only of his confidence in the quiet young woman
before him, in no way minimising the gravity of his
words. " I am afraid we are going to have a very
hard fight for him. But we mustn't let him slip
through our fingers. We'll keep him on this side if
She assented with a nod of the head, and a long
deep breath that was clearly a sigh. He scrutinised
" You have something on your mind, Sister. No
bad news, I hope ? " His voice was very kind.
" Captain Hershaw is all right ? "
The Sister's engagement was generally known in
The large eyes opened, revealing a mute, long-
126 THE OTHER SIDE
" It is more than a week since I heard from him,
Doctor. I am afraid â horribly afraid," she said in
a low voice. " This terrible fighting ! "
" The post is sometimes held up during active
operations, Sister. You must not be prematurely
anxious. A week is not very long. You must believe
in his luck. He has had a charmed life so far," the
M.O.'s kindly smile emphasised his reassuring tone.
" He has â he has. And life always seems so â so
vivid in him. I cannot imagine him " â her voice
sank almost to inaudibility â " dead."
" Don't ! " He smiled, full of sympathy. " Be-
lieve in his star." His tone changed to the profes-
sional. " Would you like to go off duty, Sister ?
I will speak to the Matron. A car is going into town.
Go and look at the shops."
" No â no, Doctor, thank you very much. I won't
leave my dear boys here. Poor lads ! it does me good
to fight for them â almost as if " she stopped,
" Very well, Sister. Send for me if any change
occurs in Number Ten."
The M.O. walked down the ward, throwing little
glances at the silent patients, and departed.
For some little time the Sister busied herself noise-
lessly about the ward. Then Number Ten stirred
uneasily in his bed.
" Sister ! " he called in a faint voice.
She was by his side in an instant.
" A drink, please ! "
She gave it him, looked down on the young, strongly
masculine features as he drank, with an interest that
THE OTHER SIDE 127
was subtly, unconsciously more than professional.
From the moment of his arrival in the ward â even in
his silences â Number Ten had been a ^personality.
Though powerless in bed there was a curious hint of
brute force in him.
" Now you must go to sleep again, Captain Laver-
ing," she said, smoothing his pillow.
" I can't, Sister." His eyes closed and opened
again in a spasm of pain. " I â I want to feel some-
one near me," his voice was very weak, " to get hold
of life again. Sister, sit beside me â for a moment,
She glanced at him irresolutely, smoothed the hair
from his hot forehead with a cool hand, and then
acceded to his request, seated herself on the chair
by the bed.
" But you mustn't talk ! " she warned him.
" I won't, Sister ! " He was quiet for a moment.
" Sister ! I'm very bad, I know â but I'm not going
to die ! I won't die â I won't let myself die ! "
Despite his weakness, there was intense will-power
in his tone.
" Hush, hush ! Of course you are not going to
die." Involuntarily, she laid her hand upon the bed
as if to transfuse some of her own life-force into him.
He reached out a hand, grasped hers, resisted her
attempt at withdrawal.
" Please ! â please ! " he murmured. " I want to
hold on to life â there's so much " His eyes
closed sleepily. " I feel life flowing into me," he
said. The grip on her hand was tight.
For a long time she sat thus, her hand clasped in
128 THE OTHER SIDE
his. Number Ten slept, with heavy breathing. It
seemed to her that his fever diminished. She feared
to withdraw herself lest she should awaken him.
The long ward was deathly still.
Presently there was a noise of footsteps. An
orderly approached, changing his gait to a clumsy
tip-toe in obedience to her gesture.
" A telegram for you, Sister," he said.
She glanced at the patient, essayed to release her
hand. It was firmly held in the sleeper's grasp.
" Open the telegram, Thomson," she said in a
The orderly obeyed, handed her the drab piece of
She took it, glanced at it, nodded a speechless dis-
missal to the orderly.
" The War Office reports that Ronald is missing
believed killed Hershaw."
The words branded themselves into her brain as she
sat there fixed, immobile. She could hear them in
the wailing cry of the widowed mother who had
written the telegram, but her own voice seemed to
her for ever dumb, never to break this crushing silence.
She stared â with dry eyesâ straight before her.
The obsequial lights of the departed sun, framed by
the window opposite, were extinguished one after
another. She did not stir, was unconscious that her
hand was still in the grasp of the wounded man.
" The War Office reports " It was like staring
at a high, closed door.
An immeasurable time passed before an orderly
entered, switched on the electric light, drew the
THE OTHER SIDE 129
blinds. She roused herself, found the grip upon her
hand relaxed. She rose â with tight lips and burning
eyes, went about her duties.
That evening it was by an effort of will, sternly
administered, that she sat at table in the Sisters'
messroom. She scarcely ate, was deaf to the feminine
chatter around her. One of the sisters, a notorious
flirt, joked her upon her loverlike posture with
Number Ten. The orderly had evidently talked.
Sister Braithwaite did not reply. As soon as possible
she fled to her little matchboarded cubicle.
By her bedside was a photograph of a clean-
featured young man, with intellectual eyes, more
than ordinarily vivid in their expression. She kissed
it passionately â " Ronald ! Ronald ! " â the loved
name came from the depths of her. The merciful
tears fell fast, her bosom heaved.
She slept with a packet of letters pressed tight
against her warm body.
She heard her name called : " Mary ! Mary ! " in
a startlingly familiar voice. She heard herself reply :
" Ronald ! " It was very dark. Where was she ?
Ah, by the stream. It seemed queerly natural that
she should be by that stream. It was not so dark
after all â only twilight. Twilight with dark woods
coming down to the stream. Her name was called
again : " Mary ! Mary ! " her lover's voice im-
patient. Again she heard herself reply : " Ronald !
Where are you ? " " Here, dear ! On the other
side ! You must cross the stream."
130 THE OTHER SIDE
Of course ! She must cross the stream â that was
quite natural â and there was a little footbridge,
offering passage. She went over, not daring to look
down. On the other side she waited. He was not yet
visible. She wondered what suit he would be wear-
ing, wondered why she wondered. He came towards
her, his clothes curiously more conspicuous than his
face. He was clad in his old tweed suit, and mysteri-
ously it seemed odd to her. Yet what else should he
be wearing ? It was the suit he always wore when
out for a walk. She glanced at her own clothes with
a subtle sense of strangeness, yet it was her old summer
frock she wore. This little puzzle about clothes
played itself out in cosmic depths of her, receded or
was solved, vanished. Her lover was standing at
her side, enfolded her.
" Mary ! I have been so anxious about you ! "
She looked up to eyes that seemed like stars in the
" I, too, Ronald â I have been worrying about
you." There was a sense of something terrible in
the background, imminent, and yet she felt it
had been with her for a long time. It ceased.
" But everything's all right now â I have found
A little glimmering something in the depths of her
asked why she said that, seemed to repeat doubt-
fully : " Found you " in a long, eternally re-
echoing voice. She felt eerie. It was as though her
existence was a duplicate imperfectly combined, like
the double vision, half running into each other, of
THE OTHER SIDE 131
" I am so glad you are safe, dear," she heard her-
" Let us go and hear the nightingales," he said in
the voice so ringingly his own. He drew her along
the path in the twilight, his arm about her waist.
Nightingales ? Now ? Of course, why not ? The
season was early June â what was the silly half-
thought submerged beyond the horizon of her
She allowed herself to be impelled by the pressure
of his arm. Closely linked, they followed the tene-
brous path by the wood, climbed skirting its dark
edge. Her lover talked copiously and interestingly
as he always did â on a multitude of subjects. He
was humorous, satirical, rhapsodic, earnestly elo-
quent by turns. How like him it was ! She admired