long green curtains and a leather chair. Two young men in brown robes
like furniture-covers were gesturing vacuously and droning cryptic
sentences full of repetitions.
It was Carol's first hearing of Dunsany. She sympathized with the
restless Kennicott as he felt in his pocket for a cigar and unhappily
put it back.
Without understanding when or how, without a tangible change in the
stilted intoning of the stage-puppets, she was conscious of another time
Stately and aloof among vainglorious tiring-maids, a queen in robes
that murmured on the marble floor, she trod the gallery of a crumbling
palace. In the courtyard, elephants trumpeted, and swart men with beards
dyed crimson stood with blood-stained hands folded upon their hilts,
guarding the caravan from El Sharnak, the camels with Tyrian stuffs
of topaz and cinnabar. Beyond the turrets of the outer wall the jungle
glared and shrieked, and the sun was furious above drenched orchids.
A youth came striding through the steel-bossed doors, the sword-bitten
doors that were higher than ten tall men. He was in flexible mail, and
under the rim of his planished morion were amorous curls. His hand was
out to her; before she touched it she could feel its warmth----
"Gosh all hemlock! What the dickens is all this stuff about, Carrie?"
She was no Syrian queen. She was Mrs. Dr. Kennicott. She fell with a
jolt into a whitewashed hall and sat looking at two scared girls and a
young man in wrinkled tights.
Kennicott fondly rambled as they left the hall:
"What the deuce did that last spiel mean? Couldn't make head or tail of
it. If that's highbrow drama, give me a cow-puncher movie, every time!
Thank God, that's over, and we can get to bed. Wonder if we wouldn't
make time by walking over to Nicollet to take a car? One thing I will
say for that dump: they had it warm enough. Must have a big hot-air
furnace, I guess. Wonder how much coal it takes to run 'em through the
In the car he affectionately patted her knee, and he was for a second