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A Chapter of Adventures
written by "Henty, G. A. (George Alfred), 1832-1902"
... [123]The others sat up at once. They had been asleep for some hours and night had fallen, but there was a red glow of light in the cell. "Here, Arthur, you jump up on my shoulders," Jim said, standing under the opening in the wall. Arthur climbed up, and uttered an exclamation as his eyes became level with the opening. "I cannot see the town, but I think it must be all on fire; it is almost as light as day outside, the whole air is full of sparks and red clouds of smoke. It is tremendous!" "Jump down and let us have a look," Jim said impatiently, and he and Jack had by turns a view of the scene. A quarter of an hour later the door opened suddenly and four of their guards ran in. "Come, quick!" one of them said, and seizing the boys by their wrists they hurried them up the stairs. The house was in confusion. Men were packing up bundles and the bey giving directions in an angry voice. As soon as his eye fell on the boys he gave an order in Egyptian. "Take off your clothes, quick!" The guard translated the order. It was evidently no time for hesitation. The boys took off their waistcoats, jackets, and trousers, then the guard picked up from a bundle lying beside him three women's dresses, and wound them round them, bringing an end as usual over the head and falling down to the eyes. Then he put on the thick blue veil, extending across the face just under the eyes and falling down to the waist. The disguise was thus completed, and the three boys were transformed into Egyptian peasant women, of whom only the eyes were visible. Another five minutes all were ready, and the bey[124] with ten or twelve men and the boys started out from the house. Most of the men carried muskets, all had large bundles upon their shoulders. As they issued from the house the boys obtained a full sight of the city, and uttered a simultaneous exclamation as they did so. Half the city appeared to be in flames. A sea of fire extended from the...

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