Danger at Dahlkari

Danger at Dahlkari by Jennifer Wilde Read Free Book Online

Book: Danger at Dahlkari by Jennifer Wilde Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jennifer Wilde
told me all about it in her letters. There’s a large native village, quite colorful, with fascinating shops, and then up above the village is the military garrison. A little bit of home, she calls it, nice English houses, English gardens, even a polo field. The local rajah has his palace less than a mile away. It’s something to see, Dollie wrote. He frequently entertains the English there, gives lavish garden parties.”
    â€œI’ve never been to a garden party.”
    â€œYou’ll go to one in Dahlkari,” I promised. “I—I’m sure you’ll have all the enlisted men vying for the privilege of taking you. You’re going to set them on their heels.”
    â€œI imagine I will,” Sally said frankly. “I imagine you’ll find a beau, too. You may pretend not to be interested, but you are. You’re not quite the cool bluestocking you pretend to be.”
    I made no reply, knowing all too well the truth in Sally’s statement. Try though I might to suppress it, there was an infuriatingly romantic streak in my nature. Proud as I was of my mind, my scholarship, my ability to read Latin and Greek and discuss philosophy and ancient cultures, I nevertheless consumed florid, flamboyant romantic novels featuring adventuresome heroines and dark, dashing heroes who were usually rogues of the first water. How many such books had I read? How many times had I imagined myself in the arms of a man such as those I read about? Cool and prim in the classroom, translating the Aeneid of Vergil, writing dissertations about Socrates, I had burned the midnight oil night after night, consuming the sensational novels I took from the lending library by the score, keeping them carefully hidden from the other girls. Who would have imagined that the oh so poised, ever so erudite Lauren Gray had a fantasy life featuring swashbuckling pirates, highwaymen with gypsy blood, noblemen as reckless as they were handsome? The novels were my secret addiction, and no matter how many times I tried to cure myself of them, I always returned to the lending library for yet another batch. I wondered if Sally had discovered some of the books in the bottom of my wardrobe back in Bath.
    â€œYou’re very beautiful, you know,” she continued. “Those marvelous patrician features, cheekbones ever so high and elegant, hair such a glossy silver brown. I wish I looked like that.”
    â€œNonsense. You’re very fetching.”
    â€œI have something men like,” Sally admitted, “but I’ll always be a hoyden at heart. No one’ll ever take me for a lady. Guess I wouldn’t want to be taken for one, come to think of it. I have ever so much more fun the way I am. I’m not having much fun at the moment, though.”
    â€œDo you want to stop for a while, Sally?”
    â€œI—I reckon we’d better keep walking as long as we can,” she replied grimly. “We can’t afford to pamper ourselves. We’ve got to endure.”
    Endure we did, no longer talking, no longer making any attempts to cheer each other up with inconsequential chatter. The heat grew worse, and we grew tired, yet still we walked, both of us wrapped up in our thoughts and trying to ignore parched throats and aching bones and sore feet, trying not to think about the man or men who might come riding back with a yellow rumal to finish us off. We finally stopped for lunch, moving into the jungle and sitting under a tree to devour the fruit. It didn’t taste so good this time, nor did it do as much to alleviate our thirst. I wondered what we were going to do if we didn’t find a well soon.
    We rested for an hour under the shade of a tall banyan tree, and then we resumed our journey, trudging over the sand, silent, skirts dusty and ragged at the hems, hair damp and tangled, bodies covered with perspiration. This evening, when we stopped, we would have to search for a stream in the jungle.

Similar Books

Electrico W

Herve Le Tellier

Book of Life

Abra Ebner

Stirring Up Trouble

Juli Alexander

Almost in Love

Kylie Gilmore

Saving Maddie

Varian Johnson

The Braid: A Short Story

Angela Yuriko Smith

Sweet but Sexy Boxed Set

Jan Scarbrough, Maddie James, Magdalena Scott, Amie Denman, Jennifer Anderson, Constance Phillips, Jennifer Johnson