chapter  8
23 Pages

THE FLAG OF 'ABBAS

SHORTLY after this exploit, another summons came to Haji Rikkan, and the decision

he had to make was not an easy one. Should he become official marsh guide to the Political Officer? He turned the pros and cons over in his mind. The merit he had acquired as a Haji would mitigate the stigma of serving an infidel government; the dangers of the post would be compensated by the rewards, for surely one who threw into the river wealth which he might have put in his own pocket would prove a generous paymaster I On the other hand, the Turks might return with greater forces, and drive the unbelieving English into the sea; but this seemed to the Haji, for the present at any rate, unlikely. In the end he decided that the new opening offered better opportunities for his talents than the profession of "fence". His judgement was vindicated when later, as will be related in its place, he obtained the lucrative post of Chicken Contractor to the Army of Occupation, which in its turn led to his present trade of peddling

grocer. In the meantime it was with great relief that he learned of the transfer of the " Hot Hakim", of whose rash and airy adventures he had thoroughly disapproved.