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In the Mahdi's Grasp   By: (1831-1909)

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In the Mahdi's Grasp, by George Manville Fenn.

A young army officer has been captured during the wars in Soudan, and is being held as a slave in the stronghold of the Mahdi. For years it had been thought that he was dead. His friends in London decide to go and try to rescue him. One of them is a well known and proficient surgeon. They arrive in Cairo, and proceed on down into the Soudan, where they get in contact with an influential Sheikh. They establish themselves by doing many cures, where it is possible, and gradually work themselves nearer and nearer to the place where they estimate the missing Harry to be. Eventually they are able to make contact. Harry breaks his own arm in order to be brought to the surgeon, or Hakim, for a cure.

Eventually they are able to escape with him, but to do so they have to run right through a battle. They had brought out with them a personal manservant, at his own request, and he had been in a semi disguise, by staining the skin a very deep colour. This very nearly results in his being killed on the battlefield through which they are escaping.

An informative book, quite a long one, in a good Manville Fenn style, which is well known for sustained tension.




Sam or, as he liked to be called, "Mr Samuel," or "Mr Downes," holding as he did the important post of confidential and body servant to Dr Robert Morris, a position which made it necessary for him to open the door to patients and usher them into the consulting room, and upon particular occasions be called in to help with a visitor who had turned faint about nothing "a poor plucked 'un," as he termed him

To begin again:

Sam, who was in his best black and stiffest white tie, consequent upon "the doctor" having company to dinner that evening, had just come out of the dining room of the dingy house in Wimpole Street, carrying a mahogany tray full of dish covers, when cook opened the glass door at the top of the kitchen stairs, thrust her head into the hall, looked eagerly at Sam, as she stood fanning her superheated face with her apron, and said


There was a folding pair of trestles standing ready, and Sam placed the tray upon them, raised a white damask napkin from where it hung over his arm, and was about to wipe his perspiring forehead with it, when cook exclaimed sharply


"Forgot," said that gentleman, and he replaced the napkin upon his arm and took out a clean pocket handkerchief, did what was necessary, and then repeated cook's word


"Did they say anything about the veal cutlets?"

"No," said Sam, shaking his head.

"Nor yet about the curry?"

"No. And they didn't say a word about the soup, nor half a word about the fish."

"My chycest gravy soup, ar lar prin temps " said cook bitterly, "and filly de sole mater de hotel . One might just as well be cutting chaff for horses. I don't see any use in toiling and moiling over the things as I do. Mr Landon's just as bad as master, every bit. I don't believe either of 'em's got a bit o' taste. Hot as everything was, too!"

"Spesherly the plates," said Sam solemnly. "Burnt one of my fingers when the napkin slipped."

"Then you should have took care. What's a dinner unless the plates and dishes are hot?"

"What, indeed?" said Sam; "but they don't take no notice of anything. My plate looked lovely, you could see your face out o' shape in every spoon; and I don't believe they even saw the eighteen pen'orth o' flowers on the table."

"Savages! that's what they are," said cook. "But they did eat the things."

"Yes, they pecked at 'em, but they was talking all the time."

"About my cooking?"

"Not they! The doctor was talking about a surgical case he had been to see at the hospital. Something about a soldier as had been walking about for three years with a bit of broken spear stuck in him out in the Soudan... Continue reading book >>

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