"Fin Tireur"

By Robert Smythe Hichens

  • Release Date: 1950-01-01
  • Genre: Short Stories
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Description

Fin Tireur is a Fiction Short Story Book. Two years ago I was travelling by diligence in the Sahara Desert on the great caravan route, which starts from Beni Mora and ends, they say, at Tombouctou. For fourteen hours each day we were on the road, and each evening about nine o'clock we stopped at a Bordj, or Travellers' House, ate a hasty meal, threw ourselves down on our gaudy Arab rugs, and slept heavily till the hour before dawn, drugged by fatigue, and by the strong air of the desert. In the late afternoon of the third day of our journeying we drove into a sandstorm. A great wind arose, carrying with it innumerable multitudes of sand grains, which whirled about the diligence and the struggling horses, blotting out the desert as completely as a London fog blots out the street on a November day. The cold became intense, and very soon I began to long for the next halting place. "Where do we stop to night?" I shouted to the French driver, who, with his yellow toque pulled down over his ears, was chirping encouragement to his horses. "Sidi Hamdane", he answered, without turning his head. "At the inn of 'Fin Tireur. '" Three hours later we drew up before a low building, from which a light shone kindly, and I scrambled down stiffly, and lurched into the longed for shelter. There was a man in the doorway, a short, sturdy, middle aged Frenchman, with strong features, a tuft of grey beard, heavy eyebrows, and dark, prominent eyes, with a hot, shining look in them.

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