As none of the three could understand Arabic, the order of the Emir would have been unintelligible to them had it not been for the conduct of Mansoor. The unfortunate dragoman, after all his treachery and all his subservience and apostasy, found his worst fears realised when the Dervish leader gave his curt command. With a shriek of fear the poor wretch threw himself forward upon his face, and clutched at the Arab’s jibbeh, clawing with his brown fingers at the edge of the cotton skirt. The Emir tugged to free himself, and then, finding that he was still held by that convulsive grip, he turned and kicked at Mansoor with the vicious impatience with which one drives off a pestering cur. The dragoman’s high red tarboosh flew up into the air, and he lay groaning upon his face where the stunning blow of the Arab’s horny foot had left him.
All was bustle and movement in the camp, for the old Emir had mounted his camel, and some of his party were already beginning to follow their companions. The squat lieutenant, the Moolah, and about a dozen Dervishes surrounded the prisoners. They had not mounted their camels, for they were told off to be the ministers of death. The three men understood as they looked upon their faces that the sand was running very low in the glass of their lives. Their hands were still bound, but their guards had ceased to hold them. They turned round, all three, and said good-bye to the women upon the camels.
“All up now, Norah,” said Belmont. “It’s hard luck when there was a chance of a rescue, but we’ve done our best.”
For the first time his wife had broken down. She was sobbing convulsively, with her face between her hands.
“Don’t cry, little woman! We’ve had a good time together. Give my love to all my friends at Bray! Remember me to Amy McCarthy and to the Blessingtons. You’ll find there is enough and to spare, but I would take Rogers’s advice about the investments. Mind that!”
“O John, I won’t live without you!” Sorrow for her sorrow broke the strong man down, and he buried his face in the hairy side of her camel. The two of them sobbed helplessly together.
Stephens meanwhile had pushed his way to Sadie’s beast. She saw his worn, earnest face looking up at her through the dim light.
“Don’t be afraid for your aunt and for yourself,” said he. “I am sure that you will escape. Colonel Cochrane will look after you. The Egyptians cannot be far behind. I do hope you will have a good drink before you leave the wells. I wish I could give your aunt my jacket, for it will be cold tonight. I’m afraid I can’t get it off. She should keep some of the bread, and eat it in the early morning.”
He spoke quite quietly, like a man who is arranging the details of a picnic. A sudden glow of admiration for this quietly consistent man warmed her impulsive heart.
“How unselfish you are!” she cried. “I never saw any one like you. Talk about saints! There you stand in the very presence of death, and you think only of us.”
“I want to say a last word to you, Sadie, if you don’t mind. I should die so much happier. I have often wanted to speak to you, but I thought that perhaps you would laugh, for you never took anything very seriously, did you? That was quite natural, of course, with your high spirits, but still it was very serious to me. But now I am really a dead man, so it does not matter very much what I say.”
“Oh, don’t, Mr. Stephens!” cried the girl.
“I won’t, if it is very painful to you. As I said, it would make me die happier, but I don’t want to be selfish about it. If I thought it would darken your life afterwards or be a sad recollection to you I would not say another word.”
“What did you wish to say?”
“It was only to tell you how I loved you. I always loved you. From the first I was a different man when I was with you. But of course it was absurd, I knew that well enough. I never said anything, and I tried not to make myself ridiculous. But I just want you to know about it now that it can’t matter one way or the other. You’ll understand that I really do love you when I tell you that, if it were not that I knew you were frightened and unhappy, these last two days in which we have been always together would have been infinitely the happiest of my life.”
The girl sat pale and silent, looking down with wondering eyes at his upturned face. She did not know what to do or say in the solemn presence of this love which burned so brightly under the shadow of death. To her child’s heart it seemed incomprehensible,— and yet she understood that it was sweet and beautiful also.
“I won’t say any more,” said he; “I can see that it only bothers you. But I wanted you to know, and now you do know, so it is all right. Thank you for listening so patiently and gently. Good-bye, little Sadie! I can’t put my hand up. Will you put yours down?”
She did so and Stephens kissed it. Then he turned and took his place once more between Belmont and Fardet. In his whole life of struggle and success he had never felt such a glow of quiet contentment as suffused him at that instant when the grip of death was closing upon him. There is no arguing about love. It is the innermost fact of life, the one which obscures and changes all the others, the only one which is absolutely satisfying and complete. Pain is pleasure, and want is comfort, and death is sweetness when once that golden mist is round it. So it was that Stephens could have sung with joy as he faced his murderers. He really had not time to think about them. The important, all-engrossing, delightful thing was that she could not look upon him as a casual acquaintance any more. Through all her life she would think of him — she would know.
Colonel Cochrane’s camel was at one side, and the old soldier, whose wrists had been freed, had been looking down upon the scene, and wondering in his tenacious way whether all hope must really be abandoned. It was evident that the Arabs who were grouped round the victims were to remain behind with them, while the others who were mounted would guard the three women and himself. He could not understand why the throats of his companions had not been already cut, unless it were that with an Eastern refinement of cruelty this rearguard would wait until the Egyptians were close to them, so that the warm bodies of their victims might be an insult to the pursuers. No doubt that was the right explanation. The Colonel had heard of such a trick before.
But in that case there would not be more than twelve Arabs with the prisoners. Were there any of the friendly ones among them? If Tippy Tilly and six of his men were there, and if Belmont could get his arms free and his hand upon his revolver, they might come through yet. The Colonel craned his neck and groaned in his disappointment. He could see the faces of the guards in the firelight. They were all Baggara Arabs, men who were beyond either pity or bribery. Tippy Tilly and the others must have gone on with the advance. For the first time the stiff old soldier abandoned hope.
“Good-bye, you fellows! God bless you!” he cried, as a negro pulled at his camel’s nose-ring and made him follow the others. The women came after him, in a misery too deep for words. Their departure was a relief to the three men who were left.
“I am glad they are gone,” said Stephens, from his heart.
“Yes, yes, it is better,” cried Fardet. “How long are we to wait?”
“Not very long now,” said Belmont, grimly, as the Arabs closed in around them.
The Colonel and the three women gave one backward glance when they came to the edge of the oasis. Between the straight stems of the palms they saw the gleam of the fire, and above the group of Arabs they caught a last glimpse of the three white hats. An instant later, the camels began to trot, and when they looked back once more the palm grove was only a black clump with the vague twinkle of a light somewhere in the heart of it. As with yearning eyes they gazed at that throbbing red point in the darkness, they passed over the edge of the depression, and in an instant the huge, silent, moonlit desert was round them without a sign of the oasis which they had left. On every side the velvet, blue-black sky, with its blazing stars, sloped downwards to the vast, dun-coloured plain. The two were blurred into one at their point of junction.
The women had sat in the silence of despair, and the Colonel had been silent also — for what could he say?— but suddenly all four started in their saddles, and Sadie gave a sharp cry of dismay. In the hush of the night there had come from behind them the petulant crack of a rifle, then another, then several together, with a brisk rat-tat-tat, and then, after an interval, one more.
“It may be the rescuers! It may be the Egyptians!” cried Mrs. Belmont, with a sudden flicker of hope. “Colonel Cochrane, don’t you think it may be the Egyptians?”
“Yes, yes,” Sadie whimpered. “It must be the Egyptians.”
The Colonel had listened expectantly, but all was silent again. Then he took his hat off with a solemn gesture.
“There is no use deceiving ourselves, Mrs. Belmont,” said he; “we may as well face the truth. Our friends are gone from us, but they have met their end like brave men.”
“But why should they fire their guns? They had —— they had spears.” She shuddered as she said it.
“That is true,” said the Colonel. “I would not for the world take away any real grounds of hope which you may have; but, on the other hand, there is no use in preparing bitter disappointments for ourselves. If we had been listening to an attack, we should have heard some reply. Besides, an Egyptian attack would have been an attack in force. No doubt it is, as you say, a little strange that they should have wasted their cartridges,— by Jove, look at that!”
He was pointing over the eastern desert. Two figures were moving across its expanse, swiftly and stealthily, furtive dark shadows against the lighter ground. They saw them dimly, dipping and rising over the rolling desert, now lost, now reappearing in the uncertain light. They were flying away from the Arabs. And then, suddenly they halted upon the summit of a sand-hill, and the prisoners could see them outlined plainly against the sky. They were camel-men, but they sat their camels astride as a horseman sits his horse.
“Gippy Camel Corps!” cried the Colonel.
“Two men,” said Miss Adams, in a voice of despair.
“Only a vedette, ma’am! Throwing feelers out all over the desert. This is one of them. Main body ten miles off, as likely as not. There they go giving the alarm! Good old Camel Corps!”
The self-contained, methodical soldier had suddenly turned almost inarticulate with his excitement. There was a red flash upon the top of the sand-hill, and then another, followed by the crack of the rifles. Then with a whisk the two figures were gone, as swiftly and silently as two trout in a stream.
The Arabs had halted for an instant, as if uncertain whether they should delay their journey to pursue them or not. There was nothing left to pursue now, for amid the undulations of the sand-drift the vedettes might have gone in any direction. The Emir galloped back along the line, with exhortations and orders. Then the camels began to trot, and the hopes of the prisoners were dulled by the agonies of the terrible jolt. Mile after mile and mile after mile they sped onwards over that vast expanse, the women clinging as best they might to the pommels, the Colonel almost as spent as they, but still keenly on the lookout for any sign of the pursuers.
“I think —— I think,” cried Mrs. Belmont, “that something is moving in front of us.”
The Colonel raised himself upon his saddle, and screened his eyes from the moonshine.
“By Jove, you’re right there, ma’am. There are men over yonder.”
They could all see them now, a straggling line of riders far ahead of them in the desert.
“They are going in the same direction as we,” cried Mrs. Belmont, whose eyes were very much better than the Colonel’s.
Cochrane muttered an oath into his moustache.
“Look at the tracks there,” said he; “of course, it’s our own vanguard who left the palm grove before us. The chief keeps us at this infernal pace in order to close up with them.”
As they drew closer they could see plainly that it was indeed the other body of Arabs, and presently the Emir Wad Ibrahim came trotting back to take counsel with the Emir Abderrahman. They pointed in the direction in which the vedettes had appeared, and shook their heads like men who have many and grave misgivings. Then the raiders joined into one long, straggling line, and the whole body moved steadily on towards the Southern Cross, which was twinkling just over the skyline in front of them. Hour after hour the dreadful trot continued, while the fainting ladies clung on convulsively, and Cochrane, worn out but indomitable, encouraged them to hold out, and peered backwards over the desert for the first glad signs of their pursuers. The blood throbbed in his temples, and he cried that he heard the roll of drums coming out of the darkness. In his feverish delirium he saw clouds of pursuers at their very heels, and during the long night he was for ever crying glad tidings which ended in disappointment and heartache. The rise of the sun showed the desert stretching away around them, with nothing moving upon its monstrous face except themselves. With dull eyes and heavy hearts they stared round at that huge and empty expanse. Their hopes thinned away like the light morning mist upon the horizon.
It was shocking to the ladies to look at their companion and to think of the spruce, hale old soldier who had been their fellow-passenger from Cairo. As in the case of Miss Adams, old age seemed to have pounced upon him in one spring. His hair, which had grizzled hour by hour during his privations, was now of a silvery white. White stubble, too, had obscured the firm, clean line of his chin and throat. The veins of his fare were injected and his features were shot with heavy wrinkles. He rode with his back arched and his chin sunk upon his breast, for the old, time-rotted body was worn out, but in his bright, alert eyes there was always a trace of the gallant tenant who lived in the shattered house. Delirious, spent, and dying, he preserved his chivalrous, protecting air as he turned to the ladies, shot little scraps of advice and encouragement at them, and peered back continually for the help which never came.
An hour after sunrise the raiders called a halt, and food and water were served out to all. Then at a more moderate pace they pursued their southern journey, their long, straggling line trailing out over a quarter of a mile of desert. From their more careless bearing and the way in which they chatted as they rode, it was clear that they thought that they had shaken off their pursuers. Their direction now was east as well as south, and it was evidently their intention after this long detour to strike the Nile again at some point far above the Egyptian outposts. Already the character of the scenery was changing, and they were losing the long levels of the pebbly desert, and coming once more upon those fantastic, sunburned black rocks and that rich orange sand through which they had already passed. On every side of them rose the scaly, conical hills with their loose, slaglike débris, and jagged-edged khors, with sinuous streams of sand running like watercourses down their centre. The camels followed each other, twisting in and out among the boulders, and scrambling with their adhesive, spongy feet over places which would have been impossible for horses. Among the broken rocks those behind could sometimes only see the long, undulating, darting necks of the creatures in front, as if it were some nightmare procession of serpents. Indeed, it had much the effect of a dream upon the prisoners, for there was no sound, save the soft, dull padding and shuffling of the feet. The strange, wild frieze moved slowly and silently onwards amid a setting of black stone and yellow sand, with the one arch of vivid blue spanning the rugged edges of the ravine.
Miss Adams, who had been frozen into silence during the long cold night, began to thaw now in the cheery warmth of the rising sun. She looked about her, and rubbed her thin hands together.
“Why, Sadie,” she remarked, “I thought I heard you in the night, dear, and now I see that you have been crying.”
“I have been thinking, Auntie.” “Well, we must try and think of others, dearie, and not of ourselves.” “It’s not of myself, Auntie.” “Never fret about me, Sadie.” “No, Auntie, I was not thinking of you.” “Was it of any one in particular.” “Of Mr. Stephens, Auntie. How gentle he was, and how brave! To think of him fixing up every little thing for us, and trying to pull his jacket over his poor roped-up hands, with those murderers waiting all round his. He’s my saint and hero from now ever after.”
“Well, he’s out of his troubles anyhow,” said Miss Adams, with that bluntness which the years bring with them.
“Then I wish I was also.”
“I don’t see how that would help him.”
“Well, I think he might feel less lonesome,” said Sadie, and drooped her saucy little chin upon her breast.
The four had been riding in silence for some little time, when the Colonel clapped his hand to his brow with a gesture of dismay.
“Good God!” he cried, “I am going off my head.”
Again and again they had perceived it during the night, but he had seemed quite rational since daybreak. They were shocked, therefore, at this sudden outbreak, and tried to calm him with soothing words.
“Mad as a hatter,” he shouted. “Whatever do you think I saw?”
“Don’t trouble about it, whatever it was,” said Mrs. Belmont, laying her hand soothingly upon his as the camels closed together. “It is no wonder that you are overdone. You have thought and worked for all of us so long. We shall halt presently, and a few hours’ sleep will quite restore you.”
But the Colonel looked up again, and again he cried out in his agitation and surprise.
“I never saw anything plainer in my life,” he groaned. “It is on the point of rock on our right front,— poor old Stuart with my red cummerbund round his head just the same as we left him.”
The ladies had followed the direction of the Colonel’s frightened gaze, and in an instant they were all as amazed as he.
There was a black, bulging ridge like a bastion upon the right side of the terrible khor up which the camels were winding. At one point it rose into a small pinnacle. On this pinnacle stood a solitary, motionless figure clad entirely in black, save for a brilliant dash of scarlet upon his head. There could not surely be two such short, sturdy figures or such large, colourless faces in the Libyan desert. His shoulders were stooping forward, and he seemed to be staring intently down into the ravine. His pose and outline were like a caricature of the great Napoleon.
“Can it possibly be he?”
“It must be. It is!” cried the ladies. “You see he is looking towards us and waving his hand.”
“Good Heavens! They’ll shoot him! Get down, you fool, or you’ll be shot!” roared the Colonel. But his dry throat would only emit a discordant croaking.
Several of the Dervishes had seen the singular apparition upon the hill, and had unslung their Remingtons, but a long arm suddenly shot up behind the figure of the Birmingham clergyman, a brown hand seized upon his skirts, and he disappeared with a snap. Higher up the pass, just below the spot where Mr. Stuart had been standing, appeared the tall figure of the Emir Abderrahman. He had sprung upon a boulder, and was shouting and waving his arms, but the shouts were drowned in a long, rippling roar of musketry from each side of the khor. The bastion-like cliff was fringed with gun-barrels, with red tarbooshes drooping over the triggers. From the other lip also came the long spurts of flame and the angry clatter of the rifles. The raiders were caught in an ambuscade. The Emir fell, but was up again and waving. There was a splotch of blood upon his long white beard. He kept pointing and gesticulating, but his scattered followers could not understand what he wanted. Some of them came tearing down the pass, and some from behind were pushing to the front. A few dismounted and tried to climb up sword in hand to that deadly line of muzzles, but one by one they were hit, and came rolling from rock to rock to the bottom of the ravine. The shooting was not very good. One negro made his way unharmed up the whole side, only to have his brains dashed out with the butt-end of a Martini at the top. The Emir had fallen off his rock and lay in a crumpled heap, like a brown and white patch-work quilt at the bottom of it. And then when half of them were down it became evident, even to those exalted fanatical souls, that there was no chance for them, and that they must get out of these fatal rocks and into the desert again. They galloped down the pass, and it is a frightful thing to see a camel galloping over broken ground. The beast’s own terror, his ungainly bounds, the sprawl of his four legs all in the air together, his hideous cries, and the yells of his rider who is bucked high from his saddle with every spring, make a picture which is not to be forgotten. The women screamed as this mad torrent of frenzied creatures came pouring past them, but the Colonel edged his camel and theirs farther and farther in among the rocks and away from the retreating Arabs. The air was full of whistling bullets, and they could hear them smacking loudly against the stones all round them.
“Keep quiet, and they’ll pass us,” whispered the Colonel, who was all himself again now that the hour for action had arrived. “I wish to Heaven I could see Tippy Tilly or any of his friends. Now is the time for them to help us.” He watched the mad stream of fugitives as they flew past upon their shambling, squattering, loose-jointed beasts, but the black face of the Egyptian gunner was not among them.
And now it really did seem as if the whole body of them, in their haste to get clear of the ravine, had not a thought to spend upon the prisoners. The rush was past, and only stragglers were running the gauntlet of the fierce fire which poured upon them from above. The last of all, a young Baggara with a black moustache and pointed beard, looked up as he passed and shook his sword in impotent passion at the Egyptian riflemen. At the same instant a bullet struck his camel, and the creature collapsed, all neck and legs, upon the ground. The young Arab sprang off its back, and, seizing its nose-ring, he beat it savagely with the flat of his sword to make it stand up. But the dim, glazing eye told its own tale, and in desert warfare the death of the beast is the death of the rider. The Baggara glared round like a lion at bay, his dark eyes flashing murderously from under his red turban. A crimson spot, and then another, sprang out upon his dark skin, but he never winced at the bullet wounds. His fierce gaze had fallen upon the prisoners, and with an exultant shout he was dashing towards them, his broad-bladed sword gleaming above his head. Miss Adams was the nearest to him, but at the sight of the rushing figure and the maniac face she threw herself off the camel upon the far side. The Arab bounded on to a rock and aimed a thrust at Mrs. Belmont, but before the point could reach her the Colonel leaned forward with his pistol and blew the man’s head in. Yet with a concentrated rage, which was superior even to the agony of death, the fellow lay kicking and striking, bounding about among the loose stones like a fish upon the shingle.
“Don’t be frightened, ladies,” cried the Colonel. “He is quite dead, I assure you. I am so sorry to have done this in your presence, but the fellow was dangerous. I had a little score of my own to settle with him, for he was the man who tried to break my ribs with his Remington. I hope you are not hurt, Miss Adams! One instant, and I will come down to you.”
But the old Boston lady was by no means hurt, for the rocks had been so high that she had a very short distance to fall from her saddle. Sadie, Mrs. Belmont, and Colonel Cochrane had all descended by slipping on to the boulders and climbing down from them. But they found Miss Adams on her feet, and waving the remains of her green veil in triumph.
“Hurrah, Sadie! Hurrah, my own darling Sadie!” she was shrieking. “We are saved, my girl, we are saved after all.”
“By George, so we are!” cried the Colonel, and they all shouted in an ecstasy together.
But Sadie had learned to think more about others during those terrible days of schooling. Her arms were round Mrs. Belmont, and her cheek against hers.
“You dear, sweet angel,” she cried, “how can we have the heart to be glad when you — when you ——”
“But I don’t believe it is so,” cried the brave Irishwoman. “No, I’ll never believe it until I see John’s body lying before me. And when I see that, I don’t want to live to see anything more.”
The last Dervish had clattered down the khor, and now above them on either cliff they could see the Egyptians — tall, thin, square-shouldered figures, looking, when outlined against the blue sky, wonderfully like the warriors in the ancient bas-reliefs. Their camels were in the background, and they were hurrying to join them. At the same time others began to ride down from the farther end of the ravine, their dark faces flushed and their eyes shining with the excitement of victory and pursuit. A very small Englishman, with a straw-coloured moustache and a weary manner, was riding at the head of them. He halted his camel beside the fugitives and saluted the ladies. He wore brown boots and brown belts with steel buckles, which looked trim and workmanlike against his kharki uniform.
“Had ’em that time — had ’em proper!” said he. “Very glad to have been of any assistance, I’m Shaw. Hope you’re none the worse for it all. What I mean, it’s rather rough work for ladies.”
“You’re from Haifa, I suppose?” asked the Colonel.
“No, we’re from the other show. We’re the Sarras crowd, you know. We met in the desert, and we headed ’em off, and the other Johnnies headed them behind. We’ve got ’em on toast, I tell you. Get up on that rock and you’ll see things happen. It’s going to be a knockout in one round this time.”
“We left some of our people at the wells. We are very uneasy about them,” said the Colonel. “I suppose you have not heard anything of them?”
The young officer looked serious and shook his head. “Bad job that!” said he. “They’re a poisonous crowd when you put ’em in a corner. What I mean, we never expected to see you alive; and we’re very glad to pull any of you out of the fire. The most we hoped was that we might revenge you.”
“Any other Englishman with you?” “Archer is with the flanking party. He’ll have to come past, for I don’t think there is any other way down. We’ve got one of your chaps up there — a funny old bird with a red topknot. See you later, I hope! Good day, ladies!” He touched his helmet, tapped his camel, and trotted on after his men.
“We can’t do better than stay where we are until they are all past,” said the Colonel, for it was evident now that the men from above would have to come round. In a broken single file they went past, black men and brown, Soudanese and fellaheen, but all of the best, for the Camel Corps is the corps d’elite of the Egyptian army. Each had a brown bandolier over his chest and his rifle held across his thigh. A large man with a drooping black moustache and a pair of binoculars in his hand was riding at the side of them.
“Hulloa, Archer!” croaked the Colonel.
The officer looked at him with the vacant, unresponsive eye of a complete stranger.
“I’m Cochrane, you know! We travelled up together.”
“Excuse me, sir, but you have the advantage of me,” said the officer. “I knew a Colonel Cochrane, but you are not the man. He was three inches taller than you, with black hair and ——”
“That’s all right,” cried the Colonel, testily. “You try a few days with the Dervishes, and see if your friends will recognise you!”
“Good God, Cochrane, is it really you? I could not have believed it. Great Scott, what you must have been through! I’ve heard before of fellows going grey in a night, but, by Jove ——”
“Quite so,” said the Colonel, flushing. “Allow me to hint to you, Archer, that if you could get some food and drink for these ladies, instead of discussing my personal appearance, it would be much more practical.”
“That’s all right,” said Captain Archer.
“Your friend Stuart knows that you are here, and he is bringing some stuff round for you. Poor fare, ladies, but the best we have! You’re an old soldier, Cochrane. Get up on the rocks presently, and you’ll see a lovely sight. No time to stop, for we shall be in action again in five minutes. Anything I can do before I go?”
“You haven’t got such a thing as a cigar?” asked the Colonel, wistfully.
Archer drew a thick satisfying partaga from his case and handed it down, with half-a-dozen wax vestas. Then he cantered after his men, and the old soldier leaned back against the rock and drew in the fragrant smoke. It was then that his jangled nerves knew the full virtue of tobacco, the gentle anodyne which stays the failing strength and soothes the worrying brain. He watched the dim, blue reek swirling up from him, and he felt the pleasant, aromatic bite upon his palate, while a restful languor crept over his weary and harassed body. The three ladies sat together upon a flat rock.
“Good land, what a sight you are, Sadie!” cried Miss Adams, suddenly, and it was the first reappearance of her old self. “What would your mother say if she saw you? Why, sakes alive, your hair is full of straw and your frock clean crazy!”
“I guess we all want some setting to right,” said Sadie, in a voice which was much more subdued than that of the Sadie of old. “Mrs. Belmont, you look just too perfectly sweet anyhow, but if you’ll allow me, I’ll fix your dress for you.”
But Mrs. Belmont’s eyes were far away, and she shook her head sadly as she gently put the girl’s hands aside.
“I do not care how I look. I cannot think of it,” said she; “could you, if you had left the man you love behind you, as I have mine?”
“I’m begin — beginning to think I have,” sobbed poor Sadie, and buried her hot face in Mrs. Belmont’s motherly bosom.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:08