A great roar of British voices pierced the jewelled curtain of the Indian night. A toast with musical honours was being drunk in the sweltering dining-room of the officers' mess. The enthusiastic hubbub spread far, for every door and window was flung wide. Though the season was yet in its infancy, the heat was intense. Markestan had the reputation in the Indian Army for being one of the hottest corners in the Empire in more senses than one, and Kurrumpore, the military centre, had not been chosen for any especial advantages of climate. So few indeed did it possess in the eyes of Europeans that none ever went there save those whom an inexorable fate compelled. The rickety, wooden bungalows scattered about the cantonment were temporary lodgings, not abiding-places. The women of the community, like migratory birds, dwelt in them for barely four months in the year, flitting with the coming of the pitiless heat to Bhulwana, their little paradise in the Hills. But that was a twenty-four hours' journey away, and the men had to be content with an occasional week's leave from the depths of their inferno, unless, as Tommy Denvers put it, they were lucky enough to go sick, in which case their sojourn in paradise was prolonged, much to the delight of the angels.
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About the Author
Ethel M. Dell (1881 - 1939) was a British writer of over 30 popular romance novels and several short stories from 1911 to 1939. Ethel Dell worked on a novel for several years, but it was rejected by eight publishers. Finally the publisher T. Fisher Unwin bought the book for their First Novel Library, a series which introduced a writer's first book. This book, entitled The Way of an Eagle, was published in 1911 and by 1915 it had gone through thirty printings. Her debut novel is very characteristic of Ethel M. Dell's novels. There is a very feminine woman, an alpha male, a setting in India, passion galore liberally mixed with some surprisingly shocking violence and religious sentiments sprinkled throughout. While readers adored Ethel M. Dell's novels, critics hated them with a passion; but she did not care what the critics thought. She considered herself a good storyteller - nothing more and nothing less. She continued to write novels for a number of years. She made quite a lot of money, from £20,000 to £30,000 a year, but remained quiet and almost pathologically shy.