The Madman and the Pirate
by R.M. Ballantyne
Previous Part     1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

When the first shriek ran among the cliffs, it seemed to startle the maniac out of the depressing lethargy under which he had laboured so long. He sprang up and listened, with dilated eyes and partly open mouth.

Again and again the shrieks rang out, and were echoed from cliff to cliff.

As a tigress bounds to the rescue of her young, so sprang Zeppa down the hillside in the direction of the cries. He came suddenly to the edge of a cliff which overlooked the scene, and beheld a savage just about to plunge a knife into Wapoota's breast.

Zeppa gave vent to a tremendous roar, which terminated in a wild laugh. Then he wrenched a mass of rock from the cliffs and hurled it down.

The height was greater than any sane man would have ventured to leap even to save his life; but the maniac gave no time to thought.

He followed the mass of rock with another wild laugh, and next moment stood in the midst of the savage group.

These men were no cowards. They were Ongoloo's picked warriors, and would have scorned to fly before a single foe, however large or fierce.

But when they saw plainly that Zeppa was a white man and a maniac, they turned, with one consent, and fled as if a visitant from the nether realms had assailed them.

Zeppa did not follow. All his sudden wrath vanished with the enemy. He turned calmly to the prostrate man, cut his bonds, and set him free. Then, without saying a word, he patted him on the shoulder, and wandered listlessly away with his head dropped as of old.

You may be sure that Wapoota did not hesitate to make good use of his freedom. He fled on the wings—or legs—of fear to the most inaccessible recesses of the mountains, from which he did not emerge till night had enshrouded land and sea. Then he crept stealthily back to Zeppa's cave, and laid himself quietly down beside his friend.

The inherent tendency of Zeppa's nature was towards peace and goodwill. Even in his madness and misery his spirit trickled, if it did not run, in the customary direction. His dethroned reason began, occasionally, to make fitful efforts after some plan which it sought to evolve. But before the plan could be arranged, much less carried out, the dull sense of a leaden grief overwhelmed it again, and he relapsed into the old condition of quiet apathy.

Chance, however, brought about that which the enfeebled intellect could not compass.

One day—whether inadvertently or not we cannot tell—Zeppa wandered down in the direction of the native settlement. That same day Ongoloo wandered towards the mountain, and the two men suddenly met so close to each other that there was no possibility of escape to either.

But, sooth to say, there was no thought of escape in the breast of either. Ongoloo, being a brave savage, was ashamed of having given way to panic at his first meeting with the madman. Besides, he carried his huge war-club, while his opponent was absolutely unarmed—having forgotten to take his usual staff with him that day.

As for Zeppa, he had never at any time feared the face of man, and, in his then condition, would have faced man or fiend with equal indifference. But the sight of the savage chief seemed to recall something to his mind. He stood with his arms crossed, and an expression of perplexity on his countenance, while Ongoloo assumed an attitude of defence.

Suddenly a beaming smile overspread Zeppa's face. We have already said that his smile had fascination in it. The effect on the savage was to paralyse him for the moment. Zeppa advanced, took Ongoloo's face between both hands, and, placing his nose against that of the chief, gently rubbed it.

For the benefit of the ignorant, we may explain that this is the usual salutation of friendship among some of the South Sea Islanders.

Ongoloo returned the rub, and dropped his club. He was obviously glad of this peaceful termination to the rencontre.

Then, for the first time, it occurred to Zeppa to use the language of Ratinga. The chief evidently understood it.

"God is love," said Zeppa solemnly, pointing upward with his finger. "God forgives. You will forgive, and so be like God."

The chief was completely overawed by Zeppa's grandeur and gentleness. He had never before seen the two qualities combined.

Zeppa took him by the hand, as he had previously taken Wapoota, and led him up into the mountains. The chief submitted meekly, as if he thought a being from the better world were guiding him. On reaching the cave they found Wapoota arranging the supper-table—if we may so express it— for he had been in the habit of doing this for some time past, about sunset, at which time his protector had invariably returned home—alas! it was a poor home!

To say that Wapoota was transfixed, or petrified, on beholding Ongoloo, would not convey the full idea of his condition. It is useless to say that he glared; that his knees smote, or that lemon-yellow supplanted brown-ochre on his visage. Words can do much, but they cannot describe the state of that savage on that occasion. The reader's imagination is much more likely to do justice to the situation. To that we leave it.

But who, or what language, shall describe the state of mind into which both Ongoloo and Wapoota were thrown when Zeppa, having brought them close to each other, grasped them firmly by their necks and rubbed their noses forcibly together. There was no resisting the smile with which this was dune. The chief and the thief first glanced at each other, then at their captor, and then they laughed—absolutely roared—after which they rubbed noses of their own accord, and "made it up."

We may remark, in passing, that Ongoloo was not sorry for the reconciliation, because Wapoota had become necessary to him both in council and during relaxation, and of late he had come to feel low-spirited for want of his humourist.

But both of them were much concerned to observe that after this reconciliation, the reconciler relapsed into his pensive mood and refused to be interested in anything.

They tried in vain to rouse him from his strange apathy—which neither of them could at all understand. Next day Ongoloo took occasion to give him the slip, and returned to his village.

Zeppa cared nothing for that. He did not even ask Wapoota what had become of him.

At this time a new idea occurred to Wapoota, who had been ordered by his chief to induce Zeppa to visit the native village. It struck him that as he had been led, so he might lead. Therefore one morning he waited until Zeppa had finished breakfast, and when he rose, as was his wont, to go off for the day, Wapoota took him gently by the hand and led him forth. To his surprise—and comfort, for he had had strong misgivings— Zeppa submitted. He did not seem to think that the act was peculiar.

Wapoota led him quietly and slowly down the mountain side, and so, by degrees, right into the native village, where Ongoloo was, of course, prepared to meet and welcome him.

He was received by the head men of the tribe with deep respect and conducted to a tent which had been prepared for him, where Wapoota, who had constituted himself his servant—or lieutenant—made him comfortable for the night.

Zeppa at first expressed some surprise at all the fuss that was made regarding him, but soon ceased to trouble himself about the matter, and gradually relapsed into his old condition. He was content to remain with the natives, though he did not cease his lonely wanderings among the hills, absenting himself for days at a time, but always returning, sooner or later, to the tent that had been provided for him in the village.

Now, in Sugar-loaf Island, there was a tribe that had, for years past, been at war with the tribe into whose hands Zeppa had thus fallen, and, not long after the events just narrated, it chanced that the Ratura tribe, as it was named, resolved to have another brush with their old enemies, the subjects of Ongoloo. What they did, and how they did it, shall be seen in another chapter.


After Zeppa had remained a short time in his new quarters, he began to take an interest in the children of his savage friends. At first the mothers of the village were alarmed when they saw their little ones in his strong arms, playing with his beard, which had by that time grown long and shaggy, as well as grey like his curly locks; but soon perceiving that the children had nothing to fear from the strange white man, they gave themselves no further concern on the subject.

If Zeppa had been in his right mind when the savages first found him, it is probable that they would have hunted him down and slain him without remorse—for it is well known that many of the South Sea Islanders regard shipwrecked persons as victims who have no claim on their hospitality, but are a sort of windfall to be killed and devoured. Their treatment of Zeppa, therefore, must have been owing to some feeling of respect or awe, inspired by his obvious insanity, coupled, no doubt, with his commanding size and presence as well as his singular conduct on the occasion of their first meeting.

Whatever the reason, it is certain that the natives amongst whom the poor madman's lot had thus been cast, treated him in an exceptional manner, and with an amount of respect that almost amounted to reverence. At first Ongoloo made a slight attempt to ascertain where his guest had come from, and what was his previous history, but as Zeppa always met such inquiries with one of his sweetest smiles, and with no verbal reply whatever, the chief felt unusually perplexed, dropped the subject, and began to regard the madman as a species of demigod. Of course no one else dared to question him, so that ever afterwards he remained in the eyes of his entertainers as a "Great Mystery."

By degrees Zeppa became intimately acquainted with the little boys and girls of the village, and took much pleasure in watching them at play. They soon found out that he was fond of them, and might have become rather troublesome in their attentions to him, if he had been a busy man, but as he had nothing whatever to do except follow his own inclinations, and as his inclinations led him to sympathise with childhood, he was never ruffled by their familiarities or by their wild doings around his tent. He even suffered a few of the very smallest of the brown troop to take liberties with him, and pull his beard.

One brown mite in particular—a female baby of the smallest conceivable dimensions, and the wildest possible spirit—became an immense favourite with him. Her name was Lippy, or some sound which that combination of letters produces.

Lippy's mother, a large-eyed, good-looking young woman, with insufficient clothing—at least in the estimate of a Ratingaite—was transfixed the first time she saw her little one practise her familiarities on their demigod.

Zeppa was lying on his back at the time, in front of his hut, when Lippy prowled cautiously towards him, like a very small and sly kitten about to pounce on a very huge dog. She sprang, just as her mother caught sight of her, and was on his broad chest in a moment. The mother was, as we have said, transfixed with alarm. The human kitten seized Zeppa by the beard and laughed immoderately. Zeppa replied with a gentle smile—he never laughed out now—and remained quite still.

Having finished her laugh, Lippy drew herself forward until she was close to her human dog's chin. At this point her mother would have rushed to the rescue, but she was still paralysed! Having reached the chin Lippy became more audacious, stretched forth one of her little hands, and seized Zeppa's nose. Still he did not move, but when the little brown kitten proceeded to thrust a thumb into one of his eyes, he roused himself, seized the child in his powerful hands, and raised her high above his head; then, lowering her until her little mouth was within reach, he kissed her.

This sufficed to relieve the mother's fears, so she retired quietly from the scene.

She was not so easily quieted, however, some weeks later, when she beheld Zeppa, after amusing himself one day with Lippy for half an hour, start up, place her on his shoulder, and stalk off towards the mountains. He absented himself for three days on that occasion. Lippy's mother at first became anxious, then terrified, then desperate. She roused Ongoloo to such a pitch that he at last called a council of war. Some of the head men were for immediate pursuit of the madman; others were of opinion that the little brat was not worth so much trouble; a few wretches even expressed the opinion that they were well rid of her—there being already too many female babies in the community!

While the conflict of opinions was at its fiercest, Zeppa stalked into the midst of them with Lippy on his shoulder, looked round with a benignant expression of countenance, delivered the child to her mother, and went off to his hut without uttering a word. The council immediately dissolved itself and retired humiliated.

It was during one of Zeppa's occasional absences that the Ratura tribe of natives, as before mentioned, decided to have another brush with the Mountain-men, as they styled their foes.

We are not sure that the word used in the Ratura language was the exact counterpart of the words "brush" and "scrimmage" in ours, but it meant the same thing, namely, the cutting of a number of throats, or the battering in of a number of human skulls unnecessarily.

Of course there was a casus belli. There always is among savage as well as civilised nations, and it is a curious coincidence that the reasons given for the necessity for war are about as comprehensible among the civilised as the savage. Of course among civilised nations these reasons for war are said to be always good. Christians, you know, could not kill each other without good reasons; but is it not strange that among educated people, the reasons given for going to war are often very much the reverse of clear?

The origin of the war which was about to be revived, besides being involved in the mists of antiquity, was somewhat shrouded in the clouds of confusion. Cleared of these clouds, and delivered from those mists, it would have been obviously a just—nay, even a holy war—so both parties said, for they both wanted to fight. Unfortunately no living man could clear away the clouds or mists; nevertheless, as they all saw plainly the exceeding righteousness of the war, they could not in honour, in justice, or in common sense, do otherwise than go at it.

At some remote period of antiquity—probably soon after the dispersion at Babel—it was said that the Mountain-men had said to the Raturans, that it had been reported to them that a rumour had gone abroad that they, the men of Ratura, were casting covetous eyes on the summit of their mountain. The Raturans replied that it had never entered into their heads either to covet or to look at the summit of their mountain, but that, if they had any doubts on the subject, they might send over a deputation to meet a Ratura deputation, and hold a palaver to clear the matter up.

The deputations were sent. They met. They palavered for about half-an-hour with an air of sententious sincerity, then the leading chief of the mountaineer deputation cracked the crown of the leading chief of the Raturan deputation, and the two deputations spent the remainder of that day in fighting. Reinforcements came up on both sides. The skirmish became a pitched battle. Blood was shed lavishly, heads were broken beyond repair, and women, coming to the help of the men with the baskets of stones, were slain in considerable numbers, as well as little children who had an inconvenient but not uncommon habit of getting in the way of the combatants. At last the Raturans were driven into the impregnable swamps that bordered part of their country; their villages and crops were burned, and those of their women and children who had not escaped to the swamps were carried into slavery, while the aged of both sexes were slaughtered in cold blood.

It was a complete victory. We are inclined to think that the Mountain-men called it a "glorious" victory. Judging from the world's history they probably did, and the mountain women ever afterwards were wont to tell their little ones of the prowess of their forefathers—of the skulls battered in and other deeds of heroism done—in that just and reasonable war!

As centuries rolled on, the old story came to be repeated again, and over again, with slight variations to suit the varying ages. In particular it came to be well understood, and asserted, that that unconquerable desire of the Raturans to take possession of the mountain-top was growing apace and had to be jealously watched and curbed.

In one of the centuries—we are not sure which—the Raturan savages made some advances into their swampy grounds and began to improve them. This region lay very remote from the Mountain-men's villages, but, as it approached the mountain base in a round-about manner, and as the mountain-tops could be distinctly seen from the region, although well-nigh impassable swamps still lay between the reclaimed lands and the mountain base, these advances were regarded as another casus belli, and another war was waged, with practically the same results— damage to everybody concerned, and good to no one.

Thus was the game kept up until the chief Ongoloo began to strut his little hour upon the stage of time.

There are always men, savage as well as civilised, in every region and age, who march in advance of their fellows, either because of intellectual capacity or moral rectitude or both. Ongoloo was one of these. He did not believe in "war at any price." He thought it probable that God lived in a state of peace, and argued that what was best for the Creator must naturally be best for the creature.

He therefore tried to introduce a peace-policy into Sugar-loaf Island. His efforts were not successful. The war-party was too strong for him. At last he felt constrained to give in to the force of public opinion and agreed to hold an unarmed palaver with the men of Ratura. The war-at-any-price party would have preferred an armed palaver, but they were overruled.

The Raturans chanced at this time to be in somewhat depressed circumstances, owing to a sickness which had carried off many of their best warriors and left their lands partly waste, so that their finances, if we may so express it were in a bad condition.

"Now is our chance—now or never," thought the war-party, and pushed matters to extremity.

On the day appointed for the palaver, one of the most pugnacious of the Mountain-men got leave to open the deliberations.

"You're a low-minded, sneaking son of an ignorant father," he said to the spokesman of the Raturans.

"You're another," retorted his foe.

Having disposed of these preliminary compliments, the speakers paused, glared, and breathed hard.

Of course we give the nearest equivalent in English that we can find for the vernacular used.

"You and your greedy forefathers," resumed the Mountain-man, "have always kept your false eyes on our mountain-top, and you are looking at it still."

"That's a lie," returned the man of Ratura with savage simplicity.

Had they been armed, it is probable that the palaver would have closed abruptly at this point.

Seeing that the relations between the parties were "strained" almost to the breaking-point, one of the less warlike among the Ratura chiefs caught his own spokesman by the nape of the neck, and hurled him back among his comrades.

"We have not, O valiant men of the Mountain," he said, in a gentle tone, "looked upon your hill-tops with desire. We only wish to improve our swamps, increase our sweet-potato grounds, and live at peace."

"That is not true," retorted the fiery Mountain-man, "and we must have a promise from you that you will let the swamps alone, and not advance one step nearer to the top of our mountain."

"But the swamps are not yours," objected the other.

"No matter—they are not yours. They are neutral ground, and must not be touched."

"Well, we will not touch them," said the peaceful Raturan.

This reply disconcerted the fiery mountaineer, for he was anxious to fight.

"But that is not enough," he resumed, as a bright idea struck him, "you must promise not even to look at our mountain."

The man of Ratura reflecting how ill able his tribe was to go to war just then, agreed not even to look at the mountain!

"More than that" resumed the mountaineer, "you must not even wink at it."

"We will not even wink at it," replied his foe. "Still further," continued the warlike mountaineer in sheer desperation, "you must not even think of it."

"We will not think of it" answered the accommodating man of Ratura.

"Bah! you may go—you peace-loving cowards," said the disappointed mountaineer, turning on his heel in bitter disappointment.

"Yes, you may go—in peace!" said Ongoloo with sententious gravity, waving his band grandly to the retiring men of Ratura, and walking off with an air of profound solemnity, though he could not help laughing—in his arm, somewhere, as he had not a sleeve to do it in.

But the Raturans did not go in peace. They went away with bitter animosity in their hearts, and some of them resolved to have a brush with their old foes, come what might.

Savages do not, as a rule, go through the formality of declaring war by withdrawing ambassadors. They are much more prone to begin war with that deceptive act styled "a surprise."

Smarting under the taunts of their foes, the Raturans resolved to make an attack on the enemy's village that very night, but Ongoloo was more than a match for them. Suspecting their intentions, he stalked them when the shades of evening fell, heard all their plans while concealed among the long grass, and then, hastening home, collected his warriors.

It chanced that Zeppa had returned from one of his rambles at the time and was lying in his hut.

"Will you come out with us and fight?" demanded Ongoloo, entering abruptly.

The mention of fighting seemed to stir some chord which jarred in Zeppa's mind, for he shook his head and frowned. It is possible that, if the savage had explained how matters stood, the poor madman might have consented, but the chief had not the time, perhaps not the will, for that. Turning quickly round, therefore, he went off as abruptly as he had entered.

Zeppa cared nothing for that. Indeed he soon forgot the circumstance, and, feeling tired, lay down to sleep.

Meanwhile Ongoloo marched away with a body of picked men to station himself in a narrow pass through which he knew that the invading foe would have to enter. He was hugely disgusted to be thus compelled to fight, after he had congratulated himself on having brought the recent palaver to so peaceful an issue. He resolved, however, only to give his enemies a serious fright, for he knew full well that if blood should flow, the old war-spirit would return, and the ancient suspicion and hatred be revived and intensified. Arranging his plans therefore, with this end in view, he resolved to take that peaceful, though thieving, humorist Wapoota, into his secret councils.

Summoning him, after the ambush had been properly arranged and the men placed, he said,—"Come here, you villain."

Wapoota knew that Ongoloo was not displeased with him by the nature of his address. He therefore followed, without anxiety, to a retired spot among the bush-covered rocks.

"You can screech, Wapoota?"

"Yes, chief," answered the ex-thief in some surprise, "I can screech like a parrot the size of a whale."

"That will do. And you love peace, like me, Wapoota, and hate bloodshed, though you love thieving."

"True, chief," returned the other, modestly.

"Well then, listen—and if you tell any one what I say to you, I will squeeze the eyes out of your head, punch the teeth from your jaws, and extract the oil from your backbone."

Wapoota thought that this was pretty strong for a man who had just declared his hatred of bloodshed, but he said nothing.

"You know the rock, something in shape like your own nose, at the foot of this pass?" said Ongoloo.

"I know it, chief."

"Well, go there; hide yourself, and get ready for a screech. When you see the Ratura dogs come in sight, give it out—once—only once,—and if you don't screech well, I'll teach you how to do it better afterwards. Wait then till you hear and see me and my men come rushing down the track, and then screech a second time. Only once, mind! but let it be long and strong. You understand? Now—away!"

Like a bolt from a crossbow Wapoota sped. He had not been in hiding two minutes when the Ratura party came stealthily towards the rock before mentioned. Wapoota gathered himself up for a supreme effort. The head of the enemy's column appeared in view—then there burst, as if from the bosom of silent night, a yell such as no earthly parrot ever uttered or whale conceived. The very blood in the veins of all stood still. Their limbs refused to move. Away over the rolling plain went the horrid sound till it gained the mountain where, after being buffeted from cliff to crag, it finally died out far up among the rocky heights.

"A device of the Ratura dogs to frighten us," growled Ongoloo to those nearest him. "Come, follow me, and remember, not a sound till I shout."

The whole party sprang up and followed their chief at full gallop down the pass. The still petrified Raturans heard the sound of rushing feet. When Wapoota saw the dark forms of his comrades appear, he filled his chest and opened his mouth, and the awful skirl arose once again, as if to pollute the night-air. Then Ongoloo roared. With mingled surprise and ferocity his men took up the strain, as they rushed towards the now dimly visible foe.

Savage nerves could stand no more. The Raturans turned and fled as one man. They descended the pass as they had never before descended it; they coursed over the plains like grey-hounds; they passed through their own villages like a whirlwind; drew most of the inhabitants after them like the living tail of a mad comet, and only stopped when they fell exhausted on the damp ground in the remotest depths of their own dismal swamps.


Strange to say, the anger of the Raturans was not assuaged by the rebuff which they received at that time. They took counsel again, and resolved to wait till the suspicions of the Mountain-men had been allayed, and then attack them when off their guard.

Meanwhile Zeppa, who did not at all concern himself with these matters, took it into his head one day that he would teach his little favourite, Lippy, to sing. Being a religious man he naturally selected hymns as the foundation of his teaching. At first he found it rather up-hill work, for Lippy happened to be gifted with a strong sense of the ludicrous, so that when he took her on his knee—the day on which the idea occurred to him—opened his mouth, and gave forth the first notes of a hymn in a fine sonorous bass voice, the child gazed at him for a few moments in open-eyed wonder, and then burst into an uncontrollable fit of open-mouthed laughter.

Poor Zeppa! till that day, since his mental break-down, the idea of singing had never once occurred to him, and this reception of his first attempt to teach disconcerted him. He stopped abruptly and gazed at the child with a perplexed expression. This gaze was evidently regarded by Lippy as an additional touch of humour, for she went off into renewed explosions of delight and the lesson had to be given up for that time. Zeppa was gifted, however, with patient perseverance in a remarkable degree. He renewed his efforts, but changed his plan. From that time forward he took to humming hymns in a low, sweet voice, as if for his own amusement. In a short time he had the satisfaction of hearing Lippy attempt, of her own accord, to sing one of the hymns that had taken her fancy. She went wrong in one or two notes, however, which gave Zeppa the opportunity of putting her right. He took her on his knee, and told her, in her own tongue, to try it again.

"Listen, this is the way," he said, opening his mouth to give an example; but the first note had scarcely begun to sound when Lippy thrust her brown fist into his mouth, and told him to stop. She would sing it herself!

Accordingly, she began in a sweet, tiny little voice, and her teacher gazed at her with intense pleasure depicted on his handsome face until she reached the note where she had formerly gone wrong.

"No—not so; sing thus," he said, giving the right notes.

The pupil took it up at once, and thus the singing lessons were fairly begun.

But the matter did not rest here, for Lippy, proud of her new acquirement soon began to exhibit her powers to her little companions, and ere long a few of the smallest of these ventured to creep into Zeppa's hut while the daily lesson was going on. Gradually they grew bolder, and joined in the exercise. Zeppa took pleasure in helping them, and at last permitted as many as could crowd into his hut to do so. Those who could not get inside sat on the ground outside, and, as the hut was open in front, the gathering soon increased. Thus, insensibly, without a well-defined intention or effort on the part of any one, the praise of God and the sweet name of Jesus ascended to heaven from that heathen village.

The assembling of these children for their lesson brought powerfully to Zeppa's mind, one day, the meetings of the Ratinga people for worship, and the appropriateness of beginning with prayer occurred to him. Accordingly, that morning, just as he was about to commence the hymns, he clasped his hands, raised his eyes, and briefly asked God's blessing on the work.

Profound astonishment kept the little ones quiet, and before they had time to recover the prayer was over.

Zeppa's mode of terminating the assembly was characteristic. He did not like to order the children away, much less to put them out of his hut, and the little creatures, being fond of the teacher, were prone to remain too long. When, therefore, he thought it time to close, he simply rose up and took himself off, leaving his congregation to disperse when and how it pleased! Sometimes on these occasions he would remain away for, perhaps, two or three days, having totally forgotten the singing class, to the great disappointment of the children.

One night, while he was thus absent, the men of Ratura delivered the attack which they had long meditated.

It was an unusually dark and still night; such a night as tends almost irresistibly to quiet and subdue wayward spirits, and induces man to think of his Creator. Such a night as is apt to fill the guilty conscience with unresting fears, as though it felt the near approach of that avenging sword which sooner or later it must meet.

Nevertheless, unmoved by its influences—except in so far as it suited their dark designs—the Raturans chose it for the fell purpose of invading their neighbours' lands, and exterminating their ancient foes; for, driven to desperation by the taunts and scorn of the Mountain-men, they felt that nothing short of extermination would suffice. And they were right. Extermination of the sinners, or the sins, was indeed their only chance of peace! Not knowing the Gospel method of blotting out the latter, their one resource lay in obliterating the former.

In the dead of night—that darkest hour when deeds of villainy and violence are usually done—the Raturan chief once more assembled his men from all quarters of the rolling plains and the dismal swamps, until the entire force of the tribe was under his command.

Leaving the aged men and boys to protect the women and children, those dark-skinned warriors marched away to battle—not with the flaunting banners and martial music of civilised man, but with the profound silence and the stealthy tread of the savage. Though the work in hand was the same, the means to the end were different; we will therefore describe them.

Had it been a daylight battle to which they went forth, their women and boys would have followed with reserve ammunition in the shape of baskets full of stones, and spare javelins; but, being a night attack, the fighting men went alone—each armed with a heavy club, a light spear, and a stone knife or hatchet.

Arrived at the pass where they had met with such a singular repulse on a former occasion, the main body was halted, and scouts were sent out in advance to see that all was clear. Then the plan of attack was formed. One detachment was to approach the enemy's village on the right; another was to go round to the left; while the main body was to advance in front.

There is a proverb relating to the plans of men as well as mice, which receives verification in every land and time. Its truth received corroboration at this time on Sugar-loaf Island. On that same night it chanced that the chief Ongoloo was unable to sleep. He sent for his prime-ministerial-jester and one of his chiefs, to whom he proposed a ramble. The chief and jester professed themselves charmed with the proposal, although each had been roused from a pleasant slumber.

In the course of the ramble they came unexpectedly on one of the Raturan scouts, whom they temporarily extinguished with a club. Ongoloo became at once alive to the situation, and took instant action.

"Wapoota!" he said in an excited whisper, "run to the rear of the foe. Go swiftly, like the sea bird. When you get there, yell, shriek—like— like—you know how! As you did last time! Change your ground at each yell—so they will think you a host. Fear not to be captured. Your death is nothing. Away!"

A kick facilitated Wapoota's flight, and the two chiefs returned at speed to rouse the sleeping camp.

Wapoota performed his part nobly—and without being captured, for he did not agree with Ongoloo as to the unimportance of his own death! At the unexpected outcry in the rear the Raturans halted, and held a hasty council of war.

"Let us go back and fight them," said one.

"No use, they are evil spirits—not men," said another.

Some agreed with the former—some with the latter.

"While we waste time here," said the leading chief, "the mountain dogs will get ready for us. Come! Forward!"

The chief was right. Ongoloo's ruse caused delay, so that when the Raturans reached the village they found armed men ready to receive them. These they attacked with great courage, and waged a somewhat scrambling fight until daylight enabled each party to concentrate its forces.

Meanwhile, at the first alarm, the women and children of the village had been sent off to the mountains for safety. Among the fugitives were Lippy and her mother. These happened to meet with the enemy's detachment which had been sent to assault the village on the left. The women scattered and fled. The savage warriors pursued, and several were taken, among them Lippy and her mother, who were promptly despatched to the rear. Those of the broken band that escaped continued their flight to the hills.

They had not gone far when they met Zeppa returning from one of his rambles. His surprise on hearing that the village had been attacked was great and his anxiety considerable. Although he had refused to go out to war with his entertainers, he felt no disposition to stand idly by when they were attacked. Disordered though his mind was, he could make a clear distinction between aggressive war and self-defence.

"And where is Lippy?" he asked, glancing round on the terrified faces.

"She is caught and carried away—with her mother."

"What!" exclaimed Zeppa, with a flash of his bright eyes that told of natural rage mingling with the fires of insanity.

The women did not wait for more. They ran away from him in terror.

But Zeppa had heard enough. Turning his face towards the village he sped over the ground at a pace that soon brought him in sight of the combatants, who seemed to be swaying to and fro—now here, now there—as the tide of battle flowed and victory leaned sometimes to one side sometimes to the other.

Zeppa was unarmed. As he drew near he was observed by both parties to stop abruptly in his career, and wrench out of the ground a stake that had been meant for the corner-post of a newly-begun hut. It resembled the great club of Hercules rather than a weapon of modern man.

Whirling it like a feather round his head, the maniac rushed on. He was thoroughly roused. A feeling of desperate anxiety coupled with a sense of horrible injustice had set his spirit in a blaze. His great size, which became more apparent as he advanced, his flashing eyes, compressed lips, and the wild flowing of his uncut hair and beard, gave him altogether an aspect so terrible that his foes trembled, while his friends rejoiced, and when at last he uttered a roar like a mad bull, and launched himself into the thickest of the fight the Raturans could not stand it, but turned and fled in a body under the impression that he was more than human. He was too fleet for them, however. Overtaking a flying knot, he brought the the corner-post down on the mass, and three warriors were levelled with the ground. Then, hurling the mighty club away as if it were a mere hindrance to him, he ran straight at the leader of the Raturans, who, being head and shoulders above his fellows, seemed a suitable foe to single out.

Before reaching him, however, his attention was arrested by a cry from some one in the midst of the enemy in front. It was the voice of Wapoota, who was trying to break his way through the flying foe to his own people.

Fortunately Zeppa recognised the voice, and darted towards his friend, who was hard pressed at the time by a crowd of opponents.

One roar from the maniac sent these flying like chaff before the wind. It must be added, however, for the credit of the men of Ratura, that Ongoloo and his warriors had backed up their new leader gallantly.

When Wapoota saw his deliverer, he ran to him, panting, and said—

"Come with me—this way—Lippy is here!"

That was sufficient. Zeppa became submissive like a child, while the jester, taking him by the hand, ran with him at racing speed in the direction of the Raturan villages, towards which the child and her mother were being led by the party which had captured them.

This was briefly explained to Zeppa by Wapoota, who had chanced to encounter the party when returning from his yelling mission, if we may so express it.

The race was a long one, but neither the madman nor his friend flagged until they overtook the party. It consisted of about thirty warriors, but if it had been thirty hundred it would have made no difference in the effect of Zeppa's roar and aspect as he rushed upon them with obviously awful intentions, though without arms. In fact the latter circumstance tended rather to increase the fears of the superstitious natives. They fled as one man at the first sight of the maniac and Lippy was recovered!

Instantly Zeppa's ferocity vanished, and the tenderest of smiles rippled over his face as he took the child in his arms and kissed her.

But Wapoota did not feel quite so easy, for in their mad race they had outstripped the flying enemy, bands of whom were constantly passing them in their flight before the Mountain-men. His anxieties, however, were groundless, for no sooner did any of the Raturans set eyes on Zeppa, than, with howls of consternation, they diverged at a tangent like hunted hares, and coursed away homeward on the wings of terror.

As on former occasions of conquest, the Mountain-men pursued the flying host into their swamps, but they did not, as in former times, return to slay the aged and carry the women and children into captivity.

To the surprise of all his followers, and the anger of not a few, Ongoloo commanded his men to return to their village and leave the Raturans alone. One of his chiefs, who showed a disposition to resist his authority, he promptly knocked down, whereupon the rest became obedient and went quietly home.

On reaching the village, Zeppa went straight to his hut with Lippy on his shoulder. Apparently he had forgotten all about the recent fight for, without even waiting to take food or rest he sat down, and began to give his little friend a singing lesson!

With the air of a little princess, who felt that she was only receiving her due, the child accepted the attention. Her young companions, attracted by the sweet sounds, soon flocked to the old place of rendezvous, and when the last of the straggling warriors returned from the field of battle they found the singing class going full swing as if nothing had happened.

But when the wounded and the dead were brought in, other sounds began to arise—sounds of wailing and woe, which soon drowned the hymns of praise. As soon as Zeppa became fully alive to this fact he ceased singing and went about trying to comfort those who wept but, from his perplexed air, and the frequency with which he paused in his wanderings to and fro and passed his hand across his brow, as if to clear away some misty clouds that rested there, it was evident that his shattered intellect had taken in a very imperfect impression of what had occurred.

As if to get rid of this beclouded state, he started off that evening at a quick walk towards his favourite haunts among the hills. No one ever followed him on these occasions. The natives regarded his person as in some measure sacred, and would have deemed it not only dangerous but insolent to go up among the rocky heights when the madman was known to be there.

Once, indeed, Wapoota, with that presumptuous temerity which is a characteristic of fools in general, ventured, on the strength of old acquaintance, to follow him, and even went towards the well known cave where he had found refuge and protection in the day of his distress; but Zeppa had either forgotten his former intercourse with the jester or intended to repudiate the connection, for he did not receive him kindly.

On the way up, Wapoota, who felt somewhat timorous about the visit, had made up his mind as to the best mode of address with which to approach his friend. He had decided that, although he was not particularly youthful, the language and manner of a respectful son to a revered father would best befit the occasion. Accordingly when he reached the cave and saw Zeppa busy beside his fire with a cocoa-nut, he assumed a stooping attitude of profound respect, and drew near.

Zeppa looked up with a frown, as if annoyed at the intrusion.

"Your unworthy son," began Wapoota, "comes to—"

But he got no further. He could not well have hit upon a more unfortunate phrase.

"My unworthy son!" shouted Zeppa, leaping up, while unearthly fires seemed to shoot from his distended eyes. "My son! son! Ha! ha-a-a-a!"

The horrified intruder heard the terminal yell, and saw the maniac bound over the fire towards him, but he saw and heard no more, for his limbs became suddenly endued with something like electric vitality. He turned and shot over a small precipice, as if flung from an ancient catapult. What he alighted on he did not know, still less did he care. It was sufficiently soft to prevent death.

Another awful cry echoed and re-echoed from the heights above, and intensified the electric battery within him. He went down the slopes regardless of gradient at a pace that might have left even Zeppa behind if he had followed; but Zeppa did not follow.

When Wapoota went over the precipice and disappeared, Zeppa halted and stood erect, gazing with a questioning aspect at the sky, and drawing his hand slowly across his brows with that wearied and puzzled aspect which had become characteristic.

Returning after a few minutes to his cave, he reseated himself quietly beside his fire, and, with his usual placid expression, devoted himself earnestly to his cocoa-nut.

That was the first and last occasion on which the poor madman experienced intrusion from the natives in his mountain retreat.


Let us return, now, to our miserable and half-hearted pirate, far out upon the raging sea.

It must not be supposed that the Pacific Ocean is always peaceful. No— there are days and nights when its winds howl, and its billows roar, and heave, and fume, with all the violence and fury of any other terrestrial sea.

On one such night, the pirate's barque was tossed like a cork on the Pacific's heaving bosom, while the shrieking winds played, as it were, fiendishly with the fluttering shreds of sails which they had previously blown to ribbons.

Richard Rosco stood beside the weather-bulwarks holding on to one of the mizzen back-stays. His mate Redford assisted the man at the wheel.

Upwards of three years of Rosco's rule had subdued Redford to the condition of a hypocritical and sly, but by no means a submissive, savage. One or two spurts at the commencement of their career had satisfied the mate, as well as the men, that the only way to overcome Rosco was to take his life; and as Redford had not sufficient courage, and the men no desire, to do that, they pursued their evil courses in comparative harmony. Nevertheless, the pirate captain knew well that the savage Redford was more acceptable to the pirates than himself so he determined to carry out intentions which had been simmering in his brain for some time, and rid the pirate crew of his presence.

"We will sight the island to-morrow afternoon, sir, if this holds," said the mate.

"I know it," answered Rosco.

"There is no good anchorage around it," continued the mate.

"So you have told me before," returned the captain, "but it matters not; we shall not anchor."

"Not anchor!" repeated Redford in surprise. "I understood that we were to land there to ship sandal-wood. The crew thought so too, and I'm quite sure—"

"Well—go on—what are you sure of?"

"Oh! nothing—only sure that Captain Rosco understands his own intentions best."

Rosco made no reply, and nothing further passed between the inharmonious pair at that time. Next day the gale abated, and, as Redford had predicted, Sugar-loaf Island was sighted in the afternoon.

Running close in under the shelter of the mountain, the barque was hove-to and a boat lowered.

"The crew will take arms with them, I suppose, sir?" asked the mate.

"Of course, though there will not be occasion for them, as there are no natives at this part of the island. I merely wish to ascend the hill to reconnoitre. You will go with me. Put your pistols in your belt, and fetch my rifle. We may get some fresh meat among the hills."

Breech-loading rifles had just come into fashion at that time, and the pirate captain had possessed himself of a double-barrelled one, with which he became wonderfully expert. This weapon was put into the boat with a large pouch full of cartridges. No comments were made in regard to this, the pirates having been accustomed to see their commander land in various places for a day's shooting, the result of which was usually an acceptable addition of fresh food to their larder.

"Remain by the boat, lads, till we return," said Rosco, leaping out when the keel grated on the shore. "Come with me, Redford."

The mate obeyed, following his commander towards the same ravine where, about four years before, they had seen poor Zeppa disappear among the recesses of the mountain. Redford felt a little surprise, and more than a little discomfort, at the peculiar conduct of his captain; but he comforted himself with the thought that if he should attempt any violence, there was a brace of pistols in his belt, and a cutlass at his side. He even for a moment meditated using the pistols when he looked at Rosco's broad back; but he knew that some of the men in the boat had a sort of sneaking fondness for their captain, and refrained—at least till he should get out of sight of the boat and into the shelter of the woods where his actions could not be seen, and any account of the affair might be coloured to suit his convenience.

Richard Rosco divined pretty well what was passing in his mate's mind. He also knew that as long as they were in sight of the boat, his enemy would not dare to injure him; he therefore threw his rifle carelessly over his shoulder, and walked with the most easy air of nonchalance over the strip of level land that lay between the sea and the forest that fringed the mountain base.

On the instant of entering the mouth of the ravine, however, he wheeled suddenly round and said—

"Now, Redford, you will lead the way, and I will direct you."

The mate was startled, and his right hand moved, as if by involuntary impulse, toward the handle of a pistol.

Instantly the muzzle of the captain's rifle was pointed at his breast.

"Drop your hand!" he said sternly. "Another such threat, and I will shoot you with as much indifference as I would a sneaking dog. Now go on and do as I bid you."

Redford gave in at once. He was at Rosco's mercy. Without a word he passed on in advance, and ascended the ravine with a quick, steady step. To say the truth, he knew well that while his commander, on the one hand, would not threaten what he did not mean to perform, on the other hand he would never shed human blood needlessly. He therefore felt less troubled than might have been expected.

They soon reached a small eminence or rocky plateau, from which was obtained a splendid view of the sea, with the barque floating like a large albatross on its surface. From that point the boat could also be clearly seen, and every step of the path by which they had reached the eminence.

"Now, Redford," said Rosco, throwing his rifle into the hollow of his left arm, so as to bring the muzzle full on the mate's chest, while, with the forefinger of his right hand, he lightly touched the triggers, "draw your pistols from your belt, and be very careful how you do it— very careful—for if, even by chance, you touch hammer or trigger, you are a dead man."

There was something of banter in Rosco's manner, yet this was associated with an air and tone of such calm decision that the mate felt curiously uncomfortable. He obeyed orders, however, promptly, and stood with a pistol in each hand. It must have been a tantalising position, for, had they been cocked, he could have blown out Rosco's brains in a moment. Indeed, he was sorely tempted to break the half-cock catch on the chance of one or both going off, but his commander's eye and muzzle forbade it.

"Drop them," said Rosco, suddenly.

If they had been red-hot irons, the mate could scarcely have let them go more quickly. It almost seemed as if his guilty desire had passed into the weapons and intensified the laws of gravitation—they came to the rock with such a clatter.

"That will do. Now, two paces step—back, march! Splendid. Why, Redford, I had no idea you were so well up in your drill," said Rosco, stepping to the spot beside the pistols, which the mate had just vacated. "You are fit to act fugleman to the British army. Now, clasp your hands behind your back, and don't unclasp them till I give you leave. It's a new piece of drill but not difficult to learn."

The cowed pirate was too much alarmed to be amused by this last sally. He stood, sulkily it is true, but anxiously, awaiting further orders.

"Look here, Redford," continued the pirate captain. "I want to prove to you that the distance from this spot to the boat is about five hundred yards. You see that gull on the water? It is about the same distance off as the boat—well—"

He sighted his rifle for five hundred yards, took a rapid aim, fired, and the gull, leaping its own height out of the water, fell back dead.

"Oh! don't start my fine fellow, you forget the other barrel!"

The reminder was in time to check an unwise impulse on the mate's part.

"Now," continued Rosco, assuming a more serious tone, "I have brought you here for a last conversation. You have long desired to command that vessel, and I have long desired to resign the command. We shall both have our desires gratified this day. I intend to take up my abode here; you are free to go where you please—but not to come here again. Lay my words to heart, now, and let me advise you to impress them on your crew. If you ever venture to come to this island again, I promise you to shoot every man that puts his foot upon the shore, and to shoot all that follow, as long as my ammunition lasts. And, you see, I have brought a pretty large bag of it on shore, which I do not mean to waste on gulls, or anything else. I mean to keep it entirely for your benefit, my worthy friend—so, after this warning, you will please yourself, and take your own course. Now, go down to the boat; row straight back to your ship, tell your crew whatever you choose as to our interview, and go where you please. But bear in mind that my rifle will cover you during every step that you take from this spot down to the beach, ay, and after you have left the beach too, until you are safe on board. Remember, also, that the rifle is sighted for one thousand yards, and that the barque is not much farther off than that. Go!"

The last word was uttered in such a tone, that Redford instantly turned, and, without even a word of reply, retraced his steps to the shore. Then he promptly embarked, and the men promptly shoved off while Rosco sat on the rocky eminence, quietly watching them.

No words did Redford speak to his wondering men, except such as were needed to direct the boat. On gaining the vessel, he sprang up the side, ordered all sail to be set and the guns to be loaded. When the vessel had increased her distance a few hundred yards from the shore, he brought her broadside to bear on the land, and then, having carefully laid the guns, gave the word to fire.

The hull of the pirate vessel was instantly enveloped in a snowy curtain of smoke, and, next moment, the echoes of the hills were rudely startled by a thunderous crash, while a dozen or more iron balls burst like bomb-shells on the cliffs immediately above the spot where Rosco sat, sending showers of rock in all direction; and driving the sea-mews in shrieking terror from their nests.

"A mere waste of ammunition," murmured Rosco, with a contemptuous curl of his lip, as he rose. "But the next may be better aimed, so I'll bid you good-bye, Redford!"

Descending into the ravine, he was soon safe from the iron messengers of death, of which the enraged Redford sent another group ashore before finally bidding the island farewell.

Now, it so happened that Zeppa was ascending the Sugar-loaf mountain on its other side, when all this cannonading was going on. He was naturally surprised at such unwonted sounds, and, remembering that cannon implied ships, and that ships were necessary to deliverance from his enforced exile, he naturally hastened his steps, and experienced an unusual degree of excitement.

When he reached his favourite outlook—a ledge of flat land on the southern face of the hill, partially covered with bushes—he saw the pirate vessel sailing away from the island, and the smoke of her two broadsides rising like two snowy cloudlets into the blue sky. At first an expression of disappointment flitted across Zeppa's countenance, but it quickly passed, leaving the usual air of childlike submission behind. He sat down on a ledge of rock, and gazed long and wistfully at the retreating vessel. Then, casting his eyes upwards to the blue vault, he gave way to an impulse which had been growing upon him for some time—he began to pray aloud.

It was while he was engaged in this act of devotion that Richard Rosco came upon the scene.

At the first sound of the madman's deep voice, the pirate stopped and listened with a feeling of superstitious dread which seemed to check the very action of his heart—for, at the moment, a few bushes concealed his old enemy from his sight. Stepping cautiously forward, he could see through the interlacing boughs without himself being seen; and then the blood forsook his visage, and his limbs trembled as if he had been a paralysed old man.

Could the man before him, in tattered garments, with the dishevelled mass of flowing, curly, iron-grey hair, with the long, heavy beard and moustache, the hollow cheeks, and the wonderfully solemn eyes—could that be Zeppa? It seemed impossible, yet there was no mistaking the well known and still handsome features, or the massive, sinewy frame— still less was it possible to doubt the deep, sonorous voice. But then—Zeppa had been seen on Ratinga Island, and the description given of him by those who had seen him had been so exact that Rosco had never doubted his return home and recovery of reason.

Whatever he thought or felt, however, the pirate's whole being was soon absorbed in the madman's prayer. It was simple, like himself. He asked for permission to return home, and made a humble confession of sin. From the tenor of it, there could be no doubt that poor Zeppa had come to regard his exile as a direct punishment from God. Then the prayer changed to a petition for blessings on his wife and son and the deep voice became deeper and full of tenderness.

The pirate experienced a shock of surprise—was the son, then, still alive? And, if so, how came Zeppa to know? He could not know it! The man before him must either be the creature of his own disordered fancy, or a real visitant from the world of spirits!

As these thoughts coursed like lightning through the pirate's brain, he was suddenly startled by the sound of his own name.

"And Rosco," said the madman, still looking steadily up into the sky, while a dark frown slowly gathered on his brow—"Oh! God, curse—no— no, no. Forgive me, Lord, and forgive him, and save him from his sins." He stopped abruptly here, and looked confused.

The mention of the pirate and his sins seemed to remind the poor father that his son had been murdered, and yet, somehow, he had fancied him alive, and had been praying for him! He could not understand it at all. The old look of mingled perplexity and patient submission was beginning again to steal over his face, and his hand was in the familiar act of passing over the troubled brow, when Zeppa's eyes alighted on Rosco's countenance.

It would be difficult to say which, at that moment, most resembled a maniac. The sight of his enemy did more, perhaps, to restore Zeppa to a spurious kind of sanity than anything that had occurred since the fatal day of his bereavement, and called up an expression of fierce indignation to his countenance. All memory of his previous prayer vanished, and he glared for a moment at the pirate with intense fury.

At the same time Rosco stood with blanched cheeks, intense horror in his eyes, his lower jaw dropped, and his whole frame, as it were, transfixed.

The inaction of both was, however, but momentary. The madman sprang up, clutched the heavy staff he was wont to use in climbing the hills, and rushed impetuously but without word or cry at his foe. The pirate, brave though he undoubtedly was, lost all self-control, and fled in abject terror. Fortunately, the first part of the descent from the spot was unobstructed; for, in the then condition of their feelings, both men would probably have flung themselves over any precipice that had lain in their way. A few moments, however, sufficed to restore enough of self-possession to the pirate to enable him to direct his course with some intelligence. He naturally followed the path by which he had ascended, and soon gained the beach, closely followed by Zeppa.

In speed the two men were at the time well matched, for any advantage that Zeppa had in point of size and strength was counterbalanced by the youth and superstitious terror of Rosco. At first, indeed, the madman gained on his foe, but as the impetuosity of his first dash abated, the pirate's courage returned, and, warming to the race, he held his ground.

Like hare and greyhound they coursed along the level patch of ground that lay on that side of the island, until they came in sight of the swampy land, covered with low but dense wood which bounded the lands of the Raturans. Dismay overwhelmed the pirate at first sight of it. Then hope rebounded into his soul, and he put on a spurt which carried him considerably ahead of his pursuer. He reached the edge of the swamp-land, and dashed into its dark recesses. He had barely entered it a few yards when he plunged into water up to the neck. The heavy root of a tree chanced to hang over him. Drawing himself close beneath it, he remained quite still. It was his best—indeed his only—chance.

Next moment Zeppa plunged headlong into another part of the same half-hidden pool. Arising, like some shaggy monster of the swamp, with weeds and slimy plants trailing from his locks, he paused a moment, as if to make sure of his direction before resuming the chase. At that moment he was completely in the power of the pirate, for his broad back was not more than a few feet from the screen of roots and tendrils by which Rosco was partially hidden. The temptation was strong. The pirate drew the keen knife that always hung at his girdle, but a feeling of pity induced him to hesitate. The delay sufficed to save Zeppa's life. Next moment he seized an overhanging branch, drew himself out of the swamp, and sped on his way; but, having lost sight of his enemy, he soon paused and looked round with indecision.

"It must have been a dream," he muttered, and began to retrace his steps with an air of humiliation, as if half ashamed of having given way to such excitement. From his hiding-place the pirate saw him pass, and watched him out of sight. Then, clambering quickly out of the stagnant pool, he pushed deeper and deeper into the recesses of the morass, regardless of every danger, except that of falling into the madman's hands.


Who shall tell, or who shall understand, the thoughts of Richard Rosco, the ex-pirate, as he wandered, lost yet regardless, in that dismal swamp?

The human spirit is essentially galvanic. It jumps like a grasshopper, bounds like a kangaroo. The greatest of men can only restrain it in a slight degree. The small men either have exasperating trouble with it, or make no attempt to curb it at all. It is a rebellious spirit. The best of books tells us that, "Greater is he that ruleth it, than he that taketh a city."

Think of that, youngster, whoever you are, who readeth this. Think of the conquerors of the world. Think of the "Great" Alexander, whose might was so tremendous that he subjugated kingdoms and spent his life in doing little else. Think of Napoleon "the Great," whose armies ravaged Europe from the Atlantic to Asia: who even began—though he failed to finish—the conquest of Africa; who made kings as you might make pasteboard men, and filled the civilised world with fear, as well as with blood and graves—all for his own glorification! Think of these and other "great" men, and reflect that it is written, "He who rules his own spirit" is greater than they.

Yes, the human spirit is difficult to deal with, and uncomfortably explosive. At least so Richard Rosco found it when, towards the close of the day on which his enemy chased him into the dismal swamp, he sat down on a gnarled root and began to reflect.

His spirit jumped almost out of him with contempt, when he thought that for the first time in his life, he had fled in abject terror from the face of man! He could not conceal that from himself, despite the excuse suggested by pride—that he had half believed Zeppa to be an apparition. What even if that were true? Had he not boastfully said more than once that he would defy the foul fiend himself if he should attempt to thwart him? Then his spirit bounded into a region of disappointed rage when he thought of the lost opportunity of stabbing his enemy to the heart. After that, unbidden, and in spite of him, it dropped into an abyss of something like fierce despair when he recalled the past surveyed the present, and forecast the future. Truly, if hell ever does begin to men on earth, it began that day to the pirate, as he sat in the twilight on the gnarled root, with one of his feet dangling in the slimy water, his hands clasped so tight that the knuckles stood out white, and his eyes gazing upwards with an expression that seemed the very embodiment of woe.

Then his spirit lost its spring, and he began to crawl, in memory, on the shores of "other days." He thought of the days when, comparatively innocent he rambled on the sunny hills of old England; played and did mischief with comrades; formed friendships and fought battles, and knew what it was to experience good impulses; understood the joy of giving way to these, as well as the depression consequent on resisting them; and recalled the time when he regarded his mother as the supreme judge in every case of difficulty—the only comforter in every time of sorrow.

At this point his spirit grovelled like a crushed worm in the stagnant pool of his despair, for he had no hope. He had sinned every opportunity away. He had defied God and man, and nothing was left to him, apparently, save "a fearful looking-for of judgment."

As he bent over the pool he saw his own distorted visage dimly reflected therein, and the thought occurred,—"Why not end it all at once? Five minutes at the utmost and all will be over!" The pirate was a physically brave man beyond his fellows. He had courage to carry the idea into effect but—"after death the judgment!" Where had he heard these words? They were strange to him, but they were not new. Those who are trained in the knowledge of God's Word are not as a general rule, moved in an extraordinary degree by quotations from it. It is often otherwise with those who have had little of it instilled into them in youth and none in later years. That which may seem to a Christian but a familiar part of the "old, old story," sometimes becomes to hundreds and thousands of human beings a startling revelation. It was so to the pirate on this occasion. The idea of judgment took such a hold of him that he shrank from death with far more fear than he ever had, with courage, faced it in days gone by. Trembling, terrified, abject he sat there, incapable of consecutive thought or intelligent action.

At last the gloom which had been slowly deepening over the swamp sank into absolute blackness, and the chills of night, which were particularly sharp in such places, began to tell upon him. But he did not dare to move, lest he should fall into the swamp. Slowly he extended himself on the root; wound his arms and fingers convulsively among leaves and branches, and held on like a drowning man. An ague-fit seemed to have seized him, for he trembled violently in every limb; and as his exhausted spirit was about to lose itself in sleep, or, as it seemed to him, in death, he gave vent to a subdued cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"

Rest, such as it was, refreshed the pirate, and when the grey dawn, struggling through the dense foliage, awoke him, he rose up with a feeling of submissiveness which seemed, somehow, to restore his energy.

He was without purpose, however, for he knew nothing of his surroundings, and, of course, could form no idea of what was best to be done. In these circumstances he rose with a strange sensation of helplessness, and wandered straight before him.

And oh! how beautiful were the scenes presented to his vision! Everything in this world is relative. That which is hideous at one time is lovely at another. In the night the evening, or at the grey dawn, the swamp was indeed dismal in the extreme; but when the morning advanced towards noon all that was changed, as if magically, by the action of the sun. Black, repulsive waters reflected patches of the bright blue sky, and every leaf, and spray, and parasite, and tendril, that grew in the world above was faithfully mirrored in the world below. Vistas of gnarled roots and graceful stems and drooping boughs were seen on right and left, before and behind, extending as if into infinite space, while innumerable insects, engaged in the business of their brief existence, were filling the region with miniature melodies.

But Richard Rosco saw it not. At least it made no sensible impression on him. His mental retina was capable of receiving only two pictures: the concentrated accumulation of past sin—the terrible anticipation of future retribution. Between these two, present danger and suffering were well-nigh forgotten.

Towards noon, however, the sense of hunger began to oppress him. He allayed it with a few wild berries. Then fatigue began to tell, for walking from root to root sometimes on short stretches of solid land, sometimes over soft mud, often knee-deep in water, was very exhausting. At last he came to what appeared to be the end of the swamp, and here he discovered a small patch of cultivated ground.

The discovery awoke him to the necessity of caution, but he was awakened too late, for already had one of the Raturan natives observed him advancing out of the swamp. Instantly he gave the alarm that a "white face" was approaching. Of course the appearance of one suggested a scout, and the speedy approach of a host. Horrified to see a supposed enemy come from a region which they had hitherto deemed their sure refuge, the few natives who dwelt there flew to arms, and ran to meet the advancing foe.

The pirate was not just then in a mood to resist. He had no weapon, and no spirit left. He therefore suffered himself to be taken prisoner without a struggle, satisfied apparently to know that the madman was not one of those into whose hands he had fallen.

Great was the rejoicing among the Raturans when the prisoner was brought in, for they were still smarting under the humiliation of their defeat, and knew well that their discomfiture had been largely owing to the influence of "white faces." True, they did not fall into the mistake of supposing that Rosco was the awful giant who had chased and belaboured them so unmercifully with a long stake, but they at once concluded that he was a comrade of Zeppa—perhaps one of a band who had joined their foes. Besides, whether he were a comrade or not was a matter of small moment. Sufficient for them that his face was white, that he belonged to a race which, in the person of Zeppa, had wrought them evil, and that he was now in their power.

Of course, the Raturans had not during all these years, remained in ignorance of the existence of Zeppa. They had heard of his dwelling in the mountain soon after he had visited the village of their enemies, and had also become aware of the fact that the white man was a madman and a giant, but more than this they did not know, because of their feud preventing interchange of visits or of news between the tribes. Their imaginations, therefore, having full swing, had clothed Zeppa in some of the supposed attributes of a demigod. These attributes, however, the same imaginations quickly exchanged for those of a demi-devil, when at last they saw Zeppa in the flesh, and were put to flight by him. His size, indeed, had rather fallen short of their expectation, for sixty feet had been the average estimate, but his fury and aspect had come quite up to the mark, and the fact that not a man of the tribe had dared to stand before him, was sufficient to convince a set of superstitious savages that he was a real devil in human guise. To have secured one of his minor comrades, therefore, was a splendid and unlooked-for piece of good fortune, which they resolved to make the most of by burning the pirate alive.

Little did the wretched man think, when they conducted him to a hut in the middle of their village and supplied him with meat and drink, that this was a preliminary ceremony to the terrible end they purposed to make of him. It is true he did not feel easy in his mind, for, despite this touch of hospitality, his captors regarded him with looks of undisguised hatred.

There was something of the feline spirit in these Raturan savages. As the cat plays with the mouse before killing it, so did they amuse themselves with the pirate before putting him to the final torture which was to terminate his life.

And well was it for Rosco that they did so, for the delay thus caused was the means of saving his life—though he did not come out of the dread ordeal scathless.

They began with a dance—a war-dance it is to be presumed—at all events it involved the flourishing of clubs and spears, the formation of hideous faces, and the perpetration of frightful grimaces, with bounds and yells enough to warrant the conclusion that the dance was not one of peace. Richard Rosco formed the centre of that dance—the sun, as it were, of the system round which the dusky host revolved. But he did not join in the celebration, for he was bound firmly to a stake set up in the ground, and could not move hand or foot.

At first the warriors of the tribe moved round the pirate in a circle, stamping time slowly with their feet while the women and children stood in a larger circle, marking time with hands and voices. Presently the dance grew more furious, and ultimately attained to a pitch of wild violence which is quite indescribable. At the height of the paroxysm, a warrior would ever and anon dart out from the circle with whirling club, and bring it down as if on the prisoner's skull, but would turn it aside so deftly that it just grazed his ear and fell with a dull thud on the ground. Other warriors made at him with their spears, which they thrust with lightning speed at his naked breast, but checked them just as they touched the skin.

Two or three of these last were so inexpert that they pricked the skin slightly, and blood began to trickle down, but these clumsy warriors were instantly kicked from the circle of dancers, and compelled to take their place among the women and children.

When they had exhausted themselves with the dance, the warriors sat down to feast upon viands, which had, in the meanwhile, been preparing for them, and while they feasted they taunted their prisoner with cowardice, and told him in graphic language of the horrors that yet awaited him.

Fortunately for the miserable man—who was left bound to the stake during the feast—he did not understand a word of what was said. He had been stripped of all clothing save a pair of short breeches, reaching a little below the knee, and his naked feet rested on a curious piece of basketwork. This last would have been too slight to bear his weight if he had not been almost suspended by the cords that bound him to the stake.

Rosco was very pale. He felt that his doom was fixed; but his native courage did not forsake him. He braced himself to meet his fate like a man, and resolved to shut his eyes, when next they began to dance round him, so that he should not shrink from the blow or thrust which, he felt sure, would ere long end his ill-spent life. But the time seemed to him terribly long, and while he hung there his mind began to recall the gloomy past. Perhaps it was a refinement of cruelty on the part of the savages that they gave him time to think, so that his courage might be reduced or overcome.

If so, they were mistaken in their plan. The pirate showed no unusual sign of fear. Once he attempted to pray, but he found that almost impossible.

Wearied at length with waiting, the savages arose, and began to put fagots and other combustibles under the wicker-basket on which the pirate stood. Then, indeed, was Rosco's courage tried nearly to the uttermost and when he saw the fire actually applied, he uttered a cry of "Help! help!" so loud and terrible that his enemies fell back for a moment as if appalled.

And help came from a quarter that Rosco little expected.

But to explain this we must return to Zeppa. We have said that he gave up the chase of the pirate under the impression that the whole affair was a dream; but, on returning to his cave, he found that he could not rest. Old associations and memories had been too violently aroused, and, after spending a sleepless night he rose up, determined to resume the chase which he had abandoned. He returned to the spot where he had lost sight of his enemy in the swamp, and, after a brief examination of the place, advanced in as straight a line as he could through the tangled and interlacing boughs.

Naturally he followed the trail of the pirate, for the difficulties or peculiar formations of the ground which had influenced the latter in his course also affected Zeppa much in the same way. Thus it came to pass that when the Raturans were about to burn their prisoner alive, the madman was close to their village. But Zeppa did not think of the Raturans. He had never seen or heard of them, except on the occasion of their attack on the Mountain-men. His sole desire was to be revenged on the slayer of his boy. And even in this matter the poor maniac was still greatly perplexed, for his Christian principles and his naturally gentle spirit forbade revenge on the one hand, while, on the other, a sense of justice told him that murder should not go unpunished, or the murderer remain at large; so that it required the absolute sight of Rosco before his eyes to rouse him to the pitch of fury necessary to hold him to the execution of his purpose.

It was while he was advancing slowly, and puzzling his brain over these considerations, that Rosco's cry for help rang out.

Zeppa recognised the voice, and a dark frown settled on his countenance as he stopped to listen. Then an appalling yell filled his ears. It was repeated again and again, as the kindling flames licked round the pirate's naked feet, causing him to writhe in mortal agony.

Instantly Zeppa was stirred to action. He replied with a tremendous shout.

Well did the Raturans know that shout. With caught breath and blanched faces they turned towards the direction whence it came, and they saw the madman bounding towards them with streaming locks and glaring eyes. A single look sufficed. The entire population of the village turned and fled!

Next moment Zeppa rushed up to the stake, and kicked the fire-brands from beneath the poor victim, who was by that time almost insensible from agony and smoke. Drawing his knife, Zeppa cut the cords, and, lifting the pirate in his arms, laid him on the ground.

The madman was terribly excited. He had been drenched from frequent immersions in the swamp, besides being much exhausted by his long and difficult walk, or rather, scramble, after a sleepless night; and this sudden meeting with his worst enemy in such awful circumstances seemed to have produced an access of insanity, so that the pirate felt uncertain whether he had not been delivered from a horrible fate to fall into one perhaps not less terrible.

As he lay there on his back, scorched, tormented with thirst and helpless, he watched with fearful anxiety each motion of the madman. For some moments Zeppa seemed undecided. He stood with heaving chest expanding nostrils, and flashing eyes, gazing after the flying crew of natives. Then he turned sharply on the unhappy man who lay at his feet.

"Get up!" he said fiercely, "and follow me."

"I cannot get up, Zeppa," replied the pirate in a faint voice. "Don't you see my feet are burnt? God help me!"

He ended with a deep groan, and the ferocity at once left Zeppa's countenance, but the wild light did not leave his eyes, nor did he become less excited in his actions.

"Come, I will carry you," he said.

Stooping down quickly, he raised the pirate in his arms as if he had been a child, and bore him away.

Avoiding the swamp, he proceeded in the direction of the mountain by another route—a route which ran so near to Ongoloo's village, that the Raturans never ventured to use it.

He passed the village without having been observed, and began to toil slowly up the steep ascent panting as he went, for his mighty strength had been overtaxed, and his helpless burden was heavy.

"Lay me down and rest yourself," said Rosco, with a groan that he could not suppress, for his scorched lower limbs caused him unutterable anguish, and beads of perspiration stood upon his brow, while a deadly pallor overspread his face.

Zeppa spoke no word in reply. He did, indeed, look at the speaker once, uneasily, but took no notice of his request. Thus, clasping his enemy to his breast he ascended the steep hill, struggling and stumbling upwards, as if with some fixed and stern purpose in view, until at last he gained the shelter of his mountain cave.


We change the scene once more, and transport our readers over the ocean waves to a noble ship which is breasting those waves right gallantly. It is H.M.S. "Furious."

In a retired part of the ship's cabin there are two savage nobles who do not take things quite as gallantly as the ship herself. These are our friends Tomeo and Buttchee of Ratinga. Each is seated on the cabin floor with his back against the bulkhead, an expression of woe-begone desolation on his visage, his black legs apart, and a ship's bucket between them. It were bad taste to be too particular as to details here!

On quitting Ratinga, Tomeo and his brother chief had said that nothing would rejoice their hearts so much as to go to sea. Their wish was gratified, and, not long afterwards, they said that nothing could rejoice their hearts so much as to get back to land! Such is the contradictoriness of human nature.

There was a stiffish breeze blowing, as one of the man-of-war's-men expressed it and "a nasty sea on"—he did not say on what. There must have been something nasty, also, on Tomeo's stomach, from the violent way in which he sought to get rid of it at times—without success.

"Oh! Buttchee, my brother," said Tomeo (of course in his native tongue), "many years have passed over my head, a few white streaks begin to—to—" He paused abruptly, and eyed the bucket as if with an intention.

"To appear," he continued with a short sigh; "also, I have seen many wars and suffered much from many wounds as you—you—ha!—you know, Buttchee, my brother, but of all the—"

He became silent again—suddenly.

"Why does my brother p-pause?" asked Buttchee, in a meek voice—as of one who had suffered severely in life's pilgrimage.

There was no occasion for Tomeo to offer a verbal reply.

After a time Buttchee raised his head and wiped his eyes, in which were many tears—but not of sorrow.

"Tomeo," said he, "was it worth our while to forsake wives and children, and church, and hymns, and taro fields, and home for th-this?"

"We did not leave for this," replied Tomeo, with some acerbity, for he experienced a temporary sensation of feeling better at the moment; "we left all for the sake of assisting our friends in—there! it comes— it—"

He said no more, and both chiefs relapsed into silence—gazing the while at the buckets with undue interest.

They were interrupted by the sudden entrance of Ebony.

"Come, you yaller-cheeked chiefs; you's die if you no make a heffort. Come on deck, breeve de fresh air. Git up a happetite. Go in for salt pork, plum duff, and lop-scouse, an' you'll git well 'fore you kin say Jack Rubinson."

Tomeo and Buttchee looked up at the jovial negro and smiled—imbecile smiles they were.

"We cannot move," said Tomeo and Buttchee together, "because we—w—" Together they ceased giving the reason—it was not necessary!

"Oh dear!" said Ebony, opening his great eyes to their widest. "You no kin lib long at dat rate. Better die on deck if you mus' die; more heasy for you to breeve up dar, an' more comf'rable to fro you overboard w'en you's got it over."

With this cheering remark the worthy negro, seizing the chiefs each by a hand, half constrained, half assisted them to rise, and helped them to stagger to the quarter-deck, where they were greeted by Orlando, Captain Fitzgerald, Waroonga, and the missionary.

"Come, that's right," cried the captain, shaking the two melancholy chiefs by the hand, "glad to see you plucking up courage. Tell them, Mr Zeppa, that we shall probably be at Sugar-loaf Island to-morrow, or next day."

The two unfortunates were visibly cheered by the assurance. To do them justice, they had not quite given way to sea-sickness until then, for the weather had been moderately calm, but the nasty sea and stiff breeze had proved too much for them.

"Are you sure we shall find the island so soon?" asked Orlando of the captain in a low, earnest tone, for the poor youth's excitement and anxiety deepened as they drew near to the place where his father might possibly be found—at the same time a strange, shrinking dread of what they might find made him almost wish for delay.

"I am not sure, of course," returned the captain, "but if my information is correct, there is every probability that we shall find it to-morrow."

"I hopes we shall," remarked Waroonga. "It would be a grand blessing if the Lord will gif us the island and your father in same day."

"Mos' too good to be true," observed Ebony, who was a privileged individual on board, owing very much to his good-humoured eccentricity. "But surely you not spec's de niggers to tumbil down at yous feet all at wance, Massa Waroonga?"

"Oh no, not at once. The day of miracle have pass," returned the missionary. "We mus' use the means, and then, has we not the promise that our work shall not be in vain?"

Next day about noon the Sugar-loaf mountain rose out of the sea like a great pillar of hope to Orlando, as well as to the missionary. Captain Fitzgerald sailed close in, sweeping the mountain side with his telescope as he advanced until close under the cliffs, when he lay-to and held a consultation with his passengers.

"I see no habitations of any kind," he said, "nor any sign of the presence of man, but I have heard that the native villages lie at the lower side of the island. Now, the question is, whether would it suit your purposes best to land an armed party here, and cross over to the villages, or to sail round the island, drop anchor in the most convenient bay, and land a party there?"

Orlando, to whom this was more directly addressed, turned to the missionary.

"What think you, Waroonga? You know native thought and feeling best."

"I would not land armed party at all," answered Waroonga. "But Cappin Fitzgald know his own business most. What he thinks?"

"My business and yours are so mingled," returned the captain, "that I look to you for advice. My chief duty is to obtain information as to the whereabouts of the pirate vessel, and I expect that such information will be got more readily through you, Waroonga, than any one else, for, besides being able to speak the native language, you can probably approach the savages more easily than I can."

"They are not savages," returned Waroonga quietly, "they are God's ignorant children. I have seen worse men than South sea islanders with white faces an' soft clothin' who had not the excuse of ignorance."

"Nay, my good sir," said the captain, "we will not quarrel about terms. Whatever else these 'ignorant children' may be, I know that they are brave and warlike, and I shall gladly listen to your advice as to landing."

"If you wish to go to them in peace, do not go to them with arms," said Waroonga.

"Surely you would not advise me to send an unarmed party among armed sav—children?" returned the captain, with a look of surprise, while Orlando regarded his friend with mingled amusement and curiosity.

"No. You best send no party at all. Jis' go round the island, put down angker, an' leave the rest to me."

"But what do you propose to do?" asked the captain.

"Swum to shore with Bibil."

Orlando laughed, for he now understood the missionary's plan, and in a few words described the method by which Waroonga had subdued the natives of Ratinga.

"You see, by this plan," he continued, "nothing is presented to the natives which they will be tempted to steal, and if they are very warlike or fierce, Waroonga's refusal to fight reduces them to a state of quiet readiness to hear, which is all that we want. Waroonga's tongue does the rest."

"With God's Holy Spirit and the Word," interposed the missionary.

"True, that is understood," said Orlando.

"That is not always understood," returned Waroonga.

"The plan does not seem to me a very good one," said Captain Fitzgerald thoughtfully. "I can have no doubt that it has succeeded in time past, and may probably succeed again, but you cannot expect that the natives, even if disposed to be peaceful, will accept your message at once. It may take weeks, perhaps months, before you get them to believe the gospel, so as to permit of my men going ashore unarmed, and in the meantime, while you are engaged in this effort, what am I to be doing?"

"Wait God's time," answered Waroonga simply. "But time presses. The pirate vessel, where-ever it may be, is escaping me," said the captain, unable to repress a smile. "However, I will at all events let you make the trial and await the result; reminding you, however, that you will run considerable risk, and that you must be prepared to accept the consequences of your rather reckless proceedings."

"I hope, Waroonga," said Orlando, when the captain left them to give orders as to the course of the ship, "that you will let me share this risk with you?"

"It will be wiser not. You are a strong man, an' sometimes fierce to behold. They will want to fight you; then up go your blood, an' you will want to fight them."

"No, indeed, I won't," said Orlando earnestly.

"I will promise to go in the spirit of a missionary. You know how anxious I am to get news of my dear father. How could you expect me to remain idle on board this vessel, when my soul is so troubled? You may depend on me, Waroonga. I will do exactly as you bid me, and will place myself peaceably in the power of natives—leaving the result, as you advise, to God."

The young man's tone was so earnest, and withal so humble, that Waroonga could not help acceding to his request.

"Well, well," said Captain Fitzgerald, when he heard of it; "you seem both to be bent on making martyrs of yourselves, but I will offer no opposition. All I can say is that I shall have my guns in readiness, and if I see anything like foul play, I'll bombard the place, and land an armed force to do what I can for you."

Soon the frigate came in sight of Ongoloo's village, ran close in, brought up in a sheltered bay, and lowered a boat while the natives crowded the beach in vast numbers, uttering fierce cries, brandishing clubs and spears, and making other warlike demonstrations—for these poor people had been more than once visited by so-called merchant ships—the crews of which had carried off some of them by force.

"We will not let a living man touch our shore," said Ongoloo to Wapoota, who chanced to be near his leader, when he marshalled his men.

"Oh! yes, we will, chief," replied the brown humorist. "We will let some of them touch it, and then we will take them up carefully, and have them baked. A long-pig supper will do us good. The rest of them we will drive back to their big canoe."

By the term "long-pig" Wapoota referred to the resemblance that a naked white man when prepared for roasting bears to an ordinary pig.

A grim smile lit up Ongoloo's swarthy visage as he replied—

"Yes, we will permit a few fat ones to land. The rest shall die, for white men are thieves. They deceived us last time. They shall never deceive us again."

As this remark might have been meant for a covert reference to his own thievish tendencies, Wapoota restrained his somewhat ghastly humour, while the chief continued his arrangements for repelling the invaders.

Meanwhile, these invaders were getting into the boat.

"What! you's not goin' widout me?" exclaimed Ebony, as one of the sailors thrust him aside from the gangway.

"I fear we are," said Orlando, as he was about to descend the vessel's side. "It was as much as I could do to get Waroonga to agree to let me go with him."

"But dis yar nigger kin die in a good cause as well as you, massa," said Ebony, in a tone of entreaty so earnest that the men standing near could not help laughing.

"Now then, make haste," sang out the officer in charge of the boat.

Orlando descended, and the negro, turning away with a deeply injured expression, walked majestically to the stern to watch the boat.

Waroonga had prepared himself for the enterprise by stripping off every article of clothing save a linen cloth round his loins, and he carried nothing whatever with him except a small copy of God's Word printed in the language of the islanders. This, as the boat drew near to shore, he fastened on his head, among the bushy curls of his crisp black hair, as in a nest.

Orlando had clothed himself in a pair of patched old canvas trousers, and a much worn unattractive cotton shirt.

"Stop now," said the missionary, when the boat was about five or six hundred yards from the beach. "Are you ready?"

"Ready," said Orlando.

"Then come."

He dropped quietly over the side and swam towards the shore. Orlando, following his example, was alongside of him in a few seconds.

Both men were expert and rapid swimmers. The natives watched them in absolute silence and open-mouthed surprise.

A few minutes sufficed to carry the swimmers to the beach.

"Have your rifles handy, lads," said the officer in charge of the boat to his men.

"Stand by," said the captain of the "Furious" to the men at the guns.

But these precautions were unnecessary, for when the swimmers landed and walked up the beach they were seen by the man-of-war's-men to shake hands with the chief of the savages, and, after what appeared to be a brief palaver, to rub noses with him. Then the entire host turned and led the visitors towards the village.

With a heart almost bursting from the combined effects of disappointment, humiliation, and grief, poor Ebony stood at the stern of the man-of-war, his arms crossed upon his brawny chest, and his great eyes swimming in irrepressible tears, a monstrous bead of which would every now and then overflow its banks and roll down his sable cheek.

Suddenly the heart-stricken negro clasped his hands together, bowed his head, and dropped into the sea!

The captain, who had seen him take the plunge, leaped to the stern, and saw him rise from the water, blow like a grampus, and strike out for land with the steady vigour of a gigantic frog.

"Pick him up!" shouted the captain to the boat, which was by that time returning to the ship.

"Ay, ay, sir," was the prompt reply.

The boat was making straight for the negro and he for it. Neither diverged from the straight course.

"Two of you in the bow, there, get ready to haul him in," said the officer.

Two sturdy sailors drew in their oars, got up, and leaned over the bow with outstretched arms. Ebony looked at them, bestowed on them a tremendous grin, and went down with the oily ease of a northern seal!

When next seen he was full a hundred yards astern of the boat, still heading steadily for the shore.

"Let him go!" shouted the captain.

"Ay, ay, sir," replied the obedient officer.

And Ebony went!

Meanwhile our missionary, having told the wondering savages that he brought them good news, was conducted with his companion to Ongoloo's hut. But it was plain that the good news referred to, and even Waroonga himself, had not nearly so great an effect on them as the sight of Orlando, at whom they gazed with an expression half of fear and half of awe which surprised him exceedingly.

"Your story is not new to us," said Ongoloo, addressing the missionary, but gazing at Orlando, "it comes to us like an old song."

"How so?" exclaimed Waroonga, "has any one been here before with the grand and sweet story of Jesus and His love."

The reply of the savage chief was strangely anticipated and checked at that moment by a burst of childish voices singing one of the beautiful hymns with which the inhabitants of Ratinga had long been familiar. As the voices swelled in a chorus, which distance softened into fairy-like strains, the missionary and his companion sat entranced and bewildered, while the natives looked pleased, and appeared to enjoy their perplexity.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse