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The Wonder Island Boys: Treasures of the Island
by Roger Thompson Finlay
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When John stopped, the curious figure, who was designated as the Chief, moved forward toward John without a bit of hesitation, and the boys were simply dumbfounded at his singular appearance, and at the gait he assumed.

A word picture of him would not be amiss. He was a hunchback, with an extraordinary lump on his back, the arms much too long for his body, and crooked, distorted legs. The head, however, was massive, and covered with a heavy beard, which seemed to grow close up to the eyes, giving him a fierce appearance, because his head was covered with a thick coating of long gray, or sandy hair, that swung around the darker beard, as he shambled along.

As he neared John his bright and staring eyes were the first thing noticed. When he came across the intervening space, his face was stern, and unforbidding, but as he neared John it relaxed, and he began to smile.

John stepped forward, and extended his hand. "I am glad to meet you," said John.

The man looked at John for a moment, and then tried to mumble something, that the boys could not understand. After a few attempts he fairly shrieked out: "How are you?"

This was certainly a startling thing, because the voice and the intonation were perfect. John opened his jacket and brought out a miniature American flag, which was unrolled, and the moment the strange being caught sight of it he seized it and pressing it to his lips, kissed it fervently.

"I am an American," he finally struggled to utter. "I am a white man, and you are the first white man I have seen for fifty years. You are welcome to our home and village."

The boys could not credit their senses. How did this poor specimen of the white race become the powerful Chief of a tribe of savage cannibals?

John looked at him for a moment in astonishment, as he asked: "How long have you been Chief of the people here?"

"About forty-five years. They are good people too."

"We heard you were cannibals," remarked John.

For a moment he scowled, and then his face brightened up. "Yes; I know my neighbors to the south have always believed that to be so, but they have heard such tales from their witch doctors, such as we used to have, but it is not true."

"You mean the Korinos?"

"Yes, those who left you two days ago, and have come to me for protection," and he smiled as he said this.

"I tried to get them, but they eluded us," added John, by way of information.

"You must pardon me, but it is still a little difficult for me to form sentences. It is so long since I have talked to any one in my native tongue. But I am impolite. Bring your people into the village, and let us entertain you. I do so want to hear about the great world and what it is now like."

The Chief turned to his people and told them that the White Chief was from his own tribe, and that he came from a far-away country, on a visit to him, and that they must treat the people as his own.

Nothing more was needed to make them welcome. George suggested to John that Stut on the Pioneer should be notified, but before they had time to carry out the order a number of the villagers came rushing through the village and sought out the Chief.

The latter turned to John and said: "My people tell me that there is a large ship here."

"It is the vessel we came in," answered John, "and we were about to send a messenger to tell them to anchor near the village."

"I am so happy to know this," said the Chief. "I want to see the ship, because it is the first time that any one has stopped at our shores. Some years ago we found some strange things that floated ashore from a wrecked vessel, and I want to show them to you, because I cannot understand what some of the things could be used for."

They were led through the principal street of the town. It was clean and well kept; the huts were far better than those in the village they had left, and the natives were, apparently, happy and contented.

As they marched along George was the first to notice a tall individual, who, with several others, were edging away from the visitors.

"There they are!" he cried out. John turned to inquire, when Harry commenced laughing, as he added: "Here are the Korinos, John!"

The latter looked in the direction indicated, and laughed when he saw their discomfiture. The Chief was hurriedly informed of the situation, and he laughed heartily, as he ordered one of his men to bring in the fugitives.

They were ushered in, and Uraso told them that they were friends and not enemies, and that the White Chief tried to secure them so that their own Chief would not harm them. It was a great relief, unquestionably, and their actions showed it. John then told them, that he wanted to have a talk with them, and that he would assure them of their safety.



CHAPTER XI

THE HUNCHBACK CHIEF

The White Chief's house was built on a plan which was a vast improvement over anything found on the two islands. True, it was nothing but an assemblage of rooms, which surrounded an open court. The furnishings were crude, but it was evident that all the articles were such as had been taken from the wreckages on the shore.

Goods not native made, were noticed, and even a photograph, on a tin plate, like the old style daguerreotypes, was observed by Harry. Three chairs, one with a broken rocker, formed part of the furnishings in the court. In one corner was a mass of articles, the case of a ship's chronometer, the horn of a phonograph, some tin tubes of different lengths, and other odds and ends, which could not be recognized.

"I am anxious to hear your story," said John. "If you have no objection we should be glad to have you relate it."

"It will give me pleasure to tell of my experiences, although it may not interest you; but before doing so you must partake of food, because I know what it means to travel through our country. Besides I have ordered it prepared, and it is now ready."

]

"These two men I have with me," said John, pointing to Uraso and Muro, "are Chiefs of two powerful tribes, who live on a neighboring island, and they are real friends I found there when these two boys and I were shipwrecked there several years ago."

"I am, indeed, glad to welcome them. I see that they have adopted the white man's clothing."

"Yes; and their people who are wonderfully interesting are engaged in farming, and manufacturing."

Then John told him briefly the history of their experiences, and how the people on Wonder Island were working out their salvation.

John's tale impressed him most forcefully. "You have made good use of your talents. Unfortunately, for me, and for the natives here, I was not able wholly to bring out the people from their low condition, as you will be able to understand more fully when the story is told." He said this sorrowfully, and with apparent regret.

After the meal, he continued his narrative: "I was a poor boy, a native of the State of Massachusetts, and was bound to a whaler as a helper, when less than fifteen years of age. It was a hard life, as you may know. I had no education, and I learned the life of misery and sorrow when I should have been at school.

"But during that and the second year I became hardened, and my unfortunate physical condition made me the butt of my companions, and one day, in a fit of resentment, I struck down one of my tormentors, while in the harbor of Bedford, after which I escaped and made my way to Boston.

"There, the next day, I found employment on an outgoing ship, that was in the China service, and two days later, I was gratified to learn that it would sail that night. I had a much easier berth, and now I found that among those men I was considered better than a mere brute, and I became acquainted with a young man who taught me to read.

"This was such a delight to me that I could hardly wait until my daily duties were over, before the books were brought out, and by the time we put into Shanghai, I could read and write, as well as perform many examples in arithmetic.

"I knew nothing of geography, or of any other of the necessary parts of education. Our outward trip was unexciting, but on the first return trip, we met one of the dangerous monsoons, and the ship was wrecked. One of my shipmates was the sole occupant of a spar, and he aided me in my attempt to grasp it, and together we floated about the great sea for several days, without a thing to eat or to drink, until I lost consciousness, and knew no more until I opened my eyes, and saw the vilest looking savages standing about me.

"When I saw them they appeared like a horrid dream. I had read in one of the books about the terrible visions that men dream of, and when they tried to make me eat something, I began to feel that it was a reality.

"But the men were naked, and I saw the bones of human beings about me, and everything had the appearance of a feast. I soon saw that they were cannibals, and as I had heard of their practices their faces grew more and more repulsive to me.

"I recovered slowly, and now began the terror in my mind. Each day I expected would be my last. But day after day passed by, and I soon began to become reconciled to my fate. An incident soon changed the entire aspect of affairs for me. I had been treated with the utmost deference. I was furnished with an abundance of food, but I had previously learned that it was the custom of those people to fatten their victims, and this was not welcome knowledge.

"I became desperate. One day, while they were bringing me the finest roasts, I rebelled, and taking a club, scattered the food, swinging the club at them and shouting defiance, because human nature began to rebel, and I could not stand the suspense any longer.

"To my surprise they scattered, and fell on their faces. Among them was the head man, whom I had always regarded as the Chief. Finally he came up timidly, and fell on his knees before me. I was so astounded that I did not know what to do. I went to the Chief and raised him up, because I was in a quandary, and could not understand them.

"This seemed to reassure him, and he told me to follow him. I had been here long enough to understand most of their jargon. I was surprised when he led me to his own hut, and brought out his daughter, who knelt before me. Then I began to understand. I was no longer the expected victim, but the prospective son-in-law. This was better than anticipating death daily.

"I accepted the situation. The daughter became my wife. It was she who welcomed you when we came in. When her father died I became Chief, but long before his death, I controlled the people, as I knew so much more, and had superior wisdom, judged by their standard, that they obeyed me in everything.

"But much as I abhorred, and tried to prevent it, as I did on many occasions, they practiced their rites, and had their Korinos, the real offenders, who taught them the necessity of sacrifices.

"But when I became Chief, I sternly refused to permit them to kill their captives, and cannibalism was practiced only by stealth. I succeeded in stamping out the practice only by putting the Korinos to death, and in shutting up their caves."

The boys, as well as John were riveted to their seats during this entire recital, until he referred to the caves, when they relaxed, and indicated their pleasure and anxiety. That meant still further quests in that direction.

The Chief noticed their movement, and continued: "I am tiring you, but permit me to add only a few things. I have endeavored to better the condition of these people, and have succeeded. To the south of us was a powerful tribe. My first care was to make ourselves secure against them.

"Like my people they, too, were cannibals. They were ruled over by a Chief who was cruel, and whenever any of their people escaped I took them in and cared for them, and there are now many of those living with us who could not be induced to go back. For more than forty years no one has been killed and eaten by my people."

"Your work here is certainly most commendable. There is nothing which needs apology. Under the circumstances you have done all that was possible, and to the best of your ability. No one can do more," was John's timely observation.

"I thank you for the compliment. I owe everything to the few books which my comrade taught me to read. When I left the United States my heart was bitter toward all mankind. I could not see why I should have been treated in such a harsh manner among civilized people, but when I landed here and saw how much worse the conditions were, I began to reflect. It would have been an easy and a natural thing for me to be brutal to others, as they had been to me."

"You have shown a noble spirit, and I shall try to help you in caring for your people. Our ship is here, and we have some things for you, as soon as they can be unloaded," rejoined John.

During the afternoon communication was established with the Pioneer, and the natives were willing helpers in bringing up the packages, but it was too late to distribute them. Before leaving John said: "You have not told us your name."

"I was christened Ephraim Wilmar."

John seized him by the hands, as he said: "And was your father's name William?"

"Yes," said Ephraim, as his great eyes grew still bigger. "Did you know him?"

"I knew him well; he died about thirty years ago. He was my father's friend."

This information established a bond of friendship between the two.

"I have forgotten to take note of time, and I may be out a year or two in my reckoning," continued Ephraim, "but according to the best information I have this must be the year 1911."

"You are short one year; it is now 1912."

"Then let me see! We sailed from China in January, 1860; and during that same month the ship went down. From that time to the present I have no idea of what has taken place."

"Then you know nothing of the four years' war between the North and the South?"

"No; I remember there was some trouble about the slaves, or something of that sort before we left China."

"But there are no more slaves in the United States."

"You surprise me! Then they were freed by the war?"

"Yes; and Cuba is also free, and is now a republic, and the Hawaiian Islands belong to the United States, as also do the Philippines."

"That does not seem possible. Why, if I remember correctly Cuba and the Philippines belonged to Spain. When did the United States purchase them?"

"We had a war with Spain, and we took the Spanish possessions, as well as Porto Rico. Manila was captured three days after war was declared."

"Three days after war was declared! How could our fleet, which must have been half the way around the world, get the news that war had been declared in that time?"

"The commander of our fleet at Hongkong, was notified by telegraph."

"How could that be done without a telegraph line? Over what part of the earth are the lines now running?"

"Everywhere; but there are many running under the sea and are called cable lines."

Ephraim looked at John for a moment, as though he doubted the meaning of the words just uttered, and then slowly inquired: "That must be a remarkable thing. I do not see how it would be possible to string wires under the sea."

"They are encased in water tight coverings, and some of the lines are four thousand miles long. But nowadays we do not need wires for telegraphing."

The deformed figure arose, and appeared to be agitated, as he said: "Do you mean to say that messages can be sent without wires?"

"Stations for that purpose are now in operation all over the world."

"That is as improbable to me as though you should tell me that it would be possible to talk over a wire," he answered.

"But we do talk over wires, and it is possible to talk over distances hundreds of miles apart, without wires even."

He glanced at those about him, and shook his head. He appeared to hesitate about asking any more questions, and after shambling back and forth a dozen times, or more, he stopped at the pile of debris, and picked up a thick disk-like piece of metal, to one side of which was a short broken tube attached.

"I have examined this many, many times. Perhaps you can tell me what it is?" and he handed it to John.

"This is the disk of a phonograph."

"What is that?"

"An instrument which will reproduce the human voice, or any noise, or the sound of music."

"I do not understand what you mean. If I talk to it will it talk back to me?"

"No; it is so arranged that one form of the instrument receives the sound of your voice, and impresses it on material in the form of a cylinder, or a disk, and if this cylinder or disk is put into another instrument, this little apparatus, which I hold in my hand will speak the same words you uttered."



"Then electricity must be a wonderful thing, to be able to be used by men to talk to each other all over the world, and even to preserve what they say."

"But the phonograph is not an electrical apparatus. The disk, here, with the little stylus, or pointer on it, vibrates and gives forth the sound."

"All this is most marvelous, and I would like to see some of those wonderful things," he exclaimed.

"If you will come to the ship we will show you many of the things that electricity does, as we have a phonograph there, and we have a search light that operates by electricity, and which enables us to see many miles," added Harry.

"Yes; I must see your ship, and I am ready to accompany you any time, and I want my people to see those things, as well."

"But there are many other things that we now do with electricity. All street railways are now operated by it; many boats are run by that power; cooking is done by it, and its uses extend into almost everything that man touches," remarked John.

"If this one branch of knowledge has improved so wonderfully within a space of fifty years, the progress in other directions must be very wonderful, indeed," he responded. "But you have told me so much, and I hardly know how I can grasp its meaning. I suppose things here in this part of the world must appear very crude to you?"



CHAPTER XII

THE CHIEF'S FAMILY

Ephraim's wife was not crude and uncouth, like most of the native women. It was evident from the care which she observed in the domestic arrangements, that Ephraim had a hand in shaping her course.

The food was served with considerable care, and, in some degree with the formality observed in civilized homes. John was a careful observer of customs, and he was surprised to note that all the natives patterned after the habits established by their Chief.

"I tried," said Ephraim, in answer to John's questions, "to better their condition, and to teach them how to prepare and eat their food, and we made vessels of pottery, which you will notice are found everywhere. They understood the art of weaving, in a very primitive way, which I also tried to improve. Only on three occasions did we take any toll from the sea, when the wreckage came ashore.

"Of the articles which were thus recovered, I took only a fair share, and the others were impartially distributed to the people."

"Did you ever have any trouble with the natives, or did they ever dispute your authority?" asked John.

"Only once, many years ago. A man claiming to be the son of the Chief, gathered together a number of adherents, but my people rose against them, and killed the leaders, which I very much regretted. When I remonstrated with them for the severity of their course, they justified it by saying that I had been kind to them, and had made them better, and it was the very thing that taught me to feel that human beings, although savages, understand kind treatment. It made me a convert in my feelings against some of the white men who had treated me with such severity."

During the day, after the packages had been removed from the ship the articles were taken from the packages and arranged in Ephraim's home. Articles of clothing were distributed to the Chief's family, and what pleased him more than anything else, were the cooking utensils, all of the newest ware, and in great variety, some of which were curiosities to him.

He had four children, the eldest a young man about thirty years of age, who had a family of three children; the next, a strong, active native, about twenty-five; a medium-sized young woman, almost white, of about twenty, and the youngest a lad of seventeen, who was quickly attracted to the boys.

These, together with their mother, undertook the task of distributing the gifts to the people. Articles of adornment were, of course, the most enticing to the natives, and John had anticipated this feeling in the selection of the gifts.

After the feast of the good things, John broached the subject next to his heart, and that was to explore the island, and particularly the caves. In referring to the matter he said:

"I recognize that whatever treasure we may find in them belongs to you, and you are entitled to them."

"But they are of no use to us," he responded. "I am not wise in the ways of the world, but I am sure that great wealth, in the way of gold and silver, would not make my people happy. I agree with you that employment, and trying to teach people to help and care for each other, is much more likely to make them happy, and besides, the treasures which you refer to could not be used by them to any advantage."

"You have spoken wisely," answered John, "nevertheless, we have no need of the riches which we may find. My search is for a different sort of wealth."

"I do not understand what could be of more advantage, or repay you better than gold and silver."

"It is believed that many of these places contain the records of people who have lived here thousands of years ago. All over the world hidden treasures of that kind have been found, some of them which go to show that men lived on the earth hundreds of thousands of years."

"You are much wiser than I am, and understand the reason for making such a search, but I do not see why that would be of any use to know those things."

"A great man once said, 'Know thyself,' and another remarked, that the 'proper study of mankind is man.' To ascertain the origin of humanity, how man lived and acted, what were his motives and desires, his beliefs and his aspirations, and to know how he has improved, are interesting questions to me."

He mused at this statement for a long time, and then quietly said: "That may be so; it may make us greater and better men, and it may be gratifying to have that knowledge, but I have now arrived at that time of life where things appear differently from the way I used to look at them. Every year I begin to think less of myself, and more of those about me.

"When my children grew up about me they were the only ones I cared for. They were the only things in the world that interested me. When my grandchildren came they were new inspirations to me, and my views toward others changed, and made me feel better inclined."

"That shows, does it not, that as we grow older, and as the world increases in age, everything improves, our minds, the advancements in the arts, in the sciences, in inventions, and generally in the improvement of the human race? It is a part of the whole education which man in his improved condition is trying to instill, and it is human knowledge, and the desire to learn everything, that gives a stimulus to us."

There was no more welcome intelligence than the news that on the following day they would visit the first cave in the northern hills, and that Ephraim would accompany them. The people in the village were delighted at the news that the ancient caves of the Korinos would be opened.

The trip took on the nature of a pleasure expedition. Even the family of the Chief were insistent on going along, and the boys quickly became the friends of Camma, the youngest son of Ephraim, and insisted that he should go back with them to Wonder Island on a visit when they returned.

Ephraim assented to this most heartily. They showed Camma the workings of the revolver, and presented him with one of them. Then, when they went to the ship, he was presented with a camera, and an outfit for developing.

When the boys brought back a small hand sewing machine, and gave it to Mene, young Camma's sister, the joy in that family was beyond all bounds. Ephraim stood before the little machine, as though paralyzed. It acted like a human being, only more perfectly, as its work showed.

But now for the caves. Sufficient food was taken along to make the trip a comfortable one. The village in which Ephraim lived was nearly a half day's journey from the original site of the town that was occupied by the old Chief. He had founded the new site, near the sea, because of the exposed condition of the old village, and also on account of the unsanitary condition of the surroundings.

The caves were near the old town, and it required nearly five hours to make the trip, but it was enjoyable, every step of the way. The three boys engaged in hunting, on the way, because the new toy in Camma's hands had to be put to use. Ephraim put no restraint on the jolly pranks of the boys. John was careful to tell him that Harry and George were not wild or reckless, and that Camma would find them healthy comrades.

Shortly after noon, they were told that the first of the caves would be found in the hill toward the right, and that the work of opening the principal one would not be undertaken until after luncheon.

You may be sure that the boys made a hurried meal, and without waiting for the workers to come up, they grasped their weapons, and were soon half way up the hill, their guide, an old man, who knew the location of the caves, being with them, to show the way.

The old man pointed to the rocky wall, and indicated where the opening was. Ephraim had closed it effectually, for they saw the evidence of the wall before them, where its comparatively smooth surface showed the difference between the natural wall and the rough rocks elsewhere.

"Where is the other cave?" asked George.

"It is on the other side," he answered.

"And is that also closed?"

"Yes; just as you see this."

When the workers came up John directed them how to commence at the top, and take out a rock at a time. He smiled as he saw how well the work had been done, and Ephraim was gratified at the praise bestowed.

"You certainly made a first class job of ashlar work," remarked John.

"What is that?" asked Ephraim, in surprise.

"It is just this kind of masonry where the courses are irregular, and built up from the rock just as it came from the quarry."

"I was not aware that there were different kinds of masonry. I thought that masonry was merely the placing together of stones so they would bind each other, and that is the way I had them do it."

"Masonry is one of the oldest of the arts. It is really the foundation stone of architecture. The work you have done here happens to be of rock that has a rather smooth outline, that is, the stone broke off smooth, in the upper layers, but the large pieces near the bottom represent what is called rubble work."



"This is very interesting to know," remarked Ephraim.

]

"I might add," continued John, "that when the courses are not regular it is called broken ashlar; when stones of less than one foot in breadth are used it is called small ashlar; if the wall is backed by rubble, or inferior work it is called bastard ashlar. Then every kind of surface has a particular name, like the random-tooled, where the tool marks are shown in all directions; rusticated when only the joined edges are trimmed up; prison-rustic when it is pitted with deep holes; herring-bone when it is tooled in rows of opposite directions to each other; and nigged when finished up with a pointed hammer."

Within an hour the stones were removed and put aside, and then Ephraim was treated to another surprise when he was made acquainted with the little electric flash lights which John exhibited. With these they entered the cave.

All savage tribes have some sort of animals, as pets, and dogs are the most frequent. This was the case among these people. The dogs were with the party, and, as usual, ahead of the procession. Two of them went ahead on a scouting expedition, while John and the boys, with their flash lights followed.

After they had gone, probably two hundred feet, there was a slight descent apparent in the floor of the cave, and ahead were the two dogs stretched out, lifeless.

George ran ahead, as he noticed them, and John shouted out: "Do not touch them!"

He stopped, and looked back, and then slowly walked up to the animals. John requested the party to halt, and he went forward, and put his foot on one of the dogs. "We must go back," he said.

"Are they dead?" asked Harry, as he came forward.

"Why not take them out and see what the trouble is?" inquired Harry.

"No need for that," responded John. "I know what the trouble is."

"Is there any danger in the cave?"

"Yes."

Ephraim and the natives were now alarmed. It will be remembered that the universal belief among the natives is, that to go into these caves unbidden, means death. True, John had shown the fallacy of this on several occasions, but here was positive evidence that death had visited the dogs, and this might be the fate of those who attempted to go on.

But the most alarming thing was the fact that John himself was the one who said there was danger, and that they must return. He did not venture to make an explanation until they were out of the cave.

"There is carbonic acid in the cave, and as it is a deadly poison we cannot go in until it is removed."

"That seems singular," responded George. "I went in as far as the dogs, and it didn't affect me."

"But you did not reach down to touch the dog."

"I saw you touch the dog, and it didn't seem to affect you."

"I touched it with my feet and not with my hands."

"I cannot see what difference that makes."

"If you had touched the dog with your hands it would have brought your face down near the floor of the cave, and the gas is at the bottom of the cave only."

"Why should it be there and not all over?"

"Because it is much heavier than the air we breathe, and remains at the bottom, just like water. If you recall, this part is lower than the corridor through which we came, so that it could not run out. I have always observed that in all the other caves the floors within were higher than the entrance, and in such cases there is no liability of getting poisonous gases."

"But how are we to make the investigation, under the circumstances?"

"We must remove the gas."

"How can that be done?"

"Several ways are open; one would be to tap the floor and drain the gas out, which would be difficult to do with our resources. Another plan would be to force in a lot of air, so as to render the gas inert, or we might put in enough air to make it burn, and consume it."

"Why, will it burn?"

"Most assuredly; all it needs is enough air; but I am afraid this plan will not be a very safe one for us. If the floor of the cave is not at any place more than four feet below the entrance, we can go about safely, but in such case we must move about with the utmost caution, so as not to get too much of the gas in the system."

"I am afraid it will be a difficult thing to go in unless we know absolutely where the low places are, or unless we survey the bottom of the cave," said George, brightening up at the idea.

"What would happen if we threw a light into the bottom where the gas is?"

"It would be extinguished instantly," remarked John.

"That gives me an idea," asserted George. "Why not take a lamp, and carry it ahead of us, about three feet from the ground, and whenever that goes out, it will show there is gas there?"

"That is a good observation; but I am afraid it would be very dangerous to do that."

"Dangerous? I thought you said that the carbonic gas would put out the light?"

"So it will; but if three parts of air should be added to one part of the gas it will make an explosive mixture,—that is, a mixture which will burn, as there has been enough oxygen added to support combustion."

"In what way could enough air mix with the gas to make it burn?"

"By stirring it; the movement of the body might make an admixture just above the surface of the gas, which would burn, and that might mean a catastrophe for us."

"Then we are certainly stopped at this cave."

"Not by any means," rejoined John, and he saw the boys' faces smiling again. "We must make a safety lamp."

"Do you mean a lamp that will not explode the gas, although it has enough oxygen to 'support combustion,' as you say?"

"Exactly. Have you ever heard of the Humphrey Davy lamp? Well, that was invented to meet the very condition found here."

"Tell us about it."

"In 1816 Davy discovered that a flame would not pass through a fine wire gauze, while conducting some experiments. It occurred to him that use could be made of this discovery by surrounding the flame of a lamp with gauze, and the well-known lamp was built on that principle."

"What I am curious to know is, that if it will not burn the gas, will it go out if it gets down in the gas?"



"Yes; because enough air, or oxygen must go through the mesh to support combustion of the flame itself. If it does not get enough it is smothered."

"Then why not make a lamp of that kind?"

"But where can we get enough gauze to make a cylinder big enough to go around a lamp?"

John laughed at the serious predicament, which expressed itself in the faces of the boys. "That is true," he said; "but if we can get a small piece of tin, we can punch it full of fine holes, and probably make that answer."

"We haven't anything in the way of tin large enough to go around a lamp, but here is a round piece, about three inches in diameter."

"That will answer; punch that as full of holes as possible, and be sure they are very small."

"What shall we use for a lamp?"

John was already looking around, and soon spied a tree in the distance that looked like a small pine, and beneath that he found some cones, a dozen of which were picked up.



"That is a pine tree, isn't it?"

"Yes; these cones will burn for some time."

"But they will not make much of a light."

"No; but we are not after a light, but they will do for testing purposes."

The accompanying sketches show how it was made. A plate was used for a base, on which the burning cone was placed. A half dozen twigs were then provided, and these were bent U-shaped, after being secured together at their middle portions, and the lower ends held by a cord, and this was then inverted, and a piece of thin cotton goods, of a single thickness, only was wound around the little frame, leaving an opening at the top, which was covered by the perforated tin disk.

"There, now we have an article which provides for the admission of air, through the cotton goods, and the product of combustion can escape through the perforated opening at the top."

The boys danced around with joy, when the cone was ignited, and a bale, which was simply a string, attached, so it could be carried conveniently.

This time they went on, far beyond the place where the poor dogs lay. Occasionally John would lower the device, and when it descended too far, the knot would begin to smoke, and this was explained by the statement that as it went into the carbon gas, less and less air was supplied, which caused the flame to die down.

The cave was similar to the others, being white from the lime deposits, but in all their wanderings they had never seen anything to compare with the beautiful hangings noted in the interior, particularly in the chambers, which they passed, one after the other, four of which were especially admired.

Ephraim was intensely interested. He never had taken the trouble to visit any of these caverns, and was not disposed to take much stock in the many tales that had been related about the weird interiors.

"I can now understand," he said, "why the natives possessed such a fear of them. I have faced many perilous conditions, during my life here, but I confess if I had any faith in the superstitions about these places, they would have paralyzed me, now that I have seen their ghostly appearance."

They suddenly emerged into a spacious chamber, so large that their voices seemed to reverberate. The flash lights were directed to all sides and to the immense vaulted and icicle-covered ceiling. John stood the lamp on the ground. It was free from the dangerous gas. The floor was fairly level, but it was covered with the broken hangings from the ceiling.

"I see an outlet, directly opposite the one we came by," exclaimed George.

The party hastened across the intervening space. They were traveling along the greatest length of the chamber. Midway between the two openings were two other side openings, and John stopped and exclaimed: "It is true! We have found it!"

The boys had never seen John so agitated before. They pressed around and requested an explanation, but he fumbled in his pocket, and soon drew forth a carefully wrapped piece of brown paper.

"This is parchment. It contains the sketch of the cave that has been the object of my search. I believe we are the only white people who have ever been privileged to enter it since the chart was made three centuries ago."

Ephraim, as well as the boys, glanced about them. What was there to excite him? Other caves had the same sort of formation, the chambers and the openings: and while they wondered John drew a compass from his pocket, and after holding it for a while, continued:

"This chamber runs north and south as you see. We entered on the south side. It had two other outlets, one to the east, the other to the west."

"Then it is the cross-shaped cave!" almost shouted George.

"Yes," answered John, as he fixed his eyes on the boys. "In the year 1620, a Spanish navigator found a cave, of which this is a description, and within it were found the remains of hundreds of people."



CHAPTER XIII

THE CHART AND THE CAVES

John pored over the map, without going any further. Evidently something was passing in his mind, for occasionally his eyes left the paper and he looked about, as though undecided.

"Do you know any more about what they found?"

"Yes; there are many incomplete portions belonging to the history, but it may be summed up by the statement, that they also found an immense amount of treasure, much of it in the form of solid gold. The adventurers were wild with joy at the discovery, and took steps to remove it.

"Before proceeding far they found carvings and inscriptions, the latter of which were unintelligible to them, but they were very curious, judging from the few sketches which were made. But like many men of their class they began to quarrel over the treasure, and fought each other to the death."

"That was just like the fellows who lived in the cave at the Cataract," suggested Harry.

"No doubt that was over the treasure, too, there, as well as here. Four of the men escaped, only to be chased by savages, and after finally reaching their vessel were almost wrecked because they did not have enough properly to man the ship.

"After reaching civilization, they engaged a number of men, and returned. Some went in, among them two of the original discoverers. They did not return for some days, and another party went in, but they did not return.

"Only one of the four remained, and when their companions did not return, the others took fright and returned to the vessel. Juan Guiterez was the name of the sole survivor of the first expedition. The adventurers who accompanied him declared that he and his company had lured them to the strange isle, in order to destroy them, and on the return to the first Spanish port, he was cast into prison, and remained a prisoner for nearly twenty years.

"This chart, or what remains of it, or from which this copy was made was written by him while in prison, but the singular thing is, that while he was explicit in many things, he did not leave a clue as to the location of the island. Many of the things on it, as you see, are very faint."

The boys now examined the chart for the first time. Harry started back in surprise, as he pointed to the chart, and looked up at John. "Why, there are the same marks we found on the skull at Wonder Island!" he exclaimed in great excitement.

"Quite true! and do you now wonder why I have been so much interested to find the location? Chance has thrown this opportunity our way. It is true we might be mistaken, but the description fits."

It would require pages to tell about what they found in the recesses of the cavern. Hundreds and hundreds of skeletons were discovered, and the most curious tablets and carvings in hieroglyphics were scattered in the adjoining chamber.

Peculiarly-formed tools, implements of warfare, also of metal, small slabs of uniform size, and with characters on both sides, which might have been the historical books of the singular people who lived here ages ago, were in profusion not only in the large chamber, but in the most unexpected places.

To John it was a vast storehouse of archeological wealth. To the boys it was much more. There were still some things that John did not explain, and which they wanted to know.

"Do you believe that the different parties went in and never came back again?" asked George.

"I have no doubt but the account was true."

"What became of them?"

"They probably met the fate that almost overtook us when we first went in," was the answer.

The parchment was correct in the main details, as to the records within the cave, but there were no treasure, nor could any trace be found of them. They spent several days in the search, but to no avail. The boys were not much disappointed, it may be said, but they were gratified to know that John had accomplished the one desire of his life, and they knew, also, that it would be a source of great joy to the Professor.

It was found that the cave entrance at the opposite side of the hill was the northern outlet to the same set of caverns, and Ephraim did not know of any others that existed in the northern part, so that they did not feel it to be desirable to take up more time in this direction.

They had now found two isles, besides their own loved island, and when they assembled that evening in the cabin of the Pioneer, they had a most earnest conversation as to the results of their latest enterprise.

"We have sought the treasures of the islands, and what have we accomplished?" asked George.

"What have we accomplished? I have been thinking that to find the natives here, and to be able to help them, is a pretty big thing in itself," answered Harry.

"That is true," he responded, "and the same thing might be said, also, about the wonderful products of the islands; they are certainly worth coming here for. I wonder what Blakely would say if he knew of all there is here, and the knack shown by the natives to handle the things?"

"I am in sympathy with your views," said John. "Treasures, like gold and silver, are worth seeking for, but when you find that the earth is inviting people to till it, and there are people who, through ignorance, do not know how the earth can be utilized, it is a great privilege to be able to help them, and the recollection of what you have done will be the greatest treasure not only to you but to the poor people that have been benefited."

"I think Ephraim's story is a wonderful one," said George, "but he could not go far. His education was limited, but see what he has done with the little he knew."

"It was curious, however, that the cannibals had fear for him. I cannot understand that," rejoined Harry.

"Savages are children only. They have the capacities of full grown men, but have never had the opportunities. Their superstitions lead them into singular forms of reasonings. With them the deformed are objects of curiosity, and generally, of reverence. Those mentally deficient are regarded as possessing a superior spirit."

"I remember that the Professor told us so on one occasion, but it seems to be singular that they should get that view. How do you account for it?"

"That is a trait, or, I may say, a belief which is not at, all uncommon among civilized people. Throughout Europe many men, who lived years ago, are reverenced as Saints, and, who, from the accounts given of them, were demented. Why, it is even claimed that there is but one step from the abnormally gifted to the insane person."

"Is that really so regarded among learned men?"

"It has been the subject of many remarkable books which have been written to show that genius and insanity are closely allied. Take, for instance, the case of Blind Tom, an ignorant negro, who, although he could not read, nor did he know a single note of music, was able, nevertheless, to play the most marvelous music, and repeat, at a single hearing, an entire musical score."

"But such talents, as that, I have heard, is only in some particular direction. He was not able to do anything else," suggested George.

"Quite true. But it is so with what is called genius. I once knew a learned minister, a leading professor in one of the colleges, who was absolutely devoid of any other phase of education, except theology. He could not master the first rudiments of mathematics, and knew no more of astronomy than a ten year old boy, but he was supreme in his particular branch of knowledge."

But the great question with John and the boys was the future. Two islands had been discovered. Some of the mysteries of the past three years had been solved, but others still remained; in fact, those which interested them the most, were still shrouded in a veil through which there was only the slightest glimpse.

John felt that their first duty would be thoroughly to explore the island to the north and west of the village, and thus enable them to make a complete report when they returned to Wonder Island, and this course was finally decided upon.

The spirit of John had now entered Ephraim. He had fully agreed to accompany them in the Pioneer, and learn of their great work on that island. He said that it was his duty to his children and to the natives who had stood by him so nobly, to provide for their future welfare.

He was most active in arousing the people to an understanding of the mission of John and the boys. Within a day, all preparations were made for the journey through the island, and Ephraim was with them in order to learn all that might be necessary, so that when he returned he could advise the people.

For more than a week they tramped through the attractive portions of the land, and then the day was set for departure.

"I have been thinking of making a trip to your friends in the South," said John, as they were dining at Ephraim's home, the day before the date of sailing.

"That would please me more than anything else," replied Ephraim. "It occurs to me that is the first step toward peace and prosperity on the island."

"Then we shall sail to their village, and from that place go to Venture Island, where we had our first adventures, stopping, on the way at Hutoton, where they have a criminal colony."

"What is that?" inquired Ephraim. "A criminal colony?"

"Yes," said John. "On the large island to the south, which we discovered before we came here we found a singular condition of things. Near the southern end of the island we came into contact with a tribe ruled over by a Chief, named Beralsea, a powerful man; in fact, there is no law there except the will of the Chief."

The boys were now laughing immoderately, and Ephraim was moved to smiles at their mirth. "It must have been very amusing, I have no doubt," he said.

"We were thinking of the jolly time we had when Sutoto married the Chief's daughter," said George.

"We shall tell you all about it on our way there," added Harry.

"I was about to say," continued John, as he also smiled at the reminiscence, that his views on theft were most peculiar. He did not regard it as a crime if the people stole from each other. But if they attempted to steal from him, or tried to deceive him, it was such a great crime, that the unfortunates were banished to a place called Hutoton, which, as he stated, meant the Place of Death.

"We were informed that it was a terrible place, and when a man was sentenced it also meant a like sentence to all of his family, and that no one was ever known to return from that horrible prison home."

"I have heard, but only vaguely, that there was such a place, but had no idea that it was so near to us. But did you verify the character of the place?"

"We went there, and instead of finding a barren and uninviting spot, and misery and want, we saw a lovely village, and people so much more advanced than those in the village ruled over by the Chief, that we were amazed.

"The ruler there treated us handsomely, and had even taken care in the most kindly manner, of a white man who had escaped the rigors of the sea some years before, and who was demented, or incapable, through paralysis, of recognizing those around him."

Ephraim started as John said this. "A white man, did you say? How old was he? Where is he now?"

"We sent him to Wonder Island where the Professor has taken care of him, no doubt," Harry interjected.

"You appear agitated. Have I recalled anything that might give a clue to his identity?" queried John.

"No; it could not be possible! It was merely a passing fancy. Strange, how things sometimes will affect you. No, I do not know that I can add anything to your knowledge concerning him." The subject was not again alluded to during that day.

Ephraim and his family were taken aboard the Pioneer. Everything was marvelous to them. The cabin with its complete furnishings, the musical instruments, the phonograph, the piano player, which acted like a wizard, because it gave out the sweet musical tones, as though it were a living thing, and then a moving picture screen, which was the last thing the boys installed before they left New York, made up a series of entertainments for the family that had no end of marvels for them.

"To think of it; for fifty-two years this is the first time I have paced the decks of a vessel. It is the happiest day of my life." And Ephraim could scarcely keep the tears from coming. Happiness shows itself in that way with the strongest, not with the weakest. The strong man can stand the miseries and the sufferings much better and with a braver front than the weak; but excessive joy will break him down so that he manifests it more easily.

John saw his emotion and sympathized with him. Taking him by the arm he led him to the cabin forward, and as they entered the cozy library, he pointed to the books. This was the end of Ephraim for that day.

Without leaving the room he moved from case to case and scanned shelf after shelf, and when John, on one occasion came in, he heard him mutter: "Is there another place like this on earth?"

Late that evening the Pioneer took down part of its sail as they approached land in the distance.

"We are nearing Hutoton," shouted George.

Stut ordered the whistle to blow, and before the landing was reached the shore was lined with the people. They soon recognized the visitors, and the boats were prepared before the anchor finally dropped.

The entire crew of the Pioneer went ashore, and Ephraim was curious to see the head man, and have a conversation about the manner in which the colony was conducted.

The boys could not understand the change of plans. Why did they not stop at the southern part of the island, and visit the Malosos, who were supposed to be Ephraim's enemies?

It was learned that John and Ephraim, after the vessel started, concluded it would be wiser to visit Hutoton first and get all the information possible from them concerning the time, condition, and circumstances of the casting ashore of the white man found there when John and his party made their visit.

In explanation of their action, it may be well, also, to state that they still had on board of the Pioneer, the white man they had rescued or taken from the stockade in the Malosos village, and that there were certain things in his tale that seemed improbable to John.

The visit to Hutoton might be able to clear up the mystery, and possibly establish the identity of the paralyzed man, and in that event it would, not be necessary to go directly to the Malosos village but await their return from Venture Island before visiting the village.

While the old man was being taken from the vessel, George went to John and inquired: "Did he ever tell you his name?"

"Oh, yes; he says it is Henry D. Retlaw."

All noticed that he stole furtive glances about him as he was being conveyed to the village.

"Were you ever here before?" asked John, as they neared the house of the magistrate.

He shook his head vigorously, and answered "No!" with a vehemence that startled John.



CHAPTER XIV

RESCUE ISLAND

Orders had gone out to prepare to receive the visitors in true Hutoton style, but, in truth, the people did not need any urging. The remembrance of the last visit, when the gifts were so judiciously distributed, was sufficient to assure a generous welcome.

It was out of the question to leave that night, and John felt it to be a duty to cultivate their acquaintance, and confer with the chief magistrate about starting the people at work gathering the native products.

John announced that within a month it was proposed to establish regular sailings between that port and Wonder Island, which would enable them to get supplies and ship their products each week. This intelligence was then imparted to the people, who received it with the greatest enthusiasm.

"One of the objects of the present visit is to take you with us to Wonder Island," said John, addressing the leader, "so that you may learn what we are doing, and come back prepared to instruct your people."

When this information was conveyed to him, he cast down his eyes, and said sorrowfully: "But I am a convict, like the others, and I have been condemned to stay here. If I leave this place I disobey the law of the Chief."

John smiled as he replied: "I have provided for all that. You will meet your Chief Beralsea in Unity, the Capital of Wonder Island. Hutoton is no longer the terrible place that the Chief pictured to us. He told me that your assistance was necessary to him and to the people in the colony."

This information was received in gratitude, and his consent was thus readily obtained.

After a night of feasting, preparations were made for the departure. Retlaw was brought to the place where the paralyzed man was discovered, and the leader Caramo accompanied them.

The moment Caramo saw him he turned to John and said: "I have seen that face before. I am sure he accompanied another man when on one occasion a boat load came ashore a long way to the south of us."

"How long ago was that?"

"Not more than three suns ago."

It must be understood that three suns meant with these people, three years by our reckoning. When Retlaw was examined he denied that he had ever been on the island before, and, of course, there was no way to discredit his statements. After all, Caramo might be mistaken in identifying him, as they were some distance apart at the time the island was supposed to have been visited by Retlaw.

At noon of the following day the Pioneer weighed anchor, and set sail for the southern port of the northern island, there to visit Chief Ta Babeda, of the Malolos.

While they were skimming the shore south of the village, George said: "There is one thing we have neglected. We have had so much to do lately that we haven't found time for it, but there is an opportunity now."

"What is that?" asked Harry.

"We have no name for the island to which we are now going. We might consult Ephraim. It would be hardly fair to impose any sort of name on his country," suggested George, with a good humored laugh.

Ephraim was delighted at the idea. "We must have a name, assuredly, but it never occurred to me before. The natives called it Rescudada; at any rate that is as near as I can recall the pronunciation of the word."

"Why, that is almost like Rescue."

"Why wouldn't that be a good name?" asked Ephraim. "There has been considerable rescue work here, and it is going on all the time."

"That's the name for it!" exclaimed Harry, enthusiastically.

"Suppose we notify General John and Skipper Stut that the Geographical Society has just named the island 'Rescue'?"

This important function was attended to and a note made in the log that the island discovered in south latitude 41 deg. 37' 10", and west longitude 138 deg. 2' 56", by the steamship Pioneer, was formally named Rescue.

Long before the village was reached the great fog horn of the Pioneer commenced to give the signal. The villagers knew what it meant, and the old Chief himself was at the landing place to welcome the visitors.

The boats were manned by the sailors, and the boys, together with John, Ephraim, and Caramo, were in the first boat. When Ta Babeda gazed at Ephraim, he was astounded. John had not informed him of the name of his visitor, but he continued to gaze at him in amazement.

It was evident that the old Chief was impressed with his appearance, so unlike anything he had ever before known in the form of a human being. When they arrived at the Chief's house, John awaited the proper time before making the introductions, and finally said:

"It gives me pleasure to introduce to you, the greatest enemy you have. This is Rumisses, the Cannibal Chief of the Umbolos."

The Chief was startled beyond measure. True, he knew that John and his party had come into contact with his arch enemy, but this was certainly a thrilling way to bring them together.

Ephraim walked forward and seized the Chief by the hand, and then pressed his nose against him. This was, of course, symbolic of friendship.

The Chief unhesitatingly accepted the token, but he could not remove his eyes. Here was the man, so unlike all others, and the impression of superiority, undoubtedly, was also in his mind, but Ephraim quickly relieved him of his reflections, as he said:

"Because I am so unlike you, is not due to any particular knowledge, or favor from the Great Spirit. I am a white man, like the Great Chief here, and was unfortunate to be cast among the natives in the north, and I have tried for many years to prevent the practicing of the sacrifices, and have succeeded."

"But we were told that all the people you captured from us were sacrificed."

"It is not true. They are all living with us in perfect happiness and contentment."

"Then why is it that we have been so much deceived?"

"Because the Korinos have not told you the truth. They did this because they knew no better."

"Yes; the White Chief has told us that they have deceived us, and I believe him. But I learn that my Korinos have gone to you for protection!"

"Yes; and I have shielded them, and they are now on board of the vessel in the harbor."

This information brought back all the native resentment of the old Chief. "Then he has brought them back to me!" he exclaimed in great earnestness.

"I believe he intends to do so, but it will not be until they go to Wonder Island, that marvelous place."

"Then I am content."

John heard the conversation, and soon turned it into another direction, when he informed the Chief that the Chief of Venture Island as well as the leader of the criminal colony, were to accompany them to Wonder Island, and that the company would be incomplete without him and his family.

He looked at his visitors for some time, doubting in his mind the propriety of such a course, but the entreaties of Ephraim, and the urging of Muro and Uraso, were sufficient to decide the question, and the only matter that now weighed on his mind was to determine who should accompany him in this wonderful voyage.

Ta Babeda had never summoned up sufficient courage, while the ship was formerly in port, to board the vessel. His examination of the Pioneer was made from the shore. Now he would step into a new world.

He little knew what wonders would be exhibited to him. The ship's band was the greatest thing he had ever known, and he never tired of its music. But when he saw the curious piano, the music box that acted as though it had life, and the other evidences of civilized arts, that were found in the cabin, he was content to make the best of it.

Like all natives, as we have already stated, he was immoderately fond of eating, and the kitchen arrangements, where food was cooked without any fuel, interested him beyond everything else. He would sit at the entrance of the kitchen for minutes at a time.

The push buttons, the snap switches for the electric lights and for the cooking apparatus, were some things which he could not understand. The little innocent wires meant nothing to him, nor could the boys, or even John, explain the phenomenon to him so he could understand it.

The boys puzzled over this, as he was insistent upon an explanation. What finally happened, the very thing the boys tried to avoid in every way, came when he touched the two wires, and formed a short circuit through his hand.

He emitted one yell, and bounded out through the door, and it was some time before he could be induced to make further investigations. His expressions were very humorous, particularly when he insisted that the wires were mad, and didn't like him, and that they tried to pull his arms out of his shoulders.

Harry then took two of the wires and brought them together, and then pulled them apart. Each time this was done, a spark would flash. The object was to show that two wires were necessary to produce a circuit or a current.

Eventually an inspiration seemed to strike him, as he exclaimed: "They are married! Yes, I see!"

The boys laughed as they told John of the circumstance, and how utterly impossible it was to produce a current until a circuit was established.

John threw himself back and roared at the recital of the story, as told by the boys. "I think his description is a pretty good one. Perhaps he was thinking of the family circle?" and John continued to laugh as the boys tried to grasp the full meaning of his little joke.

But Ta Babeda was an apt pupil. He was far more acute than Beralsea, and there scarcely was an hour but he had one of the boys at his side trying to fathom some of the mysteries in the new world. This was in the nature of a picnic for the boys, who enjoyed his curious questions and his equally unexpected comments.

Ephraim, too, was generally present, as well as Camma, his eldest son, the latter evincing remarkable knowledge for one who had never known of the wizardry that resides in wood and stones and iron.

To Ephraim this opportunity to open the wide world to his children must have been a heaven of delight, and he reveled in every hour and even regretted that nature demanded sleep. It seemed to be better awake and seeing and feeling. Two weeks prior to this he had merely existed; now he was a man again, and living.

It was, indeed, a merry party on board of the noble ship. When the Chief, and those about him were told that the vessel was the creation of George and Harry, it was another occasion to marvel over.

"Your boys can do the same thing, and make other things just as wonderful," said John, as they were commending and petting the boys.

"Do you think so!" asked Ta Babeda, in great earnestness, and for the first time showing any curiosity or indicating any desire to give his children any advantages.

John saw that the leaven was working, as he replied: "That is why I have been so anxious to have you and your children visit our city. Your wife and daughters will find as many surprising things to interest them as the boys will discover."

The run from Rescue to Wonder Island, would occupy, ordinarily, about ten hours, of a complete day, and for that reason the start was made early in the morning. Unity was about eight miles from the sea, on a large stream, and it was desirable to make the run through the river by daylight.

But shortly before noon a wind sprang up from the west, and it increased in intensity, so that shortly after the noon hour they were compelled to make a long tack to the south. This meant a night on board ship, and a stormy one at that.

The wide, wide sea, without the sign of any land in sight was, indeed, a fascinating thing to the natives, and how they admired the native sailors with whom they readily fraternized. They watched every movement, the taking down of the sails, the changing of the angles of the great sheets, as they turned in their course, the handling of the tiller, and all the paraphernalia of sailing, for the Pioneer depended principally on her sailing capacity, and not on the small engine with which she was equipped.

The boys explained to Camma, that upon their return to the island a much larger engine would be installed, so that they need not depend upon the sails thereafter, but would be able then to sail directly through the wind, instead of being blown back and forth, as was now the case.

The wind did not abate until the morning was breaking, and then there was a welcome change in the direction that the storm was taking. Many of the natives were ill, and John had the satisfaction of administering the new and lately-discovered remedy, namely, Atropine.

Shortly after ten o'clock the eastern end of Wonder Island was sighted. The great mountain range was visible, and the identical headland, where the skull with the inscription was found, could be discerned through the mild haze.

There was immense curiosity on board the ship as it skirted along the shore. The Tuolo landing place was sighted, but they continued past it. Two hours afterward they could plainly see the dock which had been built for the use of Uraso's people, and an hour later Muro was just as much interested to point out to Ephraim and Ta Babeda the landing station of his tribe.

Immediately after luncheon, George, who was always on the alert, ran through the vessel, with his field glass in hand, and announced that the Wonder, the large steamship, which made trips to Chili, was coming up in the distance, and heading, as they were, for the mouth of Enterprise River, which flowed past the city.

All were intensely excited at the announcement, and rushed forward to get a glimpse of the great ship. As she came up the streamers began to fly from every spar and mast, and Harry ran up to Stut, and asked why the Pioneer did not have them out.

"But they are ready and will be flown as soon as we get nearer." As he said this the first ones were unfurled. Then the Wonder blew three long blasts which the Pioneer answered.

"They are going to let us go in first," said John. Such was, indeed, the case, for the Wonder slowed down, and the Pioneer entered the mouth of the river, for the last eight miles of the eventful cruise.

Two miles from the town both vessels began to blow signals with the fog horns, and long before the wharf was reached the people began to flock from all sides.

One little incident pleased the boys beyond all measure. On the bridge, and furiously waving his arms, and swinging an American flag was Sutoto, with his bride by his side.

"So Sutoto has been on a wedding trip to Chili?" remarked Harry.

Such was the case, as they afterwards learned. Both boys were busy explaining the sights and the locations of the different buildings to Beralsea and Ephraim, and the latter was much affected as he saw the flag floating from the tall staff in the principal square of the city.

Beralsea had seen Sutoto wave the flag from the bridge of the Wonder, and when he saw the same sort of emblem on the staff, he inquired of Ephraim the meaning of the curious thing. It was then explained to him that it was the magic combination of colors which their great tribe believed in, and which was always raised above them wherever they were, as a symbol that they were protected by it.

"But how can that protect the people? Is there something in it like the unseen lightning, which we have on the ship?"

"Unseen lightning, is a pretty good name, coming from a savage," remarked Harry in an undertone.

"No; not in that way," answered Ephraim, "but whenever people see it, wherever they may be, they know that the tribe is great enough to give protection to any one who may try to injure any member of our tribe."

"The White Chief has told me that there are many islands and countries, and that the world is round, and is peopled by many different tribes. Do the people everywhere know that 'flag,' as you call it?"

"Yes; in every part of the world."

"Who are those two men standing there alone?" asked Ta Babeda.

"I do not know," responded Ephraim. "This is the first time I have been here. The boys will know."

"That," answered George, "is the Professor,—that is, the man with a white beard and hair. The large man by his side is Beralsea, the Chief of the tribe on Venture Island."

Ephraim looked at Ta Babeda for a moment, with an amused smile, and then remarked: "He is almost as large as you are."

The Wonder was the first to get her cables to the dock, and as she swung against the wharf, and the gang plank was fixed in place, the first ones to spring ashore were Sutoto and Cinda, the latter of whom rushed to her father's outstretched arms, and then to her mother and the other members of the family.

The boys did not know how or where to extend the first greetings. There was Sutoto and Lolo, and the dear old Professor, who considerately kept in the background, but the boys insisted on giving him the first greeting.



CHAPTER XV

THE RETURN TO WONDER ISLAND

"That was an awfully sly thing to do, as soon as our backs were turned," said George, as Sutoto and Cinda were finally free from the vigorous greetings.

"What is that?" asked Cinda.

"To run away without giving us notice!"

"But we have seen the great wide world, and it is wonderful, and I can never tell the people here how grand it is."

And then the boys looked at Cinda, and when they saw the latest fashions displayed, the prettiest gown, the neatest slippers, and the stunning hat they took off their caps, and made a neat bow in recognition of that feminine touch of character which so readily adapts the sex for acquiring the latest fashions wherever they may be.

Every one was wild with excitement. "There is Blakely!" shouted Harry. "Hurrah! old boy! We have the place for you to visit, as soon as possible. The finest island you ever saw, and the people all ready for business."

"My hands are full now; we must have another ship. Look at the Wonder; she is so full of goods that we are more than eight hours behind time. But I am arranging for another steamer."

"Too bad that we are finding more islands than you can handle," responded George; "I suppose we shall have to find another manager?"

"Or several assistants," said Blakely.

"What are all these men here for?" asked Harry. "Why the whole island must have come to town."

"Well, we have had to send for all the spare men from the different tribes. Fifty of the Tuolos just came in this morning, and thirty of the Illyas arrived yesterday, with their families. The Wonder must be unloaded, and start back again before six this evening. But what did you find that looks as good as Venture Island?"

"Rescue Island; a dandy place, and much bigger than Venture Island. And what do you think? We found a chief there who is a white man," remarked George.

"A white man? Where is he from?"

"Massachusetts; and he is humpbacked, but as bright as can be."

"I saw him, did I not? He was on the Pioneer?"

"Yes; there he is with Ta Babeda."

"Ta what?"

"That's the Chief's name who owned the other tribe on Rescue Island. Isn't he an immense fellow? But he is a brick; I can tell you. Come over and I'll introduce you," and Harry pulled Blakely over while the latter resisted, as the men were constantly besieging Blakely for orders.

"Never mind the work now. Get acquainted with the big men first," and the Professor laughed as he saw the boys forcibly tug at Blakely and haul him over to the group.

"This is one of the big men we have on the island," said Harry to Ta Babeda, and the latter looked at Blakely for a moment, and began to smile, for while Blakely was chunky he was not at all large, if the Chief might be taken as a standard.

He took Ta Babeda's hand, and welcomed him most heartily, and then turned to Ephraim, and also extended a greeting.

"This is the man who does all the business," said Harry, "and he is going to make you a visit." At this point they were interrupted.

"Shall we store all the pineapples aft," said a man hurriedly.

"No; put them amidship," he answered.

"We have no crates for the vegetables," said another.

"Never mind, put them in the large boxes, and they can be crated on the way."

"Some more men have just come; what shall we put them at?" was the report of another, and so from one to the other, Blakely was ever ready with a prompt answer.

The Chiefs and Ephraim watched and wondered at Blakely and his constant readiness to entertain them, meanwhile giving orders to hundreds of the workers who were crowding about. It was an object lesson of what business meant, and the boys felt proud and happy to see the great ability which he displayed.

But what a happy day it was for the Professor. He and John were in close conference, after the formal introductions were over. "There is something brewing," said George as he nudged Harry, and cast a glance toward the place where they stood in earnest conversation.

"I do believe John is telling him about the copper box; and by the way, he has never spoken about that since we took it out of the cave. That is just what he is doing; see, he is indicating the size of it."

Harry laughed, as he answered: "I am satisfied they will not do anything rash, without consulting us," and George laughed at Harry's view of the case.

They had been absent from the island a little over a month. During their absence the new hotel was completed and was now in running order. This became the headquarters for the visitors. While it was only two stories in height, it contained nearly a hundred rooms, and the utmost effort was made to make all of them comfortable.

The boys had their own rooms, and could not be induced to give them up. John and the Professor also maintained their old rooms, which were most comfortable, and attached to the Professor's apartments was a large room where the people came daily to see him and consult about their many wants.

He never failed to see them. It mattered not who called, it was unvarying custom to greet all alike. The affection for him in the minds of the people grew stronger day by day.

There were now five of the Chiefs on Wonder Island permanent residents in Unity. A great change had come over the feelings of the people with respect to the ownership of land. When the town was laid out, and the people began to flock to the place, attracted by its many advantages, it began to look for a time as though the different Chiefs soon would find themselves without subjects.

In addition to this the Professor recognized that too many of the people were expecting to be put to work in the city, and this would cause agriculture to be abandoned, whereas it was obvious that they must depend upon the soil for sustenance.

John and the Professor therefore developed a plan which would be the means of keeping the people in their own sections, or, at least, encourage them to till the ground.

The Chiefs in Wonder Island owned the soil. Their people reserved to themselves the right to hunt and to gather the fruits and nuts necessary to sustain life. But they had no right whatever, independently of the Chiefs.

The first step, therefore, was to gain the consent of these rulers to a division of the land, so that all their people might have farms. Uraso and Muro were the first to agree to the plan, and it was quickly followed by all except the Tuolos and the Illyas.

The Chiefs themselves, under this plan, were to receive one quarter of the acreage, and of the residue, one-third was to be turned into what was called a state fund, to be used for schools and for administrative purposes, while the balance was to be given to the people, who were to select their own land.

For the purpose of enabling proper deeds to be made, it was necessary to make a survey of the islands, and this had been completed six months previously, so that many of the people who now understood that the lands selected belonged to them, and could not be taken from them without their consent, were only too happy to consent to remain on their own land.

But here another problem presented itself. It was desirable that the people should build homes on these farms, and Blakely and John evolved the plan to provide certain quantities of lumber, at a low price, to be paid for from the products of the land. This had a most stimulating effect, and applications were coming in from every quarter. As a result small saw mills were put up in the territorial limits of each of the tribes, so that it was an easy matter for the people to get the lumber near home.

But that which taxed the energies of Blakely most, was to provide the farming implements and the seed and instruction necessary to start them on the way. As it was impossible to provide all the tools and implements required for this purpose, Blakely had recourse to the States, and by inserting a few advertisements in the agricultural papers throughout our country, it was not long before the implements were forthcoming, all of which were paid for from the reserve fund which had been provided.

And now another thing of the utmost importance happened. It was noised about from Maine to California that there was an immense opportunity to make money in the now well-known Wonder Island. Every return trip of the Wonder from the nearest South American port, brought Americans, with funds to invest in plantations and in setting out coffee trees and banana groves.

Many Americans came from the great ranches of South America, particularly Brazil, which furnishes full three-fourths of all the coffee of commerce. These men went through the islands and began the barter for the lands.

At first this was encouraged, but it was soon, discovered that the shrewd, and, more frequently than otherwise, the unscrupulous traders were cheating the unsophisticated people, so that the Professor had to take a firm hand, and declare that no transfers would be made until the sales had been investigated.

This made the prices of lands go up by leaps and bounds, and the Professor told the people that they should not sell their holdings, as it would be much better for them to own and till the farms than to sell them and then work for the owners.

All this tended to make the people appreciate that they really owned something—that they had wealth and power within their grasp. Then began, or rather was carried out more systematically, the founding of schools, and by many means the parents themselves were induced to attend the schools.

All were taught English. With the large funds that the state had obtained in selling a portion of the state lands, the Professor sent for teachers from the United States, and these came prepared to take up the work all over the island.

The most interested workers were the Korinos, as they were called on Rescue Island, and Krishnos on Wonder Island. The Professor's first work, after the conquest of the savages, was to educate those people for teaching, and in this they were found to be very efficient workers.

The Korinos brought from Rescue were placed under the tuition of the Krishnos, and it was surprising to see how happily they regarded their lot, and what progress they made after they understood what was required.

Although we have not a full account of all the products shipped from Wonder Island during the first six months, it might be stated that during the last thirty days, the shipments from the port of Unity, comprised 60,000 pounds of coffee, eighteen tons of bananas, and six hundred quintals of spices, besides over four hundred tons of fibres, of which jute formed one-half.

It is estimated that within another year, when many of the large plantations should be ready to yield their products, that amount would be increased to such an extent that several additional ships would be necessary to carry the tonnage.

The foregoing is particularly instanced to show what John could point out to the Chiefs who were now their guests, and to impress upon them the necessity and value of adopting such a land system as they had established.

Ephraim readily understood and approved of the plan, but it was not so easy for Ta Babeda, and Beralsea. At the quiet suggestion of John the opportunity was made whereby they were constantly thrown into contact with the resident chiefs. Within a week they accepted the suggestions and a half dozen surveyors were commissioned to go to the islands and take up the work of surveying the lands, and making records, which were to be put into such form that the Chiefs would understand them.

One day Ephraim, in conversation with John said: "I want my boys to remain with you until they receive their education. I see that the opportunities for work are unlimited, and I would also like to send over a number of young men for the same purpose."

"Your decision pleases us immensely," said John, "and I have been wondering why your daughter would not also like to remain for a time, as there is much she can learn that will be of great help to you."

Ephraim was silent for a while, while he looked at John, and he finally answered: "That means my wife will remain here also. But that has my hearty consent. It will be for their good, and for the good of my people."

It was not long before Ta Babeda heard of Ephraim's decision, and he adapted the same course to the delight of his children. As for Beralsea, his favorite daughter was already the wife of the Chief Sutoto, of the Berees, and it was certain that she would remain in Unity, so that there was no difficulty in getting his consent to sending his children and others who would carry on the work of education.

But the boys had not, in the meantime, forgotten their factory. The old water wheel was still there. Money could not purchase it, and they would not permit its removal. It was the same old crude wheel built nearly three years before at the Cataract, at the other end of the island, not more than two miles from the rocky shore where the sea gave them up.

After the return there had been so much to see and to learn, about the new developments, and the visitors required so much attention that the boys quite forgot the copper box, and to inquire about the condition of the paralyzed man who was found at Hutoton.

"The Professor has just told me," remarked John, "that the old man is improving, and hopes that within another month he will be able to talk."

"Has he any idea of what his name is?"

"Not in the least. He keeps mumbling something about the triangle, or something of that kind, but that is, of course, unintelligible."

"I understand Retlaw is improving, also?"

"Yes; we have thought of bringing the two men together, as soon as the paralytic is so improved that he can talk."

"I have often wondered what kind of a disease paralysis is?" inquired Harry.

"Paralysis is not a disease of itself. It is merely a sign of some disorder of the nervous system. It may be shown by complete disability on one side of the body, or in some particular portion, and only certain sets of nerves may be affected."

"But what seems so singular is, that he is not only unable to speak but he cannot move about."

"The form of paralysis, which affects the memory, is called dementia paralytica, and attacks the brain, while some portion of the body also may be affected."

"Isn't it curable?"

"There is little hope for a permanent cure. If the attack should come on suddenly it is the most dangerous. Where it seems to approach gradually, there is more likelihood of being able to check it."

"In what way is there an improvement in the old man?"

"So far as the bodily ailment is concerned he is gaining. When he was brought back he was unable to utter a single word, nor could he move himself in any way, except with one arm, and that only to a small degree. Now he is able to shuffle along, across the room, and sometimes tries to say something, which is not distinct. The only thing which thus far seems intelligible is the word triangle, as I have stated."

"Harry spoke about the copper box this morning. Have you opened it yet?" asked George.

"Oh, no! I wouldn't think of doing it unless you were present. The Professor and I have had several talks about it, but we have all been so busy that the matter has been deferred from time to time. I hope we shall be able to get at it to-night."

While thus engaged in conversation the Professor appeared, smiling and happy. The boys greeted him affectionately, as was their custom always.

"Do you want to make a visit with me?" he asked.

"Yes; where?" asked George.

"We will go out on B Street first," he answered.

Together they passed the large school house, and crossed the open square, and entered the most beautiful of all the streets, the one laid out with rows of trees along the curbs, and flower beds along the middle portion of the driveway.

"Can you guess where we are going?" asked the Professor.

"No."

"Do you see the newly-painted house to the right?"

"Is that where Sutoto lives?"

"Yes; there is Cinda. Isn't she happy, though?"

They went in and were accorded a happy welcome. Her father, the Chief, Beralsea, and her mother, Minda, were there, but Sutoto was absent.

"And where is the bridegroom?" asked the Professor.

"He is in the yard somewhere. I will call him." And she tripped out the steps, merry as a lark.

Sutoto came in, and the boys simply shouted at his appearance. He was covered with dirt and grease, and made no great effort to conceal the fact.

"And what have you been up to?" asked George.

"Come out and I will show you."

In the little "garage," if it might be so termed, was an auto, one which Sutoto had purchased and brought back with him on his wedding trip. "I was going to send for you," he said, addressing Harry, "because I have been having trouble with the carbureter."



CHAPTER XVI

THE SAVAGES AT UNITY

The boys were simply wild with delight, and George commenced to laugh immoderately, after viewing the brightly-polished machine.

"What is the matter? Anything wrong? Is it upside down?" asked Sutoto.

"No; I was just thinking how funny it seems that one of the wild savages of the island should be the first to import an automobile."

Sutoto didn't in the least mind this allusion to his former condition, but the boys were the only ones who dared to jest with him in this manner. He joined in the laugh, but quickly replied:

"But I am not the only one favored in this way."

"Why not?"

"I know some other people who are indulging in pleasure cars also."

"Who is that?"

"Well, Blakely has one, a fine little car he calls a 'runabout.'"

"He never said anything about it. Then he brought one over for John, and another for the Professor, but you must keep quiet; they are not to know anything about it."

"Then there are two more machines down there that have queer names on them, because the fellows themselves are peculiar, and are awfully civilized," said Sutoto, with a faint attempt at a smile.

Harry laid down the wrench and turned to Sutoto. "What are the names?" he asked, for the first time interested.

"On one it says 'Mayfield,' and 'Crandall' on the other." And Sutoto said this without cracking a smile, or indicating that he really knew who the names applied to.

Probably, no one on the island, at least among the natives, really knew the boys by any other designation than George and Harry. The surnames were of no use. Sutoto was simply "Sutoto," and no more, and so with Uraso and Muro.

The Professor and the old Chief heard the hilarity, and were soon out of the house, and although the boys and Sutoto tried to push the machine behind the garage, they were too late for the Professor's quick eye.

He laughed when he saw the commotion. "It is all right; if I were not so old, I would get one myself."

"That's just the time you need it," said Harry. "By the way," he continued, "I will bring it around to your place this afternoon."

"Bring what?" asked the Professor.

"Your car; of course." And Sutoto and the boys laughed at the Professor's discomfiture.

"I thought there was some job about to be put up on me. I wondered why Blakely tried to keep me out of the warehouse yesterday."

But while this merry scene was taking place, five new machines were coming along B Street, with Blakely in the first one, and a competent chauffeur in each of the others.

"The first is yours, Harry, and the next one, with the red body is yours, George," said Blakely. "I thought we should surprise you."

"Why, there is John, too!" exclaimed Sutoto.

"Yes; he is in his car; he was greatly surprised. But the Professor's car is a neat one; don't you think so?"

The boys had no ears for any one or for anything. Each was a forty-horse power roadster, while the Professor's car had a five-passenger body, was handsomely upholstered, and equipped with particularly easy-riding springs. John's machine was equally well built, and after the boys had made a full examination of their own treasures, they investigated the other cars, and marveled at their beauty and appearance of comfort.

The procession of the machines naturally attracted the people who came from all directions to witness the wonder wagons which ran by themselves. They crowded around, and listened to every comment. The old Chief was the one most excited at the strange things.

Neither Sutoto nor Cinda had informed them of the autos, because it was intended to have quite a surprise party, and it was afterwards learned that Blakely and Sutoto had planned to give all of them a surprise. The fact that the Professor and the boys, having gone to Sutoto that morning, were absent from their homes, precipitated to disclosure, so that John was found and together they went to Sutoto's house.

You may be sure that it did not take the boys long to learn the mysteries of the machines, and they were with Sutoto, until he got the hang of the motor, and could spin along as fast as any of them.

The old Chief was finally induced to get into the Professor's machine, and the latter instructed the driver to proceed slowly. Minda, who was with them, was the braver of the two, by far. The speed was about six miles an hour, at which the Chief marveled.

Then, gradually, the driver speeded up, until they were making a comfortable speed of fifteen miles an hour. As confidence increased the pleasure grew stronger, and before they returned on the first trip he was as determined as could be to have one for his own use.

Blakely took note of his wish, and said: "I shall see to it that on the return trip one of the machines will be shipped to you, but it will be two weeks before the Wonder comes in."

From that day on Sutoto had his hands full entertaining the Chief, but the boys relieved him of much of this, by taking him from place to place, where he saw the work going on in all parts of the beautiful country, and witnessed the planting of the groves, the gathering of the crops, and the way in which the produce was handled at the wharf.

Sutoto's home was a beautiful structure of five rooms, all nicely furnished, the gift of the Professor. The boys enjoyed the visits there. Sutoto was always a boy to them, and Cinda a happy bride,—and a woman of whom any one might be proud.

When Beralsea, her father, decided that his children must remain and attend the schools there, the adjoining cottage was prepared for them, and Minda consented to stay, but Beralsea, who had now partaken of the commercial instincts, under the tutelage of Blakely, was determined to return at once and revolutionize the condition of affairs in Venture Island.

That day he and Ta Babeda had a long conversation, and together they visited John and Ephraim, and then called in Blakely. The boys were present, of course, and it then turned out that they had agreed upon a plan to start the agricultural work in the two islands conjointly, and the only question which remained was to take care of the management of the work.

Both of the Chiefs declared that they did not possess the qualifications to direct the work, and Ephraim pleaded age as the reason why it would be impossible to undertake the burdens.

"I have an idea," he said, "that the best solution would be to make George and Harry the managers for the islands. I have been with the boys for some time, and see what they are capable of, and every one would be glad to work under them."

The boys were, of course, somewhat confused at the encomium, and the Professor came to their rescue. "These are my boys," he said. "I have known them ever since they came to the island. They have been with me under every condition of service. We have had hours and days of pleasure, and of trials, such as few have undergone, and always, whatever the circumstances, they have been manly, and never gave up, although sometimes things seemed hopeless.

"You have seen how, through their ingenuity, they have built the water wheel, the mills and the factories. Fortune has been kind to them; they do not need the money that may come to them, as they have found riches here, far greater than you know, but they have loved the work, for the pleasure it has brought them, and it is for them to decide."

"Harry and I have talked about these things many times," answered George. "When we first came to the island, we had nothing. For our own preservation we set about to better our condition, began to build the things necessary to maintain life, and to protect ourselves.

"What at first was a necessity, later became a pleasure, because we could see, day after day, how we built the shop and the machinery out of the crude things; it would be hard to leave that work now."

Harry approvingly nodded his head, as he responded: "I consider it a pleasure to do anything which would help the people here. George and I feel that it would be wrong to leave them, so long as we can be of service to them.

"The money we have will not make us happy; that I know, unless we can use it to do some good. And it is so with our time, also. I am as willing to give that as money, because we have been amply rewarded and now our duty is to the people here."

As a result of the conference it was agreed that George and Harry should take up the management of the affairs on Venture and Rescue Islands, they to decide which should be the particular sphere of each.

The Chiefs were immensely pleased at this arrangement, and the first steps were taken to put their plans into execution.

John advised them that they should decide which island each would take, and then each should cultivate the acquaintance of the young men that the Chiefs should select, so that the administrative functions could be instilled into them, and that they might be taught the business qualifications necessary.

George laughingly remarked that as the Chief Beralsea had so accommodatingly captured him, when they first arrived on the island, he thought that their intimate acquaintance, which was so long prior to Harry's should decide the matter in his favor, by taking Venture Island.

"That suits me all right. I have one advantage over you on Rescue Island; and that is the caves. You haven't even an excuse for a cave."

"But I have Hutoton, that terrible place where the criminals live," retorted George, with a laugh.

"And that reminds me; what about the copper box?"

The boys wended their way to the Professor, and were delighted to find John there. "Before we go we want to have the copper box opened," remarked Harry.

"I have just brought it around, in the machine," said John, as he noticed the boys peering at it through the window.

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