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Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight
A Son Of The Sun, by Jack London
The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Son Of The Sun, by Jack London This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: A Son Of The Sun Author: Jack London Release Date: June 29, 2007 [EBook #21971] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A SON OF THE SUN *** Produced by David Widger
A Son Of The Sun, by Jack London A SON OF THE SUN BY JACK LONDON 1912 CONTENTS I. A Son of the Sun II. The Proud Goat of Aloysius Pankburn III. The Devils of Fuatino IV. The Jokers of New Gibbon V. A Little Account With Swithin Hall VI. A Goboto Night VII. The Feathers of the Sun VIII. The Peabls of Parlay A SON OF THE SUN
--A SON OF THE SUN I The Willi-Waw lay in the passage between the shore-reef and the outer-reef. From the latter came the low murmur of a lazy surf, but the sheltered stretch of water, not more than a hundred yards across to the white beach of pounded coral sand, was of glass-like smoothness. Narrow as was the passage, and anchored as she was in the shoalest place that gave room to swing, the Willi-Waw's chain rode up-and-down a clean hundred feet. Its course could be traced over the bottom of living coral. Like some monstrous snake, the rusty chain's slack wandered over the ocean floor, crossing and recrossing itself several times and fetching up finally at the idle anchor. Big rock-cod, dun and mottled, played warily in and out of the coral. Other fish, grotesque of form and colour, were brazenly indifferent, even when a big fish-shark drifted sluggishly along and sent the rock-cod scuttling for their favourite crevices. On deck, for'ard, a dozen blacks pottered clumsily at scraping the teak rail. They were as inexpert at their work as so many monkeys. In fact they looked very much like monkeys of some enlarged and prehistoric type. Their eyes had in them the querulous plaintiveness of the monkey, their faces were even less symmetrical than the monkey's, and, hairless of body, they were far more ungarmented than any monkey, for clothes they had none. Decorated they were as no monkey ever was. In holes in their ears they carried short clay pipes, rings of turtle shell, huge plugs of wood, rusty wire nails, and empty rifle cartridges. The calibre of a Winchester rifle was the smallest hole an ear bore; some of the largest holes were inches in diameter, and any single ear averaged from three to half a dozen holes. Spikes and bodkins of polished bone or petrified shell were thrust through their noses. On the chest of one hung a white doorknob, on the chest of another the handle of a china cup, on the chest of a third the brass cogwheel of an alarm clock. They chattered in queer, falsetto voices, and, combined, did no more work than a single white sailor. Aft, under an awning, were two white men. Each was clad in a six-penny undershirt and wrapped about the loins with a strip of cloth. Belted about the middle of each was a revolver and tobacco pouch. The sweat stood out on their skin in myriads of globules. Here and there the globules coalesced in tiny streams that dripped to the heated deck and almost immediately evaporated. The lean, dark-eyed man wiped his fingers wet with a stinging stream from his forehead and flung it from him with a weary curse. Wearily, and without hope, he gazed seaward across the outer-reef, and at the tops of the palms along the beach. "Eight o'clock, an' hell don't get hot till noon," he complained. "Wisht to God for a breeze. Ain't we never goin' to get away?" The other man, a slender German of five and twenty, with the massive forehead of a scholar and the tumble-home chin of a degenerate, did not trouble to reply. He was busy emptying powdered quinine into a cigarette paper. Rolling what was approximately fifty grains of the drug into a tight wad, he tossed it into his mouth and gulped it down without the aid of water. "Wisht I had some whiskey," the first man panted, after a fifteen-minute interval of silence. Another equal period elapsed ere the German enounced, relevant of nothing: "I'm rotten with fever. I'm going to quit you, Griffiths, when we get to Sydney. No more tropics for me. I ought to known better when I signed on with you." "You ain't been much of a mate," Griffiths replied, too hot himself to speak heatedly. "When the beach at Guvutu heard I'd shipped you, they all laughed. 'What? Jacobsen?' they said. 'You can't hide a square face of
he's busting with money. I know for a fact he sold his Yringa plantations for three hundred thousand pounds. Bell told me so himself last time we were drunk at Guvutu. Griffiths satisfied himself by a long look. was a hurt to Griffiths. were an affront and a hurt to the sun-sick man." He . Quick alarm showed itself on the face of the mate." the black said. "He's loaded with money. "Gooma boys from the next bight. "It's Grief. a quarter of a mile away and skirting the reef. and the sun. still low in its climb to meridian. running. "White fella marster stop along Gooma boy." he said. The palm trees. a long black canoe paddled into sight. One seemed to see as well as feel this heat. An exclamation from the blacks for'ard sent both men glancing seaward. But the next moment they were open wide. This. "With all his money." The mate proffered him the quinine. tripped and fell on all-fours in the tepid sea-water. seemed so much cardboard scenery. "I dream of a land somewheres where they ain't no quinine. One of the blacks came aft. Rolling a fifty-grain dose." 4 Again he quested seaward for signs of wind. Worth millions and millions. "I told you you couldn't get away with it. turned all the sky to heated brass. and Shylocking me for what he wouldn't light his pipe with." the mate whimpered. He felt a sort of relief when one. Damned stuff of hell! I've scoffed tons of it in my time. "I ain't kickin'. "God! God!" he moaned. or a breeze of wind. But Griffiths was not listening." Griffiths answered. The little black boys. and he closed his eyes." was the mate's verdict. almost in an ecstasy of anger." "If the fever was as rotten in you as me. treading the hot deck with the unconcern of one whose bare feet felt no heat." he chanted his outrage. he popped the wad into his mouth and swallowed it dry. he's stuffed with money.Chapter One trade gin or sulphuric acid that he won't smell out!' You've certainly lived up to your reputation. or something. too. The mate began to chuckle. then ripped out a wrathful oath. you'd understand. "What's he doing up here?" he demanded of the mate. what of your snoopin' my supply. The white beach was a searing ache to his eyeballs. Aft could be seen the unmistakable sombrero of a white man. I'm ripe for my next chill to-morrow." he said. I ain't had a drink for a fortnight. of the merciless blaze of sun. coming around like a rent collector. absolutely still. Around the near point of land. and of the whole superheated and implacable universe with which his fate was entangled. outlined flatly against the unrefreshing green of the packed jungle. and Griffiths sought vain relief by gazing shoreward. "I only wisht God'd send me a drink. playing naked in the dazzle of sand and sun. Both men were on their feet and gazing at the canoe. of the aching sea and sky. The usual trade-wind clouds were absent.
and because Strothers got fresh and tried to make the gouge go through?" "God strike me blind!" Griffiths cried in im-potency of rage. with ink-marks on right thumb and forefinger. as they shook hands. The cheap undershirt and white loin-cloth did not serve to hide the well put up body. The yellow mustache appeared incongruous in the midst of such swarthiness. I know. slid softly and silkily under the smooth. and Griffiths stepped to the companionway and went below. Jacobsen!" With his hand on the rail he turned to his dusky crew. The man with the sombrero stood up. but he was not lumped and hummocked by muscles. "I tell you only a straight man can buck a straight man like him. Griffiths!" he said. while the clear blue of the eyes produced a feeling of shock on the beholder. Go on and say it. "Look here. I tell you I know. "You fella boy stop along canoe altogether. "Hello. Now just what was it you did tell me so?" "I told you you didn't know him. "Where did you blow in from?" Griffiths asked. all because of a difference of two pound ten in the account. too rotten all the way through. returned on deck Fifteen minutes later the canoe came alongside. Heavy muscled he was. "I'll buck him. That man Grief is a devil. I've drunk all your whiskey. and the man's never hit the Solomons that could do it. then turned back again. Pay him. and get it over with. You've got plenty more than twelve hundred quid below." he muttered--more to himself and the brazen ball of sun than to the mate. We're too rotten." As he swung over the rail and stepped on deck a hint of catlike litheness showed in the apparently heavy body. But I'm not going to pay. Like the other two. when they did move." Jacobsen shrugged his shoulders in calm acquiescence to fate.Chapter One 5 whirled on the mate. It was difficult to realize that the skin of this man had once been fair. Men like you and me can't buck him. and. "Hello. Take that flat. Didn't he give his Balakula to the Queensland Mission when they lost their Evening Star on San Cristobal?--and the Balakula worth three thousand pounds if she was worth a penny? And didn't he beat up Strothers till he lay abed a fortnight. and for sixpence fight like a shark for a rusty tin." But Griffiths gritted his teeth and drew his thin lips tightly across them. He turned and half started to go below. Ardent suns had likewise tanned his face till it was swarthy as a Spaniard's. "Of course you told me so. Griffiths. I told you he'd throw a thousand quid away for the fun of it. The mate went on with his exposition. he was scantily clad. Are you with me? Will you stand by me?" "Of course I'll stand by you. He won't be here for quarter of an hour." . and keep on saying it. "I thought you were over in the Santa Cruz. haven't I? What are you going to do?" "I'm not going to kill him if I can help it. but he's straight. II Jacobsen watched the canoe across the low reef as it came abreast and passed on to the entrance of the passage. They were softly rounded. if you thought you could clear the Solomons without paying him. Jacob-sen. tanned skin.
damned sorry. Well. Grief. Why." he communed. Copra sheds mostly empty. . leaving his skipper to face his trouble. He even had the nerve to tell me that he'd bought two of your stations from you--Mauri and Kahula. His expression was as of one in a quandary. and I know you know. "Look here. "I should say so. surprise and pain depicted on his face. told me that the Fulcrum Company had bought that station from you." "Why. exploded. "I'm sorry. Now take Captain Jensen. They're a sick crowd. The action was involuntary. And what are you going to do about it?" Grief shrugged his shoulders. and Grief noted it with a lazy sweep of his eyes. The Wonder's just around in the bight at Gooma. The truth's not in them.Chapter One 6 "I was. and I am getting away." Griffiths said. I wisht to God for a breeze of wind. he told me only five days ago--do you want to know what he told me?" Griffiths licked his lips. Let it go at that. and copra. "how men learn to lie in the Solomons. credit. I have sold out. cleaned up. and not half a dozen tons of ivory nuts." he said. and the men can't chase them back into the swamps. Grief nodded. laughed. your trader at Hickimavi. "but I ain't got it." The mate edged politely away. You'll have to give me a little more time." the newcomer answered. All his bitterness of spirit rose up in his face and twisted his mouth into a snarl. good will. and was pulling out for the New Hebrides. glancing with keen carelessness from one to the other. stock and barrel. Now what did he want to lie for?" Griffiths. Grief. how goes it?" "Nothing much. I'd ask you to have a drink. Some of the bushmen reported a ketch here. what's the good of playing with me that way? You know. The women all got rotten with fever and quit. and no hint of resolve shadowed itself in his own face. "And Parsons. he told me that you'd sold out--sold out everything. lock. My supercargo dug up that little note of yours. "It does beat hell." Grief. "Go on. overwrought by sun and sickness." Grief leaned up against the companionway." Griffiths's eyes narrowed and glinted." "He's a damned liar!" Griffiths cried hotly. trade-goods. I'd sworn by his truthfulness. but the mate finished off my last bottle. "It enabled me to get around to see you. Said he paid you seventeen hundred gold sovereigns. and I brought it along. "I'm glad the calm held. and I just dropped around to see. waiting for wind. "But we made a quick passage.
"Tulagi is a hundred and fifty miles away. "You mean you're going to cheat me out of that twelve hundred. and I wouldn't listen to him." As Grief sat down on the edge of the mate's bunk. "You've got me hip and thigh. "Oh. carried the cash-box to the companion-steps for better light. and such things. Grief smiled. There's nothing to stop me from sailing. which hung on hinges from the for'ard bulkhead. his face relaxed into all frankness." he commanded. Come on down and we'll settle. . and the other busied himself in attempting to unlock a large and much-dented cash-box." Griffiths pressed home his advantage. And by God! you can't stop me. and take heads. You've got no right to stop me just because I owe you a little money. And it's something for your pipe. elevated his eyebrows quizzically. as he looked up. and the sun. Jacobsen told me I couldn't. I could do it myself. "Heave short. Smoke up. "But maybe this will stop you. Grief watched a large cockroach crawling over the greasy paintwork. And calling hard names won't help any. Nothing's too mean and low for me now. There's the wind coming. you sound almost right. and I'm on my own boat. he noticed the butt of a revolver just projecting from under the pillow. Here." Griffiths hesitated and swallowed. with an oath of irritation.Chapter One 7 "There's no law here. From on deck came falsetto cries and the creak and rattle of blocks as the black crew swung up mainsail and driver. when he had finished glancing at the document." He started to go down. and at the same moment he whirled about. and bending over the box." he told the mate. and obeyed. With knit brows he pondered this new phase of the situation." Griffiths was saying defiantly. I've got my clearance papers. Griffiths?" "That's just about the size of it. and I can understand why the niggers eat each other. also a battered log-book. On the table. His left hand rested on the bunk beside him." "What is it?" "An admiralty warrant. his back to his visitor. And the whiskey." Grief fumbled in the pouch that hung on his revolver-belt and pulled out a crumpled official-looking paper. and so are you. I've got the money below. were pen and ink. Griffiths. too. and the fever have made me sick in morals. old man. a damn sick man." The look of pained surprise on Grief's face deepened. close against and facing the tiny table. "I've been in the tropics too long. I don't mind being caught in a dirty trick." Grief made no reply. It can be served anywhere. at the same time glancing seaward to where the dark flaw of wind was quickening the water." he said. or I'll tow your canoe under. "Now don't you move a muscle. Put that in your pipe. abruptly. old man. But he was right. then stepped aside to let his visitor precede him. Running to the New Hebrides won't save you. I ought to have known better than to try and beat you. Then. his hands shot out to the rifle that stood beside the steps. Wisht I could offer you a drink. "You were cleverer than I thought. I'm a sick man. So I call trying to do you out of that small account a pretty mild trick. I can't stop you. on his feet. "Get up sail and stand ready to break out." "Really. Griffiths. You'd better get overside before I pull out. his right hand lay on the table.
David Grief. but first you've got to do something. only that I might save you heaps of trouble by not signing it. exploded into swift and intricate action." The other glanced curiously at the log-book. "Get a move on!" Griffiths cried." Grief's fingers had gained the revolver." Griffiths grinned. 8 "Huh!" Griffiths sneered. four feet away. "A document signed under compulsion won't hold before the law. and. and through the cabin walls came the gurgle and wash of water. when Grief resolved to act. all debts whatsoever owing to me by Harrison J. The rifle wavered as Griffiths kept his balance in the uncertain puffs of the first of the wind. As his hand finally closed upon it. none at all." "It won't do any good. his left hand flashed from under the screen of the . Beneath lay a written sheet of tablet paper. but let me tell you you ain't got me. "Read it aloud. who has this day paid to me twelve hundred pounds sterling. but did not move. and at the same instant. at the bottom. I say. Solomon Islands." The muzzle of the rifle." Grief obeyed. while he talked. Island of Anna. Now sign. "I tell you I'm a sick man. As he ducked low and leaped forward with his body." Griffiths gibed. swing into the wind. The little vessel heeled." Sick he did look. "And just remember Jacobsen will testify that he saw me pay the money over." Grief said. Sign it. made as if to sign the paper. he wondered what luck he would have at left-handed snap-shooting." From on deck came the jar of sheet-blocks and the rat-tat-tat of the reef-points against the canvas. and date it. Bombi Bight." "With that receipt in my hands. "Don't consider me. was bearing directly on him. sign in full. "your admiralty warrant's not worth the paper it's written on. In the cabin they could feel the Willi-Waw heel. like a cat. Grief lifted the book and set it aside. David Grief still hesitated. for due value received. his lean face working nervously with the rage that possessed him. along with your admiralty warrant. "Read it." Griffiths commanded. From for'ard came the jerking rattle of headsail halyards through the sheaves. "You've got everybody in the Solomons hypnotized. Now I'm going to throw you off my vessel." "In that case.Chapter One His revolver hung on his right hip in plain sight. with his right hand he played with the pen and with his left began slowly and imperceptibly drawing the weapon to his side. "The anchor's out. Grief took advantage of the wavering. Grief. "Know all men by these presents that I do hereby sign off and release in full. Lift up that log-book. Lift up that log-book. second finger on trigger and forefinger laid past the cylinder and along the barrel. the fingers of his left hand began an infinitely slow and patient crawl toward the butt of the weapon under the pillow. But in his mind was recollection of the other revolver under the pillow. Griffiths. what objection have you to signing it then?" "Oh. "On board the ketch Willi-Waw. and right." he read. and I'd as soon shoot you as smash a cockroach. but while he read. Griffiths.
was foaming along. go out the passage. Though his name did not appear. revolver in hand. in quick succession and within a foot of his face. His forward rush carried him to Griffiths before another shot could be fired.Chapter One 9 table. Grief watched the Willi-Waw haul up close. . The Willi-Waw. still holding the rifle. His trading stations were in strings in all the groups. he was in truth the German company that traded in the French Marquesas. Out into the blinding glare of sunshine he came. With both feet on Griffiths's shoulder. III How many millions David Grief was worth no man in the Solomons knew. a black. "My word. hideously marred and scarred by skin diseases and old wounds. "Washee-washee!" Grief cried to his boys. the Wlli-Waw went into the wind to come about." Grief laughed. Grief felt the sting and sear of a bullet across the skin of his shoulder. As he climbed aboard. He owned atolls so remote and tiny that his smallest schooners and ketches visited the solitary agents but once a year. Everything was happening in seconds. with every paddle driving. sank down. shot at snap direction. deep into the other's abdomen. advertised that Jacobsen knew how to handle a revolver. From Samoa to New Guinea and even to the north of the Line his plantations were scattered. and his vessels that operated them were many. The canoe struck the beach full-tilt. The muzzle of his weapon dropped to meet the ducking body. Then they dove into the green safety of the jungle. rifle and revolver went off simultaneously. Scarcely had his head broken into the sunshine when two splashes of water. for Grief. From amidships. nearly fifty years of age. both of whose arms." the boy commented. but Grief. broke the grip and forced him down. A black stood grinning at the wheel. There was a chance for no third shot. One of the Gooma boys. he forced him still deeper. With two jumps. Grief leaped to the rail and overboard. three times the sand kicked into puffs ahead of them. "that fella skipper too much cross along you. Both men were grappled together as they went down. Not a whit behind was Griffiths. He possessed pearling concessions in the Paumotus. Under water he struck out. then slack its sheets as it headed south with the wind abeam. still in his left hand. heeled over from the wind. for his holdings and ventures were everywhere in the great South Pacific. and they leaped out and ran across the sand for the trees. Grief's finger was lifting the hammer. the mate was springing toward him. But before they gained the shelter. and. he locked with a low tackle about the body. He shoved the revolver muzzle. gave Grief his chance for a lead. and led the way back across the sand to the canoe. filling his lungs with air. Down the companion-way came indignant cries from the Gooma boys in his canoe. Under the press of his anger and the sting of his abraded skin. As it went out of sight past the point he could see the topsail being broken out. Grief turned his head. at the same time driving himself to the surface. he turned his back on the battle and ran for cover. looked up into his face and grinned. nor did he come up till he saw the canoe and the bubbling paddles overhead. compelled to deaden way in order to pick up its captain. and the Willi-Waw. when the wave of anger passed and he recollected himself. and knew that his own shot had missed. still holding the helpless Griffiths. with a quick updraw of his knees to the other's chest. and so accurately-timed was the single stiff pull on the self-cocking trigger that the cartridge discharged as the muzzle came forward. "You fella make-um beach quick fella time!" In all shamelessness. There was apparently no pause in his actions as he gathered Griffiths in his arms and carried him up the steep steps in a sweeping rush. Rapidly dropping astern was his Gooma canoe.
He bought the wreck of the great steamship Gavonne for a song. And so. master and owner. he bought a schooner. the crashing sunrises of raw colours spread with lawless cunning. At Tahiti. His keels plowed all ocean stretches. He arrived on board a tiny schooner yacht. not for the gold. It was fun. nosing out new investments. favoured child of the sun. golden-glowing men and maids of Polynesia. And it was he who reconciled the warring chief-stocks of Tahiti and swung the great deal of the phosphate island of Hikihu. inspecting and shaking up old ones. But David Grief was a true son of the sun. and the lines of his face were those which had persisted through the centuries in his English race. outfitted her with trade-goods and divers. drank themselves into quick graves. though in the brown was the hint of golden tint that glows in the skin of the Polynesian. New Hebrides boys to the Banks. he was there because he liked it. Unlike other white men in the tropics. and he flourished in all its ways. but for the game's sake. At least forty years of age. He merely became browner with the passing of the years. and in salving it achieved the impossible and cleaned up a quarter of a million. It was his whim. His was the golden touch. But the sun had got into his blood. His protective skin pigmentation was excellent. Griffiths for a paltry sum. till they became sick in mind and body. In fact. and the head-hunting cannibals of Malaita to the plantations of New Georgia. or survived so savagely that war vessels were sometimes sent to curb their license. his mustache its yellow. From Tonga to the Gilberts and on to the far Louisiades his recruiters combed the islands for labour. and in Bora-Bora he ripped out the South Sea cotton and put the jolly islanders at the work of planting cacao. and it was a good game. colonized it with Polynesians from the Ontong-Java Atoll. the palm-tufted islets set in turquoise deeps. . half-devil and all beast. he had brought hearth and saddle with him. he had not come out to the South Seas seeking hearth and saddle of his own. at which time the yellow mustache was already budding silkily on his lip. half-children and half-gods. he looked no more than thirty. the infinite exquisiteness of the shoals of living coral in the mirror-surfaced lagoons. but over and beyond was his love of all the other things that go to make up a South Seas rover's life--the smell of the reef. In the Louisiades he planted the first commercial rubber. forbore on his far way to play the game with Harrison J. It was he who took the deserted island of Lallu-Ka. ripping and smashing tissues and nerves. and even the howling savages of Melanesia. He also arrived in a hurricane. His advent had been in the Paumotus. Unlike them. head-hunters and man-eaters. They brought Santa Cruz boys to the New Hebrides. He had been born to the sun. the man of many millions. though he rarely elected to travel in them. His own vessels recruited his contract labour. But he was rarely in those offices. a problem. the tonic wine of the trade-winds. preferring the wilder and more primitive way of wind and sail. yet those that thought they knew contended he was at least American born. As the golden tint burned into his face it poured molten out of the ends of his fingers. descended to beastliness. Other white men were pervious. his offices occupied three floors. the rough contacts and fierce give and take of the adventurers of his own blood and of half the bloods of Europe and the rest of the world. the straining canvas overhead. but he played the game. his expression of self and of the sun-warmth that poured through him. instead of taking a steamer home. on Castlereagh Street. Six months later he was rescued by a pearling cutter. a joke. the heave and send of the orderly. One he was in ten thousand in the matter of sun-resistance. Yet beachcombers remembered his advent among the islands a score of years before. a youth questing romance and adventure along the sun-washed path of the tropics. He preferred always to be on the go amongst the islands.Chapter One 10 In Sydney. The invisible and high-velocity light waves failed to bore into him. his desire. English he was in blood. crested seas. He owned three steamers on regular island runs. the flower-garlanded. and went for a cruise through the Dangerous Archipelago. the moving deck beneath his feet. It was a man's game. he. Yet his blue eyes retained their blue. out of munificence of energy and sheer joy of living. the giant waves of which deposited him and yacht and all in the thick of a cocoanut grove three hundred yards beyond the surf. and planted four thousand acres to cocoanuts. and rubbing shoulders with fun and adventure in a thousand strange guises. tossed most of the Decalogue overboard. The sun drove through their skins.
stood in with him. I'd like to give you a piece of my mind.' And Jacobsen. The land breeze strengthened in a last effort. and the Wonder." . It was not the Willi-Waw. Looked like he was going for a long cruise." Captain Ward growled in answer. then David Grief called out: "Seen anything of the Willi-Waw?" The captain. and that he treated me quite scurvily yesterday." Grief paused and laughed with genuine mirth. IV 11 The early morning found the Wonder laying close-hauled along the coast of Guadalcanal She moved lazily through the water under the dying breath of the land breeze. I suppose. Why? Did you want to see him?" "Yes. however. Captain." Captain Ward broke in. laying along the coast on the same course as the Wonder. "Well. 'sign in full. "You do hate to be beaten. Grief." he answered. "If it had only been the Willi-Waw" he said. accompanied by sharp puffs and rain squalls. slipping swiftly through the water.' he says. "Jacobsen told me they were coming down this afternoon to Gabera. at the bottom. only a fool would take the risk you did with those two curs. putting down his glasses. And can you give any better reason for anything you do?" "You'll get your bally head shot off some fine day. on the Wonder. and date it. and being slowly overtaken." "If you weren't my employer. heavy masses of clouds promised a renewal of the southeast trades. 'Sign. remarked sympathetically.Chapter One a bit of play on which life was lightly hazarded for the joy of the playing. "It's my firm conviction that Griffiths is a rogue. I just want to. taking on pigs and yams and filling his water-tanks. To the east." Denby. and Captain Ward. ranged alongside the Kauri and began to go by. as he stepped to the binnacle and took the bearing of a peak which had just thrust its head through the clouds that covered Guadalcanar. Grief. slouch-hatted and barelegged. Greetings flew back and forth. was a small ketch. but if you see him first don't tell him you've seen me. Ahead." Grief encouraged. "With all the money you've got. Mr. "Sure. and walked for'ard on his own deck to keep abreast of the faster vessel. the little rat. "I certainly do. "Go on and spit it out. then--" The captain hesitated and cleared his throat. but he said no. I don't know. sighed regretfully. "Say!" he called. It was rank piracy. the supercargo. What do you do it for?" "Honestly. with a rolling twist hitched the faded blue lava-lava tighter around his waist and spat tobacco juice overside. just on deck from below. "Griffiths lay at Savo last night." The captain nodded and considered. the days of Bully Hayes all over again. named it the Kauri. Said they were going to lay there to-night and take on sweet potatoes.
isn't it?" "No anchorage." he said. tortuous channel . "And. With superb boatmanship he threaded the narrow. Grief nodded consent. carrying the lanterns. oh. paused on the rail. The wind had freshened." he said. and a lively sea was beginning to make. She'll be a bit squally. "Pray for a dark night. Grief. I'll be back on board before morning. "Oh. "Is that right." Captain Ward answered. He leaped down beside the supercargo." he said. it's a rotten anchorage. Mr. which swiftly slid into one of reproach. Captain Ward?" The captain nodded." Grief protested with the apologetic air of a schoolboy caught in mischief by an elder. making more pronounced the golden tint of his sunburn. pulling six oars and steered by Grief. and serve out rifles. skipper. headed for the beach.Chapter One 12 "Gabera has the only leading lights in the Solomons. "Draw the headsails! Put your wheel over! There! Steady! Take that course!" The Wonder filled away and ran on around the point for Gabera. Denby. dropped into the stern-sheets. Grief." Grief said. by the way. I want you to drop me in a whaleboat as you go by. "I'd like to go along. "Bring some axes and bush-knives." The forecast sent a radiance into Grief's face. All coral patches and shoals. and a bad surf. skipper. The shoals toward the beach were already white with the churn of water. each armed with a rifle." Grief stared straight before him with lustreless eyes for a full minute. "Cast off!" Captain Ward ordered. too. following." V An hour before sunset the Wonder tore by the little bight. "You'll get it. Into it leaped six breech-clouted Santa Cruz boys. while the whaleboat. "We'll anchor at Gabera. while those farther out as yet showed no more sign than of discoloured water. Then the corners of his eyes wrinkled and the ends of his yellow mustache lifted in a smile." he pleaded. when his schooner had drawn well ahead. That's where the Molly went to pieces three years ago. give me six boys. and there won't be any sky. as if summoning some vision to his inner sight. a couple of bright lanterns. "And the little bight just around the point on this side. Also. Captain Ward grunted. See they've got oil in them. "There's no moon anyway. just a little fun. "And run in close to the little bight this side. As the schooner went into the wind and backed her jib and staysail the whaleboat was swung out. but Denby was all alertness." The captain's face took on an expression of suspicion.
" David Grief studied it critically. and in the dim glimmer of starlight loomed the jungle-clad coast. then went for'ard on the lee-bow and joined Griffiths. till we set a course. with a shake of head. the scud of clouds thinned and broke. "Put it down about ten feet. In the end. rippling beach. "South-a-half-west!" "Let her come up south-by-west! Got it?" "Right on it!" Griffiths considered the changed relation of Amboy Point to the Willi-Waw's course. "And a-half-west!" came the answer. for the breath of the passing squall was still strong. "No good fella." Griffiths announced. Take the wheel. Near to the beach remained one long palm." he said. Moving about among the wild cocoanuts and jungle brush." he told his blacks. Jacobsen. Denby. Darkness was falling as the lanterns were lighted. The blacks were swinging up the big mainsail. barefooted and barelegged. Both men strained to it. and made fast. savve?" he warned. and well on the lee-bow. "Amboy Point. "No chop that other fella. At the apex of the wedge stood another. chop that fella tree. carried up the two trees. the mate displaced the black at the wheel. "That outer lantern is too high. Get a move on!" Running aft. the rainwater dripping from his scant clothing. "And a-half-west!" he cried. "Right on it!" "Steady! That'll do!" "Steady she is!" Jacobsen turned the wheel over to the savage. I knock your damn black head off." VI The Willi-Waw was tearing through the water with a bone in her teeth. "You steer good fella. which had been lowered on the run when the puff was at its height. Jacobsen. Grief selected the trees. It was by this sound that they were for the moment steering. their ears tense for the sound of surf on the invisible shore. The next hour was filled with work. "Chop this fella tree." . ordered them to throw the halyards down on deck and stand by. superintending the operation. Ahead. "How's she heading?" Griffiths called.Chapter One 13 which no craft larger than a whaleboat could negotiate. "Plenty of water close up. until the shoals and patches showed seaward and they grounded on the quiet. a wedge-shaped segment of jungle was cleared. appeared a jagged rock-point. Both men stared with wide-strained eyes at the blank wall of darkness through which they were flying. The wind fell lighter.
"The bottom's all changed. in silent wrath and bitterness. The big sail rattled down. I'll take the wheel. the star-glimmer vanished. Anchor in thirteen fathoms. He heard the tumble and roar of the surf. Wilson?" A whaleboat came alongside. one above the other and perfectly in line. In the faint light Griffiths found an automatic Colt's thrust into his face. was performing the like office. "And this isn't Gabera. the Willi-Waw worked itself clear over the shoal patch and came solidly to rest in the comparatively smooth and shallow channel beyond. and every shroud and stay sharply chorused an answer as the Willi-Waw pressed farther over and down. washed about his ankles and knees. and under her small canvas the Willi-Waw still foamed along. Shoreward came the sound of oars. at the same time studying the ketch's behaviour." Aft. "Watch that mainsail!" Griffiths yelled in the mate's ear." Griffiths said. Once he lifted his face to glare at the two white lights. Five wild minutes followed. At the same instant her mainmast crashed over the bow. Griffiths held the course till the two lights came in line. and again the cloud-scud thickened. "What have you had?--an earthquake?" Griffiths called out. He heard the frightened cry of the mate. and a man climbed over the rail. head bowed on chest. threw themselves on the battling canvas. The squall held at its high pitch. Is that you. "There they are. "This rain won't last. springing to the peak-halyards." he said. with here and there tiny globules of phosphorescence. We won't need it. The wind screamed a higher note. 14 Over she pressed. while he measured the weight of the wind and quested its easement. The mate. Then what the hell is it?" Though the surf still roared and across the shoal flung its spray and upper wash over them. at the throat-halyards. Grinding and crunching. flung his bunched knuckles into the creature's face and drove him to his work. All hands held on while the hull upheaved and smashed down on the brittle coral and the warm seas swept over them. and casting off the turn. and. the spokes of the wheel in his hands. and the blacks. with shouts and yells. I've anchored here a hundred times in thirteen fathoms. and lee-rail under. Griffiths sat down on the edge of the cabin. . when the Willi-Waw struck.Chapter One Again he went for'ard and joined the other. looking up. Make the niggers jump. and was grinding the wheel down with all his might. the wind died down and the stars came out. saw David Grief. You'd better overhaul forty-five on a night like this. thrusting away the black who held on." Half an hour afterward his weary eyes were rewarded by a glimpse of two lights. "We're all right. when he abruptly altered and headed directly in for them. After that get the gaskets on the mainsail. We can hold this course till we pick up the lights. and the wind rose and screamed in another squall. Again the two men stood for'ard and vainly watched in the horizontal drive of rain. Jacobsen. "Down mainsail!" Griffiths yelled. The tepid sea-water. Run down the fore-staysail and stand by to let go. finding one skulking in the darkness. "There they are. at Gabera. but decided it was farther away--as it should be. Jacobsen.
golden-tinted. "will you open the cash-box and pay this--this bloodsucker--twelve hundred pounds?" . and by--" "Steady! Steady!" Grief's voice was cool and menacing. I've your note here. for the futility of all his endeavour. a vast impotence seemed to descend upon him." To Griffiths. springing to his feet in a sudden gust of rage. "Jacobsen. for this blue-eyed." he said. We won't bother for the receipt. He was overwhelmed by a profound disgust--disgust for the sunlands and the sun-sickness." Grief laughed. superior man who defeated him on all his ways. "You faked those leading lights! You've wrecked me. "I'll trouble you for that twelve hundred. where I'll be as soon as I've collected that little sum of twelve hundred pounds. "Gabera's just around the point. please.Chapter One 15 "No." "You did this!" Griffiths cried. you never anchored here before. and I'll just return it.
When he first saw Aloysius Pankburn. Grief had taken passage for the short run across from Raiatea to Papeete. drunkenly. . He saw a well-built young man of thirty. If I did." he sobbed. and evidently." He released his clutch on the rail. What can a poor devil do? My death will be on their heads. he wouldn't give me sixpence to buy a drink with. I pay him a good screw. "to keep me away from the drink. that somewhat fuddled gentleman was drinking a lonely cocktail at the tiny bar between decks next to the barber shop. Of all unique situations he could never have imagined such a one as this. Hard. clinging to the rail and peering into the distance at the dim forms of a man and woman in two steamer chairs drawn closely together. that's all." "In that case. Grief was interested. And that's the way they do it. and drink your head off." Grief said genially." "Fire her. "It's hard. lollygagging all about the ship and letting me drink myself to death. She'd shut off my whiskey. and to glint harshly in his eyes. He seemed to undergo a transformation. Grief read the unmistakable marks of the chronic alcoholic. "I can't. to stiffen physically. She's my trained nurse. They were sent along with me for the express purpose of not letting me drink. and Grief threw sharp scrutiny into his pass-ing glance. and the young man." This woful possibility brought a fresh wash of tears. Now it is not good for man to drink alone. Aloysius Pankburn looked on and cried. vacillating eyes. was crying. And that's how he earns it. He's got all my money. and would have fallen had Grief not caught his arm. But in the faint hint of slovenliness. in the shaking. It isn't right. to thrust his chin forward aggressively. why don't you put a stop to it?" Grief advised. If I complain they threaten not to let me have another drop. This time it was on deck. That man's my business manager. well-dressed. "Hard. After dinner he chanced upon Pankburn again. prepared always for the unexpected to leap out at him from behind the nearest cocoanut tree. And when Grief left the barber's hands half an hour later Aloysius Pankburn was still hanging over the bar still drinking by himself. and gushed tears of profound self-pity. then. Come on down and join me. Grief noted that the man's arm was around the woman's waist. and they let me drink to swinishness as long as I leave them alone. I tell you." Pankburn was blubbering. Pankburn looked at him. and in the nervous. "They were engaged to take care of me. in the world's catalogue. "Nothing to weep about. a gentleman. eager hand that spilled the liquor. well-featured. Leaving his schooner to follow.Chapter Two 16 Chapter Two --THE PROUD GOAT OF ALOYSIUS PANKBURN I Quick eye that he had for the promise of adventure. nevertheless David Grief received no warning when he laid eyes on Aloysius Pankburn. It was on the little steamer Berthe. It isn't right. I employ him." "I can't.
for a copper spike was what he held in his hand. . Before departing. fresh-married. I bribed the doctor to prescribe a voyage. But they don't dream. three times the gendarmes arrested him for riotous behaviour. Aloysius Pankburn ran down the main street from Lavina's to the water front. "What do you make out of it. Carlsen. He put on the gloves with a fireman from the Berthe in a scheduled four-round bout at the Folies Bergères. and sweet potatoes at such cut-rates that the gendarmes were called out to break the rush of bargain-hunting natives. It was unbelievable. "They don't know the meaning of that.Chapter Two 17 "I won't let them kill me. It was several evenings after this that David Grief. He bought out the old blind leper at the market. an evident old-fashioned ship-fastening." The husky voice of the Norwegian mate was raised for'ard. and sold breadfruit. for transportation for one to an unknown island in the Pacific and facilities for carrying away the loot. The old South Seas Romance was not dead. When we get to Papeete my manager is going to charter a schooner and away we'll sail. nursed him around and never let it filter into his returning intelligence that there was neither manager nor money to pay his board. bareheaded. plantains. I'm going to bed--unless--er--you'll join me in a night cap. Grief looked at his watch. sat suddenly up and almost rubbed his eyes. Lavina. I imagine. So did everybody else in the little island capital. the manager had thoughtfully bestowed eight five-pound banknotes on Aloysius." He looked at Grief with abrupt suspicion. They don't know. And they'll be sorry. One last drink. of course. clad only in swimming trunks. "I came to see Folly. Then the Mariposa sailed for San Francisco." He fumbled in his coat pocket and drew forth an object that flashed in the faint light. and was knocked out in the second round. "Get the crew for the whale-boat. She doesn't know. but there it was. For that matter. dived drunkenly and splendidly from fifty feet up in the rigging of the Mariposa lying at the wharf. Mr. famed for her good heart even among the driftage of South Pacific rogues and scamps." David Grief told Lavina. I only know. Ask for FOLLY. eh? What do you make out of it?" David Grief caught a swift vision of an alcoholic degenerate putting a very loving young couple to death with a copper spike. I've offered them fifty thousand--later on. "My mother thinks I'm up here to get cured of the booze habit. Good night. They laughed. I know. It was early yet. for neither the beach nor Lavina's boarding house had been so scandalized in years." II In the week that followed at Papeete Grief caught numerous and bizarre glimpses of Aloysius Pankburn. sir. only eight o'clock. and three times his manager ceased from love-making long enough to pay the fines imposed by a needy colonial administration. lounging under the after deck awning of the Kittiwake and idly scanning the meagre columns of the Papeete Avant-Coureur. I'm going ashore." he called in the direction of a glowing pipe. worth five million francs. at Lavina's. He read: WANTED--To exchange a half interest in buried treasure. you know. and chartered the cutter Toerau at more than her purchase price and was only saved by his manager's refusal financially to ratify the agreement. Folly. and half a dozen strapping Rapa Islanders ceased their singing and manned the boat. But I know. and in the bridal suite were the manager and the trained nurse. with the foreseen result that Aloysius awoke several days later to find himself broke and perilously near to delirium tremens. He tried insanely to drown himself in a two-foot pool of water. But I do. They think it's the booze. "Mr. In midday.
Lavina allowed me only two drinks to-day. came the stroke of eight bells. your chemistry is good. I was educated at York and Yale. Likewise. and he may be telling the truth. I am a master of arts. with pull and heave and quick-changing grips. I have been an athlete. I'll be more myself. Furthermore. centred about the slubbering noise. and down in the cabin." "Then it is a he?" Grief queried." He was shaking pitiably in the warm night. You'll know. Now listen. A jump took David Grief to the low rail. I'm Mr. Leaning over. I am there now. No. If you have a towel to put about my middle. "You're stopping aboard the Kittiwake. . I don't know. for it is clear to me that you are a man of affairs and action. You are the only one that answered my advertisement. was an area of agitated phosphorescence. half the sounds of a man crying to himself and querulously chanting his sorrows to the general universe. Lavina nodded. he drew on deck the naked form of Aloysius Pankburn. Captain. "My mother is alive. a quarter of a mile away. To you alcohol has never been a million maggots gnawing at every cell of you. I have done thirty miles in a rough sea. I was born in Australia. If you'll take me below I'll be very grateful. aren't you?" she said. I hold several amateur records. and you're the Captain Grief. I am an alcoholic. I'm not drunk. he locked his hand under the armpit of a man. "Now fire ahead. Grief saw to it that a half-tumbler of whiskey was in his hand.Chapter Two 18 He noted the quick interest in her eyes as she turned her head and flung a command in native across two open rooms to the outstanding kitchen. It was very miserable. I am a fish. "I'll tell him you called. Beneath. I learned the crawl-stroke from the first of the Cavilles. I'm on the edge of the horrors. From the Chilian cruiser. "I hope you can do something for him. Can't I mix you a cocktail?" III Back on board his schooner and dozing in a deck chair under a three-months-old magazine. David Grief was aroused by a sobbing. Also." he complained. But he's a likable man. A few minutes later a barefooted native girl padded in and shook her head. and I am no good. and I was beginning to see things when I couldn't find the gangway. She is English. when he had got his guest into a shirt and a pair of duck trousers. slubbering noise from overside. but Grief shook his head. I will steal sixpence from you for the price of a drink. I don't know. Lavina's disappointment was evident. Nor am I cold." Pankburn looked at the whiskey bottle. It was midnight. From overside came a splash and another slubbering noise. though I tell you on whatever is left of my honour that I am not drunk--not in the least. I presume. I have punished more whiskey than any man of my years. To him it seemed half amphibian. Pardon me. a doctor of philosophy. "What's this advertisement of yours? I'm listening. This isn't shivering. and a good stiff drink. You're not a soft-hearted fool like me. He opened his eyes. Captain Grief." Grief said. who called on me when I was out. what I shall tell you is true. "I didn't have a sou-markee. Folly. before he got his towel. "I had to swim it. that's all. I am scorching. "All right. and I couldn't find your gangway. I'm only a good-natured woman. I used to swan-dive a hundred and ten feet in the clear. and I shall tell it briefly. I have another record. You've never been to hell. and.
They got hold of his mate and logbook." he whimpered. "Just two fingers. and left them at German Oscar's. "There was no other vessel in the harbour. The federal leaders couldn't run. There were no navigators left." "Certainly. They were behind German Oscar's bar at Peenoo-Peenee. Johnny Black brought them there from off his schooner the night he died. behind the bar of a public house. In '66 the Suwanee coaled at an island in the Pacific which I do not care to mention. Next came the Ecuadoran cruiser. The revolution was broken." Pankburn looked hard at the whiskey bottle. was all they knew. They told of the three spikes in the trees on the beach. The men were put to the torture." Pankburn took it up." "It's an old story." he urged. my father saw three copper spikes--ship's spikes." he said. One is that they all died under the torture." Grief resumed. "the federal officers. she dropped in at Peenoo-Peenee. Ashore. "And now I can tell you the name of the coaling station and of the protectorate that came afterward. again bound home. in from the westward." "And the mate?" Pankburn challenged. He was a midshipman in the War of the Rebellion. "And of the three spikes?" Pankburn asked with equal quietness. but couldn't. The captain had died the day before--blackwater fever. "I only tell what I've heard. and bound home. "The mate had been killed a week earlier by the natives on one of the Banks. but where the island was they did not know. "Go ahead. The other is that the survivors were swung at the yardarm." David Grief smiled quietly. "Go on. Six months after. but all in English coinage. something like a million dollars gold.Chapter Two Finally. Go on. the Ecuadoran cruiser went home without the treasure. They wanted to confess. believing a defence of the city hopeless. raised the siege. Away to the westward went she. but how and where he found them he never told. salted down the government treasure chest. They were going to run at daylight." Grief explained. making a forced march from Quito. and the one ancient steamer that constituted the Ecuadoran navy was sent in pursuit of the Flirt. They put their backs to the wall and held the city. fishing beche-de-mer and sandalwood trading. To the westward. 19 "My father was an American--an Annapolis man. for they are in my possession now. ." Pankburn shook his head. It was beyond international law. At any rate. of all directions. They caught her. All the beach knows the tale. The tale now goes two ways. far to the westward. The American captain skinned out in the middle of the night. Rohjas Salced. I will tell you the truth. and the tale leaked out. Her captain was Paul Shirley. and put it on board the American schooner Flirt. "It was before my time. He was just back from a long cruise to the westward. when they sent a boat in for water. between the Banks Group and the New Hebrides. Johnny Black brought the three spikes to Peenoo-Peenee. Johnny Black was dead. under a protectorate which did not exist then and which shall be nameless. hove to and flying distress signals. of course. She had failed. In '66 he was a lieutenant on the Suwanee. Her officers recognized the spikes." "When the revolutionists were marching on Guayaquil.
who had got the tip on my drinking. But the old man. Pankburn's eyes sparkled. and my mother got a divorce. Now what do you think?" "Fishy." Pankburn looked at the bottle. "Johnny Black did tell. out of Thursday Island. And from my father." he said. He left me his money--oh." "Not on your life. and in the meantime I'm cadging on Lavina for two drinks a day. ten years afterward." . before he came on to die at Peenoo-Peenee. the latitude and longitude of the beach where the three spikes were nailed in the trees. isn't it?--when you consider my thirst. "I'll take that drink now. unknown to my mother. she fell heir to an income of something like thirty thousand dollars. last will and testament. I'll tell you now. That's why I asked you. The Banks Islanders held him prisoner. and he took new lease of life.Chapter Two Grief considered. and poured a meagre drink. "When I've given you another drink I'll send the boat ashore with you. Only he wasn't killed. a couple of millions--but my mother has had guardians appointed on account of the drink. Now my mother has me altogether. but I can't touch a penny save what is doled out to me. A Chink pearler. Wrote him from Levuka. half-time United States. said it beat life insurance. "Why didn't your father go and get it himself?" "Didn't need it. I'm worth all kinds of money. another million waiting to be dug up. prospecting for new grounds to the north of New Guinea. An uncle died and left him a fortune. Did it through his lawyers. My father had saved his life one rough-house night in Valparaiso. traded for the three spikes with a nigger. and he was dying of necrosis of the jawbone. Millions in the hands of my guardians. Johnny Black bought them for copper weight. left me the three spikes and the data thereunto pertaining." "Where's the island?" "It's a long way from here. He was at the end of his rope--cancer." "Of course I'm willing to go. For at least five minutes he debated with himself. I have the island. got the spikes from German Oscar. You will sail under my directions. You're making an easy half-million out of this. you know. dismissing the subject. Pankburn was taken aback. It's hell. half-time New Zealand. 20 "And this is where I come in with the missing details. Also. came the spikes and the data. The latitude and longitude are in my head. caused by an arrow wound in the fight on the beach. He told my father." was Grief's instant judgment. Captain Grief. and went to live in New Zealand. Name the island." Grief shrugged his shoulders. and that if I had the backbone to go and get it I could drink my back teeth awash until I died." "Name it. and when we're well to sea and on our way I'll tell you and not before. I was divided between them. "If you promise to go. He retired from the navy. then licked his lips and surrendered. Before he died he told the yarn to Johnny Black. Captain." he said. ran foul of an epidemic of trained nurses in Boston. Johnny Black wrote my father from Levuka. My father. He didn't dream any more than the Chink. slathers of shekels of my mother's that'll be mine if she beats me to the crematory. until my father's death last year. but coming back he stopped for hawksbill turtle at the very beach where you say the mate of the Flirt was killed. when captain of the Perry. The spikes are up at Lavina's now.
but they turned really bad forty years ago. threw back his shoulders. deep indentation. We'll sail to-morrow. Whaleship Western cut off--that was her name. Here it is. Now if the story had been of a hundred millions. shelled the bush. Take it. drew out the bulky "South Pacific Directory. Shoals--points--anchorages--ah. Owen Bay. as if in fear that it would be withdrawn." Pankburn's hand went halfway out. You'll stand regular watches and everything." "Francis Island. sailor's work." "Off there all by its lonely in the Little Coral Sea. recruiting labour for the Upolu plantations. and straightened up his head. you must do it in your sober senses. "Then here's your last drink. Lies between New Ireland and New Guinea. That was when they cut off a whaler. I wouldn't look at it for a moment. With a sudden spasm of resolution." he began. though it was all right when the Flirt drove in the spikes and the Chink pearler traded for them. Pankburn. I knew her captain well. If you are going to tell me the island. Francis. killed a couple of niggers and a lot of pigs. he hesitated. "I know it." he added. I'm enough of a doctor to see you don't come to harm. "It's my terms. was cut off there with all hands two years ago. or some such crazy sum. "I guess I won't. I'll swear. or Barbour. if you will have it. The steamship Castor. feebly surrendering to the gnaw of desire. though you eat and sleep aft with us. "That's your beach." "It's a go. and--and that was all. You are to be absolutely under my orders. Let me see? What was her name?" He stepped to the bookshelf. "If it doesn't kill me. burned half a dozen villages." His visitor nodded emphatically and joyously. "Natives warlike and treacherous--Melanesian--cannibals. mangrove swamps. Likikili Bay. "Yes. Redscar. he reached hastily for the glass. IV . "It sounds good to me. Bougainville named it Barbour Island. but under one consideration. And you are to work--hard work. good holding in nine fathoms when white scar in bluff bears west-southwest." "That's pretty hard. The Germans sent a cruiser." and ran through its pages. A rotten hole now." Grief said. then." Pankburn put out his hand to ratify the agreement. Grief nodded." Pankburn whined." he skimmed. David Grief poured a generous three-fingers into the tumbler and extended it." Grief looked up.Chapter Two 21 "No you won't." "Will you go?" the other demanded eagerly. "And that means no drink. that's more like it. That drink was for you if you went ashore. The niggers always were bad there.
. He devoured work. when. "For the good of your mother. Aloysius. as an obsession." With several deft strokes of his heavy-backed sheath-knife. though he lived aft. But the Kittiwake did not go as the crow flies. Next. he went ashore at Apia. on his honour. And so it was. Pankburn did not object to the hard work. he scraped the masts and slushed down. Also. slightly milky and effervescent. That. And all along this devious way he made a man of Aloysius Pankburn. never shirking and always beating the native sailors in jumping to obey a command. That thirster. So it was. They were men of the sea. we'll do it all over again. He stopped to take a look-in at uninhabited Rose Island with an eye to colonizing and planting cocoa-nuts. Far from them was the questioning of any of the mysterious and incomprehensible ways of white men. inspected his plantations on Ysabel.Chapter Two 22 It is a long traverse from Papeete in the Societies to the Little Coral Sea--from 100 west longitude to 150 east longitude--as the crow flies the equivalent to a voyage across the Atlantic. You haven't had one drink. the supercargo. in the lease of manhood that will be yours when I am done with you. From Apia he carried several relief agents and a load of trade goods to the Gilberts." The brown sailors and the black stewards and cook looked on and grinned. the desire. and held it back till the shell was empty. "Look at yourself. The thin. Swung aloft in a bosun's chair. It beats trained nurses and business managers. a Lark Islander of eleven. for the little children. a New Hebrides boy sixty years of age. for your mother's sake. And not only did he take his wheel and lookout. bubbled to the brim. remained in his head. and heave on sheets and tackles. The black steward. As for Carlsen. in themselves as well as in other men. you didn't die. And now. merely played with his mustache and smiled. But his sufferings during the period of driving the alcohol out of his system were truly heroic. When the Kittiwake lay at anchor and her copper bottom was scrubbed with cocoa-nut husks by the native crew. he was grimly in accord with the treatment his employer was administering. was a problem they had learned to handle in ways not taught in doctors' schools. Pankburn. of Eastern Samoa. threw his head back. was chanting his sorrows to the stars. "For the good of your soul. Come on and take your medicine. was compelled to do the work of a common sailor. He peeped in at Ontong-Java Atoll. and more concretely. For the progeny that will come after. With a bow. and the universe. I've only begun. They lived life in the rough. Pankburn took the natural cup. and the poison is pretty well worked out of you. Grief struck him. he paid his respects to Tui Manua. but not till next morning did he take him in hand. For the good of the world. Clap your lips to this. Here. at two in the morning. It was on the deck of the Kittiwake. punched him and punished him--gave him the worst thrashing he had ever received." Grief said. that David Grief found him in front of the Tivoli. for the good of your soul. while Albright. and there was nothing kindergarten about it. the mate. and for love's sake. and opened an intrigue for a share of the trade monopoly of that dying king's three islands. and his assistant. flabby muscles. to hammer the lesson home. There are many other reasons which I shall now proceed to expound. out of which he had been disorderly thrown by Charley Roberts. It's the work. and purchased lands from the salt-water chiefs of northwestern Malaita. that he attempted to put the public houses out of business by drinking up their stocks in trade. if you're thirsty. Pankburn was sent down on his shift and as many times as any on the shift. cool liquid. and the whole race of man yet to be. undreamed of and unborn. with bare knuckles. and that. as of old. saw to it that he was continually supplied." was the way he emphasized his blows. which he flung with amazing accuracy through Charley Roberts's windows. He drank many of these nuts each day. David Grief's numerous interests diverted her course many times. David Grief took him away. "You are twice the man you were when you came on board. whose mother you'll love for their sakes. Even when the last shred of the poison was exuded. And alcohol. Holystoning the deck or scrubbing it with fresh limes made his back ache and developed the wasted. Grief clipped a triangular piece of shell from the end of a husked drinking-cocoa-nut. but the dirtiest and most arduous tasks were appointed him. and that. who dived and did it under water. he was punctuating the rhythm with cobbles of coral stone. I'm not done with you yet.
I'm done with your slave-driving. get that chain aboard pronto." he said to Pankburn." he added. Be ready to turn to with a hammer this afternoon. Mr. Mister David Grief. Albright. as he surveyed his own hands. Francis Island can go to hell for all of me." he cried. as that chain is." "Mr. Aloysius groped for it." Grief was jubilant. Carlsen." "I can give you another licking. Kindly put me ashore at once. keep your eye on Pankburn. you besotted whelp. I had the poison completely out of you. give him a nip--a small one. when he had finished. If he shows signs of keeling over or going into the shakes. "Two buckets and two towels. somewhere. Pankburn remains on board. "And let me tell you one thing. Now go below and change your clothes. And now you are fairly reeking with it. I'm not going to take another drop. "I quit. and. you mean?" . something akin to illumination shone in his eyes. but let me tell you. And you needn't worry about me any more. "You can't stop me. And nothing else will you do till that chain is as smooth as new. Then came the sandpapering. send the boats ashore after it. somehow. maybe--" He paused in the hope that the other would catch the suggestion. Mr. I'm going to train up." he told Grief. Pankburn! To-morrow morning you start in pounding the rust off of it. And on the long stretch across to the Gilberts he still pounded. Also. You got my proud goat when you beat me. Train! I'm going to train till I'm as hard all the way through. and I'm going to make a man out of you if I have to kill you to do it. I've taken you in hand. I'm going to pulp your face till your own niggers won't know you. I'll keep on licking you as long as my knuckles hold out or until you yearn to hammer chain rust. you only got it temporarily. buy it. And some day. Carlsen. 23 "You're a pretty one." "I'll have you broken for this!" Aloysius screamed." Grief ordered. Mr. Find the owner. Then you'll paint it. and fetch it on board. "And then I won't want to. and clean all the way through. Albright! You know that pile of old chain on the beach at the boat-landing. When you've done that. he declared himself. I'm a white man. I'm going to be in such shape that I'll lick you as you licked me. you'll sandpaper it. You can't treat me this way. And when the last link had received its second coat of black paint. "You've spoiled everything. and every link of all that length was smoothed and polished as no link ever was before. "Come on with more dirty work. Ten hours a day he pounded.Chapter Two "Boy! A bucket of fresh water and a towel. We've got to begin all over again. He may need it after last night. you will see that Mr." Aloysius Pankburn shook his head." Grief answered. One hundred and fifty fathoms is nine hundred feet. And then. abruptly. "Now you're talking like a man. "The only way you'll ever lick me is to become a man." V For the rest of the time the Kittiwake lay in Apia Aloysius Pankburn pounded chain rust. There must be a hundred and fifty fathoms of it. "I'll overhaul the other chains if you say so.
At the end of a mile." VI On a sultry tropic day. and behind them rose steep jungle. broken here and there by jagged peaks of rock. The mangroves began at the water's edge. For the rest of that day and until the afternoon of the day following they remained on the Kittiwake and waited. for he was bent on shooting a mess of fish. Albright. and with Carl-sen heaving the lead. But I'm going to go right on and shape myself up just the same. Pankburn listened a moment longer and took the bet. "There's no use in sending a boat in to be cut up. to swim it if he couldn't borrow the dingey. fluttered high over their mastheads and drifted across to the opposing jungle. There were no signs of human life. Grief. ran past Owen Bay. "They haven't forgotten the German cruiser. "Pankburn. 24 "And that's the curse of it. identified the volcano that marked Redscar." Aloysius lamented. At times they rested on the oars in the midst of a profound silence. What do you think." Grief explained." he mourned. There were no beaches. the lead vindicated the "Directory. He took his place in the bow. who took the steering-sweep. "Two to one the bush is swarming with them--in quids. however. With the two whaleboats out and towing. Along the thwarts half a dozen Winchesters were placed. I love you right now for that. The brown rowers held their oars. when the white scar on the bluff bore west-southwest. "I really believe I won't want to. Five minutes later they sighted a school of mullet. In the late afternoon of the second day Grief ordered a whaleboat into the water. had a Mauser within reach of hand. Pankburn was incredulous. when the last flicker of the far southeast trade was fading out and the seasonal change for the northwest monsoon was coming on. And in that same instant the bush exploded . No canoes appeared." Grief said. "you've got my goat." Aloysius grasped the hand. Mr. the Kittiwake lifted above the sea-rim the jungle-clad coast of Francis Island. Carlsen?" That veteran adventurer of the islands was emphatic in his agreement." and the anchor rumbled down in nine fathoms. Save for the occasional splash of a fish or the screaming of cockatoos. "Grief. So short was the fuse that the stick exploded in the instant after it struck the water.Chapter Two Grief nodded." The warm. and you've got it permanently. Grief touched the short fuse to his cigarette and threw the stick. twelve inches from tip to tip. and lost the last of the breeze at the entrance to Likikili Bay. a live cigarette in his mouth and a short-fused stick of dynamite in his hand. They pulled in and along the green wall of vegetation. Once. a huge butterfly. I see the point. you've got my proud goat. with compass bearings and binoculars. the Kittiwake sluggishly entered a deep and narrow indentation. and volunteered to go in alone. and shook his head in sad sincerity. His hand went out. "And I'll wager that bush is alive with men right now. I'm afraid." Albright whispered. there seemed no other life. sunburn glow in Grief's face seemed to grow warmer.
Albright threw a bundle of trade tobacco ashore. They've found the treasure. perforated in a dozen places and each perforation the setting for a carved spine of bone. with perfectly assumed carelessness. but the greater portion armed with tomahawks. not even a string. and this was accounted for by a terrible scar. For the penny in One-Eye's nose he gave ten sticks of tobacco. Grief. the more One-Eye insisted on a trade. An old. and we've got to trade them out of it. toss the tobacco to that one-eyed brute. Then came the wait. "We'll have visitors. A couple of minutes of this tableau endured. His ears were hung with silver half-crowns. which was composed of ten sovereigns. one-eyed black. You follow my lead. As Carlsen leaned over the rail to help the visitor up. some few armed with ancient Sniders. There's a canoe now. "Hold on. which ran down the thigh from hip to knee. who. Result: they'll hang on to the pennies and force us to trade for sovereigns. Very well. "Put down your guns and over the side with you." While the Rapa men dived for the fish. Grief. as befitted a chief and leader." Old One-Eye. Pankburn gave two sticks for the string. Pankburn. inches deep. "It's all right. "You say they know only beads and tobacco. The one-eyed man nodded his head and writhed his features in an attempt at amiability. "The situation is patent. But for the half-crowns Pankburn gave only one stick each. Albright. but unmistakable. he turned his head and remarked casually: "They've dug up the money. Around his neck and hanging down on his dirty chest was a string of gold sovereigns. No clothes he wore whatever." Grief said quietly. A hundred blacks. with an appearance of irritation and anger. In the whaleboat every rifle was lifted. and from the cartilage separating his nostrils depended a big English penny. At last. Weapons were lowered. facing peril for the rest of the tribe.Chapter Two 25 into life. "I take my hat off to you." Grief said to Pankburn that night at dinner. the muzzle directed at Albright. He was lame of one leg. and as a palpable concession. and bone-tipped arrows. Since each stick cost David Grief a cent. and arrows put back in their quivers." One-Eye floundered down on deck. They'll figure the pennies as priceless possessions and the sovereigns as beneath price. grinning appeasingly and failing to hide the fear he had overcome but which still possessed him. fire-hardened spears. as they rowed back aboard." Pankburn took charge of the trading. and a few trade-knives. "They know tobacco. The more he refused. tarnished and green. Savve? Gold coins must be beneath contempt. but his nose. boys. Mr. Pankburn." VII . Each party watched the other across twenty feet of water. covered him back with the Mauser. the bargain was manifestly unfair." Grief announced. clustered on the roots that rose out of the bay. You've reversed the scale of value. bows unbent. Get the whole crew aside and lecture them that they are to be interested only in the pennies. There were wild yells of defiance." Pankburn said. You'll break out a case of tobacco. Pennies are to be the only desirable things. Albright. with a bristly face. bristled like a porcupine. The stricken fish rose to the surface or struggled half-stunned in the clear depths. and silver coins merely tolerated. I drink your health! Boy!--another cup of tea for Mr. and black and naked bodies leaped forward like apes through the mangroves. No word was spoken. The old beggar's loaded with it. paddled out alone. rested a Snider on his hip. The string of sovereigns he refused to consider. Mr. Mr. in turn.
And as the anchor broke out and the Kittiwake's head paid off in the light breeze. and he made his eyes flash covetously whenever one was produced. was something to retain and treasure. "We've got fifty cases below. containing six or seven hundred sticks. maintained it." Carlsen muttered dubiously. worth fifty times as much as a sovereign. On the morning of the eighth day no trading was done. also they will be out of tobacco by that time. "We've got just a little over eight hundred thousand. a wail of consternation arose from the canoes lying along the dead-line. hugely-satisfied. There was only a million dollars buried. as another case was sawed in half. That Ecuadoran bunch must have salted down all the coin in sight. One-Eye delivered the new rate of exchange. The gray-beards had matured their plan and were demanding twenty sticks for a penny. "It goes against the thrifty grain of my trader's soul. for they stood together debating in low voices. The white men appeared to take it with great seriousness." Grief measured the faintness and irregularity of the wind against his cheek. Here. By the end of the week the trade went slack. From dawn till dark a row of canoes rested on their paddles two hundred feet away. "Very well. "What do you say?" Pankburn nodded. Pennies were the one thing he seemed to desire.Chapter Two 26 Followed a golden week. so thirty cases ought to get it." Albright grinned. True to his theory. under the awning. in their jungle-lairs. and but one black at a time was permitted to come over the rail. Five sovereigns fetched a stick of tobacco. twenty sticks. This breeze is not dependable. daring the rifles levelled on him. Doubtless. though Pankburn continually and anxiously inquired for them. a hundred sovereigns. a crafty-eyed cannibal would deposit on the table a thousand dollars in gold." Grief said." Very few pennies and shillings appeared. with forty cents' worth of tobacco in his hand." "There's a whiff of land-breeze stirring. "And that's about all there is. while several thousand dollars in silver came in. As the foresail went up the mast. "Mr. Had One-Eye understood English he would have been enlightened." He picked up a part case of tobacco. Carlsen. Albright laughed." Grief said. we've got to allow a margin for the silver and the pennies. armed with rifles." "It would be a sin to buy pennies. Return in three months. relieving one another in hourly shifts. Thus." he said. There was only the slightest dribble of gold. the four white men carried on the trade. being of slight value. But one canoe at a time was permitted alongside. looking at Pankburn. put it in One-Eye's hands. and go back over the rail. . This was the deadline. Who could tell? Mayhap the strange white men could be made to give even twenty sticks for a priceless copper. An occasional penny was reluctantly disposed of for ten sticks. of course. and helped that bewildered savage over the rail. "and as I figure it. paddled alongside and made frantic signs of his tribe's willingness to trade pennies for ten sticks. Rapa sailors. And stand by with the whaleboats to tow. "Hope we've got enough tobacco to hold out. The rate of exchange was that established by Pankburn with One-Eye. the wise old gray-beards put their heads together and agreed to raise the price on pennies when the worthless gold was all worked off. three cases buy a hundred thousand dollars. Though. not counting the silver. heave short. and get off the gaskets. The bush tribes behind have most probably got the other two hundred thousand. must be disposed of first. A penny. old One-Eye. and the salt-water crowd will have traded back for it. the savages concluded that the gold.
where the mainsail was being winged out. beating a Rapa sailor by two jumps to the hauling part. Show cause? I'll show them cause why it should. "Come on! Swing out on that fore-boom-tackle!" Carlsen shouted from aft. reached for the two black stewards. "In the meantime I'm going to build an island schooner.Chapter Two "Boy!--a drinking nut. "It's Sydney Heads for you." He swelled his biceps proudly under the thin sleeve. and put them above his head like a pair of dumbbells. Pankburn dropped the stewards and raced for it. . I'm going to call those guardians of mine before the court to show cause why my father's money should not be turned over to me. "And then what?" 27 "I'm coming back with you for that two hundred thousand." Pankburn called." Grief said. Also." Pankburn answered.
" Grief translated the love-phrase. the mate. as he watched the wheel lashed hard down by the steersman. in the old days. wherever their tasks left them." Captain Glass remarked regretfully. at the same time stroking the teak of the rail with an affectionate hand. "It's all right. "Eh!--She's a beauty. was flower-drenched with perfume. her luffs pulsing emptily on the lift of each smooth swell. For an hour David Grief had been leaning on the rail at the lee fore-rigging. "As romantic as we whites. but never like 'this. Taute peered ahead with sudden intensity. and running arms in the Far East. with no hint of rain or squall. "Ay." Grief agreed. until the wind. gazing overside at the steady phosphorescence of her gait. Naumoo." said Taute." The Rattler slid along until the loom of the island could be seen as well as sensed. smoking and murmuring sleepy conjectures about Mataara. Even now. after forty years of driving." Brown. Aft.Chapter Three 28 Chapter Three --THE DEVILS OF FUATINO I Of his many schooners. big-chested tones of Polynesia. run off shore a mile. her big mainsail preposterously flattened down. The faint back-draught from the headsails fanned his cheek and chest with a wine of coolness. "Land. "Thirty years I know ships. the captain and mate and Grief spread their beds with similar languid unconcern. ketches and cutters that nosed about among the coral isles of the South Seas. until the sleepy roar of breakers and the blatting of goats could be heard. and about the love affair between her daughter. They lay on their blankets. said. "They're certainly a romantic lot. A stench and an abomination to government officials. David Grief loved most the Rattler--a yacht-like schooner of ninety tons with so swift a pair of heels that she had made herself famous. close-hauled. had been hove to to wait until daylight ere she attempted the perilous entrance to Fuatino. opium-smuggling from San Diego to Puget Sound. and he was in an ecstasy of appreciation of the schooner's qualities." the Kanaka answered in the rich." . she had been the joy of all sailormen. "If it wasn't a crevice. and Motuaro. On this night. raiding the seal-rookeries of Bering Sea." he said to the Kanaka lookout. skipper. It was a perfect tropic night. she was sliding an easy four knots through the water on the veriest whisper of a breeze. and the pride of the shipwrights who built her. Fuatino. Taute. she was still the same old Rattler. a beauty. I'll tell the captain. fore-reaching in the same marvellous manner that compelled sailors to see in order to believe and that punctuated many an angry discussion with words and blows on the beaches of all the ports from Valparaiso to Manila Bay. she could run the passage a night like this. Grief joined him in the gaze. On Raiatea we call her Fanauao. For'ard. the Raiatea sailors sank down to sleep on deck. "Yes." "The Dayborn. "Who named her so?" About to answer. his eyes still fixed on the spot where the star-luminous horizon was gouged by a blot of blackness. The Rattler. the Queen of Fuatino. off the land.
and Filsach is a lover. I've talked with the old men. she'd put a wreath of some kind of white flowers on his head. the whole grand body followed over the rail and noiselessly trod the deck. He knows the native. Brown. a brown hand and arm. thatched with long elfin locks. and as good a sailorman as the trade has ever seen--if he is a Dutchman. Before you could say skat. And if I catch you starting down the beach hand in hand--" His sudden cessation caused both the other men to look at him. He's responsible.Chapter Three "As romantic as Pilsach. How long ago was it. "Tell me about it. I hope he's blown that big coral patch out of the channel. "and that is going some." Grief corrected." Brown pleaded. I've a phonograph down below for him." "German." "Look here. The history of the island for the last ten thousand years is nothing but love affairs. or ever had. Is that right?" 29 "Right O. Fuatino's the island of romantic insanity. Everybody's in love with somebody. You'll see him to-morrow. or the air. "It's a faun--a sea-faun. being joined from overside by a second brown hand and arm." Brown urged." Grief laughed. They've got three kiddies now--wonderful little rascals. and in five minutes they were off down the beach. "The sea was robbed of a good man that night he went ashore and Notutu took one look at him. I looked him up next day. I reckon they looked good to each other. or the sea. They live on love. and about a million records. I told him I'd see him damned first." "It's the Goat Man. too--one of the best traders I've got. a white savage. I always start a sheet or two of copper warping past. "What else could I do? Fuatino is a love island. I know. Told me to send his things ashore. Never came on board again. and. "My God!" Brown breathed." "Go on with the story. "He's in love with his wife--the little hussy! Stole him from me." Captain Glass grunted resentfully. They followed his gaze. who might have been other things than the mate of an island schooner. All that he had ever gleaned from the books . He was finished right there. young man. muscular and wet. A head followed. like a couple of kids." was the retort. "They say he's never left Fuatino since. It's in the milk of the cocoa-nuts. holding hands and laughing. You'll see her to-morrow. His name is mine. barelegged. Found him in a straw house in the bush. with roguish black eyes. which passed across them to the main rigging. on board you stay. all mixed up with flowers and things and playing a guitar. "It's all the same." Broad brown shoulders and a magnificent chest rose above the rail." "And then you made him trader?" the mate inquired of Grief. Got married that night. And that's all. lined with the marks of wildwood's laughter. that he jumped you?" "Eleven years." said Glass." said Grief. with what seemed effortless ease. "It is Mauriri. "He is my own blood brother by sacred plight of native custom. "Are you romantic? Because if you are." the captain rumbled. and saw what he saw. Captain." Captain Glass rumbled threateningly at his mate. and mine is his. and then a face. Looked like a bally ass. "That's all. was enchanted.
They have blue eyes like you. Big Brother. and if we complain they kill us. and have run to live with the goats. It was because of this that Pilsach was killed. and taro. We cannot fight. Tori is dead. From the Big Rock I saw her topsails above the sea. And the men will not go out and fish. The women talk a language in many ways like ours. She towed in with her boats. But he is now dead. till Mataara forgave. but by his own. There are two chief men. and Pilsach. "But a sad faun. There are eight white men on board. Great is our trouble. and I will go back . We do not know. And thereafter. Listen. In the end they ran to live with the goats. "Mauriri. "They talk French. and she pounded many times." Grief said. But there is not food for all in the high mountains. for there was a mate on your schooner who talked French long ago. in the custom of men who have pledged blood brotherhood. She is an old woman. of which I have been made keeper." said Mauriri. And we are ready to fight. not by the other's name. and others. for we have no guns--only two or three old guns. Him the chief of the two chief men. as the other sat and streamed water on the deck. Big Brother. Great trouble has come upon us. "I have sat on the Big Rock." "And the men?" Grief interrupted. I know. and twice when he tried to crawl up the sand of the beach. "Has there been a sickness?" "There has been much killing. But we can understand. Thus was killed Motuaro. Also. Big Brother. and Petoo. and they are devils. shot once in his whaleboat. and Notutu now sits in the house and cries without end. The other six are also devils. and she is sad. who made defence of Naumoo. where the dynamite is kept. Mataara has cried these many days for your coming. and Tati-Tori. Big Brother. I knew you waited till morning. only different. Three weeks ago a strange schooner came. and the guns. but they did not warp by the big patch. and much ammunition. and they work no more in the gardens because of the devils who take all they have. "David. Thus was killed Tori. and Brown could only sit and guess. They have women from some island far to the east. Many of the people are afraid. but they sing and dance and are happy." was the young man's judgment. and breadfruit. The strange white men do not know you are come. They do not pay us for our yams. Pilsach was a brave man. I sent word before I swam out to you. as the golden-brown woods god strode forward to where David Grief sat up with outstretched hand. "Yes. and the men are waiting. and Motauri is dead. after he had shaken his head and sighed by the custom. Give me a boat. each called the other. She is now on the beach.Chapter Three 30 proclaimed indubitably the faun-likeness of this visitant of the deep. whom they have now taken on board their schooner. and Tati-Tori." said David Grief. and I followed. "A long swim to say talofa. and Naumoo soon will die. "They ill-treat our women. "Many days and nights have I watched for your coming. and Petoo. I saw you come up to the entrance and run back into darkness. too!" Grief exclaimed. where they are strengthening the broken timbers. the Big Devil. and they do not look like the others. and Nari. when they returned to live with her in the Big House." Mauriri replied." "Pilsach." "Did he marry Naumoo?" Grief asked. They say they were stolen by the men on the schooner. One is a bigger devil than the other. they talked in the Polynesian tongue of Fuatino. and others. we need guns. "Big Brother. They take everything from us.
and Bougainville. Send the young man there with the boat. They must be killed. It is only when they see your schooner come that they will be alarmed. thrust upward from the sea-bottom by some primordial cataclysm. His eyes were setting in a glassy bulge. each almost broken off from the mainland and connected with it by a low and narrow peninsula. It always hits me hard. Mr." he said. sea-swimming faun. his teeth clicking in the spasms of chill. Inhabited by a stock kindred to the Hawaiian. his face was purpling and mottling as if attacked by some monstrous inflammation or decay. twisted into this reef. "It's coming. I know the damned thing to the last minute it runs its course. in the Carolines. took his place in the sternsheets of a whaleboat." He had talked rapidly. which had been invaded by twentieth century pirates. "You must be with the schooner. Thus. II If a line be drawn between Jaluit. Captain Glass. rowed by four Baiatea sailors. And into the opening at the heel the Rattler steered. Fuatino was nothing else than an ancient crater. Grief. "And a couple more and I'll be all right. Mr. The same whisper of a breeze held." "I will go in the boat with you. the high island of Fuatino will be raised in that sun-washed stretch of lonely sea. which was spread on top the cabin. The heels of the horseshoe island were two huge mountains of rock a thousand feet high. You'll have to con the schooner in. that I think you can pass the big patch without warping. straightened up with an expression on his face that was half alarm. thrilling with all the romance and adventure he had read and guessed and never lived. his hands shaking. the Tahitian. loaded with rifles and cartridges. in the Solomons. and they will not know. two miles to the east and in direct line with the rising sun. which constituted the harbour. Grief. Boy! Get my bunk ready! Plenty of blankets! Fill that hot-water bottle! It's so calm. you have ever been of the blood with us. When he stumbled toward the companionway. and the Maori. Big Brother. as his reeling brain battled with the rising shock of the malarial stroke.Chapter Three before the sun. the heel pointing to the west. and the Rattler slid through the smooth sea at a rate that would have been eminently proper for an island schooner had the breeze been thrice as strong. And it was Fuatino that David Grief raised next morning. was the entrance to the crater itself. "Two hours to get the sweat." So it was that Brown. in the Marshall Group. In five minutes I'll be off my head. "Fever. and the men and women have prayed to many gods for your coming. and directed through the warm tropic darkness toward the half-mythical love island of Fuatino. We will have the guns. binoculars in hand and peering at the chart made by himself. broken and crumbled to sea level." he chattered with a ghastly grin. Fuatino was like a rugged horseshoe. steered by a golden-brown. She's the only craft in the South Pacific that can do it. and if this line be bisected at two degrees south of the equator by a line drawn from Ukuor. almost like a drunken man. And you are come. The strange white men will fear the schooner. The passage. You can scrape the Big Rock by just watching out for the main boom." Grief said. Take the leading wind and shoot her." was Mauriri's reply. the Samoan. Y-y-you t-t-take ch-ch-ch-ch----" His voice faded away in a weak stutter as he collapsed down into the cabin and his employer took charge. and I know you know the trick. which Captain Glass had called a crevice. The western portion. It wasn't due till to-morrow. half resignation. not us. all but blocked by a reef of coral extending across from the south heel. Big Brother. curved directly to . Between the heels was a half-mile stretch. The Rattler was just entering the passage. Fuatino becomes the apex of the wedge driven by Polynesia far to the west and in between Melanesia and Micronesia. And when you come to-morrow we will be ready for the word from you to kill the strange white men. 31 "No.
As the chain roared and surged through the hawse-pipe he noticed a number of native women. climbing vines and trees--a green foam of vegetation. The crests of the walls were saw-toothed. As it was. vagrant airs. and taking advantage of a fan of breeze." he said weakly. Thin streams of water. While the sails were furled and gasketed. drop to the sand. In the hot blaze of tropic sun the place slept. on the north shore. long years before." Grief took the steering-sweep. David Grief paced the deck and looked vainly for a flutter of life elsewhere than on the strange schooner. peering down on the starboard side. "Huahine. on even keel. There were no further shots. On the beach. capped and halo'd with captive trade-wind clouds. and they. "Talofa!" he called. could see bottom less than two fathoms beneath and shoaling steeply. the warm." the captain warned him. where the fringe of cocoanut palms concealed the village. from which the verdure-clad slopes rose swiftly to the frowning crater walls." "It's a tough bunch. Also. 32 The harbour of Fuatino opened before him. At the end of another hour Captain Glass. Calling the whale-boat on board. moist air was heavy with the perfume of the yellow-blossomed cassi. and ran along the base of the perpendicular rock. Grief asked them whence they came. With a whaleboat towing for steerage and as a precaution against back-draughts from the cliff. the Rattler worked in. he heard the distant crack of a rifle in the direction of the Big Rock. They understood the greeting. Nothing moved on board of her or around her. beyond any doubt. He waved his hand tentatively. At this point. "If you're not back in an hour. Grief searched out the shore with his binoculars. and he thought of it as some hunter shooting a wild goat. and dive into the green screen of bush. he had sounded three hundred fathoms without reaching bottom. waved back. "Very well. send word off. keep your eyes open. flower-crowned. under a mountain of blankets. awnings stretched. but so softly as not to start the copper. swayed and undulated downward in sheer descents of hundreds of feet. with the main-boom almost grazing the rock on the port side." one of his sailors unhesitatingly named their island. "The place is dead. he saw from the galley the squat figure of a man steal for'ard. and four of his Raiatea men bent to the oars." and he knew they came from the Society Group. and with . "I'll be all right in half an hour. Not until the beach lay fifty yards away did Grief let go the anchor in forty fathoms. "Iorana. and I'm going ashore to see Mataara and find out the situation. Fanning along against light. he shook the Rattler full into it and glided by the big coral patch without warping. five miles in diameter. There was no sign of welcome. lusciously large as only those of Polynesia are. And to complete the magic of the place. stream out on the deck of the schooner on the beach. There was no life. he could see the black bows of the canoes in the canoe-houses. rested the strange schooner. after giggling. and sheets and tackles coiled harbour fashion. As they landed on the beach he looked curiously at the women under the schooner's awning." Grief answered. volcanic peaks. rimmed with white coral beaches. had ceased shivering and was in the inferno of a profound sweat. It was a circular sheet of water. that were mere films of mist. which was to be expected of a healthy crater-pit like Fuatino. Every nook and crevice of the disintegrating lava gave foothold to creeping. and what they did not see. Up the beach. Grief.Chapter Three the north heel. Once. but replied. he just scraped. in flowing ahu's. Out in the middle.
in Tahitian. Those men are devils." An army of hermit crabs scuttled and rustled away before him as he advanced up the beach. All was desolation and disarray. don't start a row. "I know you! Save me!" And thereat he broke into a wild outpour of incoherence that did not cease until Grief seized him by the shoulders and shook him into silence. And there is no one to open for you even a drinking cocoa-nut. in English. blind. his hand flashing to his waist and back again." "It looks like old Dupuy's schooner. prodigiously wrinkled. "I know you. his mouth writhing in a fearful struggle with its defect. save me!" the man yammered. eh? Isn't it the Valetta?" As the men climbed out and lifted the whale-boat slightly up the beach they stole careless glances at the vessel. Everybody called you 'Hare-Lip. Mataara. "You were cook in the French Hotel at Papeete two years ago. What do you think. your white brothers be devils. He did not pull the trigger. I saw you at Lavina's. My people have fled and are starving with the goats. crouched and rocking back and forth. Once he came upon an old man. He recognized the creature as the one he had seen steal from the Valetta and dive into the bush. In the doorway. They killed Captain ." Taute said." "They are no brothers of mine. I saw you at the hotel. "They are robbers and pigs. Industry and tidiness had vanished. O Brother. the big Colt's levelled at the figure of a man. I saw you at the Mariposa wharf. and I shall clean the island of them----" He broke off to whirl half around. toothless. but under the palms no pigs rooted and grunted. There were no flower-crowned men and maidens." Grief said. "She carried her topmast away seven years ago. "Save me. as he finally approached the Big House. speaking in a low voice. "And so they have taken Naumoo. And if any of the white men show up. The cocoanuts lay where they had fallen. bent double. and you will save me. Grass house after grass house he found deserted. master. At Papeete they rigged a new one." he spat and spluttered. It was as if the place had been struck with the plague. You can almost see Huahine from Raiatea. and you'll be sure to know some of them. "I am now cook of the Valetta. Find out all you can. You are Captain Grief. was Grief's thought. I saw you on the Kittiwake." Grief said. "Motauri is dead. you boys. and at the copra-sheds there were no signs of curing. sat Mataara. She wept afresh at sight of him." Grief consoled. It was ten feet shorter. nor did the man pause till he had flung himself headlong at Grief's feet and begun to pour forth a stream of uncouth and awful noises." 33 "Go over and talk with the women. but not until he raised him up and watched the contortions of the hare-lipped mouth could he understand what he uttered. the old queen. "Don't look too hard. though he was unmistakably a South Sea native. who sat in the shade and babbled with fear when he spoke to him. "Huahine.Chapter Three giggles and laughter they replied. "I know you. "It is the Valetta. that rushed at him from out of the trees." she finished. no brown babies rolling in the shade of the avocado trees. divided between the tale of her woe and regret that no follower was left to dispense to him her hospitality. That is the one.'" The man nodded violently.
"On the Big Rock. Up the path. Big Brother. and through high thickets of cassi and swarms of great golden wasps the way rose steeply until it became a goat-track. for there are rocks we roll down on their heads. Nor was Hare-Lip struck. Bullets smacked about him. "Big Brother. They have taken your schooner--that I saw. and pitched upward. swung to the right. "The white devils never dare it. But you they will kill. Me they made kill half the crew. He sprang into the blaze of sunlight. Mauriri indicated the trail across its face. I tell you true. "I was too late. The devils want sailors. and stole two women there. He knew when to fight and when to run. The rifle-firing ceased as abruptly as it had begun. "They are with the women on the strange schooner. in a cracked tenor voice. still spluttering and spitting his tale of the white devils' doings. Come!" III Careless of his own life and skin. They killed the trader at Vanikori. but Grief ran on. Come! For now they will seek for you. past the old men sitting in the shade. and that this was the time for running he had no doubt. They will not be killed. and puffs of stone-dust flew out. he followed at the heels of Mauriri. until. At his own heels. From behind came the cries of the hunters. "Wait. I will tell you afterward. came a French hunting song. in a turn of the path. Two they shot from the cross-trees. nevertheless David Grief was possessed of no false hardihood. The rest they shot in the water. The last grass house was left. Come now!" "But my men in the whaleboat?" Mauriri was in an agony of apprehension. The broad path narrowed. They stole the girls from Huahine. but he won safely across. "They are landing on the beach. "Where is Brown?" Grief demanded. and so near did one bullet come that the dust of its impact stung his cheek." He started back up the path away from the beach. and from below several rifles pumped rapidly. Hare-Lip followed. Grief followed. Listen!" From the water. They robbed the traders in the New Hebrides. They----" But Grief no longer heard. Pointing upward to a bare shoulder of volcanic rock. Through the trees. from the direction of the harbour. "Past that we are safe. doglike. come quickly." he said." the Goat Man panted. perplexed by ominous conjectures. They added to their strength with jail-men from Noumea. he encountered Mauriri running toward him from the beach. I knew them all. They have taken your schooner. past Mataara crouched in the doorway of the Big House. Pirates from Tahiti and convicts from New Caledonia! A pretty bunch of desperadoes that even now was attacking his schooner. came a rattle of rifles." Mauriri cautioned.Chapter Three 34 Dupuy. Always do they stop here and shoot when we cross the rock. Come!" A quarter of an hour later they paused where the trail went naked on the face of the rock. and when you come. though he essayed the passage . plodded Hare-Lip. and there is no other path. but the pace Mauriri led them was heartbreaking. and he started on the run for the beach.
Always do they have their rifles with them. He was the one living witness and knew they would have killed him had he not been the cook. Then the bodies of Dupuy and Pierre Gollard were thrown overboard. The Tahitian sailors fled to the forecastle. Frans Amundson. but you were already ashore. For the rest of the day. "Of all nights this one night was selected by the white devils to go fishing. Brown was very brave. On his last cruise he had shipped two strangers in Tahiti as mate and supercargo. and through the morning they hunted me there in the low-lying land." "Now you. for he was one of them. picking up shell and pearls at Dupuy's stations. for I crept through the bush to gain the water and swim to you. Also. The Valetta cruised through the Low Islands. relieved Pierre Gollard at Fanriki. they went back to Fanrika and took on Frans Amundson. The others went overboard to swim." Hare-Lip explained." Mauriri said. "He had a rifle pointed at me. The first night out from Fanriki there was shooting in the cabin. and the two devils. but they headed us off." "You fired that shot?" "Yes. It was dark as we came through the passage. For a year he had been sailing out of Tahiti and through the Paumotus on the Valetta. For two days. only. I. Pierre Gollard came on board to go back to Tahiti. another stranger he carried to be his agent on Fanriki. with the breeze. But they were wise and would not shoot back. We tried to get by to the top of the bay. with nothing to eat and the Valetta hove to. to warn you. "It was ill luck. and we were driven in between the Big Rock and the village. but they got the boat. Then Raoul Van Asveld put poison in the meal he made Hare-Lip cook and carry for'ard. and Grief was the first outsider to whom he had spoken. two went up the rigging and were shot. Raoul Van Asveld and Carl Lepsius were the names of the mate and supercargo. And this I forgot. One Raiatea man they shot. "Of the rest. what could I do?" Hare-Lip whimpered." Then followed Hare-Lip's nightmare experiences as the schooner wandered on the long reaches to the westward. Only the goats and I know the way. Hare-Lip?" Grief said to the Valetta's cook. 35 "They knew not the way. and they watched till you went ashore." "But why didn't he go over the top of the Big Rock and give me warning as I came in from the sea?" Grief criticised. for me they wanted to cook for them. "They are brothers. and it was my last cartridge. And here Grief made his plans and learned the fulness of the situation. when they thought no one listened. His tale was long and painfully detailed. But the devils were in the bush shooting at Brown and the Raiatea men. and me they hunted till daylight. Brown is now on this side of the Big Rock with the guns and the ammunition. I know. They were in boats and canoes. Old Dupuy was owner and captain. Fanriki was ten miles away. . they remained below. Hare-Lip was never permitted ashore at any of the islands. The natives of Fanriki said he had a quart of pearls to turn over to Dupuy. That day. master.Chapter Three more slowly. lived. on deck. for I have heard them talk in the dark. Half the sailors died. We saved the guns and all the ammunition. they lay in a lava glen where terraced taro and papaia grew. They were shot as they swam. on the greater heights. At Noumea five convicts had joined them. the third stranger. Then you came in your schooner. and I got away through the bush. Thus they learned of your coming.
Laughter and song followed on board after the hymn. he marvelled that he was able to do it in the broad light of day. Mauriri. then rested his cheek on his arm and slept." Hare-Lip spluttered. can go over the Big Rock in the night. that he leaned forward. Despite the accustomed nerve of a sailor for height and precarious clinging. "It will be a long swim to-night." Mauriri whispered. and I will stay with you. then the phonograph started again. softened by distance. "Even you. and die with you. above half a thousand feet of yawning emptiness and down a fathom's length to a meagre foothold. At the end of another hour they swam under the frowning loom of the Big Rock. until his outstretched hands struck a grip on the opposing wall and his legs could then be drawn across after. and I only. without splash. where all hand-holds . Listen!" Half a dozen rifle shots. Put out your hand. "Stay here. In the morning I shall return. Mauriri in the lead. Once. Mauriri laughed in the darkness. "I go to Brown. led the landing in a crevice. cannot do this thing. master. came a gospel hymn played on the phonograph intended for Pilsach. "Lie here and rest. Above was the sky of faintly luminous star-dust. I go now." Mauriri whispered. I will take him now to the higher places where my brothers live with the goats. David Grief planned his campaign. up which for a hundred feet they climbed to a narrow ledge. feeling his way." And high above the sounding surf." "I will go with you." floated out over the dark water. of all Fuatino. You feel it? That is where Pilsach's dynamite is kept. Kindly Light. And he. Furthermore. at irregular intervals. always under minute direction of Mauriri. David Grief understood why he could not have done it in the night. across hundred-foot-deep crevices. In the morning. "for they will know I have told you. despite his cool head. when Mauriri led him over the summit of the Big Rock." The Goat Man shook his head and stood up." said Mauriri. Ahead they could see the light which marked the Rattler. Grief grinned to himself at the appositeness of it as "Lead." he said to Grief. The black walls of the crater rose about them till it seemed they swam on the bottom of a great bowl. There were places. falling. 36 From the lava glen they had descended to the head of the bay and taken to the water. They swam softly. As for this cook-man. I am the Goat Man." Grief said. Brother.Chapter Three "And now they will kill me. Lie close beside the wall and you may sleep without falling. there was a ten-foot leap. it will be the first time that even I have done it. The two swimmers bore to the left. a scant twelve inches wide. "The devils are holding the low land. attested that Brown still held the Rock and that the pirates had invested the narrow peninsula. Yet am I not all a coward. "We must take the passage and land on the Big Rock. and from her deck. away from the captured schooner. lost it another time on a shelf." IV "It is well that you swim as a man should. Big Brother. Big Brother. on a narrow shelf beside a ton of dynamite.
and forever after. it guarded the passage to open sea. The Goat Man held a rifle on him and waited a chance. The Goat Man fired. that he fully knew why Mauriri had been named the Goat Man. at the same time striking him sharply on the back to brace his reeling brain. and bullets spatted against the rock. swung his own body far out and over the gulf and passed him. Raoul Van Asveld. The two schooners." It was half a minute before the explosion came. Then it was. He is a terrible man. which he had removed higher up the rock. And Mauriri." For'ard." he answered." Grief warned. or I'll blow your schooner up. Climbing on board the Rattler were the men and the Huahine women who . were several of Grief's own Raiatea sailors. Grief. for some little time. fanned by a couple of bullets. It was the face of a killer. and in his burned blond face a fighting eagerness. Mauriri shook his head. and Mauriri called down in the native tongue to the woman. For protection he held Naumoo. rifles cracked. Impregnable to assault. "I'll know better next time. close astern. but splintered the corner of the galley. was master. The man startled. The pirates were below. Their rifles were beside them. As the whaleboat came beneath. the whaleboat towing her manned by captured Fuatino men. The dynamite struck the deck in a compact package. amidships. V The defence of the Big Rock had its good points and its defects. and the two on the rock crouched low for shelter and waited. her port deck and rail torn away. What happened afterward. saw her jerk away from the man. or on the other schooner. they could not tell. The Valetta. when the schooners attempted to put to sea. and rolled into the port scupper. The Valetta led. When directly beneath. and his cutthroat following were bottled up. for the Rattler's marksmen had got the range and were maintaining a steady fire. See! He holds Naumoo that we may not shoot him. and dropped the dynamite." From the Rattler. three hundred feet above. We cannot shoot. the Queen's daughter. Van Asveld saw it and hesitated. "Tell Naumoo to break away from him and run aft. "The fuse was too long. seeing him sway. "Yes. bounded. sprang into view on the face of the rock. There was something quick and catlike in his movements. and the schooner's progress was slow. rifle in hand. Grief. "and his eyes are blue like yours. He blew on the fire-stick and whispered. Grief risked a peep. and looked up. Aft stood another at the wheel.Chapter Three 37 seemed to fail him. On the instant Grief touched the fire-stick to the match-head in the split end of the short fuse. with the exception of one who stood. This he demonstrated." he said. also a glowing fire-stick and a big bundle of dynamite sticks with fuses and decanators attached. watching. one morning. but Grief held him back. Mauriri tried to see what was happening below. "They are our brothers. Van Asveld laughed defiantly. "What do you want?" "Turn back." A light air and a slight tide were making into the passage. close to him." Mauriri whispered. The spattering of bullets from the Rattler increased. "Do you speak English?" Grief called down. Once. with the ton of dynamite. Grief and the Goat Man peered straight down from a safe rock-shelter. two men could hold it against ten thousand. Van Asveld had managed to catch the girl and was struggling with her. "That is the chief devil. then he and the girl ran aft for their lives. half lifted his rifle to the perpendicular. on the Valetta. was listing and sinking as she drifted back into the harbour. Also.
to-night you and I will get water." said Mauriri. the rock-basins would fill. There was neither food nor water. he led Grief down to the water from the peninsula side of the Big Rock. while the wind and tide carried the schooner farther in. "and hold the calabashes. and vanish. The bullets ceased coming. and sometimes they saw the flare of matches as the men in the guarding boats lighted cigarettes or pipes. VI The defects of the position on the Big Rock were vital. dashed back through the passage." Turning over. Mauriri swam to the head of the bay for supplies. "On the bottom?" "No. And at the same time. The bottom is as far below as the mountains are above. they could hear the occasional click of an oar or the knock of a paddle against a canoe. "Big Brother. Beyond." whispered Mauriri. It was their first twenty-four hours without water. "Here! Drink!" The calabash was full. A long minute afterward Mauriri broke surface noiselessly at Grief's side. 38 From the shore of the peninsula the discharges of four rifles announced that Brown and his men had worked through the jungle to the beach and were taking a hand. who was getting all the adventure he had been led to believe resided in the South Seas. preventing Brown from getting away to the main part of the island. But they could do no damage. For several nights. each of quart capacity and tightly stoppered. And for the rest of the morning the intermittent shooting told to Grief how Brown was being driven in to the other side of the Big Rock. After that the water-side of the Big Rock was invested as well. accompanied by one of the Raiatea men. Grief. with the exception of the loss of the Valetta. dispatching half his cutthroats in the Rattler's boat. and Grief drank sweet fresh water which had come up from the depths of the salt. which had sunk in the deep water of the crater. "Wait here. "It's a funny situation. "It flows out from the land. for the men of the Rattler were firing from the shelter of the deck-houses." said Mauriri. "We've got hold and can't let go. he swam down." . It is the work of strong men. The Fuatino men who had been towing in the whaleboat had cast off the line. There was no sign of the Valetta. Then came the night when lights flared on the water and shots were fired. Two things Raoul Van Asveld did that showed his keenness and coolness and that elicited Grief's admiration. Under the Rattler's rifle fire Raoul compelled the fleeing Fuatino men to come in and surrender. The situation was unchanged. Fifty feet down it flows. and we're liable to starve to death holding him. and were rowing wildly for the south shore." That night. face downward." "If the rain came." Brown remarked. Swim down until you feel its coolness. with cocoanut calabashes. They swam out not more than a hundred feet.Chapter Three had been hidden in the Valetta's cabin and who had swum for it under the protecting fire. and dim. He can't get away. he threw them ashore and across the peninsula. and Raoul has hold and can't let go. and Grief and Mauriri joined in with their rifles. watched his phosphorescent track glimmer.
and a pint a day. But when the voices of the Trinity Choir floated over the water he was beside himself. they went down through the salt. cursed. Nothing grew on the Rock. as the sweet water gurgled into it. suddenly. Of food they had little. hungry and thirsty. subterranean stream. "Pooh!" was the answer." Grief said. Then. they succeeded in hooking a shark. you will go with Tehaa. There were six of them on the Rock. and filled them. and the swollen tongue finds the mouth too small for residence. Thereafter. invoked the deities of their old heathen days. We of Fuatino are brothers to the fish sharks. but at last. Especially he cursed the phonograph that in the cool twilights ground out gospel hymns from the deck of the Rattler. Here and there. He swam back alone. Once. Big Brother. and the hulas and himines of the Huahine women. The tiger sharks had arrived in the harbour. Brother. it perceptibly chilled and tasted brackish. one by one. with protruding blackened tongue. wild-eyed. they managed on occasion to catch more sharks." Three quarts only did Grief get. with a piece of frigate bird. like a sea ghost. could lie among the rocks with equanimity and listen to the tinkling of ukuleles and guitars. The next night Mauriri and Tehaa returned with no water. But Brown. drift sluggishly by. his body entered the cold. and Grief. holding the growing weight of the calabashes. "Tonight I shall go after water with Mautau. And the day following Brown learned the full connotation of thirst. with jealously guarded shark-meat for bait. After that. for it was played most of all. "There are sharks. Sometimes frigate birds and other sea birds were snared. as they swam back to shore. he saw the phosphorescent glimmer of a big fish. The next day they thirsted on the Big Rock. but without relinquishing the precious burden of full calabashes. "They are fish sharks. "We must take our chance. Grief turned over and went down through the water. when the tiger sharks appeared and drove them in. Taute prayed to the Missionary God. deep down. "Beyond the Smiling and the Weeping. the mouth is coated with granular slime. One hymn in particular. He removed the small stopper from the calabash. One evening the cracked tenor took up the song with the machine: . saw the glimmer of sea-ghosts and all the phosphorescent display of the struggle." said Grief. Grief grinned and considered. drinking their fill while the calabashes were filling. in the sweltering heat of the mid-tropics. But water remained their direst need." "When they come. Grief swam out in the darkness with Mautau. Salt it was to his lips. Turn by turn. It seemed a favourite on board the schooner. backsliding. a few rank shellfish and sea urchins were gleaned.Chapter Three 39 Several times filling and emptying his lungs in diver fashion. and his two fellow islanders. we will have no more water to drink--unless it rains. when the lips crack to bleeding. Brown. Tomorrow night. is not sufficient moisture for a man's body. and. where crevices permitted. half out of his head from weakness and suffering. Mauriri prayed to the Goat God for rain. he remained on the surface." "But the tiger sharks? I have seen them here. while Mauriri took them down. covered with shellfish at sea level where the surf thundered in. It was Mau-tau's turn to descend with the last calabash." drove him to madness. to the cool sweet stream. and its sides. were too precipitous for access. and warm to his flesh." VII A week later Mauriri and a Raiatea man swam back with empty calabashes. peering down from the surface.
" And. Tehaa had caught a shark." Grief said.Chapter Three "Beyond the smiling and the weeping. Brother. Grief arose as Raoul Van Asveld. and from the peninsula came a splattering of return bullets. but the cracked tenor sang on. he emptied his rifle at the schooner. "But I know what the brute is after. Big Brother. still broiling meat. Big Brother." "I wish I'd never heard of you. in the darkness they had made two successful swims for water before the tiger sharks had nosed them out. before I knew who it was." the Goat Man protested. when the Big Devil comes. until the hymn was played out. cook the squid. and Mauriri had captured a fair-sized octopus at the base of the crevice where the dynamite was stored. Beyond the sowing and the reaping. followed by a large Irish terrier. A patch of skin six inches long was missing from Grief's shoulder in token of the scrape of the sandpaper hide of a shark whose dash he had eluded. The last twenty-four hours had been lucky. Tehaa. 40 It was that night that Grief and Mauriri came back with but one calabash of water." . cook those sea urchins." Grief answered. Spare nothing. "Said he'd like to come in and talk with you." "Still it is our way. a beast and a devil. Grief was squatted over a small fire. blindly." "It is a foolish way." Then it was that Brown rose up. Look as if you and hunger were strangers. Again and again. you. VIII In the early morning of another day. turning the strip of shark-meat over on the coals and noting the hungry sniff and look of Tehaa. strode into camp." was the response. It is our way not to break our word." the Goat Man cried joyously. I shall be soon. Beyond the waking and the sleeping. "I've heard of you. "At first. "Same here. Laughter floated up from the men and women. and Brown continued to fire. Cook all. We will have the Big Devil to feast with us." Grief answered gravely. "And then we will kill him. Seaweed and sea urchins had been gathered." Brown said. I shall be soon. Raoul did not make the mistake of holding out his hand. "He must not be killed." "Bring him in. "Don't do that. and you. I shall be soon. Brown brought the word in from the outpost among the rocks a hundred yards away. too. "But he is a killer of men. broiling a strip of shark-flesh. came an offer of a parley from Raoul Van Asveld. Here. Grief shook his head. I thought I had to deal with an ordinary trading captain. Wants to see how near starved to death we are. Then. "Hello!" he said. That's why you've got me bottled up. before the sun-blaze had gained its full strength.
and not for a really intelligent pirate and murderer. slender. now I could make a hearty meal off of them. but this muck----" He took a half-pound strip of broiled shark and flung it to the dog. and tossed the scraps to the dog. The eyes were keen and strong. "Go ahead with your meal. "The dog is thirsty. "I came to offer terms. the loss of my schooner." "Won't you join us?" was Grief's invitation." he said. but he contained himself. and another calabash was presented to the animal. "I suppose I'll come to it if you don't surrender pretty soon. "I'm afraid I haven't got down to the primitive diet yet. and did not try to catch any." Raoul flushed angrily under his sunburn. but a bit too close together--not pinched. Tehaa. the strong chin and jaw. "Sorry we have no coffee. "As it is. Grief nodded." Raoul said. Strength! His face was filled with it. sitting down. ." Raoul remarked sen-tentiously." "It all comes to dust. "I took you for a thieving beachcomber. I'm sorry we haven't any frigate bird. "Can I wash?" Grief nodded and ordered Mauriri to bring a calabash. "We are both strong men. and yet Grief sensed in it the intangible something the man lacked. Hence. Grief ate perfunctorily. with a bow. however." It was Grief's turn to bow. His was a tall.Chapter Three 41 "And I am ashamed to say that I underrated you. and sea urchins and a seaweed salad. then accepted. The other looked at him with sharp steadiness." Grief smiled. as he sat back. but saw nothing save languid uninterest as the precious quart of water was wasted on the ground. and the cheekbones wide apart. well-knit figure. estimated his character from his face." Grief apologized. on that score. Don't let me interrupt. Honours are even. A calabash. There is squid to follow." he said pointedly." With an appetite that would not have stopped at wire nails dipped in lard. and Grief. Again Raoul searched the eyes of the natives and learned nothing. I fancy. Try some of this shark. "You'll have to drink plain water. The boys were lazy yesterday. we are squalidly scrapping over the enforcement of the colonial laws of those empires whose destinies we might possibly have determined a hundred years ago. but just a trifle near to balance the broad forehead." Raoul said." he sighed. Raoul looked into the Goat Man's eyes. "I'm sticky with sweat. though he concealed the incredulous surprise he felt. studying him. "The tinned goods on the Rattler. "We might have been fighting for empires a hundred years ago. His eyes roved over the supply of food and the full water-calabashes." Raoul laughed unpleasantly.
But you are a--how shall I say?--a sort of an anachronism. his arm in a sling. stood another. and dawn found him in a rock-barricaded nook. Personally. As before. as before. making for the passage." Grief said. well-lashed together and with extremely short fuses. will not stay long in Fuatino." "You think you can hold me in this hole!" Raoul cried." Tehaa. Be not afraid. with slack. without ceasing." The parley. I would advise you to go back to the schooner and blow your brains out. will sleep with us if he can dare the Rock. tied waist to waist. stood a desperado whom Mauriri announced was Raoul's brother. and he went back into his own lines convinced that the men on the Big Rock could hold out for years. Even to-morrow may he try to leave. was Captain Glass. where Brown and his two Raiateans signalled the retreat and followed the besiegers through the jungle to the beach. moving slowly. The rowers. and with him. I've got you where the hair is short. except in double irons. "I've handled your kind before. slacked on their oars. was cragsman enough to venture the perilous way. Amidships. though he would have been swiftly unconvinced could he have observed Tehaa and the Raiateans. jerk by jerk. His knife is ready with which to cut the rope. You're a throwback. and we've got to get rid of you. For'ard. among the Raiatean sailors. and I'm not going to let go. the captive Fuatino men towed in the whaleboat. the moment his back was turned and he was out of sight. "but it is better than to hunger for many days to come. when the Rattler appeared. "Throw. We've pretty well cleaned it out of the South Seas. "And yet I warned you that only in double irons would you leave the island. On the other side of the helmsman. lashed waist to waist. Attached to him." was the answer. It is the only way to escape what you've got coming to you. the old Queen. and were immediately threatened with the rifle of the man who stood for'ard. called down instructions to them as they passed slowly beneath. Big Brother!" Naumoo called up in the Fuatino tongue.Chapter Three Grief shook his head. The deck of the Rattler was populous. proved fruitless. was almost directly beneath." Grief surveyed his guest with an air of consideration." Grief murmured down with a sad inflection. The Big Devil. after feasting and drinking good water with us in plenty. Big Brother. who shoots well. "I am filled with sorrow and am willed to die. was Mataara. alone among the Raiateans. . as the men pulled in the whaleboat. and Tehaa. The schooner." Raoul called up. "You can't kill all your people I have on board. Mister David Grief. rifle in hand. Brother. under direction of Grief. To-night you and I sleep over the top of the Rock. was Naumoo. By Grief's side lay several bundles of dynamite sticks. a hundred yards to the right of Grief and Mauriri. Mauriri. so far as Raoul was concerned. "There aren't any terms. The first warning was the firing of rifles from the peninsula. IX "We hunger now. but I shall hold him tight. by the helmsman. was Raoul. Aft. Throw. crawling over the rocks and sucking and crunching the scraps his dog had left uneaten. From the eyrie on the face of the rock Grief could see nothing for another hour. "Good morning. 42 "You'll never leave it alive.
Shut up. Looking down. The rifle dropped from the man's hand. pulled trigger on him. big and brawny. This time the fuse was short enough. along with Raoul. "Port! Hard a port!" Grief cried. Grief. but an islander. In turn. Captain Glass met the first man springing up the com-panionway from the cabin. and held him up as she struck out for the unsubmerged cross-trees. a fathom deep. and they saw the body of one man sink sluggishly." Grief hesitated. Big Brother. who could not swim. But to the Raiatean sailors." Captain Glass rumbled in his deep voice. but was overborne and trampled on by the rush. turned over. being missed by the fusillade of quick shots from Tehaa and the Goat Man. old woman that she was. Grief. they singled out the blond heads and the brown. Captain Glass and the Kanaka whirled the wheel over. when Tehaa. Her cross-trees still stuck out when she reached bottom. Swimming swiftly." Raoul cried up to them. unfasten herself from the dead pirate and swim upward. forever disappeared. was successful. we'll kill all on board." The desperado who was fastened to the old Queen swung half about to menace Captain Glass with his rifle. For'ard. the Rattler sank on an even keel close to the base of the Rock. blond and brown. "Throw!" the Goat Man urged. "They're bloody murderers. David Grief. sinking several yards away. rifle in hand. As Raoul's brother placed the muzzle of his rifle to Naumoo's side Grief touched the fire-stick to the match-head in the split end of the fuse. "Throw it. You can't kill these people. Amidships Raoul still struggled with Naumoo. and Naumoo. Still Grief hesitated. and as they went overboard. watched for a chance to shoot. and good-bye. and on his face was an expression of intense surprise as his legs crumpled under him and he sank down on deck. and Naumoo's fall to the deck was simultaneous with the fall of the dynamite. were mingled with the dark heads of Polynesia that dotted the surface. from his position farther along the Rock. Naumoo dies just the same. and the cabin's full of them. Following the desperadoes came the Huahine women. "I've got you. Mr. his brother.Chapter Three and throw straight. swam down to him. What is her life against the many?" 43 "If you drop any dynamite. the rifle went off. half fish. "If they get to sea. Grief could see all that occurred beneath the surface. dragging the Queen with him. and she began immediately to settle. The explosion occurred at the instant the deck was reached. The schooner's side was shattered. who was calling up in her native tongue and whom Raoul seized by the neck with one hand to choke to silence. Five heads. she locked both arms about him and looked up beseechingly to Grief. And there are all the others. He saw Mataara. after a minute. The Queen. His brother ran from for'ard to his aid. Those from above watched the . and be damned to them. or fire a single shot. every Raiatean sailor dived overboard. Even as with both hands he tossed the big bundle of dynamite. with a kick full in the face. and that portion of the Rattler. you!" This last was addressed to Naumoo. As her head emerged she saw Captain Glass. The Goat Man. then lowered the fire-stick which he had been blowing bright. was the vengeance given. and I can. and the bow of the Rattler headed in for the Rock.
The Raiatean sailors. Sister?" "Naumoo is gone. Word shall be sent to all my people in the high places with the goats. laughing and giggling. we shall feast and rejoice in the Big House. once again. The day is young. waiting for orders. The Huahine women. "The poor old Rattler." "She's been needing new timbers abaft the beam there for years. and we'll be on our way. and Motauri. were about the cross-tree to which Captain Glass and Mataara clung. And to-night. "Nothing of the sort." Captain Glass lamented.Chapter Three four surviving desperadoes. dragged far down beneath and drowned like curs. "How is it with you. Brother. "But the chronometers will be out of commission for the rest of the cruise. new timbers amidships." And to the Queen." quoth Captain Glass. "In a week we'll have her raised." . but Fuatino is ours again. 44 In ten minutes everything was over. and as never before." Grief answered. clutched and locked. were holding on to the sides of the whaleboat which had done the towing.
poured himself a long Scotch and soda and smiled. They were still alive. And staked out in the fresh running water. And to the right are the copra-sheds. and he is no fool." Grief answered. "Ah. and old Koho is the big chief devil of them all." Grief admitted. isn't he?" Grief nodded. dried-up Scotchman. I remember him--the little. "He's called the Trouble-mender. She had been hung up by one arm in the sun for two days and nights. We cut her down." he said in perfectly good English. "It wasn't until you and the British gave me a free hand and let the place alone that any results were accomplished. when I landed there in the British cruiser." "That's more than we accomplished with our cruisers. "We take off our hats to you. up to their necks. starting a plantation for me. Well. of course. And we shall continue not to interfere." David Grief said. Neither the German nor the English ever laid eyes on him. "Though he comes in once in a while and eats out of the hand. "What you have done on the devil island is a miracle. He is a wizard. were three more women. One woman. There's the plantation now. the German Resident Commissioner from Bougainville. Old Koho's getting civilized enough to make his people bring in the nuts. but she died just the same. It is a devil island. He's down on Malaita now.Chapter Four 45 Chapter Four --THE JOKERS OF NEW GIBBON I "I'm almost afraid to take you in to New Gibbon. that was a sample of Koho's diet." "The first?" "There's not even a trading station on all Malaita. and no offence. lingered nearly ten days. How you ever pacified him is our everlasting puzzlement. I remember six years ago." Wallenstein sipped his whiskey." . Beyond are the barracks. He is a black Napoleon. "And they say the screw you pay him is bigger than mine or the British Resident's?" "I'm afraid it is. "Those are the boat-sheds to the left of the bungalow. man-eating Talleyrand." "I wouldn't call him exactly pacified. We dry quite a bit already. Grief. There's the mouth of the stream where you found the three women softening. One was his latest wife. He is a liar. He's the one who got me my lodgment on New Gibbon. The process is supposed to make them tender for the eating." Wallenstein. yes." Grief disclaimed. All their bones were broken and their joints crushed. We'll be in in half an hour. a head-hunting. McTavish was the first." "No. The niggers cleared out for the bush. He spends his time wherever the trouble is. No wonder he's a wild beast. Their vitality was remarkable." He handed the binoculars to his guest. The recruiters still use covering boats and carry the old barbed wire above their rails. but we found several who couldn't get away. the oldest. "You see. You were the first. he's really worth it. We never could bring him to terms. Mr.
New Gibbon was a large island. doctoring the sick squad. had given it up. the dividing line of German and British influence cut it in half. His policy of permitting no intercourse with white men had been eminently right. false peaces. The sandalwood traders. Once." Grief said. scarcely a mile away. He was getting old and limped of one leg where a Lee-Enfield bullet had perforated the calf. and watching Worth. and four times. they left the place severely alone. After Koho had learned that the Scotchman was a man of his word. a squall was bursting in furious downpour of driving rain. a year later. he had been called back again to straighten up New Gibbon. where a plague of black measles had broken out and been ascribed to Grief's plantation by the devil-devil doctors. Its windward coast was iron-bound. "superintendent of a sugar plantation. Geographically. after the schooner Dorset had been cut off with all hands. not content with holding the beach. In the meantime McTavish had built the bungalow and barracks. leaden muss of formless clouds. and Koho. This was the dank. on another. and the air was heavy and sticky with tropic moisture. savage island of New Gibbon. he imported bushmen from Malaita and invaded the wild-pig runs of the interior jungle. fat. lying fifty miles to leeward of Choiseul. On one promontory a slant of sunshine blazed torridly. and followed fruitlessly. and never had been. after stern experiences. Later. and. and after the visit of the last cruiser he had had his own way until David Grief and McTavish the Trouble-mender landed on the deserted beach where once had stood the German bungalow and barracks and the various English mission-houses. He burned villages until Koho wearied of rebuilding them. and when he captured Koho's eldest son he compelled a conference with the old chief. They were New Georgia boys. The blackbirders had never succeeded in recruiting one labourer on the island. fully one hundred and fifty miles long and half as broad. until Koho had arisen. which was abandoned after several managers and a number of contract labourers had lost their heads. firmly welded the greater portion of the tribes into a confederation. a German company had attempted a cocoanut plantation. She rose and fell lazily over a glassy swell flawed here and there by catspaws from astern. through which headlands and interior peaks thrust darkly. For each head of his own people he promised to take ten of Koho's. and more wars. After that he had gone on his way to mend trouble on the atoll of Tasman. the manager of New Gibbon. II "I knew a chap in Hawaii. Four times the missionary societies had essayed the peaceful conquest of the island. and the one with the aching tooth . German cruisers and British cruisers had failed to get the savage blacks to listen to reason. by force of arms and considerable statecraft. it belonged to the Solomon Group.Chapter Four 46 The Wonder. There was no real control at all. between sickness and massacre. Followed wars. and. The weazened little Scotchman could make trouble as well as mend it. It was then that McTavish laid down the rate of head-exchange. The bêche de mer fishermen of the old days had passed it by. decided it was cheaper to keep the peace and sell the nuts. like a Kamehameha. had followed. Politically. more pacifications. Also. after paying a forced fine of two hundred thousand cocoanuts. and laid out the plantation. More cruisers. so far as survival of his own people was concerned. the fires of his youth had burned down. It was the tail-end of the monsoon season. wing-and-wing. this control existed only on paper in the colonial offices of the two countries. the sky a florid. In the case of New Gibbon. and. without anchorages or inlets. they had been driven away. cleared the jungle-land along the beach. hence the joint control by the two Resident Commissioners. who used a hammer and a ten-penny nail. the first true peace was made. The cannibals had always retreated into the bush and laughed at the screaming shells." They were sitting on the broad bungalow veranda. was headed directly in for the anchorage. and it was inhabited by scores of warring tribes--at least it had been. When the warships left it was an easy matter to rebuild the burned grass houses and set up the ovens in the old-fashioned way. The rugged land was swathed with cloud-banks and squall wreaths. a dozen of them.
"Lend a hand. please." the manager appealed. brought the sweat out on all of them. were very bright. bending over the victim. "I think he's going to faint. inserting his own pair in the mouth of the black. and hung on himself. He cared now only for utility. Grief and Wallenstein. the man groaned and rose in the air. withal they were restless and querulous. and inflicted far more than his share on others." "I saw it done when I was second mate on a lime-juicer. though he knew better than to offer to shake hands. the worst being the one left by the Lee-Enfield bullet. in turn. Worth pleaded with his assistants to hang on. small and close together. "And broke more than one jaw. that never was his flesh to come in contact with the flesh of a white man.Chapter Four 47 had been put back to the last. and he looked with glee at the poor black." Captain Ward spoke up. twisting the tooth till it crackled and then attempting a straightaway pull. for the world he lived in was a world of pain. and neither did he. Koho!" Grief said genially. give him a drink. He took the tooth out with the first stroke. "He said not. Grief shook his head. at any rate. It was one of Koho's tambos. His shrunken mouth showed that few teeth were left to serve him. but his was the sweat of excruciating pain. And he. too. His joy in the torment of the patient was natural. grinning like a shrewd little ape. greeted Koho." Grief said. and in one of the half dozen minor holes in his right ear he carried a short clay pipe. Such exertion. you're shaking like a leaf. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with one hand and waved the forceps with the other. He had endured his share of it. and called encouragement. given him by the devil-devil doctors when he was born. Nor did any of them notice the little black man who limped up the steps and stood looking on. When the tooth parted from its locked hold in the jaw and the forceps raked across the other teeth and out of the mouth with a nerve-rasping sound." Grief qualified. "The old man used a caulking mallet and a steel marlin-spike. old Koho's eyes fairly sparkled. The group swayed back and forth. and between the imitation leather and the naked skin was thrust the naked blade of a long knife. not even a gee-string. He looked on. gripped the black and held him. As he pulled." said Wallenstein. but . that he always succeeded on the first trial. Worth. bead-like eyes. Worth had just failed in his first attempt. Worth and Captain Ward. and more like a monkey's than a man's. He was indescribably filthy." he asserted grimly. and here and there marred by scars. in the stagnant heat." "And I think I'll take one. Captain Ward paused in the act of pouring himself a drink. His fathers before him had worn no clothes. His eye caught the shadow of Koho on the floor and followed it up to the old chief himself. Suspended from the belt was his bamboo betel-nut and lime box. In his hand was a short-barrelled. You'd better take one yourself. "He assured me. and hold him down. Koho was a conservative. Around his waist was buckled a cheap trade-belt. collapsed on the veranda floor and groaning terribly as he held his head in both his hands. which had withered the calf to half the size of its mate." Worth muttered grimly. on either side. "Hello! who's this?" "Hello. Face and body were shrunken and withered. The black sweated. but their size was attested by the strips of withered flesh that hung down and swept his shoulders. furthermore. wiping the sweat from his face." "Me for the forceps. clean as a whistle. "Captain Ward. somebody. struggled against them and clenched his teeth on the forceps. The many empty perforations in nose and lips and ears told of decorative passions long since dead. but his black. The chair on which he sat was overturned. Wallenstein smiled and elevated his brows. too. The holes on both ear-lobes had been torn out. large-bore Snider rifle. of the Wonder.
" Grief laughed. hatchets. introducing the German Resident. Bime by you marry along new fella Mary. "Me no like 'm Mary. While the talk went on." Grief laughed. he saw the manager complete his labours by taking a drink of Scotch. he took the rifle from the visitor's hand and carried it inside the bungalow. and a black house-boy." He stole a significant glance at Worth." Grief warned. big fella marster too much. "Tambo along black fella." Grief explained. He was in the main cabin. then turned and limped out. glancing through the window. we have big fella talk along this big fella mar-ster. "To think that used to be Koho. "Tambo." "You fella big liar. you know. When Grief and Worth sat down to a business talk. was to be bought from Koho. "Me go along schooner. Koho. could see Worth mixing medicines and placing bottles back in the medicine cupboard. with a weary shake of the head. Rifles had a nasty way of going off at the hip under such circumstances. Koho was complimented on the peace he had kept. The land. for it was one of his tambos that no visiting bushman should carry a weapon on the plantation. who defied all his life two of the greatest world powers. "this big fella marster belong Bougainville--my word. nodding toward the groaning labourer. recruited from San Cristobal. "How are the mighty fallen. all the time tambo. when Koho limped down the . beads. Wallenstein." Grief shook his head." Koho. 48 "Koho. came running. though he hung about for an hour after the conference was over. eh?" "Too old fella me. and he. At a sign from Worth. smiled with a light of unpleasant reminiscence in his eyes. remembering the visits of the various German cruisers. "My word. The manager clapped his hands." Then to Koho. swore peace again and everlasting. there was never a moment when some one or another was not in the room. checking off the list of goods being landed in the whaleboats. Me no like 'm kai-kai (food). "Me like 'm rum. And." he announced. Koho." Koho answered.Chapter Four Worth frowned at sight of the Snider. porpoise teeth and shell-money--in terms of everything except rum. Also. Close up me die along altogether. the fiercest red-handed murderer in the Solomons. "Don't shake hands with him. "Rum tambo. you get 'm too much fat stop along you. And now he's going aboard to try and cadge Denby for a drink." Grief said. Koho noted the bottle carefully." III For the last time in his life the supercargo of the Wonder perpetrated a practical joke on a native. and the price was arranged in terms of tobacco. Now." "He black fella no tambo. Koho gave it up. Then was discussed the matter of starting a German plantation twenty miles down the coast. of course. whose head was tilted back to a long glass. with many protestations of his aged decrepitude. knives." And he and Wallenstein and the old chief sat down on the veranda to confer about affairs of state. "He fella sick. "Me fella sick. pipes." Koho retorted.
occasionally drooling. in mournful contemplation of the great orgy which had been his when the German plantation was cleaned out. And in his barren old age." Denby laughed heartlessly. He stood beside the companionway and listened." A long. "You sing out one fella boat stop along me. But Koho steadfastly declined. in addition. Koho arose proudly. and the supply had not held out long. The result had been a gorgeous mixed drunk. and the sternest tambo Grief and McTavish had laid down was the one forbidding alcohol to the natives of New Gibbon. 49 "Close up me die along altogether. But the liquids from bottles. "Belly belong me too much sick. Stepping around behind Koho. ranging from beer doctored with quinine to absinthe and apricot brandy. he desired more and more the revivifying fire that came liquid out of bottles--out of all sorts of bottles--for he remembered them well. when women and feasting were a weariness. and the old man sat in the same position. And then Denby made his mistake and played his joke. sad pause. He smiled to himself and returned leisurely down the companionway." he repeated over and over." was the burden of the old chief's plaint. and he appropriated all the liquors for his sole use. It dawned on him that a trick had been played. all the chemistry of his flesh clamoured for it. which was an invitation to Denby to make suggestions. but unfortunately he had learned it along with all his tribesmen." he said. The trouble was that Koho had acquired the taste. wheezing. Denby smacked his lips and cleared his throat appreciatively as he replaced the bottle. No. But old Koho's face was grimly composed. After several moments the silence below was broken by a fearful. He gasped and nearly coughed several times. intently watching him. Then followed a long. Predisposed toward alcohol. plaintively and with the weary patience of age. Mouth and lips and tongue. and all sensitive membranes. Me no like 'm kai-kai. Me close up finish. and. when he led his naked warriors down to the destruction of the German plantation. twisted half around. on a dozen different sorts of drink. and a "Me like 'm rum. of good feeling. In his younger days he had learned the delights of drunkenness when he cut off the schooner Dorset. "Me no like 'm Mary. "Me go along. that it sent the chills up and down Denby's spine. Once. strangling cough. propulsive. in the mirror on the for'ard bulkhead he glimpsed Koho.Chapter Four com-panionway and took a seat opposite him at the table. and into his eyes came an expression of hatred and malignancy so primitive. when he cut the Dorset off. he did not believe in drugs. He had been cadged for drinks before by the old cannibal. and a varied assortment of harmless tabloids and capsules. he unlocked the medicine closet and took out a four-ounce bottle labelled essence of mustard. while involuntary tears brimmed in his eyes and ran down his cheeks. in which his face expressed unutterable concern for his stomach. which he patted gingerly and with an assumption of pain. All the delights of the flesh had forsaken him. were a blaze of fire. two of his warriors had partaken of a white powder and laid down and died very violently in a very short time. he returned to his chair. Later. went on deck. after the way of savages. so abysmal. Denby marvelled at his iron control. Neglecting to relock the medicine closet." IV . after a decent interval. No wonder the white men valued them so highly and refused to dispense them. he was wiser. The bottle was back on the shelf where it belonged. weary. The drunk had lasted for months. of maggots crawling warmly and deliciously in his brain." Another pause. An ordinary man would have coughed and strangled for half an hour. Me too much sick fella. and high exultation. pills. This craving was to him expressed in terms of tingling and sensation. and well being. final sigh. he had bitten through a capsule of quinine. "Rum he good fella. As he made believe to draw the cork and drink of the contents. the cool-flaming youth-givers and warm-glowing dream-makers. and it had left him with a thirst that would remain with him until he died. He would sit in the sun for hours. and when old hates had smouldered down. Denby was sympathetic. He sought out the old chief's symptoms and offered him dyspeptic tablets from the medicine chest.
Hope he didn't get him. then dismissed the conjecture from his mind. and according to custom preceded the visitor down the pathway. breathless from their run in from the fields. part full. but when he returned the old chief sat as before. Barracks and boat-houses." he told Worth. Come . On the edge of the river bank they came upon him. It was also labelled Scotch. springing astride his horse and starting." The manager galloped away through the trees. but when he came along the veranda and entered the room his gait was slow and dignified. drained his glass. The black labourers. Wallenstein. "The cook's in there. The big plantation bell was ringing wildly as the German Resident ran down the beach. and the war-drums. Wallenstein heard the distant report of a gun. He sat down and watched the gun-cleaning. He was limping very rapidly. and dozed. and then it was that his perverse imp suggested what was to be his last joke on a native. for the head was gone. Though mouth and lips and tongue were afire. A few minutes later. and. At the end of five minutes he spoke. Worth and Grief had taken shotguns with them. The boat-houses and the barracks were on fire. Its head was missing. too. On the table beside him stood the inevitable bottle of Scotch and numerous soda bottles. But I let him take a drink of Worth's horse liniment. carrying a naked black child by the leg. and it was probably one of their shots at a pigeon. He laid his pistol parts on the table and mixed himself a long drink. "Oliver is down there by the river. Mr. They won't rush us. Standing as he did between Koho and the table. twisted his yellow mustache. he gave no sign. made as if to search for something. From outside he heard the surprised splutter and cough." Wallenstein said. The similarity of the two bottles was the real suggestion. He still sat on his horse. signed that he desired his rifle.Chapter Four 50 Having seen Grief and Worth start for a ride over the plantation. Wallenstein sat down in the big living-room and with gun-oil and old rags proceeded to take apart and clean his automatic pistol. though it was hard to realize it. when the house-boy answered. and gazed at something on the ground. He was aroused by the excited voice of Worth. Me like 'm rum. he glanced through the window and saw Koho coming up the compound path. as the charred wreck of the barracks crashed in. The boy fetched the weapon. A few minutes later. Wallenstein lounged back in his chair. "Her head's gone. Not until outside the gate did the boy turn the rifle over to its owner." Wallenstein smiled and shook his head. were wrapped in flames. was lower. watched the old chief limp along the beach in the direction of the river." Worth said. chuckled. chanced to stand there. and left the room. very white-faced." "I guess he's headed for the bush. but its content was liniment which Worth had mixed for the horses and neglected to put away. Koho stood up. they heard him calling and followed. who was riding madly ahead. Worth. chuckling to himself. and under conches to-night. he interchanged the two bottles. crying out: "Ring the big fella bell! Ring plenty too much! Ring like hell!" Wallenstein gained the veranda in time to see the manager jump his horse over the low fence of the compound and dash down the beach after Grief. grass-thatched and like tinder. The liniment in the bottle. but keep all the boys close up to the house." "It was my fault. were now crowding around. Grief emerged from the kitchen. as he put his pistol together. "all merry hell will break loose. the young assistant manager. "Rum he good fella. and he could see whaleboats hastily putting off from the schooner. A loud crackling and smoke rising through the cocoanut trees told the story. She was too heavy. however. and I had to clear out. "Old Koho did it. clapped his hands. and it still oscillated. As Wallenstein worked. Another bottle. For the instant he thought of Koho. It was the body of Oliver.
whatever you do." the supercargo urged. don't be fooled into going into the bush after Koho. "I was. hollowed by fire and carved with tools of stone and shell. Also. Next morning. You see. "You're all right as long as you stay close. coming ashore. came the deep.Chapter Four on!" As they returned along the path they came upon a black who whimpered and cried vociferously. Stop the clearing till this blows over. He's the only man who can go inside. They won't come out in the open and attack you. do you. "What name you make 'm noise?" 51 "Him fella Koho finish along two fella bulla-macow." At Guvutu. until Denby. "Maybe you did. shall remain. partly. . booming reverberations of the great war-drums--huge tree trunks. Mr. Grief sent full instructions to McTavish by a recruiting ketch which was just starting for Malaita. Thereat the German Resident became even cheerful. From across the river persisted a bedlam of conches." "And Koho finished it. I'll leave Denby with you." Wallenstein proved inconsolable. confessed to the dose of essence of mustard. he'll get you. drifting for miles along the quiet air. "He's knifed the cows." "It was just what I was going to volunteer. I'll send him up with a bunch of his Malaita bush-men. and I have made a fool of myself in it completely. drawing a forefinger significantly across his throat. "Shut up mouth belong you!" Worth shouted. Captain Ward sailed in the Wonder for the Santa Cruz Islands. Worth. "But I started it. though he twisted his yellow mustache up more fiercely and continued to curse the Solomons with oaths culled from four languages. Remote villages on the higher peaks. I'll see about sending a couple up from Ugi. They'll get any detached gangs you send out. Keep the work-gangs close. You don't mind. All you've got to do is wait for McTavish. but I carried it along. the smoke-pillars curled and puffed and talked. while from everywhere. and Grief. to examine the grass lands back of Penduffryn. joined in the troubled conversation. crossed the channel to Guadalcanar. Captain Ward can manage without you for a trip. and back through the solid jungle. until he comes. visible from the masthead of the Wonder. borrowing a whaleboat and a crew of black prisoners from the British Resident. I shall remain and help get things straight again." Grief said. and you can go back on her and rejoin the Wonder. "That means no more milk for some time for you. the bush was alive with signal-smokes. From promontory to promontory. "I never dreamed all this muss would be kicked up over a joke. But this is my jurisdiction." Denby answered. "At any rate. And." Grief told his manager. I." Grief protested. in a way I consider myself responsible for it." Wallenstein broke in. Denby? I'll send McTavish up with the Wanda." the black answered. beyond the farthest raids McTavish had ever driven." Grief said." "So am I responsible. "I thought you were coming to Guvutu with me. "I've got to get along to Guvutu. If you do." said the German. too.
The houses are black ashes. "Also. without enthusiasm. Mr. save for a small ketch which lay close in to the shore reef. Come below. this joking with heathen niggers. As he rounded alongside. 'tis very expensive. Grief. Not one is left to tell the tale. man? The plantation?" "No plantation. small as Koho. impervious to disease and climate and sentiment. "And got back. the last I saw of it. Everything's all right on board. Without fear. and they cost you a pretty penny." "How's New Gibbon?" "All there." He paused and began fumbling in a large locker under the companion-steps. Take a look. five score of them. he was lean and bitter and deadly as a snake. for he found himself gazing fascinated at the heads of the three men he had left at New Gibbon. Grief was well aware. "But Worth? And Denby? And Wallenstein?" "That's what I'm telling you. After you. "I don't know how it happened. with a free sheet and a lusty breeze. "What's the matter?" Grief asked. "There was nothing to settle. Every tree is hacked down. "Spit it out!" he said. Grief recognized it as the Wanda." was the reply. It all depends how you look at it.Chapter Four 52 Three weeks later. You'll be better for the information with a long glass in your hand." the Scotchman's voice went on drearily. The little Scotchman shook his head. David Grief pulled himself together with a jerk. with a mahogany complexion and small. The other way would be to say it was settled. and the wild pigs are rooting out the yams and sweet potatoes. The yellow mustache of Wallenstein had lost its fierce curl and drooped and wilted on the upper lip. a fine bunch they were." McTavish dragged out a sack made of rice matting and emptied its contents on the floor. All the years of our work have gone for naught. a damned shame. barrin' a few inconsequential frills that a good eye could make out lacking from the landscape. She had evidently just got in by the Tulagi Passage. where the Germans started--and where they finished." "But the plantation. Not a stone stands on another at the landing pier. "But I surmise they went into the bush after the old devil. entirely settled. mind you. and as dried up. where the missionaries started. 'Tis back where we started. That his present sour look boded ill news. McTavish himself extended a hand to help him over the rail." . The harbour was deserted. he threaded the coral patches and surged up the smooth water to Guvutu anchorage." He was a cold flame of a man. before I got there. "What's happened?" "'Tis a thing severely to be condemned. for her black crew was still at work furling the sails. expressionless blue eyes that were more like gimlet-points than the eyes of a Scotchman. Those boys from New Georgia." "How did you settle things?" his employer demanded as soon as they were seated in the cabin. "Haven't you started yet?" McTavish nodded.
And if you'll relieve me of the heads. They lugged him on their backs out of the village when I rushed it." He paused and sighed. and if you'll take my advice. I'll be well obliged. That's how I was able to recover the heads. put that down you. It always makes trouble. "I suppose they'll have regular funerals over them and put them in the ground. Any respectable museum would pay a hundred quid apiece. You're looking a bit pale---.There. He was too drunk to stand." . Better have another drink. set your face sternly against any joking with the niggers. Mr.Chapter Four "And where is Koho?" Grief asked. and it is a very expensive divertisement. Grief. 53 "Back in the bush and drunk as a lord. I would say. But in my way of thinking they'd make excellent curios.
the Uncle Toby was the slowest." Grief nodded." Broad of beam. Snow. "I see him just the same before maybe five." . and that they agreed with yours. "Big weather he come.Chapter Five 54 Chapter Five --A LITTLE ACCOUNT WITH SWITHIN HALL I With a last long scrutiny at the unbroken circle of the sea. with a fairly strong breeze on her quarter. II No stars showed that night. which lay farthest. "He goin' to blow like hell. "Hurricane weather. nodding glumly. It's either that or the chronometer's gone wrong. and on the several occasions that stars broke through they were too dim and fleeting for identification. and cast a troubled eye at the Uncle Toby's wake. and I don't imagine we can get a star observation to-night. the atoll is surely under the sea. "You know I made separate sights and worked them up." he said. I think. was logging nine or ten knots. hawksbill turtle. get a latitude sight to-morrow. for we've sailed clear over it twice--or the spot where it ought to be. From fear of working too far to windward. six times. "Leu-Leu Atoll is sunk. or I've forgotten my navigation. "If there is anything in navigation. tubbiest. The schooner. David Grief swung out of the cross-trees and slowly and dejectedly descended the ratlines to the deck. broken by big wind-squalls and heavy downpours. too. all right. Grief. Pretty soon barometer go down--bottom fall out. the Uncle Toby was hove to. Dutchy bow. It's thickening up." the mate reassured his owner. Mr. Never did the sun appear. and an occasional ton of pearl shell. encountered Jackie-Jackie. whose face was as brooding and troublous as the sky and air. Snow." the Tongan concurred." "It must be the chronometer. A stuffy. a Tongan sailor of experience. Her run was in the Banks and Santa Cruz groups and to the northwest among the several isolated atolls where his native traders collected copra. and four days and nights of cloud-hidden sky followed." "Sure. "Better bring her up on the wind. Grief had relieved him and taken the Uncle Toby on her semiannual run to the atolls. and now found himself lost at sea with a chronometer that played tricks. nor was the sun visible next day. sticky calm obtained. which steadfastly remained at 29." he said to the anxious-faced young mate. Put her under easy sail and let her work to windward on two-hour legs. Finding the skipper down with a particularly bad stroke of fever. By this time it was patent to the veriest tyro that the elements were preparing to break loose. with high freeboard and bluff. was the dead centre of Leu-Leu Atoll. and run Leu-Leu down on her own latitude. That's the way all the old navigators did. coming on deck from consulting the barometer." He made a short pace to the rail and back." "Yes. Jackie-Jackie. heavily sparred. Mr. so we'll just hold our weather position. "and where your Summer lines crossed. served as a sort of bosun and semi-second mate over the mixed Kanaka crew." Grief muttered. and mine. sir. and most fool-proof schooner David Grief possessed. safest.90. Jackie-Jackie. It must be the chronometer--slipped a cog or something. He had elected to make his first call at Leu-Leu.
"Just the same me. the barometer had fallen to 29. sloshed along at a four-knot gait. but did not stop there. as he spat his disgust overside. That ought to bring the glass up." Jackie-Jackie agreed. retaining the reefs. "There's no use shilly-shallying this way! Whatever the worst is. so that he might know how he lay in relation to the fast-flying and deadly centre that from somewhere was approaching out of the gloom. and the Uncle Toby mended her pace in the rising breeze. and a storm-jib." screwing his eyes in the faint light in order to see the print. It was three in the afternoon. who well knew the hurricane rules. The mate. and kept on blowing harder. Always this way before big blow. and seemed to glow as the inside of a huge heated caldron. There was nothing to be done save wait for the wind. Put on double gaskets while you're about it. The wind quickly grew to man's size. The native sailors formed in anxious groups amidships and for'ard. "The centre is to the southward. It merely blew hard. when the wind came.Chapter Five Ten minutes later Snow came on deck. darkening the face of the sea. and the glass had sunk to 29:45. filling away under her storm canvas till the wind was abeam. Nobody remained below." the mate grumbled." Grief said to the mate. you see. and the Uncle Toby." he said." Grief ordered the foresail put on. lacked the patience of waiting for the portentous. It was merely a stiff breeze. He go through anything. oily undulations. and the sky thickened and lowered until the darkness was as that of a late twilight. "and we're running across its path and into it. "My mother used to dose me with messes like that when I was a kid. "And after such grand preparation!" "Pickaninny wind." "Better rig that storm-trysail on the main. "Looks like petroleum mixed with castor oil. advertising each increase by lulls followed by fierce. until the Uncle Toby's rail was more often pressed under than not. the sultry oppressiveness steadily increasing and the stark calm still continuing." he told Snow. being young." . going down and pumping at the same time. while her waist boiled with foaming water which the scuppers could not carry off." Snow sneered. she's getting black!" The lurid coppery glow had vanished. and harder. Lord. Grief studied the barometer. He ceased his restless pacing. I could lose my breakfast without trying. low. But Uncle Toby all right. "It's sickening. let us know it and have it! A pretty pickle--lost with a crazy chronometer and a hurricane that won't blow!" The cloud-mussed sky turned to a vague copper colour. "29. "If she's going to come let her come!" he cried. Take in the foresail--it's more than she can carry already--and stand by to wear her around. They could see it on the water. "And put all the reefs into the working canvas before you furl down. where they talked in low voices and gazed apprehensively at the ominous sky and the equally ominous sea that breathed in long. "He grow big man pretty quick. It's stinking hot--don't you notice it?" He brushed his forehead with his hands. nevertheless reread the "Laws of Storms. crisping tiny whitecaps as it rushed along. still steadily falling.70." In another hour. "No weight to that. Now we'll turn about and run the other way. 55 "She's started. freshening gusts. David Grief. and waved his arms. Everything inside walk about. No telling what we may need." Jackie-Jackie grinned. Ever it grew.85.
"But what a sealer's doing in these waters is beyond me. Call me at eight bells. yet the best it could produce was a sombre semi-twilight." Grief confided to the mate a couple of hours later. The sea's too big for us to keep on. without a breath of wind to steady her. 3. Thank the Lord." was Grief's judgment." "I thought I knew what wind was. but from the high crests of the big waves themselves the wind tore the whitecaps in the forming. you remember. "The glass is coming along all the time. double-ender boat. "It's nip and tuck. shielded somewhat from the full fury of the wind.Chapter Five 56 The maneuver was accomplished. It's something unthinkable. the Tongan bosun sighted a schooner bottom up. with the wind after its last shift no more than a stiff breeze. It's impossible. They'll be sure to come. With a broken chronometer longitude was out of the question. but before night they picked up with a small." Day had come. a light breeze sprang up and the reefs were shaken out. "The storm's swinging a big curve--there's no calculating that curve--and we may win across or the centre may catch us. Their long slopes. "We're through the worst. "Leu-Leu is to the south'ard somewhere. round-bottom. A third of a mile across yawned the valleys between the great waves. Through the binoculars. were broken by systems of smaller whitecapping waves. the clouds thinned and cleared and sights of the sun were obtained. in which. The Uncle Toby's drift took them across the bow and they could not make out the name. "The Sophie Sutherland and the Herman were sealers. By midday. It all depends on how big the curve is. The ocean was a stately procession of moving mountains. and through the gloom that was almost that of the first darkness of evening the Uncle Toby turned and raced madly north across the face of the storm. "We're anywhere within five hundred and a thousand miles along that latitude line. over a big and dying sea. The only thing to do--" "Land ho. "A sealing schooner. and this section of ocean is all blank. and the sun should have been up an hour. and higher. Watch for shifts in the wind." III After a giddy night of grand and lofty tumbling. in a huge sea. Gray made out: Emily L No. maybe?" Snow speculated. The sea will get bigger as the wind eases down. Two degrees and fifteen minutes south. . the Uncle Toby rolled every person on board sick of soul. but I never saw anything like that. swamped but with white lettering visible on its bow. There is neither an island nor a reef by which we can regulate the chronometer." Grief said. And look at that sea! I've run my Easting down. "This isn't wind. That don't mean anything. above the surface of the sea. skipper!" the Tongan called down the companionway. on a smooth ocean floor." Grief remarked." "Treasure-hunters. How could I ever tell it to anybody? I couldn't. This spume drove masthead high. horizontally. It must reach ninety or a hundred miles an hour in the gusts. the glass is holding its own. I'm going to turn in. the observation gave them. Heave her to! She'll keep working along out anyway." By mid-afternoon. chartered out of San Francisco by the chaps with the maps who can always go right to the spot until they get there and don't." Snow shouted in his owner's ear next morning. as he and the mate bent over the chart.
What did Swithin Hall do--he was at Honolulu at the time--but make a straightaway run for Christmas Island. in the night. Snow. and sank back feebly in a chair." the mate remarked. while more palms increased the definition of the atoll circle. too.. Mr. a perfect circle.." Snow almost whispered. and I had to wait the final payment by the executors to fit her out. And it wasn't even damaged. Looks as if it might be eight or nine miles across. But it can't be." he said. Maybe it's Leu-Leu after all. From the masthead. making short tacks in to the surf-pounded coral rock and out again. I got it afterward pretty . out of a first instalment of a legacy from home. "You can see it from the deck--tops of cocoanuts--an atoll of some sort.." Grief said to his mate. slowly as the Uncle Toby sailed.. and." "She went on Christmas Island. Then I bought a little island schooner. a Kanaka announced the lagoon and a small island in the middle. "She's a beauty. didn't he?" Grief queried. It was downright robbery. Snow." Very near must palms be to be seen from the low deck of a schooner." the mate called down a minute afterward. only the tops visible. who had been muttering and shaking his head. across the palm-fringe. it's it--Swithin Hall's island. He broke me flat. Wonder if there's an entrance to the lagoon. looked up with quick and challenging incredulity. "That's why I'm working for you." Snow acknowledged. and if it spreads off in that direction we'll hit the southwest corner. The whole voyage has been crazy. marked on the north by three separated cocoanuts. Neither right nor title did he have. with an island in the dead centre. full tilt. apparently rising out of the sea.. They saved the passengers and mails. as if reciting. "Haul up on the wind." "I was thinking that. "There can't be land around here. Eight miles in diameter. "And there's the entrance opening up just where it ought to be----" "And the three palms. When I got there. Will you kindly go up. didn't she?" "Yes." Grief went on. and see what's ailing Jackie.. We never drifted or ran like that. down in Sydney. Snow.." 57 Grief shook his head positively as he gazed at the fringe of palms." "Hall played you a dirty trick once. whistled his surprise. "Two cable lengths wide. I bought the wreck of the Cascade. high and dry. which took the rest of my money. and we'll take a look." They coasted up the west side of the atoll. Who knows? Maybe it's a brand new find..Chapter Five Grief took a quick glance at the empty blank of the chart. and on the south by pandanus trees. she quickly raised the low land above the sea. Everybody's been looking for it for the last ten years. the hull and engines were all that was left of the Cascade. "It gets me. Mr. She had had a fair shipment of silk on board.. "A perfect circle. close-and-by. If there's a windmill on the island. We can just reach past to the south. Snow nodded. "You're thinking the entrance will be on the northwest." "It's land all right. "and the pandanus trees. "I know what you're thinking.
got a job as overseer on a German plantation back of Apia. There's the windmill. Stand by to let go. Jackie?" "Nine fadom. and finally settled down on the Uncle Toby. IV The whaleboat laid alongside the small. among the trees of which a large Dutch windmill showed plainly." In the centre of the lagoon. "You got the description of his island from Bau-Oti. here we are. they opened a small. anchorage three hundred yards off the west shore in nine fathoms." The Uncle Toby swung to her chain. "Can't touch him legally. densely wooded island. Then I tried my luck as independent trader. Jackie-Jackie. He's got too much money now." "Let go. Snow." "I saw him a year ago on the beach at Tahiti. Heave the lead. There are the patches. The trouble is that Bau-Oti can't give latitude or longitude." The mate's face set vindictively. and shovelled coal one spell. Says they sailed a long way from the Gilberts--that's all he knows. He cleared something like sixty thousand dollars. I wonder what became of him. "Nobody at home from the looks of it." "Have you ever met Swithin Hall?" Snow shook his head. the crew." Snow shrugged his shoulders and gazed bleakly at the smooth surface of the lagoon. and his fists clenched. Mr. coral-stone landing-pier. head-sails ran down. "or you might have a chance to collect. with an appreciative smile. and the Kanaka crew sprang to fore and main-halyards and sheets. took a mate's billet on a recruiter down to Tanna and over to Fiji. where tiny wavelets danced in the afternoon sun. I bought her at public auction. libelled the schooner. went broke. When I got back to Sydney. I hope he is at home. But I can take sixty thousand dollars' worth out of his hide. as pretty well everybody else has. getting close in. I suppose?" "Yes." Grief said. "Well. and finally got a billet in the New Hebrides on a screw of eight pounds a month. I pawned my watch and sextant. coral patches to the southeast. I'd gambled big. and I'd lost. .Chapter Five straight from his supercargo." "Then I hope he is. Said he was thinking about shipping for a cruise through the Paumotus. Mr. and David Grief and his mate stepped ashore. Well. you're likely to meet him now. What do you get." Grief said. as they emerged from the passage. and some of the tradesmen who'd extended me credit. According to Bau-Oti. 58 "The wreck was mine. Snow. too.
through a door that led out of the opposite end of the living-room. he glimpsed a wide-ness of range and catholicity of taste that were beyond him. A fairly well-read man himself. "Storage batteries. The sheen of pearl push-buttons caught Grief's eye. They're rotting the meat out not a thousand miles away. of Cooper and Mark Twain. I found fresh-opened butter and milk tins in the pantry. Many shelves of books lined the walls. how. But if you don't mind my asking." Snow muttered. and a billiard table. separate room for a shower. departed. and Zola. for a sea-adventurer. The floor of the big living-room was covered with the finest Samoan mats. spilling over with sheer linen in the French embroidery of which stuck a needle. And if it is Hall. and a sewing-basket. of Hugo. too. The place must be occupied. There's a woman here. There were complete sets of Tolstoy. Grief fell to running over their titles. Get that whiff?" Like no bungalow in the tropics was this bungalow of Swithin Hall. In the soft light she seemed remarkably beautiful in a dark Spanish way." Grief said. window seats." "If it's Hall. Grief shook his head. dim radiance. There were couches. Something doing. tokened a woman's presence. From the colour in her cheeks. Woodruff's "Expansion of Races" was in his hands when Snow returned from further exploration of the house. "Welcome. Old friends he met. and a large. On a couch lay a woman asleep. Grief concluded that she had not been long in the tropics. clenching his fist. I suppose. before we go I'll maneuver a chance for you to get action. A sewing table. By screen and veranda the blinding sunshine was subdued to a cool. cozy corners. He glanced curiously at the pages of Metchnikoff. opened and face downward. and a sitz-bath!" he exclaimed. long-barrelled Colt's. Turgenieff. and the room was filled with diffused golden light. then his face wreathed in a genial smile and his hand was extended." Grief. "Fitted up for a king! And I reckon some of my money went to pay for it. De Maupassant. Weininger. and Schopenhauer. Can't get a word out of him. and wonderingly at those of Ellis. shaking hands. "He's the cook. in time to see Snow entering the living-room through the other door. strangers. run by the windmill!" he exclaimed as he pressed the buttons. After the one glimpse he stole softly back. by all that's sacred. by George. Of mission architecture. and others that he had heard of but never read. The lagoon is carpeted with shell. and Gorky. By the naked arm he was clutching an age-wrinkled black who grinned in fear and made signs of dumbness. "No rough-house.Chapter Five 59 "You'd think the place deserted. and Paul de Koch. he peered through a wire-mesh door into a screened and darkened sleeping porch. and Sue." the mate said. Across it." The door opened. Krafft-Ebbing. By her side. He found himself in a self-evident woman's bedroom. One quick. In his belt was a heavy. as they walked up a sanded path to the bungalow. . S-sh! There's somebody now. "But I smell a smell that I've often smelled. "I found him snoozing in a little kennel out back. I'm going to see what else I can find. What did you find?" "A sleeping princess. anxious look he gave them. "And concealed lighting!" Hidden bowls glowed. heavily built man entered. or my nose is a liar. did you ever manage to find my island?" "Because we were out of our course." Grief answered. and of Flaubert. Lydston. when they had entered through the unlatched screen door they found decoration and furniture of the same mission style. "Enamelled bath-tub. and fresh turtle-meat hanging up. a novel lay on a chair. and Forel.
middle-aged. you know. She knows a whole lot of South America. a better navigator than I. Can't get over early training. but could not place his finger on it. after he had laughed perfunctorily. And the woman! She's a lady. He's got a surface flow of suavity. and calls me down for misnaming it. He vaguely divined that something was wrong. That being so. to find his mate waiting up for him. real ugly customers. In addition to his repugnance at breaking salt with the man who had robbed him." Grief declared with conviction. why hasn't he a piano for her? Another thing: she's quick and lively and he watches her whenever she talks. get mixed up with a hurricane. "You'd better let him go. turning to shake Snow's hand. What does Swithin Hall look like?" Snow shook his head. with a laughing lip and laughter-wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. but he had felt the prompting and succumbed to it. We talked bull-fights. Swithin Hall was a fat. He's an oily bluff. My wife's here. but he's rough as a hoof-rasp underneath. with guns in their belts. "Bound on the Uncle Toby from the Gilberts to New Guinea. I'm sure she's Spanish. "Anstey--Phil Anstey." Grief said. "There's something doing on Swithin Hall's island. Gray. tough as rusty wrought-iron nails and twice as dangerous. and of China. . and trying to find my longitude. but I'm old fashioned. But of course you smelt it. shaking his head. She's travelled. had learned how deceptive this type could prove. And the bunch he's got with him--Watson and Gorman their names are. "I can't make out what it is." V Snow pleaded charge of the schooner. I've been working like a dog--out with the diving crew--shell. if you're going to have any supper. and went on board. in his early youth." "And what is your name?" Hall asked. and then keep your eyes open for cocoanuts rising out of the sea." the other said. And he's fixed that place up like a palace. in Mexico. round-faced man. "Nor did he ever go in for concealed lighting. and continually breaking in and leading the conversation. I mean it. but I get the feel of it. Don't you want to wash up? I do. Swithin Hall. My folks always ate dinner in the middle of the day. though her English is natural. marred and battered. By eleven o'clock Grief came on board. Say." "How's that?" Hall asked quickly. too. they came in after you left--real sea-dogs. I know the formula now for finding it. who don't strike me as just the right sort to be on such comradely terms with Swithin Hall. but who has lost his goat just the same to the chronometer. "And I don't mind telling you that you're the first visitors I've ever had. in Seville. This is my mate. Look at me. "What are you doing with my cook?--lost yours and trying to shanghai him?" Hall was saying. She's seen them in Guayaquil. and she'll be glad to meet you--dinner. He's on pins and needles. She knows a lot about sealskins. She knows music. she calls it. Mr. it was necessary for him to impress the in-violableness of Grief's lies on the Kanaka crew. "Well." 60 "And this is your secret island that's had all the beaches talking for years?" Grief answered. "That man ashore there never bought the books on the shelves. as well as the deceptiveness of blue eyes that screened the surface with fun and hid what went on behind.Chapter Five "My name's Hall." Grief answered promptly." Grief did not know his reason for lying. But Grief. I asked her if she played. "Now here's what bothers me. "Smash your chronometer.
A moment afterward one of the Kanakas. They're a precious pair. "Never entered my head to think about it. he played billiards with her husband. ." "That's all right. I don't understand it at all. "We're working now in about ten fathom. His wife showed herself far cleverer with the cue. Got a crew of them myself--the lazy swine. not a hundred yards off. and had lunch in the bungalow. They were just boarding the boats when he arrived. "I was asking how the shell was." the mate replied. It's right out there. and how deep they were diving." "Thick. Get things pretty well adrift. or they wouldn't get enough shell to pay their grub. Hall. Hall. Ashore early. Hall greeted him jovially enough. The three white men were there. "Did you ever sail for me?" The man's head nodded and his mouth opened. and Grief noted that each carried a rifle." "What are you going to do about it?" Snow asked. and talking for half an hour with Mrs." Grief nodded sympathetically." Grief said. "I know them. you know.Chapter Five did you ever hear that Swithin Hall was married?" "Bless me. but before he could speak he was suppressed by a savage "Shut up!" from Watson. taking a siesta in the big living-room. one of the thousands of native sailors and divers he had encountered drifting about in the island trade. "The trouble is they're too much talk and not enough work. The man's face was familiar. I don't know. deliberate wink." "He introduced her as Mrs. reading some. In the afternoon he loafed. Suppose you send that topmast down in the morning and generally overhaul." Grief said. but Gorman and Watson scowled as they grunted curt good mornings. he strolled across the little island to the barracks occupied by the divers. hang around a while. and it struck him that for Kanakas they behaved more like chain-gang prisoners." VI The next day Grief's suspicions found further food. We've been through a hurricane. 61 "Oh. There are some books ashore there I want to read." Hall interposed. And Watson and Gorman call him Hall. "Don't tell them who I am. in Tahitian. But the man Grief played with this night proved most indifferent at the game. It chanced that Grief had never before encountered Swithin Hall. "I beg pardon. Want to come along?" Half the day Grief spent with the boats." Hall took over the answering. Set up the rigging while you're about it. yet the latter's fame as an expert at billiards was the talk of the beaches from Levuka to Honolulu. Got to drive them like niggers to get a half-day's work out of them. as he bent to place his oar. "I ought to have known better. who was already in the sternsheets. Have to be severe with them. favoured Grief with a slow. After dinner. those two men." "What was you sayin' to him?" Gorman blurted in bluntly. and take your time.
"One white man stop all the time. He lay in water and watch." Grief glanced at the cabin clock and evinced signs of bed-going. "I can't get a line on my chronometer without your longitude." "Hope they do!" Snow muttered vindictively. "I've got it!" he cried." Grief replied. Mr. not to fetch New Guinea or some other high land. is lost with all hands. Even Gorman and Watson accepted him at his self-description. waxing enthusiastic. Other man stop now with rifle. Me cannot talk with Kanakas. "You wouldn't have me leave here lost. Throughout the week Grief begged and badgered them for the longitude of the island." VII A week passed." he said. The three of them are. "It's in your mind that the Emily L. He described the location of the barracks. "not to know that I can fetch your island any time by running down its latitude. was their schooner?" "Just that. while she's gone for more divers. after the Tongan had gone back to his bunk." "Or they'll take possession of his schooner." Again Snow whistled." "And I agree with you. and told the Tongan to swim softly around and have talk with the Kanakas. In two hours Jackie-Jackie was back. "And the Emily L. "I smell something more than shell. Mrs. other white man come and take rifle. ashore. Maybe twelve o'clock.Chapter Five 62 When he went on board the Uncle Toby Grief routed Jackie-Jackie out of bed. "You're too good a navigator. Me come back." Snow whistled from the impact of a new idea. I'd balance off that sixty thousand. But they're not island men. That man's no more Swithin Hall than I am." On the last evening." he finally urged. They're raising and rotting the shell. They're new in these waters." Grief retorted. Mr." he reported. during which time the Uncle Toby was ready for sea. First white man go to bed. or both. had asked her husband to bring forth the "pretties. Anstey. He shook his head as he stood dripping before Grief. "Very funny t'ing. "He's a sailor. while Grief managed to allay any suspicion of him by the shore crowd. "We know that. as usual. Then he'll catch them with all the shell. He has big rifle. or provisions." "By George!" Grief said to Snow. "And I'll name it." and had spent half an hour . Hall. No good. Those three men are standing watches over their Kanakas." "And you're too good a navigator." Hall laughingly refused. They're marooned here till Swithin Hall comes. Wish I was in their boots. to dinner. Grief got his first view of the pearls they had collected. Hall. "Somebody ought to rob him.
Take that biggest one. the pretties! the pretties!" Mrs." he admitted. bending forward suddenly and kissing them. I was just trying----" Grief paused and drained his glass. though I'm still in hopes he'll relent. while Grief could not help seeing the quick light of satisfaction in her husband's eyes. Not a cent less than five thousand dollars. as his wife left the room. Hall cried. "All the repairs are finished. estimating the different parcels and adding the sum aloud. "I mean what the pearl-buyers would give you in open market?" "Oh. They sat over it. "You're right." Hall gave the trove of pearls a closer and longer scrutiny. And never minding the seed pearls. "What do you estimate they're worth?" Grief asked. while the several selected large ones went far beyond. It was a little treasure house. A few minutes later she arose to say good-night." Grief ran his eye over them and knew their value ranged from one hundred to a thousand dollars each. but the perfect ones. proposed a last farewell nightcap." "And at what do you figure your working expenses?" Grief went on. "It's good-bye. "Your time. Some multimillionaire will pay double that some day. and. you've got quarts of baroques there. But why so curious?" "Why. "The lagoon is virgin. And baroques are coming into fashion." Grief continued. most of that bunch there. as well as was his surprise that they had made so rich a haul. "They're worth a hundred thousand right now. I can't get the longitude of your island out of your husband. Suppose I should give you and your people a passage to Sydney and the five thousand . when the dealers have taken their whack. and the divers'?" "Five thousand would cover it. But it's funny that we got most of the valuable pearls in one small patch in the course of a week. "We sail at daylight. came out of the small patch. "Just trying to reach some sort of an equitable arrangement. and your two men's. indicating the spread of pearls on the table. "Yes." "Then they stand to net you ninety-five thousand?" "Something like that." Hall laughed and shook his head. I know pearls a bit. They're picking up and doubling on themselves every year. "Oh. "You saw yourself that most of the shell is large and old. Every oyster seemed filled--seed pearls by the quart.Chapter Five 63 showing them to Grief." Hall explained. as he took her hand." Grief said." "So suddenly!" she cried. smoking and talking." Hall said carelessly. "I'm afraid you're underestimating. His delight in them was genuine. seventy-five or eighty thousand. It's perfect. of course.
"And I thought you were in Europe. And now about this present scrape. Mr. owner and master." "She has jumped it. eh?" "Pretty close to it. Not above ten thousand." 64 Without commotion or muscular movement the other man became alert and tense. "Correct. No laughter clouded the surface of the eyes." "The seal-poacher? I've heard of you. I'm trying to be fair. worth?" "She's seen her day. then who the deuce am I? Do you know that. You've worked hard. "I don't know just how to begin. What's the Emily L. And it is equally in poor taste to have two Swithin Halls on the island. Your identity is beside the point. Hall. and I can find out who you are from that. you've worked hard. As I say. Hope flickered for a moment." Grief answered airily. I don't want to confiscate the pearls. it's none of your business. dangerous soul of the man." he muttered. How do I know you're Swithin Hall?" Grief shrugged his shoulders. "Now just what in hell do you mean by that?" Grief casually relighted his cigar." Conviction. Even better. What are you going to do about it?" "What I said. "Such a joke would be in poor taste." "Since you're Swithin Hall. I can put up a nasty fight. His round-faced geniality went out like the flame of a snuffed candle. Besides. and expense.Chapter Five dollars--or. you're joking me. deliberate voice." he said. "Look here. too?" "No. I'm Captain Raffy." "And the out-of-the-way places of the world are better policed. The seal herds are about finished. I know your schooner. He spoke in a low." "What's her name?" "The Emily L." "Well. You see. What under the sun brought you down here on my preserves?" "Needed the money. and in their depths showed the hard. I want to pay you for your time and trouble. instantaneous and absolute. which would be robbery. better. froze on the other's face. I sighted her bottom-up after the blow. "But I'd like to know. Captain Raffy. Every time she's in a rough sea I'm afraid she'll jump her ballast through her planking. Suppose we say she was worth ." "I grant it. "The situation is--er--is embarrassing for you. seven thousand five hundred. after your hospitality.
balance in pearls (estimated) which are to be found in drawer of library table 23." VIII David Grief sat writing at the library table in the bungalow living-room. I don't like to mention it. Snow? Here's a friend I want you to take charge of--Captain Raffy. He shut off the electric light. as the whaleboat came alongside the Uncle Toby. Grief finished the document and read over what he had written: To Swithin Hall. or full value. Raffy had taken two hysterical hours to pack her and Captain Raffy's possessions.000--$100.000 Grief signed and dated. I'm going ashore for his wife.Chapter Five 65 seven thousand five hundred. Matters did not reach the shooting stage. Watson and Gorman were willing. had shown fight. Say no more. by the way. Don't move your hands from your lap. S. Mr. went over to him. I'll pay over to you fifteen thousand and give you a passage. the first pale of dawn was showing. but Watson." "Say no more. for pearls taken from his lagoon (estimated) $100. Raffy was confined in Grief's. lost in hurricane 7. and Captain Raffy made fast to the cabin table. Mrs. Gorman had been caught asleep. salary and expenses for collecting pearls 7." Zola's "Paris. Is that you. but you've seen my wife. but it was only after it had been demonstrated to him that the game was up that he consented to join his companions on board." Grief stood up. . Captain..000 To Captain Raffy. Now you'll go on board with me.100 To passage to Syndey. I'll break the news to Mrs. Raffy afterward. five fair pearls (estimated) 1. I must say. and added at the bottom: P. paused. "Just a necessary precaution. at $120. Raffy.500 To Mrs. Hall." These books." Captain Raffy volunteered. Outside. Captain." and Mahan's "Problem of Asia. And. 480 To white lead for painting Swithin Hall's two whaleboats 9 To Swithin Hall. For temporary convenience.000 To Herbert Snow. "But watch out for Gorman and Watson. picked up the bundle of books. he and Gorman were shackled in the mate's room. four persons. carefully latched the front door. and fetch her out to join you. paid in full for salvage from steamship Cascade in pearls (estimated) $60. Mrs. He had had a busy night. for good will. Mr. and went down to the waiting whaleboat. They're ugly customers. borrowed from library: Hudson's "Law of Psychic Phenomena. can be collected of said David Griefs Sydney office.500 To Captain Raffy.--Still owing to Swithin Hall three books. standing guard over the divers. and took his revolver. They shall remain hers. reimbursement for schooner Emily L.411 $100. I've given her four or five pearls." "You're behaving handsomely.
And finally. white duck trousers. That was why the great unwritten rule of Goboto was that visitors should put on pants and shoes. are accessible. For that matter. clad in loin-cloth. the wildest of the Blackbirders though descended from old New York Knickerbocker stock. and had been gentlemen. pearl-shell. on the first day he sat up. Guvutu explains this on the basis that Goboto does a larger business and has more visitors. Nevertheless. In all the succeeding years it had never been violated. Also. lava-lavas. and it is the task of the manager and clerks to do the treating. he affirmed his intention of coming ashore. Guvutu. hawksbill turtle. The island is only a quarter of a mile in diameter. Johnny Bassett. Goboto is the mecca of sprees. at Goboto. and thirst. They last no more than a year or so. He was a remittance man with a remarkable constitution. Captain Jensen stood up in the sternsheets of his whaleboat and denied the existence of pants on his schooner. the schooners come to anchor. Goboto retorts that its resident population is smaller and that its visitors are thirstier. And the discussion goes on interminably. bringing with them magnificent thirsts. . His dying request was duly observed by his clerks. This was in the days of Johnny Bassett. and when they have spread they go back to their schooners and plantations to recuperate. broke all records. the barracks for a handful of black labourers. At Goboto mail is received. and week by week. as invading companies have found out. they tried to be gentlemen. and one and all they assume shoes. blown in by monsoon or southeast trade. Goboto is not large. when the wreckage of them is shipped back to Australia. almost the legendary hero of Goboto. and bare legs were not tolerated. Johnny Bassett kindly but firmly assisted his guest into a pair of pants of his own. in passing. two belted revolvers and a sheath-knife. and planters from equally distant and dry shores. dry cruises. though something was wrong with them. Life at Goboto is heated. and various other appearances of civilization. bills are paid. ivory nuts. for no pants had they found on his schooner. Goboto does not deny this. wild coasts. They of Goboto nursed him back to health from a bullet-hole through his shoulder. That is why the pay is twice that on other stations. surged in. a big store and warehouse with sheet-iron roofs. This was the great precedent. It is a very hard job at Goboto. unhealthy. and lurid. But for the manager and his assistants there are no such intervals. is the steamer port of call. undershirt. claims that it drinks between drinks. and he lasted seven years. Breech-clouts. and newspapers. rarely more than five weeks old. who pickled him in a cask of trade-rum (paid for out of their own salaries) and shipped him back to his people in England. and a bungalow inhabited by the manager and his two clerks. Throughout the year traders and recruiters arrive from far. Some of the less hardy require as much as six months between visits. It is the policy of the company to treat its patrons well. for the little island. An average of one man out of the three is always to be found down with fever. It also points out its import statistics. or the remains of them are buried in the sand across on the windward side of the islet. cargo'd with copra. and in addition handsomely begged his pardon. It merely states.Chapter Six 66 Chapter Six --A GOBOTO NIGHT I At Goboto the traders come off their schooners and the planters drift in from far. and that is why the company selects only courageous and intrepid men for this particular station. ever a stickler in matters of etiquette. and for its size it asserts the distinction of more cases of acute alcoholism than any other spot in the world. and serves as the distributing point for the whole wide-scattered group. They are on the spot. over in the Solomons. When Captain Jensen. They are the white population. affords safe anchorage. and on it are situated an admiralty coal-shed (where a few tons of coal have lain untouched for twenty years). that in the Goboton chronology no such interval of time is known. which show a far larger per capita consumption of spiritous liquors. belted with its coral reefs. they were gentlemen. principally because of the fact that the disputants do not live long enough to settle it. The job at Goboto is a hard one. he was stopped at the beach.
"You chaps put on a lot of side over a new chum. he was better educated than any man there." McMurtrey had agreed. From the moment of Peter Gee's arrival that afternoon Deacon had manifested a tendency to pick on him. though he had killed men in his time. Captain Stapler stepped in to help McMurtrey: "I remember. and knew and lived more of their own ideals of gentlemanness than they did themselves. In fact. with one exception. "How do you know?" Deacon demanded truculently. Darby Shryleton. pickled stomachs. But they did know. who's whiter than most white men." Peter Gee remarked. in nowise different from any other night. especially of a man like Peter Gee. a half-caste Chinese pearl-buyer who ranged from Ceylon to the Paumotus. and Alfred Deacon. "Some of the niggers do amazing things that way. At first wine was served by the black servants to those that drank it.Chapter Six White men and pants were undivorce-able. he was a gentle soul. As with the others. clerks. II 67 On this night things were. and they're daffy down there on colour. Turbulence he abhorred. I wasn't expected. He had disputed his statements and been generally rude. the niggers knew right off the bat it was me. "Deacon's Australian. Jacketed. Pants constituted caste. and wouldn't believe them. a visitor who had stopped off from the last steamer. and this naming a craft when its sail is only a blur. Over their coffee. I've done some sailing myself. "Maybe it's because Peter's got Chink blood in him. trousered. He always avoided it as he would the plague. this conduct of their visitor jarred on the manager. they heard the rumble of an anchor-chain through a hawse-pipe. they were: Jerry McMurtrey. and then went on to deny the half-caste's knowledge. it was the stolid integrity of the Chinese blood that toned the recklessness and licentiousness of the English blood which had run in his father's veins." McMurtrey interposed tactfully." "I fancy that's it. of the recruiting ketch Merry. Told me afterward they could see it sticking out all over the schooner that I was running her. or naming a man by the sound of his anchor--it's--it's unadulterated poppycock. planter from Tito-Ito. Peter Gee. had capped a day of Scotch with swivel-sticked cocktails and sat down to dinner. pickling their food as they ate it. finally." In this the manager had been in nowise wrong. Also. the manager. "It's David Grief. and shod. though all quickly shifted back to Scotch and soda. Seven of them. Eddy Little and Jack Andrews. Captain Stapler. tokening the arrival of a vessel. "But we can't permit any bullying. you know. much less to be in another craft. with glimmering eyes and steady legs. and did not answer. They told the trader it was me. ere it went into their calcined. a good as well as clever Eurasian." . either. Violence he deprecated. when I changed schooners and came into Altman. spoke better English as well as several other tongues. Peter Gee was that rare creature. Only niggers ran naked." had been Andrews' hypothesis." Peter Gee was engaged in lighting a cigarette. He used the glasses. And.
'In Guvutu they merely drink between drinks. In the second place. A possible factor. Who else than David Grief can it be? Captain Donovan is skipper of the Gunga. in the first place. Gee. No whistle.Chapter Six Deacon ignored him." Peter answered. I don't know of any. for steamers and big ships must drop hook outside the middle shoal. Peter?" "If he does. was blown--again a small craft. on the Gunga." Deacon cut back. you will favour me and put yourself in a better light if you tell how you know who that man was that just dropped anchor." "I'd prefer bridge. cruising on the Gunga." "Oh. interrupted." "I'd prefer bridge. "Explanation that doesn't explain is easy. Peter!" "The rest of you play. This is well known to all. It would require almost a text book. "There are so many things that go to make up such a judgment. He has had ample time to get here. it's something like this: By the sound it was a small craft--no square-rigger." Deacon said. which is shortly scheduled to leave here for Karo-Karo. would be some young dare-devil of a skipper. I have heard an anchor drop. Mr. In this connection. '" Deacon was for the moment crushed. David Grief is in these waters. "And I'll back his bet myself for a couple of sovereigns. Maybe I can show I know more about that than I do about anchors. Remains the other exception. "It's very hard to explain." 68 "Who's for bridge?" Eddy Little. "He and I are going to play piquet. Certainly no stranger would. day before yesterday. I spoke to Grief. He was putting a trader ashore on a new station." Deacon sneered." "I thought so. There is no recruiting nor trading captain in the group who dares to run the passage after dark. the second clerk. and him I know too well to believe that he'd run in to Goboto after dark unless his owner were in charge. he runs the passage.' I'll wager fifty pounds he's the man that enters and that his words will be. 'In Guvutu they merely drink between drinks. He said he was going to call in at Babo." "Bridge! Who's going to take a hand?" Eddy Little cried impatiently. The sullen blood rose darkly in his face. no siren. David Grief. in case Grief were somewhere else. In a few minutes David Grief will enter through that door and say. nor does anybody else. he's a bluffer. "As for the other thing. and then come on to Goboto. "I'm getting tired of all this poppycock. But he was executed by the High Court at Fiji. There were two exceptions. "Don't you play piquet?" The pearl-buyer nodded. ." McMurtrey laughed genially. "Well. "Then come on. After that I'll play you piquet. and returned to the attack on the pearl-buyer." Peter Gee said mildly. I say----" McMurtrey began. in Sandfly Passage. "How do you know from the sound of the anchor that it was this whatever-you-called-him man?" he challenged. Now the entrance is tortuous. "Come on." Peter Gee answered. won't you. looking up expectantly and starting to shuffle. Night or day. "You'll play. he's answered you. in any weather. The first was Margonville. It anchored close in--still again a small craft.
when the door opened and David Grief entered.Chapter Six "You can play bridge. "He's a wizard at piquet. and tennis shoes. "What?--are you quitting because you're ahead?" Deacon demanded." Andrews answered. Peter! Did you catch that big squall an hour after you left us? We had to let go the second anchor. "It's the rubber. Peter Gee shrugged his shoulders. "Not if he has any luck. Eddy! How's that ngari-ngari? You up. and no one remarkably drunk. His fellow Englishmen as well were shocked by the behaviour of the Australian. was apparent to all. Captain Stapler. and. McMurtrey. from his remarks. Grief raised his eyebrows questioningly to McMurtrey. but he wants you to send a pair of pants down. "In Guvutu they merely drink between drinks. Hello. "We prefer piquet. "I hope Peter loses." "Hundred up--five pounds a game?" Peter Gee agreed." said Peter Gee. as he cut for deal. looked on and replenished the long glasses of Scotch that stood at each man's right hand. with poorly concealed apprehension. who was no card-player. was losing the second. Deacon lost the second game. and when Captain Donovan came in it was as a white man should--at least in Goboto. and an outburst heralded the fact. . but yours will fit him." he said. 69 At another table four of the others sat in at bridge." he remarked casually to the assembled company. Peter Gee devoted himself to lighting a cigarette and keeping quiet." While he was being introduced to Deacon. "Only a rubber. No one down with fever. Mac! Say." Deacon shut him off. Hello. followed as well as he could what went on at the piquet table." McMurtrey said in an undertone. who filled his glass frequently. ere he gripped the manager's hand. and all were troubled by fear of some untoward act on his part. Jock? The miracle has happened. a tie. "I suppose the night is young yet. my skipper's down in the whaleboat. Mine are too small." He sighed. ten pounds?" "All right. "With the lurch double." Reluctantly." Peter Gee answered. Peter Gee was bullied into a game that he knew would be unhappy. I know by experience." That Peter Gee was lucky was patent from the continual badgering of Deacon. He's got a silk shirt. "For how much?" Deacon asked. That he was working up his animosity against the half-caste. of course. McMurtrey dispatched a house-boy with the pants. who frowned back his own disgust. all complete. He had lost the first game. and that the explosion might come any time. "As you please. "Hello.
If he goes too far I'll throw him out on the beach. I'm tired of the game. let us quit." Deacon bullied." McMurtrey muttered to Grief. I want to keep an eye on him." McMurtrey was about to interpose. Damn the company. the little overgrown cad!" The pearl-buyer pulled the pegs out of the cribbage board on which he was scoring and sat back. I didn't engage to wet-nurse its infants with bank accounts. Company's orders to treat him nice. "Oh. I'm out fifteen pounds. and you know Peter's the last man in the world to make trouble or incur trouble." Peter Gee assured him with his habitual quietness. gathering up the cards. and the third game was on. Come on. Grief. The cards were merely running against him. company instructions or no." said Peter Gee. The man's a blighter. As I understand it. and he snapped and growled at the imperturbable half-caste. chappie. I'll give him a licking myself. In the end Peter Gee counted out. "Come on. He had won the third game." "Who is he?" Grief queried. a blithering blighter. all right. He glowered speechlessly at his opponent. and Deacon played again in bad luck. fill your glass. this final is for fifteen pounds. Double or quits." "I wouldn't be a quitter. He's got 'all-white Australia' on the brain." "Maybe he's only young. "If it positively is the last. It's my deal. 70 "Young whelp--he needs a lacing. He glanced across to Eddy Little. "He can't contain his drink--that's clear.Chapter Six "It takes three games to make a rubber. The other men stood or sat around the table. Thinks because his skin is white and because his father was once Attorney-General of the Commonwealth that he can be a cur. eh?" Grief remarked." Grief suggested. but Grief restrained him with his eyes. "Looks like a lurch. Either you owe me thirty or we quit even?" "That's it. I believe. ." Deacon snarled. drawing up a chair." said Peter Gee. "One more." The manager glared his disgust and wrath. You can't take my money that way. saying: "I'm ready for the bridge. so help me. That he was a good player was clear. "A left-over from last steamer. you chaps. now. Has a ten-thousand-pound letter of credit with the company. Come on!" Peter Gee acquiesced. He was guilty of sharp. He's looking to invest in a plantation." "Getting blooded. "Which is double. while Deacon had not even made his fifty points. That's why he's picking on Peter. really. "It's my deal. "If he raises a hand to Peter. ugly curses. "Come on and be game." said Grief. That he could not take his ill luck with equanimity was equally clear. Either we break even or I pay you thirty.
I owe you forty-five pounds. Come on! Where's a full deck?" "No." Deacon girded. Grief had stepped into the breach." was the challenge to Peter Gee. I'm not teaching for pennies to-night. let's get started. Peter Gee was even quieter. but you can't play cards." Grief answered." Deacon proceeded to dispose of this intruder with one stroke." "Well. come on." he said. I can tell you that much." "Yes. He says he doesn't want to play. "I've studied arithmetic. "I'll play you ten quid a game--thirty-one points out." The half-caste smiled and nodded acquiescence as he folded up the money." "Oh." Deacon ignored him. no. Peter. if you say so. if that will do you any good. thanks. that's all right." "It's a bully game. "What's that?" snapped Deacon." Eddy Little begged eagerly. I'll play you for pennies--or farthings. but before he could blurt out his abuse. "I'd like to play casino with you. and flew no signals of resentment. "I like it very much. take it!" 71 The way in which he flung the nine five-pound notes on the table was an insult in itself." "I've seen it played." Deacon went on." . Deacon. "I'll play for almost any sum--within reason. "Maybe you think you can play it?" "Oh. "You've got fool's luck. There. "What do you know about it?" "Not much." The man's conduct was a hurt and an affront to all of them. "Maybe the stakes are too high. of course. "They are waiting for me in order to make up a bridge set. Let him alone. "And I'll show you how little you know about cards." Deacon turned raging upon his host." Deacon snarled. "Now hold on." Grief broke in pleasantly. "There's a little game called casino--I wonder if you ever heard of it?--a child's game. I'm afraid I haven't head enough for it. "I'll play you a hundred pounds a game. but I'm willing to learn. "I could teach you cards. "Come on." "Afraid of a little game like casino. not for a moment. McMurtrey could stand it no longer." the half-caste murmured gently.Chapter Six "There's no need your telling me." the half-caste answered. casino.
" Again Deacon was taken aback. "Is that right?" "Yes. "You personally guarantee that?" Deacon demanded. The company's paper is always good. "I haven't gone to buying yet. "so the account is intact. There." Grief said. very right. "How do I know you've got the money?" "By the same token I know you've got it. "Do you count sweeps?" Grief repeated. "I'm agreeable." Grief coincided." Then it was that Peter Gee. look at it. and the aces in the bridge order of value. eh? Well. then glanced up at McMurtrey. "How am I to know? Money on paper isn't always the real thing.Chapter Six Grief beamed his delight. It's for fifteen thousand. "I certainly do. "You're all strangers to me. It's just the same as your own." ." Deacon laughed. "Certainly not." Deacon complained. how's my credit with the company?" "For all you want." Grief said. of course. the company will honour his paper up and past your letter of credit." Deacon answered." the manager answered." McMurtrey said." Deacon intercepted the letter of credit as it was being passed across the table." the half-caste explained. We'll play for five hundred pounds a game. "Cards and spades go out first. "That's a sissy game. went into action." "I'm glad. "That will be all right. The clerks and captains nodded." "Low deals. Let us begin. drawing a wallet from his pocket and borrowing a fountain pen from McMurtrey. Do you count sweeps?" Deacon was taken aback. He had not expected a Goboton trader to be anything but crushed by such a proposition. He read it slowly. Is that right?" 72 "You're a lot of jokers down here. but his laughter was strained. Andrews had brought him a new deck. placing the deck before Deacon on the table. I'll just indorse it over to you. then. and then big and little casino. I'll tell you what we'll do. and he was throwing out the joker. and just as good. Grief. "Depend upon it. Mac. The latter hesitated in the midst of the cut and looked around with querulous misgiving at the faces of the others." "You don't. beginning to shuffle. "I don't like sissy games either.
and was rewarded by a glare from Deacon. "Let's play for a thousand. "You want more?" "Haven't got anything yet. I'm perfectly willing to give you what action you've got coming to you." McMurtrey warned. unless you're foolish. I want action." . doubled to eight thousand and lost." Deacon went on." Deacon took him up. You're only ten thousand credit with the company. when he had lost the second game. "You don't have to play progression. Why not twenty-one points out--if it isn't too rapid for you?" "That will make it a nice. "That's progression. "For the usual five hundred. and he lost the game. and then. Then happened what he was waiting for--a lengthening in the series of losing games for Deacon. you know. The former method of play was repeated." Deacon said." "Who's playing this game?" Deacon flamed at his host." Grief shuffled and passed the cards for the cut. "It's robbery. "You take my money and won't give me action. and gave them a thorough shuffle. won the deal." "No. and you can't quit with me a loser. and Deacon won. Grief shook his head. By the child's device of doubling his wager with each loss. and then proposed to double to sixteen thousand. But the manager was insistent. Grief. "We didn't say how many." "Well. I suppose?" The shame of what he had done must have tingled in Deacon. we'll play for a thousand. plain robbery." he said. Deacon had lost no money.Chapter Six 73 Deacon cut the cards. you're wrong. The latter doubled to four thousand and lost. we'll play it. he was bound." Grief murmured whimsically. Though he had lost three games out of four. You've got two thousand pounds of action yet. doubled the stake. with the first game he won. "You mean that with eight thousand of my money you're going to quit?" Grief smiled and shook his head. and was again even. "Another game. The manifest unfairness of such betting was known to all of them. quick. "You cut. to be even again. "What?" Deacon cried. Deacon lost two games." Grief agreed. as he began the deal. "No. "You can't do that. though the thing occurred several times in the next hour's play. He now evinced an unspoken desire to stop." "You mean you won't give me action?" Deacon asked hoarsely. but Grief passed the deck to be cut. to Grief: "I've lost two thousand to you. But his luck was still against him. for he answered. And when the thousand had gone the way of the two five hundred bets he proposed to play for two thousand. little game. But Grief was patient. the fourth game began. Will you play for two thousand?" Grief nodded. no matter how long delayed. And say! Thirty-one points is too long.
You've talked frequently of action this evening. and for the first time his speech was quiet and without bluster. verified the count. but he says he wants to remain and die on Karo-Karo. They can't run away. save for irritable remarks and curses from Deacon. "One thing more. but they can't grow sweet potatoes nor taro. Two thirds of the way through the last deal he threw down his hand. The drinking water is brackish. Grief took no notice of his opponent's outbursts. "I fancy I'll be catching the next steamer for Sydney. and he will in the next year or so. and started to rise. and getting quite helpless. Count them. He's the only white man there. I'll bet the ten thousand I've won from you against two years of your time. "Captain Donovan here sails at daylight in the Gunga for Karo-Karo. with a few thousand cocoa-nut trees. The money you've lost to me was left you by your father or some other relative who did the sweating. He looked about him at unsympathetic faces." "If you've made a mistake. Will you play?" Deacon could not speak. He's a queer old codger. Now the time is due for me to send some white man up to take the work off his hands. and there were fifty-two in the deck to be kept track of. That is why they were sent there. If you lose." Grief said. and I had to do it. but could not. But have patience. you take the job at Karo-Karo and sail at daylight." Grief began with seeming irrelevance. a king and two prime ministers. "Cards put me out. He was really playing cards. and Deacon. There aremabout eight hundred natives. "Then I shall have lost." Deacon threatened." he said. and he has a boat's crew of five Santa Cruz boys who would run away or kill him if they could." Grief passed over his stack of takings. strove to speak. "I can do even better. There's no action in betting away what you've never sweated for. Now that's what might be called real action. "Karo-Karo is a ring of sand in the sea. As I have said. Two native Samoan teachers were clubbed to death on the beach when they landed several years ago. His throat lumped and he nodded his head as he reached for the cards. and of which he did keep track. If you lose. "Do you want further action?" The other sank down in his chair. He half shoved his chair back from the table and emptied his glass. and the last three named are the only ones who wear any clothes. As Grief told them afterward: "Had he whined or raised a roar I wouldn't have given him that last chance. he took his medicine like a man." Grief said. You'd have to stay two years." Deacon glanced at his watch. but concentrated on the game. the money's yours. It's a sort of God-forsaken little hole. "Hold on! I've not finished. He is always supplied with the hard cases from the plantations. Tom Butler is old. you are wondering what it is all about. Pandanus grows there. "I have twenty-seven. As it was. I've tried to retire him to Australia. Captain Donovan sails on the annual trip to Karo-Karo at daylight to-morrow. and nodded his head.Chapter Six 74 The game was played in silence. with trembling fingers. But two years of work as trader on Karo-Karo would mean something. If you win. licked his dry lips. "Naturally. "Wait. There are no missionaries. Silently the onlookers filled and sipped their long Scotch glasses. but old Tom Butler has survived on it for a dozen years. and once a year I send a schooner up from Goboto." he said. two years of your time are mine--naturally . I wonder how you'd like the job. simulated a weary yawn. his face white and drawn.
before I know whether I win or lose. and he played for "cards". Gee. Note: It would be better not to get drunk." At the beginning of the reading Deacon's face had gone white with anger. "If he's the right stuff to go to Karo-Karo. "There. Too many curses spoil the cursing. to be paid to you. with an air of dismissal. I don't know. Karo-Karo won't do him any harm. Note: A curse cannot change a card seguence nor cause the wind to blow. it's Karo-Karo. They are for the good of your soul. "I say. Mac. If your work is satisfactory. A gentleman is a man who is gentle." The game was close and hard. The money will be deposited with the company. and played his best game of the evening. then proceeded to read the matter aloud: "I must always remember that one man is as good as another. from neck to forehead. "Are you still ready to play the game?" "I deserve it. rightly used and rarely. and the half-caste took it beamingly. I must play like a man. and Grief needed four. "Cards" alone would put Deacon out. but I'm an ass. A trader only gets ten or fifteen pounds a month. He no longer muttered or cursed. "You are unfair to yourself." Grief said. Then had arisen. If it's Karo-Karo. as he began the shuffle. as he folded the paper and tossed it to the centre of the table. a cad." Grief said. I'll pay you five thousand pounds a year for two years. "And before we begin. "There is no license for a man to be less than a man. Ten thousand pounds cannot purchase such a license. "A good curse. At the beginning of the fifth and last deal. I want to apologize. I'll pay you wages. let's see----" He wrote steadily and rapidly for some minutes." said Grief." "Right. Call the whole thing off." He held out his hand." Deacon muttered brokenly. These you will repeat aloud every morning during the two years--if you lose. When you have repeated them aloud seven hundred and thirty Karo-Karo mornings I am confident they will be in your memory to stay." Grief showed signs of debating. Is that all right?" "Too much so. save and except when he thinks he is better. Nevertheless. Incidentally he gathered in the two black aces and the ace of hearts. "No matter how drunk I am I must not fail to be a gentleman. but Deacon cried: "No. "When I play a man's game with men." 75 "Put it down to action. when the time expires. I won't permit it. There's nothing more to it. I'm not a quitter. I'll jot down several of the rules. Now. with interest. then. a slow and terrible flush that deepened to the end of the reading. ." he blurted out.Chapter Six without wages. that will be all." Deacon stammered. Three times they divided the deck between them and "cards" was not scored. Maybe it was the whiskey. Deacon needed three points to go out. Grief. and let's forget it in a final nightcap. "I've been an ass. Lend me your pen. "the boy's all right. a bounder--everything that's rotten. Mr. is an efficient thing. if you observe all instructions and rules.
where Captain Donovan waited. and stood up." . if he plays like the rest of you island men. Captain Donovan looked at his watch." was the answer. "I go out on little casino and the four aces. "I can name only three of yours. "And I fancy he'll skin me. I was sailing on her for Babo in the morning. "I fancy you play casino better than I. Play. after receiving a final pledge of good luck on Karo-Karo. Captain?" Deacon asked. and the ace as well. and you've twenty-six. too. "What time shall I send the whaleboat for you?" "I'll go with you now." Deacon turned toward the door." "Count again. as the last of the deal was exhausted and he picked up his hand." Deacon shook hands all around. "I did scoop in three." Grief answered." "By Jove." Grief shook his head." Deacon declared positively. and still I'll make 'cards' and go out with big casino. "Does Tom Butler play cards?" he asked Grief. Those behind Deacon and looking at his hand made no sign. I'll make 'cards' on you. We'll pick up my luggage from the Billy as we go by. and big casino. with trembling fingers." "No 'cards' and I win!" Deacon exulted as the last of the hand was played. "I counted every card I took in. "Then I'll teach him double solitaire." "I'll let you save little casino----" Grief paused to calculate. Carefully and slowly. took up the rules Grief had written. folded them. "Then name them. the tray of hearts. That's the one thing I was correct on. Yet the naming had been correct. "Going aboard. "Some mistake. and also arose. You've taken in three and you hold the fourth in your hand now. and put them in his pocket." Grief said. you're right. "Yes." 76 "Wrong. He reached over to the corner of the table." Deacon admitted. There were twenty-five. Grief nodded. "Solitaire. There aren't five aces in the deck. an ace." Deacon acknowledged. I'm afraid. a knave. Deacon counted the cards he had taken. 'Big casino' and 'spades' only bring you to twenty. yawned." "The knave of spades. Then he emptied his glass." "No. "Yes.Chapter Six "I suppose you can name the four cards I hold. and added with a sigh. I've twenty-six. Anyway." was the answer." he challenged. That's all I need. the deuce of spades. and the ace of diamonds.
and giggled significantly. they could be guilty even of throwing dead pigs at those who made them wroth. when. and King Tulifau. Three factors conduced to Fitu-Iva's independence. and your arm around Taitua." Sepeli. and the United States discovered its desirableness simultaneously. weighing three hundred and twenty pounds. without being excessively fat. Not only was Tui Tulifau every inch a king. The mate glanced at his shirt. "You'd like to have her yourself. his queen. starlight evening. They got in one another's way. only you can't. as piratical sandalwood traders and Blackbirders in the old days learned to their cost. while her brother. Great Britain. and. the supercargo. "You won't be ashore half an hour before you'll have a flower behind your ear. he had ruled over five million seconds more than he had breathed. But this was not unusual for Polynesian "chief stock. France. a wreath on your head. conspicuous in his shore clothes. As a Yankee blue jacket epitomized it at the time. It was a cool. Tui Tulifau was a merry soul." the mate went on. Willie Smee. and it's all the same." "I can't find shirts like that. Over its morning toast all the world read columns about Fitu-Iva." the supercargo disclaimed." Willie Smee sniffed. and they lolled about the poop waiting till their snail's pace would bring them to the anchorage. the Cantani. "No. "Dance. The war vessels of the five Powers cluttered Fitu-Iva's one small harbour. to-night. "Then she's stuck on you. on occasion. they all got their feet in the trough at once." "Simple jealousy. It was like gamins scrambling for a penny. having been crowned two months before he was born. on occasion. had passed the Pillar Rocks at the entrance two hours before and crept up the harbour to the whispering flutters of a breeze that could not make up its mind to blow. he was only fifty-eight years and three months old. of the finest and whitest silk. He was a kingly king. The first and second were its isolation and the warlikeness of its population. they could fight like Maoris. continued to dispense the high justice and the low in the frame-house palace built for him by a Sydney trader out of California redwood. There were rumours of war and threats of war. Germany. standing six feet and a half. So it was that Fitu-Iva escaped even a joint protectorate. So were all his people merry souls. who commanded the army in the intervals of resignation from the premiership. Uiliami. emerged from the cabin. a royal figure of a man. topped her by an inch and notched her an even half-hundredweight. otherwise Tui Tulifau. was six feet three inches and weighed two hundred and sixty. That is to say. II Grief's schooner. Nevertheless. that's why." said the mate." . "It's Taitua. but he was every second a king. I'll bet you half a crown you won't sail from Fitu-Iva with that shirt. save in anger." "Catch me. But these would not have saved it in the end had it not been for the fact that Japan.Chapter Seven 77 Chapter Seven --THE FEATHERS OF THE SUN I It was the island of Fitu-Iva--the last independent Polynesian stronghold in the South Seas. When he had ruled fifty-eight years and five months. a great feaster and drinker. Willie's stuck on her. I suppose?" Grief observed.
After a year's idleness on the beach. Unfortunately. Save for the Kanakas. For of the happy South Sea isles. who were all bent for shore. already hoisted out. "You can let go any time. while his wife's tongue grew correspondingly sharper. Here. To refuse credit to that merry monarch was to invite confiscation. on occasions when he was particularly drunk. "Last voyage he fined one of my Kanakas out of a fancy belt and sheath-knife. who promptly took up with commercial life and the lady of his choice. "Better not let him spot that shirt. Out on the water flickering lights and soft-voiced choruses marked the fishers returning from the reef. The warm air was rich with perfume. youths and maidens were dancing. where a few score of the elders sat in long rows chanting the old hymns taught them by forgotten missionaries. he saw a stout and elderly native sitting on a heap of mats a dozen deep. lightly clad in ahu's and lava-lavas. Marsh. A stray volume of Darwin." "That's right. so named from the prophet Jeremiah. As a reward. it's an even break Tui Tulifau does. whose queen. and in the morning we may shift opposite the copra-sheds. where. What was the use of trying to understand this vastly complicated and enigmatical world. was known to beat him. Voices and laughter rippled through the darkness. turning his head from watching the house lights on the shore. For political reasons--the queen belonging to as royal stock as himself and her brother commanding the army--Tui Tulifau could not divorce her. gravely marked the place in the Bible and set it aside. From time to time. he had been sent to the paradise of Fitu-Iva. Every here and there were grass houses. . The whaleboat.Chapter Seven 78 "And if Taitua doesn't get it." Grief warned. as lay teacher he had served their cause well over in the cannibal atolls to the westward. There's no sign of wind. his trader. the mission board threatened louder and louder to send him back to the atolls. and gravely shook hands. Tui Tulifau was a sympathetic monarch. and overhead. At last Grief stepped aside from the road. especially when one was married to a nagging woman? As Ieremia slackened in his labours. The effect of Darwin had been one of intellectual fatigue. chiefly because of the disastrous patronage of Tui Tulifau. Grief held steadily along the Broom Road. automatically. separated from his employer and disappeared down an avenue of palms. to grant him credit was certain bankruptcy. and was reading methodically in what Grief knew to be an English Bible. as was natural in a full-blooded Samoan. and slender-tufted palms. Educated by the missionaries. only Grief and the supercargo were in the boat." He turned to the mate. At the head of the little coral-stone pier Willie Smee. Ieremia looked gravely over the rims of his glasses when his employer entered. Grief turned in the opposite direction past the front of the old mission church." Captain Boig agreed. Ieremia was lighter-skinned than the Fitu-Ivans. It was not a case of apostasy. Farther on. and a pretty Fitu-Ivan widow had driven him into the ranks of the backsliders. flower-crowned and garlanded. outlined against the stars. He wore glasses. They feasted and frolicked at births and deaths. among the graves on the beach. Fitu-Iva was the happiest. and for a dozen years his service had been honourable and efficient. Don't give too much slack. were fruit-burdened mangoes. lay alongside. where all were or had been good converts. grass-built himine house. Looking through an open door. Grief passed the long. Ieremia had become too well educated. by the lights and sounds. Mr. with great phosphorescent hibiscus blossoms in their hair. and the shore-going party dropped into it. and the dead and the unborn were likewise feasted. He passed also the palace of Tui Tulifau. for Grief had proven the first man who successfully refused credit to the king or who collected when it had been accorded. he knew the customary revelry was going on. stumbling over a pig that grunted indignantly. but he could and did divorce Ieremia. to gather in the backsliders. he brushed his naked legs with a cocoa-nut-fibre fly-flicker. For this was Ieremia. stately avocado trees. with an apologetic gurgle. As an independent trader he had failed. a nagging wife. leremia had become David Grief's trader. or it's all day with it. which curved and twisted through a lush growth of flowers and fern-like algarobas." A minute later the anchor rumbled down.
and a tobacco tax. this low fellow is a white man and a scoundrel. storehouse carefully locked--what's the answer?" Ieremia did not reply immediately. I shall be chagrined if you pay me my salary in paper. He has made him very drunk." he read. then gin. exceedingly empty. The Samoan had always been fastidiously cautious in guarding cash. Thus does this base interloper caption himself. In the centre was the smudged likeness of a native face. no more than just. So I sold all that was on the shelves. "How else could I come?" Grief laughed. When the copra tax was levied. "Chancellor of the Exchequer. There are harbour dues and regulations. it being well known that I possessed five pigs. There has been no credit at all. The box seemed filled with paper money. I have kept it carefully locked. But the people are not taxed--only the traders. 79 "The commercial situation on the island is damn bad. Grief noted and wondered that it was not locked. It has been excellent. old accounts all square. and the signature of Fulualea." "Some one of those smart Levuka boys. and Feathers of the Sun passed a new law. Hawkins." "Been allowing Tui Tulifau too much credit?" "On the contrary. this Feathers of the Sun fined me once more and promised to burn the store if again I offended. "What's the joke?--shelves empty. He has issued this false paper and compelled the people to receive it." he said. I suppose?" Ieremia shook his head sadly. At the bottom was the signature of Tui Tulifau. But----" His eyes glistened proudly. who is trader for the Fulcrum Company. with the printed information appended. Reaching under the rear corner of the mats. the army came and burned his store. And every old account has been settled up. setting the old price back and forbidding any man to lower it." "I don't follow you. a copra tax. and there is the box full of worthless paper." Grief confessed. was fined first pigs. In return." he said with great solemnity and an unctuous mouthing of the many-syllabled words. and. Me he fined two pounds and five pigs. "It's Fijian. I lowered the purchasing price accordingly. but it would be just. He has taken a noble and high-sounding Fijian name and dragged it in the dirt to suit his nefarious purposes. He has levied a store tax. Ieremia. "But there are many goods remaining in the storehouse. But Ieremia had no sense of humour. because he continued to make loud conversation. He has made Tui Tulifau drunk. and other taxes. The shelves are empty. When I declined to sell. You will find them entered in the ledger. he drew forth a large cash-box. Then the people began to grumble. He skinned off the top note and passed it over." Grief glanced at a fairly well executed banknote. He has kept him very drunk all the time. and he ignored the remark." "Who the deuce is Fulualea?" Grief demanded." "Trade bad?" "On the contrary.Chapter Seven "I am glad you came in person. He has come up from Fiji to turn Fitu-Iva upside down--that is. commercially. . he has been made Chancellor of the Exchequer and other things. "My ledger account is shocking. "There is the answer. no credit. isn't it?--meaning the feathers of the sun?" "Just so. It means the feathers of the sun. "No. "The First Royal Bank of Fitu-Iva will pay to bearer on demand one pound sterling.
Thus does he absorb all the coin of the realm. Cornelius Deasy!" he cried. With my own eyes did I see you. "Nothing doin'." Grief grinned. Have you any gin? 'Tis a serious offence. and by the leave of his gracious Majesty King Tulifau." was the correction. saturated gait was familiar. what is to be done?" Grief shrugged his shoulders. Much as I dislike the doin' of it. "If it ain't Grief himself. Cornelius threw back his shoulders and stiffened. under the lighted lamps that marked the entrance to the palace grounds. Mr. Mr. What dire calamity to the confidin' native if chicken pox or whoopin' cough was aboard of you! Who is there to protect the gentle. Grief. on my high mission. Cornelius--Fulualea. save in moments of royal sport when the king himself chooses to toy with the wheels of justice. "Of all men. Not lightly are the lives of the mariners of our commodious port to be risked for the savin' of a penny'orth of oil. Grief. the best-hearted old monarch that ever sat a South Sea throne an' mopped grog-root from the imperial calabash. in unstarched ducks." "Then you must see him soon." "You've taken a lot on your shoulders. the Feathers of the Sun. ----Where was I? Ah! I remember. rotund gentleman. "Else he will have an accumulation of many fines against you. rather--that am here to see justice done. You'll have to pay your legitimate import duties same as any other trader with mind intent on robbin' the gentle Polynesian savage on coral isles implanted. With malice intent have you entered the port of Fitu-Iva after sunset without sidelights burnin'." Ieremia advised. Not forgettin' old times. Don't interrupt. as they shook hands. "So you're Feathers of the Sun!" "I prefer the native idiom." was the return greeting." Grief invited. You've violated the regulations. Fulualea. confidin' Polynesian? I. He has it all now. 'Tis Fulualea I am now. an' it please you. "'Tis the white man's burden. as harbour master 'tis my duty to find you guilty of breach of quarantine. "Fulualea." Grief whistled his amazement. 'Tis I. No blarneyin' of old times for me. Also. "I must first see this Feathers of the Sun and size up the situation. Grief knew it on the instant. . it sorrows the heart of me to break you the news. an' Chief Justice I am. the old devil. 'tis Chancellor of the Exchequer I am. "If you'll come on board I've some choice smoky Irish. save what has been buried in the ground. who was just emerging." III 80 On his way back along the Broom Road." "Who in hell is the port doctor?" Grief queried. Grief encountered a short. No intercourse with the shore till the ship is passed. Did I ask: have you any gin? Tis the harbour master that asks. Something about his tentative. For which offence are you fined the sum of five pounds." "Quarantine?" "'Tis the rulin' of the port doctor. On the beaches of a dozen South Sea ports had he seen it before. smooth-shaven and of florid complexion.Chapter Seven Now. These rapscallion traders have been puttin' it all over poor Tui Tulif.
" he threatened. eh?" "An' why not? 'Tis a royal souse is Tui Tulifau. I'll save you the trouble. you're drunk. Some ten tons of shell in the hold. "We'll compromise." "Greeting. What does that Chink pearl-buyer. Grief. I can promise you a rare bargain. I'll have none of it--me faithful to my salt." "If you think you're goin' on board. No. I foresaw your stiff-necked stubbornness. Are you goin' to pay them fines. with Tui Tulifau and the royal army behind me. You can't buck me. Uiliami?" Fulualea crooned. Come aboard and have a drink. Cornelius. I've half a mind to pull your nose for you. Sure it keeps my wits workin' overtime to supply him. "'Tis bribery. "Here is another sea pirate. "Lay no violence on me." Grief laughed heartily. 'Tis on the beach you'll find your crew. "Is it you. or is it to harsher measures I'll be forced?" Grief turned impatiently on his heel. I know your kind. or I'll confiscate your vessel. and I'm wonderin' if I can trade it to you for gin. he's that amazin' liberal with it. buck you is just the thing I can and will. And by the same token. In the high exercise of office I seized his schooner. Consider yourself fined five cases of first-quality Holland gin. The old rollicking South Sea days are gone." Grief said." 81 The Feathers of the Sun waved the proffer aside grandly. She'll be sold this day week. Stand by me with the strength of thy arm. And wherefore did you not present your ship's papers? As chief of the custom house you are fined five pounds and two more cases of gin. You're not the first. This is not Levuka. Cornelius. but this one has gone far enough. Mr. He has heard of it." "Look here. You'll pay them fines promptly. You can't play tricks like that now." "You don't mean to say----" "Sure an' I do. he wouldn't pay 'em. "Cornelius. "Since when has Fitu-Iva come to be run by a Levuka beachcomber? He says my schooner has been seized. Grief. A joke's a joke. This is not Levuka." Grief turned back on him in the half-belief still that he was joking. Fulualea. Is it true?" "It is true." . do but slip into harbour. Your offence is serious. The form of a large man loomed beside him in the darkness. It's disgraceful. Uiliami. O Herculean brother." The Feathers of the Sun retreated unsteadily and in alarm. violatin' all regulations an' makin' rough house for the matter of a few paltry fines. "Have you any more silk shirts like Willie Smee's? Tui Tulifau would like such a shirt. Think it over and come to your senses. and he's on the beach now thinkin' it over. Peter Gee. The vessel's seized. A fifth of the loyal army is now in charge on board of her. Mr." Uiliami boomed from his deep chest. Fulualea again retreated in alarm. "You're right. The whole gang of hanger-on chiefs is perpetually loaded to the guards. An' it's forestalled you are. How much gin did you say you had?" "Still more gin.Chapter Seven "'Tis me.
was in attendance. breach of quarantine. Uiliami." he concluded. an' bruise. and regretful that he had run foul of the new regulations. You seized my vessel without giving me a chance. for when Grief arrived the case of Willie Smee was being settled. Whatever was to be accomplished must be through her. or heresy. Also. didn't you refuse to pay your fines?" "But she was already seized. to wit: breach of the peace. "Well pleased am I with Fulualea." Fulualea interrupted." III Before the hour set for the trial Grief." "Sure. an' no injustice done--Justice. In another shady corner of the big compound Cornelius was holding court. and in view of the impoverished condition of the . in a few minutes." Cornelius ordered." said Cornelius. He had been at it early. won access to Tui Tulifau. All protests of the expropriated traders were washed away in proffers of gin. Mr. "Let the defendant stand up. Call the guards. Grief reached out an angry hand for Cornelius. "Have a drink. palace maids were industriously serving squarefaces of gin. "and receive the just and merciful sentence of the Court for licentious and disgraceful conduct unbecomin' a supercargo. "Have a drink. an' why not? Didn't I know you'd refuse? 'Tis all fair. "The interview is terminated. and I must control my wits. Mr. Trader. Trader." "We've got to get out of this pronto." Grief whispered to Peter Gee a few minutes later. justice shall be done while the breadfruit falls." 82 "Rather high-handed. "Get thee gone. In the mornin'. In lieu thereof. Never had palace affairs been so prosperous. 'tis the same thing--ever worships. though once he unbosomed himself enough to say that Feathers of the Sun was a wonderful man." Uiliami blew the whistle suspended on his broad bare chest by a cord of cocoanut sennit. I am to be tried for arson. The king. who titubated into safety behind Uiliami's massive bulk. Very well. the king shall have them. She was peering out at her royal spouse and his fellow tipplers. nor so much gin in circulation. in the mornin'. seditious and treasonable utterance. this trader man." Grief murmured. and the frown on her face gave Grief his cue. accompanied by Peter Gee. And the Lord have mercy on your soul. maim.Chapter Seven "'Tis all the same. not five minutes gone. save that portion in charge of the seized vessels. violent assault on the chief magistrate with intent to cut. Grief caught a glimpse of Sepeli. the queen. "It's rank piracy. not one under six feet. The entire royal army. wound. "or we'll be a pair of boiled owls. "Shirts or schooners. or something." "A chance is it? As we stood here. or leprosy. The defendant says he has no money. lay on mats under the shade of the avocados in the palace compound. The king was glad to see his old friend Davida. Cornelius. fellow. Get thee gone. violation of harbour regulations. 'tis a desperate character. We'll try your several cases in the mornin'. A dozen strapping Polynesians. or I'll set the palace guards on you. Never had there been so much money in the treasury. surrounded by half a dozen chiefs. and gross breakage of custom house rules. ran down the palace walk and ranged behind their commander. The Court regrets it has no calaboose. particular star at whose shining altar Cornelius Deasy--or Fulualea. the bright. Early as was the hour. Appear promptly at the palace at ten o'clock to answer to the followin' charges. Beyond that he steadfastly avoided discussion of the matter in hand." was his invariable reply." As they withdrew from the royal presence.
even to the mountain goat-hunters. And finally. defendant. and disregard of shipping laws. I should not be surprised if you were the man to strike him with the dead pig. minus the garment in question. already encased the royal fat. stand up.Chapter Seven defendant." said Peter Gee." "He is a low fellow. "I tell you the evidence has been considered. and renders the following judgment. Hawkins. Be sure and select a particularly dead one." Cornelius went on. But will you pay? That is the question. Home industries must be protected." Cornelius nodded to several of the soldiers. You. I'll back the losses. "David Grief. start messengers around the island to the fishers and farmers. It is no wish of the Court to lay additional hardship on the defendant. consisting of violent and turbulent conduct and notorious disregard of the laws of the realm. For the personal crimes of the defendant. If I'm not mistaken. "He is a scoundrel and a blackguard. by a particularly dead pig. The court is dismissed. The supercargo's shirt. "He shall be struck by a dead pig." "The very thing. I'll lend you some. shall be immediately put to hard labour on the improvement of the Broom Road. stretched and bulged. and the Court takes this opportunity to warn the defendant that he is liable for contempt. "Deasy has about gathered in all the coin. he is fined in the sum of one hundred pounds sterling and fifteen cases of gin." Ieremia declared. Tell them to assemble at the palace three days from now." As they left the compound. who had attempted to interrupt. deeply considered. "What have you been up to?" Grief asked. In the meantime he keeps the king going on the gin he's captured. In the meantime you get a few things on your shelves from the store-room. Ieremia. Peter. For open and wanton violation of harbour rules and regulations. I'm going up to the palace to work kitchen politics with the queen. and sat down beside Grief. Peter Gee nudged Grief to look where Tui Tulifau reclined on the mats. "consider yourself a prisoner at large. who led the supercargo away behind an avocado tree. make and quality at present worn by defendant. breach of quarantine. I will not ask you if you have anything to say. see the German store. the Court fines said defendant one white silk shirt of the same kind. Remember. to wit:--Shut up!" he thundered at Grief. "In the meantime. at a conference in Ieremia's house. is hereby declared confiscated to the Government of Fitu-Iva. Tui Tulifau is down at the boat house broaching a case of my Scotch. The Court has considered the evidence in the case. A minute later he emerged." said Cornelius in his most extra-legal tones. that at an early hour of this morning. selling for paper." . There is no calaboose in which to confine you. Ieremia. it has come to the knowledge of the Court. Start in all of you. As soon as he can maneuver it he'll take the cash and skin out on your craft or mine. on our vessels. fittings. What crimes have you committed?" 83 "Next case. everywhere. This is distinctly an infringement of the rights of the fisherfolk of Fitu-Iva. He should be struck by a dead pig. and on any repetition of the offence the offender and offenders. in three days we'll have a national council or a revolution. to be sold at public auction. "Blessed if I know. ten days from date. the Cantani. and cargo thereunto pertaining." said Grief. And you. pausing in the polishing of his spectacles. the defendant did wilfully and deliberately send Kanakas in his employ out on the reef to catch fish for breakfast. his schooner. This conduct of the defendant is severely reprehended by the Court. or cases. all and sundry. with all appurtenances. IV "The thing is clear." Grief shook his head.
"That is purely a personal and private matter between you and Tui Tulifau. Well it is that those who drink much eat little. "have pointed out that the soldiers have demanded coin and refused the paper Fulualea has offered them." "Will he pay for my shirt?" Willie Smee demanded. "I noticed that much this morning when he hadn't had it on ten minutes." Ieremia objected. "It's beginning to split up the back. it would be well to kill it at once. If he does not grant the big council. Davida. "The king remains happily drunk. Uiliami." V "You have spoken well." said Ieremia. Let it be in his paper money. It cost me thirty shillings and I only wore it once." "Then enter it in your ledger under operating expenses.Chapter Seven "But the soldiers. So akin was the Fitu-Ivan tongue to the Samoan that he spoke it like a native. "This Fulualea has brought a madness with him. 84 "I'll take care of them." he said. He is easy to beat when he is in drink. Though Feathers of the Sun compels the traders to buy copra at the old price. And I am content. The mountain dwellers have sent no wild goat in a week. Only to-day have I sent messengers to twenty houses. else would there be a palace famine." She doubled up her fist. "Has not Davida spoken? Have you no ears? When the gin and the goods in your house are gone." "A small one is worth ten shillings. what then will you do? Cash money is silver and gold. "Let them. Tell them to take the paper and see that they be paid to-morrow. I shall give him a beating. O my brother!" Sepeli erupted. As soon as the soldiers show up with paper. Tell your soldiers to receive their pay. and Feathers of the Sun has run away to Levuka with all the cash money of Fitu-Iva. for they will have none of the paper money. Has Feathers of the Sun put a blight upon the hens? I do not know." said Grief. "And you." . There is much money in the treasury." "Where shall I get a dead pig?" Ieremia asked. Besides." "Excellent pig. and Tui Tulifau is drowned in gin. King Tulifau will pay for it if they do. All I know is that there are no eggs. stop selling. of course. for they come not. In my house are two cases of gin and much goods from Hawkins's store. Yams and sweet potatoes seem to have fled from the soil." "Why trouble?" Uiliami objected. They haven't been paid for two months." "Then will they burn the stores." Grief answered. There is no fish in the palace. but paper is only paper." said Queen Sepeli. "Kill a small one. There are no eggs. and such were her Amazonian proportions and the determination in her face that Grief knew the council would be called." the supercargo lamented. I tell you the people are grumbling. and no more traders come with gin and goods. Uiliami is the queen's brother. Don't have too much on your shelves at a time. the people sell not." Grief paused a moment. "Kill one. "If you want it particularly dead.
He dwelt upon the cloth of the traders. Though by royal decree the traders were bidden accept the money. and he was continually served with young drinking nuts. Prices were going up and commodities were getting scarce. Peter Gee had come off undamaged. The custard apples were small. Outside the compound. sat Ieremia. when the soldiers come with their paper it will be refused. His thirst was prodigious." Grief warned. next spoke. The plantains were eaten by a worm. Cornelius Deasy. the talking man of the windward coast. It cost three times the ordinary price to buy a fowl. Bereft of his spectacles." the traders demanded. he peered short-sightedly across at the Chancellor of the Exchequer. and the talking man of the mountain villages. but it looked as if the strange money of Fulualea had something to do with it. held back by the army. as befitted a high and favoured official. The wild goats had fled to inaccessible summits. The crops were bad. each backed by his group of lesser talking men and chiefs. opposite Cornelius and surrounded by the white traders he was to represent. Captain Boig was similarly injured. It was palace gossip that morning that Sepeli had administered a conjugal beating. "Says it not so on the face of the paper. as talking man of the traders. "though there be selling in the stores. He would not say. Affairs were not prosperous. yet did they refuse it. To such a pass had things come that all people wanted to pay their debts and no one wanted to be paid. The outlook was gloomy.Chapter Seven 85 "And remember. This had been caused by three boisterous soldiers who violently struck their jaws thereon in quick succession. The best-bearing avocado on the windward coast had mysteriously shed all its leaves. The three intervening days had had their share of excitement. the talking man of the leeward coast. There were signs and omens. was the mass of the common people. When he arose. its variety and beauty and . a woman of Punta-Puna had been struck speechless. At first there had been much selling from the sparse shelves of the traders. The taste had gone from the mangoes. and then it was tough and like to die of old age if not immediately sold. Tui Tulifau." VI The day of the council found the population of the island crowded into the capital. and Feathers of the Sun will be as dead as a dead pig. sat near to the right hand of the king. The poi in the poi-pits had turned bitter. village maids. The people were suspicious. And that all was due to the strange money of Fulualea was the firm conviction of the elders in the village councils assembled. At any rate. and his spectacles broken. sat at the head of the council in the big compound. What they said was much the same. His right eye and jaw were swollen as if he too had engaged in assaulting somebody's fist. In turn. They grumbled about the paper money. the five thousand inhabitants of Fitu-Iva had trooped in. it was noticeable that he stood with legs spraddled over a large grass basket. As it was. No more copra was being smoked. her spouse was sober. and a five-legged she-goat had been born in the village of Eiho. There were rumblings in the mountains. and talking men with their staffs of office were permitted inside. Uiliami spoke for the army. Ieremia. because it chanced that it was bread-baskets and not jaws that struck him on the fists. On the left of the queen. arose and made oration. The money was cheap. Ieremia himself had been abused and mocked. By canoe and whaleboat. The fish had forsaken the ocean and vast numbers of tiger-sharks appeared. The skin was off Willie Smee's knuckles. and his fat bulged spiritlessly through the rips in Willie Smee's silk shirt. with Sepeli at his side and surrounded by his convivial chiefs. His men were discontented and mutinous. their patronage was declined and they were told to go to Fulualea for coin. on foot and donkey-back. But when the soldiers appeared. one of Grief's copra-sheds went up in smoke and was duly charged by Ieremia to the king's account. And in three days will be the council. village beaux. There was a plague of rats in some districts. "that for the asking the coin will be given in exchange?" Only the strong authority of Uiliami had prevented the burning of the traders' houses. Creditors made a practice of running away from debtors. Only the lesser chiefs. night-walking of spirits.
have the paper-money system. If the Fitu-Ivans became properly civilized. They wore no clothes. He would prove it to the good people of Fitu-Iva. And now he will explain it to you. It could not be denied that he had wrought wonders with his financial system. all the great Papalangi countries. would run around naked and eat one another. for the people. In that day every Fitu-Ivan could become a trader if he pleased. and always coming back to what their dire condition would be when the traders came no more. the army. The queer paper of the Feathers of the Sun was not money. 'Kiakanak! Kai-kanak!" * Man-eater. the Feathers of the Sun. "how will the Fitu-Ivan be known in the great world? Kai-kanak* will men call him. He cannot deny what is true. "It is very simple. and nothing but tapa. who had forgotten how to make tapa. The traders knew what money was. From century to century it . no silk shirts (here he peered and blinked significantly at the king). with firstlies and secondlies and all minor subdivisions of argument. Why was he called the Feathers of the Sun? Because he was the Light-Bringer from the World Beyond the Sky. Germany. Yet all had worn tapa. on organization. before the traders came. he said. Paper money was an earmark of higher civilization. If Fitu-Iva persisted in trying to make them receive it they would go away and never come back." Cornelius went on. the trade of the traders would be gone. Ieremia did not answer. That was why he. It was now time for Feathers of the Sun to present his side. the Feathers of the Sun. Fitu-Iva did not want to become kai-kanak. that the cleverest Fitu-Ivan net-weaver could not duplicate in a thousand years. it wanted more and more civilization. had brought. And that was why the traders opposed it. and order. America. sold for a song. "Many times has he explained to me the working of his system. That was why the white traders fought the system of paper money. "he makes no answer. Much more he said. in grand council assembled. Tui Tulifau spoke briefly. and the people were like wild animals. Therefore they fought the light. In their own countries men were too civilized to let the traders make the immense profits that they made out of the Fitu-Ivans. and the traders. and they ate one another. talking a solid hour. fragile and coarse. thread and cotton fish-lines to white flour and kerosene oil. the Feathers of the Sun. No one wore tapa any more. Now that was the very point. The case had been presented. and they would not receive it. What was the result? The traders would not come. to their faces. He would ask Ieremia if this was not so. and he would prove it out of the mouths of his enemies. and civilization. Ieremia was right so far as concerned the manifold blessings of white flour and kerosene oil. The paper money was the light. "You see. It works. axes. He expounded at length. had introduced it. It was a well-known fact that all highly civilized countries had paper-money systems. that he. And then the Fitu-Ivans. which so exceeded the Fitu-Ivan wet-pounded tapa. would tell them why. and that the trader must be protected in his trade else he would not come. down through needles. He enlarged on the incomparable virtues of rifles. There was the mosquito-netting. and they must follow him closely." It was a conspiracy of the white traders. Over to the westward were islands which would not protect the traders." Tui Tulif au concluded. "And in that day. Cornelius contended. They did not want to see Fitu-Iva civilized. He contended that the trader was the bearer of civilization.Chapter Seven 86 durability. England. Why did they come across the far ocean stretches with their goods to Fitu-Iva? He." he perorated. and steel fishhooks. France. The robbing white traders could not flourish in the light. Fitu-Iva wanted civilization.
if a system is good for the Papalangi countries. The king clapped his hands admiringly and murmured." "You see. Therefore. very clear. Ieremia.. "Is it not so written on this paper as well?" Again Grief whispered. "And that?" This time Cornelius held up a Bank of England note. he himself acknowledges it. I challenge you. I challenge you to deny that in the great Papalangi countries the system works.." was Ieremia's reply.Chapter Seven works. "That Fitu-Iva will pay coin money?" asked Ieremia "It is so written. "It is most clear. and his fingers played nervously with the fastening of the basket on his knees. 87 "You see." In the meantime Grief was whispering in Ieremia's ear. who nodded and began to speak. as an honest man. now how about this of the English? What is it?." Deasy's victory was now absolute. You must answer like a true man. then spluttered helplessly. "The paper of the Feathers of the Sun is different from the paper of the great countries. at the same time extending it for Ieremia to examine. I ask you. "You have said that the paper money of Fitu-Iva was paper. mere paper." "It is--it is----" the puzzled Ieremia began. "It is the paper money of the English. it is as I have said. "He knows of no difference. There is no difference. He held up a Fitu-Ivan note that was recognized by all. the fallacy beyond his penetration." Ieremia could not deny." Cornelius concluded for him. as one who was once a zealous worker in the Lord's vineyard." Assured triumph was in Deasy's voice and bearing. "Paper. "But it is well known to all the Papalangi that the English Government will pay coin money for the paper. "Ieremia agrees that it is so. He held aloft a Fitu-Ivan note. all good people of Fitu-Iva. Ieremia. "What is that?" he demanded. Conviction sat on the faces of all. mere paper." ." he explained to the Council.." Cornelius continued.." That Cornelius had been prepared for this was evident. "Is it not true. 'Tis the very image of money. why is it not good for Fitu-Iva?" "It is not the same!" Ieremia cried. Ieremia. All wait for your answer.. 'Tis money itself. "Paper. that it is paper money of the English?" Ieremia nodded reluctantly. imitating his halting utterance.
Chapter Seven A third time Grief prompted. "On demand?" asked Ieremia. "On demand," Cornelius assured him. "Then I demand coin money now," said Ieremia, drawing a small package of notes from the pouch at his girdle. Cornelius scanned the package with a quick, estimating eye. "Very well," he agreed. "I shall give you the coin money now. How much?" "And we will see the system work," the king proclaimed, partaking in his Chancellor's triumph. "You have heard!--He will give coin money now!" Ieremia cried in a loud voice to the assemblage.
At the same time he plunged both hands in the basket and drew forth many packages of Fitu-Ivan notes. It was noticed that a peculiar odour was adrift about the council. "I have here," Ieremia announced, "one thousand and twenty-eight pounds twelve shillings and sixpence. Here is a sack to put the coin money in." Cornelius recoiled. He had not expected such a sum, and everywhere about the council his uneasy eyes showed him chiefs and talking men drawing out bundles of notes. The army, its two months' pay in its hands, pressed forward to the edge of the council, while behind it the populace, with more money, invaded the compound. "'Tis a run on the bank you've precipitated," he said reproachfully to Grief. "Here is the sack to put the coin money in," Ieremia urged. "It must be postponed," Cornelius said desperately, "'Tis not in banking hours." Ieremia flourished a package of money. "Nothing of banking hours is written here. It says on demand, and I now demand." "Let them come to-morrow, O Tui Tulifau," Cornelius appealed to the king. "They shall be paid to-morrow." Tui Tulifau hesitated, but his spouse glared at him, her brawny arm tensing as the fist doubled into a redoubtable knot, Tui Tulifau tried to look away, but failed. He cleared his throat nervously. "We will see the system work," he decreed. "The people have come far." "'Tis good money you're asking me to pay out," Deasy muttered in a low voice to the king. Sepeli caught what he said, and grunted so savagely as to startle the king, who involuntarily shrank away from her. "Forget not the pig," Grief whispered to Ieremia, who immediately stood up. With a sweeping gesture he stilled the babel of voices that was beginning to rise.
"It was an ancient and honourable custom of Fitu-Iva," he said, "that when a man was proved a notorious evildoer his joints were broken with a club and he was staked out at low water to be fed upon alive by the sharks. Unfortunately, that day is past. Nevertheless another ancient and honourable custom remains with us. You all know what it is. When a man is a proven thief and liar he shall be struck with a dead pig." His right hand went into the basket, and, despite the lack of his spectacles, the dead pig that came into view landed accurately on Deasy's neck. With such force was it thrown that the Chancellor, in his sitting position, toppled over sidewise. Before he could recover, Sepeli, with an agility unexpected of a woman who weighed two hundred and sixty pounds, had sprung across to him. One hand clutched his shirt collar, the other hand brandished the pig, and amid the vast uproar of a delighted kingdom she royally swatted him. There remained nothing for Tui Tulifau but to put a good face on his favourite's disgrace, and his mountainous fat lay back on the mats and shook in a gale of Gargantuan laughter. When Sepeli dropped both pig and Chancellor, a talking man from the windward coast picked up the carcass. Cornelius was on his feet and running, when the pig caught him on the legs and tripped him. The people and the army, with shouts and laughter, joined in the sport. Twist and dodge as he would, everywhere the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer was met or overtaken by the flying pig. He scuttled like a frightened rabbit in and out among the avocados and the palms. No hand was laid upon him, and his tormentors made way before him, but ever they pursued, and ever the pig flew as fast as hands could pick it up. As the chase died away down the Broom Road, Grief led the traders to the royal treasury, and the day was well over ere the last Fitu-Ivan bank note had been redeemed with coin. VII Through the mellow cool of twilight a man paddled out from a clump of jungle to the Cantani. It was a leaky and abandoned dugout, and he paddled slowly, desisting from time to time in order to bale. The Kanaka sailors giggled gleefully as he came alongside and painfully drew himself over the rail. He was bedraggled and filthy, and seemed half-dazed. "Could I speak a word with you, Mr. Grief?" he asked sadly and humbly. "Sit to leeward and farther away," Grief answered. "A little farther away. That's better." Cornelius sat down on the rail and held his head in both his hands. "'Tis right," he said. "I'm as fragrant as a recent battlefield. My head aches to burstin'. My neck is fair broken. The teeth are loose in my jaws. There's nests of hornets buzzin' in my ears. My medulla oblongata is dislocated. I've been through earthquake and pestilence, and the heavens have rained pigs." He paused with a sigh that ended in a groan. "'Tis a vision of terrible death. One that the poets never dreamed. To be eaten by rats, or boiled in oil, or pulled apart by wild horses--that would be unpleasant. But to be beaten to death with a dead pig!" He shuddered at the awfulness of it. "Sure it transcends the human imagination." Captain Boig sniffed audibly, moved his canvas chair farther to windward, and sat down again. "I hear you're runnin' over to Yap, Mr. Grief," Cornelius went on. "An' two things I'm wantin' to beg of you: a passage an' the nip of the old smoky I refused the night you landed." Grief clapped his hands for the black steward and ordered soap and towels.
"Go for'ard, Cornelius, and take a scrub first," he said. "The boy will bring you a pair of dungarees and a shirt. And by the way, before you go, how was it we found more coin in the treasury than paper you had issued?" "'Twas the stake of my own I'd brought with me for the adventure." "We've decided to charge the demurrage and other expenses and loss to Tui Tulifau," Grief said. "So the balance we found will be turned over to you. But ten shillings must be deducted." "For what?" "Do you think dead pigs grow on trees? The sum of ten shillings for that pig is entered in the accounts." Cornelius bowed his assent with a shudder. "Sure it's grateful I am it wasn't a fifteen-shilling pig or a twenty-shilling one."
the five white men who lounged on the poop-deck were scantily clad. All the same. "Weather's been crazy for a fortnight. "I didn't know you South Sea traders sailed yachts. I've got a prejudice against seeing it pump. something makin '. I was only an apprentice. and he seemed to thrust his bare chest thirstily into the wind that did not cool. yet the dimness of distance produced the impression. Just faded way and died the next year. She was pumping that way the time we lost the Lancaster. "and the Gloucester boats are all yachts when it comes to build." Grief explained." "She was a Gloucester fisherman originally. while the supercargo still held in his hands the undershirt he was reluctant to put on. The sweat stood out on his forehead. The brown. "It won't last. Her head-sails emptied. an Englishman. one hour somewhere other quarter." . Haven't had the proper trades in three weeks. yet so thickly were the heavens covered by a messy cloud-pall that the sun failed to shine through. "And what's it doing around in the west? That's what I want to know. There was no fog nor mist." "Something makin '. and his guest. and the Malahini darted prettily into the wind and about.Chapter Eight 91 Chapter Eight --THE PEARLS OF PARLAY I The Kanaka helmsman put the wheel down. sort of. Barometer was pumping at sunset last night. but did not deliver coolness. "She is been chop around all night--five minutes here. and she was heeled over and filled away on the other tack. but I can remember that well enough. Gregory Mulhall. the heat was suffocating. their naked feet thrust into Chinese slippers." he complained. there was a rat-tat of reef-points and quick shifting of boom-tackles. the Holland mate. for a breeze like this. spreading his bushy beard with the fingers of both hands and shoving the thatch of his chin into the breeze in a vain search for coolness. though the weather sharps say it don't mean anything. The wind whispered coolness. There were no defined clouds. save for the extreme humidity with which it was laden. The captain and mate were in thin undershirts and unstarched duck pants. David Grief. first voyage. and it's pumping now. It might have blown off the Sahara. were still in pajamas." Captain Warfield croaked. and it ain't been there long. rig. He'd been forty years in the company." Despite the wind and the early hour. you know. and the Malahini slipped into the eye of the wind and righted to an even keel. Though it was early morning and the wind brisk. ten minutes there." said Hermann. "Jove! she's a witch!" was Mulhall's appreciation. Everything's mixed up. "Hard a-lee!" The helmsman ran the spokes over with no hint of gentling. Brand new. "Pretty muggy. Gets on my nerves. broke the old man's heart. and sailing. nor hint of fog or mist. breech-clouted Kanaka sailors moved languidly but quickly to head-sheets and boom-tackles. four-masted steel ship." was Grief's contribution to the general plaint. "Ready about!" Captain Warfield ordered with slow sharpness.
Part way in she was. broadside to the current. Captain Warfield. with an irritation explained by his next words." Grief jeered good-naturedly. "Show him what a lagoon entrance is on a strong ebb. "He has no right to call it Parlay.Chapter Eight "But you're heading right in--why don't you make it?" came the Englishman's criticism." Captain Warfield said. He had begged and badgered for it. She's got ten horse." was the supercargo's reply." the Kanaka repeated. "You wait and see. and through which could be seen the protected lagoon where the water lay flat like the ruffled surface of a mirror. and we've only got forty horsepower. looking from one to another." And at the rate of ten knots. so large the outflow of water. when her closeness to the coral edge compelled her to go about. in the course of building." "Sure. She could skate across the froth of hell. It beats insurance and you know the underwriters won't stand for insurance in the Paumotus. "Now's the time for that new and expensive engine of yours. "She'll slacken in half an hour--then we'll make headway. "It's well known. all of which surged out on the ebb through the one narrow channel. and the French charts. "Close-and-by. taking advantage of speech to pause with arms shoved into the sleeves of the undershirt. and old Parlay is there with the pearls. and narrow oval of an atoll. long. "Try it. "I'll wager a five-franc piece the little Nuhiva beats us in. We're like a liner alongside of her. "It will pay for itself yet. as Hikihoho. "She's overpowered. too. That the engine was a sore point with Captain Warfield was patent. It's running ten knots right now. and she's a little skimming dish. He turned to the steersman: "Tai-Hotauri. The atoll was shaped as if three atolls. Each heave and blow on her bows of the upstanding waves of the current swung the Malahini off the straight lead and wedged her as with wedges of steel toward the side of the passage. had collided and coalesced and failed to rear the partition walls. buffeted and jerkily rolled. "There it is. It's down on the admiralty charts." "Who see them pearl?" Hermann queried. Cocoanut palms grew in spots on the circle of sand." Captain Warfield agreed. On the opposite tack. 92 The Malahini laid squarely into the narrow passage which was the lagoon entrance of a large." "Close-and-by!" the captain ordered. that the passage was more like the rapids of a river than the mere tidal entrance to an atoll. until in the end Grief had given his consent. pleased and self-conscious. but just the same she can't buck this current. she swept seaward with the current's speed. easing half a spoke. right under our nose. Bougainville discovered it and named it from the natives. So narrow was the channel. and there were many gaps where the sand was too low to the sea for cocoanuts." Grief suggested. serrated waves." the captain retorted. took and gave a spoke. the Malahini went out to sea with the tide. The water boiled and whirled and swirled and drove outward in a white foam of stiff. Many square miles of water were in the irregular lagoon. ." "What's the name matter?" the supercargo demanded. what about old Parlay's pearls?" The Kanaka." Grief pointed to a small cutter beating up astern of them on the same course.
"He's got a fortune in pearls. his debts." Grief said. she thought she was all-white.Chapter Eight 93 "My brother dive for Parlay three. "Old Parlay is a character." "What's this Narii chap got to do with it?" was the Englishman's short-tempered demand. They've come for the auction. this will be the biggest year's output of pearls in the Paumotus. Hikihoho very good place for pearl. saved up for years and years. That's why the little Nuhiva's bumping along astern there. When Armande was eighteen he sent for her." the captain broke in. everything was his. and he's been adding to it ever since--stored the shell as well. They've got too much money tied up in him to let him lie." the supercargo carried on the tale. here's the story: Parlay's a full-blooded Frenchman. so I see. See those schooners' masts sticking up inside the lagoon?" "Eight. That's why we're here. "What are they doing in a dinky atoll like this?" the supercargo went on. and he sent the word out weeks ago that he'd auction them off to the buyers to-morrow. When she was seven or eight he sent her to France. He'd built the big house on Hikihoho. Came in trading when trading was the real thing. and was king. Also. They say the lagoon's fished clean now. as Yankee Bill would say. Anyway. The old man had always been cranky and erratic. And. and a dandy stunt it is for Narii. What's the result? If I fell down in a fit on the beach they'd let me lie there and die. Went to trading and all the rest. now. and you know the old country French draw no colour line. When she died. "I say. and he'd played the despot on Hikihoho so long that he'd got the idea in his head that there was nothing wrong with the king--or the princess either. Now I owe nobody. Let me tell you. "What's it all about? Who's the old beachcomber anyway? What are all these pearls? Why so secretious about it?" "Hikihoho belongs to old Parlay. honesty in paying bills ain't what it's cracked up to be. They've got to. four month. "There isn't a schooner-load of copra a year in the place. But Narii Herring?--what wouldn't they do if he fell in a fit? Their best wouldn't be too good for him. She was to arrive . They wouldn't lose anything." "If he really sells." said Hermann. Maybe that's why he's announced the auction. though what she can buy is beyond me. "Now comes the tragedy. Everybody's seen that--hundreds of tons of it. He's a genius in such things. You begin to glimpse the situation. and a whacking fine bungalow in Papeete. He arrived down here in the old days. as he began. That's Armande. That's how he got in on Hikihoho. When she was three he sent her to the convent at Papeete. His accent is the true Parisian." "You'll have to help me out." the supercargo answered. Measles came through. He had slews and slathers of money. and worked them. turning to Grief. "What's all this pearl nonsense? Begin at the beginning. and she accepted herself in much the same way. About a hundred miserable Paumotans lived on the island. and never dreamed of a bar sinister. They'd take him into their homes and hand-nurse him like a brother. and there weren't more than a dozen survivors. he said. Narii Herring--he's an English Jew half-caste--owns and runs her. "That's fifteen years ago. From what I've seen of him I believe he's partly and mildly insane. He owes so much that there isn't a merchant in Papeete who isn't interested in his welfare. She was educated like a princess. "And they say he had a hatful for Armande when he sailed for Tahiti. He fed them. harried by the humid heat as much as the rest of them. and his only assets are his nerve. The best and most aristocratic convent in France was none too good for the only daughter of a Paumotan island king and capitalist. and his whiskey bills. He told me once that he came from Paris. He married the queen--native fashion. Now before the queen died she gave birth to a girl. They go out of their way to throw work in his way." Grief warned the others. look here!" Mulhall burst forth." "And the pearl-buyers have never got him to part with a pearl. and he make much talk about pearl.
The old man went clean off for a while. and he sailed in his schooner to meet her at Papeete. French fashion." Grief continued. She did. He saw it. And they say he's never left the island since. Ask Tai-Hotauri there. wasn't it." He shrugged his shoulders. raised like an aristocrat. and escaped. pressed home. And you can guess the end. Magpie and all. broke two ribs and the collarbone of a man nurse. pampered with the best of old France that money could buy. "And then old Parlay proceeded to eat things up. Said she did it with the proper spirit of the Samurai." . and he's never budged. She was out of caste. "There was a Japanese servant in the bungalow. but not his head. Took a stiletto--no thrust. He'd had to jack up his schooner and build half a mile of ways before he could get her back into the sea. Makes my flesh creep." Captain Warfield contributed. daring the chief of police and all the gendarmes to arrest him. Hey. fought a duel with the port doctor. and we went ashore. They saw her. That was the year. all hands and the cook." "What's that?" Mulhall inquired. He want big blow. a quarter of a mile into the cocoanuts at the head of Taiohae Bay--and it a supposedly hurricane-proof harbour. without caste. and Captain Warfield said: "I was in the Magpie that blow. no drive. There was one single one of them. an old Paumotan. They had him strait-jacketed in the Colonial Club two days----" "His wife's uncle." Grief went on. "Pumped three bullets into the scalawag of a lieutenant----" "Who lay in sick bay for three months. they say. he make big blow. "He's a blithering old lunatic. at any rate. He's a regular Finn." "And added to his pearls. "I know." The supercargo nodded. Tai-Hotauri! what you think old Parlay do along weather?" "Just the same one big weather devil. no wind come. make the initial calls on the Governor and the port doctor. "old Parlay got caught in the same blow." said the captain. and went down to his schooner. when Manu-Huhi was swept and eleven hundred drowned?" The others nodded." came the Kanaka's answer. And he might have carried the situation off. and that was the gentle way they broke the information to her. and has told me he offered that much for it. if it hadn't been for the hurricane. a gun in each hand." "Well. worth sixty thousand francs. placed the point carefully against her heart. Peter Gee saw it. beautiful. "Old Parlay arrived after that with his pearls. There was a gay young lieutenant on the French cruiser. and sailed for Hikihoho. refined. no wild rush for annihilation--took the stiletto. You can imagine the shock to this young woman. "Flung a glass of wine in the Governor's face. beat up his native servants. cut him out of the jacket and turned him loose." the supercargo corroborated. wrecked the hospital. slowly and steadily. Nobody called on her. despite the hens and bull-beasts of Papeete. "Bosses the weather--that's what the natives believe.Chapter Eight 94 on the mail boat from New Zealand. He want no wind. He lost his heart to her. but neither of their hen-wives was at home to her nor returned the call. "And in the meantime there was Armande at Papeete. and with both hands. and arrived in Papeete with his hatful of pearls three weeks too late. though she had never dreamed it. "That was fifteen years ago.
the little cutter heeled over by the wind with a bone in her teeth. in the absence of wind it was almost overpowering. and Captain Warfield grunted his disgust. "Here she comes again--an eight point haul! Boom-tackles across! Jump!" The Kanakas sprang to the captain's orders. The Malahini's sailors sprang into the rigging and jeered as they went by. drew deep breaths. and for five minutes the schooner laid directly into the passage and even gained on the current. and I'd feel better if the Malahini was a thousand miles away from here. "No good luck them pearl. All native men say so. It's making for something right now." Grief concluded." The Malahini ran well into the centre of the little fleet ere she found swinging room to anchor. Plenty schooner come. "He say he sell. That's one of the reasons he held on to the pearls. and the man steering waved his hand in derisive greeting and farewell." he replied. a Portuguese half-caste. Again the breeze fell flat. though he merely grunted. and now one. rolling his head ominously." 95 "He is a bit mad. Intolerable as the heat had been. And all the time he hates white men. and again another. But the schooner could not hold her lead. "They're not far wrong. as the lagoon opened before them and the course was changed across it to the anchorage. never fear." "It's hurricane season now. "Sure." Five minutes later a cry of joy from their own Kanakas centred all eyes on the Nuhiva. and who wiped the sweat from his face with a bunch of greasy waste. going backward on the tide." said Mulhall. "Here comes the Nuhiva" Grief said. Captain Warfield was visibly cheered. "I've tried to get his point of view. though a great deal of the time he forgets she's dead. Hello! Where's your wind?" The sails bellied emptily overhead." "All ready?" the captain asked the engineer. "Then let her go." The engineer disappeared into his den. It's--well. "She's got her engine on. involuntarily questing for more air. "It'll pay for itself. Look at her skim. Half the time he believes she's still alive. For eighteen years he'd centred everything on Armande. compelling a shift back of sheets and tackles. everybody finish. . "Some engine that of ours. Then he make big hurricane. The sweat oozed out on all their faces. it's mixed. you see.Chapter Eight "A regular old Warlock. then puffed from the old quarter. not yet come back from France." Grief told Mulhall. Her engine had broken down and they were overtaking her. and a moment later the exhaust muffler coughed and spluttered overside. Only natives were on her deck. "The big fellow at the wheel--the nerviest and most conscienceless scoundrel in the Paumotus. whose head and shoulders protruded from the small hatch just for'ard of the cabin. The little cutter made three feet to her two and was quickly alongside and forging ahead. "That's Narii Herring." Captain War-field laughed morosely." Tai-Hotauri blurted out. He never forgets they killed her." Grief approved.
Old Parlay will surely get a price. introducing them. it was found by my cousin. "Nor have I ever seen so many together at one time. "And Peter Gee's on the Roberta. "What ought they to be worth?" "Fifty or sixty thousand pounds--and that's to us buyers." Peter Gee admitted. "They offered me sixty thousand francs for it in Tahiti. And through the curious company moved Parlay himself. yes.Chapter Eight 96 "There's Isaacs on the Dolly. "You must think a lot of pearls to come a day like this." Grief observed. if they aren't blown away." Mulhall said. His eyes were deep sunken and feverish. And there's Francini on the Cactus. So disproportionate was it to the slender ring of the atoll that it showed out upon the sand-strip and above it like some monstrous excrescence. Well." "Goin' to have a blow. who was also my cousin--we're all related here--killed him for it and fled away in a cutter to Noo-Nau." was the old man's greeting to Grief. Have a drink. "Jove!" Mulhall muttered under his breath. but the chief of Noo-Nau had killed him for it before I got there. And mangy! No wonder he crooks his head to one side." Grief laughed genially back. Your face is not familiar. You are new in the islands?" "It's Captain Robinson of the Roberta. He was a native. Other captains and buyers were in the big room examining the pearls that were to be auctioned next day. built of California lumber. with a hand wave of greeting. he was a thief. Couldn't keep him away from a pearl sale like this. but burnt out. and relatives of the owner. "See this one!" He pointed to a large. cackling and sneering. running his eyes over the surface of the table covered by the display." Captain Warfield grumbled gleefully. and his mustache and imperial had shed in the same lopsided way. They of the Malahini paid the courtesy visit ashore immediately after anchoring. In Paris----" He shrugged his shoulders and lifted his eyebrows at the incommunicableness of the sum. He was looking across the lagoon to where the Nuhiva's sails showed through the sparse cocoa-nuts. all the buyers. "A long-legged Napoleon the Third. perfect pearl the size of a small walnut that lay apart on a piece of chamois. It was mine. natives of Hikihoho. I pursued. He hid it. Paumotan servants. my cousin by marriage. . "Other men have already made that journey for them. In the meantime Mulhall had shaken hands with Peter Gee. baked. with a galvanized iron roof. He's got to keep the balance. and fire-crackled. II The house of Parlay was a big two-story frame affair. his cheeks fallen in and cavernous. His cousin." "They're worth going to inferno for. Oh." old Parlay cackled. there are many dead men represented on the table there." Grief said. that pearl. Also. They'll bid as much and more for it to-morrow. the withered wreck of what had once been a tall and powerful man. They're all here." "They haven't repaired the engine yet. moved about dispensing whiskey and absinthe. Captain. The hair of his head seemed to have come out in patches. "I never fancied there were so many pearls in the world. you see.
" some one said." Captain Warfield answered back. Parlay. The sobering effect showed plainly on his face. "I'd hate to lose that new engine before it paid for itself. The man was from Raratonga. aren't they? A diver from Easter Island got them for me inside a week. "Yes. You can tow across the lagoon with your whaleboats. and in those few minutes it was manifest to all that the waves were increasing in size. I saw him. Next week a shark got him. then. my brave sailor-men." "Who's croaking now?" Grief reproved. took his arm off and blood poison did the business. "It's dropped ten." "The more reason she will be. He was the most powerful native I ever saw." . You see those three! Perfectly matched. Parlay skipped with astonishing nimbleness across the crowded room to the barometer on the wall. In the silence the outer surf seemed to have become unusually loud. Old Parlay's selling out." was all he said. An orderly succession of huge smooth seas was rolling down upon the coral shore. this rising sea in a dead calm. And more men will die. And he burst his lungs at the same time." Captain Warfield replied gloomily. I wouldn't advise you if I thought you'd go. "Take a look." "If I was a strong man. Old Parlay shocked them with his abrupt cackle. more men will die. "A big sea is beginning to set. brave gentlemen. You'll all stay. what men will dare for a few little oyster drops! There they are. There was no ice in the drink that was served. For some minutes they gazed on the strange sight and talked in low voices. "Hikihoho's never been swept. and whiskey and absinthe went down lukewarm. There was a great rumbling roar. all of them. and there was a movement to the windows. Half a dozen of my divers have died of the bends. well. Well. "It ain't going to blow. hush your croaking. and there was a look as if every man desired immediately to start for the door. or got the 'bends. He got it out of twenty-two fathoms. yes. It was uncanny. and the buzzards are gathering--old Parlay who was a stronger man in his day than any of them and who will see most of them dead yet. "I wouldn't trust her. and their voices unconsciously sank lower." the old man retorted in the falsetto of age. "What if she does blow?" said the captain of the Dolly. The man nearest read the glass. it came out of twenty-two fathoms of water." "If he isn't a vile old beast!" the supercargo of the Malahini whispered to Peter Gee. Through the sparse cocoanuts they gazed seaward. But not you. where all gathered." chided one of the captains. All were sweating profusely and breathing hard. "Listen!" Parlay commanded. the beauties! Auction to-morrow. I know those pearls." "Oh. You can't drive buzzards away from the carrion. "There is yet time to get away to sea. Have another drink. "Not if I was a strong man with the taste for wine yet in my mouth. yet every face went anxious.' for he died in two hours. "Many dead men lie on the table there. my brave sailormen!" he cried exultantly. He broke all diving records. at ten sharp. I couldn't get up hook and get out fast enough.Chapter Eight 97 Mulhall wiped the sweat from his eyes. He died screaming." Parlay was cackling. And that big baroque there--nothing much--if I'm offered twenty francs for it to-morrow I'll be in luck. They could hear him for miles.
" he encouraged." Isaacs assured him." III On the beach a curious scene took place. for one. As they took the shell-bordered path to the beach he stuck his head out the door and called." said Darling." The chorus of incredulous laughter incensed the old man. or two or three at most. and leered around at his guests. "Since when have children like you come to the knowledge of storms? And who is the man who has plotted the hurricane-courses of the Paumotus? What books will you find it in? I sailed the Paumotus before the oldest of you drew breath." No one noticed him. It had grown still darker. Where's the slow music!" In answer. He grinned at the very evident haste of the captains and buyers. Whaleboat after whaleboat was being hurriedly manned and shoved off. will come the wind. and also Tai-Hotauri. With him were three of his Kanakas. looking at his watch. The house quivered to it. giggled. Several of the buyers even went back to the table to continue the examination of the pearls. another rumbling crash shook the atoll and the house." Isaacs half whispered. a stalwart youngster of twenty-five." "It's growing dark. "Don't forget. We'll not get a whiff of it. and the voices became louder. Listen to that!" A vast rumbling crash shook the coral foundations of the atoll. and it's like twilight." Mulhall said to Grief. Isaacs panted asthmatically in the suffocating heat. brave gentlemen. Conversations were started. "A last drink. By God! the old devil's right. "Then you'll be doing your buying in hell." An air of relief went through the room. Captain War-field strode across to see. for aboard. the mate of the Cactus. "29:75. Remember your chart. at ten to-morrow old Parlay sells his pearls. To the eastward the paths of the hurricanes are on so wide a circle they make a straight line. with bottles of whiskey and absinthe in their hands. "She's gone down five more. Narii Herring walked leisurely along the sand. my brave boy. The native servants. He turned fiercely on Darling. . and it's me." "We'll buy these to-morrow just the same. and the sand shook under their feet with each buffet of the sea on the outer shore. "Ten o'clock in the morning.Chapter Eight 98 "It's all right." he read. shrank together as if for protection and stared with fear through the windows at the mighty wash of the wave lapping far up the beach to the corner of a copra-shed. "What's your haste?" Parlay chuckled and girded at his departing guests. She's a-coming. gentlemen. "The blow's to the southward and passing on. old man. the curve! In an hour. "That's right. Parlay's shrill cackle rose higher. Down go the lights for the tragedy. I know. In the dim light their sweaty faces appeared ghastly. To the westward here they make a sharp curve. Parlay looked at the barometer. How did it happen the hurricane of '91 swept Auri and Hiolau? The curve. The stagnant calm continued. Almost in a panic the company started for the door. "Jove! it's like a stage. "If the world was coming to an end you'd go on buying.
and now another. But his face belied his words. taking charge." He sat down. "You're the only skipper in the group that steals other men's sailors. rejoining the other group. Boat and copra-sheds and the sheds where the shell was stored were deserted.Chapter Eight "Get into the boat and take an oar. "I'd do it anyway if it were open sea. Like the Malahini. "I'll settle with you yet. for he was guilty of a prodigious wink." he huskily whispered. and dropped a second anchor. skipper. "Come back here!" the captain threatened. and he's sailing again. Captain Warfield took the cue and proceeded to do some acting himself. "or I'll knock seven bells out of you!" The Kanaka drew back truculently. "I work no more for you." Tai-Hotauri said. with a second significant wink. Lower her down to the deck and lash her bottom up. There was no sign of life where Parlay's big house perched on the sand. "I go to work on the Nuhiva. that's all." he thundered. He raised his fist and his voice. veered. and now one craft." he announced. "Bottom out fall from barometer. and Grief stepped between to placate his captain." he cried. and in lowered voice queried: "Now what's Tai-Hotauri up to? He's on to something. "For two cents I'd up anchors and get out. "Fire me. Hermann's anxious face greeted them over the rail." Captain Warfield ordered the latter. We've a better chance right here." "Come on." Men were busy at work on the decks of all the schooners. "Get into that boat. 99 Tai-Hotauri came over jauntily. hove in. What do you think." "Overhaul the big one." Tai-Hotauri said insolently and loudly. But those chains of atolls to the north and east have us pocketed. but as the boat shoved off he stood up in the sternsheets and shook his fist ashore. those that had third anchors were preparing to drop them when the wind showed what quarter it was to blow from." Grief said. Narii. but what is it?" IV As the boat came alongside the Malahini. we must get on board. There was a great clanking of chains being overhauled. "He's sailed with me in the past. some of you. Captain Warfield?" . while Narii Herring and his three Kanakas paused and looked on from forty feet away. hoist in this boat. too. skipper." Captain Warfield ordered. I got starboard anchor overhaul. The roar of the big surf continually grew though the lagoon lay in the mirror-like calm." Captain Warfield gave in. "He's a free man. skipper. "She's goin' to blow." Grief urged. "And here. "Look how dark it's getting." Narii Herring spoke up.
" They could see the grass-thatched shed lift and collapse. was a stiff bending of the cocoanut palms and a blur of flying leaves. "No longer can I breathe. and behind that the lagoon was all crisping." He chopped open a drinking cocoanut with his heavy sheath-knife and drained the contents." Captain Warfield groaned. I saw a big squall like that off Savaii once. like skirmishers. "There she comes. I am dry like a stove. "What is that calm streak?" Mulhall asked. "But it travels as fast as the wind. The flying calm streak had reached them. lying nearest to the wind at slack chains. Then her chains brought her up. were flashes of windflaws. "If she blow I would as be cooler yet. Next came another dark strip of wind. A regular double-header. seemed now to have descended quite down upon the sea. Schooner after schooner. The cloud-sky. It is damn hot. The rest of them followed his example." Hermann grunted. Behind this strip." was the other's objection. There she comes again!" The wreck of the shed was now flung up and left on the sand-crest. The front of the wind on the water was a solid. strangely marked. pausing once to watch one of Parlay's shell sheds go down in ruin. travelling with equal speed. though a lagoon is no mill-pond for riding it out. was a strip of what seemed glassy calm. Stand by and hold on! Here she is on top of us. Grief lighted a match. Abreast of it. the Malahini with them. "Calm. and smashed us a second time. It's a double-header. and the unshielded flame burned without flickering in the still air. Smash! it hit us. was now sweeping away with the first gust and fetching up on taut chains." he said quietly." Grief remarked cheerfully. boiling whiteness. a quarter of a mile in width. Look at the Roberta!" The Roberta.Chapter Eight 100 "I agree with you. A flying film. From the speed the barometer's dropped. In advance of this strip. It will be an experience for you. And then there was no wind." Warfield answered. while a froth of foam cleared the crest of the sand and ran down to the lagoon. They did not need glasses to see. lowering as it had been for hours. He was looking through the glasses down the length of the lagoon to the southeast. The barometer now registered 29:50. "Must be pretty close to the centre of the area of low pressure. I wonder where she's going to start from? Hello! There goes one of Parlay's copra-sheds. bow on to the wind. seemed drawing over the surface of the lagoon. with an astonishing jerk. "I was never through the eye of a hurricane before. A very dim twilight prevailed. and all eyes drew to him. Mulhall and several of the Kanakas were taken off their feet when the Malahini jerked to her anchors. . it's going to be a big one. "Breached across!" Mulhall exclaimed. was swept off broadside like a straw. "It has to. "That's something for a starter. along the atoll. A third wave buffeted it into fragments which washed down the slope toward the lagoon. or it would be overtaken and it wouldn't be any calm. sharply defined strip of dark-coloured. then it lulled to nothing. wind-vexed water. too. Mulhall.
Chapter Eight 101 The Roberta tightened to her chains when the second head of the hurricane hit. surged the white spume of the breakers. Their men could be seen chopping and fighting to get them apart. The Malahini had begun shoving her bow and fo'c'sle head under the bigger ones. Hermann and several Kanakas were crawling for'ard on hands and knees to let go the third anchor. Already tilted down the slope of sand. It had plenty of room to kick up in the ten-mile stretch from the windward rim of the atoll. "Going to chance the passage! Got to! Anchors skating!" "We're holding now!" came the answering shout. Because the wind blew lengthwise along the atoll. The third anchor took hold. who. They moved slowly. and his lungs were filled in an instant with so great a volume of driven air which he could not expel that he nearly strangled ere he could turn his head away. but no one heard him. A big sea was likewise making down the length of the lagoon. with his Kanakas. "There goes the Cactus down on the Misi. never releasing a hand-hold until another had been secured. Hermann. as did schooner after schooner in swift succession. Mulhall. veering the Mahhini to port. across the sand. Loose ends of rope stood out stiffly horizontal. and the Roberta went by. and at times her waist was filled rail-high with water. "He's knocking out the shackles!" Grief shouted. was heading for the passage at the northwestern end of the lagoon. with a patch of tarpaulin set for'ard. when a whipping gave. Mulhall touched one and then another and pointed to the shore. but the added windage of the Cactus was too much. were at work on the bow. going full speed ahead. Underneath. "Now's the time for your engine!" Grief bellowed. putting ever more gaskets on the sails. lashing and making secure. But the Misi and Cactus. shouted emphatic commands. Warfield put his mouth to Grief's ear and shouted: "We're dragging. stern-first. with a number of sailors. The sea. They saw her make it and drive out to sea. and all the schooners were bucking and plunging into it. too!" Grief sprang to the wheel and put it hard over. The wind ripped and tore their thin undershirts from their backs. its end was imminent. and the entangled schooners slid away across the boiling white. crawling over to where the engineer lay. To face the full blast of it required all one's strength. breaking across from outside. cleared of her anchors." he gasped. While she continued to ship seas over . the house had been sheltered by the miles of cocoanut trees. and. "It's incredible. and Captain Warfield. It was impossible to face the wind and breathe. plodded steadily. a dozen yards away. spitting wavelets. discovered this. and Parlay's house rocked drunkenly. were undermining it and hammering it to pieces. white with fury. and several minutes of crawling on deck against it tired a man to exhaustion. The grass-sheds had disappeared. The Roberta. as if their bodies weighed tons. The wind merely increased on itself and continued to increase. the Malahini behaved better. went ashore on the atoll half a mile from the passage. and all the rigging. Bent over rigidly from the wind. unable to get clear of each other. But the big seas. That settles them!" The Misi had been holding. Grief touched Captain Warfield and pointed to the Roberta. The deck of the Malahini vibrated under the men's feet. as if smote by some mighty hand. boiled in tiny. The trees did not sway or thresh about. set up a wild thrumming. Here and there in the cocoanut trees people had lashed themselves. the loose end frazzled and blew away. Under the engine. they remained in that position and vibrated monstrously. They waved their hands to Peter Gee and Captain Robinson. The taut-stretched halyards beat a tattoo against the masts. She was dragging down upon them. crouching with the others behind the shelter of the cabin.
but with ever-increasing velocity. Five vessels now remained. Not long after. The wreck of Parlay's house was picked up. others uprooted. hurled into the lagoon. but her captain. they saw one jump overboard from that schooner's stern and strike out strongly for . "Burst in her hatches. and shouted in Grief's ear. slim and yacht-like. finding no abatement in the wind. One tree they saw snap off halfway up.. and blown out upon them. knocking out the chain-shackles and running for the passage. There were not so many trees remaining. Grief put out his hand and shook. two of them followed the Roberta's example. she did not come up. Anchors hold. Fearing either the Nuhiva's or the Winifdred's fate. The best her forty horsepower could do was to ease the strain. Still the wind increased. "Pretty good engine that." Grief congratulated his skipper. rolling in the trough and settling by the head. was having a bad time of it. Her for'ard bitts. a little schooner plunging and burying outside of them. On the other hand. Inshore. and we ought to lie easier!" Slowly and steadily. the Moana let go and followed with the same result. There was wild work for'ard on her. "Rotten little tub. Captain Warfield pointed to the Winifred. and of them the Malahini was the only one with an engine. having been jerked out of her by her anchors. "It will save our sticks for us yet. her engine still unrepaired and her captain ashore." was the bellowed answer. and she went to destruction on the lee-rim of the atoll near the Misi and the Cactus. lay the Tahaa.. Two detached themselves from it and swam to the Tahaa. Some had been broken short off. she was not jerked down so fiercely by her anchors. just before darkness. "She's paying for herself!" he yelled back. Passing the Malahini. lying a quarter of a mile astern. The little Nuhiva. she was unable to get any slack in the chains. three persons clinging to it. on their port bow. At three in the afternoon buried by a second sea before she could free herself of the preceding one. foremast. but her tarpaulin was carried away.Chapter Eight 102 her bow. but excessively oversparred. The sea on the lagoon went swiftly down with the change of wind. with intervals of silence when whisked away by the roaring wind. and in this plight was swept away to leeward. and most of her bow were gone.. eh?" Captain Warfield yelled to his owner. "The wind's shifting around to the southward. She buried herself so frequently and so deeply that they wondered each time if she could clear herself of the water. But how she holds together. His voice came in patches of dim words. till the three schooners that were left pointed directly in toward the beach. Mulhall looked at Grief. but it had taken the Papara's foremast and bowsprit with it. and whirl away by the wind into the lagoon. and in a quarter of an hour the house went clear.. Undeterred by this. lying abreast of the Malahini and closer in to the beach. "Pretty good engine that." Captain Warfield shook his head dubiously. Old as the ark----" An hour later Hermann pointed to her.. The Dolly was the first. She swung broadside.. the wind veered around to the south and the southwest. but they were beginning to feel the heave and lift of the outer sea breaking across the atoll. it crashed into the Papara. proceeded to reduce windage by chopping down his masts. Her anchors still held.
No good luck.. He want steal. which was lighted only after many collective attempts.... I'll spell him. After that he worked in darkness. He had better success with the binnacle lamp.. Hundreds of leagues of ocean was being backed up by the hurricane.. and crawled aft. but the moment it was lifted above the level of the cabin wall the wind blew it out..... damn robber." The hatch to the engine room was battened down. two hundred. I don't know. My tree blow to hell.. he told his story. Narii say one bean black.. behind the part shelter of the cabin." The lagoon grew more and more troubled by the sea that swept across the atoll." was Grief's judgment. Copra-shed dark. "Bring him on deck. comprehensive examination of the engine and the fittings of the tiny room.. Captain Warfield was particularly incensed. "Narii. One man kill Parlay.. then blew out the oil-lamp. Nobody know. climbed over the bow. Three Kanakas. spitting wavelets.. "A fine night of wind!" Grief yelled in Mulhall's ear." In the ear of one after another Grief passed on Tai-Hotauri's story. Naked to the waist. in broken snatches and largely by signs.. Narii... which more than overcame the lowering effect of the ebb tide. "All right!" Grief said.... No chance. Kill Parlay.. "It's Tai-Hotauri. Time was given him to breathe. and they could see him grinding his teeth..... hat. Harder than I've ever seen it. access being gained through a narrow passage from the cabin.... Mebbe Narii get them pearl yet... covered with grease and oil. No good luck them pearls.. me.... and slubbered in the shouting dark.." "How hard?" "A hundred miles an hour. "Now we'll have the news. All beans black.... I tell you before. Immediately the tide began to rise the increase in the size of the seas was noticeable. and then.." "Where's Parlay?" Grief shouted.." "Where's the pearls?" "Up tree along Parlay.. Even-tempered as he was... bruised and skinned from being knocked . Three of his Kanakas same tree. No man know what man.Chapter Eight the Malahini through the white. Narii and one Kanaka'nother tree.. "Up tree. pearls." 103 The Kanaka caught the bobstay. Every man get black bean. Five black.... Everybody get up tree. Hermann went below and returned with a riding light. and sobbed. "And blowing harder all the time. he soon began to give evidences of the strain of being pent in with a mechanical monster that toiled.... The heat and gas fumes were stifling... Kill Parlay. Grief took one hasty. Big wind come. Narii damn liar.. Moon and wind were heaping the South Pacific on Hikihoho atoll.. Captain Warfield returned from one of his periodical trips to the engine room with the word that the engineer lay in a faint. then I come on board. save for the glow from endless cigars which he went into the cabin to light.. Five beans. "Can't let that engine stop!" he concluded helplessly.
save for a belt and a bare-bladed knife thrust between it and the skin. It was Narii Herring. Mulhall." Captain Warfield admired when Grief came into the cabin to catch a breath of little less impure air. poured over the top of the cabin. yelled and cursed them both down and issued commands. were smashed forward against the bulkhead as the Malahini took an abrupt. When his face became visible in the light from the binnacle it was working with anger. and from the weight of water on her decks behaved logily. A hole was chopped through the engine room floor. while Grief continued to souse running parts in oil. Grief crept to the engine. His white teeth showed in an amused and sneering smile. she avalanched it aft. unable to gain their feet." What other uses he might have found for it were never given. The ignition began to go bad. and at times. Instead. jumping vessel. who crouched behind the cabin.Chapter Eight 104 about by the plunging. The schooner. in turns petting. a magnificent figure of a man. He would not put his lips to Narii's ear. blessing." he grated savagely through his teeth. It was a complicated huddle. He was quite naked. and he stood up. Mulhall!" Grief shouted to his guest between immersions. greasy and battered. Captain Warfield was against any stopping. She rolled it out and took it in over one rail and the other. submerging and bruising those that clung on. and drew Grief's attention. He joined the others. who went on deck to get his own head and lungs clear. but the wind tore the sound away. Captain Warfield untied his lashings and made his way over the bodies of the others. he pointed over the side. creaked and groaned and quivered. And worst of all. "I bathe in gasoline. The Malahini was being plunged down and swept frequently. The feed grew worse. Mulhall saw him first. swept by three big seas. holding on with their hands and made doubly secure by rope-lashings. he laboured on hour after hour. while Captain Warfield waited his chance to get through the companion-way and out on deck. with glaring eyes. and a Kanaka heaved bilge-water over the cylinders. Grief. "Didn't know you were a gasoline expert. "Galley's gone! Everything gone except the deck and hatches! And if that engine hadn't been going we'd be gone! Keep up the good work!" By midnight the engineer's lungs and head had been sufficiently cleared of gas fumes to let him relieve Grief. They could see him speak. deep dive. the supercargo. his head swimming from the mixture of gas and air he was compelled to breathe. Mulhall. sitting down on her heel. "Whaleboat's gone!" he reported. nose thrown skyward. Narii Herring understood. and went out over the stern-rail. The half-caste swore that the engine would ruin itself and stop anyway and for good. It surged along the poop gangways. for it was the only place of refuge for the Kanakas. as well as the gasoline being strained. and what they breathed was air and spray and water commingled. It was half an hour before he came back. For the space of several minutes. the cylinders began to heat. they rolled back and forth and pounded and hammered from wall to wall. . "Making heavy weather of it. could only nod. strangling and choking. "I eat it. crouching and holding on where the dim binnacle light shone upon him. Some of them had accepted the skipper's invitation into the cabin but had been driven out by the fumes. nursing. The scuppers could not carry off the burden of water on the schooner's deck. for at that moment all the men in the cabin. and Hermann were set to work in the cabin at double-straining and triple-straining the gasoline. In a consultation held in the cabin the half-caste engineer begged and pleaded to stop the engine for half an hour in order to cool it and to attend to the water circulation. and cursing the engine and all its parts.
where she jerked to an even keel.. 105 For the moment the poop was clear of water and the Malahini on an even keel. Above and below pandemonium broke out. "Northwest!" Captain Warfield shouted to Grief when he came on deck. For the moment it was hard to realize there was no wind. "He'd have murdered Old Parlay!" Grief yelled back. though there was certitude in all of them that he had gone over the side. but he's a goner. It will come as hard as ever. and so loudly did he speak that in the quiet it hurt the others' ears." he whispered haltingly. The arm of one Kanaka hung helpless and broken at his side. "Narii did that?" Mulhall demanded. it's from being smashed along the deck and over the house!" Something suddenly ceased. for the first time they could hear the water washing about on deck. leaving them in dizzying uncertainty. derisive cackle. at ten o'clock. The schooner rolled and plunged. "All his ribs are smashed." the supercargo said." He looked at the barometer. "29:32. "Hauled eight points like a shot!" . "No. With the absolute abruptness of a sword slash." Grief said. Thereafter he crawled. but he mastered the qualms of dissolution long enough to omit one final.. Not in a moment could he tone down the voice which for hours had battled against the wind.. Grief shook his head. These they seized and held till the water cleared.. and when they emerged from the flood that swept aft. disappearing in the darkness. "Now for the shift. All three were naked and bloody.Chapter Eight "It's murder!" Mulhall yelled to Grief. and the engine took up its work again. They rounded her into the wind. caught broadside. the auction. a mess of bodies poured down on them over the top of the cabin. The other two were his Kanaka cousins. "My brave gentlemen. In them was the light of recognition. in another submergence. "Can't lose him! He's the Fish Man of Tahiti! He'll cross the lagoon and land on the other rim of the atoll if there's any atoll left!" Five minutes afterward. with closed eyes and without movement. Old Parlay lay oh his back on the floor. in hell. loud. "We're in the dead centre. The propeller was thrown on. The old familiar roar of the wind was with them." he read. Also." His eyes dropped shut and the lower jaw threatened to drop.. "Don't forget. The other man bled freely from a hideous scalp wound. The Malahini. Grief got Mulhall's ear.. moved one arm impotently. "He's still breathing. fetching up on her anchors with a crash which for the first time they could hear." Old Parlay groaned. was pressed down almost on her beam ends as she swung the arc compelled by her anchors. The engineer threw off the propeller and eased the engine down. and opened his eyes. the wind had been chopped off. feeling along Parlay's side. The Malahini dived deep. Narii made a bravado attempt to walk to the rail. but was flung down by the wind. when they carried them below and learned their identity.
The Papara and the Tahaa were gone. But first she passed up to them a battered basket. "Hello!" said Mulhall. but Grief glanced over the wreck affectionately and went into the cabin to swab the grease off his chest and arms with bunches of cotton waste. was searching the opposite rim of the atoll. There were no boats left to the Malahini.org/2/1/9/7/21971/ Produced by David Widger . He moved casually. that feebly mewed and staggered on awkward legs. as if out for a morning stroll. "For two cents--for two cents----" was all he could manage to articulate." Ashore. after sewing up the scalp of one Kanaka and setting the other's arm. where the sea had breached. and Captain Warfield. THE END End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of A Son Of The Sun. they helped over the rail a young native girl of Parley's household. The Malahini lay close in to the beach. the engine lifted up in the air. In it was a litter of blind kittens--all dead save one.zip ***** This and all associated files of various formats will be found in: http://www.Chapter Eight "Narii'll never get across the lagoon now!" Grief observed. For'ard. and lay down on its side. "Can I come aboard and get some breakfast?" Captain Warfield's face and neck began to swell and turn purple. They must have dragged across before the big shift came. farther along. where Parlay's house had been. The engineer wailed his dismay.gutenberg. When he came back. Here and there.txt or 21971-8. when he was abreast of them. by Jack London *** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A SON OF THE SUN *** ***** This file should be named 21971-8. He tried to speak. In the crown of one surviving palm Tai-Hotauri asserted he saw something move. no tree or even stump was left. parted its bed-plates with a last convulsive effort of its forty horsepower. through the glasses. For the space of three hundred yards. Captain Warfield gritted his teeth. but choked. The sun was up and the gentlest of summer breezes blowing when he came on deck. was no vestige of any house. "Who's that?" Along the beach they saw a man walking. Equally rapid was the fall of the wind. "Hello. "That's what comes of not having engines." he said. A wash of water from the bilge sizzled over it and the steam arose in clouds. stood an occasional palm. worse luck!" V 106 After the passing of the centre the barometer began to rise. and they watched him swim ashore and climb the tree. skipper!" Narii called. and there were numbers which had been snapped off above the ground. When it was no more than a howling gale. "Then he'll blow back to our side. Hermann and the crew were heaving in and straightening out the tangle of anchors. It was Narii Herring. "Not a stick left of them.
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