« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Boil drepand kind.
mirage spread soreens of fan- in searoh, whose whereabouts tasy out for our entertain- he indicated by simply point. ment - ourious oliffs, odd- ing to the east, and muttering, shaped mountains, inverted “Chung " (there). We tried palms were displayed in an to induoe him to accompany attraction of colour that was us, but, judging by his obvi. never seen outside & Turner ous roluotanoe to our company, painting in water - colours. we conoluded that be hadn't Nothing changed materially been too well treated by bis as the horizon moved — we late employers, and had had moved, but we took our land. already quite sufficient of men 80ape with us. We were like of our colour. Upon rounding ohildren walking inside a large a small hill we were greatly hoop, and kioking it forward surprised to find that we had as we stopped. Not a breath reached the end of our journey, of wind escaped from the cloud- for there, not two miles away, less sky: we were alone in a glistened a sheet of water, surlifeless world ; we had pushed rounded by dried grase, ex. beyond the habitat of all orea- aotly similar to the veldt tures, over onward into the grass of South Africa, and set still wastes; with eager eyes a few yards from the water's we gearohed the dusty plaing edge a oouple of huts; even at of silence, but there was no that distance the unmistake. spook of life to graoe the burnt able work of white men. brown run of death. By the The sheet of water turned seventh day the mirages be- oat to be a dam built to hold oame too common to deceive baok the water for tin-sluioing. even our shattered disorim. A wild yell of delight left the inating faoulties: night de throats of our “boys" as if by Boended upon as dewless and mutual consent, and each man dreary, and we turned in to quiokened his pace unoon. sleep with aching heads and sciously. I thought that the sore limbs after the toil and shoat would have instantly labour of the day.
brought to the open any perTowards morn on the eighth sons who might have ocoupied day the landsoape ohanged the buts, but we were less than with almost theatrioal sud- & hundred yards from them denness — strange odd-shaped before any one appeared. Even hills, abrupt and rugged, then the indifference and boreoropped up on either hand, dom of the solitary figure was That evening, before we had 80 apparent that it was almost decided upon our night's suffioient to make one turn oamping - ground, we ran back immediately. Presently aoross a herd of hump- the figure began to roll as if baoked oattle with a Filani drunk. We discovered it was herd. He was questioned in one of the least important Hanga, and he turned out to members of the party, not be a deserter from the camp necessary to describe here, wbo of the party of whioh we were had been left behind by the others while they went on an words were of inquiry, and exploring expedition ap the seemed to bring a look of river, whioh ran into the dam anxiety into each face; the from the eastern end. He man in the blue shirt answered expeoted them baok almost that there had been no acei. any moment, in faot had taken dent of any kind. our shout for theirs, and there. “We are all safe as far as fore didn't trouble to hurry we know," he said. “The himself. As he explained dootor is away on a trip to the matters, my eye suddenly east with all the boys' we oaught something moving on had left but one, and he has the water's surface just under now deserted us.” the shadow of an overhang “So you have had siokness growth, and next moment & amongst the boys?” I asked. dag-out canoe, holding five “Any deaths ?” men, oame into view. Directly “Yes, sir,” he replied. “You they sighted us they rent the see it's like this-blackwater air with a sboat which made broke out amongst them the rest of our party turn all together, but we couldn't round, and instantly began induce them to let the dootor jabbing the water so furiously see them, as they said that with their paddles that the what medioine was good for small oanoe began to roll. Not white man no be good for possessing the balance of the blaok man; they refused to native born to the unstability take it, and all died with the of the oraft, I could see that exception of five, who are at they were in jeopardy, for present away with the dootor, two of them had to drop their not oounting the deserter.” paddles and begin to bail. He spoke readily, as if
Making all allowances for anxious to share some news the eagerness of men who have which was too much for him spent a couple of years in to oarry alone. I replied as isolation to greet friends from cheerfully as I could, and home, I found myself a little inquired about the rainy impatient at their rooklessness. season. However, they came alongside While one of my “boys” without accident, and one by was getting out some liquor one left the oraft. A man in comforts, I took a closer look a blue shirt, with green neok at them : except for one who oloth, came first; his beard was standing farther away and hair were red. Standing from us, they all seemed very in front of my party, I held much alike. He was obvi. out my hand to greet him, but ously still & lad, not more he turned to wait for his oom. than twenty-two years old, rades, and not until all four and attraoted my attention men had landed did he come beoause of his boyish appearforward.
anoe; the others were heavier There seemed to be some- and darker and evidently thing odd in this. My first none of them had pat soissors to hair or beard for a couple had seen the cases opened of months. This surprised me and some wine prodaoed; we greatly, 28 it is a very sooordingly adjourned to one unusual thing in & land of the huts to drink it. where it is of the atmostW hen they had filled ap, I diffioulty to keep the head beganolean unless the hair is kept “Well, gentlemen, it is a short.
great pleasure to meet you A second glance at their and have the opportunity faces showed me the oause of to toast the 8000088 of the it. I should have notiood it expedition. Let as drink to sooner but for the fact that the safety of you all, inthe hair on their faces con- cluding the doctor, who is cealed & pair of hollow and not amongst 08. I suppose, emaoiated cheeks in each oase, judging by appearance, this and I knew that the terrible is Mr Oxley sitting on my left, lifeless feeling left behind as but I cannot name the others, & reminder by malaria was However, that will come with 800ountable. I therefore under acquaintance. Here's to the stood how they must have felt hea— " as they kept putting it off and The moment I had spoken off from time to time, as only Oxley's name I had smiled those who dwell in the tropios down at my neighbour; but oan anderstand. The man in I had no answering smile, and the blue shirt was bigger and suddenly the glass was orasbed barlier than his comrades, and to atoms between his fingers. evidently older, and as I He stared stupidly at the litter noticed this I had the im- of glass and wine as the others pression that all of them sprang to their feet. Suddenly looked older than I expooted he banged his hand down apon to find them.
the table. The boyish-looking lad fin- “What made you think I ished a sentence, and his lips was Oxley ?” he rasped. “My olosed in a straight line while name is Phoenix!” & line ran down from the This outburst was as dis. side of each nostril, making oonoerting as his aotion had his mouth triangular.
been. But I made shift to “Yes," he was saying; "in blurt out some words of August we had it one hundred apology, and the young boy. and twenty-five in the shade, ish-looking one jumped up, and it rained for six weeks and seizing Phønix's out without a break.”
hand, led him into another “That's bad," I said. “Much apartment of the hut to have siokness ?”
it bandaged. “We all had malaria, but I immediately attributed the natives had blackwater the outburst on the part of as well; it was then they Phonix to liver, knowing the died,"
feeling of anreasoning irritaBy this time the steward bility that can be produced
by constant doses of inter- barrassment of the meeting, mittent fever, and how easy I then presented the members it is to upset men by the of my party, and a sort of merest trifles after the rains. freedom and conviviality enI resolved to think no more sued, which was just the sort about it, and to try and of thing I desired. smooth matters over by toast- “How was Oxley all this ing him as soon as he re- time?” I inquired, turned. As I was filling my “I think he was anæmio," glass the boy returned, but he said. "His voice had without Phønix. A footfall wavered perceptibly, and his outside told me that Phoenix lips turned very blue. You had found his way out 800, we were all apæmio," he through some door whioh bastened to add. “We couldn't probably led out of the other get any exeroise, and the rain apartment, but as yet an- and thunder was maddening; known to us.
one thunderstorm seemed to Almost immediately he be- last for nearly & week. That gan to speak.
made the house a queer place, "Of course we should have sir,” he continued, with a more told you who we are, sir. Mroonfident freedom. “We oculd Phoenix is our obief, the rest do nothing but sleep, and used of as are Welsh Hughes, to feel too tired even to eat. beg pardon-Mr Hughes—Mr You see, sir, we have nothing Penn, Mr Tearle, and Dr to read but a few old books, O'Doa, who is away; and and we read thuse 80 many there's myself, my name is times, and got so siok of them, Ford, sir,"
that at last we tore them up, “Six," I tallied mentally, beoause we knew them so well and noticed his eagerness to that we always know what get into conversation, while was coming next, and belooks of anxiety passed from sides, the colour of the covers face to face as he spoke. He used to annoy Oxley. We was about to continue, but had nothing to break the I interrupted.
monotony but walk about “That's only six," I said; from one room to another, “there should be seven." As and as one was bound to want I mentioned this every man to walk while the other was stirred uneasily on his seat, sleeping, this always caused and judging by their looks, annoyance; and besides, sir, none of them envied Ford everybody thought that everyhis job of explaining.
body else wanted to sleep in “You see, sir, Mr Oxley any room but the one he 00wasn't here when you called; oupied; so we all changed, he/he isn't always here." and then found we couldn't He spoke with the ease of stand it, and had to change & man acoustomed to draw. back again. Oh! sir, oan't ing - rooms, and his manner you see it was the rain — the was infectious after the em constant beating of the rain VOL, CCVIII.- NO. MCCLIX,
on our roof-it was madden- of the men had taken on a ing; and the thunder-it never similar hue. I could see that stopped.”
he was completely unnerved, "Did you try nothing in and forbore to question him the shape of concerts?” I further that night, inquired.
So bidding them all come “We did, sir," he replied. and join us at “chop," I left "But- "
the hut just in time to get a “Did Oxley over take part wash before dinner was an. in them?"
nounoed by the steward. “Oh yes. Oxley could sing It was with a head heavy all right – in faot, I liked with protest against the men listening to him; but one who could not show a little evening he wanted to sing more tolerance to one in the & song with four verses, and game boat as themselves that the fellows didn't like it." I lay apon the bed that night,
“So you quarrelled ?" I and who through their actions ventured.
had driven one of their soanty “Well, no, sir, not exactly number out into that desothat; but you see everybody lation of desolations. But I else only sang one-verse songs, slept soundly on the thought and besides, sir,” he added,“ we that I would see him next all had pains in our heads from morning; and awaked about the fever and quinine."
six, “Used he to put on what is As I started towards the oalled side'?" I inquired. but a figare came out to meet
“Yes, sir, that's just it, only me, and introduced himself as I didn't like to say so,” he re- the dootor, and expressed replied in the manner of one gret that he wasn't present finding relief at the oompletion when I arrived. of a job which he expected I expressed & desire for a diffioulty in beginning. “You walk, and the dootor agreed to see, he was a university chap accompany me; we returned and had college ways, and just in time for breakfast. As used to want to shake hands I went into their but I met with the fellows on any special Pend. I had the impression oooasion, and used to say 'old that he wasn't pleased to see ohap'."
me. Just as he spoke, as if in “Good morning," I said. Up echo to his last words, came to this time I hadn't taken the cry of "old ohap," olear muoh notioe of him, but at the and distinct on the night thin dry “ 'n'morning” which
he returned me, I took a second Instantly the recollection of look at him. “How do you having heard it before crossed do?” I responded, and held out my mind, and I glanced at my hand. He gave my hand Ford ; his face had gone ashen what I thought was a very grey, and the faces of the rest flabby handshake. I looked