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The Yellow God An Idol of Africa by H. Rider Haggard

Part 5 out of 5

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protect you from Bonsa."

"Lead on," answered Alan, "I do not dread a foul fetish, only the look
of it. But is there no way round?"

The Mungana shook his head and began to enter the canal. Jeekie, whose
teeth were chattering, hung back, but Alan pushed him from behind, so
sharply that he stumbled and made a splash. Then Alan followed, and as
the cold, black water rose to his chest, looked again at Big Bonsa.

It seemed to him that the thing had turned round and was staring at
them. Surely a few seconds ago its snout pointed the other way. No,
that must be fancy. He was swimming now, they were all swimming, Alan
and Jeekie holding their pistols and little stock of cartridges above
their heads to keep them dry. The gold head of Big Bonsa appeared to
be lifting itself up in the water, as a reptile might, in order to get
a better view of these proceedings, but doubtless it was the ripples
that they caused which gave it this appearance. Only why did the
ripples make it come towards them, quite gently, like an investigating

It was about ten yards off and they were in the middle of the canal.
The Mungana had passed it. It was in a line with Alan's head. Oh
Heavens! a sudden smother of foam, a rush like that of a torpedo, and
set low down between two curving waves, a flash of gold. Then a
gurgling, inhuman laugh and a weight upon his back. Down went Alan,
down and down!



The moonlight above vanished. Alan was alone in the depths with this
devil, or whatever it might be. He could feel hands and feet gripping
and treading on him, but they did not seem to be human, for there were
too many of them. Also they were very cold. He gave himself up for
dead and thought of Barbara.

Then something flashed into his mind. In his hand he still held the
revolver. He pressed it upwards against the thing that was smothering
him, and pulled the trigger. Again he pulled it, and again, for it was
a self-cocking weapon, and even there deep down in the water he heard
the thud of the explosion of the damp-proof copper cartridges. His
lungs were bursting, his senses reeled, only enough of them remained
to tell him that he was free of that strangling grip and floating
upwards. His head rose above the surface, and through the mouth of his
mask he drew in the sweet air with quick gasps. Down below him in the
clear water he saw the yellow head of Big Bonsa rocking and quivering
like a great reflected mon, saw too that it was beginning to rise. Yet
he could not swim away from it, the fetish seemed to have hypnotized
him. He heard Jeekie calling to him from the shallow water near the
further bank, but still he floated there like a log and stared down at
Big Bonsa wallowing beneath.

Jeekie plunged back into the canal and with a few strong strokes
reached him, gripped him by the arm and began to tow him to the shore.
Before they came there Big Bonsa rose like a huge fish and tried to
follow them, but could not, or so it seemed. At any rate it only
whirled round and round upon the surface, while from it poured a white
fluid that turned the black water to the hue of milk. Then it began to
scream, making a thin and dreadful sound more like that of an infant
in pain than anything they had ever heard, a very sickening sound that
Alan never could forget. He staggered to the bank and stood staring at
it where it bled, rolled and shrieked, but because of the milky foam
could make nothing out in that light.

"What is it, Jeekie?" he said with an idiotic laugh. "What is it?"

"Oh! don't know. Devil and all, perhaps. Come on, Major, before it
catch us."

"I don't think it will catch anyone just at present. Devil or not
hollow-nosed bullets don't agree with it. Shall I give it another,
Jeekie?" and he lifted the pistol.

"No, no, Major, don't play tomfool," and Jeekie grabbed him by the arm
and dragged him away.

A few paces further on stood the Mungana like a man transfixed, and
even then Alan noticed that he regarded him with something akin to

"Stronger than the god," he muttered, "stronger than the god," and
bounded forward.

Following the path that ran beside the canal, they plunged into a
tunnel, holding each other as before. In a few minutes they were
through it and in a place full of cedar trees outside the wall of the
Gold House, under which evidently the tunnel passed, for there it rose
behind them. Beneath these cedar trees they flitted like ghosts, now
in the moonlight and now in the shadow.

The great fall to the back of the town was on their left, and in front
of them lay one of the arms of the river, at this spot a raging
torrent not much more than a hundred feet in width, spanned by a
narrow suspension bridge which seemed to be supported by two fibre
ropes. On the hither side of this bridge stood a guard hut, and to
their dismay out of this hut ran three men armed with spears,
evidently to cut them off. One of these men sped across the bridge and
took his stand at the further end, while the other two posted
themselves in their path at the entrance to it.

The Mungana slacked his speed and said one word--"Finished!" and
Jeekie also hesitated, then turned and pointed behind them.

Alan looked back and flitting in and out between the cedar trees, saw
the white robes of the priests of Bonsa. Then despair seized them all,
and they rushed at the bridge. Jeekie reached it first and dodging
beneath the spears of the two guards, plunged his knife into the
breast of one of them, and butted the other with his great head, so
that he fell over the side of the bridge on to the rocks below.

"Cut, Major, cut!" he said to Alan, who pushed past him. "All right

They were on the narrow swaying bridge--it was but a single plank--
Alan first, then the Mungana, then Jeekie. When they were half way
across Alan looked before him and saw a sight he could never forget.

The third guard at the further side was sawing through one of the
fibre ropes with his spear. There they were on the middle of the
bridge with the torrent raving fifty feet beneath them, and the man
had nearly severed the rope! To get over before it parted was
impossible; behind were the priests; beneath the roaring river. All
three of them stopped as though paralyzed, for all three had seen.
Something struck against Alan's leg, it was his pistol that still
remained fastened to his wrist by its leather thong. He cocked and
lifted it, took aim and fired. The shot missed, which was not
wonderful considering the light and the platform on which the shooter
stood. It missed, but the man, astonished, for he had never seen or
heard such a thing before, stopped his sawing for a moment, and stared
at them. Then as he began again Alan fired once more, and this time by
good fortune the bullet struck the man somewhere in the body. He fell,
and as he fell grasped the nearly separated rope and hung to it.

"Get hold of the other rope and come on," yelled Alan, and once more
they bounded forward.

"My God! it's going," he yelled again. "Hold fast, Jeekie, hold fast!"

Next instant the rope parted and the man vanished. The bridge tipped
over, and supported by the remaining rope, hung edgeways up. To this
rope the three of them clung desperately, resting their feet upon the
edge of the swaying plank. For a few seconds they remained thus,
afraid to stir, then Jeekie called out:

"Climb on, Major, climb on like one monkey. Look bad, but quite safe

As there was nothing else to be done Alan began to climb, shifting his
feet along the plank edge and his hands along the rope, which creaked
and stretched beneath their threefold weight.

It was a horrible journey, and in his imagination took at least an
hour. Yet they accomplished it, for at last they found themselves
huddled together but safe upon the further bank. The sweat pouring
down from his head almost blinded Alan; a deadly nausea worked within
him, sickly tremors shot up and down his spine; his brain swam. Yet he
could hear Jeekie, in whom excitement always took the form of speech,
saying loudly:

"Think that man no liar what say our great papas was monkeys. Never
look down on monkey no more. Wake up, Major, those priests monkey-men
too, for we all brothers, you know. Wait a bit, I stop their little
game," and springing up with three or four cuts of the big curved
knife, he severed the remaining rope just as their pursuers reached
the further side of the chasm.

They shouted with rage as the long bridge swung back against the rock,
the cut end of it falling into the torrent, and waved their spears
threateningly. To this demonstration Jeekie replied with gestures of
contempt such as are known to street Arabs. Then he looked at the
Mungana, who lay upon the ground a melancholy and dilapidated
spectacle, for the perspiration had washed lines of paint off his face
and patches of dye from his hair, also his gorgeous robes were water-
stained and his gem necklaces broken. Having studied him a while
Jeekie kicked him meditatively till he got up, then asked him to set
out the exact situation. The Mungana answered that they were safe for
a while, since that torrent could only be crossed by the broken bridge
and was too rapid to swim. The Asiki, he added, must go a long journey
round through the city in order to come at them, though doubtless they
would hunt them down in time.

Here Jeekie cut him short, since he knew all that country well and
only wished to learn whether any more bridges had been built across
the torrent since he was a boy.

"Now, Major," he said, "you get up and follow me, for I know every
inch of ground, also by and by good short cut over mountains. You see
Jeekie very clever boy, and when he herd sheep and goat he made note
of everything and never forget nothing. He pull you out of this hole,
never fear."

"Glad to hear it, I am sure," answered Alan as he rose. "But what's to
become of the Mungana?"

"Don't know and don't care," said Jeekie; "no more good to us. Can go
and see how Big Bonsa feel, if he like," and stretching out his big
hand as though in a moment of abstraction, he removed the costly
necklaces from their guide's neck and thrust them into the pouch he
wore. Also he picked up the gilded linen mask which Alan had removed
from his head and placed it in the same receptacle, remarking, that he
"always taught that it wicked to waste anything when so many poor in
the world."

Then they started, the Mungana following them. Jeekie paused and waved
him off, but the poor wretch still came on, whereon Jeekie produced
the big, crooked knife, Mungana's own knife.

"What are you going to do," said Alan, awaking to the situation.

"Cut off head of that cocktail man, Major, and so save him lot of
trouble. Also we got no grub, and if we find any he want eat a lot.
Chop what do for two p'raps, make very short commons for three. Also
he might play dirty trick, so much best dead."

"Nonsense," said Alan sternly; "let the poor devil come along if he
likes. One good turn deserves another."

"Just so, Major; that hello-swello want cut our throats, so I want cut
his--one good turn deserve another, as wise king say in Book, when he
give half baby to woman what wouldn't have it. Well, so be, Major,
specially as it no matter, for he not stop with us long."

"You mean that he will run away, Jeekie?"

"Oh! no, he not run away, he in too blue funk for that. But something
run away with him, because he ought die to-morrow night. Oh! yes, you
see, you see, and Jeekie hope that something not run away with you
too, Major, because you ought be married at same time."

"Hope not, I am sure," answered Alan, and bethinking him of Big Bonsa
wallowing and screaming on the water and bleeding out white blood, he
shivered a little.

By this time, advancing at a trot, the Mungana running after them like
a dog, they had entered the bush pierced with a few wandering paths.
Along these paths they sped for hour after hour, Jeekie leading them
without a moment's hesitation. They met no man and heard nothing,
except occasional weird sounds which Alan put down to wild beasts, but
Jeekie and the Mungana said were produced by ghosts. Indeed it
appeared that all this jungle was supposed to be haunted, and no Asiki
would enter it at night, or unless he were very bold and protected by
many charms, by day either. Therefore it was an excellent place for
fugitives who sorely needed a good start.

At length the day began to dawn just as they reached the main road
where it crossed the hills, whence on his journey thither Alan had his
first view of Bonsa Town. Peering from the edge of the bush, they
perceived a fire burning near the road and round it five or six men,
who seemed to be asleep. Their first thought was to avoid them, but
the Mungana, creeping up to Alan, for Jeekie he would not approach,

"Not Asiki, Ogula chief and slaves who left Bonsa Town yesterday."

They crept nearer the fire and saw that this was so. Then rejoicing
exceedingly, they awoke the old chief, Fahni, who at first thought
they must be spirits. But when he recognized Alan, he flung himself on
his knees and kissed his hand, because to him he owed his liberty.

"No time for all that, Fahni," said Alan. "Give us food."

Now of this as it chanced there was plenty, since by the Asika's
orders the slaves had been laden with as much as they could carry.
They ate of it ravenously, and while they ate, told Fahni something of
the story of their escape. The old chief listened amazed, but like
Jeekie asked Alan why he had not killed the Mungana, who would have
killed him.

Alan, who was in no mood for long explanations, answered that he had
kept him with them because he might be useful.

"Yes, yes, friend, I see," exclaimed the old cannibal, "although he is
so thin he will always make a meal or two at a pinch. Truly white men
are wise and provident. Like the ants, you take thought for the

As soon as they had swallowed their food they started all together,
for although Alan pointed out to Fahni that he might be safer apart,
the old chief who had a real affection for him, would not be persuaded
to leave him.

"Let us live or die together," he said.

Now Jeekie, abandoning the main road, led them up a stream, walking in
the water so that their footsteps might leave no trace, and thus away
into the barren mountains which rose between them and the great swamp.
On the crest of these mountains Alan turned and looked back towards
Bonsa Town. There far across the fertile valley was the hateful,
river-encircled place. There fell the great cataract in the roar of
which he had lived for so many weeks. There were the black cedars and
there gleamed the roofs of the Gold House, his prison where dwelt the
Asika and the dreadful fetishes of which she was the priestess. To him
it was like the vision of a nightmare, he could scarcely think it
real. And yet by this time doubtless they sought him far and wide.
What mood, he wondered, would the Asika be in when she learned of his
escape and the fashion of it, and how would she greet him if he were
recaptured and taken back to her? Well, he would not be recaptured. He
had still some cartridges and he would fight till they killed him, or
failing that, save the last of them for himself. Never, never could he
endure to be dragged back to Bonsa Town there to live and die.

They went on across the mountains, till in the afternoon once more
they saw the road running beneath them like a ribbon, and at the end
of it the lagoon. Now they rested a while and held a consultation
while they ate. Across that lagoon they could not escape without a

"Lord," said the Mungana presently, "yesterday when these cannibals
were let go a swift runner was sent forward commanding that a good
boat should be provisioned and made ready for them, and by now
doubtless this has been done. Let them descend to the road, walk on to
the bay and ask for the boat. Look, yonder, far away a tongue of land
covered with trees juts out into the lake. We will make our way
thither and after nightfall this chief can row back to it and take us
into the canoe."

Alan said that the plan was good, but Jeekie shook his head, asking
what would happen if Fahni, finding himself safe upon the water,
thought it wisest not to come to fetch them.

Alan translated his words to the old chief, whereon Fahni wanted to
fight Jeekie because of the slur that he had cast upon his honour.
This challenge Jeekie resolutely declined, saying that already there
were plenty of ways to die in Asiki-land without adding another to
them. Then Fahni swore by his tribal god and by the spirit of every
man he had ever eaten, that he would come to that promontory after
dark, if he were still alive.

So they separated, Fahni and his men slipping down to the road, which
they did without being seen by anyone, while Alan, Jeekie and the
Mungana bore away to the right towards the promontory. The road was
long and rough and, though by good fortune they met no one, since the
few who dwelt in these wild parts had gone up to Bonsa Town to be
present at the great feast, the sun was sinking before ever they
reached the place. Moreover, this promontory proved to be covered with
dense thorn scrub, through which they must force a way in the
gathering darkness, not without hurt and difficulty. Still they
accomplished it and at length, quite exhausted, crept to the very
point, where they hid themselves between some stones at the water's

Here they waited for three long hours, but no boat came.

"All up a gum-tree now, Major," said Jeekie. "Old blackguard, Fanny,
bolt and leave us here, and to-morrow morning Asika nobble us. Better
have gone down to bay, steal his boat and leave him behind, because
Asika no want /him/."

Alan made no answer. He was too tired, and although he trusted Fahni,
it seemed likely enough that Jeekie was right, or perhaps the
cannibals had not been able to get the boat. Well, he had done his
best, and if Fate overtook them it was no fault of his. He began to
doze, for even their imminent peril could not keep his eyes open, then
presently awoke with a start, for in his sleep he thought he heard the
sounds of paddles beating the quiet water. Yes, there dimly seen
through the mist, was a canoe, and seated in the stern of it Fahni. So
that danger had gone by also.

He woke his companions, who slept at his side, and very silently they
rose, stepping from rock to rock till they reached the canoe and
entered it. It was not a large craft, barely big enough to hold them
all indeed, but they found room, and then at a sign from Fahni the
oarsmen gave way so heartily that within half an hour they had lost
sight of the accursed shores of Asiki-land, although presently its
mountains showed up clearly beneath the moon.

Meanwhile Fahni had told his tale. It appeared that when he reached
the bay he found the Asiki headman who dwelt there, and those under
him, in a state of considerable excitement.

Rumours had reached them that someone had escaped from Bonsa Town;
they thought it was the Mungana. Fahni asked who had brought the
rumour, whereon the headman answered that it came "in a dream," and
would say no more. Then he demanded the canoe which had been promised
to him and his people, and the headman admitted that it was ready in
accordance with orders received from the Asika, but demurred to
letting him have it. A long argument followed, in the midst of which
Fahni and his men got into the canoe, the headman apparently not
daring to use force to prevent him. Just as they were pushing off a
messenger arrived from Bonsa Town, reeling with exhaustion and his
tongue hanging from his jaws, who called out that it was the white man
who had escaped with his servant and the Mungana, and that although
they were believed to be still hidden in the holy woods near Bonsa
Town, none were to be allowed to leave the bay. So the headman shouted
to Fahni to return, but he pretended not to hear and rowed away, nor
did anyone attempt to follow him. Still it was only after nightfall
that he dared to put the boat about and return to the headland to pick
up Alan and the others as he had promised. That was all he had to say.

Alan thanked him heartily for his faithfulness and they paddled on
steadily, putting mile after mile of water between them and Asiki-
land. He wondered whether he had seen the last of that country and its
inhabitants. Something within him answered No. He was sure that the
Asika would not allow him to depart in peace without making some
desperate effort to recapture him. Far as he was away, it seemed to
him that he could feel her fury hanging over him like a cloud, a cloud
that would burst in a rain of blood. Doubtless it would have burst
already had it not been for the accident that he and his companions
were still supposed to be hiding in the woods. But that error must be
discovered, and then would come the pursuit.

He looked at the full moon shining upon him and reflected that at this
very hour he should have been seated upon the chair of state, wedding,
or rather being wedded by the Asika in the presence of Big and Little
Bonsa and all the people. His eye fell upon the Mungana, who had also
been destined to play a prominent part in that ceremony. At once he
saw that there was something wrong with the man. A curious change had
come over his emaciated face. It was working like that of a maniac.
Foam appeared upon his dyed lips, his haunted eyes rolled, his thin
hands gripped the side of the canoe and he began to sing, or rather
howl like a dog baying at the stars. Jeekie hit him on the head and
bade him be silent, but he took no notice, even when he hit him again
more heavily. Presently came the climax. The man sprang up in the
canoe, causing it to rock from side to side. He pointed to the full
moon above and howled more loudly than before; he pointed to something
that he seemed to see in the air near by and gibbered as though in
terror. Then his eyes fixed themselves upon the water at which he

Harder and harder he stared, his head sinking lower every moment, till
at length without another sound, very quietly and unexpectedly he went
over the side of the boat. For a few seconds they saw his bright-
coloured garments sinking to the depths, then he vanished.

They waited a while, expecting that he would rise again. But he never
rose. A shot-weighted corpse could not have disappeared more finally
and completely. The thing was very awful, and for a while there was
silence, which as usual was broken by Jeekie.

"That gay dog gone," he said in a reflective voice. "All those old
ghosts come to fetch him at proper time. No good run away from ghosts;
they travel too quick; one jump, and pop up where you no expect. Well,
more place for Jeekie now," and he spread himself out comfortably in
the empty seat, adding, "like hello-swello's room much better than
company, he go in scent-bath every day and stink too much, all that
water never wash /him/ clean."

Thus died the Mungana, and such was the poor wretch's requiem. With a
shiver Alan reflected that had it not been for him and his insane
jealousy, he too might have been expected to go into that same scent-
bath and have his face painted like a chorus girl. Only would he
escape the spell that had destroyed his predecessor in the affections
of the priestess of the Bonsas? Or would some dim power such as had
drawn Mungana to the death drag him back to the arms of the Asika or
to the torture pit of "Great Swimming Head." He remembered his dream
in the Treasure Hall and shuddered at the very thought of it, for all
he had undergone and seen made him superstitious; then bade the men
paddle faster, ever faster.

All that night they rowed on, taking turns to rest, except Alan and
Jeekie, who slept a good deal and as a consequence awoke at dawn much
refreshed. When the sun rose they found themselves across the lagoon,
over thirty miles from the borders of Asiki-land, almost at the spot
where the river up which they had travelled some months before, flowed
out of the lake. Whether by chance or skill Fahni had steered a
wonderfully straight course. Now, however, they were face to face with
a new trouble, for scarcely had they begun to descend the river when
they discovered that at this dry season of the year it was in many
places too shallow to allow the canoe to pass over the sand and mud
banks. Evidently there was but one thing to be done--abandon it and

So they landed, ate from their store of food and began a terrible and
toilsome journey. On either side of the river lay dessicated swamp
covered with dead reeds ten or twelve feet high. Doubtless beyond the
swamp there was high land, but in order to reach this, if it existed,
they would be obliged to force a path through miles of reeds.
Therefore they thought it safer to follow the river bank. Their
progress was very slow, since continually they must make detours to
avoid a quicksand or a creek, also the stones and scrubby growth
delayed them so that fifteen or at most twenty miles was a good day's

Still they went on steadily, seeing no man, and when their food was
exhausted, living on the fish which they caught in plenty in the
shallows, and on young flapper ducks that haunted the reeds. So at
length they came to the main river into which this tributary flowed,
and camped there thankfully, believing that if any pursuit of them had
been undertaken, it was abandoned. At least Alan and the rest believed
this, but Jeekie did not.

On the following morning, shortly after dawn, Jeekie awoke his master.

"Come here, Major," he said in a solemn voice, "I got something pretty
show you," and he led him to the foot of an old willow tree, adding,
"now up you go, Major, and look."

So Alan went up and from the topmost fork of that tree saw a sight at
which his blood turned cold. For there, not five miles behind them, on
either side of the river bank, the light gleaming on their spears,
marched two endless columns of men, who from their head-dresses he
took to be Asiki. For a minute he looked, then descended the tree and
approaching the others, asked what was to be done.

"Hook, scoot, bolt, leg it!" exclaimed Jeekie emphatically; then he
licked his finger, held it up to the wind and added, "but first fire
reeds and make it hot for Bonsa crowd."

This was a good suggestion and one on which they acted without delay.
Taking red embers, they blew them into a flame and lit torches, which
they applied to the reeds over a width of several hundred yards. The
strong northward wind soon did the rest; indeed with a quarter of an
hour a vast sheet of flame twenty or thirty feet in height was rushing
towards the Asiki columns. Then they began their advance along the
river bank, running at a steady trot, for here the ground was open.

All that day they ran, pausing at intervals to get their breath, and
at night rested because they must. When the light came upon the
following morning they looked back from a little hill and saw the
outposts of the Asiki advancing not a mile behind. Doubtless some of
the army had been burned, but the rest, guessing their route, had
forced a way through the reeds and cut across country. So they began
to run again harder than before, and kept their lead during the
morning. But when afternoon came the Asika gained on them. Now they
were breasting a long rise, the river running in the cleft beneath,
and Jeekie, who seemed to be absolutely untiring, held Alan by the
hand, Fahni following close behind. Two of their men had fallen down
and been abandoned, and the rest straggled.

"No go, Jeekie," gasped Alan, "they will catch us at the top of the

"Never say die, Major, never say die," puffed Jeekie, "they get blown
too and who know what other side of hill?"

Somehow they struggled to the crest and behold! there beneath them was
a great army of men.

"Ogula!" yelled Jeekie, "Ogula! Just what I tell you, Major, who know
what other side of /any/ hill."



In five minutes more Alan and Jeekie were among the Ogula, who, having
recognized their chief while he was yet some way off, greeted him with
rapturous cheers and the clapping of hands. Then as there was no time
for explanation, they retreated across a little stream which ran down
the valley, four thousand or more of them, and prepared for battle.
That evening, however, there was no fighting, for when the first of
the Asiki reached the top of the rise and saw that the fugitives had
escaped to the enemy, who were in strength, they halted and finally

Now Alan, and Fahni also, hoped that the pursuit was abandoned, but
again Jeekie shook his big head, saying:

"Not at all, Major, I know Asiki and their little ways. While one of
them alive, not dare go back to Asika without /you/, Major."

"Perhaps she is with them herself," suggested Alan, "and we might
treat with her."

"No, Major, Asika never leave Bonsa Town, that against law, and if she
do so, priests make another Asika and kill her when they catch her."

After this a council of war was held, and it was decided to camp there
that night, since the position was good to meet an attack if one
should be made, and the Ogula were afraid of being caught on the march
with their backs towards the enemy. Alan was glad enough to hear this
decision, for he was quite worn out and ready to take any risk for a
few hours' rest. At this council he learned also that the Asiki
bearers carrying his gold with their Ogula guides had arrived safely
among the Ogula, who had mustered in answer to their chief's call and
were advancing towards Asiki-land, though the business was one that
did not please them. As for these Asiki bearers, it seemed that they
had gone on into the forest with the gold, and nothing more had been
heard of them.

As they were leaving the council Alan asked Jeekie if he had any
tidings of his mother, who had been their first messenger.

"No, Major," he answered gloomily, "can't learn nothing of my ma,
don't know where she is. Ogula camp no place for old girl if they
short of chop and hungry. But p'raps she never get there; I nose round
and find out."

Apparently Jeekie did "nose round" to some purpose, for just as Alan
was dropping off to sleep in his bough shelter a most fearful din
arose without, through which he recognized the vociferations of
Jeekie. Running out of the shelter he discovered his retainer and a
great Ogula whom he knew again as the headman who had been imprisoned
with him and freed by the Asika to guide the bearers, rolling over and
over on the ground, watched by a curious crowd. Just as he arrived
Jeekie, who notwithstanding his years was a man of enormous strength,
got the better of the Ogula and kneeling on his stomach, was
proceeding to throttle him. Rushing at him, Alan dragged him off and
asked what was the matter.

"Matter, Major!" yelled the indignant Jeekie. "My ma inside this black
villain, /that/ the matter. Dirty cannibal got digestion of one
ostrich and eat her up with all his mates, all except one who not like
her taste and tell me. They catch poor old lady asleep by road so stop
and lunch at once when Asiki bearers not looking. Let me get at him,
Major, let me get at him. If I can't bury my ma, as all good son ought
to do, I bury him, which next best thing."

"Jeekie, Jeekie," said Alan, "exercise a Christian spirit and let
bygones be bygones. If you don't, you will make a quarrel between us
and the Ogula, and they will give us up to the Asiki. Perhaps the man
did not eat your mother; I understand that he denies it, and when you
remember what she was like, it seems incredible. At any rate he has a
right to a trial, and I will speak to Fahni about it to-morrow."

So they were separated, but as it chanced that case never came on, for
next morning this Ogula was killed in the fighting together with two
of his companions, while the others involved in the charge kept
themselves out of sight. Whether Jeekie's "ma" was or was not eaten by
the Ogula no one ever learned for certain. At least she was never
heard of any more.

Alan was sleeping heavily when a sound of rushing feet and of strange,
thrilling battle-cries awoke him. He sprang up, snatching at a spear
and shield which Jeekie had provided for him, and ran out to find from
the position of the moon that dawn was near.

"Come on, Major," said Jeekie, "Asiki make night attack; they always
like do everything at night who love darkness, because their eye evil.
Come on quick, Major," and he began to drag him off toward the rear.

"But that's the wrong way," said Alan presently. "They are attacking
over there."

"Do you think Jeekie fool, Major, that he don't know that? He take you
where they /not/ attacking. Plenty Ogula to be killed, but not /many/
white men like you, and in all world only /one/ Jeekie!"

"You cold-blooded old scoundrel!" ejaculated Alan as he turned and
bolted back towards the noise of fighting, followed by his reluctant

By the time that he reached the first ranks, which were some way off,
the worst of the attack was over. It had been short and sharp, for the
Asiki had hoped to find the Ogula unprepared and to take their camp
with a rush. But the Ogula, who knew their habits, were waiting for
them, so that presently they withdrew, carrying off their wounded and
leaving about fifty dead upon the ground. As soon as he was quite sure
that the enemy were all gone, Jeekie, armed with a large battle-axe,
went off to inspect these fallen soldiers. Alan, who was helping the
Ogula wounded, wondered why he took so much interest in them. Half an
hour later his curiosity was satisfied, for Jeekie returned with over
twenty heavy gold rings, torques, and bracelets slung over his

"Where did you get those, Jeekie?" he asked.

"Off poor chaps that peg out just now, Major. Remember Asiki soldiers
nearly always wear these things and that they no more use to them. But
if ever he get out of this Jeekie want spend his old age in
respectable peace. So he fetch them. Hard work, though, for rings all
in one bit and Asiki very tough to chop. Don't look cross, Major; you
remember what 'postle say, that he who no provide for his own self
worse than cannibal."

Just then Fahni came up and announced that the Asiki general had sent
a messenger into the camp proposing terms of peace.

"What terms?" asked Alan.

"These, white man: that we should surrender you and your servant and
go our way unharmed."

"Indeed, Fahni, and what did you answer?"

"White man, I refused; but I tell you," he added warningly, "that my
captains wished to accept. They said that I had come back to them safe
and that they fear the Asiki, who are devils, not men, and who will
bring the curse of Bonsa on us if we go on fighting with them. Still I
refused, saying that if they gave you up I would go with you, who
saved my life from the lion and afterwards from the priests of Bonsa.
So the messenger went back and, white man, we march at once, and I
pray you always to keep close to me that I may watch over you."

Then began that long tramp down the river, which Alan always thought
afterwards tried him more than any of the terrible events of his
escape. For although there was but little fighting, only rearguard
actions indeed, every day the Asiki sent messengers renewing their
offers of peace on the sole condition of the surrender of himself and
Jeekie. At last one evening they came to that place where Alan first
met the Ogula, and once more he camped upon the island on which he had
shot the lion. At nightfall, after he had eaten, Fahni visited him
here and Alan boded evil from his face.

"White man," he said, "I can protect you no longer. The Asiki
messengers have been with us again and they say that unless we give
you up to-morrow at the dawn, their army will push on ahead of us and
destroy my town, which is two days' march down the river, and all the
women and children in it, and that afterwards they will fight a great
battle with us. Therefore my people say that I must give you up, or
that if I do not they will elect another chief and do so themselves."

"Then you will give up a dead man, Fahni."

"Friend," said the old chief in a low voice, "the night is dark and
the forest not so far away. Moreover, I have set no guards on that
side of the river, and Jeekie here does not forget a road that he has
travelled. Lastly, I have heard it said that there are some other
white people with soldiers camped in the edge of the forest. Now, if
you were not here in the morning, how could I give you up?"

"I understand, Fahni. You have done your best for me, and now, good-
night. Jeekie and I are going to take a walk. Sometimes you will think
of the months we spent together in Bonsa-Town, will you not?"

"Yes, and of you also, white man, for so long as I shall live. Walk
fast and far, for the Asiki are clever at following a spoor. Good-
night, Friend, and to you, Jeekie the cunning, good-night also. I go
to tell my captains that I will surrender you at dawn," and without
more words he vanished out of their sight and out of their lives.

Meanwhile Jeekie, foreseeing the issue of this talk, was already
engaged in doing up their few belongings, including the gold rings,
some food, and a native cooking pot, in a bundle surrounded by a
couple of bark blankets.

"Come on, Major," he said, handing Alan one spear and taking another
himself. "Old cannibal quite right, very nice night for a walk. Come
on, Major, river shallow just here. I think this happen and try it
before dark. You just follow Jeekie, that all you got to do."

So leaving the fire burning in front of their bough shelter, they
waded the stream and started up the opposing slope, meeting no man.
Dark as it was, Jeekie seemed to have no difficulty in finding the
way, for as Fahni said, a native does not forget the path he has once
travelled. All night long they walked rapidly, and when dawn broke
found themselves at the edge of the forest.

"Jeekie," said Alan, "what did Fahni mean by that tale about white

"Don't know, Major, think perhaps he lie to let you down easy. My
golly! what that?"

As he spoke a distant echo reached their ears, the echo of a rifle
shot. "Think Fanny not lie after all," went on Jeekie; "that white
man's gun, sharp crack, smokeless powder, but wonder how he come in
this place. Well, we soon find out. Come on, Major."

Tired as they were they broke into a run; the prospect of seeing a
white face again was too much for them. Half a mile or so further on
they caught sight of a figure evidently engaged in stalking game among
the trees, or so they judged from his cautious movements.

"White man!" said Jeekie, and Alan nodded.

They crept forward silently and with care, for who knew what this
white man might be after, keeping a great tree between them and the
man, till at length, passing round its bole, they found themselves
face to face with him and not five yards away. Notwithstanding his
unaccustomed tropical dress and his face burnt copper colour by the
sun, Alan knew the man at once.

"Aylward!" he gasped; "Aylward! You here?"

He started. He stared at Alan. Then his countenance changed. Its
habitual calm broke up as it was wont to do in moments of deep
emotion. It became very evil, as though some demon of hate and
jealousy were at work behind it. The thin lips quivered, the eyes
glared, and without spoken word or warning, he lifted the rifle and
fired straight at Alan. The bullet missed him, for the aim was high.
Passing over Alan's head, it cut a neat groove through the hair of the
taller Jeekie who was immediately behind him.

Next instant, with a spring like that of a tiger Jeekie was on
Aylward. The weight of his charge knocked him backwards to the ground,
and there he lay, pinned fast.

"What for you do that?" exclaimed the indignant Jeekie. "What for you
shoot through wool of respectable nigger, Sir Robert Aylward, Bart.?
Now I throttle you, you dirty hog-swine. No Magistrates' Court here in
Dwarf Forest," and he began to suit the action to the word.

"Let him go, Jeekie. Take his rifle and let him go," exclaimed Alan,
who all this while had stood amazed. "There must be some mistake, he
cannot have meant to murder me."

"Don't know what he mean, but know his bullet go through my hair,
Major, and give me new parting," grumbled Jeekie as he obeyed.

"Of course it was a mistake, Vernon, for I suppose it is Vernon," said
Aylward, as he rose. "I do not wonder that your servant is angry, but
the truth is that your sudden appearance frightened me out of my wits
and I fired automatically. We have been living in some danger here and
my nerves are not as strong as they used to be."

"Indeed," answered Alan. "No, Jeekie will carry the rifle for you;
yes, and I think that pistol also, every ounce makes a difference
walking in a hot climate, and I remember that you always were
dangerous with firearms. There, you will be more comfortable so. And
now, who do you mean by 'we'?"

"I mean Barbara and myself," he answered slowly.

Alan's jaw dropped, he shook upon his feet.

"Barbara and yourself!" he said. "Do I understand----"

"Don't you understand nothing, Major," broke in Jeekie. "Don't you
believe one word what this pig dog say. If Miss Barbara marry him he
no want shoot you; he ask you to tea to see the Missus and how much
she love him, ducky! We just go on and call on Miss Barbara and hear
the news. Walk up, Sir Robert Aylward, Bart., and show us which way."

"I do not choose to receive you and your impertinent servant at my
camp," said Aylward, grinding his teeth.

"We quite understand that, Sir Robert Aylward----"

"Lord Aylward, if you please, Major Vernon."

"I beg your pardon--Lord Aylward. I was aware of the contemplated
purchase of that title, I did not know that it had been completed. I
was about to add that all the same we mean to go to that camp, and
that if any violence towards us is attempted as we approach it, you
will remember that you are in our hands."

"Yes, my Lord," added Jeekie, bowing, "and that monkeys don't tell no
tales, my Lord, and that here there ain't no twelve Good-Trues to sit
on noble corpse unhappily deceased, my Lord, and to bring in Crowner's
verdict of done to death lawful or unlawful, according as evidence may
show when got, my Lord. So march on, for we no breakfast yet. No, not
that way, round here to left, where I think I hear kettle sing."

So having no choice, Aylward came, marching between the other two and
saying nothing. When they had gone a couple of hundred yards Alan also
heard something, and to him it sounded like a man crying out in pain.
Then suddenly they passed round some great trees and reached a glade
in the forest where there was a spring of water which Alan remembered.
In this glade the camp had been built, surrounded by a "boma" or
palisade of rough wood, within which stood two tents and some native
shelters made of tall grass and boughs. Outside of this camp a curious
and unpleasant scene was in progress.

To a small tree that grew there was tied a man, whom from the fashion
of his hair Alan knew to belong to the Coast negroes, while two great
fellows, evidently of another tribe, flogged him unmercifully with
hide whips.

"Ah!" exclaimed Jeekie, "that the kettle I hear sing. Think you better
taken him off the fire, my Lord, or he boil over. Also his brothers no
seem to like that music," and he pointed to a number of other men who
were standing round watching the scene with sullen dissatisfaction.

"A matter of camp discipline," muttered Aylward. "This man has
disobeyed orders."

By now Jeekie was shouting something to the natives in an unknown
tongue, which they seemed to understand well enough. At any rate the
flogging ceased, the two fellows who were inflicting it slunk away,
and the other men ran towards them, shouting back as they came.

"All right, Major. You please stop here one minute with my Lord, late
Bart. of Bloody Hand. Some of these chaps friends of mine, I meet them
Old Calabar while we get ready to march last rains. Now I have little
talk with them and find out thing or two."

Aylward began to bluster about interference with his servants and so
forth. Jeekie turned on him with a very ugly grin, and showing his
white teeth, as was his fashion when he grew fierce.

"Beg pardon, Right Honourable Lord," he said, or rather snarled, "you
do what I tell you just to please Jeekie. Jeekie no one in England,
but Jeekie damn big Lord too out here, great medicine man, pal of
Little Bonsa. You remember Little Bonsa, eh! These chaps think it
great honour to meet Jeekie, so, Major, if he stir, please shoot him
through head; Jeekie 'sponsible, not you. Or if you not like do it, I
come back and see to job myself and don't think those fellows cry very

There was something about Jeekie's manner that frightened Aylward, who
understood for the first time that beneath all the negro's grotesque
talk lay some dreadful, iron purpose, as courage lay under his
affected cowardice and under his veneer of selfishness, fidelity. At
any rate he halted with Alan, who stood beside him, the revolver of
which Aylward had been relieved by Jeekie, in his hand. Meanwhile
Jeekie, who held the rifle which he had reloaded, went on and met the
natives about twenty yards away.

"We always disliked each other, Vernon, but I must say that I never
thought a day would come when you proposed to murder me in my own
camp," said Aylward.

"Odd thing," answered Alan, "but a very similar idea was in my mind. I
never thought, Lord Aylward, that however unscrupulous you might be--
financially--a day would come when you would attempt to shoot down an
unarmed man in an African forest. Oh! don't waste breath in lying; I
saw you recognize me, aim, and fire, after which Jeekie would have had
the other barrel, and who then would have remained to tell the story,
Lord Aylward?"

Aylward made no answer, but Alan felt that if wishes could kill him he
would not live long. His eye fell upon a long, unmistakable mound of
fresh earth, beneath a tree. He calculated its length, and with a
thrill of terror noticed that it was too small for a negro.

"Who is buried there?" he asked.

"Find out for yourself," was the sneering answer.

"Don't be afraid, Lord Aylward; I shall find out everything in time."

The conversation between Jeekie and the natives proceeded, their heads
were close together; it grew animated. They seemed to be coming to
some decision. Presently one of them ran and cut the lashings of the
man who had been bound to the tree, and he staggered towards them and
joined in the talk, pointing to his wounds. Then the two fellows who
had been engaged in flogging him, accompanied by eight companions of
the same type--they appeared to be soldiers, for they carried guns--
swaggered towards the group who were being addressed by Jeekie, of
whom Alan counted twenty-three. As they approached Jeekie made some
suggestion which, after one hesitating moment, the others seemed to
accept, for they nodded their heads and separated out a little.

Jeekie stepped forward and asked a question of the guards, to which
they replied with a derisive shout. Then without a word of warning he
lifted Aylward's express rifle which he carried, and fired first one
barrel and then the other, shooting the two leading soldiers dead.
Their companions halted amazed, but before they could lift their guns,
Jeekie and those with him rushed at them and began stabbing them with
spears and striking them with sticks. In three minutes it was over
without another shot being fired. Most of them were despatched, and
the others, throwing down their guns, had fled wounded into the

Now, shouting in jubilation, some of the men began to drag away the
dead bodies, while others collected the rifles and the remainder,
headed by Jeekie, advanced towards Alan and Aylward, waving their red
spears. Alan stood staring, for he did not in the least understand the
meaning of what had happened, but Aylward, who had turned very pale,
addressed Jeekie, saying:

"I suppose that you have come to murder me also, you black villain."

"No, no, my Lord," answered Jeekie politely, "not at present. Also
that wrong word, execute, not murder, just what you do to some of
these poor devils," and he pointed to the mob of porters. "Besides,
mustn't kill holy white man, poor black chap don't matter, plenty more
where he come from. Think we all go see Miss Barbara now. You come
too, my Lord Bart., but p'raps best tie your hands behind you first;
if you want scratch head, I do it for you. That only fair, you scratch
mine this morning."

Then at a word from Jeekie some of the natives sprang on Aylward and
tied his hands behind his back.

"Is Miss Barbara alive?" said Alan to Jeekie in an agonized whisper,
at the same time nodding towards the grave that was so ominously

"Hope so, think so, these cards say so, but God He know alone,"
answered Jeekie. "Go and look, that best way to find out."

So they advanced into the camp through a narrow gateway made of a
V-shaped piece of wood, to where the two tents were placed in its
inner division. Of these tents, the first, was open, whereas the
second was closed. As the open tent was obviously empty, they went to
the second, whereof Jeekie began to loosen the lashings of the flap.
It was a long business, for they seemed to have been carefully knotted
inside; indeed at last, growing impatient, Jeekie cut the cord, using
the curved knife with which the Mungana had tried to kill Alan.

Meanwhile Alan was suffering torments, being convinced that Barbara
was dead and buried in that new-made grave beneath the trees. He could
not speak, he could scarcely stand, and yet a picture began to form in
his numb mind. He saw himself seated in the dark in the Treasure-house
at Bonsa-Town; he saw a vision in the air before him.

Lo! the tent door opened and that vision reappeared.

There was the pale Barbara seated, weeping. There again, as he entered
she sprang up and snatching the pistol that lay beside her, turned it
to her breast. Then she perceived him and the pistol sank downwards
till from her relaxed hand it dropped to the ground. She threw up her
arms and without a sound fell backwards, or would have fallen, had he
not caught her.



Barbara had recovered. She sat upon her bed in the tent and by her sat
Alan, holding her hand, while before them stood Aylward like a
prisoner in the dock, and behind him the armed Jeekie.

"Tell me the story, Barbara," said Alan, "and tell it briefly, for I
cannot bear much more of this."

She looked at him and began in a slow, even voice:

"After you had gone, dear, things went on as usual for a month or two.
Then came the great Sahara Company trouble. First there were rumours
and the shares began to go down. My uncle bought them in by tens and
hundreds of thousands, to hold up the market, because he was being
threatened, but of course he did not know then that Lord Aylward--for
I forgot to tell you, he had become a lord somehow--was secretly one
of the principal sellers, let him deny it if he can. At last the
Ottoman Government, through the English ambassador, published its
repudiation of the concession, which it seems was a forgery, actually
executed or obtained in Constantinople by my uncle. Well, there was a
fearful smash. Writs were taken out against my uncle, but before they
could be served, he died suddenly of heart disease. I was with him at
the time and he kept saying he saw that gold mask which Jeekie calls
Bonsa, the thing you took back to Africa. He had a fine funeral, for
what he had done was not publicly known, and when his will was opened
I found that he had left me his fortune, but made Lord Aylward there
my trustee until I came to the full age of twenty-five under my
father's will. Alan, don't force me to tell you what sort of a
guardian he was to me; also there was no fortune, it had all gone;
also I had very, very little left, for almost all my own money had
gone too. In his despair he had forged papers to get it in order to
support those Sahara Syndicate shares. Still I managed to borrow about
2000 from that little lawyer out of the 5000 that remain to me, an
independent sum which he was unable to touch, and, Alan, with it I
came to find you.

"Alan, Lord Aylward followed me; although everybody else was ruined,
he remained rich, very very rich, they say, and his fancy was to marry
me, also I think it was not comfortable for him in England. It is a
long tale, but I got up here with about five-and-twenty servants, and
Snell, my maid, whom you remember. Then we were both taken ill with
some dreadful fever and had it not been for those good black people, I
should have died, for I have been very sick, Alan. But they nursed me
and I recovered; it was poor Snell who died, they buried her a few
days ago. I thought that she would live, but she had a relapse. Next
Lord Aylward appeared with twelve soldiers and some porters who, I
believe, have run away now,--oh! you can guess, you can guess. He
wanted my people to carry me away somewhere, to the coast, I suppose,
but they were faithful to me and would not. Then he set his soldiers
on to maltreat them. They shot several of them and flogged them on
every opportunity; they were flogging one of them just now, I heard
them. Well, the poor men made me understand that they could bear it no
longer and must do what he told them.

"And so, Alan, as I was quite hopeless and helpless, I made up my mind
to kill myself, hoping that God would forgive me and that I should
find you somewhere, perhaps after sleeping a while, for it was better
to die than to be given into the power--of that man. I thought that he
was coming for me just now and I was about to do it, but it was you
instead, Alan, /you/, and only just in time. That is all the story,
and I hope you will not think that I have acted very foolishly, but I
did it for the best. If you only knew what I have suffered, Alan, what
I have gone through in one way and another, I am sure that you would
not judge me harshly; also I kept dreaming that you were in trouble
and wanted me to come to you, and of course I knew where you were gone
and had that map. Send him away, Alan, for I am still so weak and I
cannot bear the sight of his face. If you knew everything, you would

Alan turned on Aylward and in a cold, quiet voice asked him what he
had to say to this story.

"I have to say, Major Vernon, that it is a clever mixture of truth and
falsehood. It is true that your cousin, Champers-Haswell, has been
proved guilty of some very shameful conduct. For instance it appears
that he did forge, or rather cause to be forged that Firman from the
Sultan, although I knew nothing of this until it was publicly
repudiated. It is also true that fearing exposure he entirely lost his
head and spent not only his own great fortune but that of Miss
Champers also, in trying to support Sahara shares. I admit also that I
sold many hundreds of thousands of those shares in the ordinary way,
having made up my mind to retire from business when I was raised to
the peerage. I admit further, what you knew before, that I was
attached to Miss Champers and wished to marry her. Why should I not,
especially as I had a good deal to offer to a lady who has been proved
to be almost without fortune?

"For the rest she set out secretly on this mad journey to Africa,
whither both my duty as her trustee and my affection prompted me to
follow her. I found her here recovering from an illness, and since she
has dwelt upon the point, in self-defence I must tell you that
whatever has taken place between us, has been with her full consent
and encouragement. Of course I allude only to those affectionate
amenities which are common between people who purpose to marry as soon
as opportunity may offer."

At this declaration poor Barbara gasped and leaned back against her
pillow. Alan stood silent, though his lips turned white, while Jeekie
thrust his big head through the tent opening and stared upwards.

"What are you looking at, Jeekie?" asked Alan irritably.

"Seem to want air, Major, also look to see if clouds tumble. Believe
partickler big lie do that sometimes. Please go on, O good Lord, for
Jeekie want his breakfast."

"As regards the execution of two of Miss Champers' bearers and the
flogging of some others, these punishments were inflicted for mutiny,"
went on Aylward. "It was obviously necessary that she should be moved
back to the coast, but I found out that they were trying to desert her
in a body and to tamper with my own servants, and so was obliged to
take strong measures."

"Sure those clouds come down now," soliloquized Jeekie, "or least
something rummy happen."

"I have only to add, Major Vernon, that unless you make away with me
first, as I daresay you will, as soon as we reach civilization again I
shall proceed against you and this fellow for the cold-blooded murder
of my men, in punishment of which I hope yet to live to see you
hanged. Meanwhile, I have much pleasure in releasing Miss Champers
from her engagement to me which, whatever she may have said to you in
England, she was glad enough to enter on here in Africa, a country of
which I have been told the climate frequently deteriorates the moral

"Hear, hear!" ejaculated Jeekie, "he say something true at last; by
accident, I think, like pig what find pearl in muck-heap."

"Hold your tongue, Jeekie," said Alan. "I do not intend to kill you,
Lord Aylward, or to do you any harm----"

"Nor I neither," broke in Jeekie, "all I do to my Lord just for my
Lord's good; who Jeekie that he wish to hurt noble British

"But I do intend that it shall be impossible that Miss Champers should
be forced to listen to more of your insults," went on Alan, "and to
make sure that your gun does not go off again as it did this morning.
So, Lord Aylward, until we have settled what we are going to do, I
must keep you under arrest. Take him to his tent, Jeekie, and put a
guard over him."

"Yes, Major, certainly, Major. Right turn, march! my Lord, and quick,
please, since poor, common Jeekie not want dirty his black finger
touching you."

Aylward obeyed, but at the door of the tent swung round and favoured
Alan with a very evil look.

"Luck is with you for the moment, Major Vernon," he said, "but if you
are wise you will remember that you never have been and never will be
my match. It will turn again, I have no doubt, and then you may look
to yourself, for I warn you I am a bad enemy."

Alan did not answer, but for the first time Barbara sprang to her feet
and spoke.

"You mean that you are a bad man, Lord Aylward, and a coward too, or
otherwise you would not have tortured me as you have done. Well, when
it seemed impossible that I should escape from you except in one way,
I was saved by another way of which I never dreamed. Now I tell you
that I do not fear you any more. But I think," she added slowly, "that
you would do well to fear for yourself. I don't know why, but it comes
into my mind that though neither Alan nor I shall lift a finger
against you, you have a great deal of which to be afraid. Remember
what I said to you months ago when you were angry because I would not
marry you. I believe it is all coming true, Lord Aylward."

Then Barbara turned her back upon him, and that was the last time that
either she or Alan ever saw his face.

He was gone, and Barbara, her head upon her lover's shoulder and her
sweet eyes filled with tears of joy and gratitude, was beginning to
tell him everything that had befallen her when suddenly they heard a
loud cough outside the tent.

"It's that confounded Jeekie," said Alan, and he called to him to come

"What's the matter now?" he asked crossly.

"Breakfast, Major. His lordship got plenty good stores, borrow some
from him and give him chit. Coming in one minute--hot coffee, kipper
herring, rasher bacon, also butter (best Danish), and Bath Oliver

"Very well," said Alan, but Jeekie did not move.

"Very well," repeated Alan.

"No, Major, not very well, very ill. Thought those lies bring down

"What do you mean, Jeekie?"

"Mean, Major, that Asiki smelling about this camp. Porter-man what go
to fetch water see them. Also believe they catch rest of those soldier
chaps and polish them, for porter-man hear the row."

Alan sprang up with an exclamation; in his new-found joy he had
forgotten all about the Asiki.

"Keep hair on, Major," said Jeekie cheerfully; "don't think they
attack yet, plenty of time for breakfast first. When they come we make
it very hot for them, lots of rifle and cartridge now."

"Can't we run away?" asked Barbara.

"No, Missy, can't run; must stop here and do best. Camp well built,
open all round, don't think they take it. You leave everything to
Jeekie, he see you through, but p'raps you like come breakfast
outside, where you know all that go on."

Barbara did like, but as it happened they were allowed to consume
their meal in peace, since no Asiki appeared. As soon as it was
swallowed she returned to her tent, while Alan and Jeekie set to work
to strengthen the defences of the little camp as well as they were
able, and to make ready and serve out the arms and ammunition.

About midday a man whom they had posted in a tree that grew inside the
camp announced that he saw the enemy, and next moment a company of
them rushed towards them across the open and were greeted by a volley
which killed and wounded several men. At this exhibition of miraculous
power, for none of these soldiers had ever heard the report of
firearms or seen their effect, they retreated rapidly, uttering shouts
of dismay and carrying their dead and wounded with them.

"Do you suppose they have gone, Jeekie?" asked Alan anxiously.

He shook his head.

"Think not, Major, think they frightened, by big bullet magic, and go
consult priest. Also only a few of them here, rest of army come later
and try rush us to-morrow morning before dawn. That Asiki custom."

"Then what shall we do, Jeekie? Run for it or stop here?"

"Think must stop here, Major. If we bolt, carrying Miss Barbara, who
can't walk much, they follow on spoor and catch us. Best stick inside
this fence and see what happen. Also once outside p'raps porters
desert and leave us."

So as there was nothing else to do they stayed, labouring all day at
the strengthening of their fortifications till at length the boma or
fence of boughs, supported by earth, was so high and thick that while
any were left to fire through the loopholes, it would be very
difficult to storm by men armed with spears.

It was a dreadful and arduous day for Alan, who now had Barbara's
safety to think of, Barbara with whom as yet he had scarcely found
time to exchange a word. By sunset indeed he was so worn out with toil
and anxiety that he could scarcely stand upon his feet. Jeekie, who
all that afternoon had been strangely quiet and reflective, surveyed
him critically, then said:

"You have good drink and go sleep a bit, Major. Very good little
shelter there by Miss Barbara's tent, and you hold her hand if you
like underneath the canvas, which comforting and all correct. Jeekie
never get tired, he keep good lookout and let you know if anything
happen, and then you jump up quite fresh and fight like tom-cat in

At first Alan refused to listen, but when Barbara added her entreaties
to those of Jeekie he gave way, and ten minutes later was as soundly
asleep as he had ever been in his life.

"Keep eye on him, Miss Barbara, and call me if he wake. Now I go give
noble lord his supper and see that he quite comfortable. Jeekie seem
very busy to-night, just like when Major have dinner-party at Yarleys
and old cook get drunk in kitchen."

If Barbara could have followed Jeekie's movements for the next few
hours, she would probably have agreed that he was busy. First he went
to Aylward's tent, and as he had said he would, gave him his supper,
and with it half a bottle of whisky from the stores which he had been
carrying about with him for some time, as he said, to prevent the
porters from getting at it. Aylward would little, though as his arms
were tied to the tent-pole, Jeekie sat beside him and fed him like a
baby, conversing pleasantly with him all the while, informing him
amongst other things that he had better say "big prayer," because the
Asiki would probably cut his throat before morning.

Aylward, who was in a state of sullen fury, scarcely replied to this
talk, except to say that if so, there was one comfort, they would cut
his and his master's also.

"Yes, my Lord," answered Jeekie, "that quite true, so drink to next
meeting, though I think you go different place to me, and when you got
tail and I wing, you horn and I crown of glory, of course we not talk
much together," and he held a mug of whisky and water--a great deal of
whisky and a very little water--to his prisoner's mouth.

Aylward drained it, feeling a need for stimulant.

"There," said Jeekie, holding it upside down, "you drink every drop
and not offer one to poor old Jeekie. Well, he turned teetotaller, so
no matter. Good-night, my Lord, I call you if Asiki come."

"Who are the Asiki?" asked Aylward drowsily.

"Oh! you want to know? I tell you," and he began a long, rambling

Before he ever came to the end of it Aylward had fallen on his side
and was fast asleep.

"Dear me!" said Jeekie, contemplating him, "that whisky very strong,
though bottle say same as they drink in House of Common. That whisky
so strong I think I pour away rest of it," and he did to the last
drop, even taking the trouble to wash out the bottle with water. "Now
you no tempt anyone," he said, addressing the said bottle with a very
peculiar smile, "or if you tempt, at least do no harm--like kiss down
telephone!" Then he laid down the bottle on its side and left the

Outside of it three of the head porters, who appeared to be friends of
his, were waiting for him, and with these men he engaged in low and
earnest conversation. Next, after they had arrived at some agreement,
which they seemed to ratify by a curious oath that involved their
crossing and clasping hands in an odd fashion, and other symbols known
to West African secret societies, Jeekie went the round of the camp to
see that everyone was at his post. Then he did what most people would
have thought a very curious and strange thing, namely climbed the
fence and vanished into the forest, where presently a sound was heard
as of an owl hooting.

A little while later and another owl began to hoot in the distance,
whereat the three head porters nudged each other. Perhaps they had
heard such owls hoot before at night, and perhaps they knew that
Jeekie, who had "passed Bonsa," could only be harmed by the direct
command of Bonsa speaking through the mouth of the Asika herself.
Still they might have been interested in the nocturnal conversation of
those two owls, which, as is common with such magical fowl in West
Africa, had transformed themselves into human shapes, the shape of
Jeekie and the shape of an Asiki priest, who was, as it happened, a
blood relation of Jeekie.

"Very good, Brother," said Owl No. 1; "all you want is this white man
whom the Asika desires for a husband. Well, I have done my best for
him, but I must think of myself and others, and he goes to great
happiness. I have given him something to make him sleep; do you come
presently with eight men, no more, or we shall kill you, to the fence
of the camp, and we will hand over the white man, Vernoon, to you to
take back to the Asika, who will give you a wonderful reward, such a
reward as you have never imagined. Now let me hear your word."

Then Owl No. 2 answered:

"Brother, I make the bargain on behalf of the army, and swear to it by
the double Swimming Head of Bonsa. We will come and take the white
man, Vernoon, who is to be Mungana, and carry him away. In return we
promise not to follow or molest you, or any others in your camp.
Indeed, why should we, who do not desire to be killed by the dreadful
magic that you have, a magic that makes a noise and pierces through
our bodies from afar? What were the words of the Asika? 'Bring back
Vernoon, or perish. I care for nothing else, bring back Vernoon to be
my husband.'"

"Good," said Owl No. 1, "within the half of an hour Vernoon shall be
ready for you."

"Good," answered Owl No. 2, "within half an hour eight of us will be
without the east face of your camp to receive him."


"Silently, my brother in Bonsa. If he cries out we will gag him. Fear
not, none shall know your part in this matter."

"Good, my brother in Bonsa. By the way, how is Big Bonsa? I fear that
the white man, Vernoon, hurt him very much, and that is why I give him
up--because of his sacrilege."

"When I left the god was very sick and all the people mourned, but
doubtless he is immortal."

"Doubtless he is immortal, my brother, a little hard magic in his
stomach--if he has one--cannot hurt /him/. Farewell, dear brother in
Bonsa, I wish that I were you to get the great reward that the Asika
will give to you. Farewell, farewell."

Then the two owls flitted apart again, hooting as they went, till they
came to their respective camps.

Jeekie was in the tent performing a strange toilet upon the sleeping
Aylward by the light of a single candle. From his pouch he produced
the mask of linen painted with gold that Alan used to be forced to
wear, and tied it securely over Aylward's face, murmuring:

"You always love gold, my Lord Aylward, and Jeekie promise you see
plenty of it now."

Then he proceeded to remove his coat, his waistcoat, his socks, and
his boots and to replace these articles of European attire by his own
worn Asiki sandals and his own dirty Asiki robe.

"There," he said, "think that do," and he studied him by the light of
the candle. "Same height, same colour hair, same dirty clothes, and as
Asiki never see Major's face because he always wear mask in public,
like as two peas on shovel. Oh my! Jeekie clever chap, Jeekie devilish
clever chap. But when Asika pull off that mask to give him true lover
kiss, OH MY! wonder that happen then? Think whole of Bonsa-Town bust
up; think big waterfall run backwards; think she not quite pleased;
think my good Lord find himself in false position; think Jeekie glad
to be on coast; think he not go back to Bonsa-Town no more. Oh my
aunt! no, he stop in England and go church twice on Sunday," and
pressing his big hands on the pit of his stomach he rocked and rolled
in fierce, silent laughter.

Then an owl hooted again immediately beneath the fence and Jeekie,
blowing out the candle, opened the flap of the tent and tapped the
head porter, who stood outside, on the shoulder. He crept in and
between them they lifted the senseless Aylward and bore him to the
V-shaped entrance of the boma which was immediately opposite to the
tent and, oddly enough, half open. Here the two other porters with
whom Jeekie had performed some ceremony, chanced to be on guard, the
rest of their company being stationed at a distance. Jeekie and the
head porter went through the gap like men carrying a corpse to
midnight burial, and presently in the darkness without two owls began
to hoot.

Now Aylward was laid upon a litter that had been prepared, and eight
white-robed Asiki bearers stared at his gold mask in the faint

"I suppose he is not dead, brother," said Owl No. 2 doubtfully.

"Nay, brother," said Owl No. 1, "feel his heart and his pulse. Not
dead, only drunk. He will wake up by daylight, by which time you
should be far upon your way. Be good and gentle to the white man
Vernoon, who has been my master. Be careful, too, that he does not
escape you, brother, for as you know he is very strong and cunning.
Say to the Asika that Jeekie her servant makes his reverence to her,
and hopes that she will have many, many happy years with the husband
that he sends her; also that she will remember him whom she called
'Black Dog,' in her prayers to the gods and spirits of our people."

"It shall be done, brother, but why do you not return with us?"

"Because, brother, I have ties across the Black Water--dear children,
almost white--whom I love so much that I cannot leave them. Farewell,
brethren, the blessings of the Bonsas be on you, and may you grow fat
and prosper in the love and favour of our lady the Asika."

"Farewell," they murmured in answer. "Good fortune be your bedfellow."

Another minute and they had lifted up the litter and vanished at a
swinging trot into the shadow of the trees. Jeekie returned to the
camp and ordered the three men to re-stop the gateway with thorns,
muttering in their ears:

"Remember, brethren, one word of this and you die, all of you, as
those die who break the oath."

"Have we not sworn?" they whispered, as they went back to their posts.

Jeekie stood a while in front of the empty tent and if any had been
there to note him, they might have seen a shadow as of compunction
creep over his powerful black face.

"When he wake up he won't know where he are," he reflected, "and when
he get to Bonsa-Town he'll wonder where he is, and when he meet Asika!
Well, he very big blackguard; try to murder Major, whom Jeekie nurse
as baby, the only thing that Jeekie care for--except--Jeekie; try to
make love to Miss Barbara against will when he catch her alone in
forest, which not playing game. Jeekie self not such big blackguard as
that dirt-born noble Lord; Jeekie never murder no one--not quite;
Jeekie never make love to girl what not want him--no need, so many
what do that he have to shove them off, like good Christian man. Mrs.
Jeekie see to that while she live. Also better that mean white man go
call on Bonsas than Major and Missy Barbara and all porters, and
Jeekie--specially Jeekie--get throat cut. No, no, Jeekie nothing to be
ashamed of, Jeekie do good day's work, though Jeekie keep it tight as
wax since white folk such silly people, and when Major in a rage, he
very nasty customer and see everything upside down. Now, Jeekie quite
tired, so say his prayers and have nap. No, think not in tent, though
very comfortable. Major might wake up, poke his nose in there, and if
he see black face instead of white one, ask ugly question, which if
Jeekie half asleep he no able to answer nice and neat. Still he just
arrange things a little so they look all right."



Dawn began to break in the forest and Alan woke in his shelter and
stretched himself. He had slept soundly all the night, so soundly that
the innocent Jeekie wondered much whether by any chance he also had
taken a tot out of that particular whisky bottle, as indeed he had
recommended him to do. People who drink whisky after long abstinence
from spirits are apt to sleep long, he reflected.

Alan crept out of the shelter and gazed affectionately at the tent in
which Barbara slumbered. Thank Heaven she was safe so far, as for some
unknown reason, evidently the Asiki had postponed their attack. Just
then a clamour arose in the air, and he perceived Jeekie striding
towards him waving one arm in an excited fashion, while with the other
he dragged along the captain of the porters, who appeared to be
praying for mercy.

"Here pretty go, Major," he shouted, "devil and all to pay! That my
Lord, he gone and bolted. This silly fool say that three hours ago he
hear something break through fence and think it only hyna what come
to steal, so take no notice. Well, that hyna, you guess who he is.
You come look, Major, you come look, and then we tie this fellow up
and flog him."

Alan ran to Aylward's tent to find it empty.

"Look," said Jeekie, who had followed, "see how he do business, that
jolly clever hyna," and he pointed to a broken whisky bottle and some
severed cords. "You see he manage break bottle and rub rope against
cut glass till it come in two. Then he do hyna dodge and hook it."

Alan inspected the articles, nor did any shadow of doubt enter his

"Certainly he managed very well," he said, "especially for a London-
bred man, but, Jeekie, what can have been his object?"

"Oh! who know, Major? Mind of man very strange and various thing;
p'raps he no bear to see you and Miss Barbara together; p'raps he bolt
coast, get ear of local magistrate before you; p'raps he sit up tree
to shoot you; p'raps nasty temper make him mad. But he gone any way,
and I hope he no meet Asiki, poor fellow, 'cause if so, who know?
P'raps they knock him on head, or if they think him you, they make him
prisoner and keep him quite long while before they let him go again."

"Well," said Alan, "he has gone of his own free will, so we have no
responsibility in the matter, and I can't pretend that I am sorry to
see the last of him, at any rate for the present. Let that poor beggar
loose, there seems to have been enough flogging in this place, and
after all he isn't much to blame."

Jeekie obeyed, apparently with much reluctance, and just then they saw
one of their own people running towards the camp.

"'Fraid he going to tell us Asiki come attack," said Jeekie, shaking
his head. "Hope they give us time breakfast first."

"No doubt," answered Alan nervously, for he feared the result of that

Then the man arrived breathless and began to gasp out his news, which
filled Alan with delight and caused a look of utter amazement to
appear upon the broad face of Jeekie. It was to the effect that he had
climbed a high tree as he had been bidden to do, and from the top of
that tree by the light of the first rays of the rising sun, miles away
on the plain beyond the forest, he had seen the Asiki army in full

"Thank God!" exclaimed Alan.

"Yes, Major, but that very rum story. Jeekie can't swallow it all at
once. Must send out see none of them left behind. P'raps they play
trick, but if they really gone, 'spose it 'cause guns frightens them
so much. Always think powder very great 'vention, especially when
enemy hain't got none, and quite sure of it now. Jeekie very, very
seldom wrong. Soon believe," he added with a burst of confidence,
"that Jeekie never wrong at all. He look for truth so long that at
last he find it /always/."

Something more than a month had gone by and Major and Mrs. Vernon, the
latter fully restored to health and the most sweet and beautiful of
brides, stood upon the steamship /Benin/, and as the sun sank, looked
their last upon the coast of Western Africa.

"Yes, dear," Alan was saying to his wife, "from first to last it has
been a very queer story, but I really think that our getting that
Asiki gold after all was one of the queerest parts of it; also
uncommonly convenient, as things have turned out."

"Namely that you have got a little pauper for a wife instead of a
great heiress, Alan. But tell me again about the gold. I have had so
much to think of during the last few days," and she blushed, "that I
never quite took it all in."

"Well, love, there isn't much to tell. When that forwarding agent, Mr.
Aston, knew that we were in the town, he came to me and said that he
had about fifty cases full of something heavy, as he supposed samples
of ore, addressed to me to your care in England which he was proposing
to ship on by the /Benin/. I answered 'Yes, that was all right,' and
did not undeceive him about their contents. Then I asked how they had
arrived, and if he had not received a letter with them. He replied
that one morning before the warehouse was open, some natives had
brought them down in a canoe, and dumped them at the door, telling the
watchman that they had been paid to deliver them there by some other
natives whom they met a long way up the river. Then they went away
without leaving any letter or message. Well, I thanked Aston and paid
his charges and there's an end of the matter. Those fifty-three cases
are now in the hold invoiced as ore samples and, as I inspected them
myself and am sure that they have not been tampered with, besides the
value of the necklace the Asika gave me we've got 100,000 to begin
our married life upon with something over for old Jeekie, and I
daresay we shall do very well on that."

"Yes, Alan, very well indeed." Then she reflected a while, for the
mention of Jeekie's name seemed to have made her thoughtful, and
added, "Alan, what /do/ you think became of Lord Aylward?"

"I am sure I don't know. Jeekie and I and some of the porters went to
see the Old Calabar officials and made affidavits as to the
circumstances of his disappearance. We couldn't do any more, could

"No, Alan. But do you think that Jeekie quite understands the meaning
of an oath? I mean it seems so strange that we should never have found
the slightest trace of him, and, Alan, I don't know if you noticed it,
but why did Jeekie appear that morning wearing Lord Aylward's socks
and boots?"

"He ought to know all about oaths, he has heard enough of them in
Magistrates' Courts, but as regards the boots, I am sure I can't say,
dear," answered Alan uneasily. "Here he comes, we will ask him," and
he did.

"Sock and boot," replied Jeekie, with a surprised air, "why, Mrs.
Major, if that good lord go mad and cut off into forest leaving them
behind, of course I put them on, as they no more use to him, and I
just burn my dirty old Asiki dress and sandal and got nothing to keep
jigger out of toe. Don't you sit up here in this damp, cold, Mrs.
Major, else you get more fever. You go down and dress dinner, which at
half-past six to-night. I just come tell you that."

So Barbara went, leaving the other two talking about various matters,
for they were alone together on the deck, all the passengers, of whom
there were but few, having gone below.

The short African twilight had come, a kind of soft blue haze that
made the ship look mysterious and unnatural. By degrees their
conversation died away. They lapsed into a silence, which Alan was the
first to break.

"What are you thinking of, Jeekie?" he asked nervously.

"Thinking of Asika, Major," he answered in a scared whisper. "Seem to
me that she about somewhere, just as she use pop up in room in Gold
House; seem to me I feel her all down my back, likewise in head wool,
which stand up."

"It's very odd, Jeekie," replied Alan, "but so do I."

"Well, Major, 'spect she thinking of us, specially of you, and just
throw what she think at us, like boy throw stones at bird what fly
away out of cage. Asika do all that, you know, she not quite human,
full of plenty Bonsa devil, from gen'ration to gen'rations, amen!
P'raps she just find out something what make her mad."

"What could she find out after all this time, Jeekie?"

"Oh, don't know. How I know? Jeekie can't guess. Find out you marry
Miss Barbara, p'raps. Very sick that she lose you for this time,
p'raps. Kill herself that she keep near you, p'raps, while she wait
till you come round again, p'raps. Asika can do all these things if
she like, Major."

"Stuff and rubbish," answered Alan uneasily, for Jeekie's suggestions
were most uncomfortable, "I believe in none of your West Coast

"Quite right, Major, nor don't I. Only you 'member, Major, what she
show us there in Treasure-place--Mr. Haswell being buried, eh? Miss
Barbara in tent, eh? t'other job what hasn't come off yet, eh? Oh! my
golly! Major, just you look behind you and say you see nothing,
please," and the eyes of Jeekie grew large as Maltese oranges, while
with chattering teeth he pointed over the bulwark of the vessel.

Alan turned and saw.

This was what he saw or seemed to see: The figure of the Asika in her
robes and breastplate of gold, standing upon the air, just beyond the
ship, as though on it she might set no foot. Her waving black hair
hung about her shoulders, but the sharp wind did not seem to stir it
nor did her white dress flutter, and on her beautiful face was stamped
a look of awful rage and agony, the rage of betrayal, the agony of
loss. In her right hand she held a knife, and from a wound in her
breast the red blood ran down her golden corselet. She pointed to
Jeekie with the knife, she opened her arms to Alan as though in
unutterable longing, then slowly raised them upwards towards the
fading glory of the sky above--and was gone.

Jeekie sat down upon the deck, mopping his brow with a red
handkerchief, while Alan, who felt faint, clung to the bulwarks.

"Tell you, Major, that Asika can do all that kind of thing. Never know
where you find her next. 'Spect she come to live with us in England
and just call in now and again when it dark. Tell you, she very
awkward customer, think p'raps you done better stop there and marry
her. Well, she gone now, thank Heaven! seem to drop in sea and hope
she stay there."

"Jeekie," said Alan, recovering himself, "listen to me; this is all
infernal nonsense; we have gone through a great deal and the nerves of
both of us are overstrained. We think we saw what we did not see, and
if you dare to say a single word of it to your mistress, I'll break
your neck. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Major, think so. All 'fernal nonsense, nerves strained, didn't
see what we see, and say nothing of what did see to Mrs. Major, if
either do say anything, t'other one break his neck. That all right,
quite understand. Anything else, Major?"

"Yes, Jeekie. We have had some wonderful adventures, but they are past
and done with and the less we talk or even think about them the
better, for there is a lot that would be rather difficult to explain,
and that if explained would scarcely be believed."

"Yes, Major, for instance, very difficult explain Mrs. Barbara how
Asika so fond of you if you only tell her, 'Go away, go away!' all the
time, like old saint-gentleman to pretty girl in picture. P'raps she
smell rat."

"Stop your ribald talk," said Alan in a stern voice. "It would be
better if instead of making jokes you gave thanks to Providence for
bringing both of us alive and well out of very dreadful dangers. Now I
am going to dress for dinner," and with an anxious glance seaward into
the gathering darkness, he turned and went.

Jeekie stood alone upon the empty deck, wagging his great white head
to and fro and soliloquizing thus:

"Wonder if Major see what under lady Asika's feet when she stand out
there over nasty deep. Think not or he say something. That noble lord
not look nice. No, private view for Jeekie only, free ticket and
nothing to pay and me hope it no come back when I go to bed. Major
know nothing about it, so he not see, but Jeekie know a lot. Hope that
Aylward not write any letters home, or if he write, hope no one post
them. Ghost bad enough, but murder, oh my!"

He paused a while, then went on:

"Jeekie do big sacrifice to Bonsa when he reach Yarleys, get lamb in
back kitchen at night, or if ghost come any more, calf in wood
outside. Not steal it, pay for it himself. Then think Jeekie turn
Cath'lic; confess his sins, they say them priest chaps not split, and
after they got his sins, they tackle Asika and Bonsas too," and he
uttered a series of penitent groans, turning slowly round and round to
be sure that nothing was behind him.

Just then the full moon appeared out of a bank of clouds, and as it
rose higher, flooding the world with light, Jeekie's spirits rose

"Asika never come in moonshine," he said, "that not the game, against
rule, and after all, what Jeekie done bad? He very good fellow really.
Aylward great villain, serve him jolly well right if Asika spiflicate
him, that not Jeekie's fault. What Jeekie do, he do to save master and
missus who he love. Care nothing for his self, ready to die any day.
Keep it dark to save them too, 'cause they no like the story. If once
they know, it always leave taste in mouth, same as bad oyster. Also
Jeekie manage very well, take Major safe Asiki-land ('cause Little
Bonsa make him), give him very interesting time there, get him plenty
gold, nurse him when he sick, nobble Mungana, bring him out again,
find Miss Barbara, catch hated rival and bamboozle all Asiki army,
bring happy pair to coast and marry them, arrange first-class
honeymoon on ship--Jeekie do all these things, and lots more he could
tell, if he vain and not poor humble nigger."

Once more he paused a while, lost in the contemplation of his own
modesty and virtues, then continued:

"This very ungrateful world. Major there, he not say, 'Thank you,
Jeekie, Jeekie, you great, wonderful man. Brave Jeekie, artful Jeekie.
Jeekie smart as paint who make all world believe just what he like,
and one too many for Asika herself.' No, no, he say nothing like that.
He say 'thank Prov'dence,' not 'Jeekie,' as though Prov'dence do all
them things. White folk think they clever, but great fools, really,
don't know nothing. Prov'dence all very well in his way--p'raps, but
Prov'dence not a patch on Jeekie.

"Hullo! moon get behind cloud and there second bell; think Jeekie go
down and wait dinner; lonely up here and sure Asika never stand
'lectric light."

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