Lists (None yet)

Login to create lists

Tagged (None yet)

Add Tags

Comments (None yet)

Add New Comment

1 correction by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

A SENSATIONAL STORY OF LOVE JJID CEIME,

BY GORDON STAJBGDTOS, M.D., IkTST.

Author of "289 S, The Story of a Doable Life," "The Mystery of m Mil

liona're'e Grave, &c., &c.

ft

CHAPTER XXXVII,-JL STRAXGE

SAIL IS THE OFFING. I

Owing to the prominence which, professional writers have for many yeaa?s been giving to that quondam tsrrd incognita, the islands of the South Pacific, there are far fewer now that are really uninhabited, and on many of them may be found white men, hermits, or call them Griisoes, if

the name seems more romantic. It

would take a long time to describe the

different reasons that have drivm

these men^t*»"¥oluntarily exile. The love of a lonely existence is one not uncommon factor, disappointment in life another, bat there are many,

many more; fugitives from their! country's laws, Jor instance, often! become Crnsoes, while others live by j the green, lagoons of the sunny South 1 Paciic for the sake of making money*

Augustus Carey and his brother Ralph belonged to this latter class

the two men who led the van in the fierce fight with head-hunters des cribed in the last chapter. They were yonng men, who had managed in a few years of London life and gaiety to ran through a small fortune, and were now fast accumulating another, which their former experience

of life would doubtles lead them to take better care of.

Axe jEortjXnes then to be made in the Pacific Isles it may be asked f Fortunes have been made, not very colossal ones, perhaps, but very cosy comfortable fortunes, by men who have been lucky enough to 'strike lie/ as the Yankees phrase it-at tile pearl fishing.- I do not anticipate that anytfung I may say in explana tion of this statement will cause a rush towards the lonely isles of the south ern Eeas, nevertheless, there is wealth in abundance lying at the bottom of many a green lagoon in the

shapfe { %f |^yrr oysteis, taken either for the eafe;J taf the- shell iteelf, or for j the pe^rls'thafc they may contain. If a young man with good health and i plenty of pluck can succeed in obtain ing a? passage to some of these islands, or better sttll if he has a yacht of his own, and has luck as w^ll as pluck, and escapes being brained by the savages, or. otherwise killed and after waCrds ,p<>oked, and if he has tact

euoug^to ingratiate himself with the

natives, bo as to obtain labour for the traditional old song be may obtain pearls galore, get safely home and sell ' them, then life happy for ever after,

j Tbe brothers Carey bad ' struck ? ile,' and as soon as they had landed I that night at the oamp of our Crusoes,

and poor Baehel had been tenderly j eared for, the story of their liveB and

i adventures whs told with candour and

] simplicity.

j No one thoughtof going to hed, Hie ' excitement had been far too great, . and still continued in a measure, cal culated at aU events to banish, all ) thoughts-of sleep.

i Daylight presently began to. show ! in tiie east, and soon the sun's red ! gleams were reflected in the water, i Hachel had sank into a gentle sleep,

and was watched over by a black woman of Carey's people, who, Carey assured Frank and Cholly, knew more about the treatment of wounds and the strange sicknesses, incidental to these islands than any European

doctor he had ever met with. And this squaw quite relieved Cholly*8 mind by telling him all Rachel needed to bring her out of danger was a little

rest.

Cholly, who had been, all through the darkness of the night, a very wretched being indeed gained hope and courage, from hearing this dark skinned doctor's words, and went with the Careys and Frank to enjoy a

bath.

Almost the first object they saw 1fas a huge shark basking in the morning sunshine. And they soon noticed that there was another not a

great way off. But the Careys con tinued leisurely to undress, prepared to dive within a few yards of these

monsters.

4 Is fit possible,* paid Frank, * that you dare take the water while these

formidable monsters are there ?'

4 They are as harmless as frogs,* said Augustus Carey, laughing.

He dived ashe spoke,and soon came up almost in. the place where the shark had been. The terrible looking creature had simply swam a little farther away. Bo Frank and Cholly summoned up their courage, though, they did not venture so close to the sharks as the Careys did. However,

thay enjoyed tiieir bath in the clear, ptillncid water, very much.

* We sever think of these shark#,* ? said Carey, * in fact we rather like to see them, for they always float over a good bed of pearl oysters; at least onr black fellows tell us so. The creature most to be dreaded in pearl lagoons is the great octopus or devil fish. If one of these frightful fiends comes in, no work can be done until the brute is either killed or driven out.' _ j

* Now,' said Augustus Carey im-j mediately after breakfast, * although we have given the head-hunters, who j by the way attacked my island, and were beaten off (two days ago, a drub- j bing that will keep them quiet for; months to come, still, knowing that j I and my warriors are here, it is justI possible they may steer their barks for my home and kill my people, so 11 s*xr\ anxious to sail. Of course you will come with us, you cannot remain j here.' j

* Syhro' he continued, calling to the black ladjr doctor, 'can the white lady be moved ?'

' Oh yes, sir. I have put leaves on the wound. It is nothing. She have lost some blood. Again it is nothing.*

* May I see her F' said Cholly. * O yes. sir. Come/

Very pale and feeble looked the little heroine, but she stretched out both her arms to Cholly, and the poor,

foolish fellow must commenca to cry.

* They are tears of joy,* said Cholly. 'But I thought you were going to   sling your hook for a better world, pigmy, and leave your Cholly in this, which would be bad without you, you know. But we're all going to a better and a safer island, pigmy, and you will be moved and carried over so gently, I hear them calling the boats. By-bye, pigmy, your doctor here is a brick. She'll soon make a man of

you—I mean, you know, hanged if I knows rightly what I do mean. Good bye.'

. .' * .

The head-hunters had gone back to their own. blood-stained islands with out a thought of revenge. There was no mistake, therefore, about their being thoroughly cowed and beaten..

IX Frank and Cholly had been pleased with their own Island, they quite bewitched with th« beauty of the Carey's home. It was far laiger, it was ten tames more luxuriant, and it was altogether a civilised settle ment. On the ring of land that surrounded the lagoon and its islands, many a comfortable-looking cottage stood, conspiciouB among which, and on the highest ground, surrounded by beautiful trees, was the dw«lli«g- j house of fifae Careys.

* And when we came over four years ] ago/ said Augustus, ' these people ware complete savages, and felt much inclined at first to resent onr intrusion. Bat we conquered them by kindness, and we rale them by kindness. They work for us, and fish for us, and as

you have seen are willing to lay

down thsir lives in battle for us.*

'Bid; your presence here,* said Frank, *is in some measure advan tageous tothem.'

,At times/ said Augustus, 'we protect them from the raids of the head-hunters, and from worse raids than theirs, namely, those of the

Iwfiptmwl black-birders. Those white devils know I am king here, and so they_Bing very emalL *

'Yes,* continued the elder Carey, 4 we are almost wealthy. We have au immense store of sponges, almost a ship-load, and we have pearls Mid shells;so, in a year or two, why brother and myself will return to England.* a

The whole of Fnwk's stores had

been brought away from the lesser j

lagpxm, indadfiog, of ^course, Ae box of gold, aodOlollr bid carefully seen to *Ll Rachel'* belongings, including all the myetefioos(fixings de toUef ' as this strange girl called them.

Indeed, weak as she was, she had managed to give him directions,

* Take care,' she-said,' of the face . powder. Tbat I must not lose. '

' Not a duet of it, my precious,' Cholly had replied. ' Dear pigmy, doesnt that same face powder pat me in mind of the dowager duchess. What a narrow escape that wag for poor Cholly 1 *

* Yes, Cholly, if you had marry my obese madame, I link I have give up the face-powder. Dat would be very

terribeel.'

There was something; bo frank and candid about the character, not only of Augustus Carey, but his brother Ralph, that the hearts of Cholly and Frank were quite caught and won before they had been many days in their company.

*1 like both on 'em, don't yon, William, dear ?' said Cholly to bis friend one evening, as they sab together on the white sandy beach, gazing seawards.

* I do. And look here, Cholly, those two men are to be trusted. Well, they have been very open with ne, and have told us all about their wild lives in London; don't yon think I should tell all about the black cloud that hangs over my life ?'

* Just what I was going to propose,' said Cholly.

Bo after dinner that evening in the comfortable though rough cottage of the Careys, when Cholly had come bade from having a look at his pigmy Frank laid down his pipe and cleared

his throat.

* Gentlemen/ he said, 11 am going to tell you a stoiy.'

* Bravo!' cried Halph. 'After that we'll have a song.'

'The story is a sad one,* began

: Frank.

Then he went on telling them in simple but graphic language, evwy word of which sunk deep into the hearts of his listeners, all the storyof

his life. But he talked in the third person.

When he had concluded, Augustus and his brother both stood up and stretched their right hands out to

wards him.

* You axe that man,' said Augustus, 'and I do not know the time X have

felt more acutely for anyone than this night I do for you. Believe me both Balph and I axe glad you have made us your confidant. Such confidence will not be misplaced. We are your friends, nay your brothers if you

will.*

Frank could not speak, but he pressed the rough hands held out to him, and the brotherly compact was

sealed.

After this ill of them frequently talked together of Frank's prospects.

* So long as you stay with us you will be safe,' said Augustus one even ing, * but it would not be safe for you to go back yet into the world. Re member that the men of the Mountain Wave, some of them at all events will communicate to the police in order to obtain the reward, and by

this time I do not doubt that a detec

tive-do not-startup sailing perhaps in some bLack-birdffl^for the very lati

tude and longitude of the spot where your boat was marooned. No, my friend, you are safe here. Abide with us (ill the storm blows over. Were I not assured of your innocence believe me I would not ask you to.'

* Thank you for that. I will take your advice, though it seems I must always Eve under an obligation 19°*' . . .. C

* Mention it not. Just fay to

me-ln i.be pearl-fishing. Grief you know, is often, the parent of fame, and fortune, because it drives men to

honest labour.'

'A sail in in sight! A sail! A sail!' % :

It was just one month to a day after the above con?erealioiL between Frank and AugiistuB and all the people of -the people of:the island seemed to have taken, sodden leave of their

senses.

* A sail! A sail!'

It wasvery early in the morning, and the vessel was still far away on the northern horizon, bat it was evi dent enough that she had seen the smoke rising high over the trees, for she was bearing down towards the

island.

Augustus and Ralph at once sought

audience of oar Grnsoes.

'Now my friends,' said Augustus,

* ten to one there is a detective-a

clever British 'tec'-on yonder ship,

and in three hours time he'll land here. Be brave, Fronk! Yoa are safe if you. do all we tell yon.'

* Oh, my poor brodder,' cried pigmy, throwing her arms around Frank and kissing him ' You will safe him; oh, you mast safe him.'

'Well, all three of you must come with me at once. Don t yon cry, Miss

Rachel. Sooner than the 4 tec' takes Frank, I shall call in the services of my corps of cannibals, and they shall

cook and eat him.'

In half-an-hour's time, not only were all the three Grnsoes safely hidden in a little bungalow among the trees, in one of the central islands, but all theirbelongingBalso. There was absolutely nothing left in the Carey's cottage that could betray them to the quick eyes of that abnormally clever person, a British ' tec.'

Nearer and nearer crept the ship, for the breeze was light, and at last, quite a long way off the shore, which was a somewhat treacherous one, the anchor was let go. Through his tele scope Augustus could see there were ladies on beard. It could not there fore be a black-birder, so he at once had his best boat lowered and pro ceeded off to the vessel.'

She proved to be the Bonnie Scotia, an Aberdeen clipper ont from London, , with passengers on a health cruise to

the South Pacific. Her captain, Tom Gregory, master matiner, was the first to welcome Augustas aboard.

' Rejoiced to see a white face, assure you,' said bluff old Tom, who since his arrival in the tropics, bad got much lighter in hair and mnch browner in the face, bat was hale and hp arty as ever. ' Glad to see yon, sir, and quite surprised too, I can tell you. At some of the islands north of here where we attempted to land, they we're prepared to give us a warm reception. Too warm by half. My name is Tom Gregory, plain Tom Gregory.5

Augustus started slightly, but recovering his sang froid, said:

'And I am Augustus Carey. My brother and I are pearl fishers and Crusoes. We civilized this island, on which you and year good people can land with perfect safety. I only trust yon can stay amonth with as.'

'Thatwe fear is impossible,' said ©regffliy/weare&eddown todays. I But let me introduce yon to my daughter, Mr Carey: Rose dear, Mr | Carey.

The girl was so beautiful thai: Carey, whose eyes had sot rested on an English lady for many a long year felt almost taken aback. Besides he knew this was the Hose of Allandale, of whom he had heard eo much- Near herstood the ayah Weeba, looking very

romantic in her robes of white and scarlet.

Oarey was introduced to all the passengers, and among others to a Mr

Dance.

* Wow,' said Gregory, 'come below and taste our sherbet, and yon must dine with us to-night.'

* Pardon me,' said Carey, * bnt yon and your daughter most dine with me. Yon are our guest. The dinner will be bnt a plain one but you will be heartily welcome, and if you come early before the sun sets, yon will see much to interest you on our beautiful island. Bring your friend and one

or two others. We have knives and forks for six.'

Gregory laughed, and all went

below.

Dance had the bump of caution well-marked; so had Carey.

After a long and very interesting conversation the ' tec' gradually approached the subject next to Jhis

heart,

'Well, Mr. Cany,' he 'I supgK&e yon are not troubled ^fith. many neighbours here ?'

* On the contrary,' said Carey, ' we have had a visit only a few weeks ago from quite a host of them. Head hunters. They invaded us, in fact, butiny people drove them off with great slaughter. When you come on shore you shall see their bones bleach ing on the sands. We hauled the dead down by the sea for the ante to discuss. Burial except by beetles and ante, is not fashionable here.'

'I sincerely hope they will not return, 'saidGregoiy.

'They won't for some lime, sir. But we are quite prepared for them if they do. Besides, before long we are to be joined here by two

white men and a lady, singularly enough, who live in an island gome distance to the south of ours.'

Dance looked at Gregory, and both pricked up their ears.

* How interesting.'

* Yes; I paid them a visit only a month or two ago. They had found a bank of pearl oysters, and will come here to live as soon as that is ex hausted.'

: Ship-wrecked people ?' inquired

Dance.

* Yes; ship foundered, and they alone were saved. Perhaps one of them may want to take passage with you to England.'

' Perhaps,' said Dance, and there was a given meaning concealed under that little word.

' Do you know their name ?'

' Smith, I think. Common enough, isn't it ?'

Captain Gregory end Rose, with Dance, Dr. Andrews, and one or two [ passengers dined that night on the

island. They came early as suggested

by Carey and saw lieredthey did.

or be

Next day Gregoiy proposed a visit

to the other island.

' If we could only leave Mies Rose here with the Careys,' Donee had suggested to Gregory the flight be

fore, * she and Weeba, we could ship; our prisoner, for it is undoubtedly the j mnrdereiyimd get hiwi down below forward and sbe would never know who he is.'

'Splendid idea. Grand!* cried Gregory. " Dance you're a genius. I do' feel bad about the whole business, but this plan considerably eases my

mind.'

.Augustus Carey was delighted at the idea of Rose's visit to his island. Weeba and Dr. AndreWB also came and then away sailed the Bonnie Scotia towards our Crusoe's island. Ralph Carey had received hip instruc

tions before hand.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]

Zoom

plus
thumb
minus
left
thumb
right
up
thumb
down