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Title: Blown to Bits - or, The Lonely Man of Rakata
Author: Ballantyne, R. M. (Robert Michael), 1825-1894
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blown to Bits - or, The Lonely Man of Rakata" ***

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[Illustration: Blown to Bits or The Lonely Man of Rakata]

[Illustration: CAME UNEXPECTEDLY ON A CAVERN."--PAGE
112.--(_Frontispiece_.)]



BLOWN TO BITS

OR

THE LONELY MAN OF RAKATA.

A Tale of the Malay Archipelago.

BY R.M. BALLANTYNE,

AUTHOR OF "BLUE LIGHTS, OR HOT WORK IN THE SOUDAN;" "THE FUGITIVES;"
"RED ROONEY;" "THE ROVER OF THE ANDES;" "THE WILD MAN OF THE WEST;" "THE
RED ERIC;" "FREAKS ON THE FELLS;" "THE YOUNG TRAWLER;" "DUSTY DIAMONDS;"
"THE BATTERY AND THE BOILER;" "POST HASTE;" "BLACK IVORY;" "THE IRON
HORSE;" "FIGHTING THE FLAMES;" "THE LIFEBOAT;" ETC. ETC.

With Illustrations by the Author.

_EIGHTH THOUSAND_.

LONDON:

JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.

1894.

[_All rights reserved_.]



PREFACE.


The extremely violent nature of the volcanic eruption in Krakatoa in
1883, the peculiar beauty of those parts of the eastern seas where the
event occurred, the wide-spread influences of the accompanying
phenomena, and the tremendous devastation which resulted, have all
inspired me with a desire to bring the matter, in the garb of a tale,
before that portion of the juvenile world which accords me a hearing.

For most of the facts connected with the eruption which have been
imported into my story, I have to acknowledge myself indebted to the
recently published important and exhaustive "Report" of the Krakatoa
Committee, appointed by the Royal Society to make a thorough
investigation of the whole matter in all its phases.

I have also to acknowledge having obtained much interesting and useful
information from the following among other works:--_The Malay
Archipelago_, by A.R. Wallace; _A Naturalist's Wanderings in the Eastern
Archipelago_, by H.O. Forbes; and Darwin's _Journal of Researches_ round
the world in H.M.S. "Beagle."

R.M. BALLANTYNE.

HARROW-ON-THE HILL, 1889.



CONTENTS.

                                                          PAGE

CHAP. I.--THE PLAY COMMENCES,                                1

     II.--THE HAVEN IN THE CORAL RING,                       9

    III.--INTERESTING PARTICULARS OF VARIOUS KINDS,         19

     IV.--NIGEL UNDERGOES SOME QUITE NEW AND INTERESTING
          EXPERIENCES,                                      33

      V.--CAPTAIN ROY SURPRISES AND GRATIFIES HIS SON,
          WHO SURPRISES A NEGRO, AND SUDDENLY FORMS
          AN ASTONISHING RESOLVE,                           47

     VI.--THE HERMIT OF RAKATA INTRODUCED,                  58

    VII.--WONDERS OF THE HERMIT'S CAVE AND ISLAND,          72

   VIII.--PERBOEWATAN BECOMES MODERATELY VIOLENT,           89

     IX.--DESCRIBES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, A SINGULAR MEETING
          UNDER PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES,                     99

      X.--A CURIOUS SEA-GOING CRAFT--THE UNKNOWN VOYAGE
          BEGUN,                                           111

     XI.--CANOEING ON THE SEA--A MYSTERIOUS NIGHT-SURPRISE
          AND SUDDEN FLIGHT,                               123

    XII.--WEATHERING A STORM IN THE OPEN SEA,              140

   XIII.--FRIENDS ARE MET WITH, ALSO PIRATES, AND A
          LIFE-OR-DEATH PADDLE ENSUES,                     153

    XIV.--A NEW FRIEND FOUND--NEW DANGERS ENCOUNTERED
          AND NEW HOPES DELAYED,                           173

     XV.--HUNTING THE GREAT MAN-MONKEY,                    189

    XVI.--BEGINS WITH A TERRIBLE FIGHT AND ENDS WITH
          A HASTY FLIGHT,                                  204

   XVII.--TELLS OF THE JOYS, ETC., OF THE PROFESSOR IN
          THE SUMATRAN FORESTS, ALSO OF A CATASTROPHE
          AVERTED,                                         217

  XVIII.--A TRYING ORDEAL--DANGER THREATENS AND
          FLIGHT AGAIN RESOLVED ON,                        230

    XIX.--A TERRIBLE MURDER AND A STRANGE REVELATION,      243

     XX.--NIGEL MAKES A CONFIDANT OF MOSES--UNDERTAKES
          A LONELY WATCH AND SEES SOMETHING WONDERFUL,     259

    XXI.--IN WHICH THE PROFESSOR DISTINGUISHES HIMSELF,    276

   XXII.--A PYTHON DISCOVERED AND A GEYSER INTERVIEWED,    297

  XXIII.--TELLS OF VOLCANIC FIRES AND A STRANGE
          RETURN "HOME,"                                   307

   XXIV.--AN AWFUL NIGHT AND TERRIBLE MORNING,             324

    XXV.--ADVENTURES OF THE "SUNSHINE" AND AN UNEXPECTED
          REUNION,                                         343

   XXVI.--A CLIMAX,                                        361

  XXVII.--"BLOWN TO BITS,"                                 371

 XXVIII.--THE FATE OF THE "SUNSHINE,"                      377

   XXIX.--TELLS CHIEFLY OF THE WONDERFUL EFFECTS OF
          THIS ERUPTION ON THE WORLD AT LARGE,             385

    XXX.--COMING EVENTS, ETC.--WONDERFUL CHANGES
          AMONG THE ISLANDS,                               401

   XXXI.--ENDS WITH A STRUGGLE BETWEEN INCLINATION
          AND DUTY,                                        414

  XXXII.--THE LAST,                                        425



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

VIGNETTE TITLE.

"HE CAME UNEXPECTEDLY ON A CAVERN."--PAGE 112,   _Frontispiece_.

ART ON THE KEELING ISLANDS,              _facing page_ 36

THEY DISCOVER A PIRATES' BIVOUAC,                          164

"DO YOU HEAR?" SAID VERKIMIER, STERNLY,                    187

BLOWN TO BITS                                              342



BLOWN TO BITS

A TALE OF THE MALAY ARCHIPELAGO.



CHAPTER I.

THE PLAY COMMENCES.


Blown to bits; bits so inconceivably, so ineffably, so "microscopically"
small that--but let us not anticipate.

About the darkest hour of a very dark night, in the year 1883, a large
brig lay becalmed on the Indian Ocean, not far from that region of the
Eastern world which is associated in some minds with spices, volcanoes,
coffee, and piratical junks, namely, the Malay Archipelago.

Two men slowly paced the brig's quarter-deck for some time in silence,
as if the elemental quietude which prevailed above and below had
infected them. Both men were broad, and apparently strong. One of them
was tall; the other short. More than this the feeble light of the
binnacle-lamp failed to reveal.

"Father," said the tall man to the short one, "I do like to hear the
gentle pattering of the reef points on the sails; it is so suggestive of
peace and rest. Doesn't it strike you so?"

"Can't say it does, lad," replied the short man, in a voice which,
naturally mellow and hearty, had been rendered nautically harsh and
gruff by years of persistent roaring in the teeth of wind and weather.
"More suggestive to me of lost time and lee-way."

The son laughed lightly, a pleasant, kindly, soft laugh, in keeping with
the scene and hour.

"Why, father," he resumed after a brief pause, "you are so sternly
practical that you drive all the sentiment out of a fellow. I had almost
risen to the regions of poetry just now, under the pleasant influences
of nature."

"Glad I got hold of 'ee, lad, before you rose," growled the captain of
the brig--for such the short man was. "When a young fellow like you gets
up into the clouds o' poetry, he's like a man in a balloon--scarce knows
how he got there; doesn't know very well how he's to get down, an' has
no more idea where he's goin' to, or what he's drivin' at, than the man
in the moon. Take my advice, lad, an' get out o' poetical regions as
fast as ye can. It don't suit a young fellow who has got to do duty as
first mate of his father's brig and push his way in the world as a
seaman. When I sent you to school an' made you a far better scholar than
myself, I had no notion they was goin' to teach you poetry."

The captain delivered the last word with an emphasis which was meant to
convey the idea of profound but not ill-natured scorn.

"Why, father," returned the young man, in a tone which plainly told of a
gleeful laugh within him, which was as yet restrained, "it was not
school that put poetry into me--if indeed there be any in me at all."

"What was it, then?"

"It was mother," returned the youth, promptly, "and surely you don't
object to poetry in _her_."

"Object!" cried the captain, as though speaking in the teeth of a
Nor'wester. "Of course not. But then, Nigel, poetry in your mother _is_
poetry, an' she can _do_ it, lad--screeds of it--equal to anything that
Dibdin, or, or,--that other fellow, you know, I forget his name--ever
put pen to--why, your mother is herself a poem! neatly made up, rounded
off at the corners, French-polished and all shipshape. Ha! you needn't
go an' shelter yourself under _her_ wings, wi' your inflated, up in the
clouds, reef-point-patterin', balloon-like nonsense."

"Well, well, father, don't get so hot about it; I won't offend again.
Besides, I'm quite content to take a very low place so long as you give
mother her right position. We won't disagree about that, but I suspect
that we differ considerably about the other matter you mentioned."

"What other matter?" demanded the sire.

"My doing duty as first mate," answered the son. "It must be quite
evident to you by this time, I should think, that I am not cut out for a
sailor. After all your trouble, and my own efforts during this long
voyage round the Cape, I'm no better than an amateur. I told you that a
youth taken fresh from college, without any previous experience of the
sea except in boats, could not be licked into shape in so short a time.
It is absurd to call me first mate of the _Sunshine_. That is in reality
Mr. Moor's position--"

"No, it isn't, Nigel, my son," interrupted the captain, firmly. "Mr.
Moor is _second_ mate. _I_ say so, an' if I, the skipper and owner o'
this brig, don't know it, I'd like to know who does! Now, look here,
lad. You've always had a bad habit of underratin' yourself an'
contradictin' your father. I'm an old salt, you know, an' I tell 'ee
that for the time you've bin at sea, an' the opportunities you've had,
you're a sort o' walkin' miracle. You're no more an ammytoor than I am,
and another voyage or two will make you quite fit to work your way all
over the ocean, an' finally to take command o' this here brig, an' let
your old father stay at home wi'--wi'--"

"With the Poetess," suggested Nigel.

"Just so--wi' the equal o' Dibdin, not to mention the other fellow. Now
it seems to me--. How's 'er head?"

The captain suddenly changed the subject here.

Nigel, who chanced to be standing next the binnacle, stooped to examine
the compass, and the flood of light from its lamp revealed a smooth but
manly and handsome face which seemed quite to harmonise with the cheery
voice that belonged to it.

"Nor'-east-and-by-east," he said.

"Are 'ee sure, lad?"

"Your doubting me, father, does not correspond with your lately
expressed opinion of my seamanship; does it?"

"Let me see," returned the captain, taking no notice of the remark, and
stooping to look at the compass with a critical eye.

The flood of light, in this case, revealed a visage in which good-nature
had evidently struggled for years against the virulent opposition of
wind and weather, and had come off victorious, though not without
evidences of the conflict. At the same time it revealed features similar
to those of the son, though somewhat rugged and red, besides being
smothered in hair.

"Vulcan must be concoctin' a new brew," he muttered, as he gazed
inquiringly over the bow, "or he's stirring up an old one."

"What d' you mean, father?"

"I mean that there's somethin' goin' on there-away--in the neighbourhood
o' Sunda Straits," answered the Captain, directing attention to that
point of the compass towards which the ship's head was turned. "Darkness
like this don't happen without a cause. I've had some experience o' them
seas before now, an' depend upon it that Vulcan is stirring up some o'
the fires that are always blazin' away, more or less, around the Straits
Settlements."

"By which you mean, I suppose, that one of the numerous volcanoes in the
Malay Archipelago has become active," said Nigel; "but are we not some
five or six hundred miles to the sou'-west of Sunda? Surely the
influence of volcanic action could scarcely reach so far."

"So far!" repeated the captain, with a sort of humph which was meant to
indicate mild contempt; "that shows how little you know, with all your
book-learnin', about volcanoes."

"I don't profess to know much, father," retorted Nigel in a tone of
cheery defiance.

"Why, boy," continued the other, resuming his perambulation of the deck,
"explosions have sometimes been heard for hundreds, ay _hundreds_, of
miles. I thought I heard one just now, but no doubt the unusual
darkness works up my imagination and makes me suspicious, for it's
wonderful what fools the imag--. Hallo! D'ee feel _that_?"

He went smartly towards the binnacle-light, as he spoke, and, holding an
arm close to it, found that his sleeve was sprinkled with a thin coating
of fine dust.

"Didn't I say so?" he exclaimed in some excitement, as he ran to the
cabin skylight and glanced earnestly at the barometer. That glance
caused him to shout a sudden order to take in all sail. At the same
moment a sigh of wind swept over the sleeping sea as if the storm-fiend
were expressing regret at having been so promptly discovered and met.

Seamen are well used to sudden danger--especially in equatorial
seas--and to prompt, unquestioning action. Not many minutes elapsed
before the _Sunshine_ was under the smallest amount of sail she could
carry. Even before this had been well accomplished a stiff breeze was
tearing up the surface of the sea into wild foam, which a furious gale
soon raised into raging billows.

The storm came from the Sunda Straits about which the captain and his
son had just been talking, and was so violent that they could do nothing
but scud before it under almost bare poles. All that night it raged.
Towards morning it increased to such a pitch that one of the back-stays
of the foremast gave way. The result was that the additional strain thus
thrown on the other stays was too much for them. They also parted, and
the fore-top-mast, snapping short off with a report like a cannon-shot,
went over the side, carrying the main-topgallant-mast and all its gear
along with it.



CHAPTER II.

THE HAVEN IN THE CORAL RING.


It seemed as if the storm-fiend were satisfied with the mischief he had
accomplished, for immediately after the disaster just described, the
gale began to moderate, and when the sun rose it had been reduced to a
stiff but steady breeze.

From the moment of the accident onward, the whole crew had been exerting
themselves to the utmost with axe and knife to cut and clear away the
wreck of the masts and repair damages.

Not the least energetic among them was our amateur first mate, Nigel
Roy. When all had been made comparatively snug, he went aft to where his
father stood beside the steersman, with his legs nautically wide apart,
his sou'-wester pulled well down over his frowning brows, and his hands
in their native pockets.

"This is a bad ending to a prosperous voyage," said the youth, sadly;
"but you don't seem to take it much to heart, father!"

"How much or little I take it to heart you know nothin' whatever about,
my boy, seein' that I don't wear my heart on my coat-sleeve, nor yet on
the point of my nose, for the inspection of all and sundry. Besides, you
can't tell whether it's a bad or a good endin', for it has not ended yet
one way or another. Moreover, what appears bad is often found to be
good, an' what seems good is pretty often uncommon bad."

"You are a walking dictionary of truisms, father! I suppose you mean to
take a philosophical view of the misfortune and make the best of it,"
said Nigel, with what we may style one of his twinkling smiles, for on
nearly all occasions that young man's dark, brown eyes twinkled, in
spite of him, as vigorously as any "little star" that was ever told in
prose or song to do so--and much more expressively, too, because of the
eyebrows of which little stars appear to be destitute.

"No, lad," retorted the captain; "I take a common-sense view--not a
philosophical one; an' when you've bin as long at sea as I have, you'll
call nothin' a misfortune until it's proved to be such. The only
misfortune I have at present is a son who cannot see things in the same
light as his father sees 'em."

"Well, then, according to your own principle that is the reverse of a
misfortune, for if I saw everything in the same light that you do,
you'd have no pleasure in talking to me, you'd have no occasion to
reason me out of error, or convince me of truth. Take the subject of
poetry, now--"

"Luff," said Captain Roy, sternly, to the man at the wheel.

When the man at the wheel had gone through the nautical evolution
involved in "luff," the captain turned to his son and said abruptly--

"We'll run for the Cocos-Keelin' Islands, Nigel, an' refit."

"Are the Keeling Islands far off?"

"Lift up your head and look straight along the bridge of your nose, lad,
and you'll see them. They're an interesting group, are the Keelin'
Islands. Volcanic, they are, with a coral top-dressin', so to speak. Sit
down here an' I'll tell 'ee about 'em."

Nigel shut up the telescope through which he had been examining the
thin, blue line on the horizon that indicated the islands in question,
and sat down on the cabin skylight beside his father.

"They've got a romantic history too, though a short one, an' are set
like a gem on the bosom of the deep blue sea--"

"Come, father, you're drifting out of your true course--that's
poetical!"

"I know it, lad, but I'm only quotin' your mother. Well, you must know
that the Keelin' Islands--we call them Keelin' for short--were
uninhabited between fifty and sixty years ago, when a Scotsman named
Ross, thinking them well situated as a port of call for the repair and
provisioning of vessels on their way to Australia and China, set his
heart on them and quietly took possession in the name of England. Then
he went home to fetch his wife and family of six children, intendin' to
settle on the islands for good. Returning in 1827 with the family and
fourteen adventurers, twelve of whom were English, one a Portugee and
one a Javanee, he found to his disgust that an Englishman named Hare had
stepped in before him and taken possession. This Hare was a very bad
fellow; a rich man who wanted to live like a Rajah, with lots o' native
wives and retainers, an' be a sort of independent prince. Of course he
was on bad terms at once with Ross, who, finding that things were going
badly, felt that it would be unfair to hold his people to the agreement
which was made when he thought the whole group was his own, so he
offered to release them. They all, except two men and one woman,
accepted the release and went off in a gun-boat that chanced to touch
there at the time. For a good while Hare and his rival lived there--the
one tryin' to get the Dutch, the other to induce the English Government
to claim possession. Neither Dutch nor English would do so at first, but
the English did it at long-last--in 1878--and annexed the islands to the
Government of Ceylon.

"Long before that date, however--before 1836--Hare left and went to
Singapore, where he died, leaving Ross in possession--the 'King of the
Cocos Islands' as he came to be called. In a few years--chiefly through
the energy of Ross's eldest son, to whom he soon gave up the management
of affairs--the Group became a prosperous settlement. Its ships traded
in cocoa-nuts (the chief produce of the islands) throughout all the
Straits Settlements, and boat-buildin' became one of their most
important industries. But there was one thing that prevented it from
bein' a very happy though prosperous place, an' that was the coolies who
had been hired in Java, for the only men that could be got there at
first were criminals who had served their time in the chain-gangs of
Batavia. As these men were fit for anything--from pitch-and-toss to
murder--and soon outnumbered the colonists, the place was kept in
constant alarm and watchfulness. For, as I dare say you know, the Malays
are sometimes liable to have the spirit of _amok_ on them, which leads
them to care for and fear nothin', and to go in for a fight-to-death,
from which we get our sayin'--_run amuck_. An' when a strong fellow is
goin' about loose in this state o' mind, it's about as bad as havin' a
tiger prowlin' in one's garden."

"Well, sometimes two or three o' these coolies would mutiny and hide in
the woods o' one o' the smaller uninhabited islands. An' the colonists
would have no rest till they hunted them down. So, to keep matters
right, they had to be uncommon strict. It was made law that no one
should spend the night on any but what was called the Home Island
without permission. Every man was bound to report himself at the
guard-house at a fixed hour; every fire to be out at sunset, and every
boat was numbered and had to be in its place before that time. So they
went on till the year 1862, when a disaster befell them that made a
considerable change--at first for the worse, but for the better in the
long-run. Provin' the truth, my lad, of what I was--well, no--I was
goin' to draw a moral here, but I won't!

"It was a cyclone that did the business. Cyclones have got a
free-an'-easy way of makin' a clean sweep of the work of years in a few
hours. This cyclone completely wrecked the homes of the Keelin'
Islanders, and Ross--that's the second Ross, the son of the first
one--sent home for _his_ son, who was then a student of engineering in
Glasgow, to come out and help him to put things to rights. Ross the
third obeyed the call, like a good son,--observe that, Nigel."

"All right, father, fire away!"

"Like a good son," repeated the captain, "an' he turned out to be a
first-rate man, which was lucky, for his poor father died soon after,
leavin' him to do the work alone. An' well able was the young engineer
to do it. He got rid o' the chain-gang men altogether, and hired none
but men o' the best character in their place. He cleared off the forests
and planted the ground with cocoa-nut palms. Got out steam mills,
circular saws, lathes, etc., and established a system of general
education with a younger brother as head-master--an' tail-master too,
for I believe there was only one. He also taught the men to work in
brass, iron, and wood, and his wife--a Cocos girl that he married after
comin' out--taught all the women and girls to sew, cook, and manage the
house. In short, everything went on in full swing of prosperity, till
the year 1876, when the island-born inhabitants were about 500, as
contented and happy as could be.

"In January of that year another cyclone paid them a visit. The
barometer gave them warning, and, remembering the visit of fourteen
years before, they made ready to receive the new visitor. All the boats
were hauled up to places of safety, and every other preparation was
made. Down it came, on the afternoon o' the 28th--worse than they had
expected. Many of the storehouses and mills had been lately renewed or
built. They were all gutted and demolished. Everything movable was swept
away like bits of paper. Lanes, hundreds of yards in length, were
cleared among the palm trees by the whirling wind, which seemed to
perform a demon-dance of revelry among them. In some cases it snapped
trees off close to the ground. In others it seemed to swoop down from
above, lick up a patch of trees bodily and carry them clean away,
leaving the surrounding trees untouched. Sometimes it would select a
tree of thirty years growth, seize it, spin it round, and leave it a
permanent spiral screw. I was in these regions about the time, and had
the account from a native who had gone through it all and couldn't speak
of it except with glaring eyeballs and gasping breath.

"About midnight of the 28th the gale was at its worst. Darkness that
could be felt between the flashes of lightning. Thunder that was nearly
drowned by the roaring of the wind an' the crashing of everything all
round. To save their lives the people had to fling themselves into
ditches and hollows of the ground. Mr. Ross and some of his people were
lying in the shelter of a wall near his house. There had been a schooner
lying not far off. When Mr. Ross raised his head cautiously above the
wall to have a look to wind'ard he saw the schooner comin' straight for
him on the top of a big wave. 'Hold on!' he shouted, fell flat down,
and laid hold o' the nearest bush. Next moment the wave burst right over
the wall, roared on up to the garden, 150 yards above highwater mark,
and swept his house clean away! By good fortune the wall stood the
shock, and the schooner stuck fast just before reachin' it, but so near
that the end of the jib-boom passed right over the place where the
household lay holdin' on for dear life and half drowned. It was a
tremendous night," concluded the captain, "an' nearly everything on the
islands was wrecked, but they've survived it, as you'll see. Though it's
seven years since that cyclone swep' over them, they're all right and
goin' ahead again, full swing, as if nothin' had happened."

"And is Ross III. still king?" asked Nigel with much interest.

"Ay--at least he was king a few years ago when I passed this way and had
occasion to land to replace a tops'l yard that had been carried away."

"Then you won't arrive as a stranger?"

"I should think not," returned the captain, getting up and gazing
steadily at the _atoll_ or group of islets enclosed within a coral ring
which they were gradually approaching.

Night had descended, however, and the gale had decreased almost to a
calm, ere they steered through the narrow channel--or what we may call a
broken part of the ring--which led to the calm lagoon inside. Nigel Roy
leaned over the bow, watching with profound attention the numerous
phosphorescent fish and eel-like creatures which darted hither and
thither like streaks of silver from beneath their advancing keel. He had
enough of the naturalist in him to arouse in his mind keen interest in
the habits and action of the animal life around him, and these denizens
of the coral-groves were as new to him as their appearance was
unexpected.

"You'll find 'em very kind and hospitable, lad," said the captain to his
son.

"What, the fish?"

"No, the inhabitants. Port--port--steady!"

"Steady it is!" responded the man at the wheel.

"Let go!" shouted the captain.

A heavy plunge, followed by the rattling of chains and swinging round of
the brig, told that they had come to an anchor in the lagoon of the
Cocos-Keeling Islands.



CHAPTER III.

INTERESTING PARTICULARS OF VARIOUS KINDS.


By the first blush of dawn Nigel Roy hastened on deck, eager to see the
place in regard to which his father's narrative had awakened in him
considerable interest.

It not only surpassed but differed from all his preconceived ideas. The
brig floated on the bosom of a perfectly calm lake of several miles in
width, the bottom of which, with its bright sand and brilliant
coral-beds, could be distinctly seen through the pellucid water. This
lake was encompassed by a reef of coral which swelled here and there
into tree-clad islets, and against which the breakers of the Indian
Ocean were dashed into snowy foam in their vain but ceaseless efforts to
invade the calm serenity of the lagoon. Smaller islands, rich with
vegetation, were scattered here and there within the charmed circle,
through which several channels of various depths and sizes connected the
lagoon with the ocean.

"We shall soon have the king himself off to welcome us," said Captain
Roy as he came on deck and gave a sailor-like glance all round the
horizon and then up at the sky from the mere force of habit. "Visitors
are not numerous here. A few scientific men have landed now and again;
Darwin the great naturalist among others in 1836, and Forbes in 1878. No
doubt they'll be very glad to welcome Nigel Roy in this year of grace
1883."

"But I'm not a naturalist, father, more's the pity."

"No matter, lad; you're an ammytoor first mate, an' pr'aps a poet may
count for somethin' here. They lead poetical lives and are fond o'
poetry."

"Perhaps that accounts for the fondness you say they have for you,
father."

"Just so, lad. See!--there's a boat puttin' off already: the king, no
doubt."

He was right. Mr. Ross, the appointed governor, and "King of the Cocos
Islands," was soon on deck, heartily shaking hands with and welcoming
Captain Roy as an old friend. He carried him and his son off at once to
breakfast in his island-home; introduced Nigel to his family, and then
showed them round the settlement, assuring them at the same time that
all its resources were at their disposal for the repair of the
_Sunshine_.

"Thank 'ee kindly," said the captain in reply, "but I'll only ask for a
stick to rig up a foretop-mast to carry us to Batavia, where we'll give
the old craft a regular overhaul--for it's just possible she may have
received some damage below the water-line, wi' bumpin' on the mast and
yards."

The house of the "King" was a commodious, comfortable building in the
midst of a garden, in which there were roses in great profusion, as well
as fruit-trees and flowering shrubs. Each Keeling family possessed a
neat well-furnished plank cottage enclosed in a little garden, besides a
boat-house at the water-edge on the inner or lagoon side of the reef,
and numerous boats were lying about on the white sand. The islanders,
being almost born sailors, were naturally very skilful in everything
connected with the sea. There was about them a good deal of that kindly
innocence which one somehow expects to find associated with a mild
paternal government and a limited intercourse with the surrounding
world, and Nigel was powerfully attracted by them from the first.

After an extensive ramble, during which Mr. Ross plied the captain with
eager questions as to the latest news from the busy centres of
civilisation--especially with reference to new inventions connected with
engineering--the island king left them to their own resources till
dinner-time, saying that he had duties to attend to connected with the
kingdom!

"Now, boy," said the captain when their host had gone, "what'll 'ee do?
Take a boat and have a pull over the lagoon, or go with me to visit a
family I'm particularly fond of, an' who are uncommon fond o' _me!"_

"Visit the family, of course," said Nigel. "I can have a pull any day."

"Come along then."

He led the way to one of the neatest of the plank cottages, which stood
on the highest ridge of the island, so that from the front windows it
commanded a view of the great blue ocean with its breakers that fringed
the reef as with a ring of snow, while, on the opposite side, lay the
peaceful waters and islets of the lagoon.

A shout of joyful surprise was uttered by several boys and girls at
sight of the captain, for during his former visit he had won their
hearts by telling them wild stories of the sea, one half of each story
being founded on fact and personal experience, the other half on a vivid
imagination!

"We are rejoiced to see you," said the mother of the juveniles, a stout
woman of mixed nationality--that of Dutch apparently predominating. She
spoke English, however, remarkably well, as did many of the Cocos
people, though Malay is the language of most of them.

The boys and girls soon hauled the captain down on a seat and began to
urge him to tell them stories, using a style of English that was by no
means equal to that of the mother.

"Stop, stop, let me see sister Kathy first. I can't begin without her.
Where is she?"

"Somewhere, I s'pose," said the eldest boy.

"No doubt of that. Go--fetch her," returned the captain.

At that moment a back-door opened, and a girl of about seventeen years
of age entered. She was pleasant-looking rather than pretty--tall,
graceful, and with magnificent black eyes.

"Here she comes," cried the captain, rising and kissing her. "Why,
Kathy, how you've grown since I saw you last! Quite a woman, I declare!"

Kathy was not too much of a woman, however, to join her brothers and
sisters in forcing the captain into a seat and demanding a story on the
spot.

"Stop, stop!" cried the captain, grasping round their waists a small boy
and girl who had already clambered on his knees. "Let me inquire about
my old friends first--and let me introduce my son to you--you've taken
no notice of _him_ yet! That's not hospitable."

All eyes were turned at once on Nigel, some boldly, others with a shy
inquiring look, as though to say, Can _you_ tell stories?

"Come, now," said Nigel, advancing, "since you are all so fond of my
father, I must shake hands with you all round."

The hearty way in which this was done at once put the children at their
ease. They admitted him, as it were, into their circle, and then turning
again to the captain continued their clamour for a story.

"No, no--about old friends first. How--how's old mother Morris?"

"Quite well," they shouted. "Fatterer than ever," added an urchin, who
in England would have been styled cheeky.

"Yes," lisped a very little girl; "one of 'e doors in 'e house too small
for she."

"Why, Gerchin, you've learned to speak English like the rest," said the
captain.

"Yes, father make every one learn."

"Well, now," continued the captain, "what about Black Sam?"

"Gone to Batavia," chorused the children.

"And--and--what's-'is-name?--the man wi' the nose--"

A burst of laughter and, "We's _all_ got noses here!" was the reply.

"Yes, but you know who I mean--the short man wi' the--"

"Oh! with the turned _up_ nose. _I_ know," cried the cheeky boy; "you
means Johnson? He goed away nobody know whar'."

"And little Nelly Drew, what of her?"

A sudden silence fell on the group, and solemn eyes were turned on
sister Kathy, who was evidently expected to answer.

"Not dead?" said the captain earnestly.

"No, but very _very_ ill," replied the girl.

"Dear Nelly have never git over the loss of her brother, who--"

At this point they were interrupted by another group of the captain's
little admirers, who, having heard of his arrival, ran forward to give
him a noisy welcome. Before stories could be commenced, however, the
visitors were summoned to Mr. Ross's house to dinner, and then the
captain had got into such an eager talk with the king that evening was
upon them before they knew where they were, as Nigel expressed it, and
the stories had to be postponed until the following day.

Of course beds were offered, and accepted by Captain Roy and Nigel. Just
before retiring to them, father and son went out to have a stroll on the
margin of the lagoon.

"Ain't it a nice place, Nigel?" asked the former, whose kindly spirit
had been stirred up to quite a jovial pitch by the gushing welcome he
had received alike from old and young.

"It's charming, father. Quite different from what you had led me to
expect."

"My boy," returned the captain, with that solemn deliberation which he
was wont to assume when about to deliver a palpable truism. "W'en you've
come to live as long as me you'll find that everything turns out
different from what people have bin led to expect. Leastways that's _my_
experience."

"Well, in the meantime, till I have come to your time of life, I'll take
your word for that, and I do hope you intend to stay a long time here."

"No, my son, I don't. Why do ye ask?"

"Because I like the place and the people so much that I would like to
study it and them, and to sketch the scenery."

"Business before pleasure, my lad," said the captain with a grave shake
of the head. "You know we've bin blown out of our course, and have no
business here at all. I'll only wait till the carpenter completes his
repairs, and then be off for Batavia. Duty first; everything else
afterwards."

"But you being owner as well as commander, there is no one to insist on
duty being done," objected Nigel.

"Pardon me," returned the captain, "there is a certain owner named
Captain David Roy, a very stern disciplinarian, who insists on the
commander o' this here brig performin' his duty to the letter. You may
depend upon it that if a man ain't true to himself he's not likely to be
true to any one else. But it's likely that we may be here for a couple
of days, so I release _you_ from duty that you may make the most o' your
time and enjoy yourself. By the way, it will save you wastin' time if
you ask that little girl, Kathy Holbein, to show you the best places to
sketch, for she's a born genius with her pencil and brush."

"No, thank you, father," returned Nigel. "I want no little girl to
bother me while I'm sketching--even though she be a born genius--for I
think I possess genius enough my self to select the best points for
sketching, and to get along fairly well without help. At least I'll try
what I can do."

"Please yourself, lad. Nevertheless, I think you wouldn't find poor
Kathy a bother; she's too modest for that--moreover, she could manage a
boat and pull a good oar when I was here last, and no doubt she has
improved since."

"Nevertheless, I'd rather be alone," persisted Nigel. "But why do you
call her _poor_ Kathy? She seems to be quite as strong and as jolly as
the rest of her brothers and sisters."

"Ah, poor thing, these are not her brothers and sisters," returned the
captain in a gentler tone.

"Kathy is only an adopted child, and an orphan. Her name, Kathleen, is
not a Dutch one. She came to these islands in a somewhat curious way.
Sit down here and I'll tell 'ee the little I know about her."

Father and son sat down on a mass of coral rock that had been washed up
on the beach during some heavy gale, and for a few minutes gazed in
silence on the beautiful lagoon, in which not only the islets, but the
brilliant moon and even the starry hosts were mirrored faithfully.

"About thirteen years ago," said the captain, "two pirate junks in the
Sunda Straits attacked a British barque, and, after a fight, captured
her. Some o' the crew were killed in action, some were taken on board
the junks to be held to ransom I s'pose, and some, jumping into the sea
to escape if possible by swimming, were probably drowned, for they were
a considerable distance from land. It was one o' these fellows, however,
who took to the water that managed to land on the Java shore, more dead
than alive. He gave information about the affair, and was the cause of a
gun-boat, that was in these waters at the time, bein' sent off in chase
o' the pirate junks.

"This man who swam ashore was a Lascar. He said that the chief o' the
pirates, who seemed to own both junks, was a big ferocious Malay with
only one eye--he might have added with no heart at all, if what he said
o' the scoundrel was true, for he behaved with horrible cruelty to the
crew o' the barque. After takin' all he wanted out of his prize he
scuttled her, and then divided the people that were saved alive between
the two junks. There were several passengers in the vessel; among them a
young man--a widower--with a little daughter, four year old or so. He
was bound for Calcutta. Being a very powerful man he fought like a lion
to beat the pirates off, but he was surrounded and at last knocked down
by a blow from behind. Then his arms were made fast and he was sent wi'
the rest into the biggest junk.

"This poor fellow recovered his senses about the time the pirates were
dividin' the prisoners among them. He seemed dazed at first, so said the
Lascar, but as he must have bin in a considerable funk himself I suspect
his observations couldn't have bin very correct. Anyhow, he said he was
sittin' near the side o' the junk beside this poor man, whose name he
never knew, but who seemed to be an Englishman from his language, when a
wild scream was heard in the other junk. It was the little girl who had
caught sight of her father and began to understand that she was going to
be separated from him. At the sound o' her voice he started up, and,
looking round like a wild bull, caught sight o' the little one on the
deck o' the other junk, just as they were hoistin' sail to take
advantage of a breeze that had sprung up.

"Whether it was that they had bound the man with a piece o' bad rope, or
that the strength o' Samson had been given to him, the Lascar could not
tell, but he saw the Englishman snap the rope as if it had bin a bit o'
pack-thread, and jump overboard. He swam for the junk where his little
girl was. If he had possessed the strength of a dozen Samsons it would
have availed him nothin', for the big sail had caught the breeze and got
way on her. At the same time the other junk lay over to the same breeze
and the two separated. At first the one-eyed pirate jumped up with an
oath and fired a pistol shot at the Englishman, but missed him. Then he
seemed to change his mind and shouted in bad English, with a diabolical
laugh--'Swim away; swim hard, p'raps you kitch 'im up!' Of course the
two junks were soon out of sight o' the poor swimmer--and that was the
end of _him,_ for, of course, he must have been drowned."

"But what of the poor little girl?" asked Nigel, whose feelings were
easily touched by the sorrows of children, and who began to have a
suspicion of what was coming.

"I'm just comin' to that. Well, the gun-boat that went to look for the
pirates sighted one o' the junks out in the Indian Ocean after a long
search and captured her, but not a single one o' the barque's crew was
to be found in her, and it was supposed they had been all murdered and
thrown overboard wi' shots tied to their feet to sink them. Enough o'
the cargo o' the British barque was found, however, to convict her, and
on a more careful search bein' made, the little girl was discovered, hid
away in the hold. Bein' only about four year old, the poor little thing
was too frightened to understand the questions put to her. All she could
say was that she wanted 'to go to father,' and that her name was Kathy,
probably short for Kathleen, but she could not tell."

"Then that is the girl who is now here?" exclaimed Nigel.

"The same, lad. The gun-boat ran in here, like as we did, to have some
slight repairs done, and Kathy was landed. She seemed to take at once to
motherly Mrs. Holbein, who offered to adopt her, and as the captain of
the gun-boat had no more notion than the man-in-the-moon who the child
belonged to, or what to do with her, he gladly handed her over, so here
she has been livin' ever since. Of course attempts have been made to
discover her friends, but without success, and now all hope has been
given up. The poor girl herself never speaks on the subject, but old
Holbein and his wife tell me she is sure that Kathy has never forgotten
her father. It may be so; anyhow, she has forgotten his name--if she
ever knew it."

Next day Nigel made no objections to being guided to the most
picturesque spots among the coral isles by the interesting orphan girl.
If she had been older he might even have fallen in love with her, an
event which would have necessitated an awkward modification of the
ground-work of our tale. As it was, he pitied the poor child sincerely,
and not only--recognising her genius--asked her advice a good deal on
the subject of art, but--recognising also her extreme youth and
ignorance--volunteered a good deal of advice in exchange, quite in a
paternal way!



CHAPTER IV.

NIGEL UNDERGOES SOME QUITE NEW AND INTERESTING EXPERIENCES.


The arrangements made on the following day turned out to be quite in
accordance with the wishes and tastes of the various parties concerned.

The ship's carpenter having been duly set to work on the repairs, and
being inspected in that serious piece of prosaic business by the second
mate, our captain was set free to charm the very souls of the juveniles
by wandering for miles along the coral strand inventing, narrating,
exaggerating to his heart's content. Pausing now and then to ask
questions irrelevant to the story in hand, like a wily actor, for the
purpose of intensifying the desire for more, he would mount a block of
coral, and thence, sometimes as from a throne, or platform, or pulpit,
impress some profound piece of wisdom, or some thrilling point, or some
exceedingly obvious moral on his followers open-mouthed and open-eyed.

These were by no means idlers, steeped in the too common business of
having nothing to do. No, they had regularly sought and obtained a
holiday from work or school; for all the activities of social and
civilised life were going on full swing--fuller, indeed, than the
average swing--in that remote, scarcely known, and beautiful little gem
of the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile Nigel and Kathy, with sketch-books under their arms, went down
to where the clear waters of the lagoon rippled on the white sand, and,
launching a cockleshell of a boat, rowed out toward the islets.

"Now, Kathy, you must let me pull," said Nigel, pushing out the sculls,
"for although the captain tells me you are very good at rowing, it would
never do for a man, you know, to sit lazily down and let himself be
rowed by a girl."

"Very well," said Kathy, with a quiet and most contented smile, for she
had not yet reached the self-conscious age--at least, as ages go in the
Cocos-Keeling Islands! Besides, Kathy was gifted with that charming
disposition which never _objects_ to anything--anything, of course, that
does not involve principle!

But it was soon found that, as the cockleshell had no rudder, and the
intricacies they had to wind among were numerous, frequent directions
and corrections were called for from the girl.

"D' you know," said Nigel at last, "as I don't know where you want me
to go to, it may be as well, after all, that you should row!"

"Very well," said Kathy, with another of her innocent smiles. "I thinked
it will be better so at first."

Nigel could not help laughing at the way she said this as he handed her
the sculls.

She soon proved herself to be a splendid boatwoman, and although her
delicate and shapely arms were as mere pipe-stems to the great brawny
limbs of her companion, yet she had a deft, mysterious way of handling
the sculls that sent the cockleshell faster over the lagoon than before.

"Now, we go ashore here," said Kathy, turning the boat,--with a prompt
back-water of the left scull, and a vigorous pull of the right
one,--into a little cove just big enough to hold it.

The keel went with such a plump on the sand, that Nigel, who sat on a
forward thwart with his back landward, reversed the natural order of
things by putting his back on the bottom of the boat and his heels in
the air.

To this day it is an unsettled question whether this was done on purpose
by Kathy. Certain it is that _she_ did not tumble, but burst into a
hearty fit of laughter, while her large lustrous eyes half shut
themselves up and twinkled.

"Why, you don't even apologise, you dreadful creature!" exclaimed
Nigel, joining in the laugh, as he picked himself up.

"Why should I 'pologise?" asked the girl, in the somewhat broken English
acquired from her adopted family. "Why you not look out?"

"Right, Kathy, right; I'll keep a sharp lookout next time. Meanwhile I
will return good for evil by offering my hand to help you a--hallo!"

While he spoke the girl had sprung past him like a grasshopper, and
alighted on the sand like a butterfly.

A few minutes later and this little jesting fit had vanished, and they
were both engaged with pencil and book, eagerly--for both were
enthusiastic--sketching one of the most enchanting scenes that can well
be imagined. We will not attempt the impossible. Description could not
convey it. We can only refer the reader's imagination to the one old,
hackneyed but expressive, word--fairyland!

One peculiarly interesting point in the scene was, that on the opposite
side of the lagoon the captain could be seen holding forth to his
juvenile audience.

[Illustration: ART ON THE KEELING ISLANDS.--PAGE 36.]

When a pretty long time had elapsed in absolute silence, each sketcher
being totally oblivious of the other, Nigel looked up with a long sigh,
and said:--

"Well, you _have_ chosen a most exquisite scene for me. The more I
work at it, the more I find to admire. May I look now at what you have
done?"

"Oh yes, but I have done not much. I am slow," said the girl, as Nigel
rose and looked over her shoulder.

"Why!--what--how beautiful!--but--but--what do you mean?" exclaimed the
youth.

"I don't understand you," said the girl, looking up in surprise.

"Why, Kathy, I had supposed you were drawing that magnificent landscape
all this time, and--and you've only been drawing a group of shells.
Splendidly done, I admit, but why----"

He stopped at that moment, for her eyes suddenly filled with tears.

"Forgive me, dear child," said Nigel, hurriedly; "I did not intend to
hurt your feelings. I was only surprised at your preference."

"You have not hurt me," returned Kathy in a low voice, as she resumed
her work, "but what you say calls back to me--my father was very fond of
shells."

She stopped, and Nigel, blaming himself for having inadvertently touched
some tender chord, hastened, somewhat clumsily, to change the subject.

"You draw landscape also, I doubt not?"

"Oh yes--plenty. If you come home to me to-night, I will show you some."

"I shall be only too happy," returned the youth, sitting down again to
his sketch, "and perhaps I may be able to give you a hint or
two--especially in reference to perspective--for I've had regular
training, you know, Kathy, and I dare say you have not had that here."

"Not what you will think much, perhaps, yet I have study a little in
school, and _very_ much from Nature."

"Well, you have been under the best of masters," returned Nigel, "if you
have studied much from Nature. And who has been your other teacher?"

"A brother of Mr. Ross. I think he must understand very much. He was an
engineer, and has explained to me the rules of perspective, and many
other things which were at first very hard to understand. But I do see
them now."

"Perhaps then, Kathleen," said Nigel, in that drawling, absent tone in
which artists are apt to indulge when busy at work--"perhaps you may be
already too far advanced to require instruction from me."

"Perhaps--but I think no, for you seems to understand a great deal. But
why you call me Kathleen just now?"

"Because I suppose that is your real name--Kathy being the short for it.
Is it not so?"

"Well, p'raps it is. I have hear mother Holbein say so once. I like
Kathleen best."

"Then, may I call you Kathleen?"

"If you like."

At this point both artists had become so engrossed in their occupation
that they ceased to converse, and for a considerable time profound
silence reigned--at least on their part, though not as regarded others,
for every now and then the faint sound of laughter came floating over
the tranquil lagoon from that part of the coral strand where Captain Roy
was still tickling the fancies and expanding the imaginations and
harrowing or soothing the feelings of the Cocos-Keeling juveniles.

Inferior animal life was also in ceaseless activity around the
sketchers, filling the air with those indescribably quiet noises which
are so suggestive of that general happiness which was originally in
terrestial paradise and is ultimately to be the lot of redeemed
creation.

Snipe and curlews were wading with jaunty step and absorbed inquiring
gaze in the shallow pools. Hermit crabs of several species and sizes
were scuttling about searching for convenient shells in which to deposit
their naturally homeless and tender tails. Overhead there was a sort of
sea-rookery, the trees being tenanted by numerous gannets, frigate
birds, and terns--the first gazing with a stupid yet angry air; the
last--one beautiful little snow-white species in particular--hovering
only a few feet above the sketchers' heads, while their large black eyes
scanned the drawings with the owlish look of wisdom peculiar to
connoisseurs. Noddies also were there, and, on the ground, lizards and
spiders and innumerable ants engaged in all the varied activities
connected with their several domestic arrangements.

Altogether it was a scene of bright peaceful felicity, which seemed to
permeate Nigel's frame right inward to the spinal marrow, and would have
kept him entranced there at his work for several hours longer if the
cravings of a healthy appetite had not warned him to desist.

"Now, Kathleen," he said, rising and stretching himself as one is apt to
do after sitting long in a constrained position, "it seems to me about
time to--by the way, we've forgotten to bring something to eat!"

His expression as he said this made his companion look up and laugh.

"Plenty cocoa-nuts," she said, pointing with her pencil to the
overarching trees.

"True, but I doubt my ability to climb these long straight stems;
besides, I have got only a small clasp-knife, which would be but a poor
weapon with which to attack the thick outer husk of the nuts."

"But I have got a few without the husks in the boat," said the girl,
rising and running to the place where the cockleshell had been left.

She returned immediately with several nuts divested of their thick outer
covering, and in the condition with which we are familiar in England.
Some of them were already broken, so that they had nothing to do but sit
down to lunch.

"Here is one," said Kathy, handing a nut to Nigel, "that has got no meat
yet in it--only milk. Bore a hole in it and drink, but see you bore in
the right hole."

"The right hole?" echoed the youth, "are some of them wrong ones?"

"Oh yes, only one of the three will do. One of our crawbs knows that and
has claws that can bore through the husk and shell. We calls him
cocoa-nut crawb."

"Indeed! That is strange; I never heard before of a crab that fed on
cocoa-nuts."

"This one do. He is very big, and also climbs trees. It goes about most
at night. Perhaps you see one before you go away."

The crab to which Kathy referred is indeed a somewhat eccentric
crustacean, besides being unusually large. It makes deep tunnels in the
ground larger than rabbit burrows, which it lines with cocoa-nut fibre.
One of its claws is developed into an organ of extraordinary power with
which it can break a cocoa-nut shell, and even, it is said, a man's
limb! It never takes all the husk off a cocoa-nut--that would be an
unnecessary trouble, but only enough off the end where the three eyelets
are, to enable it to get at the inside. Having pierced the proper eye
with one of its legs it rotates the nut round it until the hole is large
enough to admit the point of its great claw, with which it continues the
work. This remarkable creature also climbs the palm-trees, but not to
gather nuts; that is certain, for its habits have been closely watched
and it has been ascertained that it feeds only on fallen nuts. Possibly
it climbs for exercise, or to obtain a more extended view of its
charming habitat, or simply "for fun." Why not?

All this and a great deal more was told to Nigel by Kathleen, who was a
bit of a naturalist in her tendencies--as they sat there under the
graceful fronds of the palm-trees admiring the exquisite view, eating
and drinking cocoa-nuts.

"I suppose you have plenty of other kinds of food besides this?" said
Nigel.

"Oh yes, plenty. Most of the fish in our lagoon be good for eating, and
so also the crawbs, and we have turtle too."

"Indeed! How _do_ you catch the turtle? Another nut, please.--Thank
you."

"The way we gets turtle is by the men diving for them and catching them
in the water. We has pigs too--plenty, and the wild birds are some very
nice."[1]

When the artists had finished they proceeded to the shore, and to their
surprise and amusement found the cockleshell in possession of a
piratical urchin of about four years of age in a charmingly light state
of clothing. He was well known to Kathleen, and it turned out that,
having seen the cockle start at too great a distance to be hailed, and
having set his heart on joining in the excursion, he had watched their
movements, observed their landing on the islet--which was not far from
the main circlet of land--and, running round till he came opposite to
it, swam off and got into the boat. Being somewhat tired he had lain
down to rest and fallen sound asleep.

On the way home this urchin's sole delight was to lean over the bow and
watch the fish and coral groves over which they skimmed. In this he was
imitated by Nigel who, ungallantly permitting his companion to row, also
leaned over the side and gazed down into the clear crystal depths with
unwearying delight.

For the wonderful colours displayed in those depths must be seen to be
believed. Not only is the eye pleased with the ever-varying formations
of the coral bowers, but almost dazzled with the glittering fish--blue,
emerald, green, scarlet, orange, banded, spotted, and striped--that dart
hither and thither among the rich-toned sea-weed and the variegated
anemones which spread their tentacles upwards as if inviting the gazer
to come down! Among these, crabs could be seen crawling with undecided
motion, as if unable to make up their minds, while in out of the way
crevices clams of a gigantic size were gaping in deadly quietude ready
to close with a snap on any unfortunate creature that should give them
the slightest touch.

Nigel was sharply awakened from his dream by a sudden splash. Looking up
he observed that the small boy was gone. With a bound he stood erect,
one foot on the gunwale and hands clasped ready to dive, when a glance
revealed the fact that Kathy was smiling broadly!

"Don't jump!" she said. "He is only after a fish."

Even while she spoke Nigel saw the brown little fellow shooting about
like a galvanised tadpole, with a small harpoon in his hand!

Next moment he appeared on the surface shouting and spluttering, with a
splendid fish on the end of his harpoon! Both were hauled into the
boat, and very soon after they drew near to land.

In the shallow water Nigel observed some remarkable creatures which
resembled hedgehogs, having jaws armed with formidable teeth to enable
them to feed, Kathy said, on coral insects. File-fishes also drew his
attention particularly. These were magnificently striped and coloured,
and apparently very fearless.

"What convenient tails they have to lay hold of," remarked our hero, as
they slowly glided past one; "I believe I could catch it with my hand!"

Stooping swiftly as he spoke, he dipped his arm into the water, and
actually did grasp the fish by its tail, but dropped it again
instantly--to the shrieking delight of the urchin and Kathy,--for the
tail was armed with a series of sharp spines which ran into his hand
like lancets.

This was an appropriate conclusion to a day that would have been
otherwise too enjoyable. Poor Nigel's felicity was further diluted when
he met his father.

"We'll have to sleep a-board to-night," said the captain, "for there's a
fair breeze outside which seems likely to hold, and the mast has been
temporarily rigged up, so we'll have to up anchor, and away by break of
day to-morrow."

Nigel's heart sank.

"To-morrow! father?"

"Ay, to-morrow. Business first, pleasure afterwards."

"Well, I suppose you are right, but it seems almost a shame to leave
such a heaven upon earth as this in such a hurry. Besides, is it not
unkind to such hospitable people to bolt off after you've got all that
you want out of them?"

"Can't help that, lad--

    "Dooty first, an' fun to follow,
    That's what beats creation hollow."

"Come father, don't say that you quote _that_ from mother!"

"No more I do, my boy. It's my own--homemade. I put it together last
night when I couldn't sleep for your snorin'."

"Don't tell fibs, father. You know I never snore. But--really--are we to
start at daylight?"

"We are, if the wind holds. But you may stay as late as you choose on
shore to-night."

Nigel availed himself of the opportunity to see as much of the place and
people as was possible in the limited time. Next morning the good though
damaged brig was running in the direction of Sunda Straits before a
stiff and steady breeze.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: We recommend those who desire more curious information on
the fauna and flora of the Keeling Islands to apply to Henry O. Forbes'
most interesting book, _A Naturalist's Wanderings in the Eastern
Archipelago_.--(Sampson Low.)]



CHAPTER V.

CAPTAIN ROY SURPRISES AND GRATIFIES HIS SON, WHO SURPRISES A NEGRO, AND
SUDDENLY FORMS AN ASTONISHING RESOLVE.


Arrived in Batavia--the low-lying seaport and capital of the Dutch
island of Java--Captain Roy had his brig examined, and found that the
damage she had sustained was so serious that several months would
probably elapse before she would be again ready for sea.

"Now, Nigel, my lad," said the old gentleman, on the morning after the
examination had been made, "come down below with me; I want to have a
confabulation with 'ee."

"Why, father," said the youth, when seated at the small cabin table
opposite his rugged parent, "you seem to be in an unusually solemn frame
of mind this morning. Has anything happened?"

"Nothin', boy--nothin'. Leastwise nothin' in particular. You know all
about the brig, an' what a deal o' repair she's got to undergo?"

"Of course I do. You know I was present when you talked the matter over
with that fellow--what's-'is-name--that gave you his report."

"Just so. Well now, Nigel, you don't suppose, do you, that I'm goin' to
keep you here for some months knockin' about with nothin' to do--eatin'
your grub in idleness?"

"Certainly not," said the youth, regarding the stern countenance of his
parent with an amused look. "I have no intention of acting such an
ignoble part, and I'm surprised at you askin' the question, for you know
I am not lazy--at least not more so than average active men--and there
must be plenty of work for me to do in looking after the cargo,
superintending repairs, taking care of the ship and men. I wonder at
you, father. You must either have had a shock of dotage, or fallen into
a poetical vein. What is a first mate fit for if--"

"Nigel," said Captain Roy, interrupting, "I'm the owner an' commander of
the _Sunshine_, besides bein' the paternal parent of an impertinent son,
and I claim to have the right to do as I please--therefore, hold your
tongue and listen to me."

"All right, father," replied the young man, with a benignant grin;
"proceed, but don't be hard upon me; spare my feelings."

"Well now, this is how the land lies," said the old seaman, resting his
elbows on the table and clasping his hands before him. "As Mr. Moor and
I, with the stooard and men, are quite sufficient to manage the affairs
o' the brig, and as we shall certainly be here for a considerable time
to come, I've made up my mind to give you a holiday. You're young, you
see, an' foolish, and your mind needs improvin'. In short, you want a
good deal o' the poetry knocked out o' you, for it's not like your
mother's poetry by any means, so you needn't flatter yourself--not built
on the same lines by a long way. Well--where was I?"

"Only got the length of the holiday yet, father."

"Only, indeed. You ungrateful dog! It's a considerable length to get,
that, isn't it? Well, I also intend to give you some money, to enable
you to move about in this curious archipelago--not much, but enough to
keep you from starvation if used with economy, so I recommend you to go
into the town, make general inquiries about everything and everywhere,
an' settle in your mind what you'll do, for I give you a rovin'
commission an' don't want to be bothered with you for some time to
come."

"Are you in earnest, father?" asked Nigel, who had become more
interested while the captain unfolded his plan.

"Never more in earnest in my life--except, p'raps, when I inquired over
twenty years ago whether you was a boy or a gurl."

"Well, now, that _is_ good of you, father. Of course I need not say
that I am charmed at the prospect you open up to me. And--and when may I
start?"

"At once. Up anchor and away to-night if you choose."

"But--where?"

"Anywhere--everywhere, Java, Sumatra, Borneo--all Malaysia before you
where to choose. Now be off, and think over it, for I've got too much to
do to waste time on you at present," said the captain, rising, "and,
stay--Nigel."

"Well?" said the youth, looking back as he was about to leave the cabin.

"Whatever you do, don't grow poetical about it. You know it is said
somewhere, that mischief is found for idle hands to do."

"All right, father. I'll keep clear of poetry--leave all that sort o'
nonsense to _you_. I'll--

    "I'll flee Temptation's siren voice,
      Throw poesy to the crows,
    And let my soul's ethereal fire
      Gush out in sober prose."

It need scarcely be said that our hero was not slow to take advantage of
the opportunity thus thrown in his way. He went off immediately through
the town, armed with the introduction of his father's well-known name,
and made inquiries of all sorts of people as to the nature, the
conditions, the facilities, and the prospects of travel in the Malay
Archipelago. In this quest he found himself sorely perplexed for the
very good reason that "all sorts" of people, having all sorts of ideas
and tastes, gave amazingly conflicting accounts of the region and its
attractions.

Wearied at last with his researches, he sauntered towards afternoon in
the direction of the port, and began in a listless sort of way to watch
the movements of a man who was busily engaged with a boat, as if he were
making preparations to put to sea.

Now, whatever philosophers may say to the contrary, we hold strongly to
the opinion that likings and dislikings among men and women and children
are the result of some profound occult cause which has nothing whatever
to do with experience. No doubt experience may afterwards come in to
modify or intensify the feelings, but it is not the originating cause.
If you say it is, how are we to account for love at first sight? Beauty
has nothing necessarily to do with it, for men fall in love at first
sight with what the world calls plain women--happily! Character is not
the cause, for love assails the human breast, ofttimes, before the loved
object has uttered a word, or perpetrated a smile, or even fulminated a
glance to indicate character. So, in like manner, affection may arise
between man and man.

It was so on this occasion with Nigel Roy. As he stood abstractedly
gazing at the boatman he fell in love with him--at least he took a
powerful fancy to him, and this was all the more surprising that the man
was a negro,--a woolly-headed, flat-nosed, thick-lipped nigger!

We would not for a moment have it supposed that it is unnatural to love
such a man. Quite the reverse. But when such a man is a perfect
stranger, has never uttered a word in one's presence, or vouchsafed so
much as a glance, and is gravely, stolidly engaged in the unsavoury work
of greasing some of the tackling of a boat, it does seem unaccountable
that he should be unwittingly capable of stirring up in another man's
bosom feelings of ardent goodwill, to put it mildly.

After watching him for some time, Nigel under an almost involuntary
impulse shouted "Hullo!"

"Hullo!" replied the negro, looking up with a somewhat stern frown and a
pout of his thick lips, as much as to say--"Who are _you_?"

Nigel smiled, and made that suggestive motion with his forefinger which
signifies "Come here."

The frown fled and the pout became a smile as the negro approached,
wiping his hands on a piece of cotton-waste.

"What you want wi' _me_, sar?" he asked.

"Well, upon my word," said Nigel, somewhat perplexed, "I can't very
well say. I suppose something must have been in my mind, but--anyhow, I
felt a desire to have a talk with you; that is, if you can spare the
time."

The first part of this reply induced a slight recurrence of the frown
and pout, but at its conclusion the black brow cleared and the mouth
expanded to such a gum-and-teeth-exposing extent that Nigel fairly burst
into a laugh.

"You's bery good, sar," said the man, "an' I's hab much pleasure to make
your acquaintance.--Der an't no grease on 'em now."

The last remark had reference to the enormous black paw which he held
out.

Nigel at once grasped it and shook it heartily.

"I's bery fond ob a talk, sar," continued the negro, "so as you wants
one, heabe ahead."

Thus encouraged, our hero began by remarking that he seemed to be
preparing for a trip.

"Dat's zackly what I's a-doin', sar."

"A long one?"

"Well, dat depends on what you call short. Goin' to Sunda Straits, which
p'raps you know, sar, is nigh a hundred miles fro' here."

"And what may you be going to do there?" asked Nigel.

"Goin' home to Krakatoa."

"Why, I thought that was an uninhabited island. I passed close to it on
my way here, and saw no sign of inhabitants."

"Da's cause I was absint fro' home. An' massa he keeps indoors a good
deal."

"And pray who is massa?" asked Nigel.

"Sar," said the negro, drawing up his square sturdy frame with a look of
dignity; "fair-play is eberyt'ing wid me. You've ax me a heap o'
questions. Now's my--turn. Whar you comes fro'?"

"From England," replied Nigel.

"An' whar you go to?"

"Well, you've posed me now, for I really don't know where I'm going to.
In fact that is the very thing I have been trying to find out all day,
so if you'll help me I'll be much obliged."

Here Nigel explained his position and difficulties, and it was quite
obvious, judging from the glittering eyes and mobile mouth, that he
poured his tale into peculiarly sympathetic ears. When he had finished,
the negro stood for a considerable time gazing in meditative silence at
the sky.

"Yes," he said at last, as if communing with himself, "I t'ink--I ain't
quite sure, but I t'ink--I may ventur'."

"Whatever it is you are thinking about," remarked Nigel, "you may
venture to say anything you like to _me_."

The negro, who, although comparatively short of stature, was herculean
in build, looked at the youth with an amused expression.

"You're bery good, sar, but da's not what I's t'inkin' ob. I's t'inkin'
whedder I dar' ventur' to introdoce you to my massa. He's not fond o'
company, an' it might make 'im angry, but he came by a heaby loss lately
an' p'raps he may cond'send to receibe you. Anyhow you 'd be quite safe,
for he's sure to be civil to any friend ob mine."

"Is he then so fierce?" asked Nigel, becoming interested as well as
amused.

"Fierce! no, he's gentle as a lamb, but he's awrful when he's
roused--tigers, crokindiles, 'noceroses is nuffin' to him!"

"Indeed! what's his name, and what does he do? How does he live?"

The negro shook his head. "Da's more'n I dar tell till I ax his leave,
sar. I kin only say de peepil around calls 'im the hermit ob Rakata,
'cause he libs by his self (wid me, ob course, but _I_ counts for
nuffin), close under de ole volcano ob Krakatoa. Dey tink--some ob de
foolish peepil--dat he hab sold his-self to de dibil, but I knows
better. He's a good man, and you'd hab great fun if you stop wid him.
Now, what I's a-gwine to advise you is, come wid me an' see de hermit.
If he lets you stop, good. If not, I fetch you ober to de main
land--whar you please--an' you kin come back here or go whar you
choose. Its wort' your while to take your chance, anyhow."

The negro said this with such an earnest look that Nigel made up his
mind on the spot to accept this curious invitation.

"I'll go!" he exclaimed with sudden energy. "When do you start?"

"To-morrer at daybreak, sar."

"Well, I shall have to talk it over first with my father, but I'm sure
he won't object, so you may look out for me here at daybreak. Shall I
have to fetch any provisions with me for the voyage?"

"No, nuffin'. Boat's crammed wi' grub. But you'd better bring a gun o'
some sort an' a 'volver, an' a big knife, an' a mortal big appetite, for
a man's no good widout dat."

"I always carry that about with me," said the youth, "whatever else I
may leave behind; and I'll see to the other things.--By the way, what's
your name?"

"Moses."

"Is that all?"

"Isn't dat enuff?" returned the negro with a look of dignity.

"Quite; but I have the advantage of you there, Moses, for I have two
names--Nigel Roy."

"Well, I don't see much use ob two, but which does you like to be
called by--Nadgel or Roy?"

"Whichever you please, Moses; I'll answer to either. So now, good-bye
for the present, and look out for me to-morrow at daylight."

"Good-bye, Massa Nadgel, till to-morrer."

The negro waved his hand and, sauntering slowly back to his boat,
remarked in an undertone, "I lub dat young feller!" Saying which, he
resumed his greasing operations.

Of course Captain Roy made no objection to his son's proposal, though he
freely gave his opinion that it was a wild-goose chase.

"However, lad, please yourself and you'll please me," he added; "and
now, be particular to bear in mind that you've got to write to me every
time you get within hail of a post-office or a passing ship or steamer
that may chance to be comin' this way, and in each letter be sure to
tell me where you're goin' to next, so as I may send a letter there to
you in case I want you to return sudden or otherwise. We mustn't lose
touch, you see. You needn't write long screeds. I only want to know your
whereabouts from time to time. For the rest--you can spin it out in
yarns when you come back."



CHAPTER VI.

THE HERMIT OF RAKATA INTRODUCED.


Nothing worthy of particular note occurred during the boat-voyage along
the northern shore of Java to Sunda Straits. A fair, steady breeze
wafted them westward, and, on the morning of the third day, they came in
sight of the comparatively small uninhabited island of Krakatoa.

The boat in which they voyaged, although a little one, had a small
portion of the bow decked over, so that our hero and his sable friend
could find shelter from the night air when disposed to sleep and from
the fierce rays of the sun at noon.

By the advice of his father, Nigel had changed his sailor costume for
the "shore-goin' toggery" in which he had landed on the Keeling Islands,
as being more suitable to his new character as a traveller, namely, a
white cloth cap with a peak in front and a curtain behind to protect his
neck, a light-grey tunic belted at the waist, and a pair of strong
canvas trousers. He had also purchased an old-fashioned
double-barrelled fowling-piece, muzzle-loading and with percussion
locks.

"For you see, Nigel," the captain had said, "it's all very well to use
breech-loaders when you've got towns and railways and suchlike to supply
you wi' cartridges, but when you've got to cruise in out-o'-the-way
waters, there's nothin' like the old style. It's not difficult to carry
a few thousand percussion-caps an' a bullet-mould about wi' you wherever
you go. As to powder, why, you'll come across that 'most everywhere, an'
lead too; and, for the matter o' that, if your life depended on it you
could shove a handful of gravel or a pen-knife or tooth-pick into your
gun an' blaze away, but with a breech-loader, if you run out o'
cartridges, where are you?"

So, as Nigel could not say where he was, the percussion-gun had been
purchased.

The peak of Rakata--the highest in the island--a little over 2600 feet,
came in sight first; gradually the rest of the island rose out of the
horizon, and ere long the rich tropical verdure became distinguishable.

Krakatoa--destined so soon to play a thrilling part in the world's
history; to change the aspect of the heavens everywhere; to attract the
wondering gaze of nearly all nations, and to devastate its immediate
neighbourhood--is of volcanic origin, and, at the time we write of
(1883) was beginning to awaken from a long, deep slumber of two hundred
years. Its last explosion occurred in the year 1680. Since that date it
had remained quiet. But now the tremendous subterranean forces which had
originally called it into being were beginning to reassert their
existence and their power. Vulcan was rousing himself again and
beginning once more to blow his bellows. So said some of the sailors who
were constantly going close past the island and through Sunda Straits,
which may be styled the narrows of the world's highway to the China
seas.

Subterranean forces, however, are so constantly at work more or less
violently in those regions that people took little notice of these
indications in the comparatively small island of Krakatoa, which was
between five and six miles long by four broad.

As we have said, it was uninhabited, and lying as it does between
Sumatra and Java, about sixteen miles from the former and over twenty
miles from the latter, it was occasionally visited by fishermen. The
hermit whom Nigel was about to visit might, in some sort, be counted an
inhabitant, for he had dwelt there many years, but he lived in a cave
which was difficult of access, and held communication with no one. How
he spent his time was a mystery, for although his negro servant went to
the neighbouring town of Anjer in Java for supplies, and sometimes to
Batavia, as we have seen, no piece of inanimate ebony from the forest
could have been less communicative than he. Indeed, our hero was the
first to unlock the door of his lips, with that key of mysterious
sympathy to which reference has already been made. Some of the bolder of
the young fishermen of the neighbouring coasts had several times made
futile efforts to find out where and how the hermit lived, but the few
who got a glimpse of him at a distance brought back such a report that a
kind of superstitious fear of him was generated which kept them at a
respectful distance.

He was ten feet high, some romancers said, with shoulders four feet
broad, a chest like a sugar-hogshead, and a countenance resembling a
compound of orang-utan and tiger.

Of course our hero knew nothing of these rumours, and as Moses declined
to give any information regarding his master beyond that already given,
he was left to the full play of his imagination.

Moses was quite candid about it. He made no pretence to shroud things in
mystery.

"You mus' know, Massa Nadgel," he said, as they slowly drew near to the
island, "I's 'fraid ob 'im dough I lub 'im."

"But why do you love him, Moses?"

"'Cause he sabe my life an' set me free."

"Indeed? well, that is good reason. And why do you fear him?"

"Da's what I don' know, massa," replied the negro with a puzzled look.

"Is he harsh, then?"

"No."

"Passionate?"

"No. Gentle as a lamb."

"Strong?"

"Yes--oh! mighty strong an' big."

"Surely you're not afraid of his giving you a licking, Moses?"

"Oh no," returned the negro, with a smile of expansive benignity; "I's
not 'fraid ob dat. I's bin a slabe once, got used to lickin's. Don't
care nuffin' at all for a lickin'!"

"Then it must be that you're afraid of hurting his feelings, Moses, for
I know of no other kind of fear."

"Pr'aps da's it!" said the negro with a bright look, "now I wouldn't
wonder if you's right, Massa Nadgel. It neber come into my head in dat
light before. I used to be t'ink, t'inkin' ob nights--when I's tired ob
countin' my fingers an' toes--But I couldn't make nuffin' ob it. _Now_ I
knows! It's 'fraid I am ob hurtin' his feelin's."

In the excess of his satisfaction at the solution of this long-standing
puzzle, Moses threw back his head, shut his eyes, opened his enormous
mouth and chuckled.

By the time he had reversed this process they were sufficiently near to
Krakatoa to distinguish all its features clearly, and the negro began to
point out to Nigel its various localities. There were three prominent
peaks on it, he said, named respectively, Perboewatan about 400 feet
high, at the northern end of the island; Danan, near the centre, 1500
feet; and Rakata, at the southern end, over 2600 feet. It was high up on
the sides of the last cone that the residence of the hermit was
situated.

"And you won't tell me your master's name?" said Nigel.

Moses shook his woolly head. "No, sar, no. I's 'fraid ob him--he! he!
'fraid ob hurtin' his feelin's!"

"Well, never mind; I'll find it out from himself soon. By the way, what
were you telling me about explosions yesterday when that little white
gull came to admire your pretty face, and took off our attention?"

"Well, I dun know. Not got much to tell, only dar's bin rumblin' an'
grumblin's an' heavin's lately in de mountains as didn't use to be, an'
cracks like somet'in' bustin' down blow, an' massa he shook 'is head two
or free times an' look solemn. He don't often do dat--shook 'is head, I
mean--for he mostly always looks solemn."

A few minutes later the boat, running through a narrow opening among
the rocks into a small circular harbour not more than fifty yards in
diameter, rested its keel gently on a little bed of pure yellow sand.
The shore there was so densely covered with bushes that the harbour
might easily have been passed without being observed.

Jumping ashore, Moses made the painter fast to a tree.

"What a quiet, cosy place!" said Nigel, as he sprang on the beach and
looked admiringly round.

"Yes, an' not easy to find if you don't knows 'im. We will leabe de boat
here,--no danger ob bein' tooked away--an' den go up to de cave."

"Is it far?" asked Nigel.

"A good bit--near de top ob de mountain,"--answered the negro, who
looked at his companion somewhat uneasily.

"Why, what's the matter, Moses?"

"Nuffin'--oh! nuffin'--but--but when massa axes you who you is, an' what
you bin up to, an' whar your a-gwine to, an' what wages you want, jist
you answer 'im in a sorter permiscuous way, an' don't be too partikler."

"Wages! man, what d' ye mean?"

"Well, you'll 'scuse me, sar," returned the negro with an air of
profound humility, "but my massa lost a old sarvint--a nigger like
myself--only last munt', an' he wants to go on one ob his usual
expeditions jus' now, so he sends me to Batavia to git anoder man--'a
good one, you know,' says massa,--an' as you, sar, was good 'nuff to ax
me what you should do, an' you looked a pritty smart man, I----"

"You scoundrel!" cried Nigel, interrupting him, "do you really mean to
tell me that you've brought me here as a hired servant?"

"Well, not zackly," returned Moses, with solemn simplicity, "you needn't
ax no wages unless you like."

"But what if I don't want to take service?" demanded our hero, with a
savage frown.

"You kin go home agin," answered Moses, humbly.

Nigel could contain himself no longer. As he observed the man's
deprecatory air, and thought of his own position, he burst into a fit of
hearty laughter, whereupon the negro recovered himself and smiled the
smile of the guiltless.

"Come," said Nigel at last. "Lead on, you rascal! When I see your master
I shall know what to say."

"All right, Massa Nadgel, but mind what you say, else I won't answer for
de consikences. Foller me an' look arter your feet, for de road is
roughish."

The negro's last remark was unquestionably true, for the road--if a mere
footpath merits the name--was rugged in the extreme--here winding round
the base of steep cliffs, there traversing portions of luxuriant
forest, elsewhere skirting the margin of the sea.

Moses walked at such a pace that Nigel, young and active though he was,
found it no easy matter to keep up with him. Pride, however, forbade him
to show the slightest sign of difficulty, and made him even converse now
and then in tones of simulated placidity. At last the path turned
abruptly towards the face of a precipice and seemed to terminate in a
small shallow cave. Any one following the path out of mere curiosity
would have naturally imagined that the cave was the termination of it;
and a very poor termination too, seeing that it was a rather
uninteresting cave, the whole of the interior of which could be seen at
a single glance from its mouth.

But this cave served in reality as a blind. Climbing by one or two
projecting points, the negro, closely followed by Nigel, reached a
narrow ledge and walked along it a short distance. On coming to the end
of the ledge he jumped down into a mass of undergrowth, where the track
again became visible--winding among great masses of weatherworn lava.
Here the ascent became very steep, and Moses put on what sporting men
call a spurt, which took him far ahead of Nigel, despite the best
efforts of the latter to keep up. Still our hero scorned to run or call
out to his guide to wait, and thereby admit himself beaten. He pushed
steadily on, and managed to keep the active Moses in view.

Presently the negro stepped upon a platform of rock high up on the
cliffs, where his form could be distinctly seen against the bright sky.
There Nigel observed that he was joined by a man whose tall commanding
figure seemed in such a position to be of gigantic proportions.

The two stood engaged in earnest conversation while watching Nigel. The
latter immediately slackened his pace, in order at once to recover
breath and approach with a leisurely aspect.

"The wild man of the island, I suppose," he thought as he drew near; but
on coming still nearer he saw that he must be mistaken, for the stranger
who advanced to meet him with gracious ease and self-possession was
obviously a gentleman, and dressed, not unlike himself, in a sort of
mixed travelling and shooting costume.

"I must apologise, Mr. Roy, for the presumption of my man, in bringing
you here under something like false pretences," said the stranger,
holding out his hand, which Nigel shook heartily. "Moses, I find, has
failed to execute my commission, and has partially deceived you; but as
you are now here, the least I can do is to bid you welcome, and offer
you the hospitality of my roof."

There was something so courteous and kindly in the tone and manner of
the stranger, and something so winning in his soft gentle tones, which
contrasted strangely with his grand towering figure and massive bearded
countenance, that Nigel felt drawn to him instantly. Indeed there was a
peculiar and mysterious something about him which quite fascinated our
hero as he looked up at him, for, bordering on six feet though Nigel
was, the stranger stood several inches above him.

"You are very kind," said the visitor, "and I don't think that Moses can
fairly be charged with deceiving me, although he has been somewhat
unwise in his way of going about this business, for I had told him I
wanted to see something of these regions, and perhaps it may be to my
advantage to travel in your service--that is, if I can be of any use to
you; but the time at my disposal may be too limited."

"How much time have you to spare?" asked the stranger.

"Well, say perhaps three months."

"That will do," returned his questioner, looking thoughtfully at the
ground. "We will talk of this hereafter."

"But--excuse me," said Nigel, "your man spoke of you as a hermit--a sort
of--of--forgive me--a wild-man-of-the-island, if I may--"

"No, I didn't, Massa Nadgel," said the negro, the edge of whose flat
contradiction was taken off by the extreme humility of his look.

"Well," returned Nigel, with a laugh; "you at least gave me to
understand that other people said something of that sort."

"Da's right, Massa Nadgel--kite right. You're k'rect _now_."

"People have indeed got some strange ideas about me, I believe,"
interposed the hermit, with a grave almost sad expression and tone. "But
come, let me introduce you to my hermitage and you shall judge for
yourself."

So saying, this singular being turned and led the way further up the
rugged side of the peak of Rakata.

After about five minutes' walk in silence, the trio reached a spot where
there was a clear view over the tree-tops, revealing the blue waters of
the strait, with the Java shores and mountains in the distance.

Behind them there yawned, dark and mysterious, a mighty cavern, so black
and high that it might well suggest a portal leading to the regions
below, where Vulcan is supposed to stir those tremendous fires which
have moulded much of the configuration of the world, and which are ever
seething--an awful Inferno--under the thin crust of the globe on which
we stand.

Curiously formed and large-leaved trees of the tropics, with their
pendent parasites, as well as rank grasses, sprouting from below and
hanging from above, partially concealed this cavern from Nigel when he
first turned towards it, but a few steps further on he could see it in
all its rugged grandeur.

"My home," said the hermit, with a very slight smile and the air of a
prince, as he turned towards his visitor and waved his hand towards it.

"A magnificent entrance at all events," said Nigel, returning the smile
with something of dubiety, for he was not quite sure that his host was
in earnest.

"Follow me," said the hermit, leading the way down a narrow well-worn
path which seemed to lose itself in profound darkness. After being a few
minutes within the cavern, however, Nigel's eyes became accustomed to
the dim light, and he perceived that the roof rapidly lowered, while its
walls narrowed until they reached a spot which was not much wider than
an ordinary corridor. Here, however, it was so dark that it was barely
possible to see a small door in the right-hand wall before which they
halted. Lifting a latch the hermit threw the door wide open, and a glare
of dazzling light almost blinded the visitor.

Passing through the entrance, Nigel followed his guide, and the negro
let the heavy door shut behind him with a clang that was depressingly
suggestive of a prison.

"Again I bid you welcome to my home," said the hermit, turning round
and extending his hand, which Nigel mechanically took and pressed, but
without very well knowing what he did, for he was almost dumfounded by
what he saw, and for some minutes gazed in silence around him.

And, truly, there was ground for surprise. The visitor found himself in
a small but immensely high and brilliantly lighted cavern or natural
chamber, the walls of which were adorned with drawings of scenery and
trees and specimens of plants, while on various shelves stood
innumerable stuffed birds, and shells, and other specimens of natural
history.

A table and two chairs stood at one end of the cave, and, strangest of
all, a small but well-filled book-case ornamented the other end.

"Arabian Nights!" thought Nigel. "I _must_ be dreaming."

His wandering eyes travelled slowly round the cavern until they rested
at last on the door by which they had entered, beside which stood the
negro with a broad grin on his sable visage.



CHAPTER VII.

WONDERS OF THE HERMIT'S CAVE AND ISLAND.


The thing that perhaps surprised Nigel most in this strange cavern was
the blaze of light with which it was filled, for it came down direct
through a funnel-shaped hole in the high roof and bore a marvellous
resemblance to natural sunshine. He was well aware that unless the sun
were shining absolutely in the zenith, the laws of light forbade the
entrance of a _direct_ ray into such a place, yet there were the
positive rays, although the sun was not yet high in the heavens,
blinding him while he looked at them, and casting the shadows of himself
and his new friends on the floor.

There was the faintest semblance of a smile on the hermit's face as he
quietly observed his visitor, and waited till he should recover
self-possession. As for Moses--words are wanting to describe the fields
of teeth and gum which he displayed, but no sound was suffered to escape
his magnificent lips, which closed like the slide of a dark lantern when
the temptation to give way to feeling became too strong.

"My cave interests you," said the hermit at last.

"It amazes me," returned our hero, recovering himself and looking
earnestly at his host, "for you seem not only to have all the
necessaries of life around you in your strange abode, but many of the
luxuries; among them the cheering presence of sunshine--though how you
manage to get it is beyond my powers of conception."

"It is simple enough, as you shall see," returned the hermit. "You have
heard of the saying, no doubt, that 'all things are possible to
well-directed labour'?"

"Yes, and that 'nothing can be achieved without it.'"

"Well, I have proved that to some extent," continued the hermit. "You
see, by the various and miscellaneous implements on my shelves, that I
am given to dabbling a little in science, and thus have made my lonely
home as pleasant as such a home can be--but let us not talk of these
matters just now. You must be hungry. Have you had breakfast?"

"No, we have not--unless, at least, you count a sea biscuit dipped in
salt water a breakfast. After all, that may well be the case, for
hermits are noted for the frugality of their fare."

"I am not a genuine hermit," remarked his host gravely. "Men do indeed
call me the Hermit of Rakata, because I dwell alone here under the
shadow of this particular cone of Krakatoa, but I do not ape the austere
life of the conventional hermit, as you see, either in my domestic
arrangements or food. Come, your breakfast is ready. From my outlook I
saw your boat approaching some hours ago, and knew that it was mine, so
I made ready for your arrival, though I did not guess that Moses was
bringing me a guest instead of a servant!"

So saying, he led the way through a short natural passage to an inner
cave, the entrance to which, like the outer one, was boarded. On opening
a small door, Nigel was again greeted as before with brilliant rays of
sunshine, and, in addition, with a gush of odours that were exceedingly
grateful to a hungry man. A low "Ho! ho!" behind him told that his black
companion was equally gratified.

The inner cave or mess-room, as the host styled it, combined dining-room
and kitchen, for while in one corner stood a deal table with plates,
cups, etc., but no tablecloth, in another stood a small stove, heated by
an oil lamp, from which issued puffing and sputtering sounds, and the
savoury odours above referred to.

Nigel now perceived that although his strange host necessarily spoke a
good deal while welcoming him and offering him the hospitalities of his
abode, he was by no means communicative. On the contrary, it was evident
that he was naturally reserved and reticent, and that although polite
and gentle in the extreme, there was a quiet grave dignity about him
which discouraged familiarity. It must not be supposed, however, that he
was in any degree morosely silent. He was simply quiet and
undemonstrative, said little except when asked questions, and spoke,
alike to Nigel and Moses, in the soft, low, kindly tones with which one
might address very young people.

Going to the stove he took a coffee-pot therefrom and set it on the
table. At the same time, Moses, without requiring to be told, opened the
oven and brought forth fried fish, meat of some kind, and cakes of he
knew not what, but cared little, for their excellence was
unquestionable.

During the meal that followed, Nigel ventured as far as politeness
permitted--indeed a little further, if truth must be told--to inquire
into the circumstances and motives of his entertainer in taking up his
abode in such a strange place, but he soon found that his eccentric
friend was not one who could be "pumped." Without a touch of rudeness,
and in the sweetest of voices, he simply assumed an absent manner and
changed the subject of discourse, when he did not choose to reply, by
drawing attention to some irrelevant matter, or by putting a counter
question which led away from the subject. Nigel also found that his host
never laughed and rarely smiled, though, when he did so the smile was so
slight as merely to indicate a general feeling of urbanity and goodwill,
and it was followed instantly by a look of gravity, if not sadness.
Altogether the guest was much perplexed about the host at first, and
somewhat constrained in consequence, but gradually he began to feel at
ease. Another discovery that he soon made was, that the hermit treated
Moses not as a servant, but as if he were in all respects an equal and a
comrade.

After eating for some time in silence, and having tried to draw out his
host without success, Nigel changed his tactics and said--

"You were so kind as to speak of me as your guest, Mr.---- Mr.---- I beg
pardon, may I--"

"My name is Van der Kemp," said the hermit quietly.

"Well, Mr. Van der Kemp, I must tell you that I am quite willing to
accept the position for which Moses hired me--"

"No, I didn't," contradicted the negro, flatly yet very gently, both in
tone and manner, for long residence with the hermit had apparently
imbued him with something of his spirit.

"Well, then," said Nigel, "the position for which Moses _should have_
hired some one else. ('K'rect _now_' whispered Moses.) Of course I do
not intend to ask for or accept wages, and also, of course, I accept the
position on the understanding that you think me fit for the service. May
I ask what that service is to be, and where you think of going to?"

"The service," returned the hermit slowly and with his eyes fixed on the
floor as if pondering his reply, "is to accompany me as my attendant and
companion, to take notes as occasion may serve, and to paddle a canoe."

At this reply our hero almost laughed, but was prevented from doing so
by his host asking abruptly if he understood canoeing.

"Well, yes. At least I can manage what in England is known as the Rob
Roy canoe, having possessed one in my boyhood."

"That will do," returned the hermit gravely. "Can you write shorthand?"

"I can. A friend of mine, a reporter on one of the London dailies, once
gave me a few lessons, and, becoming fond of the subject, I followed it
up."

"That is well; you did well. It is of immense advantage to a man,
whatever his position in life, that he should be able to write shorthand
with facility. Especially useful is it in commerce. I know that, having
had some experience of commercial life."

At this point in the conversation Nigel was startled by what was to him
an absolutely new sensation, namely a shaking or trembling of the whole
cavern, accompanied by faint rumbling sounds as if in deeper caverns
below him.

He glanced quickly at his host and at the negro, but to his surprise
these remarkable men seemed not to be aware of the shaking, although it
was severe enough to cause some of the furniture to rattle. Observing
his look of surprise, Moses remarked, with a benignant though capacious
smile, "Mountain's got de mulligrumps pritty bad jist now."

"We are pretty well accustomed to that," said the host, observing that
Nigel turned to him for an explanation. "No doubt you are aware that
this region is celebrated for earthquakes and volcanoes, so much so that
the inhabitants pay little attention to them unless they become
unusually violent. This island of Krakatoa is itself the fragment of an
extinct volcano; but the term 'extinct' is scarcely applicable to
volcanoes, for it is well known that many which were for centuries
supposed to be extinct have awakened to sudden and violent
activity--'quiescent' might be a more appropriate term."

"Yes," said Moses, ceasing to masticate for purposes of speech; "dem
'stinkt volcanoes hab got an okard habit ob unstinkin' dereselves
hereabouts when you don' 'spect it of 'em. Go on, massa. I ax yer
pard'n for 'truptin'."

The hermit's peculiar good-natured little smile played for a moment on
his massive features, and then faded away as he continued--

"Perhaps you may have heard that this is the very heart of the district
that has long been recognised as the greatest focus of volcanic activity
on the globe?"

"I have heard something of the sort," answered Nigel, "but I confess
that my knowledge is limited and my mind hazy on the subject."

"I doubt it not," returned his friend, "for geographical and scientific
training in primary schools anywhere is not what it might be. The island
of Java, with an area about equal to that of England, contains no fewer
than forty-nine great volcanic mountains, some of which rise to 12,000
feet above the sea-level. Many of these mountains are at the present
time active ('Yes, much _too_ active,' muttered the negro), and more
than half of them have been seen in eruption since Java was occupied by
Europeans. Hot springs, mud-volcanoes, and vapour-vents abound all over
the island, whilst earthquakes are by no means uncommon. There is a
distinct line in the chain of these mountains which seems to point to a
great fissure in the earth's crust, caused by the subterranean fires.
This tremendous crack or fissure crosses the Straits of Sunda, and in
consequence we find a number of these vents--as volcanic mountains may
be styled--in the Island of Sumatra, which you saw to the nor'ard as you
came along. But there is supposed to be another great crack in the
earth's crust--indicated by several volcanic mountains--which crosses
the other fissure almost at right angles, and at the exact point where
these two lines intersect _stands this island of Krakatoa_!

"I emphasise the fact," continued the hermit after a pause, "first,
because, although this has been a quiescent volcano since the year 1680,
and people have come to regard it as extinct, there are indications now
which lead me to believe that its energy is reviving; and, second,
because this focus where fissures cross each other--this Krakatoa
Island--is in reality part of the crater of an older and much larger
volcanic mountain, which must have been literally blown away in
prehistoric times, and of which Krakatoa and the neighbouring islets of
Varlaten, Polish Hat, Lang Island, and the rest, are but the remnants of
the great crater ring. If these rumblings and minor earthquakes, which I
have noticed of late--and the latest of which you have just
experienced--are the precursors of another explosion, my home here may
be rendered untenable."

"Hi!" exclaimed Moses, who had been listening with open mouth and eyes
to this discourse, which was obviously news to him, "I hope, massa, he
ain't a-gwine to 'splode to-day--anyhow, not till after breakfast!"

"You must have studied the subject of volcanoes a good deal, I suppose,
from what you say," observed Nigel.

"Naturally; living as I do almost on the top of one. My library, which I
will show you presently, contains many interesting works on the subject.
But come, if you have finished we will ascend the Peak of Rakata and I
will introduce you to my sunshine."

He rose and led his guest back to the outer cavern, leaving Moses still
busy with knife and fork, apparently meditating on the pleasure of
breakfasting with the prospect of a possible and immediate explosion.

In passing through the first chamber, Nigel observed, in a natural
recess, the library just referred to. He also noted that, besides
stuffed birds and other specimens and sea-shells, there were chisels,
saws, hammers, and other tools, besides something like a forge and
carpenter's bench in a side-chamber opening out of the large one, which
he had not at first seen--from all which he concluded that the hermit
was imbued with mechanical as well as scientific and literary tastes.

At the further and darker end of the outer cave there was a staircase,
partly natural, and partly improved by art, which led upward into
profound darkness.

"Let me take your hand here," said the hermit, looking down upon his
guest with his slight but winning smile; "it is a rough and dark
staircase. You will be apt to stumble."

Nigel placed his hand in that of his host with perfect confidence, and
with a curious feeling--aroused, probably, by the action--of having
returned to the days of childhood.

The stair was indeed rugged as well as winding, and so pitchy dark that
the youth could not have advanced at all without stumbling, unless his
host had held him all the way. At last a glimmer of light was seen in
the distance. It seemed to increase suddenly, and in a few moments the
two emerged from total darkness into dazzling sunshine.

When Nigel looked round him he saw that they had gained a plateau, high
up on the very summit of the mountain, which appeared to be absolutely
inaccessible by any means save that by which they had reached it.

"This is what I call my observatory," said the hermit, turning to his
guest. "We have passed right through the peak of Rakata, and reached its
northern side, which commands, as you see, a view of all the northern
part of the island. I come here often in the night to study the face of
the heavens, the moon, and stars, and meditate on their mysterious
Maker, whose ways are indeed wonderful and past finding out; but all
which must, in the nature of things, be _right_."

As this was the first mention that the hermit had made of the Creator,
and the reference was one requiring more thought than Nigel had yet
bestowed on it, he made no rejoinder.

"Have you studied astronomy, Mr. Roy?"

"No--at least not more of it than was needful for navigation. But pray,
sir, do not call me Mr. Roy," said the youth, with a somewhat
embarrassed air. "If I am to be your assistant and familiar companion
for two or three months, I hope that you will agree to call me Nigel.
Your man has done so already without asking leave!"

"I will, on one condition."

"And that is--?"

"That you also dispense with the 'Mr.' and 'sir,' and call me Van der
Kemp."

"Agreed," said Nigel, "though it does not seem so appropriate in me as
in you, considering the difference of our years."

"Look here," said the hermit, turning abruptly to a small wooden shed
which had hitherto escaped the youth's observation, so covered was it
with overhanging boughs and tropical creeping plants, "these are my
astronomical instruments."

He pointed to a table in the hut on which stood several telescopes--and
microscopes as well--one of the former being a large instrument,
certainly not less than six feet long, with a diameter of apparently six
or eight inches.

"Here, you see, I have the means of investigating the wonders of Nature
in her grandest as well as her minutest scales. And there," he added,
pointing to a couple of large reflecting mirrors in strong wooden
frames, erected on joints in such a way that they could be turned in any
direction,--"there you have the secret of my sunshine. One of these
mirrors catches the sunshine direct and reflects it on the other, which,
as you see, is so arranged that it transmits the rays down the natural
funnel or chimney into the cave. By means of chains connected with the
mechanism, and extending below, I can change the direction of the
mirrors as the sun changes its place in the sky, without requiring to
come up here."

"Very ingenious!" said Nigel; "but how do you manage when the mountain
comes between you and the sun, as I see it cannot fail to do during some
part of the day?"

"Simply enough," returned the hermit, pointing to a distant projecting
cliff or peak. "On yon summit I have fixed four mirrors similar to
these. When the sun can no longer be reflected from this pair, the first
of the distant mirrors takes it up and shoots a beam of light over here.
When the sun passes from that, the second mirror is arranged to catch
and transmit it, and so on to the fourth. After that I bid good-bye to
the sun, and light my lamp!"

Nigel felt an almost irresistible tendency to smile at this, but the
grave simplicity of the man forbade such familiarity.

"Look yonder," continued the hermit, sweeping one of his long arms
towards Sumatra, "in that direction runs the line of volcanic
disturbance--the fissure of which I have already spoken. Focus this
telescope to suit your sight. Now, do you see the little island away
there to the nor'-west?"

"Yes."

"Well, that is _Varlaten_. I mentioned it when at breakfast. Sweep your
glass round to the nor'ard, the little island there is _Polish Hat_, and
you see _Lang Island_ in the nor'-east. These, with Krakatoa, are merely
the higher parts still remaining above water of the ring or lip of the
ancient crater. This will give you some idea what an enormous mountain
the original of this old volcano must have been. This island-mountain is
estimated to have been twenty-five miles in circumference, and 10,000 to
12,000 feet high. It was blown into the air in 1680, and this island,
with the few islets I have pointed out, is all that remains of it! Now,
cast your eye down the centre of the island on which we stand; you see
several cones of various sizes. These are ancient vents, supposed to be
extinct--"

"But one of them, the one furthest away," interrupted Nigel, steadying
his telescope on the branch of a tree, "seems to be anything but
extinct, for I see a thin column of white smoke or steam rising from
it."

"That is just what I was going to point out. They call that Perboewatan.
It is the lowest peak on the island, about 400 feet high, and stands, I
should say, in the very centre of the ancient crater, where are the two
fissures I have mentioned. For two hundred years Perboewatan has not
smoked like that, and, slight though it is at present, I cannot help
thinking that it indicates an impending eruption, especially when I
consider that earthquakes have become more numerous of late years, and
there was one in 1880 which was so violent as to damage seriously the
lighthouse on Java's First Point."

"Then you have resided here for some time?" said Nigel.

"Yes, for many years," replied the hermit, in a low, sad tone.

"But is it wise in you to stay if you think an explosion so likely?
Don't you needlessly run considerable risk?"

"I do not fear to die."

Nigel looked at his new friend in surprise, but there was not a shadow
of boastfulness or affectation either in his look or tone.

"Besides," he continued, "the explosion may be but slight, and
Perboewatan is, as you see, about four miles off. People in the
neighbourhood of the straits and passing ships are so accustomed to
volcanic explosions on a more or less grand scale that they will never
notice this little cloud hanging over Krakatoa. Those who, like myself,
know the ancient history of the island, regard it in a more serious
light, but we may be wrong. Come, now, we will descend again and have a
ramble over part of the island. It will interest you. Not many men have
penetrated its luxuriant forests or know their secrets. I have wandered
through them in all directions, and can guide you. Indeed, Moses could
do that as well as I, for he has lived with me many years. Come."

Returning to the cavern they found that the active negro had not only
finished his breakfast, but had washed the dishes and cleared up the
kitchen, so that he was quite ready to shoulder a wallet and a gun when
his master bade him prepare for a day in the forest.

It is not, however, our intention to follow the trio thither. Matters
of greater interest, if not importance, claim our attention at present.
Let it suffice to say, therefore, that after a most delightful day,
spent in wandering amongst the luxuriant tropical vegetation with which
the island was densely covered, visiting one of the extinct craters,
bathing in one of the numerous hot springs, and collecting many objects
of interest to the hermit, in the shape of botanical and geological
specimens, they returned in the evening to their cavern-house not only
ready but eager for sustenance and repose.



CHAPTER VIII.

PERBOEWATAN BECOMES MODERATELY VIOLENT.


The cave was enshrouded in almost total darkness when they entered it,
but this was quickly dispelled, to Nigel's no little surprise, by the
rays of a magnificent oil lamp, which Moses lighted and placed on the
table in the larger cave. A smaller one of the same kind already
illuminated the kitchen.

Not much conversation was indulged in during the progress of the supper
that was soon spread upon the rude table. The three men, being
uncommonly hungry and powerfully robust, found in food a sufficient
occupation for their mouths for some time.

After supper they became a little, but not much, more sociable, for,
although Nigel's active mind would gladly have found vent in
conversation, he experienced some difficulty in making headway against
the discouragement of Van der Kemp's very quiet disposition, and the
cavernous yawns with which Moses displayed at once his desire for
slumber and his magnificent dental arrangements.

"We always retire early to rest after a day of this sort," said the
hermit at last, turning to his guest. "Do you feel disposed for bed?"

"Indeed I do," said Nigel, with a half-suppressed yawn, that was
irresistibly dragged out of him by the sight of another earthquake on
the negro's face.

"Come, then, I will show you your berth; we have no bedrooms here," said
the hermit, with a sort of deprecatory smile, as he led the way to the
darker end of the cavern, where he pointed to a little recess in which
there was a pile of something that smelt fresh and looked like heather,
spread on which there was a single blanket.

"Sailors are said to be indifferent to sheets. You won't miss them, I
daresay?"

"Not in the least," returned Nigel, with a laugh. "Good-night," he
added, shaking hands with his host and suppressing another yawn, for
Moses' face, even in the extreme distance, was irresistibly infectious!

Our hero was indifferent not only to sheets, but also, in certain
circumstances, to the usual habiliments of night. Indeed, while
travelling in out-of-the-way regions he held it to be a duty to undress
but partially before turning in, so that he might be ready for
emergencies.

On lying down he found his mattress, whatever it was, to be a springy,
luxurious bed, and was about to resign himself to slumber when he
observed that, from the position in which he lay, he could see the
cavern in all its extent. Opening his half-closed eyes, therefore, he
watched the proceedings of his host, and in doing so, as well as in
speculating on his strange character and surroundings, he became
somewhat wakeful.

He saw that Van der Kemp, returning to the other end of the cave, sat
down beside the lamp, the blaze of which fell full on his fine calm
countenance. A motion of his head brought Moses to him, who sat down
beside him and entered into earnest conversation, to judge from his
gestures, for nothing could be heard where Nigel lay save the monotonous
murmur of their voices. The hermit did not move. Except for an
occasional inclination of the head he appeared to be a grand classic
statue, but it was otherwise with the negro. His position in front of
the lamp caused him to look if possible even blacker than ever, and the
blackness was so uniform that his entire profile became strongly
pronounced, thus rendering every motion distinct, and the varied pouting
of his huge lips remarkably obvious. The extended left hand, too, with
the frequent thrusting of the index finger of the other into the palm,
was suggestive of argument, and of much reasoning effort--if not power.

After about half-an-hour of conversation, Moses arose, shook his master
by the hand, appeared to say "Good-night" very obviously, yawned, and
retired to the kitchen, whence, in five minutes or so, there issued
sounds which betokened felicitous repose.

Meanwhile his master sat motionless for some time, gazing at the floor
as if in meditation. Then he rose, went to his book-case and took down a
large thick volume, which he proceeded to read.

Nigel had by that time dropped into a drowsy condition, yet his interest
in the doings of his strange entertainer was so great that he struggled
hard to keep awake, and partially succeeded.

"I wonder," he muttered, in sleepy tones, "if that's a f--fam--'ly Bible
he's reading--or--or--a vol'm o' the En--Encyclopida Brit--"

He dropped off at this point, but, feeling that he had given way to some
sort of weakness, he struggled back again into wakefulness, and saw that
the hermit was bending over the large book with his massive brow resting
on the palms of both hands, and his fingers thrust into his iron-grey
hair. It was evident, however, that he was not reading the book at that
moment, for on its pages was lying what seemed to be a miniature or
photograph case, at which he gazed intently. Nigel roused himself to
consider this, and in doing so again dropped off--not yet soundly,
however, for curiosity induced one more violent struggle, and he became
aware of the fact that the hermit was on his knees with his face buried
in his hands.

The youth's thoughts must have become inextricably confused at this
point, yet their general drift was indicated by the muttered words:
"I--I'm glad o' that--a good sign--an'--an' it's _not_ th'
Encyclop----." Here Morpheus finally conquered, and he sank into
dreamless repose.

How long this condition lasted he could not tell, but he was awakened
violently by sensations and feelings of dread, which were entirely new
to him. The bed on which he rested seemed to heave under him, and his
ears were filled by sharp rattling sounds, something like--yet very
different from--the continuous roll of musketry.

Starting up, he sprang into the large cavern where he found Van der Kemp
quietly tightening his belt and Moses hastily pulling on his boots.

"Sometin's bu'sted an' no mistake!" exclaimed the latter.

"An eruption from one of the cones," said the hermit. "I have been for a
long time expecting it. Come with us."

He went swiftly up the staircase and passages which led to the
observatory as he spoke.

The scene that met their eyes on reaching the ledge or plateau was
sublime in the extreme, as well as terrific.

"As I thought," said Van der Kemp, in a low tone. "It is Perboewatan
that has broken out."

"The cone from which I observed smoke rising?" asked Nigel.

"The same. The one over the very centre of the old crater, showing that
we were wrong in supposing it to be extinct: it was only slumbering. It
is in what vulcanologists term moderate eruption now, and, perhaps, may
prove a safety-valve which will prevent a more violent explosion."

That the cone of Perboewatan was indeed in a state of considerable
activity, worthy of a stronger term than "moderate," was very obvious.
Although at a distance, as we have said, of four miles, the glare of its
fires on the three figures perched near the top of Rakata was very
intense, while explosion after explosion sent molten lava and red-hot
rocks, pumice, and dust, high into the thickening air--clouds of smoke
and steam being vomited forth at the same time. The wind, of which there
was very little, blew it all away from the position occupied by the
three observers.

"What if the wind were to change and blow it all this way?" asked Nigel,
with very pardonable feelings of discomfort.

"We could return to the cavern," said the hermit.

"But what if Rakata itself should become active?"

It was evident from the very solemn expression on the negro's face that
he awaited the reply to Nigel's question with some anxiety.

"Rakata," answered the hermit thoughtfully, "although the highest cone,
is the one most distant from the great centre of activity. It is
therefore not likely that the volcanic energy will seek a vent here
while there are other cones between us and Perboewatan. But we shall
soon see whether the one vent is likely to suffice. There is undoubtedly
no diminution in the explosions at present."

There certainly was not, for the voice of the speaker was almost drowned
by the horrible din caused, apparently, by the hurtling of innumerable
fragments of rock and stones in the air, while a succession of fiery
flashes, each followed by a loud explosion, lit up the dome-shaped mass
of vapour that was mounting upwards and spreading over the sky. Vivid
flashes of lightning were also seen playing around the vapour-column. At
the same time, there began a fall of fine white dust, resembling snow,
which soon covered the foliage and the ground of all the lower part of
the island. The sea around was also ere long covered with masses of
pumice, which, being very light, floated away into the Indian ocean, and
these were afterwards encountered in large quantities by various vessels
passing through Sunda Straits.

The Scientific Committee, which ultimately wrote on the details of this
eruption in Krakatoa, mention this first outburst as being a phase of
moderate activity, similar to that which is said to have been exhibited
for some months during the years 1680 and 1681, and they added that "the
outburst was one of considerable violence, especially at its
commencement," that falls of dust were noticed at the distance of three
hundred miles, and that "the commander of the German war-vessel
_Elizabeth_ estimated the height of the dust-column issuing from the
volcano at 11 kilometres (36,000 feet or about 7 miles)."[2]

To our hero, however, and to Moses, the outburst seemed anything but
"moderate," and that night as they two sat together in the cave after
supper, listening with awe-struck faces to the cannonading and wild
musketry going on as it seemed under their very feet, the negro solemnly
imparted to Nigel in a low whisper that he thought "de end ob de wurld
hab come at last!"

Returning at that moment from his observatory, to which he had ascended
for a few minutes to view the scene through one of his glasses, Van der
Kemp relieved their anxieties somewhat by remarking, in his quiet
manner, that there was a distinct diminution in the violence of the
explosions, and that, from his knowledge and experience of other
volcanoes in Java, Sumatra, and elsewhere, he thought it probable they
had seen the worst of it at that time, and that none of the other cones
would be likely to break out.

"I'm glad to hear you say so," observed Nigel, "for although the sight
is extremely magnificent and very interesting, both from a scientific
and artistic point of view, I cannot help thinking that we should be
safer away from this island at present--at least while the volcano is
active."

The hermit smiled almost pitifully. "I do not apprehend danger," he
said, "at least nothing unusual. But it happens that my business
requires me to leave in the course of a few days at any rate, so,
whether the eruption becomes fiercer or feebler, it will not matter to
us. I have preparations to make, however, and I have no doubt you won't
object to remain till all is ready for a start?"

"Oh, as to that," returned the youth, slightly hurt by the implied doubt
as to his courage, "if _you_ are willing to risk going off the earth
like a skyrocket, I am quite ready to take my chance of following you!"

"An' Moses am de man," said the negro, smiting his broad chest with his
fist, "what's ready to serve as a rocket-stick to bof, an' go up along
wid you!"

The hermit made the nearest approach to a laugh which Nigel had yet
seen, as he left the cave to undertake some of the preparations above
referred to.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 2: See _The Eruption of Krakatoa and Subsequent Phenomena_, p.
11. (Trübner and Co., London.)]



CHAPTER IX.

DESCRIBES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, A SINGULAR MEETING UNDER PECULIAR
CIRCUMSTANCES.


There is unquestionably a class of men--especially Englishmen--who are
deeply imbued with the idea that the Universe in general, and our world
in particular, has been created with a view to afford them what they
call fun.

"It would be great fun," said an English commercial man to a friend who
sat beside him, "to go and have a look at this eruption. They say it is
Krakatoa which has broken out after a sleep of two centuries, and as it
has been bursting away now for nearly a week, it is likely to hold on
for some time longer. What would you say to charter a steamer and have a
grand excursion to the volcano?"

The friend said he thought it would indeed be "capital fun!"

We have never been able to ascertain who these Englishmen were, but they
must have been men of influence, or able to move men of influence, for
they at once set to work and organised an excursion.

The place where this excursion was organised was Batavia. Although that
city was situated in Java, nearly a hundred miles distant from Krakatoa,
the inhabitants had not only heard distinctly the explosions of the
volcano, but had felt some quakings of the earth and much rattling of
doors and windows, besides a sprinkling of ashes, which indicated that
the eruption, even in that eruptive region, was of unusual violence.
They little imagined to what mighty throes the solid rocks of Krakatoa
were yet to be subjected before those volcanic fires could find a vent.
Meanwhile, as we have said, there was enough of the unusual in it to
warrant our merchants in their anticipation of a considerable amount of
fun.

A steamer was got ready; a number of sightseeing enthusiasts were
collected, and they set forth on the morning of the 26th of May. Among
these excursionists was our friend Captain David Roy--not that _he_ was
addicted to running about in search of "fun," but, being unavoidably
thrown idle at the time, and having a poetical turn of mind--derived
from his wife--he thought he could not do better than take a run to the
volcano and see how his son was getting along.

The party reached the scene of the eruption on the morning of the 27th,
having witnessed during the night several tolerably strong explosions,
which were accompanied by earthquake shocks. It was found that Krakatoa
and all the adjoining islands were covered with a fine white dust, like
snow, and that the trees on the northern part of the former island and
Varlaten had been to a great extent deprived of their leaves and
branches by falling pumice, while those on Lang Island and Polish Hat,
as well as those on the Peak of Rakata, had to a great extent
escaped--no doubt owing to the prevailing direction of the wind.

It was soon seen that Perboewatan on Krakatoa was the cone in active
eruption, and the steamer made for its neighbourhood, landing her party
within a short distance of its base. Explosions were occurring at
intervals of from five to ten minutes. Each explosion being accompanied
by an uncovering of the molten lava in the vent, the overhanging
steam-cloud was lighted up with a grand glow for a few seconds. Some of
the party, who seemed to be authorities on such matters, estimated that
the vapour-column rose to a height of nearly 10,000 feet, and that
fragments of pumice were shot upwards to a height of 600 feet.

"That's a sign that the violence of the eruption is diminished,"
remarked the young merchant, who was in search of fun, as he prepared to
wade ankle-deep in the loose pumice up the slopes of the cone.

"Diminished!" repeated our captain, who had fraternised much with this
merchant during their short voyage. "If that's what you call
diminishin', I shouldn't like to be here when it's increasin'."

"Pooh!" exclaimed the merchant, "that's nothing. I've seen, at other
volcanoes, pieces of pumice blown up so high that they've been caught by
the upper currents of the atmosphere and carried away in an opposite
direction to the wind that was blowing below at the time. Ay, I believe
that dust is sometimes blown _miles_ up into the air."

As Captain Roy thought that the merchant was drawing the long bow he
made no reply, but changed the subject by asking what was the height of
Perboewatan.

"Three hundred feet or thereabouts," replied his friend.

"I hope my son will have the sense to clear out of the island if things
look like gittin' worse," muttered the captain, as an unusually violent
explosion shook the whole side of the cone.

"No fear of him," returned the merchant. "If he is visiting the hermit
of Rakata, as you tell me, he'll be safe enough. Although something of a
dare-devil, the hermit knows how to take care of himself. I'm afraid,
however, that you'll not find it so easy to 'look up' your son as you
seem to think. Just glance round at these almost impenetrable forests.
You don't know what part of the island he may be in just now; and you
might as well look for a needle in a bundle of hay as look for him
there. He is probably at the other end of Krakatoa--four or five miles
off--on the South side of Rakata, where the hermit's cave is supposed to
be, for no one seems to be quite sure as to its whereabouts. Besides,
you'll have to stick by the excursionists if you wish to return to
Batavia."

Captain Roy paused for a moment to recover breath, and looking down upon
the dense tropical forest that stretched between him and the Peak of
Rakata, he shook his head, and admitted that the merchant was right.
Turning round he addressed himself once more to the ascent of the cone,
on the sides of which the whole excursion party now straggled and
struggled, remarking, as he panted along, that hill-climbing among ashes
and cinders didn't "come easy to a sea-farin' man."

Now, nothing was more natural than that Van der Kemp and his guest
should be smitten with the same sort of desire which had brought these
excursionists from Batavia. The only thing that we do not pretend to
account for is the strange coincidence that they should have been so
smitten, and had so arranged their plans, that they arrived at
Perboewatan almost at the same time with the excursionists--only about
half an hour before them!

Their preliminary walk, however, through the tangled, almost
impassable, forest had been very slow and toilsome, and having been
involved in its shadow from daybreak, they were, of course, quite
unaware of the approach of the steamer or the landing of the excursion
party.

"If the volcano seems quieting down," said Nigel to his host, "shall you
start to-morrow?"

"Yes; by daybreak. Even if the eruption does _not_ quiet down I must set
out, for my business presses."

Nigel felt much inclined to ask what his business was, but there was a
quiet something in the air of the hermit, when he did not choose to be
questioned, which effectually silenced curiosity. Falling behind a
little, till the negro came up with him, Nigel tried to obtain
information from him, for he felt that he had a sort of right to know at
least something about the expedition in which he was about to act a
part.

"Do you know, Moses, what business your master is going about?" he
asked, in a low voice.

"No more nor de man ob de moon, Massa Nadgel," said Moses, with an air
at once so truthful and so solemn that the young man gave it up with a
laugh of resignation.

On arriving at Perboewatan, and ascending its sides, they at last became
aware of the approach of the excursion steamer.

"Strange," muttered the hermit, "vessels don't often touch here."

"Perhaps they have run short of water," suggested Nigel.

"Even if they had it would not be worth their while to stop here for
that," returned the hermit, resuming the ascent of the cone after an
intervening clump of trees had shut out the steamer from view.

It was with feelings of profound interest and considerable excitement
that our hero stood for the first time on the top of a volcanic cone and
gazed down into its glowing vent.

The crater might be described as a huge basin of 3000 feet in diameter.
From the rim of this basin on which the visitors stood the sides sloped
so gradually inward that the flat floor at the bottom was not more than
half that diameter. This floor--which was about 150 feet below the upper
edge--was covered with a black crust, and in the centre of it was the
tremendous cavity--between one and two hundred feet in diameter--from
which issued the great steam-cloud. The cloud was mixed with quantities
of pumice and fragments of what appeared to be black glass. The roar of
this huge vent was deafening and stupendous. If the reader will reflect
on the wonderful hubbub that can be created even by a kitchen kettle
when superheated, and on the exasperating shrieks of a steamboat's
safety-valve in action, or the bellowing of a fog-horn, he may form some
idea of the extent of his incapacity to conceive the thunderous roar of
Krakatoa when it began to boil over.

When to this awful sound there were added the intermittent explosions,
the horrid crackling of millions of rock-masses meeting in the air, and
the bubbling up of molten lava--verily it did not require the
imagination of a Dante to see in all this the very vomiting of Gehenna!

So amazed and well-nigh stunned was Nigel at the sights and sounds that
he neither heard nor saw the arrival of the excursionists, until the
equally awe-stricken Moses touched him on the elbow and drew his
attention to several men who suddenly appeared on the crater-brim not
fifty yards off, but who, like themselves, were too much absorbed with
the volcano itself to observe the other visitors. Probably they took
them for some of their own party who had reached the summit before them.

Nigel was yet looking at these visitors in some surprise, when an
elderly nautical man suddenly stood not twenty yards off gazing in
open-mouthed amazement, past our hero's very nose, at the volcanic
fires.

"Hallo, Father!" shouted the one.

"Zounds! Nigel!" exclaimed the other.

Both men glared and were speechless for several seconds. Then Nigel
rushed at the captain, and the captain met him half-way, and they shook
hands with such hearty goodwill as to arrest in his operations for a few
moments a photographer who was hastily setting up his camera!

Yes, science has done much to reveal the marvellous and arouse exalted
thoughts in the human mind, but it has also done something to crush
enthusiasts and shock the romantic. Veracity constrains us to state that
there he was, with his tripod, and his eager haste, and his hideous
black cloth, preparing to "take" Perboewatan on a "dry plate"! And he
"took" it too! And you may see it, if you will, as a marvellous
frontispiece to the volume by the "Krakatoa Committee"--a work which is
apparently as exhaustive of the subject of Krakatoa as was the great
explosion itself of those internal fires which will probably keep that
volcano quiet for the next two hundred years.

But this was not the Great Eruption of Krakatoa--only a rehearsal, as it
were.

"What brought you here, my son?" asked the captain, on recovering
speech.

"My legs, father."

"Don't be insolent, boy."

"It's not insolence, father. It's only poetical licence, meant to assure
you that I did not come by 'bus or rail though you did by steamer! But
let me introduce you to my friend, Mr.----"

He stopped short on looking round, for Van der Kemp was not there.

"He goed away wheneber he saw de peepil comin' up de hill," said Moses,
who had watched the meeting of father and son with huge delight. "But
you kin interdooce _me_ instead," he added, with a crater-like smile.

"True, true," exclaimed Nigel, laughing. "This is Moses, father, my
host's servant, and my very good friend, and a remarkably free-and-easy
friend, as you see. He will guide us back to the cave, since Van der
Kemp seems to have left us."

"Who's Van der Kemp?" asked the captain.

"The hermit of Rakata, father--that's his name. His father was a
Dutchman and his mother an English or Irish woman--I forget which. He's
a splendid fellow; quite different from what one would expect; no more
like a hermit than a hermit-crab, except that he lives in a cave under
the Peak of Rakata, at the other end of the island. But you must come
with us and pay him a visit. He will be delighted to see you."

"What! steer through a green sea of leaves like that?" said the captain,
stretching his arm towards the vast forest that lay stretched out below
them, "and on my legs, too, that have been used all their lives to a
ship's deck? No, my son. I will content myself with this lucky meetin'.
But, I say, Nigel, lad," continued the old man, somewhat more seriously,
"what if the Peak o' Ra--Ra, what's-'is-name, should take to spoutin'
like this one, an' you, as you say, livin' under it?"

"Ha! das 'zackly what _I_ say," interposed Moses. "Das what I oftin says
to massa, but he nebber answers. He only smile. Massa's not always so
purlite as he might be!"

"There is no fear," said Nigel, "not at present, anyhow, for Van der
Kemp says that the force of this eruption is diminishing--"

"It don't look much like it," muttered the captain, as the volcano at
that moment gave vent to a burst which seemed like a sarcastic laugh at
the hermit's opinion, and sent the more timid of the excursionists
sprawling down the cinder-slope in great alarm.

"There's reason in what you say, father," said Nigel, when the
diminution of noise rendered speech more easy; "and after all, as we
start off on our travels to-morrow, your visit could not have been a
long one."

"Where do you go first?" asked the captain.

"Not sure. Do _you_ know, Moses?"

"No; no more 'n de man ob de moon. P'r'aps Borneo. He go dar sometimes."

At this point another roar from the volcano, and a shout from the
leader of the excursionists to return on board, broke up the conference.

"Well, lad, I'm glad I've seen you. Don't forget to write your
whereabouts. They say there's a lot o' wild places as well as wild men
and beasts among them islands, so keep your weather-eye open an' your
powder dry. Good-bye, Nigel. Take care of him, Moses, and keep him out
o' mischief if ye can--which is more than ever I could. Good-bye, my
boy."

"Good-bye, father."

They shook hands vigorously. In another minute the old seaman was
sailing down the cinder-cone at the rate of fourteen knots an hour,
while his son, setting off under the guidance of Moses towards a
different point of the compass, was soon pushing his way through the
tangled forest in the direction of the hermit's cave.



CHAPTER X.

A CURIOUS SEA-GOING CRAFT--THE UNKNOWN VOYAGE BEGUN.


It was early next morning when Van der Kemp and his man left their
couches and descended to the shore, leaving their visitor enjoying the
benefit of that profound slumber which bids defiance to turmoil and
noise, however stupendous, and which seems to be the peculiar privilege
of healthy infants and youthful seamen.

Perboewatan had subsided considerably towards morning, and had taken to
that internal rumbling, which in the feline species indicates mitigated
indignation. The hermit had therefore come to the conclusion that the
outburst was over, and went with Moses to make arrangements for setting
forth on his expedition after breakfast.

They had scarcely left the cave when Nigel awoke. Feeling indisposed for
further repose, he got up and went out in that vague state of mind which
is usually defined as "having a look at the weather." Whether or not he
gathered much information from the look we cannot tell, but, taking up
his short gun, which stood handy at the entrance of the cave, he
sauntered down the path which his host had followed a short time before.
Arrived at the shore, he observed that a branch path diverged to the
left, and appeared to run in the direction of a high precipice. He
turned into it, and after proceeding through the bushes for a short way
he came quite unexpectedly on a cavern, the mouth of which resembled,
but was much higher and wider than that which led to the hermit's home.

Just as he approached it there issued from its gloomy depths a strange
rumbling sound which induced him to stop and cock his gun. A curious
feeling of serio-comic awe crept over him as the idea of a fiery dragon
leaped into his mind! At the same time, the fancy that the immense abyss
of darkness might be one of the volcanic vents diminished the comic and
increased the serious feeling. Ere long the sound assumed the definite
tone of footsteps, and the dragon fancy seemed about to become a reality
when he beheld a long narrow thing of uncertain form emerging from the
darkness.

"It must be coming out tail-foremost!" he muttered, with a short laugh
at his semi-credulity.

Another instant and the hermit emerged into the blazing sunshine, and
stood pictured against the intense darkness like a being of
supernatural radiance, with the end of a long narrow canoe on his
shoulder.

As Nigel passed round a bush to reach him he perceived the dark form of
Moses emerging from the depths and supporting the body of the canoe.

"I see you are active and an early riser," said the hermit, with a nod
of approval on seeing our hero.

"I almost took you for a Krakatoa monster!" said Nigel, as they came out
in front of the cavern and laid the canoe on the ground. "Why, you've
got here one of the craft which we in England call a Rob Roy canoe!"

"It is fashioned on the same pattern," said the hermit, "but with one or
two alterations of my own devising, and an improvement--as I
think--founded on what I have myself seen, when travelling with the
Eskimos of Greenland."

Van der Kemp here pointed out that the canoe was not only somewhat
broader than the kind used in England, but was considerably longer, and
with three openings or manholes in the deck, so that it was capable of
holding three persons. Also, that there was a large rounded mass of wood
fixed in front of the three manholes.

"These saddles, as I call them," said the hermit, "have been suggested
to me by the Eskimos, who, instead of wearying their arms by supporting
the double-bladed paddle continuously, rest it on the saddle and let it
slide about thereon while being used. Thus they are able to carry a much
longer and heavier paddle than that used in the Rob Roy canoe, the
weight of which, as it rests on the saddle, is not felt. Moreover it
does not require nearly so much dip to put it in the water. I have heard
of a sort of upright with a universal joint being applied to the English
canoe, but it seems to me a much more clumsy and much less effective,
because rigid, contrivance than the Eskimo saddle. Inside, under the
deck, as I will show you by and by, I have lighter and shorter paddles
for use when in narrow rivers, but I prefer the long heavy paddle when
traversing great stretches of ocean."

"You don't mean to say you ever go to sea in an eggshell like that!"
exclaimed Nigel in surprise.

"Indeed we do," returned the hermit, "and we are fitted out for longish
voyages and rough weather. Besides, it is not so much of an eggshell as
you suppose. I made it myself, and took care that it should be fit for
the work required of it. The wood of which it is made, although light,
is very tough, and it is lined with a skin of strong canvas which is
fixed to the planks with tar. This makes the craft watertight as well as
strong. The ribs also are very light and close together, and every sixth
rib is larger and stronger than the others and made of tougher wood.
All these ribs are bound together by longitudinal pieces, or laths, of
very tough wood, yet so thin that the whole machine is elastic without
being weak. Besides this, there are two strong oiled-canvas partitions,
which divide the canoe into three water-tight compartments, any two of
which will float it if the third should get filled."

"Is this then the craft in which you intend to voyage?" asked Nigel.

"It is. We shall start in an hour or two. I keep it in this cave because
it is near the landing-place. But come, you will understand things
better when you see us making our arrangements. Of course you understand
how to manage sails of every kind?"

"If I did not it would ill become me to call myself a sailor," returned
our hero.

"That is well, because you will sit in the middle, from which position
the sail is partly managed. I usually sit in the bow to have free range
for the use of my gun, if need be, and Moses steers."

Van der Kemp proceeded down the track as he said this, having, with the
negro, again lifted the canoe on his shoulder.

A few minutes' walk brought them to the beach at the spot where Nigel
had originally landed. Here a quantity of cargo lay on the rocks ready
to be placed in the canoe. There were several small bags of pemmican,
which Van der Kemp had learned to make while travelling on the prairies
of North America among the Red Indians,--for this singular being seemed
to have visited most parts of the habitable globe during his not yet
very long life. There were five small casks of fresh water, two or three
canisters of gunpowder, a small box of tea and another of sugar, besides
several bags of biscuits. There were also other bags and boxes which did
not by their appearance reveal their contents, and all the articles were
of a shape and size which seemed most suitable for passing through the
manholes, and being conveniently distributed and stowed in the three
compartments of the canoe. There was not very much of anything, however,
so that when the canoe was laden and ready for its voyage, the hermit
and his man were still able to raise and carry it on their shoulders
without the assistance of Nigel.

There was one passenger whom we have not yet mentioned, namely, a small
monkey which dwelt in the cave with the canoe, and which, although
perfectly free to come and go when he pleased, seldom left the cave
except for food, but seemed to have constituted himself the guardian of
the little craft.

Spinkie, as Moses had named him, was an intensely affectionate creature,
with a countenance of pathetic melancholy which utterly belied his
character, for mischief and fun were the dominating qualities of that
monkey. He was seated on a water-cask when Nigel first caught sight of
him, holding the end of his long tail in one hand, and apparently wiping
his nose with it.

"Is that what he is doing?" asked Nigel of the negro.

"Oh no, Massa Nadgel," said Moses. "Spinkie nebber ketch cold an' hab no
need ob a pocket-hangkitcher. He only tickles his nose wid 'is tail. But
he's bery fond ob doin' dat."

Being extremely fond of monkeys, Nigel went forward to fondle him, and
Spinkie being equally fond of fondling, resigned himself placidly--after
one interrogative gaze of wide-eyed suspicion--into the stranger's
hands. A lifelong friendship was cemented then and there.

After stowing the cargo the party returned to the upper cavern, leaving
the monkey to guard the canoe.

"An' he's a good defender ob it," said Moses, "for if man or beast
happen to come near it when Spinkie's in charge, dat monkey sets up a
skriekin' fit to cause a 'splosion ob Perboewatan!"

Breakfast over, the hermit put his cave in order for a pretty long
absence, and they again descended to the shore, each man carrying his
bed on his shoulder. Each bed, however, was light and simple. It
consisted merely of one blanket wrapped up in an oil-cloth sheet.
Besides, an old-fashioned powder-flask and shot belt. Van der Kemp and
Nigel had slung a bullet-pouch on their shoulders, and carried small
hatchets and hunting-knives in their belts. Moses was similarly armed,
with this difference, that his _couteau de chasse_ bore stronger
resemblance to an ancient Roman sword than a knife, and his axe was of
larger size than the hatchets of his companions.

Launching the canoe, the hermit and his man held it fast at either end
while Nigel was directed to take his place in the central of the three
openings or manholes. He did so and found himself seated on a flat board
on the bottom of the canoe, which was so shallow that the deck scarcely
rose as high as his waist.

Round the manhole there was a ledge of thin wood, about three inches
high, to which a circular apron of oiled canvas was attached.

"Yes, you'd better understand that thing before we start," said Van der
Kemp, observing that Nigel was examining the contrivance with some
curiosity. "It's an apron to tie round you in bad weather to keep the
water out. In fine weather it is rolled as you see it now round the
ledge. Undo the buckle before and behind and you will see how it is to
be used."

Acting as directed, Nigel unbuckled the roll and found that he was
surrounded by a sort of petticoat of oil-skin which could be drawn up
and buckled round his chest. In this position it could be kept by a loop
attached to a button, or a wooden pin, thrust through the coat.

"You see," explained the hermit, "the waves may wash all over our deck
and round our bodies without being able to get into the canoe while we
have these things on--there are similar protections round the other
holes."

"I understand," said Nigel. "But how if water gets in through a leak
below?"

"Do you see that brass thing in front of you?" returned the hermit.
"That is a pump which is capable of keeping under a pretty extensive
leak. The handle unships, so as to be out of the way when not wanted. I
keep it here, under the deck in front of me, along with mast and sails
and a good many other things."

As he spoke he raised a plank of the deck in front of the foremost hole,
and disclosed a sort of narrow box about six feet long by six inches
broad. The plank was hinged at one end and fastened with a hook at the
other so as to form a lid to the box. The hole thus disclosed was not an
opening into the interior of the canoe, but was a veritable watertight
box just under the deck, so that even if it were to get filled with
water not a drop could enter the canoe itself. But the plank-lid was so
beautifully fitted, besides shutting tightly down on indiarubber, that
the chance of leakage through that source was very remote. Although very
narrow, this box was deep, and contained a variety of useful implements;
among them a slender mast and tiny sail, which could be rendered still
smaller by means of reef points. All these things were fitted into their
respective places with so keen an eye to economy of space that the
arrangement cannot be better described than by the familiar
phrase--_multum, in parvo._

"We don't use the sails much; we depend chiefly on this," said the
hermit, as he seated himself in the front hole and laid the long, heavy,
double-bladed paddle on the saddle in front of him. Moses uses a single
blade, partly because it is handier for steering and partly because he
has been accustomed to it in his own land. You are at liberty to use
which you prefer."

"Thanks, I will follow the lead of Moses, for I also have been
accustomed to the single blade and prefer it--at least while I am one of
three. If alone, I should prefer the double blade."

"Now, Moses, are you ready?" asked the hermit.

"All ready, massa."

"Get in then and shove off. Come along, Spinkie."

The monkey, which all this time had been seated on a rock looking on
with an expression of inconsolable sorrow, at once accepted the
invitation, and with a lively bound alighted on the deck close to the
little mast, which had been set up just in front of Nigel, and to which
it held on when the motions of the canoe became unsteady.

"You need not give yourself any concern about Spinkie," said the hermit,
as they glided over the still water of the little cove in which the
canoe and boat were harboured. "He is quite able to take care of
himself."

Bounding the entrance to the cove and shooting out into the ocean under
the influence of Van der Kemp's powerful strokes, they were soon clear
of the land, and proceeded eastward at a rate which seemed unaccountable
to our hero, for he had not sufficiently realised the fact that in
addition to the unusual physical strength of Van der Kemp as well as
that of Moses, to say nothing of his own, the beautiful fish-like
adaptation of the canoe to the water, the great length and leverage of
the bow paddle, and the weight of themselves as well as the cargo, gave
this canoe considerable advantage over other craft of the kind.

About a quarter of an hour later the sun arose in cloudless splendour on
a perfectly tranquil sea, lighted up the shores of Java, glinted over
the mountains of Sumatra, and flooded, as with a golden haze, the
forests of Krakatoa--emulating the volcanic fires in gilding the volumes
of smoke that could be seen rolling amid fitful mutterings from
Perboewatan, until the hermit's home sank from view in the western
horizon.



CHAPTER XI.

CANOEING ON THE SEA--A MYSTERIOUS NIGHT-SURPRISE AND SUDDEN FLIGHT.


At first the voyagers paddled over the glassy sea in almost total
silence.

Nigel was occupied with his own busy thoughts; speculating on the
probable end and object of their voyage, and on the character, the
mysterious life, and unknown history of the man who sat in front of him
wielding so powerfully the great double-bladed paddle. Van der Kemp
himself was, as we have said, naturally quiet and silent, save when
roused by a subject that interested him. As for Moses, although quite
ready at any moment to indulge in friendly intercourse, he seldom
initiated a conversation, and Spinkie, grasping the mast and leaning
against it with his head down, seemed to be either asleep or brooding
over his sorrows. Only a few words were uttered now and then when Nigel
asked the name of a point or peak which rose in the distance on either
hand. It seemed as if the quiescence of sea and air had fallen like a
soft mantle on the party and subdued them into an unusually sluggish
frame of mind.

They passed through the Sunda Straits between Sumatra and Java--not more
at the narrowest part than about thirteen miles wide--and, in course of
time, found themselves in the great island-studded archipelago beyond.

About noon they all seemed to wake up from their lethargic state. Van
der Kemp laid down his paddle, and, looking round, asked Nigel if he
felt tired.

"Not in the least," he replied, "but I feel uncommonly hungry, and I
have just been wondering how you manage to feed when at sea in so small
a craft."

"Ho! ho!" laughed Moses, in guttural tones, "you soon see dat--I 'spose
it time for me to get out de grub, massa?"

"Yes, Moses--let's have it."

The negro at once laid down his steering paddle and lifted a small
square hatch or lid in the deck which was rendered watertight by the
same means as the lid in front already described. From the depths thus
revealed he extracted a bird of some sort that had been shot and baked
the day before. Tearing off a leg he retained it and handed the
remainder to Nigel.

"Help you'self, Massa Nadgel, an' pass 'im forid."

Without helping himself he passed it on to Van der Kemp, who drew his
knife, sliced off a wing with a mass of breast, and returned the rest.

"Always help yourself _before_ passing the food in future," said the
hermit; "we don't stand on ceremony here."

Nigel at once fell in with their custom, tore off the remaining
drumstick and began.

"Biskit," said Moses, with his mouth full, "an' look out for Spinkie."

He handed forward a deep tray of the sailor's familiar food, but Nigel
was too slow to profit by the warning given, for Spinkie darted both
hands into the tray and had stuffed his mouth and cheeks full almost
before a man could wink! The negro would have laughed aloud, but the
danger of choking was too great; he therefore laughed internally--an
operation which could not be fully understood unless seen. "'Splosions
of Perboewatan," may suggest the thing.

Sorrow, grief--whatever it was that habitually afflicted that
monkey--disappeared for the time being, while it devoted itself heart
and soul to dinner.

Feelings of a somewhat similar kind animated Nigel as he sat leaning
back with his mouth full, a biscuit in one hand, and a drumstick in the
other, and his eyes resting dreamily on the horizon of the still
tranquil sea, while the bright sun blazed upon his already bronzed face.

To many men the fierce glare of the equatorial sun might have proved
trying, but Nigel belonged to the salamander type of humanity and
enjoyed the great heat. Van der Kemp seemed to be similarly moulded, and
as for Moses, he was in his native element--so was Spinkie.

Strange as it may seem, sea-birds appeared to divine what was going on,
for several specimens came circling round the canoe with great
outstretched and all but motionless wings, and with solemn sidelong
glances of hope which Van der Kemp evidently could not resist, for he
flung them scraps of his allowance from time to time.

"If you have plenty of provisions on board, I should like to do that
too," said Nigel.

"Do it," returned the hermit. "We have plenty of food for some days, and
our guns can at any time replenish the store. I like to feed these
creatures," he added, "they give themselves over so thoroughly to the
enjoyment of the moment, and _seem_ to be grateful. Whether they are so
or not, of course, is matter of dispute. Cynics will tell us that they
only come to us and fawn upon us because of the memory of past favours
and the hope of more to come. I don't agree with them."

"Neither do I," said Nigel, warmly. "Any man who has ever had to do
with dogs knows full well that gratitude is a strong element of their
nature. And it seems to me that the speaking eyes of Spinkie, to whom I
have just given a bit of biscuit, tell of a similar spirit."

As he spoke, Nigel was conveying another piece of biscuit to his own
mouth, when a small brown hand flashed before him, and the morsel, in
the twinkling of an eye, was transferred to the monkey's already swollen
cheek--whereat Moses again became suddenly "'splosive" and red, as well
as black in the face, for his capacious mouth was inordinately full as
usual.

Clear water, from one of the casks, and poured into a tin mug, washed
down their cold collation, and then, refreshed and reinvigorated, the
trio resumed their paddles, which were not again laid down till the sun
was descending towards the western horizon. By that time they were not
far from a small wooded islet near the coast of Java, on which Van der
Kemp resolved to spend the night.

During the day they had passed at some distance many boats and _praus_
and other native vessels, the crews of which ceased to row for a few
moments, and gazed with curiosity at the strange craft which glided
along so swiftly, and seemed to them little more than a long plank on
the water, but these took no further notice of our voyagers. They also
passed several ships--part of that constant stream of vessels which pass
westward through those straits laden with the valuable teas and rich
silks of China and Japan. In some cases a cheer of recognition, as being
an exceptional style of craft, was accorded them, to which the hermit
replied with a wave of the hand--Moses and Nigel with an answering
cheer.

There is something very pleasant in the rest which follows a day of hard
and healthful toil. Our Maker has so ordained it as well as stated it,
for is it not written, "The sleep of the labouring man is sweet"? and
our travellers experienced the truth of the statement that night in very
romantic circumstances.

The small rocky islet, not more than a few hundred yards in diameter,
which they now approached had several sheltered sandy bays on its shore,
which were convenient for landing. The centre was clothed with
palm-trees and underwood, so that fuel could be procured, and
cocoa-nuts.

"Sometimes," said the hermit, while he stooped to arrange the fire,
after the canoe and cargo had been carried to their camping-place at the
edge of the bushes,--"sometimes it is necessary to keep concealed while
travelling in these regions, and I carry a little spirit-lamp which
enables me to heat a cup of tea or coffee without making a dangerous
blaze; but here there is little risk in kindling a fire."

"I should not have thought there was any risk at all in these peaceful
times," said Nigel, as he unstrapped his blanket and spread it on the
ground under an overhanging bush.

"There are no peaceful times among pirates," returned the hermit; "and
some of the traders in this archipelago are little better than pirates."

"Where I puts your bed, massa?" asked Moses, turning his huge eyes on
his master.

"There--under the bush, beside Nigel."

"An' where would _you_ like to sleep, Massa Spinkie?" added the negro,
with a low obeisance to the monkey, which sat on the top of what seemed
to be its favourite seat--a watercask.

Spinkie treated the question with calm contempt, turned his head
languidly to one side, and scratched himself.

"Unpurliteness is your k'racter from skin to marrow, you son of a
insolent mother!" said Moses, shaking his fist, whereat Spinkie,
promptly making an O of his mouth, looked fierce.

The sagacious creature remained where he was till after supper, which
consisted of another roast fowl--hot this time--and ship's-biscuit
washed down with coffee. Of course Spinkie's portion consisted only of
the biscuit with a few scraps of cocoa-nut. Having received it he
quietly retired to his native wilds, with the intention of sleeping
there, according to custom, till morning; but his repose was destined to
be broken, as we shall see.

After supper, the hermit, stretching himself on his blanket, filled an
enormous meerschaum, and began to smoke. The negro, rolling up a little
tobacco in tissue paper, sat down, tailor-wise, and followed his
master's example, while our hero--who did not smoke--lay between them,
and gazed contemplatively over the fire at the calm dark sea beyond,
enjoying the aroma of his coffee.

"From what you have told me of your former trading expeditions," said
Nigel, looking at his friend, "you must have seen a good deal of this
archipelago before you took--excuse me--to the hermit life."

"Ay--a good deal."

"Have you ever travelled in the interior of the larger islands?" asked
Nigel, in the hope of drawing from him some account of his experiences
with wild beasts or wild men--he did not care which, so long as they
were wild!

"Yes, in all of them," returned the hermit, curtly, for he was not fond
of talking about himself.

"I suppose the larger islands are densely wooded?" continued Nigel
interrogatively.

"They are, very."

"But the wood is not of much value, I fancy, in the way of trade,"
pursued our hero, adopting another line of attack which proved
successful, for Van der Kemp turned his eyes on him with a look of
surprise that almost forced him to laugh.

"Not of much value in the way of trade!" he repeated--"forgive me, if I
express surprise that you seem to know so little about us--but, after
all, the world is large, and one cannot become deeply versed in
everything."

Having uttered this truism, the hermit resumed his meerschaum and
continued to gaze thoughtfully at the embers of the fire. He remained so
long silent that Nigel began to despair, but thought he would try him
once again on the same lines.

"I suppose," he said in a careless way, "that none of the islands are
big enough to contain many of the larger wild animals."

"My friend," returned Van der Kemp, with a smile of urbanity, as he
refilled his pipe, "it is evident that you do not know much about our
archipelago. Borneo, to the woods and wild animals of which I hope ere
long to introduce you, is so large that if you were to put your British
islands, including Ireland, down on it they would be engulphed and
surrounded by a sea of forests. New Guinea is, perhaps, larger than
Borneo. Sumatra is only a little smaller. France is not so large as
some of our islands. Java, Luzon, and Celebes are each about equal in
size to Ireland. Eighteen more islands are, on the average, as large as
Jamaica, more than a hundred are as large as the Isle of Wight, and the
smaller isles and islets are innumerable. In short, our archipelago is
comparable with any of the primary divisions of the globe, being full
4000 miles in length from east to west and about 1,300 in breadth from
north to south, and would in extent more than cover the whole of
Europe."

It was evident to Nigel that he had at length succeeded in opening the
floodgates. The hermit paused for a few moments and puffed at the
meerschaum, while Moses glared at his master with absorbed interest, and
pulled at the cigarette with such oblivious vigour that he drew it into
his mouth at last, spat it out, and prepared another. Nigel sat quite
silent and waited for more.

"As to trade," continued Van der Kemp, resuming his discourse in a lower
tone, "why, of gold--the great representative of wealth--we export from
Sumatra alone over 26,000 ounces annually, and among other gold regions
we have a Mount Ophir in the Malay Peninsula from which there is a
considerable annual export."

Continuing his discourse, Van der Kemp told a great deal more about the
products of these prolific islands with considerable enthusiasm--as one
who somewhat resented the underrating of his native land.

"Were you born in this region, Van der Kemp?" asked Nigel, during a
brief pause.

"I was--in Java. My father, as my name tells, was of Dutch descent. My
mother was Irish. Both are dead."

He stopped. The fire that had been aroused seemed to die down, and he
continued to smoke with the sad absent look which was peculiar to him.

"And what about large game?" asked Nigel, anxious to stir up his
friend's enthusiasm again, but the hermit had sunk back into his usual
condition of gentle dreaminess, and made no answer till the question had
been repeated.

"Pardon me," he said, "I was dreaming of the days that are gone. Ah!
Nigel; you are yet too young to understand the feelings of the old--the
sad memories of happy years that can never return: of voices that are
hushed for ever. No one can _know_ till he has _felt_!"

"But you are not old," said Nigel, wishing to turn the hermit's mind
from a subject on which it seemed to dwell too constantly.

"Not in years," he returned; "but old, _very_ old in experience,
and--stay, what was it that you were asking about? Ah, the big game.
Well, we have plenty of that in some of the larger of the islands; we
have the elephant, the rhinoceros, the tiger, the puma, that great
man-monkey the orang-utan, or, as it is called here, the mias, besides
wild pigs, deer, and innumerable smaller animals and birds--"

The hermit stopped abruptly and sat motionless, with his head bent on
one side, like one who listens intently. Such an action is always
infectious. Nigel and the negro also listened, but heard nothing.

By that time the fire had died down, and, not being required for warmth,
had not been replenished. The faint light of the coming moon, which,
however, was not yet above the horizon, only seemed to render darkness
visible, so that the figure of Moses was quite lost in the shadow of the
bush behind him, though the whites of his solemn eyes appeared like two
glow-worms.

"Do you hear anything?" asked Nigel in a low tone.

"Oars," answered the hermit.

"I hear 'im, massa," whispered the negro, "but das not
su'prisin'--plenty boats about."

"This boat approaches the island, and I can tell by the sound that it is
a large _prau_. If it touches here it will be for the purpose of
spending the night, and Malay boatmen are not always agreeable
neighbours. However, it is not likely they will ramble far from where
they land, so we may escape observation if we keep quiet."

As he spoke he emptied the remains of the coffee on the dying fire and
effectually put it out.

Meanwhile the sound of oars had become quite distinct, and, as had been
anticipated, the crew ran their boat into one of the sandy bays and
leaped ashore with a good deal of shouting and noise. Fortunately they
had landed on the opposite side of the islet, and as the bush on it was
very dense there was not much probability of any one crossing over. Our
voyagers therefore lay close, resolving to be off in the morning before
the unwelcome visitors were stirring.

As the three lay there wrapped in their blankets and gazing
contemplatively at the now risen moon, voices were heard as if of men
approaching. It was soon found that two of the strangers had sauntered
round by the beach and were slowly drawing near the encampment.

Nigel observed that the hermit had raised himself on one elbow and
seemed to be again listening intently.

The two men halted on reaching the top of the ridges of rock which
formed one side of the little bay, and their voices became audible
though too far distant to admit of words being distinguishable. At the
same time their forms were clearly defined against the sky.

Nigel glanced at Van der Kemp and was startled by the change that had
come over him. The moonbeams, which had by that time risen above some
intervening shrubs, shone full on him and showed that his usually quiet
gentle countenance was deadly pale and transformed by a frown of almost
tiger-like ferocity. So strange and unaccountable did this seem to our
hero that he lay quite still, as if spell-bound. Nor did his companions
move until the strangers, having finished their talk, turned to retrace
their steps and finally disappeared.

Then Van der Kemp rose with a sigh of relief. The negro and Nigel also
sprang up.

"What's wrong, massa?" asked Moses, in much anxiety.

"Nothing, nothing," said the hermit hurriedly. "I must cross over to see
these fellows."

"All right, massa. I go wid you."

"No, I go alone."

"Not widout arms?" exclaimed the negro, laying his hand on his master's
shoulder.

"Yes, without arms!" As he spoke he drew the long knife that usually
hung at his girdle and flung it down. "Now attend, both of you," he
added, with sudden and almost threatening earnestness.

"Do not on any account follow me. I am quite able to take care of
myself."

Next moment he glided into the bushes and was gone.

"Can you guess what is the matter with him?" asked Nigel, turning to his
companion with a perplexed look.

"Not more nor de man ob de moon. I nebber saw'd 'im like dat before. I
t'ink he's go mad! I tell you what--I'll foller him wid a rifle an'
knife and two revolvers."

"You'll do nothing of the sort," said Nigel, laying hold of the negro's
wrist with a grip of iron; "when a man like Van der Kemp gives an order
it's the duty of inferior men like you and me strictly to obey."

"Well--p'raps you're right, Nadgel," returned Moses calmly. "If you
wasn't, I'd knock you into de middle ob nixt week for takin' a grip o'
me like dat."

"You'll wish yourself into the middle of next fortnight if you disobey
orders," returned our hero, tightening the grip.

Moses threw back his head, opened his cavern, and laughed silently; at
the same time he twisted his arm free with a sudden wrench.

"You's awrful strong, Nadgel, but you don't quite come up to niggers!
Howse'ber, you's right. I'll obey orders; neberdeless I'll get ready
for action."

So saying, the negro extracted from the canoe several revolvers, two of
which he handed to Nigel, two he thrust into his own belt, and two he
laid handy for "massa" when he should return.

"Now, if you're smart at arit'metic, you'll see dat six time six am
t'irty-six, and two double guns das forty--forty dead men's more 'n
enuff--besides de knives."

Moses had barely finished these deadly preparations when Van der Kemp
returned as quietly as he had gone. His face was still fierce and
haggard, and his manner hurried though quite decided.

"I have seen him," he said, in a low voice.

"Seen who?" asked Nigel.

"Him whom I had hoped and prayed never more to see. My enemy! Come,
quick, we must leave at once, and without attracting their notice."

He gave his comrades no time to put further questions, but laid hold of
one end of the canoe; Moses took the other end and it was launched in a
few seconds, while Nigel carried down such part of the lading as had
been taken out. Five minutes sufficed to put all on board, and that
space of time was also sufficient to enable Spinkie to observe from his
retreat in the bushes that a departure was about to take place; he
therefore made for the shore with all speed and bounded to his
accustomed place beside the mast.

Taking their places they pushed off so softly that they might well have
been taken for phantoms. A cloud conveniently hid the moon at the time.
Each man plied his paddle with noiseless but powerful stroke, and long
before the cloud uncovered the face of the Queen of Night they were
shooting far away over the tranquil sea.



CHAPTER XII.

WEATHERING A STORM IN THE OPEN SEA.


In profound silence they continued to paddle until there was no chance
of their being seen by the party on the islet. Then Van der Kemp rested
his paddle in front of him and looked slowly round the horizon and up at
the sky as if studying the weather.

Nigel longed to ask him more about the men they had seen, and of this
"enemy" whom he had mentioned, but there was that in the hermit's grave
look which forbade questioning, and indeed Nigel now knew from
experience that it would be useless to press him to speak on any subject
in regard to which he chose to be reticent.

"I don't like the look of the sky," he said at last. "We are going to
have a squall, I fear."

"Had we not better run for the nearest land?" said Nigel, who, although
not yet experienced in the signs of the weather in those equatorial
regions, had quite enough of knowledge to perceive that bad weather of
some sort was probably approaching.

"The nearest island is a good way off," returned the hermit, "and we
might miss it in the dark, for daylight won't help us yet awhile. No, we
will continue our course and accept what God sends."

This remark seemed to our hero to savour of unreasoning contempt of
danger, for the facing of a tropical squall in such an eggshell appeared
to him the height of folly. He ventured to reply, therefore, in a tone
of remonstrance--

"God sends us the capacity to appreciate danger, Van der Kemp, and the
power to take precautions."

"He does, Nigel--therefore I intend to use both the capacity and the
power."

There was a tone of finality in this speech which effectually sealed
Nigel's lips, and, in truth, his ever-increasing trust in the wisdom,
power, and resource of his friend indisposed him to further remark.

The night had by this time become intensely dark, for a bank of black
cloud had crept slowly over the sky and blotted out the moon. This cloud
extended itself slowly, obliterating, ere long, most of the stars also,
so that it was scarcely possible to distinguish any object more than a
yard or two in advance of them. The dead calm, however, continued
unbroken, and the few of heaven's lights which still glimmered through
the obscurity above were clearly reflected in the great black mirror
below. Only the faint gleam of Krakatoa's threatening fires was visible
on the horizon, while the occasional boom of its artillery sounded in
their ears.

It was impossible for any inexperienced man, however courageous, to
avoid feelings of awe, almost amounting to dread, in the circumstances,
and Nigel--as he tried to penetrate the darkness around him and glanced
at the narrow craft in which he sat and over the sides of which he could
dip both hands at once into the sea--might be excused for wishing, with
all his heart, that he were safely on shore, or on the deck of his
father's brig. His feelings were by no means relieved when Van der Kemp
said, in a low soliloquising tone--

"The steamers will constitute our chief danger to-night. They come on
with such a rush that it is not easy to make out how they are steering,
so as to get out of their way in time."

"But should we not hear them coming a long way off?" asked Nigel.

"Ay. It is not during a calm like this that we run risk, but when the
gale begins to blow we cannot hear, and shall not, perhaps, see very
well."

As he spoke the hermit lifted the covering of the forehatch and took out
a small sail which he asked Nigel to pass aft to the negro.

"Close-reef it, Moses; we shall make use of the wind as long as
possible. After that we will lay-to."

"All right, massa," said the negro, in the same cheerful free-and-easy
tone in which he was wont to express his willingness to obey orders
whether trifling or important. "Don' forgit Spinkie, massa."

"You may be sure I won't do that," replied the hermit. "Come along,
monkey!"

Evidently Van der Kemp had trained his dumb companion as thoroughly to
prompt obedience as his black follower, for the little creature
instantly bounded from its place by the mast on to the shoulder of its
master, who bade it go into the place from which he had just extracted
the sail. Nigel could not see this--not only because of the darkness,
but because of the intervention of the hermit's bulky person, but he
understood what had taken place by the remark--"That's a good little
fellow. Keep your head down, now, while I shut you in!"

From the same place Van der Kemp had drawn a small triangular foresail,
which he proceeded to attach to the bow of the canoe--running its point
out by means of tackle laid along the deck--while Moses was busy reefing
the mainsail.

From the same repository were extracted three waterproof coats, which,
when put on by the canoe-men, the tails thrust below-deck, and the
aprons drawn over them and belted round their waists, protected their
persons almost completely from water.

"Now, Nigel," said the hermit, "unship the mast, reeve the halyard of
this foresail through the top and then re-ship it. Moses will give you
the mainsail when ready, and you can hook the halyards on to it. The
thing is too simple to require explanation to a sailor. I attend to the
foresail and Moses manages the mainsheet, but you have to mind the
halyards of both, which, as you would see if it were light enough, run
down alongside the mast. All I ask you to remember is to be smart in
obeying orders, for squalls are sometimes very sudden here--but I doubt
not that such a caution is needless."

"I'll do my best," said Nigel.

By this time a slight puff of air had ruffled the sea, thereby
intensifying, if possible, the blackness which already prevailed. The
tiny sails caught the puff, causing the canoe to lean slightly over, and
glide with a rippling sound through the water, while Moses steered by
means of his paddle.

"You have put Spinkie down below, I think," said Nigel, who had been
struck more than once with the hermit's extreme tenderness and care of
the little creature.

"Yes, to prevent it from being washed overboard. I nearly lost the poor
little thing once or twice, and now when we are likely to be caught in
bad weather I put him below."

"Is he not apt to be suffocated?" asked Nigel. "With everything made so
tight to prevent water getting into the canoe, you necessarily prevent
air entering also."

"I see you have a mechanical turn of mind," returned the hermit. "You
are right. Yet in so large a canoe the air would last a considerable
time to satisfy a monkey. Nevertheless, I have made provision for that.
There is a short tube alongside the mast, and fixed to it, which runs a
little below the deck and rises a foot above it so as to be well above
the wash of most waves, and in the deck near the stern there is a small
hole with a cap fitted so as to turn the water but admit the air. Thus
free circulation of air is established below deck."

Suddenly a hissing sound was heard to windward.

"Look out, Moses," said Van der Kemp. "There it comes. Let go the sheet.
Keep good hold of your paddle, Nigel."

The warning was by no means unnecessary, for as the canoe's head was
turned to meet the blast, a hissing sheet of white water swept right
over the tiny craft, completely submerging it, insomuch that the three
men appeared to be sitting more than waist-deep in the water.

"Lower the mainsail!" shouted the hermit, for the noise of wind and sea
had become deafening.

Nigel obeyed and held on to the flapping sheet. The hermit had at the
same moment let go the foresail, the flapping of which he controlled by
a rope-tackle arranged for the purpose. He then grasped his single-blade
paddle and aided Moses in keeping her head to wind and sea. For a few
minutes this was all that could be done. Then the first violence of the
squall passed off, allowing the deck of the little craft to appear above
the tormented water. Soon the waves began to rise.

The mere keeping of the canoe's head to wind required all the attention
of both master and man, while Nigel sat waiting for orders and looking
on with mingled feelings of surprise and curiosity. Of course they were
all three wet to the skin, for the water had got up their sleeves and
down their necks; but, being warm, that mattered little, and the oiled
aprons before mentioned, being securely fastened round their waists,
effectually prevented any of it from getting below save the little that
passed through the thickness of their own garments.

No word was spoken for at least a quarter of an hour, during which time,
although they rose buoyantly on the water, the waves washed continually
over the low-lying deck. As this deck was flush with the gunwale, or
rather, had no gunwale at all, the water ran off it as it does off a
whale's back.

Then there came a momentary lull.

"Now, Moses--'bout ship!" shouted Van der Kemp. "Stand by, Nigel!"

"Ay, ay, sir."

Although the canoe was long--and therefore unfitted to turn quickly--the
powerful strokes of the two paddles in what may be called
counteracting-harmony brought the little craft right round with her
stern to the waves.

"Hoist away, Nigel! We must run right before it now."

Up went the mainsail, the tiny foresail bulged out at the same moment,
and away they went like the driving foam, appearing almost to leap from
wave to wave. All sense of danger was now overwhelmed in Nigel's mind by
that feeling of excitement and wild delight which accompanies some kinds
of rapid motion. This was, if possible, intensified by the crashing
thunder which now burst forth and the vivid lightning which began to
play, revealing from time to time the tumultuous turmoil as if in
clearest moonlight, only to plunge it again in still blacker night.

By degrees the gale increased in fury, and it soon became evident that
neither sails nor cordage could long withstand the strain to which they
were subjected.

"A'most too much, massa," said the negro in a suggestive shout.

"Right, Moses," returned his master. "I was just thinking we must risk
it."

"Risk what? I wonder," thought Nigel.

He had not long to wait for an answer to his thought.

"Down wi' the mainsail," was quickly followed by the lowering of the
foresail until not more than a mere corner was shown, merely to keep the
canoe end-on to the seas. Soon even this was lowered, and Van der Kemp
used his double-blade paddle to keep them in position, at the same time
telling Nigel to unship the mast.

"And plug the hole with that," he added, handing him a bit of wood which
exactly fitted the hole in the deck.

Watching for another lull in the blast, the hermit at last gave the
order, and round they came as before, head to wind, but not quite so
easily, and Nigel felt that they had narrowly escaped overturning in the
operation.

"Keep her so, Moses. You can help with your paddle, Nigel, while I get
ready our anchor."

"Anchor!" exclaimed our hero in amazement--obeying orders, however, at
the same moment.

The hermit either did not hear the exclamation or did not care to
notice it. He quickly collected the mast and sails, with a couple of
boat-hooks and all the paddles excepting two single ones. These he bound
together by means of the sheets and halyards, attached the whole to a
hawser,--one end of which passed through an iron ring at the bow--and
tossed it into the sea--paying out the hawser rapidly at the same time
so as to put a few yards between them and their floating anchor--if it
may be so called--in the lee of which they prepared to ride out the
gale.

It was well that they had taken the precaution to put on their
waterproofs before the gale began, because, while turned head to wind
every breaking wave swept right over their heads, and even now while
under the lee of the floating anchor they were for some time almost
continually overwhelmed by thick spray. Being, however, set free from
the necessity of keeping their tiny craft in position, they all bowed
their heads on the deck, sheltered their faces in their hands and
awaited the end!

Whilst in this attitude--so like to that of prayer--Nigel almost
naturally thought of Him who holds the water in the hollow of His hand,
and lifted his soul to God; for, amid the roaring of the gale, the
flashes of lightning, the appalling thunder, the feeling that he was in
reality all but under the waves and the knowledge that the proverbial
plank between him and death was of the very thinnest description, a
sensation of helplessness and of dependence on the Almighty, such as he
had never before experienced, crept over him. What the thoughts of the
hermit were he could not tell, for that strange man seldom spoke about
himself; but Moses was not so reticent, for he afterwards remarked that
he had often been caught by gales while in the canoe, and had been
attached for hours to their floating anchor, but that "dat was out ob
sight de wust bust ob wedder dey'd had since dey come to lib at
Krakatoa, an' he had bery nigh giben up in despair!"

The use of the floating breakwater was to meet the full force of the
seas and break them just before they reached the canoe. In spite of this
some of them were so tremendous that, broken though they were, the
swirling foam completely buried the craft for a second or two, but the
sharp bow cut its way through, and the water poured off the deck and off
the stooping figures like rain from a duck's back. Of course a good deal
got in at their necks, sleeves, and other small openings, and wet them
considerably, but that, as Moses remarked, "was not'ing to speak ob."

Thus they lay tossing in the midst of the raging foam for several hours.
Now and then each would raise his head a little to see that the rope
held fast, but was glad to lower it again. They hardly knew when day
broke. It was so slow in coming, and so gloomy and dark when it did
come, that the glare of the lightning-flash seemed more cheerful.

It may be easily believed that there was no conversation during those
hours of elemental strife, though the thoughts of each were busy enough.
At last the thunder ceased, or, rather, retired as if in growling
defiance of the world which it had failed to destroy. Then the sky began
to lighten a little, and although the wind did not materially abate in
force it became more steady and equal. Before noon, however, it had
subsided so much that Moses suggested the propriety of continuing the
voyage. To this Van der Kemp agreed, and the floating anchor was hauled
in; the large paddle was resumed by the hermit, and the dangerous
process of turning the canoe was successfully accomplished.

When the mast was again set up and the close-reefed main and foresails
were hoisted, the light craft bounded away once more before the wind
like a fleck of foam. Then a gleam of sunshine forced its way through
the driving clouds, and painted a spot of emerald green on the heaving
sea. Soon after that Van der Kemp opened the lid, or hatch, of the
forehold, and Spinkie, jumping out with alacrity, took possession of his
usual seat beside the mast, to which he clung with affectionate
tenacity. Gradually the wind went down. Reef after reef of the two sails
was shaken out, and for several hours thereafter our travellers sped
merrily on, plunging into the troughs and cutting through the crests of
the stormy sea.



CHAPTER XIII.

FRIENDS ARE MET WITH, ALSO PIRATES, AND A LIFE-OR-DEATH PADDLE ENSUES.


In physics, as in morals, a storm is frequently the precursor of a dead
calm.

Much to the monkey's joy, to say nothing of the men, the sun erelong
asserted its equatorial power, and, clearing away the clouds, allowed
the celestial blue to smile on the turmoil below. The first result of
that smile was that the wind retired to its secret chambers, leaving the
ships of men to flap their idle sails. Then the ocean ceased to fume,
though its agitated bosom still continued for some time to heave.
Gradually the swell went down and soon the unruffled surface reflected a
dimpling smile to the sky.

When this happy stage had been reached our voyagers lowered and stowed
the canoe-sails, and continued to advance under paddles.

"We get along wonderfully fast, Van der Kemp," said Nigel, while resting
after a pretty long spell; "but it seems to me, nevertheless, that we
shall take a considerable time to reach Borneo at this rate, seeing
that it must be over two hundred miles away, and if we have much bad
weather or contrary wind, we shan't be able to reach it for weeks--if at
all."

"I have been thrown somewhat out of my reckoning," returned the hermit,
"by having to fly from the party on the islet, where I meant to remain
till a steamer, owned by a friend of mine, should pass and pick us up,
canoe and all. The steamer is a short-voyage craft, and usually so
punctual that I can count on it to a day. But it may have passed us in
the gale. If so, I shall take advantage of the first vessel that will
agree to lend us a hand."

"How!--Do you get them to tow you?"

"Nay, that were impossible. A jerk from the tow-rope of a steamer at
full speed would tear us asunder. Have you observed these two strong
ropes running all round our gunwale, and the bridles across with
ring-bolts in them?"

"I have, and did not ask their use, as I thought they were merely meant
to strengthen the canoe."

"So they are," continued the hermit, "but they have other uses
besides--"

"Massa," cried Moses, at this point. "You'll 'scuse me for 'truptin'
you, but it's my opinion dat Spinkie's sufferin' jus' now from a empty
stummik!"

The hermit smiled and Nigel laughed. Laying down his paddle the former
said--

"I understand, Moses. That speech means that you are suffering from the
same complaint. Well--get out the biscuit."

"Jus' de way oh de wurld," muttered the negro with a bland smile. "If a
poor man obsarves an' feels for de sorrows ob anoder, he allers gits
credit for t'inkin' ob hisself. Neber mind, I's used to it!"

Evidently the unjust insinuation did not weigh heavily on the negro's
spirit, for he soon began to eat with the appetite of a healthy
alligator.

While he was thus engaged, he chanced to raise his eyes towards the
south-western horizon, and there saw something which caused him to
splutter, for his mouth was too full to speak, but his speaking eyes and
pointing finger caused his companions to turn their faces quickly to the
quarter indicated.

"A steamer!" exclaimed the hermit and Nigel in the same breath.

The vessel in question was coming straight towards them, and a very
short time enabled Van der Kemp to recognise with satisfaction the
steamer owned by his friend.

"Look here, run that to the mast-head," said Van der Kemp, handing a red
flag to Nigel. "We lie so low in the water that they might pass quite
close without observing us if we showed no signal."

An immediate though slight change in the course of the steamer showed
that the signal had been seen. Hereupon the hermit and Moses performed
an operation on the canoe which still further aroused Nigel's surprise
and curiosity. He resolved to ask no questions, however, but to await
the issue of events.

From the marvellous hold of the canoe, which seemed to be a magazine for
the supply of every human need, Moses drew a short but strong rope or
cable, with a ring in the middle of it, and a hook at each end. He
passed one end along to his master who hooked it to the bridle-rope at
the bow before referred to. The other end was hooked to the bridle in
the stern, so that the ring in the centre came close to Nigel's elbow.

This arrangement had barely been completed when the steamer was within
hail, but no hail was given, for the captain knew what was expected of
him. He reduced speed as the vessel approached the canoe, and finally
came almost to a stop as he ranged alongside.

"What cheer, Van der Kemp? D'ye want a lift to-day?" shouted the
skipper, looking over the side.

A nod and a wave of the hand was the hermit's reply.

"Heave a rope, boys--bow and stern--and lower away the tackle," was the
skipper's order.

A coil was flung to Van der Kemp, who deftly caught it and held on
tight. Another was flung to Moses, who also caught it and held
on--slack. At the same moment, Nigel saw a large block with a hook
attached descending towards his head.

"Catch it, Nigel, and hook it to the ring at your elbow," said the
hermit.

Our hero obeyed, still in surprise, though a glimmer of what was to
follow began to dawn.

"Haul away!" shouted the skipper, and next moment the canoe was swinging
in the air, kept in position by the lines in the hands of Van der Kemp
and Moses. At the same time another order was given, and the steamer
went ahead full speed.

It was all so suddenly done, and seemed such a reckless proceeding, that
Nigel found himself on the steamer's deck, with the canoe reposing
beside him, before he had recovered from his surprise sufficiently to
acknowledge in suitable terms the welcome greeting of the hospitable
skipper.

"You see, Nigel," said Van der Kemp that night, as the two friends paced
the deck together after supper, "I have other means, besides paddles and
sails, of getting quickly about in the Java seas. Many of the traders
and skippers here know me, and give me a lift in this way when I require
it."

"Very kind of them, and very convenient," returned Nigel. He felt
inclined to add: "But why all this moving about?" for it was quite
evident that trade was not the hermit's object, but the question, as
usual, died on his lips, and he somewhat suddenly changed the subject.

"D'ye know, Van der Kemp, that I feel as if I must have seen you
somewhere or other before now, for your features seem strangely familiar
to me. Have you ever been in England?"

"Never. As I have told you, I was born in Java, and was educated in
Hongkong at an English School. But a fancy of this sort is not very
uncommon. I myself once met a perfect stranger who bore so strong a
resemblance to an old friend, that I spoke to him as such, and only
found out from his voice that I was mistaken."

The captain of the steamer came on deck at that moment and cut short the
conversation.

"Are you engaged, Van der Kemp?" he asked.

"No--I am at your service."

"Come below then, I want to have a talk with you."

Thus left alone, and overhearing a loud burst of laughter at the fore
part of the steamer, Nigel went forward to see what was going on. He
found a group of sailors round his comrade Moses, apparently engaged in
good-natured "chaff."

"Come, now, blackey," said one; "be a good fellow for once in your life
an' tell us what makes your master live on a desert island like Robinson
Crusoe, an' go about the ocean in a canoe."

"Look 'ere now, whitey," returned Moses, "what you take me for?"

"A nigger, of course."

"Ob course, an' you're right for once, which is sitch an unusual t'ing
dat I 'dvise you go an' ax de cappen to make a note ob it in de log. I's
a nigger, an' a nigger's so much more 'cute dan a white man dat you
shouldn't ought to expect him to blab his massa's secrets."

"Right you are, Moses. Come, then, if you won't reweal secrets, give us
a song."

"Couldn't t'ink ob such a t'ing," said the negro, with a solemn,
remonstrant shake of the head.

"Why not?"

"'Cause I neber sing a song widout a moral, an' I don't like to hurt
your feelin's by singin' a moral dat would be sure to waken up _some_ o'
your consciences."

"Never mind that, darkey. Our consciences are pretty tough. Heave
ahead."

"But dere's a chorus," said Moses, looking round doubtfully.

"What o' that? We'll do our best with it--if it ain't too difficult."

"Oh, it's not diffikilt, but if de lazy fellers among you sings de
chorus dey'll be singin' lies, an' I don't 'zackly like to help men to
tell lies. Howseber, here goes. It begins wid de chorus so's you may
know it afore you has to sing it."

So saying, Moses struck two fingers on the capstan after the manner of a
tuning-fork, and, holding them gravely to his ear as if to get the right
pitch, began in a really fine manly voice to chant the following
ditty:--

"GO TO WORK."

      Oh when de sun am shinin' bright, and eberyt'ing am fair,
      Clap on de steam an' go to work, an' take your proper share.
      De wurld hab got to go ahead, an' dem what's young and strong
      Mus' do deir best, wid all de rest, to roll de wurld along.

    De lazy man does all he can to stop its whirlin' round.
    If he was king he'd loaf an' sing--and guzzle, I'll be bound,
    He always shirk de hardest work, an' t'ink he's awful clebbar,
    But boder his head to earn his bread, Oh! no, he'll nebber, nebber.
                     _Chorus_--Oh when de sun, etc.

    De selfish man would rader dan put out his hand to work,
    Let women toil, an' sweat and moil--as wicked as de Turk.
    De cream ob eberyt'ing he wants, let oders hab de skim;
    In fact de wurld and all it holds was only made for him.
                     _Chorus_--Oh when de sun, etc.

    So keep de ball a-rollin', boys, an' each one do his best
    To make de wurld a happy one--for dat's how man is blest.
    Do unto oders all around de t'ing what's good and true,
    An' oders, 'turning tit for tat, will do de same to you.
                     _Chorus_--Oh when de sun, etc.

The sailors, who were evidently much pleased, took up the chorus
moderately at the second verse, came out strong at the third, and sang
with such genuine fervour at the last that it was quite evident, as
Moses remarked, there was not a lazy man amongst them--at least, if they
all sang conscientiously!

The weather improved every hour, and after a fine run of about
twenty-four hours over that part of the Malay Sea, our three voyagers
were lowered over the steamer's side in their canoe when within sight of
the great island of Borneo.

"I'm sorry," said the captain at parting, "that our courses diverge
here, for I would gladly have had your company a little longer.
Good-bye. I hope we'll come across you some other time when I'm in these
parts."

"Thanks--thanks, my friend,'" replied Van der Kemp, with a warm grip of
the hand, and a touch of pathos in his tones. "I trust that we shall
meet again. You have done me good service by shortening my voyage
considerably.--Farewell."

"I say, Moses," shouted one of the seamen, as he looked down on the tiny
canoe while they were pushing off.

"Hallo?"

"Keep your heart up, for--we'll try to 'do to oders all around de t'ing
what's good an' true!'"

"Das de way, boy--'an' oders, 'turning tit for tat, will do de same to
you!'"

He yelled rather than sang this at the top of his tuneful voice, and
waved his hand as the sharp craft shot away over the sea.

Fortunately the sea was calm, for it was growing dark when they reached
the shores of Borneo and entered the mouth of a small stream, up which
they proceeded to paddle. The banks of the stream were clothed with
mangrove trees. We have said the banks, but in truth the mouth of that
river had no distinguishable banks at all, for it is the nature of the
mangrove to grow in the water--using its roots as legs with which, as it
were, to wade away from shore. When darkness fell suddenly on the
landscape, as it is prone to do in tropical regions, the gnarled roots
of those mangroves assumed the appearance of twining snakes in Nigel's
eyes. Possessing a strongly imaginative mind he could with difficulty
resist the belief that he saw them moving slimily about in the black
water, and, in the dim mysterious light, tree stems and other objects
assumed the appearance of hideous living forms, so that he was enabled
to indulge the uncomfortable fancy that they were traversing some
terrestrial Styx into one of Dante's regions of horror.

In some respects this was not altogether a fancy, for they were
unwittingly drawing near to a band of human beings whose purposes, if
fully carried out, would render the earth little better than a hell to
many of their countrymen.

It is pretty well known that there is a class of men in Borneo called
Head Hunters. These men hold the extraordinary and gruesome opinion that
a youth has not attained to respectable manhood until he has taken the
life of some human being.

There are two distinct classes of Dyaks--those who inhabit the hills and
those who dwell on the sea-coast. It is the latter who recruit the ranks
of the pirates of those eastern seas, and it was to the camp of a band
of such villains that our adventurers were, as already said, unwittingly
drawing near.

They came upon them at a bend of the dark river beyond which point the
mangroves gave place to other trees--but what sort of trees they were it
was scarcely light enough to make out very distinctly, except in the
case of the particular tree in front of which the Dyaks were encamped,
the roots of which were strongly illuminated by their camp fire. We say
_roots_ advisedly, for this singular and gigantic tree started its
branches from a complexity of aërial roots which themselves formed a
pyramid some sixty feet high, before the branches proper of the tree
began.

If our voyagers had used oars the sharp ears of the pirates would have
instantly detected them. As it was, the softly moving paddles and the
sharp cutwater of the canoe made no noise whatever. The instant that Van
der Kemp, from his position in the bow, observed the camp, he dipped his
paddle deep, and noiselessly backed water. There was no need to give any
signal to his servant. Such a thorough understanding existed between
them that the mere action of the hermit was sufficient to induce the
negro to support him by a similar movement on the opposite side, and the
canoe glided as quickly backward as it had previously advanced. When
under the deep shadow of the bank Moses thrust the canoe close in, and
his master, laying hold of the bushes, held fast and made a sign to him
to land and reconnoitre.

Creeping forward to an opening in the bushes close at hand, Moses peeped
through. Then he turned and made facial signals of a kind so complicated
that he could not be understood, as nothing was visible save the
flashing of his teeth and eyes. Van der Kemp therefore recalled him by a
sign, and, stepping ashore, whispered Nigel to land.

[Illustration: DISCOVER A PIRATES' BIVOUAC.--PAGE 164.]

Another minute and the three travellers stood on the bank with their
heads close together.

"Wait here for me," said the hermit, in the lowest possible whisper. "I
will go and see who they are."

"Strange," said Nigel, when he was gone; "strange that in so short a
time your master should twice have to stalk strangers in this way.
History repeats itself, they say. It appears to do so rather fast in
these regions! Does he not run a very great risk of being discovered?"

"Not de smallest," replied the negro, with as much emphasis as was
possible in a whisper. "Massa hab ride wid de Vaquieros ob Ameriky an'
hunt wid de Injuns on de Rockies. No more fear ob deir ketchin' him dan
ob ketchin' a streak o' lightnin'. He come back bery soon wid all de
news."

Moses was a true prophet. Within half-an-hour Van der Kemp returned as
noiselessly as he had gone. He did not keep them long in uncertainty.

"I have heard enough," he whispered, "to assure me that a plot, of which
I had already heard a rumour, has nearly been laid. We fell in with the
chief plotters on the islet the other night; the band here is in
connection with them and awaits their arrival before carrying out their
dark designs. There is nothing very mysterious about it. One tribe
plotting to attack another--that is all; but as a friend of mine dwells
just now with the tribe to be secretly attacked, it behoves me to do
what I can to save him. I am perplexed, however. It would seem sometimes
as if we were left in perplexity for wise purposes which are beyond our
knowledge."

"Perhaps to test our willingness to _do right_," suggested Nigel.

"I know not," returned the hermit, as if musing, but never raising his
voice above the softest whisper. "My difficulty lies here; I _must_ go
forward to save the life of my friend. I must _not_ leave you at the
mouth of a mangrove river to die or be captured by pirates, and yet I
have no right to ask you to risk your life on my account!"

"You may dismiss your perplexities then," said Nigel, promptly, "for I
decline to be left to die here or to be caught by pirates, and I am
particularly anxious to assist you in rescuing your friend. Besides, am
I not your hired servant?"

"The risk we run is only at the beginning," said Van der Kemp. "If we
succeed in passing the Dyaks unseen all will be well. If they see us,
they will give chase, and our lives, under God, will depend on the
strength of our arms, for I am known to them and have thwarted their
plans before now. If they catch us, death will be our certain doom. Are
you prepared?"

"Ready!" whispered Nigel.

Without another word the hermit took his place in the bow of the canoe.
Moses stepped into the stern, and our hero sat down in the middle.

Before pushing off, the hermit drew a revolver and a cutlass from his
store-room in the bow and handed them to Nigel, who thrust the first
into his belt and fastened the other to the deck by means of a strap
fixed there on purpose to prevent its being rolled or swept off. This
contrivance, as well as all the other appliances in the canoe, had
previously been pointed out and explained to him. The hermit and negro
having armed themselves in similar way, let go the bushes which held
them close to the bank and floated out into the stream. They let the
canoe drift down a short way so as to be well concealed by the bend in
the river and a mass of bushes. Then they slowly paddled over to the
opposite side and commenced to creep up as close to the bank as
possible, under the deep shadow of overhanging trees, and so noiselessly
that they appeared in the darkness like a passing phantom.

But the sharp eyes of the pirates were too much accustomed to phantoms
of every kind to be easily deceived. Just as the canoe was about to pass
beyond the line of their vision a stir was heard in their camp. Then a
stern challenge rolled across the river and awoke the slumbering echoes
of the forest--perchance to the surprise and scaring away of some
prowling beast of prey.

"No need for concealment now," said Van der Kemp, quietly; "we must
paddle for life. If you have occasion to use your weapons, Nigel, take
no life needlessly. Moses knows my mind on this point and needs no
warning. Any fool can take away life. Only God can give it."

"I will be careful," replied Nigel, as he dipped his paddle with all the
muscular power at his command. His comrades did the same, and the canoe
shot up the river like an arrow.

A yell from the Dyaks, and the noise of jumping into and pushing off
their boats told that there was no time to lose.

"They are strong men, and plenty of them to relieve each other," said
the hermit, who now spoke in his ordinary tones, "so they have some
chance of overhauling us in the smooth water; but a few miles further up
there is a rapid which will stop them and will only check us. If we can
reach it we shall be safe."

While he was speaking every muscle in his broad back and arms was
strained to the uttermost; so also were the muscles of his companions,
and the canoe seemed to advance by a series of rapid leaps and bounds.
Yet the sound of the pursuers' oars seemed to increase, and soon the
proverb "it is the pace that kills" received illustration, for the speed
of the canoe began to decrease a little--very little at first--while the
pursuers, with fresh hands at the oars, gradually overhauled the
fugitives.

"Put on a spurt!" said the hermit, setting the example.

The pirates heard the words and understood either them or the action
that followed, for they also "put on a spurt," and encouraged each other
with a cheer.

Moses heard the cheer, and at the same time heard the sound of the rapid
to which they were by that time drawing near. He glanced over his
shoulder and could make out the dim form of the leading boat, with a
tall figure standing up in the bow, not thirty yards behind.

"Shall we manage it, Moses?" asked Van der Kemp, in that calm steady
voice which seemed to be unchangeable either by anxiety or peril.

"No, massa. Unpossable--widout _dis_!"

The negro drew the revolver from his belt, slewed round, took rapid aim
and fired.

The tall figure in the bow of the boat fell back with a crash and a
hideous yell. Great shouting and confusion followed, and the boat
dropped behind. A few minutes later and the canoe was leaping over the
surges of a shallow rapid. They dashed from eddy to eddy, taking
advantage of every stone that formed a tail of backwater below it, and
gradually worked the light craft upward in a way that the hermit and his
man had learned in the nor'-western rivers of America.

"We are not safe yet," said the former, resting and wiping his brow as
they floated for a few seconds in a calm basin at the head of the
rapid.

"Surely they cannot take a boat up such a place as that!"

"Nay, but they can follow up the banks on foot. However, we will soon
baffle them, for the river winds like a serpent just above this, and by
carrying our canoe across one, two, or three spits of land we will gain
a distance in an hour or so that would cost them nearly a day to ascend
in boats. They know that, and will certainly give up the chase. I think
they have given it up already, but it is well to make sure."

"I wonder why they did not fire at us," remarked Nigel.

"Probably because they felt sure of catching us," returned the hermit,
"and when they recovered from the confusion that Moses threw them into
we were lost to them in darkness, besides being pretty well beyond
range. I hope, Moses, that you aimed low."

"Yes, massa--but it's sca'cely fair when life an' def am in de balance
to expect me to hit 'im on de legs on a dark night. Legs is a bad
targit. Bullet's apt to pass between 'em. Howseber, dat feller won't hop
much for some time to come!"

A couple of hours later, having carried the canoe and baggage across the
spits of land above referred to, and thus put at least half-a-day's
journey between themselves and their foes, they came to a halt for the
night.

"It won't be easy to find a suitable place to camp on," remarked Nigel,
glancing at the bank, where the bushes grew so thick that they overhung
the water, brushing the faces of our travellers and rendering the
darkness so intense that they had literally to feel their way as they
glided along.

"We will encamp where we are," returned the hermit. "I'll make fast to a
bush and you may get out the victuals, Moses."

"Das de bery best word you've said dis day, massa," remarked the negro
with a profound sigh. "I's pritty well tired now, an' de bery t'ought ob
grub comforts me!"

"Do you mean that we shall sleep in the canoe?" asked Nigel.

"Ay, why not?" returned the hermit, who could be heard, though not seen,
busying himself with the contents of the fore locker. "You'll find the
canoe a pretty fair bed. You have only to slip down and pull your head
and shoulders through the manhole and go to sleep. You won't want
blankets in this weather, and, see--there is a pillow for you and
another for Moses."

"I cannot _see_, but I can feel," said Nigel, with a soft laugh, as he
passed the pillow aft.

"T'ank ee, Nadgel," said Moses; "here--feel behind you an' you'll find
grub for yourself an' some to pass forid to massa. Mind when you slip
down for go to sleep dat you don't dig your heels into massa's skull.
Dere's no bulkhead to purtect it."

"I'll be careful," said Nigel, beginning his invisible supper with keen
appetite. "But how about _my_ skull, Moses? Is there a bulkhead between
it and _your_ heels?"

"No, but you don't need to mind, for I allers sleeps doubled up, wid my
knees agin my chin. It makes de arms an' legs feel more sociable like."

With this remark Moses ceased to encourage conversation--his mouth being
otherwise engaged.

Thereafter they slipped down into their respective places, laid their
heads on their pillows and fell instantly into sound repose, while the
dark waters flowed sluggishly past, and the only sound that disturbed
the universal stillness was the occasional cry of some creature of the
night or the flap of an alligator's tail.



CHAPTER XIV.

A NEW FRIEND FOUND--NEW DANGERS ENCOUNTERED AND HEW HOPES DELAYED.


When grey dawn began to dispel the gloom of night, Nigel Roy awoke with
an uncomfortable sensation of having been buried alive. Stretching
himself as was his wont he inadvertently touched the head of Van der
Kemp, an exclamation from whom aroused Moses, who, uncoiling himself,
awoke Spinkie. It was usually the privilege of that affectionate
creature to nestle in the negro's bosom.

With the alacrity peculiar to his race, Spinkie sprang through the
manhole and sat down in his particular place to superintend, perhaps to
admire, the work of his human friends, whose dishevelled heads emerged
simultaneously from their respective burrows.

Dawn is a period of the day when the spirit of man is calmly reflective.
Speech seemed distasteful that morning, and as each knew what had to be
done, it was needless. The silently conducted operations of the men
appeared to arouse fellow-feeling in the monkey, for its careworn
countenance became more and more expressive as it gazed earnestly and
alternately into the faces of its comrades. To all appearance it seemed
about to speak--but it didn't.

Pushing out from the shore they paddled swiftly up stream, and soon put
such a distance between them and their late pursuers that all risk of
being overtaken was at an end.

All day they advanced inland without rest, save at the breakfast hour,
and again at mid-day to dine. Towards evening they observed that the
country through which they were passing had changed much in character
and aspect. The low and swampy region had given place to hillocks and
undulating ground, all covered with the beautiful virgin forest with its
palms and creepers and noble fruit-trees and rich vegetation,
conspicuous among which magnificent ferns of many kinds covered the
steep banks of the stream.

On rounding a point of the river the travellers came suddenly upon an
interesting group, in the midst of a most beautiful woodland scene.
Under the trees on a flat spot by the river-bank were seated round a
fire a man and a boy and a monkey. The monkey was a tame orang-utan,
youthful but large. The boy was a Dyak in light cotton drawers, with the
upper part of his body naked, brass rings on his arms, heavy ornaments
in his ears, and a bright kerchief worn as a turban on his head. The man
was a sort of nondescript in a semi-European shooting garb, with a
wide-brimmed sombrero on his head, black hair, a deeply tanned face, a
snub nose, huge beard and moustache, and immense blue spectacles.

Something not unlike a cheer burst from the usually undemonstrative Van
der Kemp on coming in sight of the party, and he waved his hand as if in
recognition. The nondescript replied by starting to his feet, throwing
up both arms and giving vent to an absolute roar of joy.

"He seems to know you," remarked Nigel, as they made for a
landing-place.

"Yes. He is the friend I have come to rescue," replied the hermit in a
tone of quiet satisfaction. "He is a naturalist and lives with the Rajah
against whom the pirates are plotting."

"He don't look z'if he needs much rescuin'," remarked Moses with a
chuckle, as they drew to land.

The man looked in truth as if he were well able to take care of himself
in most circumstances, being of colossal bulk although somewhat short of
limb.

"Ah! mein frond! mine brodder!" he exclaimed, in fairly idiomatic
English, but with a broken pronunciation that was a mixture of Dutch,
American, and Malay. His language therefore, like himself, was
nondescript. In fact he was an American-born Dutchman, who had been
transported early in life to the Straits Settlements, had received most
of his education in Hongkong, was an old school-fellow of Van der Kemp,
became an enthusiastic naturalist, and, being possessed of independent
means, spent most of his time in wandering about the various islands of
the archipelago, making extensive collections of animal and vegetable
specimens, which he distributed with liberal hand to whatever museums at
home or abroad seemed most to need or desire them. Owing to his tastes
and habits he had been dubbed Professor by his friends.

"Ach! Van der Kemp," he exclaimed, while his coal-black eyes glittered
as they shook hands, "_vat_ a booterfly I saw to-day! It beat all
creation! The vay it flew--oh! But, excuse me--v'ere did you come from,
and vy do you come? An' who is your frond?"

He turned to Nigel as he spoke, and doffed his sombrero with a gracious
bow.

"An Englishman--Nigel Roy--who has joined me for a few months," said the
hermit. "Let me introduce you, Nigel, to my good friend, Professor
Verkimier."

Nigel held out his hand and gave the naturalist's a shake so hearty,
that a true friendship was begun on the spot--a friendship which was
rapidly strengthened when the professor discovered that the English
youth had a strong leaning towards his own favourite studies.

"Ve vill hont an' shot togezzer, mine frond," he said, on making this
discovery, "ant I vill show you v'ere de best booterflies are to be
fount--Oh! sooch a von as I saw to---- but, excuse me, Van der Kemp. Vy
you come here joost now?"

"To save _you_" said the hermit, with a scintillation of his
half-pitiful smile.

"To safe _me_!" exclaimed Verkimier, with a look of surprise which was
greatly intensified by the rotundity of the blue spectacles. "Vell, I
don't feel to vant safing joost at present."

"It is not that danger threatens _you_ so much as your friend the
Rajah," returned the hermit. "But if he falls, all under his protection
fall along with him. I happen to have heard of a conspiracy against him,
on so large a scale that certain destruction would follow if he were
taken by surprise, so I have come on in advance of the conspirators to
warn him in time. You know I have received much kindness from the Rajah,
so I could do no less than warn him of impending danger, and then the
fact that you were with him made me doubly anxious to reach you in
time."

While the hermit was saying this, the naturalist removed his blue
glasses, and slowly wiped them with a corner of his coat-tails.
Replacing them, he gazed intently into the grave countenance of his
friend till he had finished speaking.

"Are zee raskils near?" he asked, sternly.

"No. We have come on many days ahead of them. But we found a party at
the river's mouth awaiting their arrival."

"Ant zey cannot arrife, you say, for several veeks?"

"Probably not--even though they had fair and steady winds."

A sigh of satisfaction broke through the naturalist's moustache on
hearing this.

"Zen I vill--_ve_ vill, you and I, Mister Roy,--go after ze booterflies
to-morrow!"

"But we must push on," remonstrated Van der Kemp, "for preparations to
resist an attack cannot be commenced too soon."

"_You_ may push on, mine frond; go ahead if you vill, but I vill not
leave zee booterflies. You know veil zat I vill die--if need be--for zee
Rajah. Ve must all die vonce, at least, and I should like to die--if I
must die--in a goot cause. What cause better zan frondship? But you say
joost now zere is no dancher. Vell, I vill go ant see zee booterflies
to-morrow. After zat, I will go ant die--if it must be--vith zee Rajah."

"I heartily applaud your sentiment," said Nigel, with a laugh, as he
helped himself to some of the food which the Dyak youth and Moses had
prepared, "and if Van der Kemp will give me leave of absence I will
gladly keep you company."

"Zank you. Pass round zee victuals. My appetite is strong. It alvays vas
more or less strong. Vat say you, Van der Kemp?"

"I have no objection. Moses and I can easily take the canoe up the
river. There are no rapids, and it is not far to the Rajah's village; so
you are welcome to go, Nigel."

"Das de most 'straord'nary craze I eber know'd men inflicted wid!" said
Moses that night, as he sat smoking his pipe beside the Dyak boy. "It
passes my compr'ension what fun dey find runnin' like child'n arter
butterflies, an' beetles, an' sitch like varmint. My massa am de wisest
man on eart', yet _he_ go a little wild dat way too--sometimes!"

Moses looked at the Dyak boy with a puzzled expression, but as the Dyak
boy did not understand English, he looked intently at the fire, and said
nothing.

Next morning Nigel entered the forest under the guidance of Verkimier
and the Dyak youth, and the orang-utan, which followed like a dog, and
sometimes even took hold of its master's arm and walked with him as if
it had been a very small human being. It was a new experience to Nigel
to walk in the sombre shade beneath the tangled arches of the
wilderness. In some respects it differed entirely from his expectations,
and in others it surpassed them. The gloom was deeper than he had
pictured it, but the shade was not displeasing in a land so close to the
equator. Then the trees were much taller than he had been led to
suppose, and the creeping plants more numerous, while, to his surprise,
the wild-flowers were comparatively few and small. But the scarcity of
these was somewhat compensated by the rich and brilliant colouring of
the foliage.

The abundance and variety of the ferns also struck the youth
particularly.

"Ah! zey are magnificent!" exclaimed Verkimier with enthusiasm. "Look at
zat tree-fern. You have not'ing like zat in England--eh! I have found
nearly von hoondred specimens of ferns. Zen, look at zee fruit-trees. Ve
have here, you see, zee Lansat, Mangosteen, Rambutan, Jack, Jambon,
Blimbing ant many ozers--but zee queen of fruits is zee Durian. Have you
tasted zee Durian?"

"No, not yet."

"Ha! a new sensation is before you! Stay, you vill eat von by ant by.
Look, zat is a Durian tree before you."

He pointed as he spoke to a large and lofty tree, which Mr. A.R.
Wallace, the celebrated naturalist and traveller, describes as
resembling an elm in general character but with a more smooth and scaly
bark. The fruit is round, or slightly oval, about the size of a man's
head, of a green colour, and covered all over with short spines which
are very strong and so sharp that it is difficult to lift the fruit from
the ground. Only the experienced and expert can cut the tough outer
rind. There are five faint lines extending from the base to the apex of
the fruit, through which it may be divided with a heavy knife and a
strong hand, so as to get to the delicious creamy pulp inside.

There is something paradoxical in the descriptions of this fruit by
various writers, but all agree that it is inexpressibly good! Says
one--writing of the sixteenth century--"It is of such an excellent taste
that it surpasses in flavour all the other fruits of the world." Another
writes: "This fruit is of a hot and humid nature. To those not used to
it, it seems at first to smell like rotten onions! but immediately they
have tasted it they prefer it to all other food." Wallace himself says
of it: "When brought into the house, the smell is so offensive that some
persons can never bear to taste it. This was my own case in Malacca, but
in Borneo I found a ripe fruit on the ground, and, eating it out of
doors, I at once became a confirmed Durian-eater!"

This was exactly the experience of Nigel Roy that day, and the way in
which the fruit came to him was also an experience, but of a very
different sort. It happened just as they were looking about for a
suitable spot on which to rest and eat their mid-day meal. Verkimier was
in front with the orang-utan reaching up to his arm and hobbling
affectionately by his side--for there was a strong mutual affection
between them. The Dyak youth brought up the rear, with a sort of
game-bag on his shoulders.

Suddenly Nigel felt something graze his arm, and heard a heavy thud at
his side. It was a ripe Durian which had fallen from an immense height
and missed him by a hairbreadth.

"Zank Got, you have escaped!" exclaimed the professor, looking back with
a solemn countenance.

"I have indeed escaped what might have been a severe blow," said Nigel,
stooping to examine the fruit, apparently forgetful that more might
follow.

"Come--come avay. My boy vill bring it. Men are sometimes killed by zis
fruit. Here now ve vill dine."

They sat down on a bank which was canopied by ferns. While the boy was
arranging their meal, Verkimier drew a heavy hunting-knife from his belt
and applying it with an unusually strong hand to the Durian laid it
open. Nigel did not at all relish the smell, but he was not fastidious
or apt to be prejudiced. He tasted--and, like Mr. Wallace, "became a
confirmed Durian eater" from that day.

"Ve draw near to zee region vere ve shall find zee booterflies," said
the naturalist, during a pause in their luncheon.

"I hope we shall be successful," said Nigel, helping himself to some
more of what may be styled Durian cream. "To judge from the weight and
hardness of this fruit, I should think a blow on one's head from it
would be fatal."

"Sometimes, not alvays. I suppose zat Dyak skulls are strong. But zee
wound is terrible, for zee spikes tear zee flesh dreadfully. Zee Dyak
chief, Rajah, vith whom I dwell joost now, was floored once by one, and
he expected to die--but he did not. He is alife ant vell, as you shall
see."

As he spoke a large butterfly fluttered across the scene of their
festivities. With all the energy of his enthusiastic spirit and strong
muscular frame the naturalist leaped up, overturned his dinner, rushed
after the coveted _specimen_, tripped over a root, and measured his
length on the ground.

"Zat comes of too much horry!" he remarked, as he picked up his glasses,
and returned, humbly, to continue his dinner. "Mine frond, learn a
lesson from a foolish man!"

"I shall learn two lessons," said Nigel, laughing--"first, to avoid
your too eager haste, and, second, to copy if I can your admirable
enthusiasm."

"You are very goot. Some more cheekin' if you please. Zanks. Ve most
make haste viz our meal ant go to vork."

The grandeur and novelty of the scenery through which they passed when
they did go to work was a source of constant delight and surprise to our
hero, whose inherent tendency to take note of and admire the wonderful
works of God was increased by the unflagging enthusiasm and interesting
running commentary of his companion, whose flow of language and eager
sympathy formed a striking contrast to the profound silence and gravity
of the Dyak youth, as well as to the pathetic and affectionate
selfishness of the man-monkey.

It must not, however, be supposed that the young orang-utan was unworthy
of his victuals, for, besides being an amusing and harmless companion,
he had been trained to use his natural capacity for climbing trees in
the service of his master. Thus he ascended the tall Durian trees, when
ordered, and sent down some of the fruit in a few minutes--an operation
which his human companions could not have accomplished without tedious
delay and the construction of an ingenious ladder having slender bamboos
for one of its sides, and the tree to be ascended for its other side,
with splinters of bamboo driven into it by way of rounds.

"Zat is zee pitcher-plant," said Verkimier, as Nigel stopped suddenly
before a plant which he had often read of but never seen. He was told by
his friend that pitcher-plants were very numerous in that region; that
every mountain-top abounded with them; that they would be found trailing
along the ground and climbing over shrubs and stunted trees, with their
elegant pitchers hanging in every direction. Some of these, he said,
were long and slender, others broad and short. The plant at which they
were looking was a broad green one, variously tinted and mottled with
red, and was large enough to hold two quarts of water.

Resuming the march Nigel observed that the group of orchids was
abundant, but a large proportion of the species had small inconspicuous
flowers. Some, however, had large clusters of yellow flowers which had a
very ornamental effect on the sombre forest. But, although the
exceptions were striking, he found that in Borneo, as elsewhere, flowers
were scarcer than he had expected in an equatorial forest. There were,
however, more than enough of striking and surprising things to engage
the attention of our hero, and arouse his interest.

One tree they came to which rendered him for some moments absolutely
speechless! to the intense delight of the professor, who marched his
new-found sympathiser from one object of interest to another with the
secret intention of surprising him, and when he had got him to the point
of open-mouthed amazement he was wont to turn his spectacles full on his
face, like the mouths of a blue binocular, in order to witness and enjoy
his emotions!

Nigel found this out at last and was rather embarrassed in consequence.

"Zat," exclaimed the naturalist, after gazing at his friend for some
time in silence, "zat is a tree vitch planted itself in mid-air and zen
sent its roots down to zee ground and its branches up to zee sky!"

"It looks as if it had," returned Nigel; "I have seen a tree of the same
kind near the coast. How came it to grow in this way?"

"I know not. It is zought zat zey spring from a seed dropped by a bird
into zee fork of anozer tree. Zee seed grows, sends his roots down ant
his branches up. Ven his roots reach zee ground he lays hold, ant, ven
strong enough, kills his support--zus returning efil for good, like a
zankless dependent. Ah! zere is much resemblance between plants and
animals! Com', ve must feed here," said the professor, resting his gun
against one of the roots, "I had expected to find zee booterflies
sooner. It cannot be helped. Let us make zis our banqueting-hall. Ve
vill have a Durian to refresh us, ant here is a bandy tree which seems
to have ripe vones on it.--Go," he added, turning to the orang-utan,
"and send down von or two."

The creature looked helplessly incapable, pitifully unwilling,
scratching its side the while. Evidently it was a lazy monkey.

"Do you hear?" said Verkimier, sternly.

The orang moved uneasily, but still declined to go.

Turning sharply on it, the professor bent down, placed a hand on each of
his knees and stared through the blue goggles into the animal's face.

This was more than it could stand. With a very bad grace it hobbled off
to the Durian tree, ascended it with a sort of lazy, lumbering facility,
and hurled down some of the fruit without warning those below to look
out.

"My little frond is obstinate sometimes," remarked the naturalist,
picking up the fruit, "but ven I bring my glasses to bear on him he
alvays gives in. I never found zem fail. Come now; eat, an' ve vill go
to vork again. Ve must certainly find zee booterflies somevere before
night."

[Illustration: "DO YOU HEAR?" SAID VERKIMIER, STERNLY.--PAGE 187.]

But Verkimier was wrong. It was his destiny not to find the butterflies
that night, or in that region at all, for he and his companion had not
quite finished their meal when a Dyak youth came running up to them
saying that he had been sent by the Rajah to order their immediate
return to the village.

"Alas! ve most go. It is dancherous to disobey zee Rajah--ant I am
sorry--very sorry--zat I cannot show you zee booterflies to-day. No
matter.--Go" (to the Dyak youth), "tell your chief ve vill come. Better
lock zee next time!"



CHAPTER XV.

HUNTING THE GREAT MAN-MONKEY.


Although Professor Verkimier had promised to return at once, he was
compelled to encamp in the forest, being overtaken by night before he
could reach the river and procure a boat.

Next morning they started at daybreak. The country over which they
passed had again changed its character and become more hilly. On the
summits of many of the hills Dyak villages could be seen, and rice
fields were met with as they went along. Several gullies and rivulets
were crossed by means of native bamboo bridges, and the professor
explained as he went along the immense value of the bamboo to the
natives. With it they make their suspension bridges, build their houses,
and procure narrow planking for their floors. If they want broader
planks they split a large bamboo on one side and flatten it out to a
plank of about eighteen inches wide. Portions of hollow bamboo serve as
receptacles for milk or water. If a precipice stops a path, the Dyaks
will not hesitate to construct a bamboo path along the face of it, using
branches of trees wherever convenient from which to hang the path, and
every crevice or notch in the rocks to receive the ends of the bamboos
by which it is supported.

Honey-bees in Borneo hang their combs, to be out of danger no doubt,
under the branches of the Tappan, which towers above all the other trees
of the forest. But the Dyaks love honey and value wax as an article of
trade; they therefore erect their ingenious bamboo ladder--which can be
prolonged to any height on the smooth branchless stem of the Tappan--and
storm the stronghold of the bees with much profit to themselves, for
bees'-wax will purchase from the traders the brass wire, rings,
gold-edged kerchiefs and various ornaments with which they decorate
themselves. When travelling, the Dyaks use bamboos as cooking vessels in
which to boil rice and other vegetables; as jars in which to preserve
honey, sugar, etc., or salted fish and fruit. Split bamboos form
aqueducts by which water is conveyed to the houses. A small neatly
carved piece of bamboo serves as a case in which are carried the
materials used in the disgusting practice of betel-nut chewing--which
seems to be equivalent to the western tobacco-chewing. If a pipe is
wanted the Dyak will in a wonderfully short space of time make a huge
hubble-bubble out of bamboos of different sizes, and if his long-bladed
knife requires a sheath the same gigantic grass supplies one almost
ready-made. But the uses to which this reed may be applied are almost
endless, and the great outstanding advantage of it is that it needs no
other tools than an axe and a knife to work it.

At about mid-day the river was reached, and they found a native boat, or
prau, which had been sent down to convey them to the Rajah's village.
Here Nigel was received with the hospitality due to a friend of Van der
Kemp, who, somehow--probably by unselfish readiness, as well as ability,
to oblige--had contrived to make devoted friends in whatever part of the
Malay Archipelago he travelled.

Afterwards, in a conversation with Nigel, the professor, referring to
those qualities of the hermit which endeared him to men everywhere,
said, with a burst of enthusiasm, which almost outdid himself--

"You cannot oonderstant Van der Kemp. No man can oonderstant him. He is
goot, right down to zee marrow--kind, amiable, oonselfish, obliging,
nevair seems to zink of himself at all, ant, abof all zings, is capable.
Vat he vill do, he can do--vat he can do he vill do. But he is sad--very
sad."

"I have observed that, of course," said Nigel. "Do you know what makes
him so sad?"

The professor shook his head.

"No, I do not know. Nobody knows. I have tried to find out, but he vill
not speak."

The Orang-Kaya, or rich man, as this hill chief was styled, had provided
lodgings for his visitors in the "head-house." This was a large circular
building erected on poles. There is such a house in nearly all Dyak
villages. It serves as a trading-place, a strangers' room, a
sleeping-room for unmarried youths, and a general council-chamber. Here
Nigel found the hermit and Moses enjoying a good meal when he arrived,
to which he and the professor sat down after paying their respects to
the chief.

"The Orang-Kaya hopes that we will stay with him some time and help to
defend the village," said Van der Kemp, when they were all seated.

"Of course you have agreed?" said Nigel.

"Yes; I came for that purpose."

"We's allers ready to fight in a good cause," remarked Moses, just
before filling his mouth with rice.

"Or to die in it!" added Verkimier, engulfing the breast of a chicken at
a bite. "But as zee pirates are not expected for some days, ve may as
veil go after zee mias--zat is what zee natifs call zee orang-utan. It
is a better word, being short."

Moses glanced at the professor out of the corners of his black eyes and
seemed greatly tickled by his enthusiastic devotion to business.

"I am also," continued the professor, "extremely anxious to go at zee
booterflies before--"

"You die," suggested Nigel, venturing on a pleasantry, whereat Moses
opened his mouth in a soundless laugh, but, observing the professor's
goggles levelled at him, he transformed the laugh into an astounding
sneeze, and immediately gazed with pouting innocence and interest at his
plate.

"Do you alvays sneeze like zat?" asked Verkimier.

"Not allers," answered the negro simply, "sometimes I gibs way a good
deal wuss. Depends on de inside ob my nose an' de state ob de wedder."

What the professor would have replied we cannot say, for just then a
Dyak youth rushed in to say that an unusually large and gorgeous
butterfly had been seen just outside the village!

No application of fire to gunpowder could have produced a more immediate
effect. The professor's rice was scattered on the floor, and himself was
outside the head-house before his comrades knew exactly what was the
matter.

"He's always like that," said the hermit, with a slight twinkle in his
eyes. "Nothing discourages--nothing subdues him. Twice I pulled him out
of deadly danger into which he had run in his eager pursuit of
specimens. And he has returned the favour to me, for he rescued me once
when a mias had got me down and would certainly have killed me, for my
gun was empty at the moment, and I had dropped my knife."

"Is, then, the orang-utan so powerful and savage?"

"Truly, yes, when wounded and driven to bay," returned the hermit. "You
must not judge of the creature by the baby that Verkimier has tamed. A
full-grown male is quite as large as a man, though very small in the
legs in proportion, so that it does not stand high. It is also very much
stronger than the most powerful man. You would be quite helpless in its
grip, I assure you."

"I hope, with the professor," returned Nigel, "that we may have a hunt
after them, either before or after the arrival of the pirates. I know he
is very anxious to secure a good specimen for some museum in which he is
interested--I forget which."

As he spoke, the youth who had brought information about the butterfly
returned and said a few words to Moses in his native tongue.

"What does he say?" asked Nigel.

"Dat Massa Verkimier is in full chase, an' it's my opinion dat when he
comes back he'll be wet all ober, and hab his shins and elbows barked."

"Why d'you think so?"

"'Cause dat's de way he goed on when we was huntin' wid him last year.
He nebber larns fro' 'sperience."

"That's a very fine-looking young fellow," remarked Nigel, referring to
the Dyak youth who had just returned, and who, with a number of other
natives, was watching the visitors with profound interest while they
ate.

As the young man referred to was a good sample of the youth of his
tribe, we shall describe him. Though not tall, he was well and strongly
proportioned, and his skin was of a reddish-brown colour. Like all his
comrades, he wore little clothing. A gay handkerchief with a gold lace
border encircled his head, from beneath which flowed a heavy mass of
straight, jet-black hair. Large crescent-shaped ornaments hung from his
ears. His face was handsome and the expression pleasing, though the
mouth was large and the lips rather thick. Numerous brass rings
encircled his arms above and below the elbows. His only other piece of
costume was a waist-cloth of blue cotton, which hung down before and
behind. It ended in three bands of red, blue, and white. There were also
rows of brass rings on his legs, and armlets of white shells. At his
side he wore a long slender knife and a little pouch containing the
materials for betel-chewing.

"Yes, and he is as good as he looks," said the hermit. "His name is
Gurulam, and all the people of his tribe have benefited by the presence
in Borneo of that celebrated Englishman Sir James Brooke,--Rajah Brooke
as he was called,--who did so much to civilise the Dyaks of Borneo and
to ameliorate their condition."

The prophecy of Moses about the professor was fulfilled. Just as it was
growing dark that genial scientist returned, drenched to the skin and
covered with mud, having tumbled into a ditch. His knuckles also were
skinned, his knees and shins damaged, and his face scratched, but he was
perfectly happy in consequence of having secured a really splendid
specimen of a "bootterfly" as big as his hand; the scientific name of
which, for very sufficient reasons, we will not attempt to inflict on
our readers, and the description of which may be shortly stated by the
single word--gorgeous!

Being fond of Verkimier, and knowing his desire to obtain a full-grown
orang-utan, Gurulam went off early next morning to search for one.
Half-a-dozen of his comrades accompanied him armed only with native
spears, for their object was not to hunt the animal, but to discover one
if possible, and let the professor know so that he might go after it
with his rifle, for they knew that he was a keen sportsman as well as a
man of science.

They did not, indeed, find what they sought for, but they were told by
natives with whom they fell in that a number of the animals had been
seen among the tree-tops not more than a day's march into the forest.
They hurried home therefore with this information, and that
day--accompanied by the Dyak youths, Nigel, the hermit, and
Moses--Verkimier started off in search of the mias; intending to camp
out or to take advantage of a native hut if they should chance to be
near one when night overtook them.

Descending the hill region, they soon came to more level ground, where
there was a good deal of swamp, through which they passed on Dyak roads.
These roads consisted simply of tree-trunks laid end to end, along which
the natives, being barefooted, walk with ease and certainty, but our
booted hunters were obliged to proceed along them with extreme caution.
The only one who came to misfortune was, as usual, the professor; and in
the usual way! It occurred at the second of these tree-roads.

"Look, look at that remarkable insect!" exclaimed Nigel, eagerly, in the
innocence of his heart. The professor was in front of him; he obediently
looked, saw the insect, made an eager step towards it, and next moment
was flat on the swamp, while the woods rang with his companions'
laughter. The remarkable insect, whatever it was, vanished from the
scene, and the professor was dragged, smiling though confused, out of
the bog. These things affected him little. His soul was large and rose
superior to such trifles.

The virgin forest into which they penetrated was of vast extent;
spreading over plain, mountain, and morass in every direction for
hundreds of miles, for we must remind the reader that the island of
Borneo is considerably larger than all the British islands put together,
while its inhabitants are comparatively few. Verkimier had been
absolutely revelling in this forest for several months--ranging its
glades, penetrating its thickets, bathing (inadvertently) in its
quagmires, and maiming himself generally, with unwearied energy and
unextinguishable enthusiasm; shooting, skinning, stuffing, preserving,
and boiling the bones of all its inhabitants--except the human--to the
great advantage of science and the immense interest and astonishment of
the natives. Yet with all his energy and perseverance the professor had
failed, up to that time, to obtain a large specimen of a male
orang-utan, though he had succeeded in shooting several small specimens
and females, besides catching the young one which he had tamed.

It was therefore with much excitement that he learned from a party of
bees'-wax hunters, on the second morning of their expedition, that a
large male mias had been seen that very day. Towards the afternoon they
found the spot that had been described to them, and a careful
examination began.

"You see," said Verkimier, in a low voice, to Nigel, as he went a step
in advance peering up into the trees, with rifle at the "ready" and
bending a little as if by that means he better avoided the chance of
being seen. "You see, I came to Borneo for zee express purpose of
obtaining zee great man-monkey and vatching his habits.--Hush! Do I not
hear somet'ing?"

"Nothing but your own voice, I think," said Nigel, with a twinkle in his
eye.

"Vell--hush! Keep kviet, all of you."

As the whole party marched in single file after the professor, and were
at the moment absolutely silent, this order induced the display of a
good many teeth.

Just then the man of science was seen to put his rifle quickly to the
shoulder; the arches of the forest rang with a loud report; various
horrified creatures were seen and heard to scamper away, and next moment
a middle-sized orang-utan came crashing through the branches of a tall
tree and fell dead with a heavy thud on the ground.

The professor's rifle was a breechloader. He therefore lost no time in
re-charging, and hurried forward as if he saw other game, while the rest
of the party--except Van der Kemp, Nigel, and Gurulam--fell behind to
look at and pick up the fallen animal.

"Look out!" whispered Nigel, pointing to a bit of brown hair that he saw
among the leaves high overhead.

"Vere? I cannot see him," whispered the naturalist, whose eyes blazed
enough almost to melt his blue glasses. "Do _you_ fire, Mr. Roy?"

"My gun is charged only with small-shot, for birds. It is useless for
such game," said Nigel.

"Ach! I see!"

Up went the rifle and again the echoes were startled and the animal
kingdom astounded, especially that portion at which the professor had
fired, for there was immediately a tremendous commotion among the leaves
overhead, and another orang of the largest size was seen to cross an
open space and disappear among the thick foliage. Evidently the creature
had been hit, but not severely, for it travelled among the tree-tops at
the rate of full five miles an hour, obliging the hunters to run at a
rapid pace over the rough ground in order to keep up with it. In its
passage from tree to tree the animal showed caution and foresight,
selecting only those branches that interlaced with other boughs, so that
it made uninterrupted progress, and also had a knack of always keeping
masses of thick foliage underneath it so that for some time no
opportunity was found of firing another shot. At last, however, it came
to one of those Dyak roads of which we have made mention, so that it
could not easily swing from one tree to another, and the stoppage of
rustling among the leaves told that the creature had halted. For some
time they gazed up among the branches without seeing anything, but at
last, in a place where the leaves seemed to have been thrust aside near
the top of one of the highest trees, a great red hairy body was seen,
and a huge black face gazed fiercely down at the hunters.

Verkimier fired instantly, the branches closed, and the monster moved
off in another direction. In desperate anxiety Nigel fired both barrels
of his shot-gun. He might as well have fired at the moon. Gurulam was
armed only with a spear, and Van der Kemp, who was not much of a
sportsman, carried a similar weapon. The rest of the party were still
out of sight in rear looking after the dead mias.

It was astonishing how little noise was made by so large an animal as it
moved along. More than once the hunters had to halt and listen intently
for the rustling of the leaves before they could make sure of being on
the right track.

At last they caught sight of him again on the top of a very high tree,
and the professor got two more shots, but without bringing him down.
Then he was seen, quite exposed for a moment, walking in a stooping
posture along the large limb of a tree, but the hunter was loading at
the time and lost the chance. Finally he got on to a tree whose top was
covered with a dense mass of creepers which completely hid him from
view. Then he halted and the sound of snapping branches was heard.

"You've not much chance of him now," remarked the hermit, as they all
stood in a group gazing up into the tree-top. "I have often seen the
mias act thus when severely wounded. He is making a nest to lie down and
die in."

"Zen ve must shoot again," said the professor, moving round the tree and
looking out for a sign of the animal. At last he seemed to have found
what he wanted, for raising his rifle he took a steady aim and fired.

A considerable commotion of leaves and fall of broken branches followed.
Then the huge red body of the mias appeared falling through, but it was
not dead, for it caught hold of branches as it fell and hung on as long
as it could; then it came crashing down, and alighted on its face with
an awful thud.

After firing the last shot Verkimier had not reloaded, being too intent
on watching the dying struggles of the creature, and when it fell with
such violence he concluded that it was dead. For the same reason Nigel
had neglected to reload after firing. Thus it happened that when the
enormous brute suddenly rose and made for a tree with the evident
intention of climbing it, no one was prepared to stop it except the Dyak
youth Gurulam. He chanced to be standing between the mias and the tree.

Boldly he levelled his spear and made a thrust that would probably have
killed the beast, if it had not caught the point of the spear and turned
it aside. Then with its left paw it caught the youth by the neck, seized
his thigh with one of its hind paws, and fixed its teeth in his right
shoulder.

Never was man rendered more suddenly and completely helpless, and death
would have been his sure portion before the hunters had reloaded if Van
der Kemp had not leaped forward, and, thrusting his spear completely
through the animal's body, killed it on the spot.



CHAPTER XVI.

BEGINS WITH A TERRIBLE FIGHT AND ENDS WITH A HASTY FLIGHT.


The hunt, we need scarcely say, was abruptly terminated, and immediate
preparations were made for conveying the wounded man and the two orangs
to the Dyak village. This was quickly arranged, for the convenient
bamboo afforded ready-made poles wherewith to form a litter on which to
carry them.

The huge creature which had given them so much trouble, and so nearly
cost them one human life, was found to be indeed of the largest size. It
was not tall but very broad and large. The exact measurements, taken by
the professor, who never travelled without his tape measure, were as
follows:--

Height from heel to top of head, 4 feet 2 inches.

Outstretched arms across chest,  7   "   8   "

Width of face,                   1 foot  2   "

Girth of arm,                    1   "   3   "

Girth of wrist,                          8   "

The muscular power of such a creature is of course immense, as Nigel and
the professor had a rare chance of seeing that very evening--of which,
more presently.

On careful examination by Nigel, who possessed some knowledge of
surgery, it was found that none of Gurulam's bones had been broken, and
that although severely lacerated about the shoulders and right thigh, no
very serious injury had been done--thanks to the promptitude and vigour
of the hermit's spear-thrust. The poor youth, however, was utterly
helpless for the time being, and had to be carried home.

That afternoon the party reached a village in a remote part of the
forest where they resolved to halt for the night, as no other
resting-place could be reached before dark.

While a supper of rice and fowl was being cooked by Moses, Van der Kemp
attended to the wounded man, and Nigel accompanied the professor along
the banks of the stream on which the village stood. Having merely gone
out for a stroll they carried no weapons except walking-sticks,
intending to go only a short distance. Interesting talk, however, on the
character and habits of various animals, made them forget time until the
diminution of daylight warned them to turn. They were about to do so
when they observed, seated in an open place near the stream, the largest
orang they had yet seen. It was feeding on succulent shoots by the
water-side: a fact which surprised the professor, for his inquiries and
experience had hitherto taught him that orangs never eat such food
except when starving. The fat and vigorous condition in which this
animal was forbade the idea of starvation. Besides, it had brought a
Durian fruit to the banks of the stream and thrown it down, so that
either taste or eccentricity must have induced it to prefer the shoots.
Perhaps its digestion was out of order and it required a tonic.

Anyhow, it continued to devour a good many young shoots while our
travellers were peeping at it in mute surprise through the bushes. That
they had approached so near without being observed was due to the fact
that a brawling rapid flowed just there, and the mias was on the other
side of the stream. By mutual consent the men crouched to watch its
proceedings. They were not a little concerned, however, when the brute
seized an overhanging bough, and, with what we may style sluggish
agility, swung itself clumsily but lightly to their side of the stream.
It picked up the Durian which lay there and began to devour it. Biting
off some of the strong spikes with which that charming fruit is covered,
it made a small hole in it, and then with its powerful fingers tore off
the thick rind and began to enjoy a feast.

Now, with monkeys, no less than with men, there is many a slip 'twixt
the cup and the lip, for the mias had just begun its meal, or, rather,
its dessert, when a crocodile, which the professor had not observed and
Nigel had mistaken for a log, suddenly opened its jaws and seized the
big monkey's leg. The scene that ensued baffles description! Grasping
the crocodile with its other three hands by nose, throat, and eyes, the
mias almost performed the American operation of gouging--digging its
powerful thumbs and fingers into every crevice and tearing open its
assailant's jaws. The crocodile, taken apparently by surprise, went into
dire convulsions, and making for deep water, plunged his foe therein
over head and ears. Nothing daunted, the mias regained his footing,
hauled his victim on to a mudbank, and, jumping on his back began to
tear and pommel him. There was nothing of the prize-fighter in the mias.
He never clenched his fist--never hit straight from the shoulder, but
the buffeting and slapping which he gave resounded all over the place.
At last he caught hold of a fold of his opponent's throat, which he
began to tear open with fingers and teeth. Wrenching himself free with a
supreme effort the crocodile shot into the stream and disappeared with a
sounding splash of its tail, while the mias waded lamely to the shore
with an expression of sulky indignation on its great black face.

Slowly the creature betook itself to the shelter of the forest, and we
need scarcely add that the excited observers of the combat made no
attempt to hinder its retreat.

It is said that the python is the only other creature that dares to
attack the orang-utan, and that when it does so victory usually declares
for the man-monkey, which bites and tears it to death.

The people of the village in which the hunters rested that night were
evidently not accustomed to white men--perhaps had never seen them
before--for they crowded round them while at supper and gazed in silent
wonder as if they were watching a group of white-faced baboons feeding!
They were, however, very hospitable, and placed before their visitors
abundance of their best food without expecting anything in return. Brass
rings were the great ornament in this village--as they are, indeed,
among the Dyaks generally. Many of the women had their arms completely
covered with them, as well as their legs from the ankle to the knee.
Their petticoats were fastened to a coil of rattan, stained red, round
their bodies. They also wore coils of brass wire, girdles of small
silver coins, and sometimes broad belts of brass ring-armour.

It was break of dawn next morning when our hunters started, bearing
their wounded comrade and the dead orangs with them.

Arrived at the village they found the people in great excitement
preparing for defence, as news had been brought to the effect that the
pirates had landed at the mouth of the river, joined the disaffected
band which awaited them, and that an attack might be expected without
delay, for they were under command of the celebrated Malay pirate
Baderoon.

Nigel observed that the countenance of his friend Van der Kemp underwent
a peculiar change on hearing this man's name mentioned. There was a
combination of anxiety, which was unnatural to him, and of resolution,
which was one of his chief characteristics.

"Is Baderoon the enemy whom you saw on the islet on our first night
out?" asked Nigel, during a ramble with the hermit that evening.

"Yes, and I fear to meet him," replied his friend in a low voice.

Nigel was surprised. The impression made on his mind since their
intercourse was that Van der Kemp was incapable of the sensation of
fear.

"Is he so very bitter against you?" asked Nigel.

"Very," was the curt reply.

"Have you reason to think he would take your life if he could?"

"I am sure he would. As I told you before, I have thwarted his plans
more than once. When he hears that it is I who have warned the
Orang-Kaya against him he will pursue me to the death--and--and I _must
not_ meet him."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Nigel, with renewed surprise.

But the hermit took no note of the exclamation. Anxiety had given place
to a frown, and his eyes were fixed on the ground. It seemed to Nigel so
evident that he did not wish to pursue the subject, that he slightly
changed it.

"I suppose," he said, "that there is no fear of the Dyaks of the village
being unable to beat off the pirates now that they have been warned?"

"None whatever. Indeed, this is so well known to Baderoon that I think
he will abandon the attempt. But he will not abandon his designs on me.
However, we must wait and see how God will order events."

Next morning spies returned to the village with the information that the
pirates had taken their departure from the mouth of the river.

"Do you think this is an attempt to deceive us?" asked the chief,
turning to Van der Kemp, when he heard the news.

"I think not. And even should it be so, and they should return, you are
ready and well able to meet them."

"Yes, ready--and _well_ able to meet them," replied the Orang-Kaya,
drawing himself up proudly.

"Did they _all_ go in one direction?" asked Van der Kemp of the youths
who had brought the news.

"Yes, all went in a body to the north--except one boat which rowed
southward."

"Hm! I thought so. My friends, listen to me. This is no pretence. They
do not mean to attack you now you are on your guard; but that boat which
went south contains Baderoon, and I feel certain that he means to hang
about here till he gets the chance of killing me."

"That is well," returned the chief, calmly. "My young men will hunt till
they find where he is. Then they will bring us the information and Van
der Kemp will go out with a band and slay his enemy."

"No, my friend," said the hermit, firmly; "that shall not be. I must get
out of his way, and in order to do so will leave you at once, for there
will be no further need for my services here."

The chief looked at his friend in surprise. "Well," he said, "you have a
good judgment, and understand your own affairs. But you have already
rendered me good service, and I will help you to fly--though such is not
the habit of the Dyaks! There is a trader's vessel to start for Sumatra
by the first light of day. Will my friend go by that?"

"I am grateful," answered the hermit, "but I need no help--save some
provisions, for I have my little canoe, which will suffice."

As this colloquy was conducted in the native tongue it was
unintelligible to Nigel, but after the interview with the chief the
hermit explained matters to him, and bade Moses get ready for a start
several hours before dawn.

"You see we must do the first part of our trip in the dark, for Baderoon
has a keen eye and ear. Then we will land and sleep all day where the
sharpest eye will fail to find us--and, luckily, pirates have been
denied the power of scenting out their foes. When night comes we will
start again and get out of sight of land before the next dawn."

"Mine frond," said the professor, turning his moon-like goggles full on
the hermit. "I vill go viz you."

"I should be only too happy to have your company," returned the hermit,
"but my canoe cannot by any contrivance be made to hold more than
three."

"Zat is no matter to me," rejoined Verkimier; "you forget zee trader's
boat. I vill go in zat to Sumatra. Ve vill find out zee port he is going
to, ant you vill meet me zere. Vait for me if I have not arrived--or I
vill vait for you. I have longed to visit Sumatra, ant vat better fronds
could I go viz zan yourselfs?"

"But, my good friend," returned the hermit, "my movements may not
exactly suit yours. Here they are,--you can judge for yourself. First I
will, God permitting, cross over to Sumatra in my canoe."

"But it is t'ree hoondert miles across, if not more!"

"No matter--there are plenty of islands on the way. Besides, some
passing vessel will give me a lift, no doubt. Then I will coast along to
one of the eastern ports, where I know there is a steamboat loading up
about this time. The captain is an old friend of mine. He brought me and
my companions the greater part of the way here. If I find him I will ask
him to carry my canoe on his return voyage through Sunda Straits, and
leave it with another friend of mine at Telok Betong on the south coast
of Sumatra--not far, as you know, from my home in Krakatoa. Then I will
proceed overland to the same place, so that my friend Nigel Roy may see
a little of the country."

"Ant vat if you do _not_ find your frond zee captain of zee steamer?"

"Why, then I shall have to adopt some other plan. It is the uncertainty
of my movements that makes me think you should not depend on them."

"Zat is not'ing to me, Van der Kemp; you joost go as you say. I vill
follow ant take my chance. I am use' to ooncertainties ant
difficoolties. Zey can not influence me."

After a good deal of consideration this plan was agreed to. The
professor spent part of the night in giving directions about the
preserving of his specimens, which he meant to leave at the village in
charge of a man whom he had trained to assist him, while Van der Kemp
with his companions lay down to snatch a little sleep before setting out
on their voyage, or, as the Dyak chief persisted in calling it, their
flight!

When Nigel had slept about five minutes--as he thought--he was awakened
by Moses.

"Don't make a noise, Massa Nadgel! Dere may be spies in de camp for all
we knows, so we mus' git off like mice. Canoe's ready an' massa waitin';
we gib you to de last momint."

In a few minutes our hero was sleepily following the negro through the
woods to the spot where the canoe was in waiting.

The night was very dark. This was in their favour,--at least as regarded
discovery.

"But how shall we ever see to make our way down stream?" asked Nigel of
the hermit in a whisper on reaching the place of embarkation.

"The current will guide us. Besides, I have studied the river with a
view to this flight. Be careful in getting in. Now, Moses, are you
ready?"

"All right, massa."

"Shove off, then."

There was something so eerie in the subdued tones, and stealthy
motions, and profound darkness, that Nigel could not help feeling as if
they were proceeding to commit some black and criminal deed!

Floating with the current, with as little noise as possible, and having
many a narrow escape of running against points of land and sandbanks,
they flew swiftly towards the sea, so that dawn found them among the mud
flats and the mangrove swamps. Here they found a spot where mangrove
roots and bushes formed an impenetrable screen, behind which they spent
the day, chiefly in sleep, and in absolute security.

When darkness set in they again put forth, and cautiously clearing the
river's mouth, were soon far out on the open sea, which was fortunately
calm at the time, the slight air that blew being in their favour.

"We are safe from pursuit now," said Van der Kemp in a tone of
satisfaction, as they paused for a breathing spell.

"O massa!" exclaimed Moses at that moment, in a voice of consternation;
"we's forgotten Spinkie!"

"So we have!" returned the hermit in a voice of regret so profound that
Nigel could scarce restrain a laugh in spite of his sympathy.

But Spinkie had not forgotten himself. Observing probably, that these
night expeditions were a change in his master's habits, he had kept an
unusually watchful eye on the canoe, so that when it was put in the
water, he had jumped on board unseen in the darkness, and had retired to
the place where he usually slept under hatches when the canoe travelled
at night.

Awakened from refreshing sleep at the sound of his name, Spinkie emerged
suddenly from the stern-manhole, right under the negro's nose, and with
a sleepy "oo, oo!" gazed up into his face.

"Ho! Dare you is, you mis'rible hyperkrite!" exclaimed Moses, kissing
the animal in the depth of his satisfaction. "He's here, massa, all
right. Now, you go to bed agin, you small bundle ob hair."

The creature retired obediently to its place, and laying its little
cheek on one of its small hands, committed itself to repose.

Van der Kemp was wrong when he said they were safe. A pirate scout had
seen the canoe depart. Being alone and distant from the rendezvous of
his commander, some time elapsed before the news could be conveyed to
him. When Baderoon was at length informed and had sailed out to sea in
pursuit, returning daylight showed him that his intended victim had
escaped.



CHAPTER XVII.

TELLS OF THE JOYS, ETC., OF THE PROFESSOR IN THE SUMATRAN FORESTS, ALSO
OF A CATASTROPHE AVERTED.


Fortunately the weather continued fine at first, and the light wind
fair, so that the canoe skimmed swiftly over the wide sea that separates
Borneo from Sumatra. Sometimes our travellers proceeded at night when
the distance between islets compelled them to do so. At other times they
landed on one of these isles when opportunity offered to rest and
replenish the water-casks.

We will not follow them step by step in this voyage, which occupied more
than a week, and during which they encountered without damage several
squalls in which a small open boat could not have lived. Beaching at
last the great island of Sumatra--which, like its neighbour Borneo, is
larger in extent than the British Islands--they coasted along
southwards, without further delay than was absolutely necessary for rest
and refreshment, until they reached a port where they found the steamer
of which they were in search just about to start on its return voyage.
Van der Kemp committed his little craft to the care of the captain, who,
after vainly advising his friend to take a free passage with him to the
Straits of Sunda, promised to leave the canoe in passing at Telok
Betong. We may add that Spinkie was most unwillingly obliged to
accompany the canoe.

"Now, we must remain here till our friend Verkimier arrives," said the
hermit, turning to Nigel after they had watched the steamer out of
sight.

"I suppose we must," said Nigel, who did not at all relish the
delay--"of course we must," he added with decision.

"I sees no 'ob course' about it, Massa Nadgel," observed Moses, who
never refrained from offering his opinion from motives of humility, or
of respect for his employer. "My 'dvice is to go on an' let de purfesser
foller."

"But I promised to wait for him," said the hermit, with one of his
kindly, half-humorous glances, "and you know I _never_ break my
promises."

"Das true, massa, but you di'n't promise to wait for him for eber an'
eber!"

"Not quite; but of course I meant that I would wait a reasonable time."

The negro appeared to meditate for some moments on the extent of a
"reasonable" time, for his huge eyes became huger as he gazed
frowningly at the ground. Then he spoke.

"A 'reasonable' time, massa, is such an oncertain time--wariable, so to
speak, accordin' to the mind that t'inks upon it! Hows'eber, if you's
_promised,_ ob coorse dat's an end ob it; for w'en a man promises, he's
bound to stick to it."

Such devotion to principle was appropriately rewarded the very next day
by the arrival of the trading prau in which the professor had embarked.

"We did not expect you nearly so soon," said Nigel, as they heartily
shook hands.

"It vas because zee vind freshen soon after ve set sail--ant, zen, ve
made a straight line for zis port, w'ereas you possibly crossed over,
ant zen push down zee coast."

"Exactly so, and that accounts for your overtaking us," said the hermit.
"Is that the lad Baso I see down there with the crew of the prau?"

"It is. You must have some strainch power of attracting frondship, Van
der Kemp, for zee poor yout' is so fond of you zat he beg ant entreat me
to take him, ant he says he vill go on vit zee traders if you refuse to
let him follow you."

"Well, he may come. Indeed, we shall be the better for his services, for
I had intended to hire a man here to help to carry our things. Much of
our journeying, you see, must be done on foot."

Baso, to his great joy, thus became one of the party.

We pass over the next few days, which were spent in arranging and
packing their provisions, etc., in such a way that each member of the
party should carry on his shoulders a load proportioned to his strength.
In this arrangement the professor, much against his will, was compelled
to accept the lightest load in consideration of his liability to dart
off in pursuit of creeping things and "bootterflies" at a moment's
notice. The least damageable articles were also assigned to him in
consideration of his tendency at all times to tumble into bogs and
stumble over fallen trees, and lose himself, and otherwise get into
difficulties.

We also pass over part of the journey from the coast, and plunge with
our travellers at once into the interior of Sumatra.

One evening towards sunset they reached the brow of an eminence which,
being rocky, was free from much wood, and permitted of a wide view of
the surrounding country. It was covered densely with virgin forest, and
they ascended the eminence in order that the hermit, who had been there
before, might discover a forest road which led to a village some miles
off, where they intended to put up for the night. Having ascertained his
exact position, Van der Kemp led his followers down to this footpath,
which led through the dense forest.

The trees by which they were surrounded were varied and
magnificent--some of them rising clear up seventy and eighty feet
without a branch, many of them had superb leafy crowns, under any one of
which hundreds of men might have found shelter. Others had trunks and
limbs warped and intertwined with a wild entanglement of huge creepers,
which hung in festoons and loops as if doing their best to strangle
their supports, themselves being also encumbered, or adorned, with ferns
and orchids, and delicate twining epiphytes. A forest of smaller trees
grew beneath this shade, and still lower down were thorny shrubs,
rattan-palms, broad-leaved bushes, and a mass of tropical herbage which
would have been absolutely impenetrable but for the native road or
footpath along which they travelled.

"A most suitable abode for tigers, I should think," remarked Nigel to
the hermit, who walked in front of him--for they marched in single file.
"Are there any in these parts?"

"Ay, plenty. Indeed, it is because I don't like sleeping in their
company that I am so anxious to reach a village."

"Are zey dangerows?" asked the professor, who followed close on Nigel.

"Well, they are not safe!" replied the hermit. "I had an adventure with
one on this very road only two years ago."

"Indeed! vat vas it?" asked the professor, whose appetite for anecdote
was insatiable. "Do tell us about it."

"With pleasure. It was on a pitch-dark night that it occurred. I had
occasion to go to a neighbouring village at a considerable distance, and
borrowed a horse from a friend----"

"Anozer frond!" exclaimed the professor; "vy, Van der Kemp, zee country
seems to be svarming vid your fronds."

"I have travelled much in it and made many friends," returned the
hermit. "The horse that I borrowed turned out to be a very poor one, and
went lame soon after I set out. Business kept me longer than I expected,
and it was getting dark before I started to return. Erelong the darkness
became so intense that I could scarcely see beyond the horse's head, and
could not distinguish the path. I therefore let the animal find his own
way--knowing that he would be sure to do so, for he was going home. As
we jogged along, I felt the horse tremble. Then he snorted and came to a
dead stop, with his feet planted firmly on the ground. I was quite
unarmed, but arms would have been useless in the circumstances.
Suddenly, and fortunately, the horse reared, and next moment a huge dark
object shot close past my face--so close that its fur brushed my
cheek--as it went with a heavy thud into the jungle on the other side.
I knew that it was a tiger and felt that my life, humanly speaking, was
due to the rearing of the poor horse."

"Are ve near to zee spote?" asked the professor, glancing from side to
side in some anxiety.

"Not far from it!" replied the hermit, "but there is not much fear of
such an attack in broad daylight and with so large a party."

"Ve are not a very large party," returned the professor. "I do not zink
I would fear much to face a tiger vid my goot rifle, but I do not relish
his choomping on me unavares. Push on, please."

They pushed on and reached the village a little before nightfall.

Hospitality is a characteristic of the natives of Sumatra. The
travellers were received with open arms, so to speak, and escorted to
the public building which corresponds in some measure to our western
town-halls. It was a huge building composed largely of bamboo
wooden-planks and wicker-work, with a high thatched roof, and it stood,
like all the other houses, on posts formed of great tree-stems which
rose eight or ten feet from the ground.

"You have frunds here too, I zink," said Verkimier to the hermit, as
they ascended the ladder leading to the door of the hall.

"Well, yes--I believe I have two or three."

There could be no doubt upon that point, unless the natives were
consummate hypocrites, for they welcomed Van der Kemp and his party with
effusive voice, look and gesture, and immediately spread before them
part of a splendid supper which had just been prepared; for they had
chanced to arrive on a festive occasion.

"I do believe," said Nigel in some surprise, "that they are lighting up
the place with petroleum lamps!"

"Ay, and you will observe that they are lighting the lamps with Congreve
matches--at least with matches of the same sort, supplied by the Dutch
and Chinese. Many of their old customs have passed away (among others
that of procuring fire by friction), and now we have the appliances of
western civilisation to replace them."

"No doubt steam is zee cause of zee change," remarked the professor.

"That," said Nigel, "has a good deal to do with most things--from the
singing of a tea-kettle to the explosion of a volcano; though,
doubtless, the commercial spirit which is now so strong among men is the
proximate cause."

"Surely dese people mus' be reech," said the professor, looking round
him with interest.

"They are rich enough--and well off in every respect, save that they
don't know very well how to make use of their riches. As you see, much
of their wealth is lavished on their women in the shape of ornaments,
most of which are of solid gold and silver."

There could be little doubt about that, for, besides the ornaments
proper, such as the bracelets and rings with which the arms of the young
women were covered, and earrings, etc.,--all of solid gold and
native-made--there were necklaces and collars composed of Spanish and
American dollars and British half-crowns and other coins. In short,
these Sumatran young girls carried much of the wealth of their parents
on their persons, and were entitled to wear it until they should be
relegated to the ranks of the married--the supposed-to-be unfrivolous,
and the evidently unadorned!

As this was a region full of birds, beasts, and insects of many kinds,
it was resolved, for the professor's benefit, that a few days should be
spent in it. Accordingly, the village chief set apart a newly-built
house for the visitors' accommodation, and a youth named Grogo was
appointed to wait on them and act as guide when they wished to traverse
any part of the surrounding forest.

The house was on the outskirts of the village, a matter of satisfaction
to the professor, as it enabled him at once to plunge into his beloved
work unobserved by the youngsters. It also afforded him a better
opportunity of collecting moths, etc., by the simple method of opening
his window at night. A mat or wicker-work screen divided the hut into
two apartments, one of which was entirely given over to the naturalist
and his _matériel_.

"I vil begin at vonce," said the eager man, on taking possession.

And he kept his word by placing his lamp on a table in a conspicuous
position, so that it could be well seen from the outside. Then he threw
his window wide open, as a general invitation to the insect world to
enter!

Moths, flying beetles, and other creatures were not slow to accept the
invitation. They entered by twos, fours, sixes--at last by scores,
insomuch that the room became uninhabitable except by the man himself,
and his comrades soon retired to their own compartment, leaving him to
carry on his work alone.

"You enjoy this sort of thing?" said Nigel, as he was about to retire.

"Enchoy it? yes--it is 'paradise regained'!" He pinned a giant moth at
the moment and gazed triumphant through his blue glasses.

"'Paradise lost' to the moth, anyhow," said Nigel with a nod, as he bade
him good-night, and carefully closed the wicker door to check the
incursions of uncaptured specimens. Being rather tired with the day's
journey, he lay down on a mat beside the hermit, who was already sound
asleep.

But our hero found that sleep was not easily attainable so close to an
inexhaustible enthusiast, whose every step produced a rattling of the
bamboo floor, and whose unwearied energy enabled him to hunt during the
greater part of the night.

At length slumber descended on Nigel's spirit, and he lay for some time
in peaceful oblivion, when a rattling crash awoke him. Sitting up he
listened, and came to the conclusion that the professor had upset some
piece of furniture, for he could hear him distinctly moving about in a
stealthy manner, as if on tip-toe, giving vent to a grumble of
dissatisfaction every now and then.

"What _can_ he be up to now, I wonder?" murmured the disturbed youth,
sleepily.

The hermit, who slept through all noises with infantine simplicity, made
no answer, but a peculiar snort from the negro, who lay not far off on
his other side, told that he was struggling with a laugh.

"Hallo, Moses! are you awake?" asked Nigel, in a low voice.

"Ho yes, Massa Nadgel. I's bin wakin' a good while, larfin fit to bu'st
my sides. De purfesser's been agoin' on like a mad renoceros for more 'n
an hour. He's arter suthin, which he can't ketch. Listen! You hear 'im
goin' round an' round on his tip-toes. Dere goes anoder chair. I only
hope he won't smash de lamp an' set de house a-fire."

"Veil, veil; I've missed him zee tence time. Nevair mind. Have at you
vonce more, you aggravating leetle zing!"

Thus the unsuccessful man relieved his feelings, in a growling tone, as
he continued to move about on tip-toe, rattling the bamboo flooring in
spite of his careful efforts to move quietly.

"Why, Verkimier, what are you after?" cried Nigel at last, loud enough
to be heard through the partition.

"Ah! I am sorry to vake you," he replied, without, however, suspending
his hunt. "I have tried my best to make no noice, but zee bamboo floor
is--hah! I have 'im at last!"

"What is it?" asked Nigel, becoming interested.

"Von leetle bat. He come in vis a moss----"

"A what?"

"A moss--a big, beautiful moss."

"Oh! a moth--well?"

"Vell, I shut zee window, capture zee moss, ant zen I hunt zee bat vith
my bootterfly-net for an hour, but have only captured him zis moment.
Ant he is--sooch a--sooch a splendid specimen of a _very_ rar' species,
zee _Coelops frizii_--gootness! Zere goes zee lamp!"

The crash that followed told too eloquently of the catastrophe, and
broke the slumbers even of the hermit. The whole party sprang up, and
entered the naturalist's room with a light, for the danger from fire
was great. Fortunately the lamp had been extinguished in its fall, so
that, beyond an overpowering smell of petroleum and the destruction of a
good many specimens, no serious results ensued.

After securing the _Coelops frithii_, removing the shattered glass,
wiping up the oil, and putting chairs and tables on their legs, the
professor was urged to go to bed,--advice which, in his excitement, he
refused to take until it was suggested that, if he did not, he would be
totally unfit for exploring the forest next day.

"Vy, it is next day already!" he exclaimed, consulting his watch.

"Just so. Now _do_ turn in."

"I vill."

And he did.



CHAPTER XVIII.

A TRYING ORDEAL--DANGER THREATENS AND FLIGHT AGAIN RESOLVED ON.


When the early birds are singing, and the early mists are scattering,
and the early sun is rising to gladden, as with the smile of God, all
things with life in earth and sea and sky--then it is that early-rising
man goes forth to reap the blessings which his lazy fellow-man fails to
appreciate or enjoy.

Among the early risers that morning was our friend Moses. Gifted with an
inquiring mind, the negro had proceeded to gratify his propensities by
making inquiries of a general nature, and thus had acquired, among other
things, the particular information that the river on the banks of which
the village stood was full of fish. Now, Moses was an ardent angler.

"I lub fishing," he said one day to Nigel when in a confidential mood;
"I can't tell you how much I lub it. Seems to me dat der's nuffin' like
it for proggin' a man!"

When Nigel demanded an explanation of what proggin' meant, Moses said
he wasn't quite sure. He could "understand t'ings easy enough though he
couldn't allers 'splain 'em." On the whole he thought that prog had a
compound meaning--it was a combination of poke and pull "wid a flavour
ob ticklin' about it," and was rather pleasant.

"You see," he continued, "when a leetle fish plays wid your hook, it
progs your intellec' an' tickles up your fancy a leetle. When he grabs
you, dat progs your hopes a good deal. When a big fish do de same, dat
progs you deeper. An' when a real walloper almost pulls you into de
ribber, dat progs your heart up into your t'roat, where it stick till
you land him."

With surroundings and capacities such as we have attempted to describe,
it is no wonder that Moses sat down on the river-bank and enjoyed
himself, in company with a little Malay boy, who lent him his bamboo rod
and volunteered to show him the pools.

But there were no particular pools in that river It was a succession of
pools, and fish swarmed in all of them. There were at least fifteen
different species which nothing short of an ichthyologist could
enumerate correctly. The line used by Moses was a single fibre of bark
almost as strong as gut; the hook was a white tinned weapon like a small
anchor, supplied by traders, and meant originally for service in the
deep sea. The bait was nothing in particular, but as the fish were not
particular that was of no consequence. The reader will not be surprised,
then, when we state that in an hour or so Moses had had his heart
progged considerably and had filled a large bag with superb fish, with
which he returned, perspiring, beaming, and triumphant to breakfast.

After breakfast the whole party went forth for what Verkimier styled
"zee business of zee day," armed with guns, spears, botanical boxes,
bags, wallets, and butterfly nets.

In the immediate neighbourhood of the village large clearings in the
forest were planted as coffee gardens, each separated from the other for
the purpose of isolation, for it seems that coffee, like the potato, is
subject to disease. Being covered with scarlet flowers these gardens had
a fine effect on the landscape when seen from the heights behind the
village. Passing through the coffee grounds the party was soon in the
tangled thickets of underwood through which many narrow paths had been
cut.

We do not intend to drag our readers through bog and brake during the
whole of this day's expedition; suffice it to say that the collection of
specimens made, of all kinds, far surpassed the professor's most
sanguine expectations, and, as for the others, those who could more or
less intelligently sympathise did so, while those who could not were
content with the reflected joy of the man of science.

At luncheon--which they partook of on the river-bank, under a
magnificently umbrageous tree--plans for the afternoon were fixed.

"We have kept together long enough, I think," said Van der Kemp. "Those
of us who have guns must shoot something to contribute to the national
feast on our return."

"Vell, let us divide," assented the amiable naturalist. Indeed he was so
happy that he would have assented to anything--except giving up the
hunt. "Von party can go von vay, anoder can go anoder vay. I vill
continue mine business. Zee place is more of a paradise zan zee last. Ve
must remain two or tree veeks."

The hermit glanced at Nigel.

"I fear it is impossible for me to do so," said the latter. "I am
pledged to return to Batavia within a specified time, and from the
nature of the country I perceive it will take all the time at my
disposal to reach that place so as to redeem my pledge."

"Ha! Zat is a peety. Vell, nevair mind. Let us enchoy to-day. Com', ve
must not vaste more of it in zee mere gratification of our animal
natures."

Acting on this broad hint they all rose and scattered in different
groups--the professor going off ahead of his party in his eager haste,
armed only with a butterfly net.

Now, as the party of natives,--including Baso, who carried the
professor's biggest box, and Grogo, who bore his gun,--did not overtake
their leader, they concluded that he must have joined one of the other
parties, and, as it was impossible to ascertain which of them, they
calmly went hunting on their own account! Thus it came to pass that the
man of science was soon lost in the depths of that primeval forest! But
little cared the enthusiast for that--or, rather, little did he realise
it. With perspiration streaming from every pore--except where the pores
were stopped by mud--he dashed after "bootterflies" with the wisdom of
Solomon and the eagerness of a school-boy, and not until the shades of
evening began to descend did his true position flash upon him. Then,
with all the vigour of a powerful intellect and an enlightened mind, he
took it in at a glance--and came to a sudden halt.

"Vat _shall_ I do?" he asked.

Not even an echo answered, and the animal kingdom was indifferent.

"Lat me see. I have been vandering avay all dis time. Now, I have
not'ing to do but right-about-face and vander back."

Could reasoning be clearer or more conclusive? He acted on it at once,
but, after wandering back a long time, he did not arrive at any place
or object that he had recognised on the outward journey.

Meanwhile, as had been appointed, the rest of the party met a short time
before dark at the rendezvous where they had lunched.

"Where is the professor, Baso?" asked Van der Kemp as he came up.

Baso did not know, and looked at Grogo, who also professed ignorance,
but both said they thought the professor had gone with Nigel.

"I thought he was with _you_," said the latter, looking anxiously at the
hermit.

"He's goed an' lost hisself!" cried Moses with a look of concern.

Van der Kemp was a man of action. "Not a moment to lose," he said, and
organised the band into several smaller parties, each led by a native
familiar with the jungle.

"Let this be our meeting-place," he said, as they were on the point of
starting off together; "and let those of us who have fire-arms discharge
them occasionally."

Meanwhile, the professor was walking at full speed in what he supposed
to be--and in truth was--"back."

He was not alone, however. In the jungle close beside him a tiger
prowled along with the stealthy, lithe, sneaking activity of a cat. By
that time it was not absolutely dark, but the forest had assumed a very
sombre appearance. Suddenly the tiger made a tremendous bound on to the
track right in front of the man. Whether it had miscalculated the
position of its intended victim or not we cannot say, but it crouched
for another spring. The professor, almost instinctively, crouched also,
and, being a brave man, stared the animal straight in the face without
winking! and so the two crouched there, absolutely motionless and with a
fixed glare, such as we have often seen in a couple of tom-cats who were
mutually afraid to attack each other.

What the tiger thought at that critical and crucial moment we cannot
tell, but the professor's thoughts were swift, varied,
tremendous--almost sublime, and once or twice even ridiculous!

"Vat shall I do? Deaf stares me in zee face! No veapons! only a net, ant
he is _not_ a bootterfly! Science, adieu! Home of my chilthood,
farevell! My moder--Hah! zee fusees!"

Such were a few of the thoughts that burned but found no utterance. The
last thought however led to action. Verkimier, foolish man! was a
smoker. He carried fusees. Slowly, with no more apparent motion than the
hour-hand on the face of a watch, he let his hand glide into his
coat-pocket and took out the box of fusees. The tiger seemed uneasy, but
the bold man never for one instant ceased to glare, and no disturbed
expression or hasty movement gave the tiger the slightest excuse for a
spring. Bringing the box up by painfully slow degrees in front of his
nose the man opened it, took out a fusee, struck it, and revealed the
blue binoculars!

The effect on the tiger was instantaneous and astounding. With a
demi-volt or backward somersault it hurled itself into the jungle whence
it had come with a terrific roar of alarm, and its tail--undoubtedly
though not evidently--between its legs!

Heaving a deep, long-drawn sigh, the professor stood up and wiped his
forehead. Then he listened intently.

"A shote, if mine ears deceive me not!" he said, and listened again.

He was right. Another shot, much nearer, was heard, and he replied with
a shout to which joy as much as strength of lung gave fervour. Hurrying
along the track--not without occasional side-glances at the jungle--the
hero was soon again in the midst of his friends; and it was not until
his eyes refused to remain open any longer that he ceased to entertain
an admiring circle that night with the details of his face-to-face
meeting with a tiger.

But Verkimier's anticipations in regard to that paradise were not to be
realised. The evil passions of a wicked man, with whom he had personally
nothing whatever to do, interfered with his plans. In the middle of the
night a native Malay youth named Babu arrived at the village and
demanded an interview with the chief. That worthy, after the interview,
conducted the youth to the hut where his visitors lived, and, rousing
Van der Kemp without disturbing the others, bade him listen to what the
young man had to say. An expression of great anxiety overspread the
hermit's usually placid countenance while Babu was speaking.

"It is fate!" he murmured, as if communing with himself--then, after a
pause--"no, there is no such thing as fate. It is, it must be, the will
of God. Go, young man, mention this to no one. I thank you for the
kindness which made you take so long a journey for my sake."

"It is not kindness, it is love that makes me serve you," returned the
lad earnestly. "Every one loves you, Van der Kemp, because that curse of
mankind, _revenge_, has no place in your breast."

"Strange! how little man does know or guess the secret thoughts of his
fellow!" said the hermit with one of his pitiful smiles. "_Revenge_ no
place in me!--but I thank you, boy, for the kind thought as well as the
effort to save me. My life is not worth much to any one. It will not
matter, I think, if my enemy should succeed. Go now, Babu, and God be
with you!"

"He will surely succeed if you do not leave this place at once,"
rejoined the youth, in a tone of decision. "Baderoon is furious at all
times. He is worse than ever just now, because you have thwarted his
plans--so it is said--very often. If he knew that _I_ am now thwarting
them also, he would hunt me to death. I will not leave you till you are
safe beyond his reach."

The hermit looked at the lad with kindly surprise.

"How comes it," he said, "that you are so much interested in me? I
remember seeing you two years ago, but have no recollection of having
done you any service."

"Do you not remember that my mother was ill when you spent a night in
our hut, and my little sister was dying? You nursed her, and tried your
best to save her, and when you could not save her, and she died, you
wept as if the child had been your own. I do not forget that, Van der
Kemp. Sympathy is of more value than service."

"Strangely mistaken again!" murmured the hermit. "Who can know the
workings of the human mind! Self was mixed with my
feelings--profoundly--yet my sympathy with you and your mother was
sincere."

"We never doubted that," returned Babu with a touch of surprise in his
tone.

"Well now, what do you propose to do, as you refuse to leave me?" asked
the hermit with some curiosity.

"I will go on with you to the next village. It is a large one. The chief
man there is my uncle, who will aid me, I know, in any way I wish. I
will tell him what I know and have heard of the pirate's intention, of
which I have proof. He will order Baderoon to be arrested on suspicion
when he arrives. Then we will detain him till you are beyond his reach.
That is not unjust."

"True--and I am glad to know by your last words that you are sensitive
about the justice of what you propose to do. Indifference to pure and
simple justice is the great curse of mankind. It is not indeed the root,
but it is the fruit of our sins. The suspicion that detains Baderoon is
more than justified, for I could bring many witnesses to prove that he
has vowed to take my life, and I _know_ him to be a murderer."

At breakfast-time Van der Kemp announced to his friends his intention of
quitting the village at once, and gave an account of his interview with
the Malay lad during the night. This, of course, reconciled them to
immediate departure,--though, in truth, the professor was the only one
who required to be reconciled.

"It is _very_ misfortunate," he remarked with a sigh, which had
difficulty in escaping through a huge mass of fish and rice. "You see
zee vonderful variety of ornizological specimens I could find here, ant
zee herbareum, not to mention zee magnificent _Amblypodia eumolpus_ ant
ozer bootterflies--ach!-a leetle mor' feesh if you please. Zanks. My
frond, it is a great sacrifice, but I vill go avay viz you, for I could
not joostify myself if I forzook you, ant I cannot ask you to remain
vile your life is in dancher."

"I appreciate your sentiments and sacrifice thoroughly," said the
hermit.

"So does I," said Moses, helping himself to coffee; "but ob course if I
didn't it would be all de same. Pass de venison, Massa Nadgel, an' don't
look as if you was goin' to gib in a'ready. It spoils my appetite."

"You will have opportunities," continued Van der Kemp, addressing the
professor, "to gather a good many specimens as we go along. Besides, if
you will consent to honour my cave in Krakatoa with a visit, I promise
you a hearty welcome and an interesting field of research. You have no
idea what a variety of species in all the branches of natural history my
little island contains."

Hereupon the hermit proceeded to enter into details of the flora, fauna,
and geology of his island-home, and to expatiate in such glowing
language on its arboreal and herbal wealth and beauty, that the
professor became quite reconciled to immediate departure.

"But how," he asked, "am I to get zere ven ve reach zee sea-coast? for
your canoe holds only t'ree, as you have told me."

"There are plenty of boats to be had. Besides, I can send over my own
boat for you to the mainland. The distance is not great."

"Goot. Zat vill do. I am happay now."

"So," remarked Nigel as he went off with Moses to pack up, "his
'paradise regained' is rather speedily to be changed into paradise
forsaken! 'Off wi' the old love and on wi' the new.' 'The expulsive
power of a new affection!'"

"Das true, Massa Nadgel," observed Moses, who entertained profound
admiration for anything that sounded like proverbial philosophy. "De
purfesser am an affectionit creeter. 'Pears to me dat he lubs de whole
creation. He kills an' tenderly stuffs 'most eberyt'ing he kin lay hands
on. If he could only lay hold ob Baderoon an' stuff an' stick him in a
moozeum, he'd do good service to my massa an' also to de whole ob
mankind."



CHAPTER XIX.

A TERRIBLE MURDER AND A STRANGE REVELATION.


After letting the chief of the village know that the news just received
rendered it necessary that they should proceed at once to the next
town--but carefully refraining from going into particulars lest Baderoon
should by any means be led to suspect their intentions--the party
started off about daybreak under the guidance of the Malay youth Babu.

Anxious as he was that no evil should befall his friend, Nigel could not
help wondering that a man of such a calm spirit, and such unquestionable
courage, should be so anxious to escape from this pirate.

"I can't understand it at all," he said to Moses, as they walked through
the forest together a little in rear of the party.

"No more kin I, Massa Nadgel," answered the negro, with one of those
shakes of the head and glares of solemn perplexity with which he was
wont to regard matters that were too deep for him.

"Surely Van der Kemp is well able to take care of himself against any
single foe."

"Das true, Massa Nadgel,--'gainst any half-dozen foes as well."

"Fear, therefore, cannot be the cause."

The negro received this with a quiet chuckle.

"No," said he. "Massa nebber knowed fear, but ob dis you may be bery
sure, massa's _allers_ got good reasons for what he does. One t'ing's
sartin, I neber saw him do nuffin for fear, nor revenge, nor anger, no,
nor yet for fun; allers for lub--and," added Moses, after a moment's
thought, "sometimes for money, when we goes on a tradin' 'spidition--but
he don't make much account ob dat."

"Well, perhaps the mystery may be cleared up in time," said Nigel, as
they closed up with the rest of the party, who had halted for a short
rest and some refreshment.

This last consisted largely of fruit, which was abundant everywhere, and
a little rice with water from sparkling springs to wash it down.

In the afternoon they reached the town--a large one, with a sort of
market-place in the centre, which at the time of their arrival was
crowded with people. Strangers, especially Europeans, were not often
seen in that region, so that Van der Kemp and his friends at once
attracted a considerable number of followers. Among these was one man
who followed them about very unobtrusively, usually hanging well in
rear of the knot of followers whose curiosity was stronger than their
sense of propriety. This man wore a broad sun-hat and had a bandage
round his head pulled well over one eye, as if he had recently met with
an accident or been wounded. He was unarmed, with the exception of the
kriss, or long knife, which every man in that region carries.

This was no other than Baderoon himself, who had outwitted his enemies,
had somehow discovered at least part of their plans, and had hurried on
in advance of them to the town, where, disguising himself as described,
he awaited their arrival.

Babu conducted his friends to the presence of his kinsman the chief man
of the town, and, having told his story, received a promise that the
pirate should be taken up when he arrived and put in prison. Meanwhile
he appointed to the party a house in which to spend the night.

Baderoon boldly accompanied the crowd that followed them, saw the house,
glanced between the heads of curious natives who watched the travellers
while eating their supper, and noted the exact spot on the floor of the
building where Van der Kemp threw down his mat and blanket, thus taking
possession of his intended couch! He did not, however, see that the
hermit afterwards shifted his position a little, and that Babu,
desiring to be near his friend, lay down on the vacated spot.

In the darkest hour of the night, when even the owls and bats had sought
repose, the pirate captain stole out of the brake in which he had
concealed himself, and, kriss in hand, glided under the house in which
his enemy lay.

Native houses, as we have elsewhere explained, are usually built on
posts, so that there is an open space under the floors, which is
available as a store or lumber-room. It is also unfortunately available
for evil purposes. The bamboo flooring is not laid so closely but that
sounds inside may be heard distinctly by any one listening below. Voices
were heard by the pirate as he approached, which arrested his steps.
They were those of Van der Kemp and Nigel engaged in conversation.
Baderoon knew that as long as his enemy was awake and conversing he
might probably be sitting up and not in a position suitable to his fell
purpose. He crouched therefore among some lumber like a tiger abiding
its time.

"Why are you so anxious not to meet this man?" asked Nigel, who was
resolved, if possible without giving offence, to be at the bottom of the
mystery.

For some moments the hermit was silent, then in a constrained voice he
said slowly--

"Because revenge burns fiercely in my breast. I have striven to crush
it, but cannot. I fear to meet him lest I kill him."

"Has he, then, done you such foul wrong?"

"Ay, he has cruelly--fiendishly--done the worst he could. He robbed me
of my only child--but I may not talk of it. The unholy desire for
vengeance burns more fiercely when I talk. 'Vengeance is mine, saith the
Lord.' My constant prayer is that I may not meet him. Good-night."

As the hermit thus put an abrupt end to the conversation he lay down and
drew his blanket over him. Nigel followed his example, wondering at what
he had heard, and in a few minutes their steady regular breathing told
that they were both asleep. Then Baderoon advanced and counted the
bamboo planks from the side towards the centre of the house. When
looking between the heads of the people he had counted the same planks
above. Standing under one he looked up, listened intently for a few
seconds, and drew his kriss. The place was almost pitch dark, yet the
blade caught a faint gleam from without, which it reflected on the
pirate's face as he thrust the long keen weapon swiftly, yet
deliberately, between the bamboos.

A shriek, that filled those who heard it with a thrill of horror, rang
out on the silent night. At the same moment a gush of warm blood poured
over the murderer's face before he could leap aside. Instant uproar and
confusion burst out in the neighbourhood, and spread like wildfire until
the whole town was aroused. When a light was procured and the people
crowded into the hut where the strangers lay, Van der Kemp was found on
his knees holding the hand of poor Babu, who was at his last gasp. A
faint smile, that yet seemed to have something of gladness in it,
flitted across his pale face as he raised himself, grasped the hermit's
hand and pressed it to his lips. Then the fearful drain of blood took
effect and he fell back--dead.

One great convulsive sob burst from the hermit as he leaped up, drew his
knife, and, with a fierce glare in his blue eyes, rushed out of the
room.

Vengeance would indeed have been wreaked on Baderoon at that moment if
the hermit had caught him, but, as might have been expected, the
murderer was nowhere to be found. He was hid in the impenetrable jungle,
which it was useless to enter in the darkness of night. When daybreak
enabled the townspeople to undertake an organised search, no trace of
him could be discovered.

Flight, personal safety, formed no part of the pirate's plan. The guilty
man had reached that state of depravity which, especially among the
natives of that region, borders close on insanity. While the inhabitants
of the village were hunting far a-field for him, Baderoon lay concealed
among some lumber in rear of a hut awaiting his opportunity. It was not
very long of coming.

Towards afternoon the various searching parties began to return, and all
assembled in the market-place, where the chief man, with the hermit and
his party, were assembled discussing the situation.

"I will not now proceed until we have buried poor Babu," said Van der
Kemp. "Besides, Baderoon will be sure to return. I will meet him now."

"I do not agree viz you, mine frond," said the professor. "Zee man is
not a fool zough he is a villain. He knows vat avaits him if he comes."

"He will not come openly," returned the hermit, "but he will not now
rest till he has killed me."

Even as he spoke a loud shouting, mingled with shrieks and yells, was
heard at the other end of the main street. The sounds of uproar appeared
to approach, and soon a crowd of people was seen rushing towards the
market-place, uttering cries of fear in which the word "a-mok" was
heard. At the sound of that word numbers of people--specially women and
children--turned and fled from the scene, but many of the men stood
their ground, and all of them drew their krisses. Among the latter of
course were the white men and their native companions.

We have already referred to that strange madness, to which the Malays
seem to be peculiarly liable, during the paroxysms of which those
affected by it rush in blind fury among their fellows, slaying right and
left. From the terrified appearance of some of the approaching crowd and
the maniac shouts in rear, it was evident that a man thus possessed of
the spirit of amok was venting his fury on them.

Another minute and he drew near, brandishing a kriss that dripped with
the gore of those whom he had already stabbed. Catching sight of the
white men he made straight for them. He was possessed of only one eye,
but that one seemed to concentrate and flash forth the fire of a dozen
eyes, while his dishevelled hair and blood-stained face and person gave
him an appalling aspect.

"It is Baderoon!" said Van der Kemp in a subdued but stern tone.

Nigel, who stood next to him, glanced at the hermit. His face was deadly
pale; his eyes gleamed with a strange, almost unearthly light, and his
lips were firmly compressed. With a sudden nervous motion, unlike his
usually calm demeanour, he drew his long knife, and to Nigel's surprise
cast it away from him. At that moment a woman who came in the madman's
way was stabbed by him to the heart and rent the air with her dying
shriek as she fell. No one could have saved her, the act was so quickly
done. Van der Kemp would have leaped to her rescue, but it was too late;
besides, there was no need to do so now, for the maniac, recognising
his enemy, rushed at him with a shout that sounded like a triumphant
yell. Seeing this, and that his friend stood unarmed, as well as
unmoved, regarding Baderoon with a fixed gaze, Nigel stepped a pace in
advance to protect him, but Van der Kemp seized his arm and thrust him
violently aside. Next moment the pirate was upon him with uplifted
knife, but the hermit caught his wrist, and with a heave worthy of
Samson hurled him to the ground, where he lay for a moment quite
stunned.

Before he could recover, the natives, who had up to this moment held
back, sprang upon the fallen man with revengeful yells, and a dozen
knives were about to be buried in his breast when the hermit sprang
forward to protect his enemy from their fury. But the man whose wife had
been the last victim came up at the moment, and led an irresistible rush
which bore back the hermit as well as his comrades, who had crowded
round him, and in another minute the maniac was almost hacked to pieces.

"I did not kill him--thank God!" muttered Van der Kemp as he left the
market-place, where the relatives of those who had been murdered were
wailing over their dead.

After this event even the professor was anxious to leave the place, so
that early next morning the party resumed their journey, intending to
make a short stay at the next village. Failing to reach it that night,
however, they were compelled to encamp in the woods. Fortunately they
came upon a hill which, although not very high, was sufficiently so,
with the aid of watch-fires, to protect them from tigers. From the
summit, which rose just above the tree-tops, they had a magnificent view
of the forest. Many of the trees were crowned with flowers among which
the setting sun shone for a brief space with glorious effulgence.

Van der Kemp and Nigel stood together apart from the others,
contemplating the wonderful scene.

"What must be the dwelling-place of the Creator Himself when his
footstool is so grand?" said the hermit in a low voice.

"That is beyond mortal ken," said Nigel.

"True--true. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived it.
Yet, methinks, the glory of the terrestrial was meant to raise our souls
to the contemplation of the celestial."

"And yet how signally it has failed in the case of Baderoon," returned
Nigel, with a furtive glance at the hermit, whose countenance had quite
recovered its look of quiet simple dignity. "Would it be presumptuous if
I were to ask why it is that this pirate had such bitter enmity against
you?"

"It is no secret," answered the hermit, in a sad tone. "The truth is, I
had discovered some of his nefarious plans, and more than once have been
the means of preventing his intended deeds of violence--as in the case
of the Dyaks whom we have so lately visited. Besides, the man had done
me irreparable injury, and it is one of the curious facts of human
experience that sometimes those who injure us hate us because they have
done so."

"May I venture to ask for a fuller account of the injury he did you?"
said Nigel with some hesitancy.

For some moments the hermit did not answer. He was evidently struggling
with some suppressed feeling. Turning a look full upon his young friend,
he at length spoke in a low sad voice--

"I have never mentioned my grief to mortal man since that day when it
pleased God to draw a cloud of thickest darkness over my life. But,
Nigel, there is that in you which encourages confidence. I confess that
more than once I have been tempted to tell you of my grief--for human
hearts crave intelligent sympathy. My faithful servant and friend Moses
is, no doubt, intensely sympathetic, but--but--well, I cannot
understand, still less can I explain, why I shrink from making a
confidant of him. Certainly it is not because of his colour, for I hold
that the _souls_ of men are colourless!

"I need not trouble you with the story of my early life," continued the
hermit. "I lost my dear wife a year after our marriage, and was left
with a little girl whose lovely face became more and more like that of
her mother every day she lived. My soul was wrapped up in the child.
After three years I went with her as a passenger to Batavia. On the way
we were attacked by a couple of pirate junks. Baderoon was the pirate
captain. He killed many of our men, took some of us prisoners, sank the
vessel, seized my child, and was about to separate us, putting my child
into one junk while I was retained, bound, in the other."

He paused, and gazed over the glowing tree-tops into the golden horizon,
with a longing, wistful look. At the same time something like an
electric shock passed through Nigel's frame, for was not this narrative
strangely similar in its main features to that which his own father had
told him on the Keeling Islands about beautiful little Kathleen Holbein
and her father? He was on the point of seizing the hermit by the hand
and telling him what he knew, when the thought occurred that attacks by
pirates were common enough in those seas, that other fathers might have
lost daughters in this way, and that, perhaps, his suspicion might be
wrong. It would be a terrible thing, he thought, to raise hope in his
poor friend's breast unless he were pretty sure of the hope being well
founded. He would wait and hear more. He had just come to this
conclusion, and managed to subdue the feelings which had been aroused,
when Van der Kemp turned to him again, and continued his narrative--

"I know not how it was, unless the Lord gave me strength for a purpose
as he gave it to Samson of old, but when I recovered from the stinging
blow I had received, and saw the junk hoist her sails and heard my child
scream, I felt the strength of a lion come over me; I burst the bonds
that held me and leaped into the sea, intending to swim to her. But it
was otherwise ordained. A breeze which had sprung up freshened, and the
junk soon left me far behind. As for the other junk, I never saw it
again, for I never looked back or thought of it--only, as I left it, I
heard a mocking laugh from the one-eyed villain, who, I afterwards found
out, owned and commanded both junks."

Nigel had no doubt now, but the agitation of his feelings still kept him
silent.

"Need I say," continued the hermit, "that revenge burned fiercely in my
breast from that day forward? If I had met the man soon after that, I
should certainly have slain him. But God mercifully forbade it. Since
then He has opened my eyes to see the Crucified One who prayed for His
enemies. And up till now I have prayed most earnestly that Baderoon and
I might _not_ meet. My prayer has not been answered in the way I
wished, but a _better_ answer has been granted, for the sin of revenge
was overcome within me before we met."

Van der Kemp paused again.

"Go on," said Nigel, eagerly. "How did you escape?"

"Escape! Where was I--Oh! I remember," said the hermit, awaking as if
out of a dream "Well, I swam after the junk until it was out of sight,
and then I swam on in silent despair until so completely exhausted that
I felt consciousness leaving me. Then I knew that the end must be near
and I felt almost glad; but when I began to sink, the natural desire to
prolong life revived, and I struggled on. Just as my strength began a
second time to fail, I struck against something. It was a dead cocoa-nut
tree. I laid hold of it and clung to it all that night. Next morning I
was picked up by some fishermen who were going to Telok Betong by the
outer passage round Sebesi Island, and were willing to land me there.
But as my business connections had been chiefly with the town of Anjer,
I begged of them to land me on the island of Krakatoa. This they did,
and it has been my home ever since. I have been there many years."

"Have you never seen or heard of your daughter since?" asked Nigel
eagerly, and with deep sympathy.

"Never--I have travelled far and near, all over the archipelago; into
the interior of the islands, great and small, but have failed to find
her. I have long since felt that she must be dead--for--for she could
not live with the monsters who stole her away."

A certain contraction of the mouth, as he said this, and a gleam of the
eyes, suggested to Nigel that revenge was not yet dead within the
hermit's breast, although it had been overcome.

"What was her name?" asked Nigel, willing to gain time to think how he
ought to act, and being afraid of the effect that the sudden
communication of the news might have on his friend.

"Winnie--darling Winnie--after her mother," said the hermit with deep
pathos in his tone.

A feeling of disappointment came over our hero. Winnie bore not the most
distant resemblance to Kathleen!

"Did you ever, during your search," asked Nigel slowly, "visit the
Cocos-Keeling Islands?"

"Never. They are too far from where the attack on us was made."

"And you never heard of a gun-boat having captured a pirate junk
and----"

"Why do you ask, and why pause?" said the hermit, looking at his friend
in some surprise.

Nigel felt that he had almost gone too far.

"Well, you know--" he replied in some confusion, "you--you are right
when you expect me to sympathise with your great sorrow, which I do most
profoundly, and--and--in short, I would give anything to be able to
suggest hope to you, my friend. Men should _never_ give way to despair."

"Thank you. It is kindly meant," returned the hermit, looking at the
youth with his sad smile. "But it is vain. Hope is dead now."

They were interrupted at this point by the announcement that supper was
ready. At the same time the sun sank, like the hermit's hope, and
disappeared beyond the dark forest.



CHAPTER XX.

NIGEL MAKES A CONFIDANT OF MOSES--UNDERTAKES A LONELY WATCH AND SEES
SOMETHING WONDERFUL.


It was not much supper that Nigel Roy ate that night. The excitement
resulting from his supposed discovery reduced his appetite seriously,
and the intense desire to open a safety-valve in the way of confidential
talk with some one induced a nervously absent disposition which at last
attracted attention.

"You vant a goot dose of kvinine," remarked Verkimier, when, having
satiated himself, he found time to think of others--not that the
professor was selfish by any means, only he was addicted to
concentration of mind on all work in hand, inclusive of feeding.

The hermit paid no attention to anything that was said. His recent
conversation had given vent to a flood of memories and feelings that had
been pent up for many years.

After supper Nigel resolved to make a confidant of Moses. The negro's
fidelity to and love for his master would ensure his sympathy at least,
if not wise counsel.

"Moses," he said, when the professor had raised himself to the seventh
heaven by means of tobacco fumes, "come with me. I want to have a talk."

"Das what I's allers wantin', Massa Nadgel; talkin's my strong point if
I hab a strong point at all."

They went together to the edge of a cliff on the hill-top, whence they
could see an almost illimitable stretch of tropical wilderness bathed in
a glorious flood of moonlight, and sat down.

On a neighbouring cliff, which was crowned with a mass of grasses and
shrubs, a small monkey also sat down, on a fallen branch, and watched
them with pathetic interest, tempered, it would seem, by cutaneous
irritation.

"Moses, I am sorely in need of advice," said Nigel, turning suddenly to
his companion with ill-suppressed excitement.

"Well, Massa Nadgel, you _does_ look like it, but I'm sorry I ain't a
doctor. Pra'ps de purfesser would help you better nor me."

"You misunderstand me. Can you keep a secret, Moses?"

"I kin try--if--if he's not too diffikilt to keep."

"Well, then; listen."

The negro opened his eyes and his mouth as if these were the chief
orifices for the entrance of sound, and advanced an ear. The distant
monkey, observing, apparently, that some unusual communication was about
to be made, also stretched out its little head, cocked an ear, and
suspended its other operations.

Then, in low earnest tones, Nigel told Moses of his belief that Van der
Kemp's daughter might yet be alive and well, and detailed the recent
conversation he had had with his master.

"Now, Moses; what d' ye think of all that?"

Profundity unfathomable sat on the negro's sable brow as he replied,
"Massa Nadgel, I don't bery well know _what_ to t'ink."

"But remember, Moses, before we go further, that I tell you all this in
strict confidence; not a word of it must pass your lips."

The awful solemnity with which Nigel sought to impress this on his
companion was absolutely trifling compared with the expression of that
companion's countenance, as, with a long-drawn argumentative and
remonstrative _Oh!_ he replied:--"Massa--Nadgel. Does you really t'ink I
would say or do any mortal t'ing w'atsumiver as would injure _my_
massa?"

"I'm _sure_, you would not," returned Nigel, quickly. "Forgive me,
Moses, I merely meant that you would have to be very cautious--very
careful--that you do not let a word slip--by accident, you know. I
believe you'd sooner die than do an intentional injury to Van der Kemp.
If I thought you capable of _that_, I think I would relieve my feelings
by giving you a good thrashing."

The listening monkey cocked its ear a little higher at this, and Moses,
who had at first raised his flat nose indignantly in the air, gradually
lowered it, while a benignant smile supplanted indignation.

"You're right dere, Massa Nadgel. I'd die a t'ousand times sooner dan
injure massa. As to your last obserwation, it rouses two idees in my
mind. First, I wonder how you'd manidge to gib me a t'rashin', an'
second, I wonder if your own moder would rikognise you arter you'd tried
it."

At this the monkey turned its other ear as if to make quite sure that it
heard aright. Nigel laughed shortly.

"But seriously, Moses," he continued; "what do you think I should do?
Should I reveal my suspicions to Van der Kemp?"

"Cer'nly not!" answered the negro with prompt decision. "What! wake up
all his old hopes to hab 'em all dashed to bits p'raps when you find dat
you's wrong!"

"But I feel absolutely certain that I'm _not_ wrong!" returned Nigel,
excitedly. "Consider--there is, first, the one-eyed pirate; second,
there is--"

"'Scuse me, Massa Nadgel, dere's no occasion to go all ober it again.
I'll tell you what you do."

"Well?" exclaimed Nigel, anxiously, while his companion frowned savagely
under the force of the thoughts that surged through his brain.

"Here's what you'll do," said Moses.

"Well?" (impatiently, as the negro paused.)

"We're on our way home to Krakatoa."

"Yes--well?"

"One ob our men leabes us to-morrer--goes to 'is home on de coast. Kitch
one ob de steamers dat's allers due about dis time."

"Well, what of that?"

"What ob dat! why, you'll write a letter to your fadder. It'll go by de
steamer to Batavia. He gits it long before we gits home, so dere's
plenty time for 'im to take haction."

"But what good will writing to my father do?" asked Nigel in a somewhat
disappointed tone. "_He_ can't help us."

"Ho yes, he can," said Moses with a self-satisfied nod. "See here, I'll
tell you what to write. You begin, 'Dear fadder--or Dearest fadder--I's
not quite sure ob de strengt' ob your affection. P'raps de safest
way--."

"Oh! get on, Moses. Never mind that."

"Ho! it's all bery well for you to say dat, but de ole gen'leman'll mind
it. Hows'ever, put it as you t'ink best--'Dear fadder, victual your
ship; up anchor; hois' de sails, an' steer for de Cocos-Keelin' Islands.
Go ashore; git hold ob de young 'ooman called Kat'leen Hobbleben--'"

"Holbein, Moses."

"What! is she Moses too?"

"No, no! get on, man."

"Well, 'Dearest fadder, git a hold ob her, whateber her name is, an'
carry her off body and soul, an' whateber else b'longs to her. Take her
to de town ob Anjer an' wait dere for furder orders.' Ob course for de
windin' up o' de letter you must appeal agin to de state ob your
affections, for, as--"

"Not a bad idea," exclaimed Nigel. "Why, Moses, you're a genius! Of
course I'll have to explain a little more fully."

"'Splain what you please," said Moses. "My business is to gib you de
bones ob de letter; yours--bein' a scholar--is to clove it wid flesh."

"I'll do it, Moses, at once."

"I should like," rejoined Moses, with a tooth-and-gum-disclosing smile,
"to see your fadder when he gits dat letter!"

The picture conjured up by his vivid imagination caused the negro to
give way to an explosive laugh that sent the eavesdropping monkey like a
brown thunderbolt into the recesses of its native jungle, while Nigel
went off to write and despatch the important letter.

Next day the party arrived at another village, where, the report of
their approach having preceded them, they were received with much
ceremony--all the more that the professor's power with the rifle had
been made known, and that the neighbourhood was infested by tigers.

There can be little doubt that at this part of the journey the
travellers must have been dogged all the way by tigers, and it was
matter for surprise that so small a party should not have been molested.
Possibly the reason was that these huge members of the feline race were
afraid of white faces, being unaccustomed to them, or, perchance, the
appearance and vigorous stride of even a few stalwart and fearless men
had intimidated them. Whatever the cause, the party reached the village
without seeing a single tiger, though their footprints were observed in
many places.

The wild scenery became more and more beautiful as this village was
neared.

Although flowers as a rule were small and inconspicuous in many parts of
the great forest through which they passed, the rich pink and scarlet of
many of the opening leaves, and the autumn-tinted foliage which lasts
through all seasons of the year, fully made up for the want of them--at
least as regards colour, while the whole vegetation was intermingled in
a rich confusion that defies description.

The professor went into perplexed raptures, his mind being distracted by
the exuberant wealth of subjects which were presented to it all at the
same time.

"Look zere!" he cried, at one turning in the path which opened up a new
vista of exquisite beauty--"look at zat!"

"Ay, it is a Siamang ape--next in size to the orang-utan," said Van der
Kemp, who stood at his friend's elbow.

The animal in question was a fine full-grown specimen, with long
jet-black glancing hair. Its height might probably have been a few
inches over three feet, and the stretch of its arms over rather than
under five feet, but at the great height at which it was seen--not less
than eighty feet--it looked much like an ordinary monkey. It was hanging
in the most easy nonchalant way by one hand from the branch of a tree,
utterly indifferent to the fact that to drop was to die!

The instant the Siamang observed the travellers it set up a loud barking
howl which made the woods resound, but it did not alter its position or
seem to be alarmed in any degree.

"Vat a 'straordinary noise!" remarked the professor.

"It is indeed," returned the hermit, "and it has an extraordinary
appliance for producing it. There is a large bag under its throat
extending to its lips and cheeks which it can fill with air by means of
a valve in the windpipe. By expelling this air in sudden bursts it makes
the varied sounds you hear."

"Mos' vonderful! A sort of natural air-gun! I vill shoot it," said the
professor, raising his deadly rifle, and there is no doubt that the poor
Siamang would have dropped in another moment if Van der Kemp had not
quietly and gravely touched his friend's elbow just as the explosion
took place.

"Hah! you tooched me!" exclaimed the disappointed naturalist, looking
fiercely round, while the amazed ape sent forth a bursting crack of its
air-gun as it swung itself into the tree-top and made off.

"Yes, I touched you, and if you _will_ shoot when I am so close to you,
you cannot wonder at it--especially when you intend to take life
uselessly. The time now at the disposal of my friend Nigel Roy will not
permit of our delaying long enough to kill and preserve large specimens.
To say truth, my friend, we must press on now, as fast as we can, for we
have a very long way to go."

Verkimier was not quite pleased with this explanation, but there was a
sort of indescribable power about the hermit, when he was resolved to
have his way, that those whom he led found it impossible to resist.

On arriving at the village they were agreeably surprised to find a grand
banquet, consisting chiefly of fruit, with fowl, rice, and Indian corn,
spread out for them in the Balai or public hall, where also their
sleeping quarters were appointed. An event had recently occurred,
however, which somewhat damped the pleasure of their reception. A young
man had been killed by a tiger. The brute had leaped upon him while he
and a party of lads were traversing a narrow path through the jungle,
and had killed him with one blow of its paw. The other youths
courageously rushed at the beast with their spears and axes, and,
driving it off, carried the body of their comrade away.

"We have just buried the young man," said the chief of the village, "and
have set a trap for the tiger, for he will be sure to visit the grave."

"My friends would like to see this trap," said the hermit, who, of
course, acted the part of interpreter wherever they went, being well
acquainted with most of the languages and dialects of the archipelago.

"There will yet be daylight after you have finished eating," said the
chief.

Although anxious to go at once to see this trap, they felt the
propriety of doing justice to what had been provided for them, and sat
down to their meal, for which, to say truth, they were quite ready.

Then they went with a large band of armed natives to see this curious
tiger-trap, the bait of which was the grave of a human being!

The grave was close to the outskirts of the village, and, on one side,
the jungle came up to within a few yards of it. The spot was surrounded
by a strong and high bamboo fence, except at one point where a narrow
but very conspicuous opening had been left. Here a sharp spear was so
arranged beside the opening that it could be shot across it at a point
corresponding with the height of a tiger's heart from the ground--as
well, at least, as that point could be estimated by men who were pretty
familiar with tigers. The motive power to propel this spear was derived
from a green bamboo, so strong that it required several powerful men to
bend it in the form of a bow. A species of trigger was arranged to let
the bent bow fly, and a piece of fine cord passed from this across the
opening about breast-high for a tiger. The intention was that the
animal, in entering the enclosure, should become its own
executioner--should commit unintentional suicide, if we may so put it.

"I have an ambition to shoot a tiger," said Nigel to Van der Kemp that
evening. "Do you think the people would object to my getting up into a
tree with my rifle and watching beside the grave part of the night?"

"I am sure that they would not. But your watch will probably be in vain,
for tigers are uncommonly sagacious creatures and seem to me to have
exceptional powers for scenting danger."

"No matter, I will try."

Accordingly, a little before dark that evening our hero borrowed the
professor's double-barrelled rifle, being more suitable for large game
than his own gun, and sauntered with Moses down to the grave where he
ensconced himself in the branches of a large tree about thirty feet from
the ground. The form of the tree was such, that among its forks Nigel
could form a sort of nest in which he could sit, in full view of the
poor youth's grave, without the risk of falling to the ground even if he
should chance to drop asleep.

"Good-night, massa Nadgel," said Moses as he turned to leave his
companion to his solitary vigil. "See you not go to sleep."

"No fear of _that_!" said Nigel.

"An' whateber you do, don't miss."

"I'll do my best--Good-night."

While there was yet a little daylight, our hunter looked well about him;
took note of the exact position of the fence, the entrance to the
enclosure, and the grave; judged the various distances of objects, and
arranged the sights of the rifle, which was already loaded with a brace
of hardened balls. Then he looked up through the tree-tops and wished
for darkness.

It came sooner than he expected. Night always descends more suddenly in
tropical than in temperate regions. The sun had barely dipped below the
horizon when night seemed to descend like a pall over the jungle, and an
indescribable sensation of eerieness crept over Nigel's spirit. Objects
became very indistinct, and he fancied that he saw something moving on
the newly-made grave. With a startled feeling he grasped his weapon,
supposing that the tiger must have entered the enclosure with cat-like
stealth. On second thoughts, however, he discarded the idea, for the
entrance was between him and the grave, and still seemed quite visible.
Do what he would, however, the thought of ghosts insisted on intruding
upon him! He did not believe in ghosts--oh no!--had always scouted the
idea of their existence. Why, therefore, did he feel uncomfortable? He
could not tell. It must simply be the excitement natural to such a very
new and peculiar situation. He would think of something else. He would
devote his mind to the contemplation of tigers! In a short time the moon
would rise, he knew--then he would be able to see better.

While he was in this very uncomfortable state of mind, with the jungle
wrapped in profound silence as well as gloom, there broke on the night
air a wail so indescribable that the very marrow in Nigel's bones seemed
to shrivel up. It ceased, but again broke forth louder than before,
increasing in length and strength, until his ears seemed to tingle with
the sound, and then it died away to a sigh of unutterable woe.

"I have always," muttered Nigel, "believed myself to be a man of
ordinary courage, but _now_--I shall write myself a coward, if not an
ass!"

He attempted to laugh at this pleasantry, but the laugh was hollow and
seemed to freeze in his gullet as the wail broke forth again, ten times
more hideous than at first. After a time the wail became more
continuous, and the watcher began to get used to it. Then a happy
thought flashed into his mind--this was, perhaps, some sort of mourning
for the dead! He was right. The duty of the father of the poor youth who
had been killed was, for several days after the funeral, to sit alone in
his house and chant from sunset till daybreak a death-dirge, or, as it
is called, the _Tjerita bari_. It was not till next day that this was
told to him, but meanwhile the surmise afforded him instantaneous
relief.

As if nature sympathised with his feelings, the moon arose at the same
time and dispelled the thick darkness, though it was not till much
later that, sailing across a clear sky, she poured her bright beams
through the tree-tops and finally rested on the dead man's grave.

By that time Nigel had quite recovered his equanimity, and mentally
blotted out the writing of "coward" and "ass" which he had written
against himself. But another trouble now assailed him. He became sleepy!
Half-a-dozen times at least within half-an-hour he started wide awake
under the impression that he was falling off the tree.

"This will never do," he exclaimed, rising to his feet, resting his
rifle in a position of safety, and then stretching himself to his utmost
extent so that he became thoroughly awake. After this "rouser," as he
called it, he sat down again, and almost immediately fell fast asleep.

How long he sat in this condition it is impossible to say, but he opened
his eyes at length with an indescribable sensation that _something_
required attention, and the first thing they rested on (for daylight was
dawning) was an enormous tiger not forty yards away from him, gliding
like a shadow and with cat-like stealth towards the opening of the
enclosure. The sight was so sudden and so unexpected that, for the
moment, he was paralysed. Perhaps he thought it was a dream. Before he
could recover presence of mind to seize his rifle, the breast of the
animal had touched the fatal line; the trigger was drawn; the stout
bamboo straightened with a booming sound, and the spear--or, rather, the
giant arrow--was shot straight through the tiger's side!

Then occurred a scene which might well have induced Nigel to imagine
that he dreamt, for the transfixed creature bounded into the enclosure
with a terrific roar that rang fearfully through the arches of the
hitherto silent forest. Rushing across the grave, it sprang with one
tremendous bound right over the high fence, carrying the spear along
with it into the jungle beyond.

By that time Nigel was himself again, with rifle in hand, but too late
to fire. The moment he heard the thud of the tiger's descent, he slid
down the tree, and, forgetful or regardless of danger, went crashing
into the jungle, while the yells and shouts of hundreds of aroused
natives suggested the peopling of the region with an army of fiends.

But our hero had not to go far. In his haste he almost tumbled over the
tiger. It was lying stone dead on the spot where it had fallen!

A few minutes more and the natives came pouring round him, wild with
excitement and joy. Soon he was joined by his own comrades.

"Well, you've managed to shoot him, I see," said Van der Kemp as he
joined the group.

"Alas! no. I have not fired a shot," said Nigel, with a half
disappointed look.

"You's got de better ob him anyhow," remarked Moses as he pushed to the
front.

"The spear got the better of him, Moses."

"Veil now, zat is a splendid animal. Lat me see," said the professor,
pulling out his tape-measure.

It was with difficulty that the man of science made and noted his
measurements, for the people were pressing eagerly round the carcase to
gratify their revenge by running their spears into the still warm body.
They dipped the points in the blood and passed their krisses broadside
over the creature that they might absorb the courage and boldness which
were supposed to emanate from it! Then they skinned it, and pieces of
the heart and brain were eaten raw by some of those whose relatives had
been killed by tigers. Finally the skull was hacked to pieces for the
purpose of distributing the teeth, which are used by the natives as
charms.



CHAPTER XXI.

IN WHICH THE PROFESSOR DISTINGUISHES HIMSELF.


Leaving this village immediately after the slaying of the tiger, the
party continued to journey almost by forced marches, for not only was
Nigel Roy very anxious to keep tryst with his father, and to settle the
question of Kathleen's identity by bringing father and daughter
together, but Van der Kemp himself, strange to say, was filled with
intense and unaccountable anxiety to get back to his island home.

"I don't know how it is," he said to Nigel as they walked side by side
through the forest, followed by Moses and the professor, who had become
very friendly on the strength of a certain amount of vacant curiosity
displayed by the former in regard to scientific matters--"I don't know
how it is, but I feel an unusually strong desire to get back to my cave.
I have often been absent from home for long periods at a time, but have
never before experienced these strange longings. I say strange, because
there is no such thing as an effect without a cause."

"May not the cause be presentiment?" suggested Nigel, who, knowing what
a tremendous possibility for the hermit lay in the future, felt a little
inclined to be superstitious. It did not occur to him just then that an
equally, if not more, tremendous possibility lay in the future for
himself--touching his recent discovery or suspicion!

"I do not believe in presentiments," returned the hermit. "They are
probably the result of indigestion or a disordered intellect, from
neither of which complaints do I suffer--at least not consciously!"

"But you have never before left home in such peculiar circumstances,"
said Nigel. "Have you not told me that this is the first time for about
two hundred years that Krakatoa has broken out in active eruption?"

"True, but that cannot be to me the cause of longings or anxieties, for
I have seen many a long-dormant crater become active without any
important result either to me or to any one else."

"Stop, stop!" cried Professor Verkimier in a hoarse whisper at that
moment; "look! look at zee monkeys!"

Monkeys are very abundant in Sumatra, but the nest of them which the
travellers discovered at that time, and which had called forth the
professor's admiration, was enough--as Moses said--to make a "renocerus
laugh." The trees around absolutely swarmed with monkeys; those of a
slender form and with very long tails being most numerous. They were
engaged in some sort of game, swinging by arms, legs, and tails from
branches, holding on to or chasing each other, and taking the most
astonishing leaps in circumstances where a slip would have no doubt
resulted in broken limbs or in death.

"Stand still! Oh! _do_ stand still--like you vas petrivied," said the
professor in a low voice of entreaty.

Being quite willing to humour him, the whole party stood immovable, like
statues, and thus avoided attracting the attention of the monkeys, who
continued their game. It seemed to be a sort of "follow my leader," for
one big strong fellow led off with a bound from one branch to another
which evidently tried the nerves of his more timid and less agile
companions. They all succeeded, however, from the largest even to the
smallest--which last was a very tiny creature with a pink face, a sad
expression, and a corkscrew tail.

For a time they bounded actively among the branches, now high now low,
till suddenly the big leader took a tremendous leap, as if for the
express purpose of baffling or testing his companions. It was immensely
amusing to see the degrees of trepidation with which the others
followed. The last two seemed quite unable to make up their minds to
the leap, until the others seemed about to disappear, when one of them
took heart and bounded wildly across. Thus little pink-face with the
corkscrew tail was left alone! Twice did that little monkey make a
desperate resolution to jump, and twice did its little heart fail as it
measured the distance between the branches and glanced at the abyss
below. Its companions seemed to entertain a feeling of pity for it.
Numbers of them came back, as if to watch the jump and encourage the
little one. A third time it made an abortive effort to spring, and
looked round pitifully, whereupon Moses gave vent to an uncontrollable
snort of suppressed laughter.

"Vat you mean by zat?" growled the professor angrily.

The growl and snort together revealed the intruders, and all the
monkeys, except pink-face, crowding the trees above the spot where they
stood, gazed down upon them with expressions in which unparalleled
indignation and inconceivable surprise struggled for the mastery.

Then, with a wild shriek, the whole troop fled into the forest.

This was too much for poor, half-petrified pink-face with the twisted
tail. Seeing that its comrades were gone in earnest, it became
desperate, flung itself frantically into the air with an agonising
squeak, missed its mark, went crashing through the slender branches and
fell to the ground.

Fortunately these branches broke its fall so that it arose unhurt,
bounded into a bush, still squeaking with alarm, and made after its
friends.

"Why did you not shoot it, professor?" asked Nigel, laughing as much at
Verkimier's grave expression as at the little monkey's behaviour.

"Vy did I not shot it?" echoed the professor. "I vould as soon shot a
baby. Zee pluck of zat leetle creature is admirable. It vould be a
horrible shame to take his life. No! I do love to see ploock vezer in
man or beast! He could not shoomp zat. He _knew_ he could not shoomp it,
but he _tried_ to shoomp it. He vould not be beat, an' I vould not kill
him--zough I vant 'im very mooch for a specimen."

It seemed as if the professor was to be specially rewarded for his
generous self-denial on this occasion, for while he was yet speaking, a
soft "hush!" from Van der Kemp caused the whole party to halt in dead
silence and look at the hermit inquiringly.

"You are in luck, professor," he murmured, in a soft, low voice--very
different from that hissing whisper which so many people seem to imagine
is an inaudible utterance. "I see a splendid Argus pheasant over there
making himself agreeable to his wife!"

"Vare? oh! vare?" exclaimed the enthusiast with blazing eyes, for
although he had already seen and procured specimens of this most
beautiful creature, he had not yet seen it engage in the strange
love-dance--if we may so call it--which is peculiar to the bird.

"You'll never get near enough to see it if you hiss like a serpent,"
said the hermit. "Get out your binoculars, follow me, and hold your
tongue, all of you--that will be the safest plan. Tread lightly."

It was a sight to behold the professor crouching almost double in order
to render himself less conspicuous, with his hat pushed back, and the
blue glasses giving him the appearance of a great-eyed seal. He carried
his butterfly-net in one hand, and the unfailing rifle in the other.

Fortunately the hermit's sharp and practised eye had enabled him to
distinguish the birds in the distance before their advance had alarmed
them, so that they were able to reach a mound topped with low bushes
over which they could easily watch the birds.

"Zat is very koorious an' most interesting," murmured the professor
after a short silence.

He was right. There were two Argus pheasants, a male and female--the
male alone being decorated superbly. The Argus belongs to the same
family as the peacock, but is not so gaudy in colouring, and therefore,
perhaps, somewhat more pleasing. Its tail is formed chiefly by an
enormous elongation of the two tail quills, and of the secondary wing
feathers, no two of which are exactly the same, and the closer they are
examined the greater is seen to be the extreme beauty of their markings,
and the rich varied harmony of their colouring.

When a male Argus wishes to show off his magnificence to his spouse--or
when she asks him to show it off, we know not which--he makes a circle
in the forest some ten or twelve feet in diameter, which he clears of
every leaf, twig, and branch. On the margin of this circus there is
invariably a projecting branch, or overarching root a few feet above the
ground, on which the female takes her place to watch the exhibition.
This consists of the male strutting about, pluming his feathers, and
generally displaying his gorgeous beauty.

"Vat ineffable vanity!" exclaimed the professor, after gazing for some
time in silence.

His own folly in thus speaking was instantly proved by the two birds
bringing the exhibition to an abrupt close and hastily taking wing.

Not long after seeing this they came to a small but deep and rapid
river, which for a time checked their progress, for there was no ford,
and the porters who carried Verkimier's packages seemed to know nothing
about a bridge, either natural or artificial. After wandering for an
hour or so along its banks, however, they found a giant tree which had
fallen across the stream and formed a natural bridge.

On the other side of the stream the ground was more rugged and the
forest so dense that they had to walk in a sort of twilight--only a
glimpse of blue sky being visible here and there through the tree-tops.
In some places, however, there occurred bright little openings which
swarmed with species of metallic tiger-beetles and sand-bees, and where
sulphur, swallow-tailed, and other butterflies sported their brief life
away over the damp ground by the water's edge.

The native forest path which they followed was little better than a
tunnel cut through a grove of low rattan-palms, the delicate but
exceedingly tough tendrils of which hung down in all directions. These
were fringed with sharp hooks which caught their clothing and tore it,
or held on unrelentingly, so that the only way of escape was to step
quietly back and unhook themselves. This of itself would have rendered
their progress slow as well as painful, but other things tended to
increase the delay. At one place they came to a tree about seven feet in
diameter which lay across the path and had to be scrambled over, and
this was done with great difficulty. At another, a gigantic
mud-bath--the wallowing hole of a herd of elephants--obstructed the
way, and a yell from one of the porters told that in attempting to cross
it he had fallen in up to the waist. A comrade in trying to pull him out
also fell in and sank up to the armpits. But they got over it--as
resolute men always do--somehow!

"Zis is horrible!" exclaimed the professor, panting from his exertions,
and making a wild plunge with his insect-net at some living creature.
"Hah! zee brute! I have 'im."

The man of science was flat on his stomach as he spoke, with arm
outstretched and the net pressed close to the ground, while a smile of
triumph beamed through the mud and scratches on his face.

"What have you got?" asked Nigel, doing his best to restrain a laugh.

"A splendid _Ornit'optera_ a day-flying moss'," said Verkimier as he
cautiously rose, "vich mimics zee _Trepsichrois mulciber_. Ant zis very
morning I caught von _Leptocircus virescens_, vich derives protection
from mimicking zee habits ant appearance of a dragon-fly."

"What rubbish dat purfesser do talk!" remarked Moses in an undertone to
the hermit as they moved on again.

"Not such rubbish as it sounds to you, Moses. These are the scientific
names of the creatures, and you know as well as he does that many
creatures think they find it advantageous to pretend to be what they
are not. Man himself is not quite free from this characteristic. Indeed,
you have a little of it yourself," said the hermit with one of his
twinkling glances. "When you are almost terrified of your wits don't you
pretend that there's nothing the matter with you?"

"Nebber, massa, nebber!" answered the negro with remonstrative gravity.
"When I's nigh out ob my wits, so's my innards feels like nuffin' but
warmish water, I gits whitey-grey in de chops, so I's told, an' blue in
de lips, an' I _pretends_ nuffin'--I don't care _who_ sees it!"

The track for some distance beyond this point became worse and worse.
Then the nature of the ground changed somewhat--became more hilly, and
the path, if such it could be styled, more rugged in some places, more
swampy in others, while, to add to their discomfort, rain began to fall,
and night set in dark and dismal without any sign of the village of
which they were in search. By that time the porters who carried
Verkimier's boxes seemed so tired that the hermit thought it advisable
to encamp, but the ground was so wet and the leeches were so numerous
that they begged him to go on, assuring him that the village could not
be far distant. In another half-hour the darkness became intense, so
that a man could scarcely see his fellow even when within two paces of
him. Ominous mutterings and rumblings like distant thunder also were
heard, which appeared to indicate an approaching storm. In these
circumstances encamping became unavoidable, and the order was given to
make a huge fire to scare away the tigers, which were known to be
numerous, and the elephants whose fresh tracks had been crossed and
followed during the greater part of the day. The track of a rhinoceros
and a tapir had also been seen, but no danger was to be anticipated from
those creatures.

"Shall we have a stormy night, think you?" asked Nigel, as he assisted
in striking a light.

"It may be so," replied the hermit, flinging down one after another of
his wet matches, which failed to kindle. "What we hear may be distant
thunder, but I doubt it. The sounds seem to me more like the mutterings
of a volcano. Some new crater may have burst forth in the Sumatran
ranges. This thick darkness inclines me to think so--especially after
the new activity of volcanic action we have seen so recently at
Krakatoa. Let me try your matches, Nigel, perhaps they have
escaped--mine are useless."

But Nigel's matches were as wet as those of the hermit. So were those of
the professor. Luckily Moses carried the old-fashioned flint and steel,
with which, and a small piece of tinder, a spark was at last kindled,
but as they were about to apply it to a handful of dry bamboo scrapings,
an extra spirt of rain extinguished it. For an hour and more they made
ineffectual attempts to strike a light. Even the cessation of the rain
was of no avail.

"Vat must ve do _now_?" asked the professor in tones that suggested a
wo-begone countenance, though there was no light by which to distinguish
it.

"Grin and bear it," said Nigel, in a voice suggestive of a slight
expansion of the mouth--though no one could see it.

"Dere's nuffin' else left to do," said Moses, in a tone which betrayed
such a very wide expansion that Nigel laughed outright.

"Hah! you may laugh, my yoong frond, hot if zee tigers find us out or
zee elephants trample on us, your laughter vill be turned to veeping.
Vat is zat? Is not zat vonderful?"

The question and exclamation were prompted by the sudden appearance of
faint mysterious lights among the bushes. That the professor viewed them
as unfriendly lights was clear from the click of his rifle-locks which
followed.

"It is only phosphoric light," explained Van der Kemp. "I have often
seen it thus in electric states of the atmosphere. It will probably
increase--meanwhile we must seat ourselves on our boxes and do the best
we can till daylight. Are you there, boys?"

This question, addressed to the bearers in their native tongue, was not
answered, and it was found, on a _feeling_ examination, that, in spite
of leeches, tigers, elephants, and the whole animal creation, the
exhausted porters had flung themselves on the wet ground and gone to
sleep while their leaders were discussing the situation.

Dismal though the condition of the party was, the appearances in the
forest soon changed the professor's woe into eager delight, for the
phosphorescence became more and more pronounced, until every tree-stem
blinked with a palish green light, and it trickled like moonlight over
the ground, bringing out thick dumpy mushrooms like domes of light.
Glowing caterpillars and centipedes crawled about, leaving a trail of
light behind them, and fireflies darting to and fro peopled the air and
gave additional animation to the scene.

In the midst of the darkness, thus made singularly visible, the white
travellers sat dozing and nodding on their luggage, while the cries of
metallic-toned horned frogs and other nocturnal sounds peculiar to that
weird forest formed their appropriate lullaby.

But Moses neither dozed nor nodded. With a pertinacity peculiarly his
own he continued to play a running accompaniment to the lullaby with his
flint and steel, until his perseverance was rewarded with a spark which
caught on a dry portion of the tinder and continued to burn. By that
time the phosphoric lights had faded, and his spark was the only one
which gleamed through intense darkness.

How he cherished that spark! He wrapped it in swaddling clothes of dry
bamboo scrapings with as much care as if it had been the essence of his
life. He blew upon it tenderly as though to fan its delicate brow with
the soft zephyrs of a father's affection. Again he blew more vigorously,
and his enormous pouting lips came dimly into view. Another blow and his
flat nose and fat cheeks emerged from darkness. Still another--with
growing confidence--and his huge eyes were revealed glowing with hope.
At last the handful of combustible burst into a flame, and was thrust
into a prepared nest of twigs. This, communicating with a heap of logs,
kindled a sudden blaze which scattered darkness out of being, and
converted thirty yards of the primeval forest into a chamber of glorious
light, round which the human beings crowded with joy enhanced by the
unexpectedness of the event, and before which the wild things of the
wilderness fled away.

When daylight came at last, they found that the village for which they
had been searching was only two miles beyond the spot where they had
encamped.

Here, being thoroughly exhausted, it was resolved that they should spend
that day and night, and, we need scarcely add, they spent a considerable
portion of both in sleep--at least such parts of both as were not
devoted to food. And here the professor distinguished himself in a way
that raised him greatly in the estimation of his companions and caused
the natives of the place to regard him as something of a demi-god. Of
course we do not vouch for the truth of the details of the incident, for
no one save himself was there to see, and although we entertained the
utmost regard for himself, we were not sufficiently acquainted with his
moral character to answer for his strict truthfulness. As to the main
event, there was no denying that. The thing happened thus:--

Towards the afternoon of that same day the travellers began to wake up,
stretch themselves, and think about supper. In the course of
conversation it transpired that a tiger had been prowling about the
village for some days, and had hitherto successfully eluded all attempts
to trap or spear it. They had tethered a goat several times near a small
pond and watched the spot from safe positions among the trees, with
spears, bows and arrows, and blow-pipes ready, but when they watched,
the tiger did not come, and when they failed to watch, the tiger did
come and carried off the goat. Thus they had been baffled.

"Mine frond," said the professor to the hermit on hearing this. "I vill
shot zat tiger! I am resolved. Vill you ask zee chief to show me zee
place ant zen tell his people, on pain of def, not to go near it all
night, for if zey do I vill certainly shot zem--by accident of course!"

The hermit did as he was bid, but advised his sanguine friend against
exposing himself recklessly. The chief willingly fell in with his
wishes.

"Won't you tell us what you intend to do, professor?" asked Nigel, "and
let us help you."

"No, I vill do it all by mineself--or die! I vill vant a shofel or a
spade of some sort."

The chief provided the required implement, conducted his visitor a
little before sunset to the spot, just outside the village, and left him
there armed with his rifle, a revolver, and a long knife or kriss,
besides the spade.

When alone, the bold man put off his glasses, made a careful inspection
of the ground, came to a conclusion--founded on scientific data no
doubt--as to the probable spot whence the tiger would issue from the
jungle when about to seize the goat, and, just opposite that spot, on
the face of a slope about ten yards from the goat, he dug a hole deep
enough to contain his own person. The soil was sandy easy to dig, and
quite dry. It was growing dusk when the professor crept into this
rifle-pit, drew his weapons and the spade in after him, and closed the
mouth of the pit with moist earth, leaving only a very small eye-hole
through which he could see the goat standing innocently by the brink of
the pool.

"Now," said he, as he lay resting on his elbows with the rifle laid
ready to hand and the revolver beside it; "now, I know not vezer you can
smell or not, but I have buried mineself in eart', vich is a
non-conductor of smell. Ve shall see!"

It soon became very dark, for there was no moon, yet not so dark but
that the form of the goat could be seen distinctly reflected in the
pond. Naturally the professor's mind reverted to the occasion when Nigel
had watched in the branches of a tree for another tiger. The conditions
were different, and so, he thought, was the man!

"Mine yoong frond," he said mentally, "is brav', oondoubtedly, but his
nerves have not been braced by experience like mine. It is vell, for
zere is more dancher here zan in a tree. It matters not. I am resolf to
shot zat tigre--or die!"

In this resolute and heroic frame of mind he commenced his vigil.

It is curious to note how frequently the calculations of men fail
them--even those of scientific men! The tiger came indeed to the spot,
but he came in precisely the opposite direction from that which the
watcher expected, so that while Verkimier was staring over the goat's
head at an opening in the jungle beyond the pond, the tiger was
advancing stealthily and slowly through the bushes exactly behind the
hole in which he lay.

Suddenly the professor became aware of _something_! He saw nothing
consciously, he heard nothing, but there stole over him, somehow, the
feeling of a dread presence!

Was he asleep? Was it nightmare? No, it was night-tiger! He knew it,
somehow; he _felt_ it--but he could not see it.

To face death is easy enough--according to some people--but to face
nothing at all is at all times trying. Verkimier felt it to be so at
that moment. But he was a true hero and conquered himself.

"Come now," he said mentally, "don't be an ass! Don't lose your shance
by voomanly fears. Keep kviet."

Another moment and there was a very slight sound right over his head. He
glanced upwards--as far as the little hole would permit--and there, not
a foot from him, was a tawny yellow throat! with a tremendous paw moving
slowly forward--so slowly that it might have suggested the imperceptible
movement of the hour-hand of a watch, or of a glacier. There was indeed
motion, but it was not perceptible.

The professor's perceptions were quick. He did not require to think. He
knew that to use the rifle at such close quarters was absolutely
impossible. He knew that the slightest motion would betray him. He could
see that as yet he was undiscovered, for the animal's nose was straight
for the goat, and he concluded that either his having buried himself was
a safeguard against being smelt, or that the tiger had a cold in its
head. He thought for one moment of bursting up with a yell that would
scare the monster out of his seven senses--if he had seven--but
dismissed the thought as cowardly, for it would be sacrificing success
to safety. He knew not what to do, and the cold perspiration consequent
upon indecision at a supreme moment broke out all over him. Suddenly he
thought of the revolver!

Like lightning he seized it, pointed it straight up and fired. The
bullet--a large army revolver one--entered the throat of the animal,
pierced the root of the tongue, crashed through the palate obliquely,
and entered the brain. The tiger threw one indescribable somersault and
fell--fell so promptly that it blocked the mouth of the pit, all the
covering earth of which had been blown away by the shot, and Verkimier
could feel the hairy side of the creature, and hear the beating of its
heart as it gasped its life away. But in his cramped position he could
not push it aside. Well aware of the tenacity of life in tigers, he
thought that if the creature revived it would certainly grasp him even
in its dying agonies, for the weight of its body and its struggles were
already crushing in the upper part of the hole.

To put an end to its sufferings and his own danger, he pointed the
revolver at its side and again fired. The crash in the confined hole was
tremendous--so awful that the professor thought the weapon must have
burst. The struggles of the, tiger became more violent than ever, and
its weight more oppressive as the earth crumbled away. Again the cold
perspiration broke out all over the man, and he became unconscious.

It must not be supposed that the professor's friends were unwatchful.
Although they had promised not to disturb him in his operations, they
had held themselves in readiness with rifle, revolver, and spear, and
the instant the first shot was heard, they ran down to the scene of
action. Before reaching it the second shot quickened their pace as they
ran down to the pond--a number of natives yelling and waving torches at
their heels.

"Here he is," cried Moses, who was first on the scene, "dead as mutton!"

"What! the professor?" cried Nigel in alarm.

"No; de tiger."

"Where's Verkimier?" asked the hermit as he came up.

"I dun know, massa," said Moses, looking round him vacantly.

"Search well, men, and be quick, he may have been injured," cried Van
der Kemp, seizing a torch and setting the example.

"Let me out!" came at that moment from what appeared to be the bowels of
the earth, causing every one to stand aghast gazing in wonder around and
on each other.

"Zounds! vy don't you let me _out_?" shouted the voice again.

There was an indication of a tendency to flight on the part of the
natives, but Nigel's asking "Where _are_ you?" had the effect of
inducing them to delay for the answer.

"Here--oonder zee tigre! Kveek, I am suffocat!"

Instantly Van der Kemp seized the animal by the 'tail, and, Avith a
force worthy of Hercules, heaved it aside as if it had been a dead cat,
revealing the man of science underneath--alive and well, but
dishevelled, scratched, and soiled--also, as deaf as a door-post!



CHAPTER XXII.

A PYTHON DISCOVERED AND A GEYSER INTERVIEWED.


"It never rains but it pours" is a well-known proverb which finds,
frequent illustration in the experience of almost every one. At all
events Verkimier had reason to believe in the truth of it at that time,
for adventures came down on him, as it were, in a sort of deluge, more
or less astounding, insomuch that his enthusiastic spirit, bathing, if
we may say so, in an ocean of scientific delight, pronounced Sumatra to
be the very paradise of the student of nature.

We have not room in this volume to follow him in the details of his
wonderful experiences, but we must mention one adventure which he had on
the very day after the tiger-incident, because it very nearly had the
effect of separating him from his travelling companions.

Being deaf, as we have said--owing to the explosion of his revolver in
the hole--but not necessarily dumb, the professor, after one or two
futile attempts to hear and converse, deemed it wise to go to bed and
spend the few conscious minutes that might precede sleep in watching Van
der Kemp, who kindly undertook to skin his tiger for him. Soon the
self-satisfied man fell into a sweet infantine slumber, and dreamed of
tigers, in which state he gave vent to sundry grunts, gasps, and
half-suppressed cries, to the immense delight of Moses, who sat watching
him, indulging in a running commentary suggestive of the recent event,
and giving utterance now and then to a few imitative growls by way of
enhancing the effect of the dreams!

"Look! look! Massa Nadgel, he's twitchin' all ober. De tiger's comin' to
him now."

"Looks like it, Moses."

"Yes--an', see, he grip de 'volver--no, too soon, or de tiger's goed
away, for he's stopped twichin'--dare; de tiger comes agin!"

A gasp and clenching of the right hand seemed to warrant this
assumption. Then a yell rang through the hut; Moses displayed all, and
more than all his teeth, and the professor, springing up on one elbow,
glared fearfully.

"I'n't it awrful?" inquired Moses in a low tone.

The professor awoke mentally, recognised the situation, smiled an
imbecile smile, and sank back again on his pillow with a sigh of relief.

After that, when the skinning of the tiger was completed, the dreams
appeared to leave him, and all his comrades joined him in the land of
Nod. He was first to awake when daylight entered their hut the following
morning, and, feeling in a fresh, quiescent state of mind after the
excitement of the preceding night, he lay on his back, his eyes fixed
contentedly on the grand tiger-skin which hung on the opposite wall.

By degrees his eyes grew wearied of that object, and he allowed them to
travel languidly upwards and along the roof until they rested on the
spot directly over his head, where they became fixed, and, at the same
time, opened out to a glare, compared to which all his previous glaring
was as nothing--for there, in the thatch, looking down upon him, was the
angular head of a huge python. The snake was rolled up in a tight coil,
and had evidently spent the night within a yard of the professor's head!
Being unable to make out what sort of snake it was, and fearing that it
might be a poisonous one, he crept quietly from his couch, keeping his
eyes fixed on the reptile as he did so. One result of this mode of
action was that he did not see where he was going, and inadvertently
thrust one finger into Moses' right eye, and another into his open
mouth. The negro naturally shut his mouth with a snap, while the
professor opened his with a roar, and in another moment every man was
on his feet blinking inquiringly.

"Look! zee snake!" cried the professor, when Moses released him.

"We must get him out of that," remarked Van der Kemp, as he quietly made
a noose with a piece of rattan, and fastened it to the end of a long
pole. With the latter he poked the creature up, and, when it had
uncoiled sufficiently, he slipped the noose deftly over its head.

"Clear out, friends," he said, looking round.

All obeyed with uncommon promptitude except the professor, who valiantly
stood his ground. Van der Kemp pulled the python violently down to the
floor, where it commenced a tremendous scuffle among the chairs and
posts. The hermit kept its head off with the pole, and sought to catch
its tail, but failed twice. Seeing this the professor caught the tail as
it whipped against his legs, and springing down the steps so violently
that he snapped the cord by which the hermit held it, and drew the
creature straight out--a thick monster full twelve feet long, and
capable of swallowing a dog or a child.

"Out of zee way!" shouted the professor, making a wild effort to swing
the python against a tree, but the tail slipped from his grasp, the
professor fell, and the snake went crashing against a log, under which
it took refuge.

Nigel, who was nearest to it, sprang forward, fortunately caught its
tail, and, swinging it and himself round with such force that it could
not coil up at all, dashed it against a tree. Before it could recover
from the shock, Moses had caught up a hatchet and cut its head off with
one blow. The tail wriggled for a few seconds, and the head gaped once
or twice, as if in mild surprise at so sudden a finale.

"Zat is strainch--very strainch," slowly remarked the professor, as,
still seated on the ground, he solemnly noted these facts.

"Not so _very_ strange, after all," said Van der Kemp; "I've seen the
head of many a bigger snake cut off at one blow."

"Mine frond, you mistake me. It is zee vorking of physical law in zee
spiritual vorld zat perplexes me. Moses has cut zee brute in
two--physical fact, substance can be divided. Zee two parts are still
alife, zerfore, zee life--zee spirit--has also been divided!"

"It is indeed very strange," said Nigel, with a laugh. "Stranger still
that you may cut a worm into several parts, and the life remains in
each, but, strangest of all, that you should sit on the ground,
professor, instead of rising up, while you philosophise. You are not
hurt, I hope--are you?"

"I razer zink I am," returned the philosopher with a faint smile; "mine
onkle, I zink, is spraint."

This was indeed true, and it seemed as if the poor man's wanderings
were to be, for a time at least, brought to an abrupt close. Fortunately
it was found that a pony could be procured at that village, and, as they
had entered the borders of the mountainous regions, and the roads were
more open and passable than heretofore, it was resolved that the
professor should ride until his ankle recovered.

We must now pass over a considerable portion of time and space, and
convey the reader, by a forced march, to the crater of an active
volcano. By that time Verkimier's ankle had recovered and the pony had
been dismissed. The heavy luggage, with the porters, had been left in
the low grounds, for the mountain they had scaled was over 10,000 feet
above the sea-level. Only one native from the plain below accompanied
them as guide, and three of their porters whose inquiring minds tempted
them to make the ascent.

At about 10,000 feet the party reached what the natives called the dempo
or edge of the volcano, whence they looked down into the sawah or
ancient crater, which was a level space composed of brown soil
surrounded by cliffs, and lying like the bottom of a cup 200 feet below
them. It had a sulphurous odour, and was dotted here and there with
clumps of heath and rhododendrons. In the centre of this was a cone
which formed the true--or modern--crater. On scrambling up to the lip
of the cone and looking down some 300 feet of precipitous rock they
beheld what seemed to be a pure white lake set in a central basin of 200
feet in diameter. The surface of this lakelet smoked, and although it
reflected every passing cloud as if it were a mirror, it was in reality
a basin of hot mud, the surface of which was about thirty feet below its
rim.

"You will soon see a change come over it," said the hermit, as the party
gazed in silent admiration at the weird scene.

He had scarcely spoken, when the middle of the lake became intensely
black and scored with dark streaks. This, though not quite obvious at
first from the point where they stood, was caused by the slow formation
of a great chasm in the centre of the seething lake of mud. The lake was
sinking into its own throat. The blackness increased. Then a dull sullen
roar was heard, and next moment the entire lake upheaved, not violently,
but in a slow, majestic manner some hundreds of feet into the air,
whence it fell back into its basin with an awful roar which reverberated
and echoed from the rocky walls of the caldron like the singing of an
angry sea. An immense volume of steam--the motive power which had blown
up the lake--was at the same time liberated and dissipated in the air.

The wave-circles died away on the margin of the lake, and the placid,
cloud-reflecting surface was restored until the geyser had gathered
fresh force for another upheaval.

"Amazing!" exclaimed Nigel, who had gazed with feelings of awe at this
curious exhibition of the tremendous internal forces with which the
Creator has endowed the earth.

"Vonderful!" exclaimed the professor, whose astonishment was such, that
his eyebrows rose high above the rim of his huge blue binoculars.

Moses, to whom such an exhibition of the powers of nature was familiar,
was, we are sorry to say, not much impressed, if impressed at all!
Indeed he scarcely noticed it, but watched, with intense teeth-and-gum
disclosing satisfaction, the faces of two of the native porters who had
never seen anything of the kind before, and whose terrified expressions
suggested the probability of a precipitate flight when their trembling
limbs became fit to resume duty.

"Will it come again soon?" asked Nigel, turning to Van der Kemp.

"Every fifteen or twenty minutes it goes through that process all day
and every day," replied the hermit.

"But, if I may joodge from zee stones ant scoriae around," said the
professor, "zee volcano is not alvays so peaceful as it is joost now."

"You are right. About once in every three years, and sometimes oftener,
the crops of coffee, bananas, rice, etc., in this region are quite
destroyed by sulphur-rain, which covers everything for miles around the
crater."

"Hah! it vould be too hote a place zis for us, if zat vas to happin
joost now," remarked Verkimier with a smile.

"It cannot be far off the time now, I should think," said Yan der Kemp.

All this talk Moses translated, and embellished, to the native porters
with the solemn sincerity of a true and thorough-paced hypocrite. He had
scarcely finished, and was watching with immense delight the changeful
aspect of their whitey-green faces, when another volcanic fit came on,
and the deep-toned roar of the coming explosion was heard. It was so
awesome that the countenance even of Van der Kemp became graver than
usual. As for the two native porters, they gazed and trembled. Nigel and
the professor also gazed with lively expectation. Moses--we grieve to
record it--hugged himself internally, and gloated over the two porters.

Another moment and there came a mighty roar. Up went the mud-lake
hundreds of feet into the air; out came the steam with the sound of a
thousand trombones, and away went the two porters, head ever heels, down
the outer slope of the cone and across the sawah as if the spirit of
evil were after them.

There was no cause, however, for alarm. The mud-lake, falling back into
its native cup, resumed its placid aspect and awaited its next upheaval
with as much tranquillity as if it had never known disturbance in the
past, and were indifferent about the future.

That evening our travellers encamped in close proximity to the crater,
supped on fowls roasted in an open crevice whence issued steam and
sulphurous smells, and slept with the geyser's intermittent roar
sounding in their ears and re-echoing in their dreams.



CHAPTER XXIII.

TELLS OF VOLCANIC FIRES AND A STRANGE RETURN "HOME."


This tremendous introduction to volcanic fires was but the prelude to a
period of eruptive action which has not been paralleled in the world's
history.

For a short time after this, indeed, the genial nature of the weather
tended to banish from the minds of our travellers all thoughts of
violence either in terrestrial or human affairs, and as the professor
devoted himself chiefly to the comparatively mild occupation of catching
and transfixing butterflies and beetles during the march southward,
there seemed to be nothing in the wide universe above or below save
peace and tranquillity--except, perhaps, in the minds of beetles and
butterflies!

Throughout all this period, nevertheless, there were ominous growlings,
grumblings, and tremors--faint but frequent--which indicated a
condition of mother earth that could not have been called easy.

"Some of the volcanoes of Java must be at work, I think," said Nigel
one night, as the party sat in a small isolated wood-cutter's hut
discussing a supper of rice and fowls with his friends, which they were
washing down with home-grown coffee.

"It may be so," said Van der Kemp in a dubious tone; "but the sounds,
though faint, seem to me a good deal nearer. I can't help thinking that
the craters which have so recently opened up in Krakatoa are still
active, and that it may be necessary for me to shift my quarters, for my
cave is little more, I suspect, than the throat of an ancient volcano."

"Hah! say you so, mine frond? Zen I vould advise you to make no delay,"
said the professor, critically examining a well-picked drumstick. "You
see, it is not pleasant to be blown up eizer by the terrestrial
eruptions of zee vorld or zee celestial explosions of your vife.--A
leetle more rice, Moses if you please. Zanks."

"Now, mine fronds," he continued, after having disposed of a supper
which it might have taxed a volcano's throat to swallow, "it is viz
great sorrow zat I must part from you here."

"Part! Why?" asked the hermit in surprise.

"Vy, because I find zis contrie is heaven upon eart'. Zat is, of course,
only in a scientific point of view. Zee voods are svarming, zee air is
teeming, ant zee vaters are vallo'ing vit life. I cannot tear myself
avay. But ve shall meet again--at Telok Betong, or Krakatoa, or Anjer,
or Batavia."

It was found that the man of science was also a man of decision. Nothing
would persuade him to go a step further. The wood-cutter's hut suited
him, so did the wood-cutter himself, and so, as he said, did the region
around him. With much regret, therefore, and an earnest invitation from
the hermit to visit his cave, and range the almost unexplored woods of
his island, the travellers parted from him; and our three adventurers,
dismissing all attendants and hiring three ponies, continued their
journey to the southern shores of Sumatra.

As they advanced it soon became evident that the scene of volcanic
activity was not so far distant as the island of Java, for the air was
frequently darkened by the falling of volcanic dust which covered the
land with a greyish powder. As, however, at least sixteen volcanoes have
been registered in the island of Sumatra, and there are probably many
others, it was impossible to decide where the scene of eruption was that
caused those signs.

One afternoon the travellers witnessed a catastrophe which induced them
to forego all idea of spending more time in examining the country. They
had arrived at a village where they found a traveller who appeared to be
going about without any special object in view. He spoke English, but
with a foreign accent. Nigel naturally felt a desire to become sociable
with him, but he was very taciturn and evidently wished to avoid
intercourse with chance acquaintances. Hearing that there were curious
hot-water and mud springs not far off, the stranger expressed a desire
to visit them. Nigel also felt anxious to see them, and as one guide was
sufficient for the party the stranger joined the party and they went
together.

The spot they were led to was evidently a mere crust of earth covering
fierce subterranean fires. In the centre of it a small pond of mud was
boiling and bubbling furiously, and round this, on the indurated clay,
were smaller wells and craters full of boiling mud. The ground near them
was obviously unsafe, for it bent under pressure like thin ice, and at
some of the cracks and fissures the sulphurous vapour was so hot that
the hand could not be held to it without being scalded.

Nigel and the stranger walked close behind the native guide, both,
apparently, being anxious to get as near as possible to the central
pond. But the guide stopped suddenly, and, looking back, said to Van der
Kemp that it was not safe to approach nearer.

Nigel at once stopped, and, looking at the stranger, was struck by the
wild, incomprehensible expression of his face as he continued to
advance.

"Stop! stop, sir!" cried the hermit on observing this, but the man paid
no attention to the warning.

Another instant and the crust on which he stood gave way and he sank
into a horrible gulf from which issued a gust of sulphurous vapour and
steam. The horror which almost overwhelmed Nigel did not prevent him
bounding forward to the rescue. Well was it for him at that time that a
cooler head than his own was near. The strong hand of the hermit seized
his collar on the instant, and he was dragged backward out of danger,
while an appalling shriek from the stranger as he disappeared told that
the attempt to succour him would have been too late.

A terrible event of this kind has usually the effect of totally
changing, at least for a time, the feelings of those who witness it, so
as to almost incapacitate them from appreciating ordinary events or
things. For some days after witnessing the sudden and awful fate of this
unknown man, Nigel travelled as if in a dream, taking little notice of,
or interest in, anything, and replying to questions in mere
monosyllables. His companions seemed to be similarly affected, for they
spoke very little. Even the volatile spirit of Moses appeared to be
subdued, and it was not till they had reached nearly the end of their
journey that their usual flow of spirits returned.

Arriving one night at a village not very far from the southern shores
of Sumatra they learned that the hermit's presentiments were justified,
and that the volcano which was causing so much disturbance in the
islands of the archipelago was, indeed, the long extinct one of
Krakatoa.

"I've heard a good deal about it from one of the chief men here," said
the hermit as he returned to his friends that night about supper-time.
"He tells me that it has been more or less in moderate eruption ever
since we left the island, but adds that nobody takes much notice of it,
as they don't expect it to increase much in violence. I don't agree with
them in that," he added gravely.

"Why not?" asked Nigel.

"Partly because of the length of time that has elapsed since its last
eruption in 1680; partly from the fact that that eruption--judging from
appearances--must have been a very tremendous one, and partly because my
knowledge of volcanic action leads me to expect it; but I could not
easily explain the reason for my conclusions on the latter point. I have
just been to the brow of a ridge not far off whence I have seen the glow
in the sky of the Krakatoa fires. They do not, however, appear to be
very fierce at the present moment."

As he spoke there was felt by the travellers a blow, as if of an
explosion under the house in which they sat. It was a strong vertical
bump which nearly tossed them all off their chairs. Van der Kemp and his
man, after an exclamation or two, continued supper like men who were
used to such interruptions, merely remarking that it was an earthquake.
But Nigel, to whom it was not quite so familiar, stood up for a few
seconds with a look of anxious uncertainty, as if undecided as to the
path of duty and prudence in the circumstances. Moses relieved him.

"Sot down, Massa Nadgel," said that sable worthy, as he stuffed his
mouth full of rice; "it's easier to sot dan to stand w'en its
eart'quakin'."

Nigel sat down with a tendency to laugh, for at that moment he chanced
to glance at the rafters above, where he saw a small anxious-faced
monkey gazing down at him.

He was commenting on this creature when another prolonged shock of
earthquake came. It was not a bump like the previous one, but a severe
vibration which only served to shake the men in their chairs, but it
shook the small monkey off the rafter, and the miserable little thing
fell with a shriek and a flop into the rice-dish!

"Git out o' dat--you scoundril!" exclaimed Moses, but the order was
needless, for the monkey bounced out of it like indiarubber and sought
to hide its confusion in the thatch, while Moses helped himself to some
more of the rice, which, he said; was none the worse for being
monkeyfied!

At last our travellers found themselves in the town of Telok Betong,
where, being within forty-five miles of Krakatoa, the hermit could both
see and hear that his island-home was in violent agitation; tremendous
explosions occurring frequently, while dense masses of smoke were
ascending from its craters.

"I'm happy to find," said the hermit, soon after their arrival in the
town, "that the peak of Rakata, on the southern part of the island where
my cave lies, is still quiet and has shown no sign of breaking out. And
now I shall go and see after my canoe."

"Do you think it safe to venture to visit your cave?" asked Nigel.

"Well, not absolutely safe," returned the hermit with a peculiar smile,
"but, of course, if you think it unwise to run the risk of--"

"I asked a simple question, Van der Kemp, without any thought of
myself," interrupted the youth, as he flushed deeply.

"Forgive me, Nigel," returned the hermit quickly and gravely, "it is but
my duty to point out that we cannot go there without running _some_
risk."

"And it is _my_ duty to point out," retorted his hurt friend, "that when
any man, worthy of the name, agrees to follow another, he agrees to
accept all risks."

To this the hermit vouchsafed no further reply than a slight smile and
nod of intelligence. Thereafter he went off alone to inquire about his
canoe, which, it will be remembered, his friend, the captain of the
steamer, had promised to leave for him at this place.

Telok Betong, which was one of the severest sufferers by the eruption of
1883, is a small town at the head of Lampong Bay, opposite to the island
of Krakatoa, from which it is between forty and fifty miles distant. It
is built on a narrow strip of land at the base of a steep mountain, but
little above the sea, and is the chief town of the Lampong Residency,
which forms the most southerly province of Sumatra. At the time we write
of, the only European residents of the place were connected with
Government. The rest of the population was composed of a heterogeneous
mass of natives mingled with a number of Chinese, a few Arabs, and a
large fluctuating population of traders from Borneo, Celebes, New
Guinea, Siam, and the other innumerable isles of the archipelago. These
were more or less connected with praus laden with the rich and varied
merchandise of the eastern seas. As each man in the town had been
permitted to build his house according to his own fancy, picturesque
irregularity was the agreeable result. It may be added that, as each
man spoke his own language in his own tones, Babel and noise were the
consequence.

In a small hut by the waterside the hermit found the friend--a Malay--to
whom his canoe had been consigned, and, in a long low shed close by, he
found the canoe itself with the faithful Spinkie in charge.

"Don't go near the canoe till you've made friends with the monkey," said
the Malay in his own tongue, as he was about to put the key in the door.

"Why not?" asked the hermit.

"Because it is the savagest brute I ever came across," said the man. "It
won't let a soul come near the canoe. I would have killed it long ago if
the captain of the steamer had not told me you wished it to be taken
great care of. There, look out! The vixen is not tied up."

He flung open the shed-door and revealed Spinkie seated in his old
place, much deteriorated in appearance and scowling malevolently.

The instant the poor creature heard its master's voice and saw his
form--for his features must have been invisible against the strong
light--the scowl vanished from its little visage. With a shriek of joy
it sprang like an acrobat from a spring-board and plunged into the
hermit's bosom--to the alarm of the Malay, who thought this was a
furious attack. We need not say that Van der Kemp received his faithful
little servant kindly, and it was quite touching to observe the monkey's
intense affection for him. It could not indeed wag its tail like a dog,
but it put its arms round its master's neck with a wondrously human air,
and rubbed its little head in his beard and whiskers, drawing itself
back now and then, putting its black paws on his cheeks, turning his
face round to the light and opening its round eyes wide--as well as its
round little mouth--as if to make sure of his identity--then plunging
into the whiskers again, and sometimes, when unable to contain its joy,
finding a safety-valve in a little shriek.

When the meeting and greeting were over, Van der Kemp explained that he
would require his canoe by daybreak the following morning, ordered a few
provisions to be got ready, and turned to leave.

"You must get down, Spinkie, and watch the canoe for one night more,"
said the hermit, quietly.

But Spinkie did not seem to perceive the necessity, for he clung closer
to his master with a remonstrative croak.

"Get down, Spinkie," said the hermit firmly, "and watch the canoe."

The poor beast had apparently learned that Medo-Persic law was not more
unchangeable than Van der Kemp's commands! At all events it crept down
his arm and leg, waddled slowly over the floor of the shed with bent
back and wrinkled brow, like a man of ninety, and took up its old
position on the deck, the very personification of superannuated woe.

The hermit patted its head gently, however, thus relieving its feelings,
and probably introducing hope into its little heart before leaving. Then
he returned to his friends and bade them prepare for immediate
departure.

It was the night of the 24th of August, and as the eruptions of the
volcano appeared to be getting more and more violent, Van der Kemp's
anxiety to reach his cave became visibly greater.

"I have been told," said the hermit to Nigel, as they went down with
Moses to the place where the canoe had been left, "the history of
Krakatoa since we left. A friend informs me that a short time after our
departure the eruptions subsided a little, and the people here had
ceased to pay much attention to them, but about the middle of June the
volcanic activity became more violent, and on the 19th, in particular,
it was observed that the vapour column and the force of the explosions
were decidedly on the increase."

"At Katimbang, from which place the island can be seen, it was noticed
that a second column of vapour was ascending from the centre of the
island, and that the appearance of Perboewatan had entirely changed,
its conspicuous summit having apparently been blown away. In July there
were some explosions of exceptional violence, and I have now no doubt
that it was these we heard in the interior of this island when we were
travelling hither, quite lately. On the 11th of this month, I believe,
the island was visited in a boat by a government officer, but he did not
land, owing to the heavy masses of vapour and dust driven about by the
wind, which also prevented him from making a careful examination, but he
could see that the forests of nearly the whole island have been
destroyed--only a few trunks of blighted trees being left standing above
the thick covering of pumice and dust. He reported that the dust near
the shore was found to be twenty inches thick."

"If so," said Nigel, "I fear that the island will be no longer fit to
inhabit."

"I know not," returned the hermit sadly, in a musing tone. "The officer
reported that there is no sign of eruption at Rakata, so that my house
is yet safe, for no showers of pumice, however deep, can injure the
cave."

Nigel was on the point of asking his friend why he was so anxious to
revisit the island at such a time, but, recollecting his recent tiff on
that subject, refrained. Afterwards, however, when Van der Kemp was
settling accounts with the Malay, he put the question to Moses.

"I can't help wondering," he said, "that Van der Kemp should be so
anxious to get back to his cave just now. If he were going in a big boat
to save some of his goods and chattels I could understand it, but the
canoe, you know, could carry little more than her ordinary lading."

"Well, Massa Nadgel," said Moses, "it's my opinion dat he wants to go
back 'cause he's got an uncommon affekshnit heart."

"How? Surely you don't mean that his love of the mere place is so strong
that--"

"No, no, Massa Nadgel--'s not dat. But he was awrful fond ob his wife
an' darter, an' I know he's got a photogruff ob 'em bof togidder, an' I
t'ink he'd sooner lose his head dan lose dat, for I've seed him look at
'em for hours, an' kiss 'em sometimes w'en he t'ought I was asleep."

The return of the hermit here abruptly stopped the conversation. The
canoe was carried down and put into the water, watched with profound
interest by hundreds of natives and traders, who were all more or less
acquainted with the hermit of Rakata.

It was still daylight when they paddled out into Lampong Bay, but the
volumes of dust which rose from Krakatoa--although nearly fifty miles
off--did much to produce an unusually early twilight.

"Goin' to be bery dark, massa," remarked Moses as they glided past the
shipping. "Shall I light de lamp?"

"Do, Moses, but we shan't need it, for as we get nearer home the
volcanic fires will light us on our way."

"De volcanic dust is a-goin' to powder us on our way too, massa. Keep
your hands out o' the way, Spinkie," said the negro as he fixed a small
oil-lamp to the mast, and resumed his paddle.

"After we get out a bit the wind will help us," said the hermit.

"Yes, massa, if he don't blow too strong," returned Moses, as a squall
came rushing down the mountains and swept over the bay, ruffling its now
dark waters into foaming wavelets.

Altogether, what with the increasing darkness and the hissing squall,
and the night-voyage before them, and the fires of Krakatoa which were
now clearly visible on the horizon, Nigel Boy felt a more eerie
sensation in his breast than he ever remembered to have experienced in
all his previous life, but he scorned to admit the fact--even to
himself, and said, mentally, that it was rather romantic than otherwise!

Just then there burst upon their ears the yell of a steam-whistle, and a
few moments later a steamer bore straight down on them, astern.

"Steamer ahoy!" shouted Van der Kemp. "Will ye throw us a rope?"

"Ay! ay!--ease 'er!--stop 'er! where are 'ee bound for?" demanded an
unmistakably English voice.

"Krakatoa!" replied the hermit. "Where are you?"

"Anjer, on the Java coast. Do 'ee want to be smothered, roasted, and
blown up?" asked the captain, looking down on the canoe as it ranged
alongside the dark hull.

"No, we want to get home."

"Home! Well, you're queer fellows in a queer eggshell for such waters.
Every man to his taste. Look out for the rope!"

"All right, cappen," cried Moses as he caught the coil.

Next moment the steamer went ahead, and the canoe ploughed over the
Sunda Straits at the rate of thirteen miles an hour, with her sharp prow
high out of the water, and the stern correspondingly low. The voyage,
which would have otherwise cost our three travellers a long laborious
night and part of next day, was by this means so greatly shortened that
when daybreak arrived they were not more than thirteen miles to the east
of Krakatoa. Nearer than this the steamboat could not take them without
going out of her course, but as Van der Kemp and Nigel gratefully
acknowledged, it was quite near enough.

"Well, I should just think it was rather too near!" said the captain
with a grin.

And, truly, he was justified in making the remark, for the explosions
from the volcano had by that time become not only very frequent, but
tremendously loud, while the dense cloud which hung above it and spread
far and wide over the sky covered the sea with a kind of twilight that
struggled successfully against the full advent of day. Lightning too was
playing among the rolling black masses of smoke, and the roaring
explosions every now and then seemed to shake the very heavens.

Casting off the tow-rope, they turned the bow of their canoe to the
island. As a stiffish breeze was blowing, they set the sails,
close-reefed, and steered for the southern shore at that part which lay
under the shadow of Rakata.



CHAPTER XXIV.

AN AWFUL NIGHT AND TERRIBLE MORNING.


It was a matter of some satisfaction to find on drawing near to the
shore that the peak of Rakata was still intact, and that, although most
other parts of the island which could be seen were blighted by fire and
covered deeply with pumice dust, much of the forest in the immediate
neighbourhood of the cave was still undestroyed though considerably
damaged.

"D'you think our old harbour will be available, Moses?" asked Van der
Kemp as they came close to the first headland.

"Pr'aps. Bes' go an' see," was the negro's practical reply.

"Evidently Rakata is not yet active," said Nigel, looking up at the grey
dust-covered crags as the canoe glided swiftly through the dark water.

"That is more than can be said for the other craters," returned the
hermit. "It seems to me that not only all the old ones are at work, but
a number of new ones must have been opened."

The constant roaring and explosions that filled their ears and the rain
of fine ashes bore testimony to the truth of this, though the solid and
towering mass of Rakata rose between them and the part of Krakatoa which
was in eruption, preventing their seeing anything that was passing
except the dense masses of smoke, steam, and dust which rose many miles
into the heavens, obstructing the light of day, but forming cloud-masses
from which the lurid flames of the volcano were reflected downward.

On reaching the little bay or harbour it was found much as they had left
it, save that the rocks and bushes around were thickly covered with
dust, and their boat was gone.

"Strange! at such a time one would scarcely have expected thieves to
come here," said the hermit, looking slowly round.

"No t'ief bin here, massa," said Moses, looking over the side of the
canoe. "I see de boat!"

He pointed downwards as he spoke, and on looking over the side they saw
the wreck of the boat at the bottom, in about ten feet of water, and
crushed beneath a ponderous mass of lava, which must have been ejected
from the volcano and afterwards descended upon the boat.

The destruction of the boat rendered it impossible to remove any of the
property of the hermit, and Nigel now saw, from his indifference, that
this could not have been the cause of his friend's anxiety and
determination to reach his island home in spite of the danger that such
a course entailed. That there was considerable danger soon became very
obvious, for, having passed to some extent at this point beyond the
shelter of the cliffs of Rakata, and come partly into view of the other
parts of the island, the real extent of the volcanic violence burst upon
Nigel and Moses as a new revelation. The awful sublimity of the scene at
first almost paralysed them, and they failed to note that not only did a
constant rain of pumice dust fall upon them, but that there was also a
pretty regular dropping of small stones into the water around them.
Their attention was sharply aroused to this fact by the fall of a lump
of semi-molten rock, about the size of a cannon shot, a short distance
off, which was immediately followed by not less than a cubic yard of
lava which fell close to the canoe and deluged them with spray.

"We must go," said the hermit quietly. "No need to expose ourselves
here, though the watching of the tremendous forces that our Creator has
at command does possess a wonderful kind of fascination. It seems to me
the more we see of His power as exerted on our little earth, the more do
we realise the paltriness of our conception of the stupendous Might that
upholds the Universe."

While he was speaking, Van der Kemp guided the canoe into its little
haven, and in a few minutes he and Moses had carried it into the shelter
of the cave out of which Nigel had first seen it emerge. Then the lading
was carried up, after which they turned into the track which led to the
hermit's home.

The whole operation may be said to have been performed under fire, for
small masses of rock kept pattering continually on the dust-covered
ground around them, causing cloudlets, like smoke, to spring up wherever
they struck. Nigel and Moses could not resist glancing upward now and
then as they moved quickly to and fro, and they experienced a shrinking
sensation when a stone fell very near them, but each scorned to exhibit
the smallest trace of anxiety, or to suggest that the sooner they got
from under fire the better! As for Van der Kemp, he moved about
deliberately as if there was nothing unusual going on, and with an
absent look on his grave face as though the outbursts of smoke, and
fire, and lava, which turned the face of day into lurid night, and
caused the cliffs to reverberate with unwonted thunders, had no effect
whatever on his mind.

A short walk, however, along the track, which was more than ankle-deep
in dust, brought them under the sheltering sides of Rakata, up which
they soon scrambled to the mouth of their cave. Here all was found as
they had left it, save that the entrance was knee-deep in pumice dust.

And now a new and very strange sensation was felt by each of them, for
the loud reports and crackling sounds which had assailed their ears
outside were reduced by the thick walls of the cave to a continuous dull
groan, as it were, like the soft but thunderous bass notes of a
stupendous organ. To these sounds were added others which seemed to be
peculiar to the cave itself. They appeared to rise from crevices in the
floor, and were no doubt due to the action of those pent-up subterranean
fires which were imprisoned directly, though it may be very far down,
under their feet. Every now and then there came a sudden increase of the
united sounds as if the "swell" of the great organ had been opened, and
such out-gushing was always accompanied with more or less of
indescribable shocks followed by prolonged tremors of the entire
mountain.

If the three friends had been outside to observe what was taking place,
they would have seen that these symptoms were simultaneous with
occasional and extremely violent outbursts from the crater of
Perboewatan and his compeers. Indeed they guessed as much, and two of
them at least were not a little thankful that, awesome as their position
was, they had the thick mountain between them and the fiery showers
outside.

Of all this the hermit took no notice, but, hastening into the inner
cavern, opened a small box, and took therefrom a bundle of papers and a
little object which, at a first glance, Nigel supposed to be a book, but
which turned out to be a photograph case. These the hermit put carefully
into the breastpocket of his coat and then turned to his companions with
a sigh as if of relief.

"I think there is no danger of anything occurring at this part of the
island," he remarked, looking round the cave, "for there is no sign of
smoke and no sulphurous smell issuing from any of the crevices in walls
or floor. This, I think, shows that there is no direct communication
with Rakata and the active volcano--at least not at present."

"Do you then think there is a possibility of an outbreak at some future
period?" asked Nigel.

"Who can tell? People here, who don't study the nature of volcanoes
much, though surrounded by them, will expect things ere long to resume
their normal condition. I can never forget the fact that the greater
part of Krakatoa stands, as you know, exactly above the spot where the
two great lines of volcanic action cross, and right over the mouth of
the immense crater to which Perboewatan and all the other craters serve
as mere chimneys or safety-valves. We cannot tell whether a great
eruption similar to that of 1680 may not be in store for us. The only
reason that I can see for the quiescence of this peak of Rakata is, as I
said to you once before, that it stands not so much above the old crater
as above and on the safe side of its lip."

"I t'ink, massa, if I may ventur' to speak," said Moses, "dat de sooner
we git off his lip de better lest we tumble into his mout'."

"You may be right, Moses, and I have no objection to quit," returned the
hermit, "now that I have secured the photograph and papers. At the same
time I fear the rain of stones and lava is growing worse. It might be
safer to stay till there is a lull in the violence of the eruption, and
then make a dash for it. What say you, Nigel?"

"I say that you know best, Van der Kemp. I'm ready to abide by your
decision, whatever it be."

"Well, then, we will go out and have a look at the state of matters."

The view from the entrance was not calculated to tempt them to forsake
the shelter of the cave, however uncertain that might be. The latest
explosions had enshrouded the island in such a cloud of smoke and dust,
that nothing whatever was visible beyond a few yards in front, and even
that space was only seen by the faint rays of the lamp issuing from the
outer cave. This lamp-light was sufficient, however, to show that within
the semicircle of a few yards there was a continuous rain of grey ashes
and dust mingled with occasional stones of various sizes--some larger
than a man's fist.

"To go out in that would be simply to court death," said Nigel, whose
voice was almost drowned by the noise of the explosions and fall of
material.

As it was manifest that nothing could be done at the moment except to
wait patiently, they returned to the cave, where they lighted the
oil-stove, and Moses--who had taken the precaution to carry up some
provisions in a bag from the canoe--proceeded to prepare a meal.

"Stummicks must be attended to," he murmured to himself as he moved
about the cave-kitchen and shook his head gravely. "Collapses in dat
region is wuss, a long way, dan 'splosion of the eart'!"

Meanwhile, Nigel and the hermit went to examine the passage leading to
the observatory. The eruption had evidently done nothing to it, for,
having passed upwards without difficulty, they finally emerged upon the
narrow ledge.

The scene that burst upon their astonished gaze here was awful in the
extreme. It will be remembered that while the hermit's cave was on the
southern side of Krakatoa, facing Java, the stair and passage leading to
the observatory completely penetrated the peak of Rakata, so that when
standing on the ledge they faced northward and were thus in full view of
all the craters between them and Perboewatan. These were in full blast
at the time, and, being so near, the heat, as well as the dust, molten
lava, and other missiles, instantly drove them back under the protection
of the passage from which they had emerged.

Here they found a small aperture which appeared to have been recently
formed--probably by a blow from a mass of falling rock--through which
they were able to obtain a glimpse of the pandemonium that lay seething
below them. They could not see much, however, owing to the smoke which
filled the air. The noise of the almost continuous explosions was so
loud, that it was impossible to converse save by placing the mouth to
the ear and shouting. Fortunately soon after their ascent the wind
shifted and blew smoke, fire, and dust away to the northward, enabling
them to get out on the ledge, where for a time they remained in
comparative safety.

"Look! look at your mirrors!" exclaimed Nigel suddenly, as his wandering
gaze happened to turn to the hermit's sun-guides.

And he might well exclaim, for not only was the glass of these ingenious
machines shivered and melted, but their iron frameworks were twisted up
into fantastic shapes.

"Lightning has been at work here," said Van der Kemp.

It did not at the moment occur to either of them that the position on
which they stood was peculiarly liable to attack by the subtle and
dangerous fluid which was darting and zig-zagging everywhere among the
rolling clouds of smoke and steam.

A louder report than usual here drew their attention again to the
tremendous scene that was going on in front of them. The extreme summit
of Perboewatan had been blown into a thousand fragments, which were
hurtling upwards and crackling loudly as the smaller masses were
impelled against each other in their skyward progress. This crackling
has been described by those who heard it from neighbouring shores as a
"strange rustling sound." To our hermit and his friend, who were, so to
speak, in the very midst of it, the sound rather resembled the
continuous musketry of a battle-field, while the louder explosions might
be compared to the booming of artillery, though they necessarily lose by
the comparison, for no invention of man ever produced sounds equal to
those which thundered at that time from the womb of Krakatoa.

Immediately after this, a fountain of molten lava at white heat welled
up in the great throat that had been so violently widened, and,
overflowing the edges of the crater, rolled down its sides in fiery
rivers. All the other craters in the island became active at the same
moment and a number of new ones burst forth. Indeed it seemed to those
who watched them that if these had not opened up to give vent to the
suppressed forces the whole island must have been blown away. As it was,
the sudden generation of so much excessive heat set fire to what
remained of trees and everything combustible, so that the island
appeared to be one vast seething conflagration, and darkness was for a
time banished by a red glare that seemed to Nigel far more intense than
that of noonday.

It is indeed the partiality (if we may say so) of conflagration-light
which gives to it the character of impressive power with which we are
all so familiar--the intense lights being here cut sharply off by
equally intense shadows, and then grading into dull reds and duller
greys. The sun, on the other hand, bathes everything in its genial glow
so completely that all nature is permeated with it, and there are no
intense contrasts, no absolutely black and striking shadows, except in
caverns and holes, to form startling contrasts.

"These safety-valves," said the hermit, referring to the new craters,
"have, under God, been the means of saving us from destruction."

"It would seem so," said Nigel, who was too overwhelmed by the sight to
say much.

Even as he spoke the scene changed as if by magic, for from the cone of
Perboewatan there issued a spout of liquid fire, followed by a roar so
tremendous that the awe-struck men shrank within themselves, feeling as
though that time had really come when the earth is to melt with fervent
heat! The entire lake of glowing lava was shot into the air, and lost in
the clouds above, while mingled smoke and steam went bellowing after it,
and dust fell so thickly that it seemed as if sufficient to extinguish
the raging fires. Whether it did so or not is uncertain. It may have
been that the new pall of black vapour only obscured them. At all
events, after the outburst the darkness of night fell suddenly on all
around.

Just then the wind again changed, and the whole mass of vapour, smoke,
and ashes came sweeping like the very besom of destruction towards the
giddy ledge on which the observers stood. Nigel was so entranced that it
is probable he might have been caught in the horrible tempest and lost
had not his cooler companion grasped his arm and dragged him violently
into the passage--where they were safe, though half suffocated by the
heat and sulphurous vapours that followed them.

At the same time the thunderous roaring became so loud that conversation
was impossible. Van der Kemp therefore took his friend's hand and led
him down to the cave, where the sounds were so greatly subdued as to
seem almost a calm by contrast.

"We are no doubt in great danger," said the hermit, gravely, as he sat
down in the outer cave, "but there is no possibility of taking action
to-night. Here we are, whether wisely or unwisely, and here we must
remain--at least till there is a lull in the eruption. 'God is our
refuge.' He ought to be so at _all_ times, but there are occasions when
this great, and, I would add, glorious fact is pressed upon our
understandings with unusual power. Such a time is this. Come--we will
see what His word says to us just now."

To Nigel's surprise, and, he afterwards confessed, to his comfort and
satisfaction, the hermit called the negro from his work, and, taking
down the large Bible from its shelf, read part of the 46th Psalm, "God
is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore
will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains
be carried into the midst of the sea."

He stopped reading at the verse where it is written, "Be still, and know
that I am God."

Then, going down on his knees,--without even the familiar formula, "Let
us pray"--he uttered a brief but earnest prayer for guidance and
deliverance "in the name of Jesus."

Rising, he quietly put the Bible away, and, with the calmness of a
thoroughly practical man, who looks upon religion and ordinary matters
as parts of one grand whole, ordered Moses to serve the supper.

Thus they spent part of that memorable night of 26th August 1883 in
earnest social intercourse, conversing chiefly and naturally about the
character, causes, and philosophy of volcanoes, while Perboewatan and
his brethren played a rumbling, illustrative accompaniment to their
discourse. The situation was a peculiar one. Even the negro was alive to
that fact.

"Ain't it koorious," he remarked solemnly in a moment of confidence
after swallowing the last bite of his supper. "Ain't it koorious, Massa
Nadgel, dat we're a sottin' here comf'rably enjoyin' our wittles ober de
mout' ob a v'licano as is quite fit to blow us all to bits an' hois' us
into de bery middle ob next week--if not farder?"

"It is strange indeed, Moses," said Nigel, who however added no
commentary, feeling indisposed to pursue the subject.

Seeing this, Moses turned to his master.

"Massa," he said. "You don' want nuffin' more to-night, I s'pose?"

"No, Moses, nothing."

"An' is you _quite_ easy in your mind?"

"Quite," replied the hermit with his peculiar little smile.

"Den it would be wuss dan stoopid for me to be _on_easy, so I'll bid ye
bof good-night, an' turn in."

In this truly trustful as well as philosophical state of mind, the negro
retired to his familiar couch in the inner cave, and went to sleep.

Nigel and the hermit sat up for some time longer.

"Van der Kemp," said the former, after a pause, "I--I trust you won't
think me actuated by impertinent curiosity if I venture to ask you about
--the--photograph that I think you----"

"My young friend!" interrupted the hermit, taking the case in question
from his breast pocket; "I should rather apologise to you for having
appeared to make any mystery of it--and yet," he added, pausing as he
was about to open the case, "I have not shown it to a living soul since
the day that--Well, well,--why should I hesitate? It is all I have
left of my dead wife and child."

He placed the case in the hands of Nigel, who almost sprang from his
seat with excitement as he beheld the countenance of a little child of
apparently three or four years of age, who so exactly resembled Kathy
Holbein--allowing of course for the difference of age--that he had now
no doubt whatever as to her being the hermit's lost daughter. He was on
the point of uttering her name, when uncertainty as to the effect the
sudden disclosure might have upon the father checked him.

"You seem surprised, my friend," said Van der Kemp gently.

"Most beautiful!" said Nigel, gazing intently at the portrait. "That
dear child's face seems so familiar to me that I could almost fancy I
had seen it."

He looked earnestly into his friend's face as he spoke, but the hermit
was quite unmoved, and there was not a shadow of change in the sad low
tone of his voice as he said--

"Yes, she was indeed beautiful, like her mother. As to your fancy about
having seen it--mankind is formed in groups and types. We see many faces
that resemble others."

The absent look that was so common to the solitary man here overspread
his massive features, and Nigel felt crushed, as it were, back into
himself. Thus, without having disclosed his belief, he retired to rest
in a very anxious state of mind, while the hermit watched.

"Don't take off your clothes," he said. "If the sounds outside lead me
to think things are quieting down, I will rouse you and we shall start
at once."

It was very early on the morning of the 27th when Van der Kemp roused
our hero.

"Are things quieter?" asked Nigel as he rose.

"Yes, a little, but not much--nevertheless we must venture to leave."

"Is it daylight yet?"

"No. There will be no daylight to-day!" with which prophecy the hermit
left him and went to rouse Moses.

"Massa," said the faithful negro. "Isn't you a goin' to take nuffin' wid
you? None ob de books or t'ings?"

"No--nothing except the old Bible. All the rest I leave behind. The
canoe could not carry much. Besides, we may have little time. Get ready;
quick! and follow me."

Moses required no spur. The three men left the cave together. It was so
intensely dark that the road could not be distinguished, but the hermit
and his man were so familiar with it that they could have followed it
blindfold.

On reaching the cave at the harbour, some light was obtained from the
fitful outbursts of the volcano, which enabled them to launch the canoe
and push off in safety. Then, without saying a word to each other, they
coasted along the shore of the island, and, finally, leaving its dangers
behind, them, made for the island of Java--poor Spinkie sitting in his
accustomed place and looking uncommonly subdued!

Scarcely had they pushed off into Sunda Straits when the volcano burst
out afresh. They had happily seized on the only quiet hour that the day
offered, and had succeeded, by the aid of the sails, in getting several
miles from the island without receiving serious injury, although showers
of stones and masses of rock of all sizes were falling into the sea
around them.

Van der Kemp was so far right in his prophecy that there would be no
daylight that day. By that time there should have been light, as it was
nearly seven o'clock on the memorable morning of the 27th of August. But
now, although the travellers were some miles distant from Krakatoa, the
gloom was so impervious that Nigel, from his place in the centre of the
canoe, could not see the form of poor Spinkie--which sat clinging to the
mast only two feet in front of him--save when a blaze from Perboewatan
or one of the other craters lighted up island and ocean with a vivid
glare.

At this time the sea began to run very high and the wind increased to a
gale, so that the sails of the canoe, small though they were, had to be
reduced.

"Lower the foresail, Nigel," shouted the hermit. "I will close-reef it.
Do you the same to the mainsail."

"Ay, ay, sir," was the prompt reply.

Moses and Nigel kept the little craft straight to the wind while the
foresail was being reefed, Van der Kemp and the former performing the
same duty while Nigel reefed the mainsail.

Suddenly there came a brief but total cessation of the gale, though not
of the tumultuous heaving of the waters. During that short interval
there burst upon the world a crash and a roar so tremendous that for a
few moments the voyagers were almost stunned!

It is no figure of speech to say that the _world_ heard the crash.
Hundreds, ay, thousands of miles did the sound of that mighty upheaval
pass over land and sea to startle, more or less, the nations of the
earth.

The effect of a stupendous shock on the nervous system is curiously
various in different individuals. The three men who were so near to the
volcano at that moment involuntarily looked round and saw by the lurid
blaze that an enormous mass of Krakatoa, rent from top to bottom, was
falling headlong into the sea; while the entire heavens were alive with
flame, lightning, steam, smoke, and the upward-shooting fragments of the
hideous wreck!

The hermit calmly rested his paddle on the deck and gazed around in
silent wonder. Nigel, not less smitten with awe, held his paddle with an
iron grasp, every muscle quivering with tension in readiness for instant
action when the need for action should appear. Moses, on the other hand,
turning round from the sight with glaring eyes, resumed paddling with
unreasoning ferocity, and gave vent at once to his feelings and his
opinion in the sharp exclamation--"Blown to bits!"

[Illustration: BLOWN TO BITS--PAGE 342.]



CHAPTER XXV.

ADVENTURES OF THE "SUNSHINE" AND AN UNEXPECTED REUNION.


We must request the reader to turn back now for a brief period to a very
different scene.

A considerable time before the tremendous catastrophe described in the
last chapter--which we claim to have recorded without the slightest
exaggeration, inasmuch as exaggeration were impossible--Captain David
Roy, of the good brig _Sunshine_, received the letter which his son
wrote to him while in the jungles of Sumatra.

The captain was seated in the back office of a Batavian merchant at the
time, smoking a long clay pipe--on the principle, no doubt, that
moderate poisoning is conducive to moderate health!

As he perused the letter, the captain's eyes slowly opened; so did his
mouth, and the clay pipe, falling to the floor, was reduced to little
pieces. But the captain evidently cared nothing for that. He gave forth
a prolonged whistle, got up, smote upon his thigh, and exclaimed with
deep-toned emphasis--

"The _rascal_!"

Then he sat down again and re-perused the letter, with a variety of
expression on his face that might have recalled the typical April day,
minus the tears.

"The rascal!" he repeated, as he finished the second reading of the
letter and thrust it into his pocket. "I knew there was somethin' i' the
wind wi' that little girl! The memory o' my own young days when I
boarded and captured the poetess is strong upon me yet. I saw it in the
rascal's eye the very first time they met--an' he thinks I'm as blind as
a bat, I'll be bound, with his poetical reef-point-pattering sharpness.
But it's a strange discovery he has made and must be looked into. The
young dog! He gives me orders as if he were the owner."

Jumping up, Captain Roy hurried out into the street. In passing the
outer office he left a message with one of the clerks for his friend the
merchant.

"Tell him," he said, "that I'll attend to that little business about the
bill when I come back. I'm going to sail for the Keeling Islands this
afternoon."

"The Keeling Islands?" exclaimed the clerk in surprise.

"Yes--I've got business to do there. I'll be back, all bein' well, in a
week--more or less."

The clerk's eyebrows remained in a raised position for a few moments,
until he remembered that Captain Roy, being owner of his ship and
cargo, was entitled to do what he pleased with his own and himself. Then
they descended, and he went on with his work, amusing himself with the
thought that the most curious beings in the world were seafaring men.

"Mr. Moor," said the captain somewhat excitedly, as he reached the deck
of his vessel, "are all the men aboard?"

"All except Jim Sloper, sir."

"Then send and hunt up Jim Sloper at once, for we sail this afternoon
for the Keeling Islands."

"Very well, sir."

Mr. Moor was a phlegmatic man; a self-contained and a reticent man. If
Captain Roy had told him to get ready to sail to the moon that
afternoon, he would probably have said "Very well, sir," in the same
tone and with the same expression.

"May I ask, sir, what sort of cargo you expect there?" said Mr. Moor;
for to his practical mind some re-arrangement of the cargo already on
board might be necessary for the reception of that to be picked up at
Keeling.

"The cargo we'll take on board will be a girl," said the captain.

"A what, sir?".

"A girl."

"Very well, sir."

This ended the business part of the conversation. Thereafter they went
into details so highly nautical that we shrink from recording them. An
amateur detective, in the form of a shipmate, having captured Jim
Sloper, the _Sunshine_ finally cleared out of the port of Batavia that
evening, shortly before its namesake took his departure from that part
of the southern hemisphere.

Favouring gales carried the brig swiftly through Sunda Straits and out
into the Indian Ocean. Two days and a half brought her to the desired
haven. On the way, Captain Roy took note of the condition of Krakatoa,
which at that time was quietly working up its subterranean forces with a
view to the final catastrophe; opening a safety-valve now and then to
prevent, as it were, premature explosion.

"My son's friend, the hermit of Rakata," said the captain to his second
mate, "will find his cave too hot to hold him, I think, when he
returns."

"Looks like it, sir," said Mr. Moor, glancing up at the vast clouds
which were at that time spreading like a black pall over the re-awakened
volcano. "Do you expect 'em back soon, sir?"

"Yes--time's about up now. I shouldn't wonder if they reach Batavia
before us."

Arrived at the Keeling Islands, Captain Roy was received, as usual, with
acclamations of joy, but he found that he was by no means as well
fitted to act the part of a diplomatist as he was to sail a ship. It
was, in truth, a somewhat delicate mission on which his son had sent
him, for he could not assert definitely that the hermit actually was
Kathleen Holbein's father, and her self-constituted parents did not
relish the idea of letting slip, on a mere chance, one whom they loved
as a daughter.

"Why not bring this man who claims to be her father _here_?" asked the
perplexed Holbein.

"Because--because, p'raps he won't come," answered the puzzled mariner,
who did not like to say that he was simply and strictly obeying his
son's orders. "Besides," he continued, "the man does not claim to be
anything at all. So far as I understand it, my boy has not spoken to him
on the subject, for fear, I suppose, of raisin' hopes that ain't to be
realised."

"He is right in that," said Mrs. Holbein, "and we must be just as
careful not to raise false hopes in dear little Kathy. As your son says,
it may be a mistake after all. We must not open our lips to her about
it."

"Right you are, madam," returned the captain. "Mum's the word; and we've
only got to say she's goin' to visit one of your old friends in
Anjer--which'll be quite true, you know, for the landlady o' the chief
hotel there is a great friend o' yours, and we'll take Kathy to her
straight. Besides, the trip will do her health a power o' good, though
I'm free to confess it don't need no good to be done to it, bein' A.1 at
the present time. Now, just you agree to give the girl a holiday, an'
I'll pledge myself to bring her back safe and sound--with her father, if
he's _him_; without him if he isn't."

With such persuasive words Captain Roy at length overcame the Holbein
objections. With the girl herself he had less difficulty, his chief
anxiety being, as he himself said, "to give her reasons for wishin' her
to go without tellin' lies."

"Wouldn't you like a trip in my brig to Anjer, my dear girl?" He had
almost said daughter, but thought it best not to be too precipitate.

"Oh! I should like it _so_ much," said Kathleen, clasping her little
hands and raising her large eyes to the captain's face.

"_Dear_ child!" said the captain to himself. Then aloud, "Well, I'll
take you."

"But I--I fear that father and mother would not like me to go--perhaps."

"No fear o' them, my girl," returned the captain, putting his huge rough
hand on her pretty little head as if in an act of solemn appropriation,
for, unlike too many fathers, this exemplary man considered only the
sweetness, goodness, and personal worth of the girl, caring not a straw
for other matters, and being strongly of opinion that a man should
marry young if he possess the spirit of a man or the means to support a
wife. As he was particularly fond of Kathleen, and felt quite sure that
his son had deeper reasons than he chose to express for his course of
action, he entertained a strong hope, not to say conviction, that she
would also become fond of Nigel, and that all things would thus work
together for a smooth course to this case of true love.

It will be seen from all this that Captain David Roy was a sanguine man.
Whether his hopes were well grounded or not remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, having, as Mr. Moor said, shipped the cargo, the _Sunshine_
set sail once more for Sunda Straits in a measure of outward gloom that
formed a powerful contrast to the sunny hopes within her commander's
bosom, for Krakatoa was at that time progressing rapidly towards the
consummation of its designs, as partly described in the last chapter.

Short though that voyage was, it embraced a period of action so
thrilling that ever afterwards it seemed a large slice of life's little
day to those who went through it.

We have said that the culminating incidents of the drama began on the
night of the 26th. Before that time, however, the cloud-pall was fast
spreading over land and sea, and the rain of pumice and ashes had begun
to descend.

The wind being contrary, it was several days before the brig reached
the immediate neighbourhood of Krakatoa, and by that time the volcano
had begun to enter upon the stage which is styled by vulcanologists
"paroxysmal," the explosions being extremely violent as well as
frequent.

"It is very awful," said Kathleen in a low voice, as she clasped the
captain's arm and leaned her slight figure on it. "I have often heard
the thunder of distant volcanoes, but never been so near as to hear such
terrible sounds."

"Don't be frightened, my ducky," said the captain in a soothing tone,
for he felt from the appearance of things that there was indeed some
ground for alarm. "Volcanoes always look worse when you're near them."

"I not frightened," she replied. "Only I got strange, solemn feelings.
Besides, no danger can come till God allows."

"That's right, lass. Mrs. Holbein has been a true mother if she taught
you that."

"No, she did not taught me that. My father taught me that."

"What! Old Holbein?"

"No--my father, who is dead," she said in a low voice.

"Oh! I see. My poor child, I should have understood you. Forgive me."

As the captain spoke, a tremendous outburst on Krakatoa turned their
minds to other subjects. They were by that time drawing near to the
island, and the thunders of the eruption seemed to shake not only the
heavens but even the great ocean itself. Though the hour was not much
past noon the darkness soon became so dense that it was difficult to
perceive objects a few yards distant, and, as pieces of stone the size
of walnuts, or even larger, began to fall on the deck, the captain sent
Kathleen below.

"There's no saying where or when a big stone may fall, my girl," he
said, "and it's not the habit of Englishmen to let women come under
fire, so you'll be safer below. Besides, you'll be able to see something
of what's goin' on out o' the cabin windows."

With the obedience that was natural to her, Kathleen went down at once,
and the captain made everything as snug as possible, battening down the
hatches and shortening sail so as to be ready for whatever might befall.

"I don't like the look o' things, Mr. Moor," said the captain when the
second mate came on deck to take his watch.

"No more do I, sir," answered Mr. Moor calmly.

The aspect of things was indeed very changeable. Sometimes, as we have
said, all nature seemed to be steeped in thick darkness, at other times
the fires of the volcano blazed upward, spreading a red glare on the
rolling clouds and over the heaving sea. Lightning also played its part
as well as thunder, but the latter was scarcely distinguishable from the
volcano's roar. Three days before Sunday the 26th of August, Captain
Roy--as well as the crews of several other vessels that were in Sunda
Straits at the time--had observed a marked though gradual increase in
the violence of the eruption. On that day, as we read in the _Report of
the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society_, about 1 P.M. the
detonations caused by the explosive action attained such violence as to
be heard at Batavia, about 100 English miles away. At 2 P.M. of the same
day, Captain Thompson of the _Medea_, when about 76 miles E.N.E. of the
island, saw a black mass rising like clouds of smoke to a height which
has been estimated at no less than 17 miles! And the detonations were at
that time taking place at intervals of ten minutes. But, terrible though
these explosions must have been, they were but as the whisperings of the
volcano. An hour later they had increased so much as to be heard at
Bandong and other places 150 miles away, and at 5 P.M. they had become
so tremendous as to be heard over the whole island of Java, the eastern
portion of which is about 650 miles from Krakatoa.

And the sounds thus heard were not merely like distant thunder. In
Batavia--although, as we have said, 100 miles off--they were so violent
during the whole of that terrible Sunday night as to prevent the people
from sleeping. They were compared to the "discharge of artillery close
at hand," and caused a rattling of doors, windows, pictures, and
chandeliers.

Captain Watson of the _Charles Bal_, who chanced to be only 10 miles
south of the volcano, also compared the sounds to discharges of
artillery, but this only shows the feebleness of ordinary language in
attempting to describe such extraordinary sounds, for if they were
comparable to close artillery at Batavia, the same comparison is
inappropriate at only ten miles' distance. He also mentions the
crackling noise, probably due to the impact of fragments in the
atmosphere, which were noticed by the hermit and Nigel while standing
stunned and almost stupefied on the giddy ledge of Rakata that same
Sunday.

About five in the evening of that day, the brig _Sunshine_ drew still
nearer to the island, but the commotion at the time became so intense,
and the intermittent darkness so profound, that Captain Roy was afraid
to continue the voyage and shortened sail. Not only was there a heavy
rolling sea, but the water was seething, as if about to boil.

"Heave the lead, Mr. Moor," said the captain, who stood beside the
wheel.

"Yes, sir," answered the imperturbable second mate, who thereupon gave
the necessary order, and when the depth was ascertained, the report was
"Ten fathoms, sand, with a 'ot bottom."

"A hot bottom! what do you mean?"

"The lead's 'ot, sir," replied the sailor.

This was true, as the captain found when he applied his hand to it.

"I do believe the world's going on fire," he muttered; "but it's a
comfort to know that it can't very well blaze up as long as the sea
lasts!"

Just then a rain of pumice in large pieces, and quite warm, began to
fall upon the deck. As most people know, pumice is extremely light, so
that no absolute injury was done to any one, though such rain was
excessively trying. Soon, however, a change took place. The dense
vapours and dust-clouds which had rendered it so excessively dark were
entirely lighted up from time to time by fierce flashes of lightning
which rent as well as painted them in all directions. At one time this
great mass of clouds presented the appearance of an immense pine-tree
with the stem and branches formed of volcanic lightning.

Captain Roy, fearing that these tremendous sights and sounds would
terrify the poor girl in the cabin, was about to look in and reassure
her, when the words "Oh! how splendid!" came through the slightly
opened door. He peeped in and saw Kathleen on her knees on the stern
locker, with her hands clasped, gazing out of one of the stern windows.

"Hm! she's all right," he muttered, softly reclosing the door and
returning on deck. "If she thinks it's splendid, she don't need no
comfortin'! It's quite clear that she don't know what danger means--and
why should she? Humph! there go some more splendid sights for her," he
added, as what appeared to be chains of fire ascended from the volcano
to the sky.

Just then a soft rain began to fall. It was warm, and, on examination at
the binnacle lamp, turned out to be mud. Slight at first, it soon poured
down in such quantities that in ten minutes it lay six inches thick on
the deck, and the crew had to set to work with shovels to heave it
overboard. At this time there was seen a continual roll of balls of
white fire down the sides of the peak of Rakata, caused, doubtless, by
the ejection of white-hot fragments of lava. Then showers of masses like
iron cinders fell on the brig, and from that time onward till four
o'clock of the morning of the 27th, explosions of indescribable grandeur
continually took place, as if the mountains were in a continuous roar of
terrestrial agony--the sky being at one moment of inky blackness, the
next in a blaze of light, while hot, choking, and sulphurous smells
almost stifled the voyagers.

At this point the captain again became anxious about Kathleen and went
below. He found her in the same place and attitude--still fascinated!

"My child," he said, taking her hand, "you must lie down and rest."

"Oh! no. Do let me stay up," she begged, entreatingly.

"But you must be tired--sleepy."

"Sleepy! who could sleep with such wonders going on around? Pray _don't_
tell me to go to bed!"

It was evident that poor Kathy had the duty of obedience to authority
still strong upon her. Perhaps the memory of the Holbein nursery had not
yet been wiped out.

"Well, well," said the captain with a pathetic smile, "you are as
safe--comfortable, I mean--here as in your berth or anywhere else."

As there was a lull in the violence of the eruption just then, the
captain left Kathleen in the cabin and went on deck. It was not known at
that time what caused this lull, but as it preceded the first of the
four grand explosions which effectually eviscerated--emptied--the
ancient crater of Krakatoa, we will give, briefly, the explanation of it
as conjectured by the men of science.

Lying as it did so close to the sea-level, the Krakatoa volcano, having
blown away all its cones, and vents, and safety-valves--from Perboewatan
southward, except the peak of Rakata--let the sea rush in upon its
infernal fires. This result, ordinary people think, produced a gush of
steam which caused the grand terminal explosions. Vulcanologists think
otherwise, and with reason--which is more than can be said of ordinary
people, who little know the power of the forces at work below the crust
of our earth! The steam thus produced, although on so stupendous a
scale, was free to expand and therefore went upwards, no doubt in a
sufficiently effective gust and cloud. But nothing worthy of being named
a blow-up was there.

The effect of the in-rushing water was to cool the upper surface of the
boiling lava and convert it into a thick hard solid crust at the mouth
of the great vent. In this condition the volcano resembled a boiler with
all points of egress closed and the safety-valve shut down! Oceans of
molten lava creating expansive gases below; no outlet possible
underneath, and the neck of the bottle corked with tons of solid rock!
One of two things must happen in such circumstances: the cork must go or
the bottle must burst! Both events happened on that terrible night. All
night long the corks were going, and at last--Krakatoa burst!

In the hurly-burly of confusion, smoke, and noise, no eye could note
the precise moment when the island was shattered, but there were on the
morning of the 27th four supreme explosions, which rang loud and high
above the horrible average din. These occurred--according to the careful
investigations made, at the instance of the Dutch Indian Government, by
the eminent geologist, Mr. R.D.M. Verbeek--at the hours of 5.30, 6.44,
10.2, and 10.52 in the morning. Of these the third, about 10, was by far
the worst for violence and for the wide-spread devastation which it
produced.

At each of these explosions a tremendous sea-wave was created by the
volcano, which swept like a watery ring from Krakatoa as a centre to the
surrounding shores. It was at the second of these explosions--that of
6.44--that the fall of the mighty cliff took place which was seen by the
hermit and his friends as they fled from the island, and, on the crest
of the resulting wave, were carried along they scarce knew whither.

As the previous wave--that of 5.30--had given the brig a tremendous
heave upwards, the captain, on hearing the second, ran down below for a
moment to tell Kathleen there would soon be another wave, but that she
need fear no danger.

"The brig is deep and has a good hold o' the water," he said, "so the
wave is sure to slip under her without damage. I wish I could hope it
would do as little damage when it reaches the shore."

As he spoke a strange and violent crash was heard overhead, quite
different from volcanic explosions, like the falling of some heavy body
on the deck.

"One o' the yards down!" muttered the captain as he ran to the cabin
door. "Hallo, what's that, Mr. Moor?"

"Canoe just come aboard, sir."

"A canoe?"

"Yes, sir. Crew, three men and a monkey. All insensible--hallo!"

The "hallo!" with which the second mate finished his remark was so
unlike his wonted tone, and so full of genuine surprise, that the
captain ran forward with unusual haste, and found a canoe smashed to
pieces against the foremast, and the mate held a lantern close to the
face of one of the men while the crew were examining the others.

A single glance told the captain that the mud-bespattered figure that
lay before him as if dead was none other than his own son! The great
wave had caught the frail craft on its crest, and, sweeping it along
with lightning speed for a short distance, had hurled it on the deck of
the _Sunshine_ with such violence as to completely stun the whole crew.
Even Spinkie lay in a melancholy little heap in the lee scuppers.

You think this a far-fetched coincidence, good reader! Well, all we can
say is that we could tell you of another--a double--coincidence, which
was far more extraordinary than this one, but as it has nothing to do
with our tale we refrain from inflicting it on you.



CHAPTER XXVI.

A CLIMAX.


Three of those who had tumbled thus unceremoniously on the deck of the
_Sunshine_ were soon sufficiently recovered to sit up and look around in
dazed astonishment--namely Nigel, Moses, and the monkey--but the hermit
still lay prone where he had been cast, with a pretty severe wound on
his head, from which blood was flowing freely.

"Nigel, my boy!"

"Father!" exclaimed the youth. "Where am I? What has happened?"

"Don't excite yourself, lad," said the mariner, stooping and whispering
into his son's ear. "We've got _her_ aboard!"

No treatment could have been more effectual in bringing Nigel to his
senses than this whisper.

"Is--is--Van der Kemp safe?" he asked anxiously.

"All right--only stunned, I think. That's him they're just goin' to
carry below. Put 'im in my bunk, Mr. Moor."

"Ay ay, sir."

Nigel sprang up. "Stay, father," he said in a low voice. "_She_ must not
see him for the first time like this."

"All right, boy. I understand. You leave that to me. My bunk has bin
shifted for'id--more amidships--an' Kathy's well aft. They shan't be let
run foul of each other. You go an' rest on the main hatch till we get
him down. Why, here's a nigger! Where did you pick him--oh! I remember.
You're the man we met, I suppose, wi' the hermit on Krakatoa that day o'
the excursion from Batavia."

"Yes, das me. But we'll meet on Krakatoa no more, for dat place am blown
to bits."

"I'm pretty well convinced o' that by this time, my man. Not hurt much,
I hope?"

"No, sar--not more 'n I can stan'. But I's 'fraid dat poor Spinkie's
a'most used up--hallo! what you gwine to do with massa?" demanded the
negro, whose wandering faculties had only in part returned.

"He's gone below. All right. Now, you go and lie down beside my son on
the hatch. I'll see to Van der Kemp."

But Captain David Roy's intentions, like those of many men of greater
note, were frustrated by the hermit himself, who recovered consciousness
just as the four men who carried him reached the foot of the
companion-ladder close to the cabin door. Owing to the deeper than
midnight darkness that prevailed a lamp was burning in the cabin--dimly,
as if, infected by the universal chaos, it were unwilling to enlighten
the surrounding gloom.

On recovering consciousness Van der Kemp was, not unnaturally, under the
impression that he had fallen into the hands of foes. With one effectual
convulsion of his powerful limbs he scattered his bearers right and
left, and turning--like all honest men--to the light, he sprang into the
cabin, wrenched a chair from its fastenings, and, facing round, stood at
bay.

Kathleen, seeing this blood-stained giant in such violent action,
naturally fled to her cabin and shut the door.

As no worse enemy than Captain Roy presented himself at the cabin door,
unarmed, and with an anxious look on his rugged face, the hermit set
down the chair, and feeling giddy sank down on it with a groan.

"I fear you are badly hurt, sir. Let me tie a handkerchief round your
wounded head," said the captain soothingly.

"Thanks, thanks. Your voice is not unfamiliar to me," returned the
hermit with a sigh, as he submitted to the operation. "I thought I had
fallen somehow into the hands of pirates. Surely an accident must have
happened. How did I get here? Where are my comrades--Nigel and the
negro?"

"My son Nigel is all right, sir, and so is your man Moses. Make your
mind easy--an' pray don't speak while I'm working at you. I'll explain
it all in good time. Stay, I'll be with you in a moment."

The captain--fearing that Kathleen might come out from curiosity to see
what was going on, and remembering his son's injunction--went to the
girl's berth with the intention of ordering her to keep close until he
should give her leave to come out. Opening the door softly and looking
in, he was startled, almost horrified, to see Kathleen standing
motionless like a statue, with both hands pressed tightly over her
heart. The colour had fled from her beautiful face; her long hair was
flung back; her large lustrous eyes were wide open and her lips slightly
parted, as if her whole being had been concentrated in eager expectancy.

"What's wrong, my girl?" asked the captain anxiously. "You've no cause
for fear. I just looked in to--."

"That voice!" exclaimed Kathleen, with something of awe in her
tones--"Oh! I've heard it _so_ often in my dreams."

"Hush! sh! my girl," said the captain in a low tone, looking anxiously
round at the wounded man. But his precautions were unavailing,--Van der
Kemp had also heard a voice which he thought had long been silent in
death. The girl's expression was almost repeated in his face. Before the
well-meaning mariner could decide what to do, Kathleen brushed lightly
past him, and stood in the cabin gazing as if spell-bound at the hermit.

"Winnie!" he whispered, as if scarcely daring to utter the name.

"Father!"

She extended both hands towards him as she spoke. Then, with a piercing
shriek, she staggered backward, and would have fallen had not the
captain caught her and let her gently down.

Van der Kemp vaulted the table, fell on his knees beside her, and,
raising her light form, clasped her to his heart, just as Nigel and
Moses, alarmed by the scream, sprang into the cabin.

"Come, come; away wi' you--you stoopid grampusses!" cried the captain,
pushing the intruders out of the cabin, following them, and closing the
door behind him. "This is no place for bunglers like you an' me. We
might have known that natur' would have her way, an' didn't need no help
from the like o' us. Let's on deck. There's enough work there to look
after that's better suited to us."

Truly there was enough--and more than enough--to claim the most
anxious attention of all who were on board of the _Sunshine_ that
morning, for hot mud was still falling in showers on the deck, and the
thunders of the great volcano were still shaking heaven, earth, and sea.

To clear the decks and sails of mud occupied every one for some time so
earnestly that they failed to notice at first that the hermit had come
on deck, found a shovel, and was working away like the rest of them. The
frequent and prolonged blazes of intense light that ever and anon
banished the darkness showed that on his face there sat an expression of
calm, settled, triumphant joy, which was strangely mingled with a look
of quiet humility.

"I thank God for this," said Nigel, going forward when he observed him
and grasping his hand.

"You knew it?" exclaimed the hermit in surprise.

"Yes. I knew it--indeed, helped to bring you together, but did not dare
to tell you till I was quite sure. I had hoped to have you meet in very
different circumstances."

"'It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps,'" returned the
hermit reverently. "God bless you, Nigel. If you have even aimed at
bringing this about, I owe you _more_ than my life."

"You must have lost a good deal of blood, Van der Kemp. Are you much
hurt?" asked Nigel, as he observed the bandage round his friend's head.

"Somewhat. Not much, I hope--but joy, as well as blood, gives strength,
Nigel."

A report from a man who had just been ordered to take soundings induced
the captain at this time to lay-to.

"It seems to me," he said to Nigel and the hermit who stood close beside
him, "that we are getting too near shore. But in cases o' this kind the
bottom o' the sea itself can't be depended on."

"What part of the shore are we near, d' you think, father?"

"Stand by to let go the anchor!" roared the captain, instead of
answering the question.

"Ay, ay, sir," replied the second mate, whose cool, sing-song,
business-like tone at such a moment actually tended to inspire a measure
of confidence in those around him.

Another moment, and the rattling chain caused a tremor through the
vessel, which ceased when the anchor touched bottom, and they rode head
to wind. Coruscations of bluish light seemed to play about the masts,
and balls of electric fire tipped the yards, throwing for a short time a
ghastly sheen over the ship and crew, for the profound darkness had
again settled down, owing, no doubt, to another choking of the Krakatoa
vent.

Before the light referred to went out, Moses was struck violently on
the chest by something soft, which caused him to stagger.

It was Spinkie! In the midst of the unusual horrors that surrounded him,
while clinging to the unfamiliar mizzen shrouds on which in desperation
the poor monkey had found a temporary refuge, the electric fire showed
him the dark figure of his old familiar friend standing not far off.
With a shriek of not quite hopeless despair, and an inconceivable bound,
Spinkie launched himself into space. His early training in the forest
stood him in good stead at that crisis! As already said he hit the mark
fairly, and clung to Moses with a tenacity that was born of mingled love
and desperation. Finding that nothing short of cruelty would unfix his
little friend, Moses stuffed him inside the breast of his cotton shirt.
In this haven of rest the monkey heaved a sigh of profound contentment,
folded his hands on his bosom, and meekly went to sleep.

Two of the excessively violent paroxysms of the volcano, above referred
to, had by that time taken place, but the third, and worst--that which
occurred about 10 A.M.--was yet in store for them, though they knew it
not, and a lull in the roar, accompanied by thicker darkness than ever,
was its precursor. There was not, however, any lull in the violence of
the wind.

"I don't like these lulls," said Captain Roy to the hermit, as they
stood close to the binnacle, in the feeble light of its lamp. "What is
that striking against our sides, Mr. Moor?"

"Looks like floating pumice, sir," answered the second mate, "and I
think I see palm-trees amongst it."

"Ay, I thought so, we must be close to land," said the captain. "We
can't be far from Anjer, and I fear the big waves that have already
passed us have done some damage. Lower a lantern over the side,--no,
fetch an empty tar-barrel and let's have a flare. That will enable us to
see things better."

While the barrel was being fastened to a spar so as to be thrust well
out beyond the side of the brig, Van der Kemp descended the companion
and opened the cabin door.

"Come up now, Winnie, darling."

"Yes, father," was the reply, as the poor girl, who had been anxiously
awaiting the summons, glided out and clasped her father's arm with both
hands. "Are things quieting down?"

"They are, a little. It may be temporary, but--Our Father directs it
all."

"True, father. I'm _so_ glad of that!"

"Mind the step, we shall have more light on deck. There is a friend
there who has just told me he met you on the Cocos-Keeling Island, Nigel
Roy;--you start, Winnie?"

"Y--yes, father. I am _so_ surprised, for it is _his_ father who sails
this ship! And I cannot imagine how he or you came on board."

"Well, I was going to say that I believe it is partly through Nigel that
you and I have been brought together, but there is mystery about it that
I don't yet understand; much has to be explained, and this assuredly is
not the time or place. Here, Nigel, is your old Keeling friend."

"Ay--friend! humph!" said old Roy softly to himself.

"My _dear_--child!" said young Roy, paternally, to the girl as he
grasped her hand. "I cannot tell you how thankful I am that this has
been brought about, and--and that _I_ have had some little hand in it."

"There's more than pumice floating about in the sea, sir," said Mr.
Moor, coming aft at the moment and speaking to the captain in a low
tone. "You'd better send the young lady below--or get some one to take
up her attention just now."

"Here, Nigel. Sit down under the lee of the companion, an' tell Kathy
how this all came about," said the captain, promptly, as if issuing
nautical orders. "I want you here, Van der Kemp."

So saying, the captain, followed by the hermit, went with the second
mate to the place where the flaming tar-barrel was casting a lurid glare
upon the troubled sea.



CHAPTER XXVII.

"BLOWN TO BITS."


The sight that met their eyes was well calculated to shock and sadden
men of much less tender feeling than Van der Kemp and Captain Roy.

The water had assumed an appearance of inky blackness, and large masses
of pumice were floating past, among which were numerous dead bodies of
men, women, and children, intermingled with riven trees, fences, and
other wreckage from the land, showing that the two great waves which had
already passed under the vessel had caused terrible devastation on some
parts of the shore. To add to the horror of the scene large sea-snakes
were seen swimming wildly about, as if seeking to escape from the novel
dangers that surrounded them.

The sailors looked on in awe-stricken silence for some time.

"P'raps some of 'em may be alive yet!" whispered one. "Couldn't we lower
a boat?"

"Impossible in such a sea," said the captain, who overheard the remark.
"Besides, no life could exist there."

"Captain Roy," said Van der Kemp earnestly, "let me advise you to get
your foresail ready to hoist at a moment's notice, and let them stand by
to cut the cable."

"Why so? There seems no need at present for such strong measures."

"You don't understand volcanoes as I do," returned the hermit. "This
lull will only last until the imprisoned fires overcome the block in the
crater, and the longer it lasts the worse will be the explosion. From my
knowledge of the coast I feel sure that we are close to the town of
Anjer. If another wave like the last comes while we are here, it will
not slip under your brig like the last one. It will tear her from her
anchor and hurl us all to destruction. You have but one chance; that is,
to cut the cable and run in on the top of it--a poor chance at the best,
but if God wills, we shall escape."

"If we are indeed as near shore as you think," said the captain, "I know
what you say must be true, for in shoal water such a wave will surely
carry all before it. But are you certain there will be another
explosion?"

"No man can be sure of that. If the last explosion emptied the crater
there will be no more. If it did not, another explosion is certain. All
I advise is that you should be ready for whatever is coming, and ready
to take your only chance."

"Right you are, sir. Send men to be ready to cut the cable, Mr. Moor.
And stand by the topsail halyards."

"Ay, ay, sir."

During the anxious minutes that followed, the hermit rejoined Winnie and
Nigel on the quarter-deck, and conversed with the latter in a low voice,
while he drew the former to his side with his strong arm. Captain Roy
himself grasped the wheel and the men stood at their various stations
ready for action.

"Let no man act without orders, whatever happens," said the captain in a
deep powerful voice which was heard over the whole ship, for the lull
that we have mentioned extended in some degree to the gale as well as to
the volcano. Every one felt that some catastrophe was pending.

"Winnie, darling," said the hermit tenderly, as he bent down to see the
sweet face that had been restored to him. "I greatly fear that there is
sure to be another explosion, and it may be His will that we shall
perish, but comfort yourself with the certainty that no hair of your
dear head can fall without His permission--and in any event He will not
fail us."

"I know it, father. I have no fear--at least, only a little!"

"Nigel," said the hermit, "stick close to us if you can. It may be
that, if anything should befall me, your strong arm may succour Winnie;
mine has lost somewhat of its vigour," he whispered.

"Trust me--nothing but death shall sunder us," said the anxious youth in
a burst of enthusiasm.

It seemed as if death were indeed to be the immediate portion of all on
board the _Sunshine_, for a few minutes later there came a crash,
followed by a spout of smoke, fire, steam, and molten lava, compared to
which all that had gone before seemed insignificant!

The crash was indescribable! As we have said elsewhere, the sound of it
was heard many hundreds of miles from the seat of the volcano, and its
effects were seen and felt right round the world.

The numerous vents which had previously been noticed on Krakatoa must at
that moment have been blown into one, and the original crater of the old
volcano--said to have been about six miles in diameter--must have
resumed its destructive work. All the eye-witnesses who were near the
spot at the time, and sufficiently calm to take note of the terrific
events of that morning, are agreed as to the splendour of the electrical
phenomena displayed during this paroxysmal outburst. One who, at the
time, was forty miles distant speaks of the great vapour-cloud looking
"like an immense wall or blood-red curtain with edges of all shades of
yellow, and bursts of forked lightning at times rushing like large
serpents through the air." Another says that "Krakatoa appeared to be
alight with flickering flames rising behind a dense black cloud." A
third recorded that "the lightning struck the mainmast conductor five or
six times," and that "the mud-rain which covered the decks was
phosphorescent, while the rigging presented the appearance of St. Elmo's
fire."

It may be remarked here, in passing, that giant steam-jets rushing
through the orifices of the earth's crust constitute an enormous
hydro-electric engine; and the friction of ejected materials striking
against each other in ascending and descending also generates
electricity, which accounts to some extent for the electrical condition
of the atmosphere.

In these final and stupendous outbursts the volcano was expending its
remaining force in breaking up and ejecting the solid lava which
constituted its framework, and not in merely vomiting forth the
lava-froth, or pumice, which had characterised the earlier stages of the
eruption. In point of fact--as was afterwards clearly ascertained by
careful soundings and estimates, taking the average height of the
missing portion at 700 feet above water, and the depth at 300 feet below
it--two-thirds of the island were blown entirely off the face of the
earth. The mass had covered an area of nearly six miles, and is
estimated as being equal to 1-1/8 cubic miles of solid matter which, as
Moses expressed it, was blown to bits!

If this had been all, it would have been enough to claim the attention
and excite the wonder of the intelligent world--but this was not nearly
all, as we shall see, for saddest of all the incidents connected with
the eruption is the fact that upwards of thirty-six thousand human
beings lost their lives. The manner in which that terrible loss occurred
shall be shown by the future adventures of the _Sunshine_.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

THE FATE OF THE "SUNSHINE."


Stunned at first, for a few minutes, by the extreme violence of the
explosion, no one on board the _Sunshine_ spoke, though each man stood
at his post ready to act.

"Strange," said the captain at last. "There seems to be no big wave this
time."

"That only shows that we are not as near the island as we thought. But
it won't be long of----See! There it comes," said the hermit. "Now,
Winnie, cling to my arm and put your trust in God."

Nigel, who had secured a life-buoy, moved close to the girl's side, and
looking anxiously out ahead saw a faint line of foam in the thick
darkness which had succeeded the explosion. Already the distant roar of
the billow was heard, proving that it had begun to break.

"The wind comes with it," said Van der Kemp.

"Stand by!" cried the captain, gazing intently over the side. Next
moment came the sharp order to hoist the foretopsail and jib, soon
followed by "Cut the cable!"

There was breeze enough to swing the vessel quickly round. In a few
seconds her stern was presented to the coming wave, and her bow cleft
the water as she rushed upon what every one now knew was her doom.

To escape the great wave was no part of the captain's plan. To have
reached the shore before the wave would have been fatal to all. Their
only hope lay in the possibility of riding in on the top of it, and the
great danger was that they should be unable to rise to it stern first
when it came up, or that they should turn broadside on and be rolled
over.

They had not long to wait. The size of the wave, before it came near
enough to be seen, was indicated by its solemn, deep-toned,
ever-increasing roar. The captain stood at the wheel himself, guiding
the brig and glancing back from time to time uneasily.

Suddenly the volcano gave vent to its fourth and final explosion. It was
not so violent as its predecessors had been, though more so than any
that had occurred on the day before, and the light of it showed them the
full terrors of their situation, for it revealed the mountains of
Java--apparently quite close in front, though in reality at a
considerable distance--with a line of breakers beating white on the
shore. But astern of them was the most appalling sight, for there,
rushing on with awful speed and a sort of hissing roar, came the
monstrous wave, emerging, as it were, out of thick darkness, like a
mighty wall of water with a foaming white crest, not much
less--according to an average of the most reliable estimates--than 100
feet high.

Well might the seamen blanch, for never before in all their varied
experience had they seen the like of that.

On it came with the unwavering force of Fate. To the eye of Captain Roy
it appeared that up its huge towering side no vessel made by mortal man
could climb. But the captain had too often stared death in the face to
be unmanned by the prospect now. Steadily he steered the vessel straight
on, and in a quiet voice said--

"Lay hold of something firm--every man!"

The warning was well timed. In the amazement, if not fear, caused by the
unwonted sight, some had neglected the needful precaution.

As the billow came on, the bubbling, leaping, and seething of its crest
was apparent both to eye and ear. Then the roar became tremendous.

"Darling Winnie," said Nigel at that moment. "I will die for you or with
you!"

The poor girl heard, but no sign of appreciation moved her pale face as
she gazed up at the approaching chaos of waters.

Next moment the brig seemed to stand on its bows. Van der Kemp had
placed his daughter against the mast, and, throwing his long arms round
both, held on. Nigel, close to them, had grasped a handful of ropes, and
every one else was holding on for life. Another moment and the brig rose
as if it were being tossed up to the heavens. Immediately thereafter it
resumed its natural position in a perfect wilderness of foam. They were
on the summit of the great wave, which was so large that its crest
seemed like a broad, rounded mass of tumbling snow with blackness before
and behind, while the roar of the tumult was deafening. The brig rushed
onward at a speed which she had never before equalled even in the
fiercest gale--tossed hither and thither by the leaping foam, yet always
kept going straight onward by the expert steering of her captain.

"Come aft--all of you!" he shouted, when it was evident that the vessel
was being borne surely forward on the wave's crest. "The masts will go
for certain when we strike."

The danger of being entangled in the falling spars and cordage was so
obvious that every one except the hermit and Nigel obeyed.

"Here, Nigel," gasped the former. "I--I've--lost blood--faint!----"

Our hero at once saw that Van der Kemp, fainting from previous loss of
blood, coupled with exertion, was unable to do anything but hold on.
Indeed, he failed even in that, and would have fallen to the deck had
Nigel not caught him by the arm.

"Can you run aft, Winnie?" said Nigel anxiously.

"Yes!" said the girl, at once understanding the situation and darting to
the wheel, of which and of Captain Roy she laid firm hold, while Nigel
lifted the hermit in his arms and staggered to the same spot. Winnie
knelt beside him immediately, and, forgetting for the moment all the
horrors around her, busied herself in replacing the bandage which had
been loosened from his head.

"Oh! Mr. Roy, save him!--save him!" cried the poor child, appealing in
an agony to Nigel, for she felt instinctively that when the crash came
her father would be utterly helpless even to save himself.

Nigel had barely time to answer when a wild shout from the crew caused
him to start up and look round. A flare from the volcano had cast a red
light over the bewildering scene, and revealed the fact that the brig
was no longer above the ocean's bed, but was passing in its wild career
right through, or rather _over_, the demolished town of Anjer. A few of
the houses that had been left standing by the previous waves were being
swept--hurled--away by this one, but the mass of rolling, rushing,
spouting water was so deep, that the vessel had as yet struck nothing
save the tops of some palm-trees which bent their heads like straws
before the flood.

Even in the midst of the amazement, alarm, and anxiety caused by the
situation, Nigel could not help wondering that in this final and
complete destruction of the town no sign of struggling human beings
should be visible. He forgot at the moment, what was terribly proved
afterwards, that the first waves had swallowed up men, women, and
children by hundreds, and that the few who survived had fled to the
hills, leaving nothing for the larger wave to do but complete the work
of devastation on inanimate objects. Ere the situation had been well
realised the volcanic fires went down again, and left the world, for
over a hundred surrounding miles, in opaque darkness. Only the humble
flicker of the binnacle light, like a trusty sentinel on duty, continued
to shed its feeble rays on a few feet of the deck, and showed that the
compass at least was still faithful to the pole!

Then another volcanic outburst revealed the fact that the wave which
carried them was thundering on in the direction of a considerable cliff
or precipice--not indeed quite straight towards it, but sufficiently so
to render escape doubtful.

At the same time a swarm of terror-stricken people were seen flying
towards this cliff and clambering up its steep sides. They were probably
some of the more courageous of the inhabitants who had summoned courage
to return to their homes after the passage of the second wave. Their
shrieks and cries could be heard above even the roaring of the water and
the detonations of the volcano.

"God spare us!" exclaimed poor Winnie, whose trembling form was now
partially supported by Nigel.

As she spoke darkness again obscured everything, and they could do
naught but listen to the terrible sounds--and pray.

On--on went the _Sunshine_, in the midst of wreck and ruin, on this
strange voyage over land and water, until a check was felt. It was not a
crash as had been anticipated, and as might have naturally been
expected, neither was it an abrupt stoppage. There was first a hissing,
scraping sound against the vessel's sides, then a steady checking--we
might almost say a hindrance to progress--not violent, yet so very
decided that the rigging could not bear the strain. One and another of
the back-stays parted, the foretopsail burst with a cannon-like report,
after which a terrible rending sound, followed by an indescribable
crash, told that both masts had gone by the board.

Then all was comparatively still--comparatively we say, for water still
hissed and leaped beneath them like a rushing river, though it no longer
roared, and the wind blew in unfamiliar strains and laden with unwonted
odours.

At that moment another outburst of Krakatoa revealed the fact that the
great wave had borne the brig inland for upwards of a mile, and left her
imbedded in a thick grove of cocoa-nut palms!



CHAPTER XXIX.

TELLS CHIEFLY OF THE WONDERFUL EFFECTS OF THIS ERUPTION ON THE WOULD AT
LARGE.


The great explosions of that morning had done more damage and had
achieved results more astounding than lies in the power of language
adequately to describe, or of history to parallel.

Let us take a glance at this subject in passing.

An inhabitant of Anjer--owner of a hotel, a ship-chandler's store, two
houses, and a dozen boats--went down to the beach about six on the
morning of that fateful 27th of August. He had naturally been impressed
by the night of the 26th, though, accustomed as he was to volcanic
eruptions, he felt no apprehensions as to the safety of the town. He
went to look to the moorings of his boats, leaving his family of seven
behind him. While engaged in this work he observed a wave of immense
size approaching. He leaped into one of his boats, which was caught up
by the wave and swept inland, carrying its owner there in safety. But
this was the wave that sealed the doom of the town and most of its
inhabitants, including the hotel-keeper's family and all that he
possessed.

This is one only out of thousands of cases of bereavement and
destruction.

A lighthouse-keeper was seated in his solitary watch-tower, speculating,
doubtless, on the probable continuance of such a violent outbreak, while
his family and mates--accustomed to sleep in the midst of elemental
war--were resting peacefully in the rooms below, when one of the mighty
waves suddenly appeared, thundered past, and swept the lighthouse with
all its inhabitants away.

This shows but one of the many disasters to lighthouses in Sunda
Straits.

A Dutch man-of-war--the _Berouw_--was lying at anchor in Lampong Bay,
fifty miles from Krakatoa. The great wave came, tore it from its
anchorage, and carried it--like the vessel of our friend David
Roy--nearly two miles inland!

Masses of coral of immense size and weight were carried four miles
inland by the same wave. The river at Anjer was choked up; the conduit
which used to carry water into the place was destroyed, and the town
itself was laid in ruins.

But these are only a few of the incidents of the great catastrophe. Who
can conceive, much less tell of, those terrible details of sudden death
and disaster to thousands of human beings, resulting from an eruption
which destroyed towns like Telok Betong, Anjer, Tyringin, etc., besides
numerous villages and hamlets on the shores of Java and Sumatra, and
caused the destruction of more than 36,000 souls?

But it is to results of a very different kind, and on a much more
extended scale, that we must turn if we would properly estimate the
magnitude, the wide-spreading and far-reaching influences, and the
extraordinary character, of the Krakatoa outburst of 1883.

In the first place, it is a fact, testified to by some of the best-known
men of science, that the shock of the explosion extended _appreciably_
right round the world, and seventeen miles (some say even higher!) up
into the heavens.

Mr. Verbeek, in his treatise on this subject, estimates that a cubic
mile of Krakatoa was propelled in the form of the finest dust into the
higher regions of the atmosphere--probably about thirty miles! The dust
thus sent into the sky was of "ultra-microscopic fineness," and it
travelled round and round the world in a westerly direction, producing
those extraordinary sunsets and gorgeous effects and afterglows which
became visible in the British Isles in the month of November following
the eruption; and the mighty waves which caused such destruction in the
vicinity of Sunda Straits travelled--not once, but at least--six times
round the globe, as was proved by trustworthy and independent
observations of tide-gauges and barometers made and recorded at the same
time in nearly all lands--including our own.

Other volcanoes, it is said by those who have a right to speak in regard
to such matters, have ejected more "stuff," but not one has equalled
Krakatoa in the intensity of its explosions, the appalling results of
the sea-waves, the wonderful effects in the sky, and the almost
miraculous nature of the sounds.

Seated on a log under a palm-tree in Batavia, on that momentous morning
of the 27th, was a sailor who had been left behind sick by Captain Roy
when he went on his rather Quixotic trip to the Keeling Islands. He was
a somewhat delicate son of the sea. Want of self-restraint was his
complaint--leading to a surfeit of fruit and other things, which
terminated in a severe fit of indigestion and indisposition to life in
general. He was smoking--that being a sovereign and infallible cure for
indigestion and all other ills that flesh is heir to, as every one
knows!

"I say, old man," he inquired, with that cheerful tone and air which
usually accompanies incapacity for food. "Do it always rain ashes here?"

The old man whom he addressed was a veteran Malay seaman.

"No," replied the Malay, "sometimes it rain mud--hot mud."

"Do it? Oh! well--anything for variety, I s'pose," returned the sailor,
with a growl which had reference to internal disarrangements.

"Is it often as dark as this in the daytime, an' is the sun usually
green?" he asked carelessly, more for the sake of distracting the mind
from other matters than for the desire of knowledge.

"Sometime it's more darker," replied the old man. "I've seed it so dark
that you couldn't see how awful dark it was."

As he spoke, a sound that has been described by ear-witnesses as
"deafening" smote upon their tympanums, the log on which they sat
quivered, the earth seemed to tremble, and several dishes in a
neighbouring hut were thrown down and broken.

"I say, old man, suthin' busted there," remarked the sailor, taking the
pipe from his mouth and quietly ramming its contents down with the end
of his blunt forefinger.

The Malay looked grave.

"The gasometer?" suggested the sailor.

"No, that _never_ busts."

"A noo mountain come into action, p'raps, an' blow'd its top off?"

"Shouldn't wonder if that's it--close at hand too. We's used to that
here. But them's bigger cracks than or'nar'."

The old Malay was right as to the cause, but wrong as to distance.
Instead of being a volcano "close at hand," it was Krakatoa eviscerating
itself a hundred miles off, and the sound of its last grand effort
"extended over 50 degrees = about 3000 miles."

On that day all the gas lights were extinguished in Batavia, and the
pictures rattled on the walls as though from the action of an
earthquake. But there was no earthquake. It was the air-wave from
Krakatoa, and the noise produced by the air-waves that followed was
described as "deafening."

The effect of the sounds of the explosions on the Straits Settlements
generally was not only striking, but to some extent amusing. At Carimon,
in Java--355 miles distant from Krakatoa--it was supposed that a vessel
in distress was firing guns, and several native boats were sent off to
render assistance, but no distressed vessel was to be found! At Acheen,
in Sumatra--1073 miles distant--they supposed that a fort was being
attacked and the troops were turned out under arms. At Singapore--522
miles off--they fancied that the detonations came from a vessel in
distress and two steamers were despatched to search for it. And here the
effect on the telephone, extending to Ishore, was remarkable. On raising
the tubes a perfect roar as of a waterfall was heard. By shouting at
the top of his voice, the clerk at one end could make the clerk at the
other end hear, but he could not render a word intelligible. At
Perak--770 miles off--the sounds were thought to be distant salvos of
artillery, and Commander Hon. F. Vereker, R.N., of H.M.S. _Magpie_, when
1227 miles distant (in lat. 5° 52' N. long. 118° 22' E.), states that
the detonations of Krakatoa were distinctly heard by those on board his
ship, and by the inhabitants of the coast as far as Banguey Island, on
August 27th. He adds that they resembled distant heavy cannonading. In a
letter from St. Lucia Bay--1116 miles distant--it was stated that the
eruption was plainly heard all over Borneo. A government steamer was
sent out from the Island of Timor--1351 miles off--to ascertain the
cause of the disturbance! In South Australia also, at places 2250 miles
away, explosions were heard on the 26th and 27th which "awakened"
people, and were thought worthy of being recorded and reported. From
Tavoy, in Burmah--1478 miles away--the report came--"All day on August
27th unusual sounds were heard, resembling the boom of guns. Thinking
there might be a wreck or a ship in distress, the Tavoy Superintendent
sent out the police launch, but they 'could see nothing.'" And so on,
far and near, similar records were made, the most distant spot where the
sounds were reported to have been heard being Rodriguez, in the
Pacific, nearly 3000 miles distant!

One peculiar feature of the records is that some ships in the immediate
neighbourhood of Krakatoa did not experience the shock in proportionate
severity. Probably this was owing to their being so near that a great
part of the concussion and sound flew over them--somewhat in the same
way that the pieces of a bomb-shell fly over men who, being too near to
escape by running, escape by flinging themselves flat on the ground.

Each air-wave which conveyed these sounds, commencing at Krakatoa as a
centre, spread out in an ever-increasing circle till it reached a
distance of 180° from its origin and encircled the earth at its widest
part, after which it continued to advance in a contracting form until it
reached the antipodes of the volcano; whence it was reflected or
reproduced and travelled back again to Krakatoa. Here it was turned
right-about-face and again despatched on its long journey. In this way
it oscillated backward and forward not fewer than six times before
traces of it were lost. We say "traces," because these remarkable facts
were ascertained, tracked, and corroborated by independent barometric
observation in all parts of the earth.

For instance, the passage of the great air-wave from Krakatoa to its
antipodes, and from its antipodes back to Krakatoa, was registered six
times by the automatic barometer at Greenwich. The instrument at Kew
Observatory confirmed the records of Greenwich, and so did the
barometers of other places in the kingdom. Everywhere in Europe also
this fact was corroborated, and in some places even a seventh
oscillation was recorded. The Greenwich record shows that the air-waves
took about thirty-six hours to travel from pole to pole, thus proving
that they travelled at about the rate of ordinary sound-waves, which,
roughly speaking, travel at the rate of between six and seven hundred
miles an hour.

The height of the sea-waves that devastated the neighbouring shores,
being variously estimated at from 50 to 135 feet, is sufficiently
accounted for by the intervention of islands and headlands, etc., which,
of course, tended to diminish the force, height, and volume of waves in
varying degrees.

These, like the air-waves, were also registered--by self-acting
tide-gauges and by personal observation--all over the world, and the
observations _coincided as to date with the great eruptions of the 26th
and 27th of August_. The influence of the sea-waves was observed and
noted in the Java sea--which is shallow and where there are innumerable
obstructions--as far as 450 miles, but to the west they swept over the
deep waters of the Indian Ocean on to Cape Horn, and even, it is said,
to the English Channel.

The unusual disturbance of ocean in various places was sufficiently
striking. At Galle, in Ceylon, where the usual rise and fall of the tide
is 2 feet, the master-attendant reports that on the afternoon of the
27th four remarkable waves were noticed in the port. The last of these
was preceded by an unusual recession of the sea to such an extent that
small boats at their anchorage were left aground--a thing that had never
been seen before. The period of recession was only one-and-a-half
minutes; then the water paused, as it were, for a brief space, and,
beginning to rise, reached the level of the highest high-water mark in
less than two minutes, thus marking a difference of 8 feet 10 inches
instead of the ordinary 2 feet.

At one place there was an ebb and flood tide, of unusual extent, within
half-an-hour. At another, a belt of land, including a burying-ground,
was washed away, so that according to the observer "it appeared as if
the dead had sought shelter with the living in a neighbouring cocoa-nut
garden!" Elsewhere the tides were seen to advance and recede ten or
twelve times--in one case even twenty times--on the 27th.

At Trincomalee the sea receded three times and returned with singular
force, at one period leaving part of the shore suddenly bare, with fish
struggling in the mud. The utilitarian tendency of mankind was at once
made manifest by some fishermen who, seizing the opportunity, dashed
into the struggling mass and began to reap the accidental harvest,
when--alas for the poor fishermen!--the sea rushed in again and drove
them all away.

In the Mauritius, however, the fishers were more fortunate, for when
their beach was exposed in a similar manner, they succeeded in capturing
a good many fish before the water returned.

Even sharks were disturbed in their sinister and slimy habits of life by
this outburst of Krakatoa--and no wonder, when it is recorded that in
some places "the sea looked like water boiling heavily in a pot," and
that "the boats which were afloat were swinging in all directions." At
one place several of these monsters were flung out of their native home
into pools, where they were left struggling till their enemy man
terminated their career.

Everywhere those great waves produced phenomena which were so striking
as to attract the attention of all classes of people, to ensure record
in most parts of the world, and to call for the earnest investigation of
the scientific men of many lands--and the conclusion to which such men
have almost universally come is, that the strange vagaries of the sea
all over the earth, the mysterious sounds heard in so many widely
distant places, and the wonderful effects in the skies of every quarter
of the globe, were all due to the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in
1883.

With reference to these last--the sky-effects-a few words may not be out
of place here.

The superfine "ultra-microscopic" dust, which was blown by the volcano
in quantities so enormous to such unusual heights, was, after dropping
its heavier particles back to earth, caught by the breezes which always
blow in the higher regions from east to west, and carried by them for
many months round and round the world. The dust was thickly and not
widely spread at first, but as time went on it gradually extended itself
on either side, becoming visible to more and more of earth's
inhabitants, and at the same time becoming necessarily less dense.

Through this medium the sun's rays had to penetrate. In so far as the
dust-particles were opaque they would obscure these rays; where they
were transparent or polished they would refract and reflect them. That
the material of which those dust-particles was composed was very various
has been ascertained, proved, and recorded by the Krakatoa Committee.
The attempt to expound this matter would probably overtax the endurance
of the average reader, yet it may interest all to know that this
dust-cloud travelled westward within the tropics at the rate of about
double the speed of an express train--say 120 miles an hour; crossed the
Indian Ocean and Africa in three days, the Atlantic in two, America in
two, and, in short, put a girdle round the world in thirteen days.
Moreover, the cloud of dust was so big that it took two or three days to
pass any given point. During its second circumnavigation it was
considerably spread and thinned, and the third time still more so,
having expanded enough to include Europe and the greater part of North
America. It had thinned away altogether and disappeared in the spring of
1884.

Who has not seen--at least read or heard of--the gorgeous skies of the
autumn of 1883? Not only in Britain, but in all parts of the world,
these same skies were seen, admired, and commented on as marvellous. And
so they were. One of the chief peculiarities about them, besides their
splendour, was the fact that they consisted chiefly of
"afterglows"--that is, an increase of light and splendour _after_ the
setting of the sun, when, in an ordinary state of things, the grey
shadows of evening would have descended on the world. Greenish-blue
suns; pink clouds; bright yellow, orange, and crimson afterglows;
gorgeous, magnificent, blood-red skies--the commentators seemed unable
to find language adequately to describe them. Listen to a German
observer's remarks on the subject:--

"The display of November 29th was the grandest and most manifold. I
give a description as exactly; as possible, for its overwhelming
magnificence still presents itself to me as if it had been yesterday.
When the sun had set about a quarter of an hour, there was not much
afterglow, but I had observed a remarkably yellow bow in the south,
about 10° above the horizon. In about ten minutes more this arc rose
pretty quickly, extended itself all over the east and up to and beyond
the zenith. The sailors declared, 'Sir, that is the Northern Lights.' I
thought I had never seen Northern Lights in greater splendour. After
five minutes more the-light had faded, though not vanished, in the east
and south, and the finest purple-red rose up in the south-west; one
could imagine one's-self in Fairyland."

All this, and a great deal more, was caused by the dust of Krakatoa!

"But how--how--why?" exclaims an impatient and puzzled reader.

"Ay--there's the rub." Rubbing, by the way, may have had something to do
with it. At all events we are safe to say that whatever there was of
electricity in the matter resulted from friction.

Here is what the men of science say--as far as we can gather and
condense.

The fine dust blown out of Krakatoa was found, under the microscope, to
consist of excessively thin, transparent plates or irregular specks of
pumice--which inconceivably minute fragments were caused by enormous
steam pressure in the interior and the sudden expansion of the masses
blown out into the atmosphere. Of this glassy dust, that which was blown
into the regions beyond the clouds must have been much finer even than
that which was examined. These glass fragments were said by Dr. Flügel
to contain either innumerable air-bubbles or minute needle-like
crystals, or both. Small though these vesicles were when ejected from
the volcano, they would become still smaller by bursting when they
suddenly reached a much lower pressure of atmosphere at a great height.
Some of them, however, owing to tenacity of material and other causes,
might have failed to burst and would remain floating in the upper air as
perfect microscopic glass balloons. Thus the dust was a mass of
particles of every conceivable shape, and so fine that no watches,
boxes, or instruments were tight enough to exclude from their interior
even that portion of the dust which was heavy enough to remain on earth!

Now, to the unscientific reader it is useless to say more than that the
innumerable and varied positions of these glassy particles, some
transparent, others semi-transparent or opaque, reflecting the sun's
rays in different directions, with a complex modification of colour and
effect resulting from the blueness of the sky, the condition of the
atmosphere, and many other causes--all combined to produce the
remarkable appearances of light and colour which aroused the admiration
and wonder of the world in 1883.

The more one thinks of these things, and the deeper one dives into the
mysteries of nature, the more profoundly is one impressed at once with a
humbling sense of the limited amount of one's knowledge, and an
awe-inspiring appreciation of the illimitable fields suggested by that
comprehensive expression: "THE WONDERFUL WORKS OF GOD."



CHAPTER XXX.

COMING EVENTS, ETC.--WONDERFUL CHANGES AMONG THE ISLANDS.


Some days after the wreck of the _Sunshine_, as described in a previous
chapter, Captain Roy and his son stood on the coast of Java not far from
the ruins of Anjer. A vessel was anchored in the offing, and a little
boat lay on the shore.

All sign of elemental strife had passed, though a cloud of smoke hanging
over the remains of Krakatoa told that the terrible giant below was not
dead but only sleeping--to awake, perchance, after a nap of another 200
years.

"Well, father," said our hero with a modest look, "it may be, as you
suggest, that Winnie Van der Kemp does not care for me more than for a
fathom of salt water----"

"I did not say salt water, lad, I said bilge--a fathom o' _bilge_
water," interrupted the captain, who, although secretly rejoiced at the
fact of his son having fallen over head and ears in love with the pretty
little Cocos-Keeling islander, deemed it his duty, nevertheless, as a
sternly upright parent, to, make quite sure that the love was mutual as
well as deep before giving his consent to anything like courtship.

"It matters not; salt or bilge water makes little difference," returned
the son with a smile. "But all I can say is that I care for Winnie so
much that her love is to me of as much importance as sunshine to the
world--and we have had some experience lately of what the want of _that_
means."

"Nonsense, Nigel," returned the captain severely. "You're workin'
yourself into them up-in-the-clouds, reef-point-patterin' regions
again--which, by the way, should be pretty well choked wi' Krakatoa dust
by this time. Come down out o' that if ye want to hold or'nary
intercourse wi' your old father. She's far too young yet, my boy. You
must just do as many a young fellow has done before you, attend to your
dooties and forget her."

"Forget her!" returned the youth, with that amused, quiet expression
which wise men sometimes assume when listening to foolish suggestions.
"I could almost as easily forget my mother!"

"A very proper sentiment, Nigel, very--especially the 'almost' part of
it."

"Besides," continued the son, "she is not so _very_ young--and that
difficulty remedies itself every hour. Moreover, I too am young. I can
wait."

"The selfishness of youth is only equalled by its presumption," said
the captain. "How d'ee know _she_ will wait?"

"I don't know, father, but I hope she will--I--I--_think_ she will."

"Nigel," said the captain, in a tone and with a look that were meant to
imply intense solemnity, "have you ever spoken to her about love?"

"No, father."

"Has she ever spoken to _you_?"

"No--at least--not with her lips."

"Come, boy, you're humbuggin' your old father. Her tongue couldn't well
do it without the lips lendin' a hand."

"Well then--with neither," returned the son. "She spoke with her
eyes--not intentionally, of course, for the eyes, unlike the lips,
refuse to be under control."

"Hm! I see--reef-point-patterin' poetics again! An' what did she say
with her eyes?"

"Really, father, you press me too hard; it is difficult to translate
eye-language, but if you'll only let memory have free play and revert to
that time, nigh quarter of a century ago, when you first met with a
certain _real_ poetess, perhaps--"

"Ah! you dog! you have me there. But how dare you, sir, venture to think
of marryin' on nothin'?"

"I don't think of doing so. Am I not a first mate with a handsome
salary?"

"No, lad, you're not. You're nothin' better than a seaman out o' work,
with your late ship wrecked in a cocoa-nut grove!"

"That's true," returned Nigel with a laugh. "But is not the cargo of the
said ship safe in Batavia? Has not its owner a good bank account in
England? Won't another ship be wanted, and another first mate, and would
the owner dare to pass over his own son, who is such a competent
seaman--according to your own showing? Come, father, I turn the tables
on you and ask you to aid rather than resist me in this matter."

"Well, I will, my boy, I will," said the captain heartily, as he laid
his hand on his son's shoulder. "But, seriously, you must haul off this
little craft and clap a stopper on your tongue--ay, and on your eyes
too--till three points are considered an' made quite clear. First, you
must find out whether the hermit would be agreeable. Second, you must
look the matter straight in the face and make quite sure that you mean
it. For better or for worse. No undoin' _that_ knot, Nigel, once it's
fairly tied! And, third, you must make quite sure that Winnie is sure of
her own mind, an' that--that--"

"We're all sure all round, father. Quite right. I agree with you. 'All
fair an' aboveboard' should be the sailing orders of every man in such
matters, especially of every seaman. But, will you explain how I am to
make sure of Winnie's state of mind without asking her about it?"

"Well, I don't exactly see my way," replied the captain slowly. "What
d'ee say to my soundin' her on the subject?"

"Couldn't think of it! You may be first-rate at deep-sea soundings,
father, but you couldn't sound the depths of a young girl's heart. I
must reserve that for myself, however long it may be delayed."

"So be it, lad. The only embargo that I lay upon you is--haul off, and
mind you don't let your figurehead go by the board. Meanwhile, here
comes the boat. Now, Nigel, none o' your courtin' till everything is
settled and the wind fair--dead aft my lad, and blowin' stiff. You and
the hermit are goin' off to Krakatoa to-day, I suppose?"

"Yes. I am just now waiting for him and Moses," returned Nigel.

"Is Winnie going?"

"Don't know. I hope so."

"Humph! Well, if we have a fair wind I shall soon be in Batavia," said
the captain, descending to business matters, "and I expect without
trouble to dispose of the cargo that we landed there, as well as that
part o' the return cargo which I had bought before I left for
Keeling--at a loss, no doubt, but that don't matter much. Then I'll come
back here by the first craft that offers--arter which----. Ay!--Ay!
shove her in here. Plenty o' water."

The last remark was made to the seaman who steered the boat sent from
the vessel in the offing.

A short time thereafter Captain Roy was sailing away for Batavia, while
his son, with Van der Kemp, Moses, Winnie, and Spinkie, was making for
Krakatoa in a native boat.

The hermit, in spite of his injuries, had recovered his wonted
appearance, if not his wonted vigour. Winnie seemed to have suddenly
developed into a mature woman under her recent experiences, though she
had lost none of her girlish grace and attractiveness. As for
Moses--time and tide seemed to have no effect whatever on his ebony
frame, and still less, if possible, on his indomitable spirit.

"Now you keep still," he said in solemn tones and with warning looks to
Spinkie. "If you keep fidgitin' about you'll capsize de boat. You hear?"

Spinkie veiled his real affection for the negro under a look of supreme
indifference, while Winnie went off into a sudden giggle at the idea of
such a small creature capsizing the boat.

Mindful of his father's warning, Nigel did his best to "haul off" and to
prevent his "figurehead" from going "by the board." But he found it
uncommonly hard work, for Winnie looked so innocent, so pretty, so
unconscious, so sympathetic with everybody and everything, so very
young, yet so wondrously wise and womanly, that he felt an irresistible
desire to prostrate himself at her feet in abject slavery.

"Dear little thing," said Winnie, putting her hand on Spinkie's little
head and smoothing him down from eyes to tail.

Spinkie looked as if half inclined to withdraw his allegiance from Moses
and bestow it on Winnie, but evidently changed his mind after a moment's
reflection.

"O that I were a monkey!" thought Nigel, paraphrasing Shakespeare, "that
I might----" but it is not fair to our hero to reveal him in his
weaker moments!

There was something exasperating, too, in being obliged, owing to the
size of the boat, to sit so close to Winnie without having a right to
touch her hand! Who has not experienced this, and felt himself to be a
very hero of self-denial in the circumstances?

"Mos' awrful hot!" remarked Moses, wiping his forehead with the sleeve
of his shirt.

"_You_ hot!" said Nigel in surprise. "I thought nothing on earth could
be too hot for you."

"Dat's your ignerance," returned Moses calmly. "Us niggers, you see,
ought to suffer more fro' heat dan you whites."

"How so?"

"Why, don't your flossiphers say dat black am better dan white for
'tractin' heat, an' ain't our skins black? I wish we'd bin' born white
as chalk. I say, Massa Nadgel, seems to me dat dere's not much left ob
Krakatoa."

They had approached near enough to the island by that time to perceive
that wonderful changes had indeed taken place, and Van der Kemp, who had
been for some time silently absorbed in contemplation, at last turned to
his daughter and said--

"I had feared at first, Winnie, that my old home had been blown entirely
away, but I see now that the Peak of Rakata still stands, so perhaps I
may yet show you the cave in which I have spent so many years."

"But why did you go to live in such a strange place, dear father?" asked
the girl, laying her hand lovingly on the hermit's arm.

Van der Kemp did not reply at once. He gazed in his child's face with an
increase of that absent air and far-away look which Nigel, ever since he
met him, had observed as one of his characteristics. At this time an
anxious thought crossed him,--that perhaps the blows which his friend
had received on his head when he was thrown on the deck of the
_Sunshine_ might have injured his brain.

"It is not easy to answer your question, dear one," he said after a
time, laying his strong hand on the girl's head, and smoothing her
luxuriant hair which hung in the untrammelled freedom of nature over her
shoulders. "I have felt sometimes, during the last few days, as if I
were awaking out of a long long dream, or recovering from a severe
illness in which delirium had played a prominent part. Even now, though
I see and touch you, I sometimes tremble lest I should really awake and
find that it is all a dream. I have so often--so _very_ often--dreamed
something like it in years gone by, but never so vividly as now! I
cannot doubt--it is sin to doubt--that my prayers have been at last
answered. God is good and wise. He knows what is best and does not fail
in bringing the best to pass. Yet I have doubted Him--again and again."

Van der Kemp paused here and drew his hand across his brow as if to
clear away sad memories of the past, while Winnie drew closer to him and
looked up tenderly in his face.

"When your mother died, dear one," he resumed, "it seemed to me as if
the sun had left the heavens, and when _you_ were snatched from me, it
was as though my soul had fled and nought but animal life remained. I
lived as if in a terrible dream. I cannot recall exactly what I did or
where I went for a long long time. I know I wandered through the
archipelago looking for you, because I did not believe at first that you
were dead. It was at this time I took up my abode in the cave of Rakata,
and fell in with my good faithful friend Moses--"

"Your sarvint, massa," interrupted the negro humbly. "I's proud to be
call your frind, but I's only your sarvint, massa."

"Truly you have been my faithful servant, Moses," said Van der Kemp,
"but not the less have you been my trusted friend. He nursed me through
a long and severe illness, Winnie. How long, I am not quite sure. After
a time I nearly lost hope. Then there came a very dark period, when I
was forced to believe that you must be dead. Yet, strange to say, even
during this dark time I did not cease to pray and to wander about in
search of you. I suppose it was the force of habit, for hope seemed to
have died. Then, at last, Nigel found you. God used him as His
instrument. And now, praise to His name, we are reunited--for ever!"

"Darling father!" were the only words that Winnie could utter as she
laid her head on the hermit's shoulder and wept for joy.

Two ideas, which had not occurred to him before, struck Nigel with great
force at that moment. The one was that whatever or wherever his future
household should be established, if Winnie was to be its chief ornament,
her father must of necessity become a member of it. The other idea was
that he was destined to possess a negro servant with a consequent and
unavoidable monkey attendant! How strange the links of which the chain
of human destiny is formed, and how wonderful the powers of thought by
which that chain is occasionally forecast! How to convey all these
possessions to England and get them comfortably settled there was a
problem which he did not care to tackle just then.

"See, Winnie," said Van der Kemp, pointing with interest to a mark on
the side of Rakata, "yonder is the mouth of my cave. I never saw it so
clearly before because of the trees and bushes, but everything seems now
to have been burnt up."

"Das so, massa, an' what hasn't bin bu'nt up has bin blow'd up!"
remarked the negro.

"Looks very like it, Moses, unless that is a haze which enshrouds the
rest of the island," rejoined the other, shading his eyes with his
hands.

It was no haze, however; for they found, on drawing nearer, that the
greater part of Krakatoa had, as we have already said, actually
disappeared from the face of the earth.

When the boat finally rounded the point which hid the northern part of
the island from view, a sight was presented which it is not often given
to human eyes to look upon. The whole mountain named the Peak of Rakata
(2623 feet high) had been split from top to bottom, and about one-half
of it, with all that part of the island lying to the northward, had been
blown away, leaving a wall or almost sheer precipice which presented a
grand section of the volcano.

Pushing their boat into a creek at the base of this precipice, the party
landed and tried to reach a position from which a commanding view might
be obtained. This was not an easy matter, for there was not a spot for a
foot to rest on which was not covered deeply with pumice-dust and ashes.
By dint of perseverance, however, they gained a ledge whence the
surrounding district could be observed, and then it was clearly seen how
wide-spread and stupendous the effects of the explosion had been.

Where the greater part of the richly wooded island had formerly
flourished, the ocean now rippled in the sunshine, and of the smaller
islands around it _Lang_ Island had been considerably increased in bulk
as well as in height. _Verlaten_ Island had been enlarged to more than
three times its former size and also much increased in height. The
island named _Polish Hat_ had disappeared altogether, and two entirely
new islets--afterwards named _Steers_ and _Calmeyer_ Islands--had
arisen to the northward.

"Now, friends," said Van der Kemp, after they had noted and commented on
the vast and wonderful changes that had taken place, "we will pull round
to our cave and see what has happened there."

Descending to the boat they rowed round the southern shores of Rakata
until they reached the little harbour where the boat and canoe had
formerly been kept.



CHAPTER XXXI.

ENDS WITH A STRUGGLE BETWEEN INCLINATION AND DUTY.


"De cave's blowed away too!" was the first remark of Moses as they rowed
into the little port.

A shock of disappointment was experienced by Winnie, for she fancied
that the negro had referred to her father's old home, but he only meant
the lower cave in which the canoe had formerly been kept. She was soon
relieved as to this point, however, but, when a landing was effected,
difficulties that seemed to her almost insurmountable presented
themselves, for the ground was covered knee-deep with pumice-dust, and
the road to the upper cave was blocked by rugged masses of lava and
ashes, all heaped up in indescribable confusion.

On careful investigation, however, it was found that after passing a
certain point the footpath was almost unencumbered by volcanic débris.
This was owing to the protection afforded to it by the cone of Rakata,
and the almost overhanging nature of some of the cliffs on that side of
the mountain; still the track was bad enough, and in places so rugged,
that Winnie, vigorous and agile though she was, found it both difficult
and fatiguing to advance. Seeing this, her father proposed to carry her,
but she laughingly declined the proposal.

Whereupon Nigel offered to lend her a hand over the rougher places, but
this she also declined.

Then Moses, stepping forward, asserted his rights.

"It's _my_ business," he said, "to carry t'ings w'en dey's got to be
carried. M'r'over, as I's bin obleeged to leabe Spinkie in charge ob de
boat, I feels okard widout somet'ing to carry, an' you ain't much
heavier dan Spinkie, Miss Winnie--so, come along."

He stooped with the intention of grasping Winnie as if she were a little
child, but with a light laugh the girl sprang away and left Moses
behind.

"'S'my opinion," said Moses, looking after her with a grin, "dat if de
purfesser was here he 'd net her in mistook for a bufferfly. Dar!--she's
down!" he shouted, springing forward, but Nigel was before him.

Winnie had tripped and fallen.

"Are you hurt, dear--child?" asked Nigel, raising her gently.

"Oh no! only a little shaken," answered Winnie, with a little laugh that
was half hysterical. "I am strong enough to go on presently."

"Nay, my child, you _must_ suffer yourself to be carried at this part,"
said Van der Kemp. "Take her up, Nigel, you are stronger than I am
_now_. I would not have asked you to do it before my accident!"

Our hero did not need a second bidding. Grasping Winnie in his strong
arms he raised her as if she had been a feather, and strode away at a
pace so rapid that he soon left Van der Kemp and Moses far behind.

"Put me down, now," said Winnie, after a little while, in a low voice.
"I'm quite recovered now and can walk."

"Nay, Winnie, you are mistaken. The path is very rough yet, and the dust
gets deeper as we ascend. _Do_ give me the pleasure of helping you a
little longer."

Whatever Winnie may have felt or thought she said nothing, and Nigel,
taking silence for consent, bore her swiftly onward and upward,--with an
"Excelsior" spirit that would have thrown the Alpine youth with the
banner and the strange device considerably into the shade,--until he
placed her at the yawning black mouth of the hermit's cave.

But what a change was there! The trees and flowering shrubs and ferns
were all gone, lava, pumice, and ashes lay thick on everything around,
and only a few blackened and twisted stumps of the larger trees
remained to tell that an umbrageous forest had once flourished there.
The whole scene might be fittingly described in the two words--grey
desolation.

"That is the entrance to your father's old home," said Nigel, as he set
his fair burden down and pointed to the entrance.

"What a dreadful place!" said Winnie, peering into the black depths of
the cavern.

"It was not dreadful when I first saw it, Winnie, with rich verdure
everywhere; and inside you will find it surprisingly comfortable. But we
must not enter until your father arrives to do the honours of the place
himself."

They had not to wait long. First Moses arrived, and, shrewdly suspecting
from the appearance of the young couple that they were engaged in
conversation that would not brook interruption, or, perhaps, judging
from what might be his own wishes in similar circumstances, he turned
his back suddenly on them, and, stooping down, addressed himself to an
imaginary creature of the animal kingdom.

"What a bootiful bufferfly you is, to be sure! up on sitch a place too,
wid nuffin' to eat 'cept Krakatoa dust. I wonder what your moder would
say if she know'd you was here. You should be ashamed ob yourself!"

"Hallo! Moses, what are you talking to over there?"

"Nuffin', Massa Nadgel. I was on'y habin' a brief conv'sation wid a
member ob de insect wurld in commemoration ob de purfesser. Leastwise,
if it warn't a insect it must hab bin suffm' else. Won't you go in, Miss
Winnie?"

"No, I'd rather wait for father," returned the girl, looking a little
flushed, for some strange and totally unfamiliar ideas had recently
floated into her brain and caused some incomprehensible flutterings of
the heart to which hitherto she had been a stranger.

Mindful of his father's injunctions, however, Nigel had been
particularly careful to avoid increasing these flutterings.

In a few minutes the hermit came up. "Ah! Winnie," he said, "there has
been dire devastation here. Perhaps inside things may look better. Come,
take my hand and don't be afraid. The floor is level and your eyes will
soon get accustomed to the dim light."

"I's afeared, massa," remarked Moses, as they entered the cavern, "dat
your sun-lights won't be wu'th much now."

"You are right, lad. Go on before us and light the lamps if they are not
broken."

It was found, as they had expected, that, the only light which
penetrated the cavern was that which entered by the cave's mouth, which
of course was very feeble.

Presently, to Winnie's surprise, Moses was seen issuing from the kitchen
with a petroleum lamp in one hand, the brilliant light of which not only
glittered on his expressive black visage but sent a ruddy glare all over
the cavern.

Van der Kemp seemed to watch his daughter intently as she gazed in a
bewildered way around. There was a puzzled look as well as mere surprise
in her pretty face.

"Father," she said earnestly, "you have spoken more than once of living
as if in a dream. Perhaps you will wonder when I tell you that I
experience something of that sort now. Strange though this place seems,
I have an unaccountable feeling that it is not absolutely new to
me--that I have seen it before."

"I do not wonder, dear one," he replied, "for the drawings that surround
this chamber were the handiwork of your dear mother, and they decorated
the walls of your own nursery when you were a little child at your
mother's knee. For over ten long years they have surrounded me and kept
your faces fresh in my memory--though, truth to tell, it needed no such
reminders to do that. Come, let us examine them."

It was pleasant to see the earnest face of Winnie as she
half-recognised and strove to recall the memories of early childhood in
that singular cavern. It was also a sight worth seeing--the countenance
of Nigel, as well as that of the hermit, while they watched and admired
her eager, puzzled play of feature, and it was the most amazing sight of
all to see the all but superhuman joy of Moses as he held the lamp and
listened to facts regarding the past of his beloved master which were
quite new to him--for the hermit spoke as openly about his past domestic
affairs as if he and Winnie had been quite alone.

"He either forgets that we are present, or counts us as part of his
family," thought Nigel with a feeling of satisfaction.

"What a dear comoonicative man!" thought Moses, with unconcealed
pleasure.

"Come now, let us ascend to the observatory," said the hermit, when all
the things in the library had been examined. "There has been damage done
there, I know; besides, there is a locket there which belonged to your
mother. I left it by mistake one day when I went up to arrange the
mirrors, and in the hurry of leaving forgot to return for it. Indeed,
one of my main objects in re-visiting my old home was to fetch that
locket away. It contains a lock of hair and one of those miniatures
which men used to paint before photography drove such work off the
field."

Winnie was nothing loth to follow, for she had reached a romantic period
of life, and it seemed to her that to be led through mysterious caves
and dark galleries in the very heart of a still active volcano by her
own father--the hermit of Rakata--was the very embodiment of romance
itself.

But a disappointment awaited them, for they had not proceeded halfway
through the dark passage when it was found that a large mass of rock had
fallen from the roof and almost blocked it up.

"There is a space big enough for us to creep through at the right-hand
corner above, I think," said Nigel, taking the lantern from Moses and
examining the spot.

"Jump up, Moses, and try it," said the hermit. "If your bulky shoulders
get through, we can all manage it."

The negro was about to obey the order when Nigel let the lantern fall
and the shock extinguished it.

"Oh! Massa Nadgel; das a pritty business!"

"Never mind," said Van der Kemp. "I've got matches, I think, in my--no,
I haven't. Have you, Moses?"

"No, massa, I forgit to remember him."

"No matter, run back--you know the road well enough to follow it in the
dark. We will wait here till you return. Be smart, now!"

Moses started off at once and for some moments the sound of clattering
along the passage was heard.

"I will try to clamber through in the dark. Look after Winnie,
Nigel--and don't leave the spot where you stand, dear one, for there are
cracks and holes about that might sprain your little ankles."

"Very well, father."

"All right. I've got through, Nigel; I'll feel my way on for a little
bit. Remain where you are."

"Winnie," said Nigel when they were alone, "doesn't it feel awesome and
strange to be standing here in such intense darkness?"

"It does--I don't quite like it."

"Whereabouts are you?" said Nigel.

He carefully stretched out his hand to feel, as he spoke, and laid a
finger on her brow.

"Oh! take care of my eyes!" exclaimed Winnie with a little laugh.

"_I_ wish you would turn your eyes towards me for I'm convinced they
would give some light--? to _me_ at least. Here, do let me hold your
hand It will make you feel more confident."

To one who is at all familiar with the human frame, the way from the
brow to the hand is comparatively simple. Nigel soon possessed himself
of the coveted article. Like other things of great value the possession
turned the poor youth's head! He forgot his father's warnings for the
moment, forgot the hermit and Moses and Spinkie, and the thick
darkness--forgot almost everything in the light of that touch!

"Winnie!" he exclaimed in a tone that quite alarmed her; "I--I--" He
hesitated. The solemn embargo of his father recurred to him.

"What is it! Is there danger?" exclaimed the poor girl, clasping his
hand tighter and drawing nearer to him.

This was too much! Nigel felt himself to be contemptible. He was taking
unfair advantage of her.

"Winnie," he began again, in a voice of forced calmness, "there is no
danger whatever. I'm an ass--a dolt--that's all! The fact is, I made my
father a sort of half promise that I would not ask your opinion on a
certain subject until--until I found out exactly what you thought about
it. Now the thing is ridiculous--impossible--for how can I know your
opinion on any subject until I have asked you?"

"Quite true," returned Winnie simply, "so you better ask me."

"Ha! _ha_!" laughed Nigel, in a sort of desperate amusement, "I--I--Yes,
I _will_ ask you, Winnie! But first I must explain----"

"Hallo! Nigel!" came at that moment from the other side of the
obstruction, "are you there--all right?"

"Yes, yes--I'm here--_not_ all right exactly, but I'll be all right
_some day_, you may depend upon that!" shouted the youth, in a tone of
indignant exasperation.

"What said you?" asked Van der Kemp, putting his head through the hole.

"Hi! I's a-comin', look out, dar!" hallooed Moses in the opposite
direction.

"Just so," said Nigel, resuming his quiet tone and demeanour, "we'll be
all right when the light comes. Here, give us your hand, Van der Kemp."

The hermit accepted the proffered aid and leaped down amongst his
friends just as Moses arrived with the lantern.

"It's of no use going further," he said. "The passage is completely
blocked up--so we must go round to where the mountain has been split off
and try to clamber up. There will be daylight enough yet if we are
quick. Come."



CHAPTER XXXII.

THE LAST.


Descending to the boat they rowed round to the face of the great cliff
which had been so suddenly laid bare when the Peak of Rakata was cleft
from its summit to its foundations in the sea. It was a wonderful
sight--a magnificent section, affording a marvellous view of the
internal mechanism of a volcano.

But there was no time to spend in contemplation of this extraordinary
sight, for evening approached and the hermit's purpose had to be
accomplished.

High up near the top of the mighty cliff could be seen a small hole in
the rock, which was all that remained of the observatory.

"It will be impossible, I fear, to reach that spot," said Nigel; "there
does not appear to be foothold for a goat."

"I will reach it," said the hermit in a low voice, as he scanned the
precipice carefully.

"So will I," said the negro.

"No, Moses, I go alone. You will remain in the boat and watch. If I
fall, you can pick me up."

"Pick you up!" echoed Moses. "If you tumbles a t'ousand feet into de
water how much t'ink you will be lef to pick up?"

It was useless to attempt to dissuade Van der Kemp. Being well aware of
this, they all held their peace while he landed on a spur of the riven
cliff.

The first part of the ascent was easy enough, the ground having been
irregularly broken, so that the climber disappeared behind masses of
rock at times, while he kept as much as possible to the western edge of
the mountain where the cleavage had occurred; but as he ascended he was
forced to come out upon narrow ledges that had been left here and there
on the face of the cliff, where he seemed, to those who were watching
far below, like a mere black spot on the face of a gigantic wall. Still
upward he went, slowly but steadily, till he reached a spot nearly level
with the observatory. Here he had to go out on the sheer precipice,
where his footholds were invisible from below.

Winnie sat in the boat with blanched face and tightly clasped hands,
panting with anxiety as she gazed upwards.

"It looks much more dangerous from here than it is in reality," said
Nigel to her in a reassuring tone.

"Das true, Massa Nadgel, das bery true," interposed Moses, endeavouring
to comfort himself as well as the others by the intense earnestness of
his manner. "De only danger, Miss Winnie, lies in your fadder losin' his
head at sitch a t'riffic height, an' dar's no fear at all ob dat, for
Massa neber loses his head--pooh! you might as well talk ob him losin'
his heart. Look! look! he git close to de hole now--he put his
foot--yes--next step--dar! he've done it!"

With the perspiration of anxiety streaming down his face the negro
relieved his feelings by a wild prolonged cheer. Nigel obtained the same
relief by means of a deep long-drawn sigh, but Winnie did not move; she
seemed to realise her father's danger better than her companions, and
remembered that the descent would be much more difficult than the
ascent. They were not kept long in suspense. In a few minutes the hermit
reappeared and began to retrace his steps--slowly but steadily--and the
watchers breathed more freely.

Moses was right; there was in reality little danger in the climb, for
the ledges which appeared to them like mere threads, and the footholds
that were almost invisible, were in reality from a foot to three feet
wide. The only danger lay in the hermit's head being unable to stand the
trial, but, as Moses had remarked, there was no fear of that.

The watchers were therefore beginning to feel somewhat relieved from
the tension of their anxiety, when a huge mass of rock was seen to slip
from the face of the cliff and descend with the thunderous roar of an
avalanche. The incident gave those in the boat a shock, for the landslip
occurred not far from the spot which Van der Kemp had reached, but as he
still stood there in apparent safety there seemed no cause for alarm
till it was observed that the climber remained quite still for a long
time and, seemed to have no intention of moving.

"God help him!" cried Nigel in sudden alarm, "the ledge has been carried
away and he cannot advance! Stay by the boat, Moses, I will run to help
him!"

"No, Massa Nadgel," returned the negro, "I go to die wid 'im. Boat kin
look arter itself."

He sprang on shore as he spoke, and dashed up the mountain-side like a
hunted hare.

Our hero looked at Winnie for an instant in hesitation.

"Go!" said the poor girl. "You know I can manage a boat--quick!"

Another moment and Nigel was following in the track of the negro. They
gained the broken ledge together, and then found that the space between
the point which they had reached and the spot on which the hermit stood
was a smooth face of perpendicular rock--an absolutely impassable gulf!

Van der Kemp was standing with his back flat against the precipice and
his feet resting on a little piece of projecting rock not more than
three inches wide. This was all that lay between him and the hideous
depth below, for Nigel found on carefully drawing nearer that the
avalanche had been more extensive than was apparent from below, and that
the ledge beyond the hermit had been also carried away--thus cutting
off his retreat as well as his advance.

"I can make no effort to help myself," said Van der Kemp in a low but
calm voice, when our hero's foot rested on the last projecting point
that he could gain, and found that with the utmost reach of his arm he
could not get within six inches of his friend's outstretched hand.
Besides, Nigel himself stood on so narrow a ledge, and against so steep
a cliff, that he could not have acted with his wonted power even if the
hand could have been grasped. Moses stood immediately behind Nigel,
where the ledge was broader and where a shallow recess in the rock
enabled him to stand with comparative ease. The poor fellow seemed to
realise the situation more fully than his companion, for despair was
written on every feature of his expressive face.

"What is to be done?" said Nigel, looking back.

"De boat-rope," suggested the negro.

"Useless," said Van der Kemp, in a voice as calm and steady as if he
were in perfect safety, though the unusual pallor of his grave
countenance showed that he was fully alive to the terrible situation. "I
am resting on little more than my heels, and the strain is almost too
much for me even now. I could not hold on till you went to the boat and
returned. No, it seems to be God's will--and," added he humbly, "His
will be done."

"O God, send us help!" cried Nigel in an agony of feeling that he could
not master.

"If I had better foothold I might spring towards you and catch hold of
you," said the hermit, "but I cannot spring off my heels. Besides, I
doubt if you could bear my weight."

"Try, try!" cried Nigel, eagerly extending his hand. "Don't fear for my
strength--I've got plenty of it, thank God! and see, I have my right arm
wedged into a crevice so firmly that nothing could haul it out."

But Van der Kemp shook his head. "I cannot even make the attempt," he
said. "The slightest move would plunge me down. Dear boy! I know that
you and your father and Moses will care for my Winnie, and--"

"Massa!" gasped Moses, who while the hermit was speaking had been
working his body with mysterious and violent energy; "massa! couldn't
you _fall_ dis way, an' Nadgel could kitch your hand, an' I's got my
leg shoved into a hole as nuffin' 'll haul it out ob. Dere's a holler
place here. If Nadgel swings you into dat, an' I only once grab you by
de hair--you're safe!"

"It might be done--tried at least," said the hermit, looking anxiously
at his young friend.

"Try it!" cried Nigel, "I won't fail you."

It is not possible for any except those who have gone through a somewhat
similar ordeal to understand fully the test of cool courage which Van
der Kemp had to undergo on that occasion.

Shutting his eyes for a moment in silent prayer, he deliberately worked
with his shoulders upon the cliff against which he leaned until he felt
himself to be on the point of falling towards his friend, and the two
outstretched hands almost touched.

"Now, are you ready?" he asked.

"Ready," replied Nigel, while Moses wound both his powerful arms round
his comrade's waist and held on.

Another moment and the hands clasped, Nigel uttered an irrepressible
shout as the hermit swung off, and, coming round with great violence to
the spot where the negro had fixed himself, just succeeded in catching
the edge of the cliff with his free hand.

"Let go, Nigel," he shouted;--"safe!"

The poor youth was only too glad to obey, for the tremendous pull had
wrenched his arm out of the crevice in which he had fixed it, and for a
moment he swayed helplessly over the awful abyss.

"Don't let me go, Moses!" he yelled, as he made a frantic but futile
effort to regain his hold,--for he felt that the negro had loosened one
of his arms though the other was still round him like a hoop of iron.

"No fear, Nadgel," said Moses, "I's got you tight--only don' wriggle.
Now, massa, up you come."

Moses had grasped his master's hair with a grip: that well-nigh scalped
him, and he held on until the hermit had got a secure hold of the ledge
with both hands. Then he let the hair go, for he knew that to an athlete
like his master the raising himself by his arms on to the ledge would be
the Work of a few seconds. Van der Kemp was thus able to assist in
rescuing Nigel from his position of danger.

But the expressions of heartfelt thankfulness for this deliverance which
naturally broke from them were abruptly checked when it was found that
Moses could by no means extract his leg out of the hole into which he
had thrust it, and that he was suffering great pain.

After some time, and a good deal of violent wrenching, during which our
sable hero mingled a few groans in strange fashion with his
congratulations, he was got free, and then it was found that the strain
had been too much for even his powerful bones and sinews, for the leg
was broken.

"My poor fellow!" murmured Van der Kemp, as he went down on his knees to
examine the limb.

"Don' care a buttin for dat, massa. You're safe, an' Nadgel's safe--an'
it only cost a broken leg! Pooh! das nuffin'!" said Moses, unable to
repress a few tears in the excess of his joy and pain!

With considerable difficulty they carried the poor negro down to the
boat, where they found Winnie, as might be supposed, in a half-fainting
condition from the strain of prolonged anxiety and terror to which she
had been subjected; but the necessity of attending to the case of the
injured Moses was an antidote which speedily restored her.

Do you think, good reader, that Nigel and Winnie had much difficulty in
coming to an understanding after that, or that the hermit was disposed
to throw any obstacles in the way of true love? If you do, let us assure
you that you are mistaken. Surely this is information enough for any
intelligent reader.

Still, it may be interesting to add, difficulties did not all at once
disappear. The perplexities that had already assailed Nigel more than
once assailed him again--perplexities about a negro man-servant, and a
household monkey, and a hermit father-in-law, and a small income--to
say nothing of a disconsolate mother-poetess in England and a father
roving on the high seas! How to overcome these difficulties gave him
much thought and trouble; but they were overcome at last. That which
seemed impossible to man proved to be child's-play in the hands of
woman. Winnie solved the difficulty by suggesting that they should all
return to the Cocos-Keeling Islands and dwell together there for
evermore!

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us drop in on them, good reader, at a later period, have a look at
them, and bid them all good-bye.

On a green knoll by the margin of the lagoon stands a beautiful cottage
with a garden around it, and a pleasure-boat resting on the white coral
sand in front. From the windows of that cottage there is a most
magnificent view of the lagoon with its numerous islets and its
picturesque palm-trees. Within that cottage dwell Nigel and Winnie, and
a brown-eyed, brown-haired, fair-skinned baby girl who is "the most
extraordinary angel that ever was born." It has a nurse of its own, but
is chiefly waited on and attended to by an antique poetess, who dwells
in another cottage, a stone's-cast off, on the same green knoll. There
she inspires an ancient mariner with poetical sentiments--not your
up-in-the-clouds, reef-point-pattering nonsense, observe; but the real
genuine article, superior to "that other fellow's," you know--when not
actively engaged with _the_ baby.

The first cottage is named Rakata, in honour of our hermit, who is one
of its inhabitants. The second is named Krakatoa by its eccentric owner,
Captain Roy.

It must not be imagined, however, that our friends have settled down
there to spend their lives in idleness. By no means. This probably would
not be permitted by the "King of the Cocos Islands" even if they wished
to do so. But they do not wish that. There is no such condition as
idleness in the lives of good men and women.

Nigel has taken to general superintendence of the flourishing community
in the midst of which he has cast his lot. He may be almost regarded as
the prime minister of the islands, in addition to which he has started
an extensive boat-building business and a considerable trade in
cocoa-nuts, etc., with the numerous islands of the Java Sea; also a
saw-mill, and a forge, and a Sunday-school--in which last the pretty,
humble-minded Winnie lends most efficient aid. Indeed it is said that
she is the chief manager as well as the life and soul of that business,
though Nigel gets all the credit.

Captain Roy sometimes sails his son's vessels, and sometimes looks
after the secular education of the Sunday-school children--the said
education being conducted on the principle of unlimited story-telling
with illimitable play of fancy. But his occupations are
irregular--undertaken by fits and starts, and never to be counted on.
His evenings he usually devotes to poetry and pipes--for the captain is
obstinate, and sticks--like most of us--to his failings as well as his
fancies.

There is a certain eccentric individual with an enthusiastic temperament
and blue binoculars who pays frequent and prolonged visits to the
Keeling Islands. It need scarcely be said that his name is Verkimier.
There is no accounting for the tastes of human beings. Notwithstanding
all his escapes and experiences, that indomitable man of science still
ranges, like a mad philosopher, far and wide over the archipelago in
pursuit of "booterflies ant ozer specimens of zee insect vorld." It is
observed, however, even by the most obtuse among his friends, that
whereas in former times the professor's nights were centrifugal they
have now become centripetal--the Keeling Islands being the great centre
towards which he flies. Verkimier is, and probably will always be, a
subject of wonder and of profound speculation to the youthful
inhabitants of the islands. They don't understand him and he does not
understand them. If they were insects he would take deep and
intelligent interest in them. As they are merely human beings, he
regards them with that peculiar kind of interest with which men regard
the unknown and unknowable. He is by no means indifferent to them. He is
too kindly for that. He studies them deeply, though hopelessly, and when
he enters the Sunday-school with his binoculars--which he often does, to
listen--a degree of awe settles down on the little ones which it is
impossible to evoke by the most solemn appeals to their spiritual
natures.

Nigel and Winnie have a gardener, and that gardener is black--as black
as the Ace of Spades or the King of Ashantee. He dwells in a corner of
the Rakata Cottage, but is addicted to spending much of his spare time
in the Krakatoa one. He is as strong and powerful as ever, but limps
slightly on his right leg--his "game" leg, as he styles it. He is, of
course, an _immense_ favourite with the young people--not less than with
the old. He has been known to say, with a solemnity that might tickle
the humorous and horrify the timid, that he wouldn't "hab dat game leg
made straight agin! no, not for a hundred t'ousand pounds. 'Cause why?
--it was an eber-present visible reminder dat once upon a time he had de
libes ob massa and Nadgel in his arms ahangin' on to his game leg, an'
dat, t'rough Gracious Goodness, he sabe dem bof!"

Ha! You may smile at Moses if you will, but he can return the smile
with kindly interest, for he is actuated by that grand principle which
will sooner or later transform even the scoffers of earth, and which is
embodied in the words--"Love is the fulfilling of the law."

Even the lower animals testify to this fact when the dog licks the hand
that smites it and accords instant forgiveness on the slightest
encouragement. Does not Spinkie prove it also, when, issuing at call,
from its own pagoda in the sunniest corner of the Rakata garden, it
forsakes cocoa-nuts, sugar-cane, fruits, and other delights, to lay its
little head in joyful consecration on the black bosom of its benignant
friend?

And what of Moses' opinion of the new home? It may be shortly expressed
in his own words-"It's heaben upon eart', an' de most happiest time as
eber occurred to me was dat time when Sunda Straits went into cumbusti'n
an' Krakatoa was Blown to Bits."

THE END

Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to Her Majesty, _at the
Edinburgh University Press_.

       *       *       *       *       *



+ADVERTISEMENTS+



BY MR. R.M. BALLANTYNE.

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. each.

       *       *       *       *       *

'The fathers, mothers, guardians, uncles, and aunts who wish to find an
acceptable birthday present for a healthy-minded boy of normal tastes,
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on the title-page.'--_Academy_.

       *       *       *       *       *

+The Hot Swamp+: A Romance of Old Albion.

+The Buffalo Runners+: A Tale of the Red River Plains.

+Charlie to the Rescue+: A Tale of the Sea and the Rockies.

+Blown to Bits+; or, The Lonely Man of Rakata: A Tale of the Malay
Archipelago.

+Blue Lights+; or, Hot Work in the Soudan. A Tale of Soldier Life.

+The Fugitives+; or, The Tyrant Queen of Madagascar.

+Red Rooney+; or, The Last of the Crew.

+The Rover of the Andes+: A Tale of Adventure in South America.

+The Young Trawler+: A Story of Life, Death, and Rescue in the North
Sea.

+Dusty Diamonds, Cut and Polished+: A Tale of City Arab Life.

+The Battery and the Boiler+; or, Adventures of a Telegraph-Cable Layer.

+The Giant of the North+; or, Pokings Round the Pole.

+The Lonely Island+; or, The Refuge of the Mutineers.

+Post Haste+: A Tale of Her Majesty's Mails.

+In the Track of the Troops+: A Tale of Modern War.

+The Settler and the Savage+: A Tale of Peace and War in South Africa.

+Under the Waves+; or, Diving in Deep Waters.

+The Lifeboat+: A Tale of our Coast Heroes.

+The Golden Dream+: A Tale of the Diggings.

+The Red Eric+; or, The Whaler's Last Cruise.

+Freaks on the Fells+, and +Why I+ did not Become a Sailor.

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+Gascoyne, the Sandalwood+ Trader: A Tale of the Pacific.

+Rivers of Ice+: A Tale Illustrative of Alpine Adventure and Glacier
Action.

+The Pirate City+: An Algerine Tale.

+Black Ivory+: A Tale of Adventure among the Slavers of East Africa.

+The Norsemen in the West+; or, America before Columbus.

+The Iron Horse+; or, Life on the Line. A Railway Tale.

+Erling the Bold+: A Tale of the Norse Sea Kings.

+Fighting the Flames+: A Tale of the London Fire Brigade.

+Deep Down+: A Tale of the Cornish Mines.

+The Floating Light of the Goodwin Sands+.

+Shifting Winds+: A Tough Yarn.

+The Lighthouse+: Being the Story of a Great Fight between Man and the
Sea.

+The Big Otter+: A Tale of the Far Nor'West.

Extra Crown 8vo, 5s.

+The Walrus Hunters+: A Romance of the Realms of Ice.



BY MR. R.M. BALLANTYNE.

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. each.

HUNTED AND HARRIED.

A COXSWAIN'S BRIDE;
Or, THE RISING TIDE. AND OTHER TALES.

THE GARRET AND THE GARDEN;
Or, Low LIFE HIGH UP. AND JEFF BENSON; or, THE YOUNG COASTGUARDSMAN.

THE CREW OF THE WATER-WAGTAIL.
A STORY OF NEWFOUNDLAND.

THE MIDDY AND THE MOORS:
AN ALGERINE TALE.

THE PRAIRIE CHIEF.

LIFE IN THE RED BRIGADE:
A FIERY TALE. AND FORT DESOLATION; or, SOLITUDE IN THE WILDERNESS.

THE ISLAND QUEEN;
Or, DETHRONED BY FIRE AND WATER. A TALE OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.

TWICE BOUGHT:
A TALE OF THE OREGON GOLD-FIELDS.

THE MADMAN AND THE PIRATE.

MY DOGGIE AND I.

PHILOSOPHER JACK:
A TALE OF THE SOUTHERN SEAS.

THE RED MAN'S REVENGE.

SIX MONTHS AT THE CAPE.

LETTERS TO PERIWINKLE FROM SOUTH AFRICA. A RECORD OF PERSONAL
EXPERIENCE AND ADVENTURE.

BATTLES WITH THE SEA;
Or, HEROES OF THE LIFEBOAT AND THE ROCKET.

Price 3s. 6d. each.

TALES OF ADVENTURE BY FLOOD, FIELD, AND MOUNTAIN.

TALES OF ADVENTURE;
Or, WILD WORK IN STRANGE PLACES.

TALES OF ADVENTURE ON THE COAST.

With numerous Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s.

THE KITTEN PILGRIMS;
Or, GREAT BATTLES AND GRAND VICTORIES.

LONDON: JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.



JAMES NISBET & CO.'S

SELECT LIST OF BOOKS

SUITABLE FOR

PRESENTS AND PRIZES,

BY

WELL-KNOWN AND POPULAR WRITERS.

Profusely Illustrated and handsomely Bound in Cloth.

_A Complete List will be forwarded post free on application to the
Publishers_.



WORKS by Mrs. MARSHALL.

"Readers who value culture and refinement, but, above all, seek for
truth and unction, will recommend her tales, especially for young
ladies."-_Churchman_.

With numerous Illustrations.

+Price Five Shillings each. Extra Crown 8vo.+

THE CLOSE OF ST. CHRISTOPHER'S.

NEW RELATIONS. A Story for Girls.

THOSE THREE; OR, LITTLE WINGS.

EASTWARD HO! A Story for Girls.

LAUREL CROWNS; OR, GRISELDA'S AIM.

HOUSES ON WHEELS. A Story for Children.

+Price Three Shillings and Sixpence each. Crown 8vo.+

IN THE PURPLE.

DAPHNE'S DECISION; OR, WHICH SHALL IT BE?

THE ROSES OF RINGWOOD. A Story for Children.

CASSANDRA'S CASKET.

SILVER CHIMES; OR, OLIVE.

STORIES OF THE CATHEDRAL CITIES OF ENGLAND.

POPPIES AND PANSIES.

REX AND REGINA; OR, THE SONG OF THE RIVER.

DEWDROPS AND DIAMONDS.

HEATHER AND HAREBELL.

MISTRESS MATCHETT'S MISTAKE. A very old Story.

SIR VALENTINE'S VICTORY, AND OTHER STORIES.

OUR OWN PICTURE BOOK. 151 Illustrations. Small 4to.

+Price Two Shillings and Sixpence each.+

DULCIBEL'S DAY-DREAMS; OR, THE GRAND, SWEET SONG. With Illustrations.
Crown 8vo.

PICTURES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE LORD'S PRAYER. With Appropriate Stories for
Children. Medium 4to.

THE LIFE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR VERY YOUNG CHILDREN. 12
Illustrations. Medium 4to.



Mrs. MARSHALL'S WORKS--continued.

+Price Two Shillings each.+

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.

OLIVER'S OLD PICTURES; OR, THE MAGIC CIRCLE.

RUBY AND PEARL; OR, THE CHILDREN AT CASTLE AYLMER. A Story for Little
Girls.

+Price One Shilling and Sixpence each.+

With Illustrations. Small Crown 8vo.

NATURE'S GENTLEMAN.

THE BRIDE'S HOME.

MY LADY BOUNTIFUL.

STELLAFONT ABBEY; OR, NOTHING NEW.

GOLDEN SILENCE.

WHEN I WAS YOUNG.

MATTHEW FROST, CARRIER; OR, LITTLE SNOWDROP'S MISSION.

MICHAEL'S TREASURES; OR, CHOICE SILVER.

MY GRANDMOTHER'S PICTURES.

MARJORY; OR, THE GIFT OF PEACE.

GRACE BUXTON; OR, THE LIGHT OF HOME.

THREE LITTLE BROTHERS.

THREE LITTLE SISTERS.

THE BIRTH OF A CENTURY; OR, EIGHTY YEARS AGO.

THE STORY OF JOHN MARBECK: A Windsor Organist of 300 Years Ago. His Work
and His Reward.

+Price One Shilling each.+

HEATHERCLIFFE; OR, IT'S NO CONCERN OF MINE.

DAISY BRIGHT.

THE LITTLE PEAT-CUTTERS; OR, THE SONG OF LOVE.

PRIMROSE; OR, THE BELLS OF OLD EFFINGHAM.

TO-DAY AND YESTERDAY:
A STORY OF SUMMER AND WINTER HOLIDAYS.

BETWEEN THE CLIFFS; OR, HAL FORESTER'S ANCHOR.

A VIOLET IN THE SHADE.

LIGHT ON THE LILY; OR, A FLOWER'S MESSAGE.

A ROSE WITHOUT A THORN.

A CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK.



+By R.M. BALLANTYNE.
With Illustrations. Extra Crown 8vo. 5s.+

"The fathers, mothers, guardians, uncles, and aunts who wish to find an
acceptable present for a healthy-minded boy cannot possibly go wrong if
they buy a book with Mr. Ballantyne's name on the
title-page."--_Academy_.

THE WALRUS HUNTERS: A Tale of Esquimaux Land.

+Crown 8vo. With Illustrations. 3s. 6d. each.+

THE HOT SWAMP: A Romance of Old Albion.

THE BUFFALO RUNNERS: A Tale of the Red River Plains.

CHARLIE TO THE RESCUE! A Tale of the Sea and the Rockies.

BLOWN TO BITS; or, The Lonely Man of Rakata. A Tale of the Malay
Archipelago.

BLUE LIGHTS; or, Hot Work in the Soudan.

THE FUGITIVES; or, The Tyrant Queen of Madagascar.

RED ROONEY; or, The Last of the Crew.

THE ROVER OF THE ANDES: A Tale of Adventure in South America.

THE YOUNG TRAWLER: A Story of Life and Death and Rescue in the North
Sea.

DUSTY DIAMONDS, CUT AND POLISHED: A Tale of Arab City Life.

THE BATTERY AND THE BOILER; or, Adventures in the Laying of Submarine
Electric Cables.

THE GIANT OF THE NORTH; or, Pokings Round the Pole.

THE LONELY ISLAND; or, The Refuge of the Mutineers.

POST HASTE: A Tale of Her Majesty's Mails.

IN THE TRACK OF THE TROOPS: A Tale of Modern War.

THE SETTLER AND THE SAVAGE: A Tale of Peace and War in South Africa.

UNDER THE WAVES; or, Diving in Deep Waters.

RIVERS OF ICE: A Tale Illustrative of Alpine Adventure and Glacier
Action.

THE PIRATE CITY: An Algerine Tale.

BLACK IVORY: A Tale of Adventure among the Slavers of East Africa.

THE NORSEMEN IN THE WEST; or, America before Columbus.

THE IRON HORSE; or, Life on the Line.

THE FLOATING LIGHT OF THE GOODWIN SANDS.

ERLING THE BOLD: A Tale of the Norse Sea-Kings.



Mr. R.M. BALLANTYNE'S BOOKS--continued.

THE GOLDEN DREAM: A Tale of the Diggings.

DEEP DOWN: A Tale of the Cornish Mines.

FIGHTING THE FLAMES: A Tale of the London Fire-Brigade.

SHIFTING WINDS: A Tough Yarn.

THE LIGHTHOUSE; or, The Story of a Great Fight between Man and the Sea.

THE LIFEBOAT: A Tale of our Coast Heroes.

GASCOYNE, THE SANDALWOOD TRADER.

THE WILD MAN OF THE WEST: A Tale of the Rocky Mountains.

THE RED ERIC; or, The Whaler's Last Cruise.

FREAKS ON THE FELLS: and Why I did not become a Sailor?

       *       *       *       *       *

+With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. each.+

HUNTED AND HARRIED.

A COXSWAIN'S BRIDE; or, The Rising Tide. And other Tales.

THE GARRET AND THE GARDEN; or, Low Life High Up: and

JEFF BENSON; or, The Young Coastguardsman.

THE CREW OF THE WATER-WAGTAIL.

THE MIDDY AND THE MOORS.

LIFE IN THE RED BRIGADE. A Fiery Tale.

THE PRAIRIE CHIEF. A Tale.

THE ISLAND QUEEN; or, Dethroned by Fire and Water.

THE MADMAN AND THE PIRATE.

TWICE BOUGHT: A Tale of the Oregon Gold Fields.

MY DOGGIE AND I.

THE RED MAN'S REVENGE.

PHILOSOPHER JACK: A Tale of the Southern Seas.

SIX MONTHS AT THE CAPE.

BATTLES WITH THE SEA; or, Heroes of the Lifeboat and the Rocket. Crown
8vo. 2s. 6d.

THE KITTEN PILGRIMS; or, Great Battles and Grand Victories. Crown 8vo.
2s.

+Price 3s. 6d. each.+

TALES OF ADVENTURE BY FLOOD, FIELD, AND MOUNTAIN.

TALES OF ADVENTURE; or, Wild Work in Strange Places.

TALES OF ADVENTURE ON THE COAST.



+MR. R.M. BALLANTYNE'S

MISCELLANY of ENTERTAINING and

INSTRUCTIVE TALES+.

+With Illustrations. 1s. each+.

_Also in a Handsome Cloth Case, Price 20s_.


The "Athenæum" says:--"There is no more practical way of communicating
elementary information than that which has been adopted in this series.
When we see contained in 124 small pages (as in _Fast in the Ice_) such
information as a man of fair education should possess about icebergs,
northern lights, Esquimaux, musk-oxen, bears, walruses, &c., together
with all the ordinary incidents of an Arctic voyage woven into a clear
connected narrative, we must admit that a good work has been done, and
that the author deserves the gratitude of those for whom the books are
especially designed, and also of young people of all classes."

I.

FIGHTING THE WHALES; or, Doings and Dangers on a Fishing Cruise.

II.

AWAY IN THE WILDERNESS; or, Life among the Red Indians and Fur Traders
of North America.

III.

FAST IN THE ICE; or, Adventures In the Polar Regions.

IV.

CHASING THE SUN; or, Rambles in Norway.

V.

SUNK AT SEA; or, The Adventures of Wandering Will in the Pacific.

VI.

LOST IN THE FOREST; or, Wandering Will's Adventures in South America.



MR. R.M. BALLANTYNE'S MISCELLANY--continued.

VII.

OVER THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS; or, Wandering Will in the Land of the Red
Skin.

VIII.

SAVED BY THE LIFEBOAT; or, A Tale of Wreck and Rescue on the Coast.

IX.

THE CANNIBAL ISLANDS; or, Captain Cook's Adventures in the South Seas.

X. HUNTING THE LIONS; or, The Land of the Negro.

XI. DIGGING FOR GOLD; or, Adventures in California.

XII.

UP IN THE CLOUDS; or, Balloon Voyages.

XIII.

THE BATTLE AND THE BREEZE; or, The Fights and Fancies of a British Tar.

XIV.

THE PIONEERS: A Tale of the Western Wilderness.

XV. THE STORY OF THE ROCK.

XVI.

WRECKED, BUT NOT RUINED.

XVII.

THE THOROGOOD FAMILY.

XVIII.

THE LIVELY POLL: A Tale of the North Sea.



+By AGNES GIBERNE+.


"Tales that bear Miss Giberne's name are 'the best of the best.' No
writer excels her in this department of literature."--_Fireside News_.

"That the story is Miss Giberne's guarantees refinement and Christian
principle."--_Churchman_.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE ANDERSONS. Illustrated. Extra crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.


THE DALRYMPLES. With Illustrations. Third Edition. Crown
8vo. 3s. 6d.

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.


"LEAST SAID, SOONEST MENDED." 3s. 6d.

"A simple tale, well told."--_Guardian_.

"To say that it is by Miss Giberne is at once to recommend the story
highly to girls."--_Quiver_.

"A well written and most interesting tale."--_Glasgow Herald_.

"A well written story. The moral is conveyed in a most interesting way,
and as a mere tale it will well repay perusal."--_Church Review_.


NUMBER THREE WINIFRED PLACE. 3s. 6d.

"A delightful story, and, we need hardly add--being Miss Giberne's--is
full of the highest and most profitable religious teaching."--_Record_.

"A well constructed, thoroughly healthy tale."--_Aberdeen Free Press_.

"Miss Giberne's book is for gentler readers. It appeals very delicately
to their softer sympathies, and introduces them to one young girl at
least who may serve as a model or ideal to them. It is written in a
pleasing sympathetic style."--_Scotsman_.

"The plot of the story is as ingenious as the treatment is effective,
and it is told with great skill."--_Yorkshire Post_.


READY, AYE READY! 2s. 6d.

"A thoroughly good and deeply interesting story."--_Newcastle
Chronicle_.

"A charming story, which displays all this well-known writer's knowledge
of girls and their habits of mind."--_Scotsman_.


MISS CON; or, All Those Girls. 5s.

"Constance Conway is a charming heroine. Her diary is an admirable
collection of character sketches."_--Athenæum_.



AGNES GIBERNE'S WORKS--continued

ENID'S SILVER BOND. 5s.

"Enid's nature is essentially heroic.... The other characters are
cleverly sketched."--_Times_.

FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS. 2s.

"Youthful readers have reason to thank Miss Giberne for having written
this capital story."--_John Bull_.

ST. AUSTIN'S LODGE; or, Mr. Berkeley and his Nieces. 5s.

"A very good example of the author's well-known style. It is carefully
written, and is in all respects a conscientious
performance."--_Academy_.

BERYL AND PEARL. 5s.

"Characterised by unflagging vivacity and great dramatic
power."-_Christian Leader_.

"One of Miss Giberne's most delightful tales."--_Record_.

DECIMA'S PROMISE. 3s. 6d.

"One of the best and soundest books we have seen."--_Public Opinion_.

"The result of a disaster, Decima's distress, and the behaviour of the
parents, are touchingly told, and the whole case of conscience is
admirably, managed."--_Guardian_.

DAISY OF OLD MEADOW. 2s.

"There are few boys or girls to whom this story will not prove
interesting reading."--_Court Circular_.

KATHLEEN. 5s.

"Worthy of high praise, thoroughly good and very interesting."--_Church
Bells_.

"A fascinating tale."--_Record_.

OLD UMBRELLAS; or, Clarrie and her Mother. 2s.

"The book is bright and lively, and will be read with pleasure and
profit."--_Christian_.

MILES MURCHISON. Illustrated. Small crown 8vo. 1s. 6d.



By Dr. MACAULAY.

STRANGE YET TRUE. With many Illustrations. Extra crown 8vo. 5s.

       *       *       *       *       *

By S.M.S. CLARKE (Mrs. Pereira).

BARON AND SQUIRE. A Story of the Thirty Years' War. From the German of
N. NOELDECHEN. With Sixteen Illustrations. Extra crown 8vo. 5s.

THE DUKE'S PAGE; or, "In the Days of Luther." A Story for Boys. From the
German. Sixteen Illustrations. Extra crown 8vo. 5s.

"A spirited and attractive narrative."--_Literary Churchman_.

"A capital story for boys."--_Guardian_.

"This is one of the most fascinating historical tales we have ever
read."--_British Weekly_.

"Throughout incident succeeds incident, and the interest never flags
until the end is reached."--_Public Opinion_.

"A very good story.... Of sterling value."--_Spectator_.

THE TRIVIAL ROUND; or, Chapters of Village Life. With Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

"A book that will interest and refresh dwellers in cities with this
glimpse of a life in many respects different from their
own."--_Academy_.

"These scenes from village life will be a source of pleasure to very
many readers. The story is ably worked out and pleasantly told."--_John
Bull_.

       *       *       *       *       *

By Rev. J. REID HOWATT.

THE CHILDREN'S PEW. Extra crown 8vo. 6s.

THE CHILDREN'S PULPIT. A Year's Sermons and Parables for the Young.
Extra crown 8vo. 6s.

"The subjects are well selected; the style is always simple and
forcible; and the lessons which the preacher desires to impress upon the
mind are such as every youthful reader may appreciate. The sermons have
another merit--that of brevity."--_Scotsman_.

"Simple, suggestive, and singularly happy in illustration and
treatment."--_Word and Work_. ^

THE CHILDREN'S ANGEL. A Volume of Sermons to Children. Crown 8vo. 2s.
6d.

"Fifty-three brief addresses to children. Direct, as such things should
be; clear, as they must always be; and interesting, as, if any good is
to be done, they are bound to be--they contain a collection of truths
which children ought to be taught, and the teacher is always bright and
clear, which is saying a great deal."--_Church Bells_.

"These sermonettes are eminently practical, while their homely style and
freedom from cant are delightful."--_Christian Commonwealth_.



By Lady KENNETT-BARRINGTON.

BIBLE HISTORY FOR CHILDREN. With a Short History of Christianity after
the Days of the Apostles. With Illustrations. Small crown 8vo. 1s. 6d.

"This book is eminently adapted for children's capabilities, and has the
great advantage of keeping as nearly as possible to Bible language. It
is an excellent little book."--_Christian Commonwealth_.

"A little work that will commend itself to all who have to do with the
religious training of the young."--_Church Bells_.

"The work is well and carefully done, the main current of the Bible
story being rendered with point and brevity in the very spirit of the
Scriptures."--_School Board Chronicle_.


By WILLIAM CHARLES METCALFE.

STEADY YOUR HELM; or, Stowed Away. With Six Illustrations. Extra crown
8vo. 5s.

ABOVEBOARD. A Tale of Adventure on the Sea. With Six Illustrations.
Extra crown 8vo. 5s.

"This is a delightfully exciting tale of the adventures of two sailor
lads, with icebergs, pirates, and similar horrors of the sea. Its chief
defect is that it leaves off too soon, even at the end of more than 300
pages."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

"This story of a cruise is about as full of adventures as it can well
be. There is plenty of 'go' in the narrative, and the incidents succeed
each other with a very plausible probability."--_Spectator_.

"It is a long time since we have read anything racier, breezier, more
healthful and invigorating than Mr. Metcalfe's fine sea
story."--_Methodist Recorder._

FRANK WEATHERALL; or, Life in the Merchant Marine. A Sea Story for
Youth. Illustrated. Small crown 8vo. 2s.


By Mrs. SAXBY.

TOM AND HIS CROWS. Illustrated. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

VIKING BOYS. With Four Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

"Wholesome and manly in tone, the book is thoroughly fresh and natural."
--_Morning Post_.

"We prophesy that the tale of the Viking boys and their wild deeds will
become as popular as 'The Lads of Lunda,' and all the other stories with
which Mrs. Saxby has delighted us."--_Athenæum_.

THE LADS OF LUNDA. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

"A perfect book for boys--generous, wholesome, manly in tone, and withal
thoroughly young, fresh, and natural. We recommend the book heartily,
not only to all boys, but to everybody who knows and likes brave
boys."-_Guardian_.

"A capital book. The tales are full of fun and pathos."--_Athenæum_.

THE YARL'S YACHT. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

"'The Yarl's Yacht' is even superior in interest to its
predecessor."-_Standard_.

"Mrs. Saxby knows young people as few know them, and they will in return
thoroughly appreciate her. As long as she writes such genuine,
refreshing, happy family stories for them, they certainly will be most
fortunate."--_Spectator_.

"'The Yarl's Yacht' is a delightful sequel to the 'Lads of
Lunda.'"--_Times_.

THE HOME OF A NATURALIST. By JESSIE M.E. SAXBY and the Rev. BIOT
EDMONSTON. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

"We would fain linger long over the scenes which this excellent volume
brings up before us. The authors have put together a very refreshing set
of memories."--_Saturday Review_.

       *       *       *       *       *

By EVA TRAVERS EVERED POOLE. LOTTA'S LIFE MISTAKE. With Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. 1s.

GOLDEN LINKS IN A LIFE CHAIN. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

"GOOD-NIGHT" THOUGHTS ABOUT GOD; or, Evening Readings for the Young.
Small crown 8vo. 1s. 6d.

       *       *       *       *       *

By BARLEY DALE.

A TALE OF OUGHTS AND CROSSES; or, Mr. Holland's Conquest. With
Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

SPOILT GUY. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 1s. 6d. "A pretty tale, and
contains excellent religious teaching."--_Church, Sunday-School
Magazine._

CISSY'S TROUBLES. With Illustrations. Small crown 8vo. 1s. 6d.

"A very charming story."--_Yorkshire Post_.

"The book will be a favourite with young people, especially with our
girls."--_Family Churchman_.

LITTLE BRICKS. With Illustrations. Small crown 8vo. 1s. 6d. "The story
is fascinating from the interest which is excited and maintained It is
written with power and insight."--_Courant_.



By ELLEN L. DAVIS.

HIGH AND LOWLY: A Story of Hearts and Homes. With Illustrations. Crown
8vo. 1s. 6d.

YOKED TOGETHER: A Tale of Three Sisters. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.
2s.

"A quiet domestic story of deep interest-, with several striking
situations, described with considerable power."--_Leeds Mercury_.

A BOY'S WILL. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 1s. 6d.

"The book is full of life and character, and would be a fitting gift
alike to the Sunday-school teacher and the scholar."--_British
Messenger_.


By the Rev. GEORGE EVERARD, M.A.

YOUR SUNDAYS: Fifty-Two Short Readings. Especially intended for
Schoolboys. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

"YOUR INNINGS:" A Book for Schoolboys. Sixth Thousand. Crown 8vo. 1s.
6d.

EDIE'S LETTER; or, Talks with the Little Folks. 4to. 2s. 6d.


By Miss HAVERGAL.

STREAMLETS OF SONG FOR THE YOUNG. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

MORNING BELLS. Being Waking Thoughts for the Little Ones. Royal 32mo,
9d.; paper cover, 6d.

LITTLE PILLOWS. Being Good Night Thoughts for the Little Ones. 32mo,
9d.; paper cover, 6d.

MORNING STARS; or, Names of Christ for His Little Ones. 32mo. 9d.

THE FOUR HAPPY DAYS. 16mo. 1s.

BEN BRIGHTBOOTS, and Other True Stories. Crown 8vo. 1s.

BRUEY. A Little Worker for Christ. Crown 8vo. 1s. 6d.; paper cover, 1s.


MEMORIALS OF LITTLE NONY. A Biography of Nony Heywood, who was the First
Collector for the Bruey Branch of the Irish Society. By her Mother. With
Preface by Miss HAVERGAL, and a Portrait. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.



By the Rev. J.B. MACDUFF, D.D.

PARABLES OF THE LAKE; or, The Seven Stories of Jesus by the Lake of
Galilee. A Sunday Book for Young Readers. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.
3s. 6d.

THE STORY OF A SHELL. A Romance of the Sea: with some Sea Teachings. A
Book for Boys and Girls. With Coloured Frontispiece and Other
Illustrations. Small 4to. 6s. Cheaper Edition, paper cover, 1s.; limp
cloth, 2s.

THE STORY OF BETHLEHEM. A Book for Children. With Illustrations by
THOMAS. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

HOSANNAS OF THE CHILDREN. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 5s.

THE WOODCUTTER OF LEBANON. A Story Illustrative of a Jewish Institution.
16mo. 2s.

TALES OF THE WARRIOR JUDGES. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. 6d.

THE CITIES OF REFUGE; or, The Name of Jesus. A Sunday Book for the
Young. 16mo. 1s. 6d.

FERGUS MORTON. A Tale of a Scottish Boy. 18mo. 9d.

THE EXILES OF LUCERNA; or, The Sufferings of the Waldenses during the
Persecution of 1686. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. PAUL. Being a Life of the Apostle designed for
Youth. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 5s.

BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN; or, Christ the Light of the World. A Life of Our
Lord for the Young. With Illustrations by A. ROWAN. Post 4to. 3s. 6d.;
in paper cover, 1s.; limp cloth, 2s.

WILLOWS BY THE WATERCOURSES; or, God's Promises to the Young. 64mo. 6d.;
paper cover, 3d.



By Rev. J. JACKSON WRAY.

OLD CRUSTY'S NIECE. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

WILL IT LIFT? A Story of a London Fog. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.
3s. 6d.

JACK HORNER THE SECOND. With Illustrations. Cr. 8vo. 2s;

SIMON HOLMES, THE CARPENTER IF ASPENDALE. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.
3s. 6d.

THE SECRET OF THE MERE; or, Under the Surface. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

GARTON ROWLEY; or, Leaves from the Log of a Master Mariner. With
Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

HONEST JOHN STALLIBRASS. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

THE CHRONICLES OF CAPSTAN CABIN. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

MATTHEW MELLOWDEW. With Frontispiece. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

NESTLETON MAGNA. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

PETER PENGELLY. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 1s. 6d.

PAUL MEGGITT'S DELUSION. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

A MAN EVERY INCH OF HIM. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

_THE "KNAPSACK" SERIES_.

With Frontispiece. Small crown 8vo. 1s. each.

1. THE MAN WITH THE KNAPSACK; or, The Miller o Burnham Lee.

2. WIDOW WINPENNY'S WATCHWORD.

3. PRIMROSE GARTH.

4. "A SONG O' SIXPENCE" FOR THE BAIRNS.

5. GEOFFREY HALLAM; or, The Clerk of the Parish.



By Mrs. BARBOUR.

THE WAY HOME, AND HOW THE CHILDREN REACHED IT BY A RAILWAY ACCIDENT.
With Illustrations. Eighteenth Thousand. 16mo. 1s. 6d. limp; 2s. 6d.
boards.

THE IRISH ORPHAN IN A SCOTTISH HOME. A Sequel to "The Way Home." 16mo.
1s. limp; 2s. 6d. boards.

THE CHILD OF THE KINGDOM. Twenty-second Thousand. With Illustrations.
16mo. 1s. limp; 2s. 6d. boards.

THE SOUL-GATHERER. Seventeenth Thousand. 16mo. 1s. limp; cloth gilt, 2s.
6d.

       *       *       *       *       *

By Mrs. HAYCRAFT.

SUNWOOD GLORY; or, Through the Refiner's Fire. With Four Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

       *       *       *       *       *

By ESMÉ STUART.

A BRAVE FIGHT, AND OTHER STOKIES. With Four Illustrations. Crown 8vo.
2s. 6d.

       *       *       *       *       *

By EDITH RALPH.

STEP BY STEP THROUGH THE BIBLE. Part I. A Scripture History for Little
Children. With a Preface by CUNNINGHAM GEIKIE, D.D., LL.D., and Twelve
Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

Part II. From Death of Joshua to end of the Old Testament. A Scripture
History for Little Children. Revised and recommended by CUNNINGHAM
GEIKIE, D.D., LL.D. Twelve Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.



MRS. LESTER'S GIRLS AND THEIR SERVICE. By the Author of "Miss Marston's
Girls and their Confirmation." With Frontispiece. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

"A good book for young servants, or for reading at a sewing-class
attended by young women. Its tone and teaching are all we could
wish."--_Record_..

"Its evident truthfulness and fidelity to nature make us think that it
is founded upon much experience of young girls in the working class. To
such it would, no doubt, be exceedingly interesting."--_Literary
Churchman_.

MISS MARSTON'S GIRLS AND THEIR CONFIRMATION. With Frontispiece. Crown
8vo. 1s.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the Rev. DAVID MacEWAN, D.D.

THIS YEAR. Anniversary Addresses for the Young. Second Edition. Square
16mo. 1s.

By the Rev. JAMES WELLS, M.A.

BIBLE OBJECT-LESSONS. Addresses to Children. With Illustrations. Crown
8vo. 3s. 6d.

BIBLE ECHOES: Addresses to the Young. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

THE PARABLES OF JESUS. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 5s.

BIBLE CHILDREN. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

BIBLE IMAGES. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

"Mr. Wells has in these volumes been content to restrict himself to an
endeavour to win and instruct the young. He has done this with admirable
skill, with great transparency of meaning, vividness of treatment and
nicety of discrimination, combined with a befitting freedom and an
impressive earnestness."--_Literary World_.

"Mr. Wells contrives by a studied plainness of diction, by the
simplicity and directness of his style, by his evident earnestness and
kindliness, and a wealth of illustrative anecdotes, to minimise the
difficulties which children have to encounter in grasping new and
especially abstract ideas."--_Scotsman_.



By Lady DUNBOYNE.

BREAKING OF THE CLOUDS. Crown 8vo. Illustrated. 2s.

CHARITY. A Tale. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s.

HER LIFE'S WORK. A Tale. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

"The story, which is pleasantly and touchingly told, is thoroughly
suitable for a gift-book for girls of the upper classes."--_Guardian_.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the Rev. J.H. WILSON.

THE KING'S MESSAGE. A Book for the Young. With Illustrations. Small
crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

"The union of solid teaching and fervent appeal with a cheerful outlook
on life we have seldom, if ever, seen more happily exemplified. Dr.
Wilson's book is as winsome as it is wise, thoroughly human in its
spirit and robust in its tone and teaching."--_Christian Leader_.

"No better book than this very thoughtful, clearly and beautifully
written and tastefully illustrated volume, could be put into the hands
of the young."--_Aberdeen Free Press_.


THE GOSPEL AND ITS FRUITS. A Book for the Young. With Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

"Exceedingly plain, practical, and pointed, full of striking and
ingenious illustrations."--_Aberdeen Journal_.


OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN: The Lord's Prayer Familiarly Explained and
Illustrated for the Young. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

"Dr. Wilson graduated long since as a prophet of God who has a voice for
the young. His explanation of the Lord's Prayer has made him a dear
friend to many a parent as well as child."--_Presbyterian Churchman_.

"Dr. Wilson's addresses are admirable specimens of what productions of
the kind should be, pithy, pointed, and practical, and abounding in
anecdotes and illustrations."--_Congregational Review_.



By L.T. MEADE.

A LONDON BABY: The Story of King Roy. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s.

"Very touching and sad, though the end is happy."--_Athenæum_.

THE CHILDREN'S PILGRIMAGE. With Illustrations. Small Crown 8vo, 2s.;
gilt edges, 2s. 6d.

"Displays vivid conception of character, and clear, graphic description.
The story is full of incident and adventure."--_Literary Churchman_.

       *       *       *       *       *

By Mrs. WINSCOM.

DEAR OLD ENGLAND. A Description of our Fatherland. Dedicated to all
English Children. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.

"English children will find much that is well worth knowing, and well
told, in this copiously illustrated volume."--_Christian World_.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the Rev. W.W. TULLOCH, B.D.

THE STORY OF THE LIFE OF THE EMPEROR WILLIAM. Told for Boys and Girls
all over the World. With Frontispiece. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.; with gilt
edges, 3s. 6d.

REVISED BY THE QUEEN.

THE STORY OF THE LIFE OF THE PRINCE CONSORT. Told for Boys and Girls.
Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.; with gilt edges, 3s. 6d.

THE STORY OF THE LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA. Told for Boys and Girls all
over the World. With Two Portraits. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.; with gilt edges,
3s. 6d.



THE "CHIMES" SERIES.

_Crown 8vo. Numerous Illustrations. 3s. 6d. each._
By Mrs. MARSHALL.

1. SILVER CHIMES; or, Olive.
2. DAPHNE'S DECISION; or, Which Shall it Be.
3. CASSANDRA'S CASKET.
4. POPPIES AND PANSIES.
5. REX AND REGINA; or, The Song of the River.
6. STORIES OF THE CATHEDRAL CITIES OF ENGLAND.
7. DEWDROPS AND DIAMONDS.
8. HEATHER AND HAREBELL.
9. THE ROSES OF RINGWOOD. A Story for Children.
10. IN THE PURPLE.

THE "LAUREL" SERIES.

_Crown 8vo. Numerous Illustrations. 2s. 6d. each_.

1. TOM AND HIS CROWS. By Mrs. SAXBY, Author of "Viking Boys," &c.

2. WATCH AND WATCH. By W.C. METCALFE, Author of "Frank Weatherall."

3. WINNING HIS LAURELS; or, The Boys of St. Raglan's. By F.M. HOLMES.

4. THAT AGGRAVATING SCHOOLGIRL. By GRACE STEBBING.

5. WHAT A MAN SOWETH. By GRACE STEBBING.

6. DULCIBEL'S DAY DREAMS; or, The Grand, Sweet Song. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

7. THE LADS OF LUNDA. By JESSIE M.E. SAXBY.

8. THE YARL'S YACHT. By JESSIE M.E. SAXBY.

9. A NEW EXODUS; or, The Exiles of the Zillerthal. A Story of the
Protestants of the Tyrol. By CATHERINE RAY.

10. GRACE MURRAY. A Story. By ELLA STONE.

11. MR. ORDE'S GRANDCHILDREN. By CECILIA SELBY LOWNDES.

12. WHERE THE DEW FALLS IN LONDON. By SARAH DOUDNEY.



THE "SUNSHINE" SERIES.

_Crown 8vo. Numerous Illustrations. 2s. each_.

1. THE BREAKING OF THE CLOUDS. By Lady DUNBOYNE, Author of "Charity,"
&c. &c.

2. THROUGH SHADOW TO SUNSHINE. By Mrs. HORNIBROOK.

3. A SUMMER IN THE LIFE OF TWO LITTLE CHILDREN. By Mrs. HOWARD.

4. OLIVER'S OLD PICTURES; or, The Magic Circle. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

5. RUBY AND PEARL; or, The Children at Castle Aylmer. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

6. LADY TEMPLE'S GRANDCHILDREN. By Miss EVERETT GREEN.

7. A LONDON BABY: The Story of King Roy. By L.T. MEADE.

8. HIDDEN HOMES; or, The Children's Discoveries. By M.A. PAULL RIPLEY.

9. AN UNWILLING WITNESS. By Miss LYSTER.

10. OUR NEIGHBOUR, WIDOW YATES. By GRACE STEBBING.

11. BIBLE PLANTS AND ANIMALS. Containing Illustrations of over 1000
Passages of Scripture from the Works of Travellers and other Sources. By
ALFRED E. KNIGHT.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE "MARBECK" SERIES.

_Crown 8vo. Numerous Illustrations. 1s. 6d. each_

1. THE STORY OF JOHN MARBECK: A Windsor Organist of 300 Years Ago. By
Mrs. MARSHALL.

2. MY GRANDMOTHER'S PICTURES. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

3. THE OLD VIOLIN; or, Charity Hope's Own Story. By EDITH C. KENYON.

4. A BOY'S WILL. By ELLEN L. DAVIS.

5. SPOILT GUY. By DARLEY DALE.

6. HIGH AND LOWLY: A Tale of Hearts and Homes. By ELLEN L. DAVIS.

7. PETER PENGELLY. By Rev. JACKSON WRAY.

8. NELLIE GRAHAM; or, The Story of a Commonplace Woman. By ELLA STONE.



THE "SWEETBRIAR" SERIES.

_A New Series of Volumes. With Illustrations. Extra crown 8vo. 3s. 6d.
each._

WORK, WAIT, WIN. By RUTH LAMB.

THE ANDERSONS. By Miss GIBERNE, Author of "The Dalrymples," &c.

SWEETBRIAR; or, Doings in Priorsthorpe Magna. By AGNES GIBERNE.

COULYING CASTLE; or, A Knight of the Olden Days. By AGNES GIBERNE.

AIMÉE: A Tale of the Days of James the Second. By AGNES GIBERNE.

LILLA THORNE'S VOYAGE; or, "That Far Remembrancer." By GRACE STEBBING.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE "ROUNDABOUT" SERIES.

_Extra crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. each._

THE RIGHT ROAD. A Manual for Parents and Teachers. By J. KRAMER.

THROUGH BIBLE LANDS. Notes of Travel in Egypt, the Desert, and
Palestine. Profusely Illustrated. By PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., and an Essay
on Egyptology and the Bible, by EDOUARD NAVILLE.

       *       *       *       *       *



BIBLE HISTORY FOR THE YOUNG.

+"THE WORD" SERIES.+

By SUSAN and ANNA WARNER, Authors of "The Wide, Wide World," "Queechy,"
&c.

_With Illustrations, Plain and Coloured. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. each_.


The aim of this Series of Volumes is so to set forth the Bible incidents
and course of history, with its train of actors, as to see them in the
circumstances and colouring, the light and shade, of their actual
existence.

The volumes embody, as far as possible, all the known facts, natural,
social, and historical, which are required for the illustration and
elucidation of the Bible narrative.

1. WALKS FROM EDEN: The Scripture Story from the Creation to the Death
of Abraham.

2. THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL: The Scripture Story from the Birth of Isaac to
the Death of Jacob.

3. THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH: The Scripture Story from the Death of Solomon
to the Captivity.

4. THE BROKEN WALLS OF JERUSALEM AND THE REBUILDING OF THEM. In
continuation of "The House of Israel" and "The Kingdom of Judah," and
completing the work.

5. THE STAR OUT OF JACOB: The Scripture Story Illustrating the Earlier
Portion of the Gospel Narrative.

"These five books form a most comprehensive and attractive commentary on
the Scriptures suited to the requirements of the young. More real
knowledge in true child language, and within the understanding of
children, it has never been our privilege to meet with before. We are
disposed to envy those young friends who are fortunate enough to number
them among their literary possessions, for although pre-eminently
children's books, they are yet well able to impart instruction to
children of a larger growth."--_Rock_.

"There is a pleasant freshness and reality conveyed to the old,
well-worn stories, which will make children understand the details of
Eastern life and the manners and customs of the old pastoral times. 'The
Word' Series will be a charming gift to young people."--_Athenæum_.

"We doubt whether any one has ever told 'the old, old story' more
attractively, for children at least, than the author of 'The Wide, Wide
World.' Whatever fame she may have won by her works of fiction will be
greatly increased by her success in writing these marvellous
stories."--_Christian World_.



THE GOLDEN LADDER SERIES.


_With Illustrations. Handsomely bound in cloth, gilt edges. Crown 8vo.
3s. 6d. each_.

"Children welcome with glee the volumes comprised in Nisbet's 'Golden
Ladder Series,' for they are full of interest, even though they are
stories with a moral, which is always a high-toned one."--_Liverpool
Courier_.

"'The Golden Ladder Series' of story-books, so much appreciated for
their excellence. They can be all safely recommended to the notice of
teachers as being especially suitable as rewards, while no school
library can be said to be complete without a selection from
them."--_Schoolmaster_.

1. THE GOLDEN LADDER: Stories Illustrative of the Beatitudes. By SUSAN
and ANNA B. WARNER.

2. THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. By SUSAN WARNER.

3. QUEECHY. By SUSAN WARNER.

4. MELBOURNE HOUSE. By SUSAN WARNER.

5. DAISY. By SUSAN WARNER.

6. DAISY IN THE FIELD. By SUSAN WARNER.

7. THE OLD HELMET. By SUSAN WARNER.

8. NETTIE'S MISSION: Stories Illustrative of the Lord's Prayer. By JULIA
MATHEWS.

9. GLEN LUNA; or, Dollars and Cents. By ANNA B. WARNER.

10. DRAYTON HALL. Stories Illustrative of the Beatitudes. By JULIA
MATHEWS.

11. WITHIN AND WITHOUT: A New England Story.

12. VINEGAR HILL STORIES: Illustrative of the Parable of the Sower. By
ANNA B. WARNER.

13. LITTLE SUNBEAMS. By JOANNA MATHEWS.

14. WHAT SHE COULD AND OPPORTUNITIES. By SUSAN WARNER.

15. TRADING AND THE HOUSE IN TOWN.

16. DARE TO DO RIGHT. By JULIA MATHEWS.



THE GOLDEN LADDER SERIES-continued.

17. HOLDEN WITH THE CORDS. By the Author of "Within and Without."

18. GIVING HONOUR: Containing "The Little Camp on Eagle Hill" and
"Willow Brook." By SUSAN WARNER.

19. GIVING SERVICE: Containing "Sceptres and Crowns" and "The Flag of
Truce." By SUSAN WARNER.

20. GIVING TRUST: Containing "Bread and Oranges" and "The Rapids of
Niagara." By SUSAN WARNER.

*** _The Tales in the last three Volumes are Illustrative of the_ LORD'S
PRAYER.

21. WYCH HAZEL. A Tale. By SUSAN and ANNA WARNER.

22. THE GOLD OF CHICKAREE. A Sequel to "Wych Hazel." By SUSAN and ANNA
B. WARNER.

23. DIANA. By SUSAN WARNER.

24. MY DESIRE. By SUSAN WARNER.

25. THE END OF A COIL. By SUSAN WARNER.

26. THE LETTER OF CREDIT. By SUSAN WARNER.

27. NOBODY. By SUSAN WARNER.

28. STEPHEN, M.D. By SUSAN WARNER.

29. A RED WALLFLOWER. By SUSAN WARNER.

30. DAISY PLAINS. By SUSAN WARNER.

31. CROSS CORNERS. By ANNA B. WARNER.

32. MISTRESS MATCHETT'S MISTAKE. By EMMA MARSHALL.

33. YOURS AND MINE. By ANNA B. WARNER.

34. ONE LITTLE VEIN OF DROSS. By Mrs. RUTH LAMB.

35. OAK BEND; or, Patience and her Schooling. By ANNA B. WARNER.

36. A CANDLE IN THE SEA; or, Winter at Seal's Head. A Book about
Lighthouses. By Rev. E.A. RAND.



THE "GOLDEN SILENCE" SERIES OF TALES.

_With Illustrations. Small Crown 8vo. Attractively bound in cloth. 1s.
6d. each_.

GOLDEN SILENCE; or, Annals of the Birkett Family of Crawford-under-Wold.
By Mrs. MARSHALL.

THE STORY OF OUR ENGLISH BIBLE AND WHAT IT COST. By Mrs. BAYLY.

STEPPING HEAVENWARD. By Mrs. PRENTISS.

WHAT KATY DID. By SUSAN COOLIDGE.

MORAG: A Tale of Highland Life. By Mrs. MILNE RAE, Author of
"Rinaultrie," "Geordy's Tryst," &c.

AUNT JANE'S HERO; or, Sorrow and Sunshine. By Mrs. PRENTISS.

MAGGIE AND BESSIE, AND THEIR WAY TO DO GOOD. By JOANNA H. MATHEWS.

BESSIE AT SCHOOL. By JOANNA H. MATHEWS.

BESSIE AND HER FRIENDS. By JOANNA H. MATHEWS.

BESSIE IN THE MOUNTAINS. By JOANNA H. MATHEWS.

BESSIE AT THE SEASIDE. By JOANNA H. MATHEWS.

BESSIE ON HER TRAVELS. By JOANNA H. MATHEWS.

THE THREE LITTLE SPADES. By ANNA B. WARNER.

WHEN I WAS YOUNG. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

THE HOME AT GREYLOCK. By Mrs. PRENTISS.

MICHAEL'S TREASURES; or, Choice Silver. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

CISSY'S TROUBLES. By DARLEY DALE.

LITTLE BRICKS. By DARLEY DALE.

EFFIE'S FRIENDS; or, Chronicles of the Woods and Shore.

MATTHEW FROST, CARRIER; or, Little Snowdrop's Mission. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

MY LADY BOUNTIFUL. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

A TALE OF TWO OLD SONGS. By Lady DUNBOYNE.

ESTHER'S JOURNAL. A Tale of Swiss Pension Life. By a RESIDENT.

THREE PATHS IN LIFE. A Tale for Girls.

STELLAFONT ABBEY; or, "Nothing New." By EMMA MARSHALL.

A SUNBEAM'S INFLUENCE; or, Eight Years After. By Lady DUNBOYNE.

SUSY'S SACRIFICE.

KENNETH FORBES.

THE CHILDREN OF BLACKBERRY HOLLOW.

THE SAFE COMPASS, AND HOW IT POINTS. By Rev. R. NEWTON, D.D.

ME. RUTHERFORD'S CHILDREN.

THERESA'S JOURNAL.

GRAN. By E.A.B.D.

PAT'S INHERITANCE. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

IN THE MIST. A Tale. By Ross PORTER.

THE OTHER HOUSE. A Tale. By MARY R. HIGHAM.

NATURE'S GENTLEMAN. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

THE BRIDE'S HOME. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

MILES MURCHISON. By Miss GIBERNE.

HOUSE IN TOWN. By the Author of "The Wide, Wide World."

TRADING. By the Author of "The Wide, Wide World." Sequel to above.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Bound in Paper Covers. 1s._

AUNT JANE'S HERO. By Mrs. PRENTISS.

STEPPING HEAVENWARD. By Mrs. PRENTISS.

WHAT KATIE DID. By SUSAN COOLIDGE.

MORAG. A Tale of Highland Life. By Mrs. MILNE RAB.



"DOLLY'S CHARGE" SERIES.

_With Illustrations. Small Crown 8vo. 1s. each._.

1. DOLLY'S CHARGE. By Miss MARSHALL.

2. THE LITTLE PEAT-CUTTERS; or, The Song of Love. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

3. PRIMROSE; or, The Bells of Old Effingham. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

4. THE BOY GUARDIAN. By C.E. BOWEN.

5. GENTLEMAN JIM. By Mrs. PRENTISS.

6. OUR LADDIE. By Miss L.J. TOMLINSON.

7. VIOLET IN THE SHADE. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

8. LIGHT ON THE LILY. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

9. A ROSE WITHOUT A THORN. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

10. ALICE'S PUPIL. By Miss M'CLINTOCK.

11. HEATHERCLIFFE; or, It's no Concern of Mine. By Mrs. MARSHALL.

12. ADVENTURES OF JOHNNY PASCOE. By G. NORWAY.

13. MISS BROWN'S BASKET. By Mrs. HENRY CHARLES.

14. LOTTA'S LIFE MISTAKE. By Mrs. EVERED POOLE.

15. THE PRINCESSES OF PENRUTH. By MARY H. DEBENHAM.

16. SEE FOR YOURSELF. By GRACE STEBBING.

17. SUNDAY OCCUPATIONS FOR CHILDREN. BY Mrs. BARCLAY.

18. PARSON'S GREEN. By G. NORWAY.

19. HELEN; or, Temper and its Consequences.

20. THE CAPTAIN'S STORY; or, The Disobedient Son.

21. CHINA AND ITS PEOPLE. By A MISSIONARY'S WIFE.

22. FRANK GORDON, by F.R. GOULDING; and LITTLE JACK, by ANNA WARNER.

23. TO-DAY AND YESTERDAY. A Story of Summer and Winter Holidays. By Mrs.
MARSHALL.

24. BOTH SIDES. By JESSIE W. SMITH.

25. STEPHEN GILMORE'S DREAM; or, Coals of Fire. By JESSIE W. SMITH.

26. JUDITH THE STRANGER. By the Hon. GERTRUDE BOSCAWEN.

27. THE GATE IN PARK LANE. By the Hon. GERTRUDE BOSCAWEN.

28. SIMPLE LESSONS FROM NATURE. By the Hon. M.C. LEIGH.

29. THE SPOILT TWINS. By EMILY DIBDIN.

30. BEN BRIGHTBOOTS, and Other True Stories. HAVERGAL.

31. SAM'S MISSION. By BEATRICE MARSHALL, Author of "Dolly's Charge," &c.

32. KATIE: A Daughter of the King.



NISBET'S JUVENILE LIBRARY.

_With Illustrations. 16mo. 1s. 6d. each_.


"Capital books, well printed, tastefully bound, and containing a good
deal of letterpress. We do not know a cheaper series at the
price."--_Sunday School Chronicle_.

LILIES OF THE VALLEY.

HERBERT PERCY.

PASSING CLOUDS.

WARFARE AND WORK.

EVELYN GREY.

THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.

SOWING IN TEARS AND REAPING IN JOY.

SILVER SANDS.

THE KNOTS TOM GILLIES TIED AND UNTIED.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SELECT SERIES OF BOOKS SUITABLE FOR PRESENTS AND PRIZES.

_With Illustrations. Small Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. each_.

THE MOUNTAINS OF THE BIBLE: Their Scenes and their Lessons. By the Rev.
JOHN MACFARLANE, LL.D.

LIFE: A Series of Illustrations of the Divine Wisdom in the Forms,
Structures, and Instincts of Animals. By P.H. GOSSE, F.R.S.

LAND AND SEA. By P.H. GOSSE, F.R.S.

THE ROMANCE OF NATURAL HISTORY. By P.H. Gosse, F.R.S. Two Vols.

TALES FROM ALSACE; or, Scenes and Portraits from Life in the Days of the
Reformation.

BYEWAYS IN PALESTINE. By JAMES FINN, M.R.A.S.



THE "PILGRIM" SERIES.

POPULAR EDITIONS OF STANDARD BOOKS.

_Small Crown 8vo, numerous Illustrations, 2s. each; with gilt edges, 2s.
6d. each_.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. BUNYAN'S PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.

2. BUNYAN'S HOLY WAR.

3. FOXE'S BOOK OF MARTYRS.

4. THE THRONE OF DAVID: From the Consecration of the Shepherd of
Bethlehem to the Rebellion of Prince Absalom. By the Rev. J.H. INGRAHAM,
LL.D.

5. THE PRINCE OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID; or, Three Years in the Holy City.
By the Rev. J.H. INGRAHAM, LL.D.

6. THE PILLAR OF FIRE; or, Israel in Bondage. By the Rev. J.H. INGRAHAM,
LL.D.

7. BEN-HUR; or, The Days of the Messiah. By LEW WALLACE.

8. THE LAMPLIGHTER. By M. CUMINS.

9. UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. By Mrs. H. STOWE.

10. ROBINSON CRUSOE.

11. MY DESIRE. By SUSAN WARNER.

12. NOBODY. By SUSAN WARNER.

13. THE FAIRCHILD FAMILY. By Mrs. SHERWOOD.

14. THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.

15. DERRY. A Tale of the Revolution. By CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH.

16. ROMANCE OF NATURAL HISTORY. By P.H. GOSSE.

17. GREAT MEN: A Series of Lectures. By the late Rev. FREDERIC MYERS,
M.A.

18. TOO LATE FOR THE TIDE-MILL. By Rev. E.A. RAND.

19. LITTLE WOMEN. By L.M. ALCOTT.

20. DRAYTON HALL. By JULIA MATHEWS.



THE "PILGRIM" SERIES-continued.

21. THE END OF A COIL. By SUSAN WARNER.

22. GLEN LUNA. By ANNA WARNER.

23. DIANA. By SUSAN WARNER.

24. STEPHEN, M.D. By SUSAN WARNER.

25. MELBOURNE HOUSE. By SUSAN WARNER.

26. BIBLE WARNINGS. By Rev. Dr. NEWTON.

27. THE PHYSICIAN'S DAUGHTER.

28. THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. By SUSAN WARNER.

29. DAISY. By SUSAN WARNER.

30. DAISY IN THE FIELD. By SUSAN WARNER.

31. NOR'ARD OF THE DOGGER. By E.J. MATHER.

32. A DREAM OF THE NORTH SEA. By J. RUNCIMAN.

33. SCRIPTURE ANIMALS. By Rev. Dr. NEWTON.

34. QUEECHY. By SUSAN WARNER.

35. DARE TO DO RIGHT. By JULIA MATHEWS.

36. NETTIE'S MISSION. By JULIA MATHEWS.

37. WANDERING HOMES AND THEIR INFLUENCES.

38. FRANK WEATHERALL. By W.C. METCALFE, Author of "Above Board," &c.

39. SHORT LIVES OF MEN WITH A MISSION: Charles Kingsley, Lord Lawrence,
Henry M. Stanley. With Portraits.

40. EXPELLED. By the Author of "Dorrincourt."

41. YOKED TOGETHER. By ELLEN DAVIS.

42. BESSIE HARRINGTON'S VENTURE. By JULIA MATHEWS.

43. OPENING OF A CHESTNUT BURR. By E.P. ROE.

44. ST. ELMO. By A.J.E. WILSON.

45. THE CHILDREN'S PILGRIMAGE. By L.T. MEAD.

46. ROMANCE OF NATURAL HISTORY. Second Series. By P.H. GOSSE.

LONDON: JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET, W.



SELECT LIST OF BOOKS
DEVOTIONAL AND PRACTICAL
PUBLISHED BY
JAMES NISBET & CO.

       *       *       *       *       *

+THE CHRISTIAN UNDER REVIEW+.

A SERIES OF WORKS ON PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN LIFE Small crown 8vo.

THE CHRISTIAN'S INFLUENCE. By the Ven. WILLIAM MACDONALD SINCLAIR, D.D.,
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THE CHRISTIAN'S START. By the Very Rev. the DEAN OF NORWICH. 1s.

THE MORAL CULTURE OF THE CHRISTIAN. By the Rev. JAMES MCCANN, D.D. 1s.

THE PATHWAY OF VICTORY. By the Rev. ROBERT B. GIRDLESTONE, M.A., Hon.
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THE CHRISTIAN'S RECREATIONS. By the Rev. HENRY SUTTON, M.A., Vicar of
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THE CHRISTIAN'S PROGRESS. By the Ven. G.R. WYNNE, D.D., Archdeacon of
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THE CHRISTIAN'S DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. By the Very Rev. the DEAN
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THE CHRISTIAN'S AIMS. By the Rev. ALFRED PEARSON, M.A., Incumbent of St.
Margaret's Church, Brighton. 1s.

THE INTELLECTUAL CULTURE OF THE CHRISTIAN. By the Rev. JAMES MCCANN,
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"We dipped into these pages alike with pleasure and profit. The writers,
each on his own theme, seem steadfastly to keep in view scriptural
teaching, sound doctrine, and the trials and temptations which beset the
daily life and walk of the believer."--_Word and Work_.

"How completely they cover the field of Christian needs is sufficiently
indicated by their titles. They are well fitted to stimulate the piety
and clear the views of those holding the doctrines of the Church of
England."-_Liverpool Mercury._



By H. BONAR, D.D.

GOD'S WAY OF PEACE. A Book for the Anxious. 16mo, 1s. 6d. Cheap Edition,
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By MATTHEW HENRY.

EXPOSITION OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS;

With Practical Remarks and Observations--In Nine Volumes. Imp. 8vo, £2,
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HEAVENLY THOUGHTS FOR MORNING AND EVENING HOURS. Selections in Prose and
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By HARRIET E. COLVILE.

THE WAY SHE TROD. A STUDY. Just Published. Small crown 8vo, 2s. 6d.

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forth."--_Glasgow Herald._

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interesting story, telling how Triplice was led by a way she knew not'
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FLOWER VOICES. With Illustrations. Demy 16mo, 1s.

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WAFTED SEEDS. With Illustrations. Demy 16mo, 1s.



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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. A True Story. Crown 8vo, 1s.


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STEP BY STEP THROUGH THE BIBLE. PART I
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Part II. FROM DEATH OF JOSHUA TO END OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. A Scripture
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"No sweeter, wiser, or more Christian story of the Scriptures could be
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Editor of "The Young Man," and Hon. Sec. of the National Anti-Gambling
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MORAL MUSCLE: AND How TO USE IT. A Brotherly Chat with Young Men. With
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Dr. CLIFFORD writes:--"It is full of life, throbs with energy, is rich
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FIRST BATTLES, AND HOW TO FIGHT THEM.

Just Published. Small crown 8vo, 1s.

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point. The work would certainly help to develop in a thoughtful reader a
truer manliness than generally prevails among our young men."--_Irish
Ecclesiastical Gazette_.

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Weekly._


HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE. By Dr. CLIFFORD, M.A.; Professor ELMSLIE, D.D.;
R.F. HORTON, M.A.; Rev. F.B. MEYEE, B.A.; Rev. C.H. WALLER, M.A.; Rev.
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"Young Bible students will find some very valuable hints in this little
volume."--_Nonconformist_.

"The whole of these essays are well worthy of perusal, and are as
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"In this small book are comprised eight practical and, we may say,
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THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS: "WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?" By SAMUEL
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By Rev. THEODORE CUYLER, D.D.

STIRRING THE EAGLE'S NEST, AND OTHER PRACTICAL DISCOURSES. Just
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Cuyler has given us here some of his best work."--_Church Bells_.

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"The discourses are vigorous expositions of simple texts."--_Scotsman_

HOW TO BE A PASTOR. Recently Published. Crown 8vo, 2s.

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"In this handy little volume Dr. Cuyler gives wise guidance, couched in
graphic and telling style."--_Methodist Recorder_.

"We lay down this book, brimful of wholesome advice, with the earnest
wish that some of our wealthy laymen would place a copy of it in the
hands of each of our ministers."--_Christian Advocate_.


By the Rev. ALFRED PEARSON, M.A.,

INCUMBENT OF ST. MARGARET'S CHURCH, BRIGHTON.

CHRISTUS MAGISTER: SOME TEACHINGS FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. Just
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THE CHRISTIAN'S AIMS. Small Crown 8vo, 1s.

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required of every Christian, is sensibly considered in the chapter on
Cross-bearing. "--_Guardian_.

"Many Christians would derive benefit from reading the chapters 'On
Glorifying God,' 'On Self-Mastery,' 'On Self-Fulfilment,' 'On
Cross-Bearing' and 'On Tone.'"--_English Churchman_.



By the Rev. ANDREW MURRAY.

Small crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. each.

THE NEW LIFE. Words of God for Disciples of Christ.

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ABIDE IN CHRIST. Thoughts on the Blessed Life of Fellowship with the Son
of God. Sixty-third Thousand.

"The varied aspects of this practical truth are treated with much
freshness, power, and unction. It cannot fail to stimulate, to cheer,
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LIKE CHRIST. Thoughts on the Blessed Life of Conformity to the Son of
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WITH CHRIST IN THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER. Twenty-fifth Thousand.

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HOLY IN CHRIST. Thoughts on the Calling of God's Children to be Holy as
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THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST. Thoughts on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in
the Believer and the Church. Eighth Thousand.

"Mr. Murray's new work, like his former ones, will serve for the
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THE CHILDREN FOR CHRIST. Thoughts for Christian Parents on the
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fit to adopt in writing for and about children. All Sunday-school
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THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, and other Lectures on Prayer. 16mo, 1s.

A MORNING BESIDE THE LAKE OF GALILEE, 16mo, 1s.

THE PEARL OF PARABLES. Notes on the Parable of the Prodigal Son. 16mo,
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THE LIGHT TO THE PATH; or, What the Bible has been to Others, and What
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EMBLEMS FROM EDEN. 16mo, 1s.

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MOMENTS ON THE MOUNT. A Series of Devotional

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VOICES OF THE SPIRIT. Small crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.

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WISDOM'S HOUSE AND "HER SEVEN PILLARS."

By Lady BEAUJOLOIS DENT. Small crown 8vo, 1s. 6d.

"An excellent little work, sound in doctrine, and thoroughly practical
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+By Mrs. A. RUSSELL SIMPSON.+

FRIENDS AND FRIENDSHIP. With Illustrations.

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"Twelve beautifully written chapters on friendship. Very suitable to
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BUILDING FOE GOD; or, Houses not Made with Hands.

With Illustrations. 16mo, 1s.

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STEPS THROUGH THE STREAM.. Morning Readings for a Month. Square 16mo,
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GATES AND DOORS. Square 16mo, 1s.

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WELLS OF WATER. A Series of Chapters Descriptive and Practical on the
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+By FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL.+

ROYAL GRACE AND LOYAL GIFTS. Being the following Seven Volumes in neat
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MY KING; or, Daily Thoughts for the King's Children.

ROYAL COMMANDMENTS; or, Morning Thoughts for the King's Servants.

ROYAL BOUNTY; or, Evening Thoughts for the King's Guests.

THE ROYAL INVITATION: Daily Thoughts on Coming to Christ.

LOYAL RESPONSES; or, Daily Melodies for the King's Minstrels.

KEPT FOR THE MASTER'S USE.

STARLIGHT THROUGH THE SHADOWS.

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MORNING STARS; or, Names of Christ for His Little Ones. 32mo, 9d.


+By FRANCES BEVAN,+

Author of "Three Friends of God."

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+By Mrs. PEARSALL SMITH,+

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THE THREEFOLD CORDS OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
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THE PRECIOUS PROMISES; or, Light from Beyond.
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Lectures on Ecclesiastical History delivered in Norwich Cathedral.

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ST. IGNATIUS AND ST. POLYCARP. By F.W. FARRAR, D.D., F.R.S., Archdeacon
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THE APOLOGY OF ARISTIDES. By the Rev. J. ARMITAGE ROBINSON, B.D., Fellow
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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUSTIN MARTYR. By the Rev. FREDERICK MEYRICK,
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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF IRENÆUS. By the Rev. Prebendary STANLEY LEATHES,
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CONVERSATION: WHY DON'T WE DO MORE GOOD BY IT?
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NEARER HEAVEN: A Help to the Deepening of the Spiritual Life. By the
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IN SECRET. A Manual of Private Prayer. 16mo, 1s.

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LITTLE FOXES: And How to Catch Them. 16mo, 1s.

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SAFE AND HAPPY. Words of Help and Encouragement to Young Women. With
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By the Rev. CANON BELL, D.D.,
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FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT; or, Scriptural Studies about the Holy Ghost.
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THE MELODY OF THE TWENTY-THIRD PSALM. 32mo, 8d.

SHOES OF PEACE. 16mo, 1s.

TIRED CHRISTIANS. 16mo, 1s.

THE OTHER SHORE. 32mo, 1s.

THE FOURTH WATCH. 32mo, 10d.

THE LIGHT OF THE MORNING. 32mo, 10d.

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UP AND DOWN THE HOUSE. Royal 16mo, 2s. 6d.


NISBET'S MINIATURE CHRISTIAN CLASSICS.

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2. KEBLE'S CHRISTIAN YEAR.

3. THE IMITATION OF CHRIST (THOMAS A KEMPIS).

4. THE POEMS OF GEORGE HERBERT.

5. BUNYAN'S PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.



+By the Rev. J.R. MACDUFF, D.D.+

IN CHRISTO; or, The Monogram of St. Paul. Crown 8vo, 5s.

CLEFTS OF THE ROCK; or, The Believer's Grounds of Confidence in Christ.
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SUNSETS ON THE HEBREW MOUNTAINS. With Frontispiece. Post 8vo, 3s. 6d.

THE SHEPHERD AND HIS FLOCK; or, The Keeper of Israel and the Sheep of
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+By the Rev. Prof. LEWIS F. STEARNS+,

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PRESENT DAY THEOLOGY. Extra crown 8vo, 10s. 6d.


+By the Rev. HENRY WAGE, D.D.+,

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+By the late Rev. AUBREY L. MOORE, M.A.+

A VOLUME OF SERMONS.

       *       *       *       *       *

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THE VOICE OF JESUS DAY BY DAY. With Original Hymns. By F.M. MACRAE. And
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By the Rev. J. OSWALD DYKES, D.D.

DAILY PRAYERS FOR THE HOUSEHOLD FOR A MONTH. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.


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BEFORE HIS FOOTSTOOL. Family Prayers for one Month. With Prayers for
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By the Rev. J.R. MACDUFF, D.D.

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DAILY PRAYERS FOR BUSY HOMES. 16mo, 6d.


LONDON: JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET, W.



+WORKS BY R.M. BALLANTYNE+.

       *       *       *       *       *

"In his tales of the sea, of the forest and the flames, and in all that
he writes, there is a fidelity to nature and a knowledge of many paths
of life which are not surpassed by any author in his special field of
literature."--_Morning Post_.

_With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 5s. each_.

NEW VOLUME.

+THE BUFFALO RUNNERS+.

A TALE OF THE RED RIVER PLAINS.


+CHARLIE TO THE RESCUE+.

A TALE or THE SEA AND THE ROCKIES.

"In 'Charlie to the Rescue' Mr. Ballantyne supplies his constituency
--which is now a large and well-satisfied one--with a sufficiency of
battles, sieges, and escapes; the troubles of ranchmen, whose lives are
threatened both by white and by black scoundrels, are admirably
reproduced. It is a capital story."--_Spectator_.


+BLOWN TO BITS+;

Or, THE LONELY MAN OF RAKATA. A TALE OF THE MALAY ARCHIPELAGO.

"A capital story, written in the author's old style, and full of life
and action from beginning to end."--_Standard_.

"The book abounds in matter of exceptional interest, and should find its
way into the hands of all young people who would properly estimate the
wide-spreading and far-reaching influences and the extraordinary
character of the Krakatoa outburst."--_Manchester Courier_.


+BLUE LIGHTS+;

Or, HOT WORK IN THE SOUDAN. A TALE OF SOLDIER LIFE IN SEVERAL OF ITS
PHASES.

"An exciting story, full of excellent moral lessons."--_School Board
Chronicle_.

"We heartily recommend 'Blue Lights'."--_Guardian_.

"The soldier's career is graphically depicted, and the story is every
way a good one."--_Literary Churchman_.



_Works by R.M. Ballantyne-continued.

With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 5s. each_.

THE FUGITIVES;

Or, THE TYRANT QUEEN OF MADAGASCAR.

"There is plenty of adventure in the shape of imprisonment and combats
with men and animals, and a negro and a sailor between them supply a
comic element of the best quality. Everything considered, this is one of
the best stories even Mr. Ballantyne has published."--_Academy_.

RED ROONEY;

Or, THE LAST OF THE CREW.

THE ROVER OF THE ANDES.

A TALE OF ADVENTURE IN SOUTH AMERICA.

"We commend it to boys fond of adventure and of natural phenomena; a
very fascinating book."--_British Quarterly Review._

"An admirable boy's story."--_Scotsman_.

THE YOUNG TRAWLER.

A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH AND RESCUE IN THE NORTH SEA.

"Few men have laboured so steadfastly in their generation to provide
sound wholesome fare for 'our boys' as Mr. Ballantyne, and the 'Young
Trawler' is worthy of his reputation. It is not a whit less spirited
than his former tales, and conveys a large amount of useful information
on a highly important subject."--_Academy_.

DUSTY DIAMONDS, CUT AND POLISHED.

A TALE OF CITY-ARAB LIFE.



_With Illustrations, Crown 8vo. 5s. each_.


+THE BATTERY AND THE BOILER+;

Or, THE ELECTRICAL ADVENTURES OF A TELEGRAPH CABLE-LAYER.

"There is not a dull page in it."--_Scotsman_.
"The interest never flags."--_Academy_.


+THE GIANT OF THE NORTH+;

Or, POKINGS ROUND THE POLE.

"Of variety of perilous adventures and peril, ingeniously surmounted,
there is no lack."--_Daily News_.


+THE LONELY ISLAND+;

Or, THE REFUGE OF THE MUTINEERS.

"Mr. Ballantyne weaves the romantic episode of the mutiny of the
'Bounty' into a most effective narrative."--_Graphic_.


+POST HASTE+.

A TALE OF HER MAJESTY'S MAILS.

"The book should find a place in every boy's library; it is full of
interest."--_Leeds Mercury_.


+IN THE TRACK OF THE TROOPS+.

A TALE OF MODERN WAR.

"Mr. Ballantyne has blended with the incidents of war on the Danube a
story of personal adventure spiritedly told."--_Daily News_.


+THE SETTLER AND THE SAVAGE+.

A TALE OF PEACE AND WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA.

"A capital story of South African life. Mr. Ballantyne, through the
medium of a thoroughly manly and healthy tale of sport and war, frolic
and danger, full of stirring yet not exaggerated scenes, presents a
sketch of a very important period of the early history of our colony at
the Cape of Good Hope."--_Times_.



_With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 5s. each_.


+UNDER THE WAVES+;

Or, DIVING IN DEEP WATERS.

"Mr. Ballantyne enlarges the already gigantic debt due to him by the
young, by his 'Under the Waves,' a story meant to illustrate the
practice and peril of diving in deep water, which it does in not only an
interesting, but often in amusing manner."--_Times_.


+RIVERS OF ICE+.

A TALE ILLUSTRATIVE OF ALPINE ADVENTURE AND GLACIER ACTION.

"A tale brimful of interest and stirring adventure."--_Glasgow Herald_.


+THE PIRATE CITY+.

AN ALGERINE TALE.

"The story is told with Mr. Ballantyne's usual felicity, and, as it is
plentifully sprinkled with horrors, no doubt it will be greatly enjoyed
by some boys."--_Athenæum_.


+BLACK IVORY+.

A TALE OF ADVENTURE AMONG THE SLAVERS OF EAST AFRICA.

"A captivating story. We heartily recommend it."--_Record_.

"Boys will find the book about as delightful a story of adventure as any
of them could possibly desire."--_Scotsman_.


+THE NORSEMEN IN THE WEST+;

Or, AMERICA BEFORE COLUMBUS.

"This thoroughly delightful book is an adaptation of the Saga of
Iceland, and also of Mr. Laing's 'Heimskingla; or Chronicles of the
Kings of Norway,' supplemented by Mr. Ballantyne's own experience and
adventures in the wilderness of America. These ingredients are put
together with the skill and spirit of an accomplished story-teller; and
the result is a book that cannot possibly be laid down till the very
last word of the last line has been read."--_Athenæum_.


+THE IRON HORSE+;

Or, LIFE ON THE LINE. A RAILWAY TALE.

"A captivating book for boys."--_Guardian_.



+ERLING THE BOLD+.

A TALE OF THE NORSE SEA KINGS.


"A capital tale of the Norse Sea Kings."--_Times_.

"The story is interesting and full of moving incidents by flood and
field, and it will therefore scarcely fail to be popular among
lads."--_Scotsman_.

"The story is clearly designed, and abounds with elements of romantic
interest; and the Author's illustrations are scarcely less vigorous than
his text."--_Athenæum_.


+FIGHTING THE FLAMES+.

A TALE OF THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE.


"Many a schoolboy will find keen enjoyment in the perusal of 'Fighting
the Flames,' and assure his little sisters with suitable emphasis that
Mr. Ballantyne is 'a stunning good story-teller.'"--_Athenæum_.


+DEEP DOWN+.

A TALE OF THE CORNISH MINES.


"Mr. Ballantyne's book will not fail to delight boys, for it is full of
deeds of daring and of 'hairbreadth escapes.'"--_Scotsman_.

"By reading Mr. Ballantyne's admirable story a very large amount of
knowledge concerning Cornish mines may be acquired; whilst from the fact
of the information being given in the form of a connected narrative, it
is not likely very soon to be forgotten.... A book well worthy of being
extensively read."--_Mining Journal._


+THE FLOATING LIGHT OF THE GOODWIN SANDS+.

"The tale will be especially interesting to adventure-loving
boys."--_Record_.



+SHIFTING WINDS+.

A TOUGH YARN.


"A hearty, vigorous, bracing story, fresh with the pure breezes, and
sparkling with the bright waters of the everlasting seas.'"--_Athenæum_.



+THE LIGHTHOUSE+.

BEING THE STORY OF A GREAT FIGHT BETWEEN MAN AND THE SEA.


_Extract Letter from the Secretary of Northern Lighthouses_.

" ... They (the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses) have been so much
pleased with the way in which you have combined the fiction of a tale
with the popular but correct account of the building of the Bell Rock
Lighthouse, that they think it would be an interesting work to transmit
to their Lightkeepers, and I have therefore to request that you will
direct your publishers to transmit me--copies. (Signed) ALEXR.
CUNNINGHAM."

"Thoroughly at home in subjects of adventure, the Author has made this,
like all his stories for boys, smart in style, thrilling in interest,
and abounding in incidents of every kind."--_Quiver_.



+THE LIFEBOAT+.

A TALE OF OUR COAST HEROES.


"ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION.

"DEAR SIR,--I am directed by the Committee to request your acceptance of
the accompanying Photograph of a Lifeboat proceeding off to a wreck, as
a small permanent acknowledgment of the important service you have
rendered to the Lifeboat cause by your very interesting work entitled
'The Lifeboat: a Tale of our Coast Heroes." I remain, yours faithfully,

(Signed) "RICHARD LEWIS, _Secretary_."



+THE GOLDEN DREAM+.

A TALE OF THE DIGGINGS.


+THE RED ERIC+;

Or, THE WHALER'S LAST CRUISE.


+GASCOYNE, THE SANDALWOOD TRADER+.

A TALE OF THE PACIFIC.


"Full of cleverly and impressively drawn pictures of life and character
in the Pacific."--_Caledonian Mercury_.


+FREAKS ON THE FELLS,+

AND

+WHY I DID NOT BECOME A SAILOR.+

       *       *       *       *       *


+THE WILD MAN OF THE WEST.+

_With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d._


+BATTLES WITH THE SEA;+

Or, HEROES OF THE LIFEBOAT AND THE ROCKET.

_With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s._


+THE KITTEN PILGRIMS;+

Or, GREAT BATTLES AND GRAND VICTORIES.


"We have copied the title-page of this amusing and instructive quarto
for little folks. Nothing further is necessary. Mr. Ballantyne stands at
the head of all our children's story-tellers _facile
princeps_."--_Churchman_.

_With Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. each_.

NEW VOLUME.

+A COXSWAIN'S BRIDE+; Or, THE RISING TIDE: And other Tales.

+THE GARRET AND THE GARDEN+; Or, Low LIFE HIGH UP: And +JEFF BENSON+;
Or, THE YOUNG COASTGUARDSMAN.

+THE CREW OF THE WATER-WAGTAIL+.
A STORY OF NEWFOUNDLAND.

+THE MIDDY AND THE MOORS+.
AN ALGERINE TALE.

+THE PRAIRIE CHIEF+.

+LIFE IN THE RED BRIGADE+.

A FIERY TALE. AND FORT DESOLATION; or, SOLITUDE IN THE WILDERNESS.


+THE ISLAND QUEEN+;

Or, DETHRONED BY FIRE AND WATER. A TALE OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.


+TWICE BOUGHT+.

A TALE OF THE OREGON GOLD FIELDS.


+THE MADMAN AND THE PIRATE+.


+PHILOSOPHER JACK+.

A TALE OF THE SOUTHERN SEAS.


+THE RED MAN'S REVENGE+.


+MY DOGGIE AND I+.


+SIX MONTHS AT THE CAPE+.

LETTERS TO PERIWINKLE FROM SOUTH AFRICA. A RECORD OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
AND ADVENTURE.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Crown 8vo. Price 3s. 6d. each_.


+TALES OF ADVENTURE BY FLOOD, FIELD, AND MOUNTAIN+.


+TALES OF ADVENTURE+;

Or, WILD WORK IN STRANGE PLACES.


+TALES OF ADVENTURE ON THE COAST+.

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON: JAMES NISBET & Co., 21 BERNERS STREET, W.





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