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´╗┐Title: Jerry of the Islands
Author: London, Jack, 1876-1916
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 "Jerry of the Islands" ***

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Transcribed from the 1917 Mills & Boon edition by David Price, email


JERRY OF THE ISLANDS


FOREWORD


It is a misfortune to some fiction-writers that fiction and unveracity in
the average person's mind mean one and the same thing.  Several years ago
I published a South Sea novel.  The action was placed in the Solomon
Islands.  The action was praised by the critics and reviewers as a highly
creditable effort of the imagination.  As regards reality--they said
there wasn't any.  Of course, as every one knew, kinky-haired cannibals
no longer obtained on the earth's surface, much less ran around with
nothing on, chopping off one another's heads, and, on occasion, a white
man's head as well.

Now listen.  I am writing these lines in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Yesterday, on
the beach at Waikiki, a stranger spoke to me.  He mentioned a mutual
friend, Captain Kellar.  When I was wrecked in the Solomons on the
blackbirder, the _Minota_, it was Captain Kellar, master of the
blackbirder, the _Eugenie_, who rescued me.  The blacks had taken Captain
Kellar's head, the stranger told me.  He knew.  He had represented
Captain Kellar's mother in settling up the estate.

Listen.  I received a letter the other day from Mr. C. M. Woodford,
Resident Commissioner of the British Solomons.  He was back at his post,
after a long furlough to England, where he had entered his son into
Oxford.  A search of the shelves of almost any public library will bring
to light a book entitled, "A Naturalist Among the Head Hunters."  Mr. C.
M. Woodford is the naturalist.  He wrote the book.

To return to his letter.  In the course of the day's work he casually and
briefly mentioned a particular job he had just got off his hands.  His
absence in England had been the cause of delay.  The job had been to make
a punitive expedition to a neighbouring island, and, incidentally, to
recover the heads of some mutual friends of ours--a white-trader, his
white wife and children, and his white clerk.  The expedition was
successful, and Mr. Woodford concluded his account of the episode with a
statement to the effect: "What especially struck me was the absence of
pain and terror in their faces, which seemed to express, rather, serenity
and repose"--this, mind you, of men and women of his own race whom he
knew well and who had sat at dinner with him in his own house.

Other friends, with whom I have sat at dinner in the brave, rollicking
days in the Solomons have since passed out--by the same way.  My
goodness!  I sailed in the teak-built ketch, the _Minota_, on a
blackbirding cruise to Malaita, and I took my wife along.  The hatchet-
marks were still raw on the door of our tiny stateroom advertising an
event of a few months before.  The event was the taking of Captain
Mackenzie's head, Captain Mackenzie, at that time, being master of the
Minota.  As we sailed in to Langa-Langa, the British cruiser, the
_Cambrian_, steamed out from the shelling of a village.

It is not expedient to burden this preliminary to my story with further
details, which I do make asseveration I possess a-plenty.  I hope I have
given some assurance that the adventures of my dog hero in this novel are
real adventures in a very real cannibal world.  Bless you!--when I took
my wife along on the cruise of the _Minota_, we found on board a nigger-
chasing, adorable Irish terrier puppy, who was smooth-coated like Jerry,
and whose name was Peggy.  Had it not been for Peggy, this book would
never have been written.  She was the chattel of the _Minota's_ splendid
skipper.  So much did Mrs. London and I come to love her, that Mrs.
London, after the wreck of the _Minota_, deliberately and shamelessly
stole her from the _Minota's_ skipper.  I do further admit that I did,
deliberately and shamelessly, compound my wife's felony.  We loved Peggy
so!  Dear royal, glorious little dog, buried at sea off the east coast of
Australia!

I must add that Peggy, like Jerry, was born at Meringe Lagoon, on Meringe
Plantation, which is of the Island of Ysabel, said Ysabel Island lying
next north of Florida Island, where is the seat of government and where
dwells the Resident Commissioner, Mr. C. M. Woodford.  Still further and
finally, I knew Peggy's mother and father well, and have often known the
warm surge in the heart of me at the sight of that faithful couple
running side by side along the beach.  Terrence was his real name.  Her
name was Biddy.

JACK LONDON
WAIKIKI BEACH,
HONOLULU, OAHU, T.H.
June 5, 1915



CHAPTER I


Not until _Mister_ Haggin abruptly picked him up under one arm and
stepped into the sternsheets of the waiting whaleboat, did Jerry dream
that anything untoward was to happen to him.  _Mister_ Haggin was Jerry's
beloved master, and had been his beloved master for the six months of
Jerry's life.  Jerry did not know _Mister_ Haggin as "master," for
"master" had no place in Jerry's vocabulary, Jerry being a smooth-coated,
golden-sorrel Irish terrier.

But in Jerry's vocabulary, "_Mister_ Haggin" possessed all the
definiteness of sound and meaning that the word "master" possesses in the
vocabularies of humans in relation to their dogs.  "_Mister_ Haggin" was
the sound Jerry had always heard uttered by Bob, the clerk, and by Derby,
the foreman on the plantation, when they addressed his master.  Also,
Jerry had always heard the rare visiting two-legged man-creatures such as
came on the _Arangi_, address his master as _Mister_ Haggin.

But dogs being dogs, in their dim, inarticulate, brilliant, and heroic-
worshipping ways misappraising humans, dogs think of their masters, and
love their masters, more than the facts warrant.  "Master" means to them,
as "_Mister_" Haggin meant to Jerry, a deal more, and a great deal more,
than it means to humans.  The human considers himself as "master" to his
dog, but the dog considers his master "God."

Now "God" was no word in Jerry's vocabulary, despite the fact that he
already possessed a definite and fairly large vocabulary.  "_Mister_
Haggin" was the sound that meant "God."  In Jerry's heart and head, in
the mysterious centre of all his activities that is called consciousness,
the sound, "_Mister_ Haggin," occupied the same place that "God" occupies
in human consciousness.  By word and sound, to Jerry, "_Mister_ Haggin"
had the same connotation that "God" has to God-worshipping humans.  In
short, _Mister_ Haggin was Jerry's God.

And so, when _Mister_ Haggin, or God, or call it what one will with the
limitations of language, picked Jerry up with imperative abruptness,
tucked him under his arm, and stepped into the whaleboat, whose black
crew immediately bent to the oars, Jerry was instantly and nervously
aware that the unusual had begun to happen.  Never before had he gone out
on board the _Arangi_, which he could see growing larger and closer to
each lip-hissing stroke of the oars of the blacks.

Only an hour before, Jerry had come down from the plantation house to the
beach to see the _Arangi_ depart.  Twice before, in his half-year of
life, had he had this delectable experience.  Delectable it truly was,
running up and down the white beach of sand-pounded coral, and, under the
wise guidance of Biddy and Terrence, taking part in the excitement of the
beach and even adding to it.

There was the nigger-chasing.  Jerry had been born to hate niggers.  His
first experiences in the world as a puling puppy, had taught him that
Biddy, his mother, and his father Terrence, hated niggers.  A nigger was
something to be snarled at.  A nigger, unless he were a house-boy, was
something to be attacked and bitten and torn if he invaded the compound.
Biddy did it.  Terrence did it.  In doing it, they served their
God--_Mister_ Haggin.  Niggers were two-legged lesser creatures who
toiled and slaved for their two-legged white lords, who lived in the
labour barracks afar off, and who were so much lesser and lower that they
must not dare come near the habitation of their lords.

And nigger-chasing was adventure.  Not long after he had learned to
sprawl, Jerry had learned that.  One took his chances.  As long as
_Mister_ Haggin, or Derby, or Bob, was about, the niggers took their
chasing.  But there were times when the white lords were not about.  Then
it was "'Ware niggers!"  One must dare to chase only with due precaution.
Because then, beyond the white lord's eyes, the niggers had a way, not
merely of scowling and muttering, but of attacking four-legged dogs with
stones and clubs.  Jerry had seen his mother so mishandled, and, ere he
had learned discretion, alone in the high grass had been himself club-
mauled by Godarmy, the black who wore a china door-knob suspended on his
chest from his neck on a string of sennit braided from cocoanut fibre.
More.  Jerry remembered another high-grass adventure, when he and his
brother Michael had fought Owmi, another black distinguishable for the
cogged wheels of an alarm clock on his chest.  Michael had been so
severely struck on his head that for ever after his left ear had remained
sore and had withered into a peculiar wilted and twisted upward cock.

Still more.  There had been his brother Patsy, and his sister Kathleen,
who had disappeared two months before, who had ceased and no longer were.
The great god, _Mister_ Haggin, had raged up and down the plantation.  The
bush had been searched.  Half a dozen niggers had been whipped.  And
_Mister_ Haggin had failed to solve the mystery of Patsy's and Kathleen's
disappearance.  But Biddy and Terrence knew.  So did Michael and Jerry.
The four-months' old Patsy and Kathleen had gone into the cooking-pot at
the barracks, and their puppy-soft skins had been destroyed in the fire.
Jerry knew this, as did his father and mother and brother, for they had
smelled the unmistakable burnt-meat smell, and Terrence, in his rage of
knowledge, had even attacked Mogom the house-boy, and been reprimanded
and cuffed by _Mister_ Haggin, who had not smelled and did not
understand, and who had always to impress discipline on all creatures
under his roof-tree.

But on the beach, when the blacks, whose terms of service were up came
down with their trade-boxes on their heads to depart on the _Arangi_, was
the time when nigger-chasing was not dangerous.  Old scores could be
settled, and it was the last chance, for the blacks who departed on the
_Arangi_ never came back.  As an instance, this very morning Biddy,
remembering a secret mauling at the hands of Lerumie, laid teeth into his
naked calf and threw him sprawling into the water, trade-box, earthly
possessions and all, and then laughed at him, sure in the protection of
_Mister_ Haggin who grinned at the episode.

Then, too, there was usually at least one bush-dog on the _Arangi_ at
which Jerry and Michael, from the beach, could bark their heads off.
Once, Terrence, who was nearly as large as an Airedale and fully as lion-
hearted--Terrence the Magnificent, as Tom Haggin called him--had caught
such a bush-dog trespassing on the beach and given him a delightful
thrashing, in which Jerry and Michael, and Patsy and Kathleen, who were
at the time alive, had joined with many shrill yelps and sharp nips.
Jerry had never forgotten the ecstasy of the hair, unmistakably doggy in
scent, which had filled his mouth at his one successful nip.  Bush-dogs
were dogs--he recognized them as his kind; but they were somehow
different from his own lordly breed, different and lesser, just as the
blacks were compared with _Mister_ Haggin, Derby, and Bob.

But Jerry did not continue to gaze at the nearing _Arangi_.  Biddy, wise
with previous bitter bereavements, had sat down on the edge of the sand,
her fore-feet in the water, and was mouthing her woe.  That this
concerned him, Jerry knew, for her grief tore sharply, albeit vaguely, at
his sensitive, passionate heart.  What it presaged he knew not, save that
it was disaster and catastrophe connected with him.  As he looked back at
her, rough-coated and grief-stricken, he could see Terrence hovering
solicitously near her.  He, too, was rough-coated, as was Michael, and as
Patsy and Kathleen had been, Jerry being the one smooth-coated member of
the family.

Further, although Jerry did not know it and Tom Haggin did, Terrence was
a royal lover and a devoted spouse.  Jerry, from his earliest
impressions, could remember the way Terrence had of running with Biddy,
miles and miles along the beaches or through the avenues of cocoanuts,
side by side with her, both with laughing mouths of sheer delight.  As
these were the only dogs, besides his brothers and sisters and the
several eruptions of strange bush-dogs that Jerry knew, it did not enter
his head otherwise than that this was the way of dogs, male and female,
wedded and faithful.  But Tom Haggin knew its unusualness.  "Proper
affinities," he declared, and repeatedly declared, with warm voice and
moist eyes of appreciation.  "A gentleman, that Terrence, and a
four-legged proper man.  A man-dog, if there ever was one, four-square as
the legs on the four corners of him.  And prepotent!  My word!  His
blood'd breed true for a thousand generations, and the cool head and the
kindly brave heart of him."

Terrence did not voice his sorrow, if sorrow he had; but his hovering
about Biddy tokened his anxiety for her.  Michael, however, yielding to
the contagion, sat beside his mother and barked angrily out across the
increasing stretch of water as he would have barked at any danger that
crept and rustled in the jungle.  This, too, sank to Jerry's heart,
adding weight to his sure intuition that dire fate, he knew not what, was
upon him.

For his six months of life, Jerry knew a great deal and knew very little.
He knew, without thinking about it, without knowing that he knew, why
Biddy, the wise as well as the brave, did not act upon all the message
that her heart voiced to him, and spring into the water and swim after
him.  She had protected him like a lioness when the big _puarka_ (which,
in Jerry's vocabulary, along with grunts and squeals, was the combination
of sound, or word, for "pig") had tried to devour him where he was
cornered under the high-piled plantation house.  Like a lioness, when the
cook-boy had struck him with a stick to drive him out of the kitchen, had
Biddy sprung upon the black, receiving without wince or whimper one
straight blow from the stick, and then downing him and mauling him among
his pots and pans until dragged (for the first time snarling) away by the
unchiding _Mister_ Haggin, who; however, administered sharp words to the
cook-boy for daring to lift hand against a four-legged dog belonging to a
god.

Jerry knew why his mother did not plunge into the water after him.  The
salt sea, as well as the lagoons that led out of the salt sea, were
taboo.  "Taboo," as word or sound, had no place in Jerry's vocabulary.
But its definition, or significance, was there in the quickest part of
his consciousness.  He possessed a dim, vague, imperative knowingness
that it was not merely not good, but supremely disastrous, leading to the
mistily glimpsed sense of utter endingness for a dog, for any dog, to go
into the water where slipped and slid and noiselessly paddled, sometimes
on top, sometimes emerging from the depths, great scaly monsters, huge-
jawed and horribly-toothed, that snapped down and engulfed a dog in an
instant just as the fowls of _Mister_ Haggin snapped and engulfed grains
of corn.

Often he had heard his father and mother, on the safety of the sand, bark
and rage their hatred of those terrible sea-dwellers, when, close to the
beach, they appeared on the surface like logs awash.  "Crocodile" was no
word in Jerry's vocabulary.  It was an image, an image of a log awash
that was different from any log in that it was alive.  Jerry, who heard,
registered, and recognized many words that were as truly tools of thought
to him as they were to humans, but who, by inarticulateness of birth and
breed, could not utter these many words, nevertheless in his mental
processes, used images just as articulate men use words in their own
mental processes.  And after all, articulate men, in the act of thinking,
willy nilly use images that correspond to words and that amplify words.

Perhaps, in Jerry's brain, the rising into the foreground of
consciousness of an image of a log awash connoted more intimate and
fuller comprehension of the thing being thought about, than did the word
"crocodile," and its accompanying image, in the foreground of a human's
consciousness.  For Jerry really did know more about crocodiles than the
average human.  He could smell a crocodile farther off and more
differentiatingly than could any man, than could even a salt-water black
or a bushman smell one.  He could tell when a crocodile, hauled up from
the lagoon, lay without sound or movement, and perhaps asleep, a hundred
feet away on the floor mat of jungle.

He knew more of the language of crocodiles than did any man.  He had
better means and opportunities of knowing.  He knew their many noises
that were as grunts and slubbers.  He knew their anger noises, their fear
noises, their food noises, their love noises.  And these noises were as
definitely words in his vocabulary as are words in a human's vocabulary.
And these crocodile noises were tools of thought.  By them he weighed and
judged and determined his own consequent courses of action, just like any
human; or, just like any human, lazily resolved upon no course of action,
but merely noted and registered a clear comprehension of something that
was going on about him that did not require a correspondence of action on
his part.

And yet, what Jerry did not know was very much.  He did not know the size
of the world.  He did not know that this Meringe Lagoon, backed by high,
forested mountains and fronted and sheltered by the off-shore coral
islets, was anything else than the entire world.  He did not know that it
was a mere fractional part of the great island of Ysabel, that was again
one island of a thousand, many of them greater, that composed the Solomon
Islands that men marked on charts as a group of specks in the vastitude
of the far-western South Pacific.

It was true, there was a somewhere else or a something beyond of which he
was dimly aware.  But whatever it was, it was mystery.  Out of it, things
that had not been, suddenly were.  Chickens and puarkas and cats, that he
had never seen before, had a way of abruptly appearing on Meringe
Plantation.  Once, even, had there been an eruption of strange
four-legged, horned and hairy creatures, the images of which, registered
in his brain, would have been identifiable in the brains of humans with
what humans worded "goats."

It was the same way with the blacks.  Out of the unknown, from the
somewhere and something else, too unconditional for him to know any of
the conditions, instantly they appeared, full-statured, walking about
Meringe Plantation with loin-cloths about their middles and bone bodkins
through their noses, and being put to work by _Mister_ Haggin, Derby, and
Bob.  That their appearance was coincidental with the arrival of the
_Arangi_ was an association that occurred as a matter of course in
Jerry's brain.  Further, he did not bother, save that there was a
companion association, namely, that their occasional disappearances into
the beyond was likewise coincidental with the _Arangi's_ departure.

Jerry did not query these appearances and disappearances.  It never
entered his golden-sorrel head to be curious about the affair or to
attempt to solve it.  He accepted it in much the way he accepted the
wetness of water and the heat of the sun.  It was the way of life and of
the world he knew.  His hazy awareness was no more than an awareness of
something--which, by the way, corresponds very fairly with the hazy
awareness of the average human of the mysteries of birth and death and of
the beyondness about which they have no definiteness of comprehension.

For all that any man may gainsay, the ketch _Arangi_, trader and
blackbirder in the Solomon Islands, may have signified in Jerry's mind as
much the mysterious boat that traffics between the two worlds, as, at one
time, the boat that Charon sculled across the Styx signified to the human
mind.  Out of the nothingness men came.  Into the nothingness they went.
And they came and went always on the _Arangi_.

And to the _Arangi_, this hot-white tropic morning, Jerry went on the
whaleboat under the arm of his _Mister_ Haggin, while on the beach Biddy
moaned her woe, and Michael, not sophisticated, barked the eternal
challenge of youth to the Unknown.



CHAPTER II


From the whaleboat, up the low side of the _Arangi_, and over her six-
inch rail of teak to her teak deck, was but a step, and Tom Haggin made
it easily with Jerry still under his arm.  The deck was cluttered with an
exciting crowd.  Exciting the crowd would have been to untravelled humans
of civilization, and exciting it was to Jerry; although to Tom Haggin and
Captain Van Horn it was a mere commonplace of everyday life.

The deck was small because the _Arangi_ was small.  Originally a teak-
built, gentleman's yacht, brass-fitted, copper-fastened, angle-ironed,
sheathed in man-of-war copper and with a fin-keel of bronze, she had been
sold into the Solomon Islands' trade for the purpose of blackbirding or
nigger-running.  Under the law, however, this traffic was dignified by
being called "recruiting."

The _Arangi_ was a labour-recruit ship that carried the new-caught,
cannibal blacks from remote islands to labour on the new plantations
where white men turned dank and pestilential swamp and jungle into rich
and stately cocoanut groves.  The _Arangi's_ two masts were of Oregon
cedar, so scraped and hot-paraffined that they shone like tan opals in
the glare of sun.  Her excessive sail plan enabled her to sail like a
witch, and, on occasion, gave Captain Van Horn, his white mate, and his
fifteen black boat's crew as much as they could handle.  She was sixty
feet over all, and the cross beams of her crown deck had not been
weakened by deck-houses.  The only breaks--and no beams had been cut for
them--were the main cabin skylight and companionway, the booby hatch
for'ard over the tiny forecastle, and the small hatch aft that let down
into the store-room.

And on this small deck, in addition to the crew, were the "return"
niggers from three far-flung plantations.  By "return" was meant that
their three years of contract labour was up, and that, according to
contract, they were being returned to their home villages on the wild
island of Malaita.  Twenty of them--familiar, all, to Jerry--were from
Meringe; thirty of them came from the Bay of a Thousand Ships, in the
Russell Isles; and the remaining twelve were from Pennduffryn on the east
coast of Guadalcanar.  In addition to these--and they were all on deck,
chattering and piping in queer, almost elfish, falsetto voices--were the
two white men, Captain Van Horn and his Danish mate, Borckman, making a
total of seventy-nine souls.

"Thought your heart 'd failed you at the last moment," was Captain Van
Horn's greeting, a quick pleasure light glowing into his eyes as they
noted Jerry.

"It was sure near to doin' it," Tom Haggin answered.  "It's only for you
I'd a done it, annyways.  Jerry's the best of the litter, barrin'
Michael, of course, the two of them bein' all that's left and no better
than them that was lost.  Now that Kathleen was a sweet dog, the spit of
Biddy if she'd lived.--Here, take 'm."

With a jerk of abruptness, he deposited Jerry in Van Horn's arms and
turned away along the deck.

"An' if bad luck comes to him I'll never forgive you, Skipper," he flung
roughly over his shoulder.

"They'll have to take my head first," the skipper chuckled.

"An' not unlikely, my brave laddy buck," Haggin growled.  "Meringe owes
Somo four heads, three from the dysentery, an' another wan from a tree
fallin' on him the last fortnight.  He was the son of a chief at that."

"Yes, and there's two heads more that the _Arangi_ owes Somo," Van Horn
nodded.  "You recollect, down to the south'ard last year, a chap named
Hawkins was lost in his whaleboat running the Arli Passage?"  Haggin,
returning along the deck, nodded.  "Two of his boat's crew were Somo
boys.  I'd recruited them for Ugi Plantation.  With your boys, that makes
six heads the _Arangi_ owes.  But what of it?  There's one salt-water
village, acrost on the weather coast, where the _Arangi_ owes eighteen.  I
recruited them for Aolo, and being salt-water men they put them on the
_Sandfly_ that was lost on the way to the Santa Cruz.  They've got a jack-
pot over there on the weather coast--my word, the boy that could get my
head would be a second Carnegie!  A hundred and fifty pigs and shell
money no end the village's collected for the chap that gets me and
delivers."

"And they ain't--yet," Haggin snorted.

"No fear," was the cheerful retort.

"You talk like Arbuckle used to talk," Haggin censured.  "Manny's the
time I've heard him string it off.  Poor old Arbuckle.  The most sure and
most precautious chap that ever handled niggers.  He never went to sleep
without spreadin' a box of tacks on the floor, and when it wasn't them it
was crumpled newspapers.  I remember me well, bein' under the same roof
at the time on Florida, when a big tomcat chased a cockroach into the
papers.  And it was blim, blam, blim, six times an' twice over, with his
two big horse-pistols, an' the house perforated like a cullender.
Likewise there was a dead tom-cat.  He could shoot in the dark with never
an aim, pullin' trigger with the second finger and pointing with the
first finger laid straight along the barrel.

"No, sir, my laddy buck.  He was the bully boy with the glass eye.  The
nigger didn't live that'd lift his head.  But they got 'm.  They got 'm.
He lasted fourteen years, too.  It was his cook-boy.  Hatcheted 'm before
breakfast.  An' it's well I remember our second trip into the bush after
what was left of 'm."

"I saw his head after you'd turned it over to the Commissioner at
Tulagi," Van Horn supplemented.

"An' the peaceful, quiet, everyday face of him on it, with almost the
same old smile I'd seen a thousand times.  It dried on 'm that way over
the smokin' fire.  But they got 'm, if it did take fourteen years.
There's manny's the head that goes to Malaita, manny's the time untooken;
but, like the old pitcher, it's tooken in the end."

"But I've got their goat," the captain insisted.  "When trouble's
hatching, I go straight to them and tell them what.  They can't get the
hang of it.  Think I've got some powerful devil-devil medicine."

Tom Haggin thrust out his hand in abrupt good-bye, resolutely keeping his
eyes from dropping to Jerry in the other's arms.

"Keep your eye on my return boys," he cautioned, as he went over the
side, "till you land the last mother's son of 'm.  They've got no cause
to love Jerry or his breed, an' I'd hate ill to happen 'm at a nigger's
hands.  An' in the dark of the night 'tis like as not he can do a fare-
you-well overside.  Don't take your eye off 'm till you're quit of the
last of 'm."

At sight of big _Mister_ Haggin deserting him and being pulled away in
the whaleboat, Jerry wriggled and voiced his anxiety in a low, whimpering
whine.  Captain Van Horn snuggled him closer in his arm with a caress of
his free hand.

"Don't forget the agreement," Tom Haggin called back across the widening
water.  "If aught happens you, Jerry's to come back to me."

"I'll make a paper to that same and put it with the ship's articles," was
Van Horn's reply.

Among the many words possessed by Jerry was his own name; and in the talk
of the two men he had recognised it repeatedly, and he was aware,
vaguely, that the talk was related to the vague and unguessably terrible
thing that was happening to him.  He wriggled more determinedly, and Van
Horn set him down on the deck.  He sprang to the rail with more quickness
than was to be expected of an awkward puppy of six months, and not the
quick attempt of Van Horn to cheek him would have succeeded.  But Jerry
recoiled from the open water lapping the _Arangi's_ side.  The taboo was
upon him.  It was the image of the log awash that was not a log but that
was alive, luminous in his brain, that checked him.  It was not reason on
his part, but inhibition which had become habit.

He plumped down on his bob tail, lifted golden muzzle skyward, and
emitted a long puppy-wail of dismay and grief.

"It's all right, Jerry, old man, brace up and be a man-dog," Van Horn
soothed him.

But Jerry was not to be reconciled.  While this indubitably was a white-
skinned god, it was not his god.  _Mister_ Haggin was his god, and a
superior god at that.  Even he, without thinking about it at all,
recognized that.  His _Mister_ Haggin wore pants and shoes.  This god on
the deck beside him was more like a black.  Not only did he not wear
pants, and was barefooted and barelegged, but about his middle, just like
any black, he wore a brilliant-coloured loin-cloth, that, like a kilt,
fell nearly to his sunburnt knees.

Captain Van Horn was a handsome man and a striking man, although Jerry
did not know it.  If ever a Holland Dutchman stepped out of a Rembrandt
frame, Captain Van Horn was that one, despite the fact that he was New
York born, as had been his knickerbocker ancestors before him clear back
to the time when New York was not New York but New Amsterdam.  To
complete his costume, a floppy felt hat, distinctly Rembrandtish in
effect, perched half on his head and mostly over one ear; a sixpenny,
white cotton undershirt covered his torso; and from a belt about his
middle dangled a tobacco pouch, a sheath-knife, filled clips of
cartridges, and a huge automatic pistol in a leather holster.

On the beach, Biddy, who had hushed her grief, lifted it again when she
heard Jerry's wail.  And Jerry, desisting a moment to listen, heard
Michael beside her, barking his challenge, and saw, without being
conscious of it, Michael's withered ear with its persistent upward cock.
Again, while Captain Van Horn and the mate, Borckman, gave orders, and
while the _Arangi's_ mainsail and spanker began to rise up the masts,
Jerry loosed all his heart of woe in what Bob told Derby on the beach was
the "grandest vocal effort" he had ever heard from any dog, and that,
except for being a bit thin, Caruso didn't have anything on Jerry.  But
the song was too much for Haggin, who, as soon as he had landed, whistled
Biddy to him and strode rapidly away from the beach.

At sight of her disappearing, Jerry was guilty of even more Caruso-like
effects, which gave great joy to a Pennduffryn return boy who stood
beside him.  He laughed and jeered at Jerry with falsetto chucklings that
were more like the jungle-noises of tree-dwelling creatures, half-bird
and half-man, than of a man, all man, and therefore a god.  This served
as an excellent counter-irritant.  Indignation that a mere black should
laugh at him mastered Jerry, and the next moment his puppy teeth, sharp-
pointed as needles, had scored the astonished black's naked calf in long
parallel scratches from each of which leaped the instant blood.  The
black sprang away in trepidation, but the blood of Terrence the
Magnificent was true in Jerry, and, like his father before him, he
followed up, slashing the black's other calf into a ruddy pattern.

At this moment, anchor broken out and headsails running up, Captain Van
Horn, whose quick eye had missed no detail of the incident, with an order
to the black helmsman turned to applaud Jerry.

"Go to it, Jerry!" he encouraged.  "Get him!  Shake him down!  Sick him!
Get him!  Get him!"

The black, in defence, aimed a kick at Jerry, who, leaping in instead of
away--another inheritance from Terrence--avoided the bare foot and
printed a further red series of parallel lines on the dark leg.  This was
too much, and the black, afraid more of Van Horn than of Jerry, turned
and fled for'ard, leaping to safety on top of the eight Lee-Enfield
rifles that lay on top of the cabin skylight and that were guarded by one
member of the boat's crew.  About the skylight Jerry stormed, leaping up
and falling back, until Captain Van Horn called him off.

"Some nigger-chaser, that pup, _some_ nigger-chaser!" Van Horn confided
to Borckman, as he bent to pat Jerry and give him due reward of praise.

And Jerry, under this caressing hand of a god, albeit it did not wear
pants, forgot for a moment longer the fate that was upon him.

"He's a lion-dog--more like an Airedale than an Irish terrier," Van Horn
went on to his mate, still petting.  "Look at the size of him already.
Look at the bone of him.  Some chest that.  He's got the endurance.  And
he'll be some dog when he grows up to those feet of his."

Jerry had just remembered his grief and was starting a rush across the
deck to the rail to gaze at Meringe growing smaller every second in the
distance, when a gust of the South-east Trade smote the sails and pressed
the _Arangi_ down.  And down the deck, slanted for the moment to forty-
five degrees, Jerry slipped and slid, vainly clawing at the smooth
surface for a hold.  He fetched up against the foot of the mizzenmast,
while Captain Van Horn, with the sailor's eye for the coral patch under
his bow, gave the order "Hard a-lee!"

Borckman and the black steersman echoed his words, and, as the wheel spun
down, the _Arangi_, with the swiftness of a witch, rounded into the wind
and attained a momentary even keel to the flapping of her headsails and a
shifting of headsheets.

Jerry, still intent on Meringe, took advantage of the level footing to
recover himself and scramble toward the rail.  But he was deflected by
the crash of the mainsheet blocks on the stout deck-traveller, as the
mainsail, emptied of the wind and feeling the wind on the other side,
swung crazily across above him.  He cleared the danger of the mainsheet
with a wild leap (although no less wild had been Van Horn's leap to
rescue him), and found himself directly under the mainboom with the huge
sail looming above him as if about to fall upon him and crush him.

It was Jerry's first experience with sails of any sort.  He did not know
the beasts, much less the way of them, but, in his vivid recollection,
when he had been a tiny puppy, burned the memory of the hawk, in the
middle of the compound, that had dropped down upon him from out of the
sky.  Under that colossal threatened impact he crouched down to the deck.
Above him, falling upon him like a bolt from the blue, was a winged hawk
unthinkably vaster than the one he had encountered.  But in his crouch
was no hint of cower.  His crouch was a gathering together, an assembling
of all the parts of him under the rule of the spirit of him, for the
spring upward to meet in mid career this monstrous, menacing thing.

But, the succeeding fraction of a moment, so that Jerry, leaping, missed
even the shadow of it, the mainsail, with a second crash of blocks on
traveller, had swung across and filled on the other tack.

Van Horn had missed nothing of it.  Before, in his time, he had seen
young dogs frightened into genuine fits by their first encounters with
heaven-filling, sky-obscuring, down-impending sails.  This was the first
dog he had seen leap with bared teeth, undismayed, to grapple with the
huge unknown.

With spontaneity of admiration, Van Horn swept Jerry from the deck and
gathered him into his arms.



CHAPTER III


Jerry quite forgot Meringe for the time being.  As he well remembered,
the hawk had been sharp of beak and claw.  This air-flapping, thunder-
crashing monster needed watching.  And Jerry, crouching for the spring
and ever struggling to maintain his footing on the slippery, heeling
deck, kept his eyes on the mainsail and uttered low growls at any display
of movement on its part.

The _Arangi_ was beating out between the coral patches of the narrow
channel into the teeth of the brisk trade wind.  This necessitated
frequent tacks, so that, overhead, the mainsail was ever swooping across
from port tack to starboard tack and back again, making air-noises like
the swish of wings, sharply rat-tat-tatting its reef points and loudly
crashing its mainsheet gear along the traveller.  Half a dozen times, as
it swooped overhead, Jerry leaped for it, mouth open to grip, lips
writhed clear of the clean puppy teeth that shone in the sun like gems of
ivory.

Failing in every leap, Jerry achieved a judgment.  In passing, it must be
noted that this judgment was only arrived at by a definite act of
reasoning.  Out of a series of observations of the thing, in which it had
threatened, always in the same way, a series of attacks, he had found
that it had not hurt him nor come in contact with him at all.
Therefore--although he did not stop to think that he was thinking--it was
not the dangerous, destroying thing he had first deemed it.  It might be
well to be wary of it, though already it had taken its place in his
classification of things that appeared terrible but were not terrible.
Thus, he had learned not to fear the roar of the wind among the palms
when he lay snug on the plantation-house veranda, nor the onslaught of
the waves, hissing and rumbling into harmless foam on the beach at his
feet.

Many times, in the course of the day, alertly and nonchalantly, almost
with a quizzical knowingness, Jerry cocked his head at the mainsail when
it made sudden swooping movements or slacked and tautened its crashing
sheet-gear.  But he no longer crouched to spring for it.  That had been
the first lesson, and quickly mastered.

Having settled the mainsail, Jerry returned in mind to Meringe.  But
there was no Meringe, no Biddy and Terrence and Michael on the beach; no
_Mister_ Haggin and Derby and Bob; no beach: no land with the palm-trees
near and the mountains afar off everlastingly lifting their green peaks
into the sky.  Always, to starboard or to port, at the bow or over the
stern, when he stood up resting his fore-feet on the six-inch rail and
gazing, he saw only the ocean, broken-faced and turbulent, yet orderly
marching its white-crested seas before the drive of the trade.

Had he had the eyes of a man, nearly two yards higher than his own from
the deck, and had they been the trained eyes of a man, sailor-man at
that, Jerry could have seen the low blur of Ysabel to the north and the
blur of Florida to the south, ever taking on definiteness of detail as
the _Arangi_ sagged close-hauled, with a good full, port-tacked to the
south-east trade.  And had he had the advantage of the marine glasses
with which Captain Van Horn elongated the range of his eyes, he could
have seen, to the east, the far peaks of Malaita lifting life-shadowed
pink cloud-puffs above the sea-rim.

But the present was very immediate with Jerry.  He had early learned the
iron law of the immediate, and to accept what _was_ when it was, rather
than to strain after far other things.  The sea was.  The land no longer
was.  The _Arangi_ certainly was, along with the life that cluttered her
deck.  And he proceeded to get acquainted with what was--in short, to
know and to adjust himself to his new environment.

His first discovery was delightful--a wild-dog puppy from the Ysabel
bush, being taken back to Malaita by one of the Meringe return boys.  In
age they were the same, but their breeding was different.  The wild-dog
was what he was, a wild-dog, cringing and sneaking, his ears for ever
down, his tail for ever between his legs, for ever apprehending fresh
misfortune and ill-treatment to fall on him, for ever fearing and
resentful, fending off threatened hurt with lips curling malignantly from
his puppy fangs, cringing under a blow, squalling his fear and his pain,
and ready always for a treacherous slash if luck and safety favoured.

The wild-dog was maturer than Jerry, larger-bodied, and wiser in
wickedness; but Jerry was blue-blooded, right-selected, and valiant.  The
wild-dog had come out of a selection equally rigid; but it was a
different sort of selection.  The bush ancestors from whom he had
descended had survived by being fear-selected.  They had never
voluntarily fought against odds.  In the open they had never attacked
save when the prey was weak or defenceless.  In place of courage, they
had lived by creeping, and slinking, and hiding from danger.  They had
been selected blindly by nature, in a cruel and ignoble environment,
where the prize of living was to be gained, in the main, by the cunning
of cowardice, and, on occasion, by desperateness of defence when in a
corner.

But Jerry had been love-selected and courage-selected.  His ancestors had
been deliberately and consciously chosen by men, who, somewhere in the
forgotten past, had taken the wild-dog and made it into the thing they
visioned and admired and desired it to be.  It must never fight like a
rat in a corner, because it must never be rat-like and slink into a
corner.  Retreat must be unthinkable.  The dogs in the past who retreated
had been rejected by men.  They had not become Jerry's ancestors.  The
dogs selected for Jerry's ancestors had been the brave ones, the
up-standing and out-dashing ones, who flew into the face of danger and
battled and died, but who never gave ground.  And, since it is the way of
kind to beget kind, Jerry was what Terrence was before him, and what
Terrence's forefathers had been for a long way back.

So it was that Jerry, when he chanced upon the wild-dog stowed shrewdly
away from the wind in the lee-corner made by the mainmast and the cabin
skylight, did not stop to consider whether the creature was bigger or
fiercer than he.  All he knew was that it was the ancient enemy--the wild-
dog that had not come in to the fires of man.  With a wild paean of joy
that attracted Captain Van Horn's all-hearing ears and all-seeing eyes,
Jerry sprang to the attack.  The wild puppy gained his feet in full
retreat with incredible swiftness, but was caught by the rush of Jerry's
body and rolled over and over on the sloping deck.  And as he rolled, and
felt sharp teeth pricking him, he snapped and snarled, alternating snarls
with whimperings and squallings of terror, pain, and abject humility.

And Jerry was a gentleman, which is to say he was a gentle dog.  He had
been so selected.  Because the thing did not fight back, because it was
abject and whining, because it was helpless under him, he abandoned the
attack, disengaging himself from the top of the tangle into which he had
slid in the lee scuppers.  He did not think about it.  He did it because
he was so made.  He stood up on the reeling deck, feeling excellently
satisfied with the delicious, wild-doggy smell of hair in his mouth and
consciousness, and in his ears and consciousness the praising cry of
Captain Van Horn: "Good boy, Jerry!  You're the goods, Jerry!  Some dog,
eh!  _Some_ dog!"

As he stalked away, it must be admitted that Jerry displayed pride in
himself, his gait being a trifle stiff-legged, the cocking of his head
back over his shoulder at the whining wild-dog having all the
articulateness of: "Well, I guess I gave you enough this time.  You'll
keep out of my way after this."

Jerry continued the exploration of his new and tiny world that was never
at rest, for ever lifting, heeling, and lunging on the rolling face of
the sea.  There were the Meringe return boys.  He made it a point to
identify all of them, receiving, while he did so, scowls and mutterings,
and reciprocating with cocky bullyings and threatenings.  Being so
trained, he walked on his four legs superior to them, two-legged though
they were; for he had moved and lived always under the aegis of the great
two-legged and be-trousered god, _Mister_ Haggin.

Then there were the strange return boys, from Pennduffryn and the Bay of
a Thousand Ships.  He insisted on knowing them all.  He might need to
know them in some future time.  He did not think this.  He merely
equipped himself with knowledge of his environment without any awareness
of provision or without bothering about the future.

In his own way of acquiring knowledge, he quickly discovered, just as on
the plantation house-boys were different from field-boys, that on the
_Arangi_ there was a classification of boys different from the return
boys.  This was the boat's crew.  The fifteen blacks who composed it were
closer than the others to Captain Van Horn.  They seemed more directly to
belong to the _Arangi_ and to him.  They laboured under him at word of
command, steering at the wheel, pulling and hauling on ropes, healing
water upon the deck from overside and scrubbing with brooms.

Just as Jerry had learned from _Mister_ Haggin that he must be more
tolerant of the house-boys than of the field-boys if they trespassed on
the compound, so, from Captain Van Horn, he learned that he must be more
tolerant of the boat's crew than of the return boys.  He had less license
with them, more license with the others.  As long as Captain Van Horn did
not want his boat's crew chased, it was Jerry's duty not to chase.  On
the other hand he never forgot that he was a white-god's dog.  While he
might not chase these particular blacks, he declined familiarity with
them.  He kept his eye on them.  He had seen blacks as tolerated as
these, lined up and whipped by _Mister_ Haggin.  They occupied an
intermediate place in the scheme of things, and they were to be watched
in case they did not keep their place.  He accorded them room, but he did
not accord them equality.  At the best, he could be stand-offishly
considerate of them.

He made thorough examination of the galley, a rude affair, open on the
open deck, exposed to wind and rain and storm, a small stove that was not
even a ship's stove, on which somehow, aided by strings and wedges,
commingled with much smoke, two blacks managed to cook the food for the
four-score persons on board.

Next, he was interested by a strange proceeding on the part of the boat's
crew.  Upright pipes, serving as stanchions, were being screwed into the
top of the _Arangi's_ rail so that they served to support three strands
of barbed wire that ran completely around the vessel, being broken only
at the gangway for a narrow space of fifteen inches.  That this was a
precaution against danger, Jerry sensed without a passing thought to it.
All his life, from his first impressions of life, had been passed in the
heart of danger, ever-impending, from the blacks.  In the plantation
house at Meringe, always the several white men had looked askance at the
many blacks who toiled for them and belonged to them.  In the
living-room, where were the eating-table, the billiard-table, and the
phonograph, stood stands of rifles, and in each bedroom, beside each bed,
ready to hand, had been revolvers and rifles.  As well, _Mister_ Haggin
and Derby and Bob had always carried revolvers in their belts when they
left the house to go among their blacks.

Jerry knew these noise-making things for what they were--instruments of
destruction and death.  He had seen live things destroyed by them, such
as puarkas, goats, birds, and crocodiles.  By means of such things the
white-gods by their will crossed space without crossing it with their
bodies, and destroyed live things.  Now he, in order to damage anything,
had to cross space with his body to get to it.  He was different.  He was
limited.  All impossible things were possible to the unlimited,
two-legged white-gods.  In a way, this ability of theirs to destroy
across space was an elongation of claw and fang.  Without pondering it,
or being conscious of it, he accepted it as he accepted the rest of the
mysterious world about him.

Once, even, had Jerry seen his _Mister_ Haggin deal death at a distance
in another noise-way.  From the veranda he had seen him fling sticks of
exploding dynamite into a screeching mass of blacks who had come raiding
from the Beyond in the long war canoes, beaked and black, carved and
inlaid with mother-of-pearl, which they had left hauled up on the beach
at the door of Meringe.

Many precautions by the white-gods had Jerry been aware of, and so,
sensing it almost in intangible ways, as a matter of course he accepted
this barbed-wire fence on the floating world as a mark of the persistence
of danger.  Disaster and death hovered close about, waiting the chance to
leap upon life and drag it down.  Life had to be very alive in order to
live was the law Jerry had learned from the little of life he knew.

Watching the rigging up of the barbed wire, Jerry's next adventure was an
encounter with Lerumie, the return boy from Meringe, who, only that
morning, on the beach embarking, had been rolled by Biddy, along with his
possessions into the surf.  The encounter occurred on the starboard side
of the skylight, alongside of which Lerumie was standing as he gazed into
a cheap trade-mirror and combed his kinky hair with a hand-carved comb of
wood.

Jerry, scarcely aware of Lerumie's presence, was trotting past on his way
aft to where Borckman, the mate, was superintending the stringing of the
barbed wire to the stanchions.  And Lerumie, with a side-long look to see
if the deed meditated for his foot was screened from observation, aimed a
kick at the son of his four-legged enemy.  His bare foot caught Jerry on
the sensitive end of his recently bobbed tail, and Jerry, outraged, with
the sense of sacrilege committed upon him, went instantly wild.

Captain Van Horn, standing aft on the port quarter, gauging the slant of
the wind on the sails and the inadequate steering of the black at the
wheel, had not seen Jerry because of the intervening skylight.  But his
eyes had taken in the shoulder movement of Lerumie that advertised the
balancing on one foot while the other foot had kicked.  And from what
followed, he divined what had already occurred.

Jerry's outcry, as he sprawled, whirled, sprang, and slashed, was a
veritable puppy-scream of indignation.  He slashed ankle and foot as he
received the second kick in mid-air; and, although he slid clear down the
slope of deck into the scuppers, he left on the black skin the red
tracery of his puppy-needle teeth.  Still screaming his indignation, he
clawed his way back up the steep wooden hill.

Lerumie, with another side-long look, knew that he was observed and that
he dare not go to extremes.  He fled along the skylight to escape down
the companionway, but was caught by Jerry's sharp teeth in his calf.
Jerry, attacking blindly, got in the way of the black's feet.  A long,
stumbling fall, accelerated by a sudden increase of wind in the sails,
ensued, and Lerumie, vainly trying to catch his footing, fetched up
against the three strands of barbed wire on the lee rail.

The deck-full of blacks shrieked their merriment, and Jerry, his rage
undiminished, his immediate antagonist out of the battle, mistaking
himself as the object of the laughter of the blacks, turned upon them,
charging and slashing the many legs that fled before him.  They dropped
down the cabin and forecastle companionways, ran out the bowsprit, and
sprang into the rigging till they were perched everywhere in the air like
monstrous birds.  In the end, the deck belonged to Jerry, save for the
boat's crew; for he had already learned to differentiate.  Captain Van
Horn was hilariously vocal of his praise, calling Jerry to him and giving
him man-thumps of joyful admiration.  Next, the captain turned to his
many passengers and orated in _beche_-_de_-_mer_ English.

"Hey!  You fella boy!  I make 'm big fella talk.  This fella dog he
belong along me.  One fella boy hurt 'm that fella dog--my word!--me
cross too much along that fella boy.  I knock 'm seven bells outa that
fella boy.  You take 'm care leg belong you.  I take 'm care dog belong
me.  Savve?"

And the passengers, still perched in the air, with gleaming black eyes
and with querulerus chirpings one to another, accepted the white man's
law.  Even Lerumie, variously lacerated by the barbed wire, did not scowl
nor mutter threats.  Instead, and bringing a roar of laughter from his
fellows and a twinkle into the skipper's eyes, he rubbed questing fingers
over his scratches and murmured: "My word!  Some big fella dog that
fella!"

It was not that Jerry was unkindly.  Like Biddy and Terrence, he was
fierce and unafraid; which attributes were wrapped up in his heredity.
And, like Biddy and Terrence, he delighted in nigger-chasing, which, in
turn, was a matter of training.  From his earliest puppyhood he had been
so trained.  Niggers were niggers, but white men were gods, and it was
the white-gods who had trained him to chase niggers and keep them in
their proper lesser place in the world.  All the world was held in the
hollow of the white man's hands.  The niggers--well, had not he seen them
always compelled to remain in their lesser place?  Had he not seen them,
on occasion, triced up to the palm-trees of the Meringe compound and
their backs lashed to ribbons by the white-gods?  Small wonder that a
high-born Irish terrier, in the arms of love of the white-god, should
look at niggers through white-god's eyes, and act toward niggers in the
way that earned the white-god's reward of praise.

It was a busy day for Jerry.  Everything about the _Arangi_ was new and
strange, and so crowded was she that exciting things were continually
happening.  He had another encounter with the wild-dog, who treacherously
attacked him in flank from ambuscade.  Trade boxes belonging to the
blacks had been irregularly piled so that a small space was left between
two boxes in the lower tier.  From this hole, as Jerry trotted past in
response to a call from the skipper, the wild-dog sprang, scratched his
sharp puppy-teeth into Jerry's yellow-velvet hide, and scuttled back into
his lair.

Again Jerry's feelings were outraged.  He could understand flank attack.
Often he and Michael had played at that, although it had only been
playing.  But to retreat without fighting from a fight once started was
alien to Jerry's ways and nature.  With righteous wrath he charged into
the hole after his enemy.  But this was where the wild-dog fought to best
advantage--in a corner.  When Jerry sprang up in the confined space he
bumped his head on the box above, and the next moment felt the snarling
impact of the other's teeth against his own teeth and jaw.

There was no getting at the wild-dog, no chance to rush against him whole
heartedly, with generous full weight in the attack.  All Jerry could do
was to crawl and squirm and belly forward, and always he was met by a
snarling mouthful of teeth.  Even so, he would have got the wild-dog in
the end, had not Borckman, in passing, reached in and dragged Jerry out
by a hind-leg.  Again came Captain Van Horn's call, and Jerry, obedient,
trotted on aft.

A meal was being served on deck in the shade of the spanker, and Jerry,
sitting between the two men received his share.  Already he had made the
generalization that of the two, the captain was the superior god, giving
many orders that the mate obeyed.  The mate, on the other hand, gave
orders to the blacks, but never did he give orders to the captain.
Furthermore, Jerry was developing a liking for the captain, so he
snuggled close to him.  When he put his nose into the captain's plate, he
was gently reprimanded.  But once, when he merely sniffed at the mate's
steaming tea-cup, her received a snub on the nose from the mate's grimy
forefinger.  Also, the mate did not offer him food.

Captain Van Horn gave him, first of all, a pannikin of oatmeal mush,
generously flooded with condensed cream and sweetened with a heaping
spoonful of sugar.  After that, on occasion, he gave him morsels of
buttered bread and slivers of fried fish from which he first carefully
picked the tiny bones.

His beloved _Mister_ Haggin had never fed him from the table at meal
time, and Jerry was beside himself with the joy of this delightful
experience.  And, being young, he allowed his eagerness to take
possession of him, so that soon he was unduly urging the captain for more
pieces of fish and of bread and butter.  Once, he even barked his demand.
This put the idea into the captain's head, who began immediately to teach
him to "speak."

At the end of five minutes he had learned to speak softly, and to speak
only once--a low, mellow, bell-like bark of a single syllable.  Also, in
this first five minutes, he had learned to "sit down," as distinctly
different from "lie down"; and that he must sit down whenever he spoke,
and that he must speak without jumping or moving from the sitting
position, and then must wait until the piece of food was passed to him.

Further, he had added three words to his vocabulary.  For ever after,
"speak" would mean to him "speak," and "sit down" would mean "sit down"
and would not mean "lie down."  The third addition to his vocabulary was
"Skipper."  That was the name he had heard the mate repeatedly call
Captain Van Horn.  And just as Jerry knew that when a human called
"Michael," that the call referred to Michael and not to Biddy, or
Terrence, or himself, so he knew that _Skipper_ was the name of the two-
legged white master of this new floating world.

"That isn't just a dog," was Van Horn's conclusion to the mate.  "There's
a sure enough human brain there behind those brown eyes.  He's six months
old.  Any boy of six years would be an infant phenomenon to learn in five
minutes all that he's just learned.  Why, Gott-fer-dang, a dog's brain
has to be like a man's.  If he does things like a man, he's got to think
like a man."



CHAPTER IV


The companionway into the main cabin was a steep ladder, and down this,
after his meal, Jerry was carried by the captain.  The cabin was a long
room, extending for the full width of the _Arangi_ from a lazarette aft
to a tiny room for'ard.  For'ard of this room, separated by a tight
bulkhead, was the forecastle where lived the boat's crew.  The tiny room
was shared between Van Horn and Borckman, while the main cabin was
occupied by the three-score and odd return boys.  They squatted about and
lay everywhere on the floor and on the long low bunks that ran the full
length of the cabin along either side.

In the little stateroom the captain tossed a blanket on the floor in a
corner, and he did not find it difficult to get Jerry to understand that
that was his bed.  Nor did Jerry, with a full stomach and weary from so
much excitement, find it difficult to fall immediately asleep.

An hour later he was awakened by the entrance of Borckman.  When he
wagged his stub of a tail and smiled friendly with his eyes, the mate
scowled at him and muttered angrily in his throat.  Jerry made no further
overtures, but lay quietly watching.  The mate had come to take a drink.
In truth, he was stealing the drink from Van Horn's supply.  Jerry did
not know this.  Often, on the plantation, he had seen the white men take
drinks.  But there was something somehow different in the manner of
Borckman's taking a drink.  Jerry was aware, vaguely, that there was
something surreptitious about it.  What was wrong he did not know, yet he
sensed the wrongness and watched suspiciously.

After the mate departed, Jerry would have slept again had not the
carelessly latched door swung open with a bang.  Opening his eyes,
prepared for any hostile invasion from the unknown, he fell to watching a
large cockroach crawling down the wall.  When he got to his feet and
warily stalked toward it, the cockroach scuttled away with a slight
rustling noise and disappeared into a crack.  Jerry had been acquainted
with cockroaches all his life, but he was destined to learn new things
about them from the particular breed that dwelt on the _Arangi_.

After a cursory examination of the stateroom he wandered out into the
cabin.  The blacks, sprawled about everywhere, but, conceiving it to be
his duty to his _Skipper_, Jerry made it a point to identify each one.
They scowled and uttered low threatening noises when he sniffed close to
them.  One dared to menace him with a blow, but Jerry, instead of
slinking away, showed his teeth and prepared to spring.  The black
hastily dropped the offending hand to his side and made soothing,
penitent noises, while others chuckled; and Jerry passed on his way.  It
was nothing new.  Always a blow was to be expected from blacks when white
men were not around.  Both the mate and the captain were on deck, and
Jerry, though unafraid, continued his investigations cautiously.

But at the doorless entrance to the lazarette aft, he threw caution to
the winds and darted in in pursuit of the new scent that came to his
nostrils.  A strange person was in the low, dark space whom he had never
smelled.  Clad in a single shift and lying on a coarse grass-mat spread
upon a pile of tobacco cases and fifty-pound tins of flour, was a young
black girl.

There was something furtive and lurking about her that Jerry did not fail
to sense, and he had long since learned that something was wrong when any
black lurked or skulked.  She cried out with fear as he barked an alarm
and pounced upon her.  Even though his teeth scratched her bare arm, she
did not strike at him.  Not did she cry out again.  She cowered down and
trembled and did not fight back.  Keeping his teeth locked in the hold he
had got on her flimsy shift, he shook and dragged at her, all the while
growling and scolding for her benefit and yelping a high clamour to bring
Skipper or the mate.

In the course of the struggle the girl over-balanced on the boxes and
tins and the entire heap collapsed.  This caused Jerry to yelp a more
frenzied alarm, while the blacks, peering in from the cabin, laughed with
cruel enjoyment.

When Skipper arrived, Jerry wagged his stump tail and, with ears laid
back, dragged and tugged harder than ever at the thin cotton of the
girl's garment.  He expected praise for what he had done, but when
Skipper merely told him to let go, he obeyed with the realization that
this lurking, fear-struck creature was somehow different, and must be
treated differently, from other lurking creatures.

Fear-struck she was, as it is given to few humans to be and still live.
Van Horn called her his parcel of trouble, and he was anxious to be rid
of the parcel, without, however, the utter annihilation of the parcel.  It
was this annihilation which he had saved her from when he bought her in
even exchange for a fat pig.

Stupid, worthless, spiritless, sick, not more than a dozen years old, no
delight in the eyes of the young men of her village, she had been
consigned by her disappointed parents to the cooking-pot.  When Captain
Van Horn first encountered her had been when she was the central figure
in a lugubrious procession on the banks of the Balebuli River.

Anything but a beauty--had been his appraisal when he halted the
procession for a pow-wow.  Lean from sickness, her skin mangy with the
dry scales of the disease called _bukua_, she was tied hand and foot and,
like a pig, slung from a stout pole that rested on the shoulders of the
bearers, who intended to dine off of her.  Too hopeless to expect mercy,
she made no appeal for help, though the horrible fear that possessed her
was eloquent in her wild-staring eyes.

In the universal beche-de-mer English, Captain Van Horn had learned that
she was not regarded with relish by her companions, and that they were on
their way to stake her out up to her neck in the running water of the
Balebuli.  But first, before they staked her, their plan was to dislocate
her joints and break the big bones of the arms and legs.  This was no
religious rite, no placation of the brutish jungle gods.  Merely was it a
matter of gastronomy.  Living meat, so treated, was made tender and
tasty, and, as her companions pointed out, she certainly needed to be put
through such a process.  Two days in the water, they told the captain,
ought to do the business.  Then they would kill her, build the fire, and
invite in a few friends.

After half an hour of bargaining, during which Captain Van Horn had
insisted on the worthlessness of the parcel, he had bought a fat pig
worth five dollars and exchanged it for her.  Thus, since he had paid for
the pig in trade goods, and since trade goods were rated at a hundred per
cent. profit, the girl had actually cost him two dollars and fifty cents.

And then Captain Van Horn's troubles had begun.  He could not get rid of
the girl.  Too well he knew the natives of Malaita to turn her over to
them anywhere on the island.  Chief Ishikola of Su'u had offered five
twenties of drinking coconuts for her, and Bau, a bush chief, had offered
two chickens on the beach at Malu.  But this last offer had been
accompanied by a sneer, and had tokened the old rascal's scorn of the
girl's scrawniness.  Failing to connect with the missionary brig, the
_Western_ _Cross_, on which she would not have been eaten, Captain Van
Horn had been compelled to keep her in the cramped quarters of the
_Arangi_ against a problematical future time when he would be able to
turn her over to the missionaries.

But toward him the girl had no heart of gratitude because she had no
brain of understanding.  She, who had been sold for a fat pig, considered
her pitiful role in the world to be unchanged.  Eatee she had been.  Eatee
she remained.  Her destination merely had been changed, and this big
fella white marster of the _Arangi_ would undoubtedly be her destination
when she had sufficiently fattened.  His designs on her had been
transparent from the first, when he had tried to feed her up.  And she
had outwitted him by resolutely eating no more than would barely keep her
alive.

As a result, she, who had lived in the bush all her days and never so
much as set foot in a canoe, rocked and rolled unendingly over the broad
ocean in a perpetual nightmare of fear.  In the beche-de-mer that was
current among the blacks of a thousand islands and ten thousand dialects,
the _Arangi's_ procession of passengers assured her of her fate.  "My
word, you fella Mary," one would say to her, "short time little bit that
big fella white marster kai-kai along you."  Or, another: "Big fella
white marster kai-kai along you, my word, belly belong him walk about too
much."

Kai-kai was the beche-de-mer for "eat."  Even Jerry knew that.  "Eat" did
not obtain in his vocabulary; but kai-kai did, and it meant all and more
than "eat," for it served for both noun and verb.

But the girl never replied to the jeering of the blacks.  For that
matter, she never spoke at all, not even to Captain Van Horn, who did not
so much as know her name.

It was late afternoon, after discovering the girl in the lazarette, when
Jerry again came on deck.  Scarcely had Skipper, who had carried him up
the steep ladder, dropped him on deck than Jerry made a new
discovery--land.  He did not see it, but he smelled it.  His nose went up
in the air and quested to windward along the wind that brought the
message, and he read the air with his nose as a man might read a
newspaper--the salt smells of the seashore and of the dank muck of
mangrove swamps at low tide, the spicy fragrances of tropic vegetation,
and the faint, most faint, acrid tingle of smoke from smudgy fires.

The trade, which had laid the _Arangi_ well up under the lee of this
outjutting point of Malaita, was now failing, so that she began to roll
in the easy swells with crashings of sheets and tackles and thunderous
flappings of her sails.  Jerry no more than cocked a contemptuous
quizzical eye at the mainsail anticking above him.  He knew already the
empty windiness of its threats, but he was careful of the mainsheet
blocks, and walked around the traveller instead of over it.

While Captain Van Horn, taking advantage of the calm to exercise the
boat's crew with the fire-arms and to limber up the weapons, was passing
out the Lee-Enfields from their place on top the cabin skylight, Jerry
suddenly crouched and began to stalk stiff-legged.  But the wild-dog,
three feet from his lair under the trade-boxes, was not unobservant.  He
watched and snarled threateningly.  It was not a nice snarl.  In fact, it
was as nasty and savage a snarl as all his life had been nasty and
savage.  Most small creatures were afraid of that snarl, but it had no
deterrent effect on Jerry, who continued his steady stalking.  When the
wild-dog sprang for the hole under the boxes, Jerry sprang after, missing
his enemy by inches.  Tossing overboard bits of wood, bottles and empty
tins, Captain Van Horn ordered the eight eager boat's crew with rifles to
turn loose.  Jerry was excited and delighted with the fusillade, and
added his puppy yelpings to the noise.  As the empty brass cartridges
were ejected, the return boys scrambled on the deck for them, esteeming
them as very precious objects and thrusting them, still warm, into the
empty holes in their ears.  Their ears were perforated with many of these
holes, the smallest capable of receiving a cartridge, while the larger
ones contained-clay pipes, sticks of tobacco, and even boxes of matches.
Some of the holes in the ear-lobes were so huge that they were plugged
with carved wooden cylinders three inches in diameter.

Mate and captain carried automatics in their belts, and with these they
turned loose, shooting away clip after clip to the breathless admiration
of the blacks for such marvellous rapidity of fire.  The boat's crew were
not even fair shots, but Van Horn, like every captain in the Solomons,
knew that the bush natives and salt-water men were so much worse shots,
and knew that the shooting of his boat's crew could be depended upon--if
the boat's crew itself did not turn against the ship in a pinch.

At first, Borckman's automatic jammed, and he received a caution from Van
Horn for his carelessness in not keeping it clean and thin-oiled.  Also,
Borckman was twittingly asked how many drinks he had taken, and if that
was what accounted for his shooting being under his average.  Borckman
explained that he had a touch of fever, and Van Horn deferred stating his
doubts until a few minutes later, squatting in the shade of the spanker
with Jerry in his arms, he told Jerry all about it.

"The trouble with him is the schnapps, Jerry," he explained.  "Gott-fer-
dang, it makes me keep all my watches and half of his.  And he says it's
the fever.  Never believe it, Jerry.  It's the schnapps--just the plain s-
c-h-n-a-p-p-s schnapps.  An' he's a good sailor-man, Jerry, when he's
sober.  But when he's schnappy he's sheer lunatic.  Then his noddle goes
pinwheeling and he's a blighted fool, and he'd snore in a gale and suffer
for sleep in a dead calm.--Jerry, you're just beginning to pad those four
little soft feet of yours into the world, so take the advice of one who
knows and leave the schnapps alone.  Believe me, Jerry, boy--listen to
your father--schnapps will never buy you anything."

Whereupon, leaving Jerry on deck to stalk the wild-dog, Captain Van Horn
went below into the tiny stateroom and took a long drink from the very
bottle from which Borckman was stealing.

The stalking of the wild-dog became a game, at least to Jerry, who was so
made that his heart bore no malice, and who hugely enjoyed it.  Also, it
gave him a delightful consciousness of his own mastery, for the wild-dog
always fled from him.  At least so far as dogs were concerned, Jerry was
cock of the deck of the _Arangi_.  It did not enter his head to query how
his conduct affected the wild-dog, though, in truth, he led that
individual a wretched existence.  Never, except when Jerry was below, did
the wild one dare venture more than several feet from his retreat, and he
went about in fear and trembling of the fat roly-poly puppy who was
unafraid of his snarl.

In the late afternoon, Jerry trotted aft, after having administered
another lesson to the wild-dog, and found Skipper seated on the deck,
back against the low rail, knees drawn up, and gazing absently off to
leeward.  Jerry sniffed his bare calf--not that he needed to identify it,
but just because he liked to, and in a sort of friendly greeting.  But
Van Horn took no notice, continuing to stare out across the sea.  Nor was
he aware of the puppy's presence.

Jerry rested the length of his chin on Skipper's knee and gazed long and
earnestly into Skipper's face.  This time Skipper knew, and was
pleasantly thrilled; but still he gave no sign.  Jerry tried a new tack.
Skipper's hand drooped idly, half open, from where the forearm rested on
the other knee.  Into the part-open hand Jerry thrust his soft golden
muzzle to the eyes and remained quite still.  Had he been situated to
see, he would have seen a twinkle in Skipper's eyes, which had been
withdrawn from the sea and were looking down upon him.  But Jerry could
not see.  He kept quiet a little longer, and then gave a prodigious
sniff.

This was too much for Skipper, who laughed with such genial heartiness as
to lay Jerry's silky ears back and down in self-deprecation of affection
and pleadingness to bask in the sunshine of the god's smile.  Also,
Skipper's laughter set Jerry's tail wildly bobbing.  The half-open hand
closed in a firm grip that gathered in the slack of the skin of one side
of Jerry's head and jowl.  Then the hand began to shake him back and
forth with such good will that he was compelled to balance back and forth
on all his four feet.

It was bliss to Jerry.  Nay, more, it was ecstasy.  For Jerry knew there
was neither anger nor danger in the roughness of the shake, and that it
was play of the sort that he and Michael had indulged in.  On occasion,
he had so played with Biddy and lovingly mauled her about.  And, on very
rare occasion, _Mister_ Haggin had lovingly mauled him about.  It was
speech to Jerry, full of unmistakable meaning.

As the shake grew rougher, Jerry emitted his most ferocious growl, which
grew more ferocious with the increasing violence of the shaking.  But
that, too, was play, a making believe to hurt the one he liked too well
to hurt.  He strained and tugged at the grip, trying to twist his jowl in
the slack of skin so as to reach a bite.

When Skipper, with a quick thrust, released him and shoved him clear, he
came back, all teeth and growl, to be again caught and shaken.  The play
continued, with rising excitement to Jerry.  Once, too quick for Skipper,
he caught his hand between teeth; but he did not bring them together.
They pressed lovingly, denting the skin, but there was no bite in them.

The play grew rougher, and Jerry lost himself in the play.  Still
playing, he grew so excited that all that had been feigned became actual.
This was battle a struggle against the hand that seized and shook him and
thrust him away.  The make-believe of ferocity passed out of his growls;
the ferocity in them became real.  Also, in the moments when he was
shoved away and was springing back to the attack, he yelped in
high-pitched puppy hysteria.  And Captain Van Horn, realizing, suddenly,
instead of clutching, extended his hand wide open in the peace sign that
is as ancient as the human hand.  At the same time his voice rang out the
single word, "Jerry!"  In it was all the imperativeness of reproof and
command and all the solicitous insistence of love.

Jerry knew and was checked back to himself.  He was instantly contrite,
all soft humility, ears laid back with pleadingness for forgiveness and
protestation of a warm throbbing heart of love.  Instantly, from an open-
mouthed, fang-bristling dog in full career of attack, he melted into a
bundle of softness and silkiness, that trotted to the open hand and
kissed it with a tongue that flashed out between white gleaming teeth
like a rose-red jewel.  And the next moment he was in Skipper's arms,
jowl against cheek, and the tongue was again flashing out in all the
articulateness possible for a creature denied speech.  It was a veritable
love-feast, as dear to one as to the other.

"Gott-fer-dang!" Captain Van Horn crooned.  "You're nothing but a bunch
of high-strung sensitiveness, with a golden heart in the middle and a
golden coat wrapped all around.  Gott-fer-dang, Jerry, you're gold, pure
gold, inside and out, and no dog was ever minted like you in all the
world.  You're heart of gold, you golden dog, and be good to me and love
me as I shall always be good to you and love you for ever and for ever."

And Captain Van Horn, who ruled the _Arangi_ in bare legs, a loin cloth,
and a sixpenny under-shirt, and ran cannibal blacks back and forth in the
blackbird trade with an automatic strapped to his body waking and
sleeping and with his head forfeit in scores of salt-water villages and
bush strongholds, and who was esteemed the toughest skipper in the
Solomons where only men who are tough may continue to live and esteem
toughness, blinked with sudden moisture in his eyes, and could not see
for the moment the puppy that quivered all its body of love in his arms
and kissed away the salty softness of his eyes.



CHAPTER V


And swift tropic night smote the _Arangi_, as she alternately rolled in
calms and heeled and plunged ahead in squalls under the lee of the
cannibal island of Malaita.  It was a stoppage of the south-east trade
wind that made for variable weather, and that made cooking on the exposed
deck galley a misery and sent the return boys, who had nothing to wet but
their skins, scuttling below.

The first watch, from eight to twelve, was the mate's; and Captain Van
Horn, forced below by the driving wet of a heavy rain squall, took Jerry
with him to sleep in the tiny stateroom.  Jerry was weary from the
manifold excitements of the most exciting day in his life; and he was
asleep and kicking and growling in his sleep, ere Skipper, with a last
look at him and a grin as he turned the lamp low, muttered aloud: "It's
that wild-dog, Jerry.  Get him.  Shake him.  Shake him hard."

So soundly did Jerry sleep, that when the rain, having robbed the
atmosphere of its last breath of wind, ceased and left the stateroom a
steaming, suffocating furnace, he did not know when Skipper, panting for
air, his loin cloth and undershirt soaked with sweat, arose, tucked
blanket and pillow under his arm, and went on deck.

Jerry only awakened when a huge three-inch cockroach nibbled at the
sensitive and hairless skin between his toes.  He awoke kicking the
offended foot, and gazed at the cockroach that did not scuttle, but that
walked dignifiedly away.  He watched it join other cockroaches that
paraded the floor.  Never had he seen so many gathered together at one
time, and never had he seen such large ones.  They were all of a size,
and they were everywhere.  Long lines of them poured out of cracks in the
walls and descended to join their fellows on the floor.

The thing was indecent--at least, in Jerry's mind, it was not to be
tolerated.  _Mister_ Haggin, Derby, and Bob had never tolerated
cockroaches, and their rules were his rules.  The cockroach was the
eternal tropic enemy.  He sprang at the nearest, pouncing to crush it to
the floor under his paws.  But the thing did what he had never known a
cockroach to do.  It arose in the air strong-flighted as a bird.  And as
if at a signal, all the multitude of cockroaches took wings of flight and
filled the room with their flutterings and circlings.

He attacked the winged host, leaping into the air, snapping at the flying
vermin, trying to knock them down with his paws.  Occasionally he
succeeded and destroyed one; nor did the combat cease until all the
cockroaches, as if at another signal, disappeared into the many cracks,
leaving the room to him.

Quickly, his next thought was: Where is Skipper?  He knew he was not in
the room, though he stood up on his hind-legs and investigated the low
bunk, his keen little nose quivering delightedly while he made little
sniffs of delight as he smelled the recent presence of Skipper.  And what
made his nose quiver and sniff, likewise made his stump of a tail bob
back and forth.

_But_ _where_ _was_ _Skipper_?  It was a thought in his brain that was as
sharp and definite as a similar thought would be in a human brain.  And
it similarly preceded action.  The door had been left hooked open, and
Jerry trotted out into the cabin where half a hundred blacks made queer
sleep-moanings, and sighings, and snorings.  They were packed closely
together, covering the floor as well as the long sweep of bunks, so that
he was compelled to crawl over their naked legs.  And there was no white
god about to protect him.  He knew it, but was unafraid.

Having made sure that Skipper was not in the cabin, Jerry prepared for
the perilous ascent of the steep steps that were almost a ladder, then
recollected the lazarette.  In he trotted and sniffed at the sleeping
girl in the cotton shift who believed that Van Horn was going to eat her
if he could succeed in fattening her.

Back at the ladder-steps, he looked up and waited in the hope that
Skipper might appear from above and carry him up.  Skipper had passed
that way, he knew, and he knew for two reasons.  It was the only way he
could have passed, and Jerry's nose told him that he had passed.  His
first attempt to climb the steps began well.  Not until a third of the
way up, as the _Arangi_ rolled in a sea and recovered with a jerk, did he
slip and fall.  Two or three boys awoke and watched him while they
prepared and chewed betel nut and lime wrapped in green leaves.

Twice, barely started, Jerry slipped back, and more boys, awakened by
their fellows, sat up and enjoyed his plight.  In the fourth attempt he
managed to gain half way up before he fell, coming down heavily on his
side.  This was hailed with low laughter and querulous chirpings that
might well have come from the throats of huge birds.  He regained his
feet, absurdly bristled the hair on his shoulders and absurdly growled
his high disdain of these lesser, two-legged things that came and went
and obeyed the wills of great, white-skinned, two-legged gods such as
Skipper and Mister Haggin.

Undeterred by his heavy fall, Jerry essayed the ladder again.  A
temporary easement of the _Arangi's_ rolling gave him his opportunity, so
that his forefeet were over the high combing of the companion when the
next big roll came.  He held on by main strength of his bent forelegs,
then scrambled over and out on deck.

Amidships, squatting on the deck near the sky-light, he investigated
several of the boat's crew and Lerumie.  He identified them
circumspectly, going suddenly stiff-legged as Lerumie made a low,
hissing, menacing noise.  Aft, at the wheel, he found a black steering,
and, near him, the mate keeping the watch.  Just as the mate spoke to him
and stooped to pat him, Jerry whiffed Skipper somewhere near at hand.
With a conciliating, apologetic bob of his tail, he trotted on up wind
and came upon Skipper on his back, rolled in a blanket so that only his
head stuck out, and sound asleep.

First of all Jerry needs must joyfully sniff him and joyfully wag his
tail.  But Skipper did not awake and a fine spray of rain, almost as thin
as mist, made Jerry curl up and press closely into the angle formed by
Skipper's head and shoulder.  This did awake him, for he uttered "Jerry"
in a low, crooning voice, and Jerry responded with a touch of his cold
damp nose to the other's cheek.  And then Skipper went to sleep again.
But not Jerry.  He lifted the edge of the blanket with his nose and
crawled across the shoulder until he was altogether inside.  This roused
Skipper, who, half-asleep, helped him to curl up.

Still Jerry was not satisfied, and he squirmed around until he lay in the
hollow of Skipper's arm, his head resting on Skipper's shoulder, when,
with a profound sigh of content, he fell asleep.

Several times the noises made by the boat's crew in trimming the sheets
to the shifting draught of air roused Van Horn, and each time,
remembering the puppy, he pressed him caressingly with his hollowed arm.
And each time, in his sleep, Jerry stirred responsively and snuggled
cosily to him.

For all that he was a remarkable puppy, Jerry had his limitations, and he
could never know the effect produced on the hard-bitten captain by the
soft warm contact of his velvet body.  But it made the captain remember
back across the years to his own girl babe asleep on his arm.  And so
poignantly did he remember, that he became wide awake, and many pictures,
beginning, with the girl babe, burned their torment in his brain.  No
white man in the Solomons knew what he carried about with him, waking and
often sleeping; and it was because of these pictures that he had come to
the Solomons in a vain effort to erase them.

First, memory-prodded by the soft puppy in his arm, he saw the girl and
the mother in the little Harlem flat.  Small, it was true, but
tight-packed with the happiness of three that made it heaven.

He saw the girl's flaxen-yellow hair darken to her mother's gold as it
lengthened into curls and ringlets until finally it became two thick long
braids.  From striving not to see these many pictures he came even to
dwelling upon them in the effort so to fill his consciousness as to keep
out the one picture he did not want to see.

He remembered his work, the wrecking car, and the wrecking crew that had
toiled under him, and he wondered what had become of Clancey, his right-
hand man.  Came the long day, when, routed from bed at three in the
morning to dig a surface car out of the wrecked show windows of a drug
store and get it back on the track, they had laboured all day clearing up
a half-dozen smash-ups and arrived at the car house at nine at night just
as another call came in.

"Glory be!" said Clancey, who lived in the next block from him.  He could
see him saying it and wiping the sweat from his grimy face.  "Glory be,
'tis a small matter at most, an' right in our neighbourhood--not a dozen
blocks away.  Soon as it's done we can beat it for home an' let the down-
town boys take the car back to the shop."

"We've only to jack her up for a moment," he had answered.

"What is it?" Billy Jaffers, another of the crew, asked.

"Somebody run over--can't get them out," he said, as they swung on board
the wrecking-car and started.

He saw again all the incidents of the long run, not omitting the delay
caused by hose-carts and a hook-and-ladder running to a cross-town fire,
during which time he and Clancey had joked Jaffers over the dates with
various fictitious damsels out of which he had been cheated by the
night's extra work.

Came the long line of stalled street-cars, the crowd, the police holding
it back, the two ambulances drawn up and waiting their freight, and the
young policeman, whose beat it was, white and shaken, greeting him with:
"It's horrible, man.  It's fair sickening.  Two of them.  We can't get
them out.  I tried.  One was still living, I think."

But he, strong man and hearty, used to such work, weary with the hard day
and with a pleasant picture of the bright little flat waiting him a dozen
blocks away when the job was done, spoke cheerfully, confidently, saying
that he'd have them out in a jiffy, as he stooped and crawled under the
car on hands and knees.

Again he saw himself as he pressed the switch of his electric torch and
looked.  Again he saw the twin braids of heavy golden hair ere his thumb
relaxed from the switch, leaving him in darkness.

"Is the one alive yet?" the shaken policeman asked.

And the question was repeated, while he struggled for will power
sufficient to press on the light.

He heard himself reply, "I'll tell you in a minute."

Again he saw himself look.  For a long minute he looked.

"Both dead," he answered quietly.  "Clancey, pass in a number three jack,
and get under yourself with another at the other end of the truck."

He lay on his back, staring straight up at one single star that rocked
mistily through a thinning of cloud-stuff overhead.  The old ache was in
his throat, the old harsh dryness in mouth and eyes.  And he knew--what
no other man knew--why he was in the Solomons, skipper of the teak-built
yacht _Arangi_, running niggers, risking his head, and drinking more
Scotch whiskey than was good for any man.

Not since that night had he looked with warm eyes on any woman.  And he
had been noted by other whites as notoriously cold toward pickanninnies
white or black.

But, having visioned the ultimate horror of memory, Van Horn was soon
able to fall asleep again, delightfully aware, as he drowsed off, of
Jerry's head on his shoulder.  Once, when Jerry, dreaming of the beach at
Meringe and of _Mister_ Haggin, Biddy, Terrence, and Michael, set up a
low whimpering, Van Horn roused sufficiently to soothe him closer to him,
and to mutter ominously: "Any nigger that'd hurt that pup. . . "

At midnight when the mate touched him on the shoulder, in the moment of
awakening and before he was awake Van Horn did two things automatically
and swiftly.  He darted his right hand down to the pistol at his hip, and
muttered: "Any nigger that'd hurt that pup . . ."

"That'll be Kopo Point abreast," Borckman explained, as both men stared
to windward at the high loom of the land.  "She hasn't made more than ten
miles, and no promise of anything steady."

"There's plenty of stuff making up there, if it'll ever come down," Van
Horn said, as both men transferred their gaze to the clouds drifting with
many breaks across the dim stars.

Scarcely had the mate fetched a blanket from below and turned in on deck,
than a brisk steady breeze sprang up from off the land, sending the
_Arangi_ through the smooth water at a nine-knot clip.  For a time Jerry
tried to stand the watch with Skipper, but he soon curled up and dozed
off, partly on the deck and partly on Skipper's bare feet.

When Skipper carried him to the blanket and rolled him in, he was quickly
asleep again; and he was quickly awake, out of the blanket, and padding
after along the deck as Skipper paced up and down.  Here began another
lesson, and in five minutes Jerry learned it was the will of Skipper that
he should remain in the blanket, that everything was all right, and that
Skipper would be up and down and near him all the time.

At four the mate took charge of the deck.

"Reeled off thirty miles," Van Horn told him.  "But now it is baffling
again.  Keep an eye for squalls under the land.  Better throw the
halyards down on deck and make the watch stand by.  Of course they'll
sleep, but make them sleep on the halyards and sheets."

Jerry roused to Skipper's entrance under the blanket, and, quite as if it
were a long-established custom, curled in between his arm and side, and,
after one happy sniff and one kiss of his cool little tongue, as Skipper
pressed his cheek against him caressingly, dozed off to sleep.

Half an hour later, to all intents and purposes, so far as Jerry could or
could not comprehend, the world might well have seemed suddenly coming to
an end.  What awoke him was the flying leap of Skipper that sent the
blanket one way and Jerry the other.  The deck of the _Arangi_ had become
a wall, down which Jerry slipped through the roaring dark.  Every rope
and shroud was thrumming and screeching in resistance to the fierce
weight of the squall.

"Stand by main halyards!--Jump!" he could hear Skipper shouting loudly;
also he heard the high note of the mainsheet screaming across the sheaves
as Van Horn, bending braces in the dark, was swiftly slacking the sheet
through his scorching palms with a single turn on the cleat.

While all this, along with many other noises, squealings of boat-boys and
shouts of Borckman, was impacting on Jerry's ear-drums, he was still
sliding down the steep deck of his new and unstable world.  But he did
not bring up against the rail where his fragile ribs might well have been
broken.  Instead, the warm ocean water, pouring inboard across the buried
rail in a flood of pale phosphorescent fire, cushioned his fall.  A
raffle of trailing ropes entangled him as he struck out to swim.

And he swam, not to save his life, not with the fear of death upon him.
There was but one idea in his mind.  _Where_ _was_ _Skipper_?  Not that
he had any thought of trying to save Skipper, nor that he might be of
assistance to him.  It was the heart of love that drives one always
toward the beloved.  As the mother in catastrophe tries to gain her babe,
as the Greek who, dying, remembered sweet Argos, as soldiers on a
stricken field pass with the names of their women upon their lips, so
Jerry, in this wreck of a world, yearned toward Skipper.

The squall ceased as abruptly as it had struck.  The _Arangi_ righted
with a jerk to an even keel, leaving Jerry stranded in the starboard
scuppers.  He trotted across the level deck to Skipper, who, standing
erect on wide-spread legs, the bight of the mainsheet still in his hand,
was exclaiming:

"Gott-fer-dang!  Wind he go!  Rain he no come!"

He felt Jerry's cool nose against his bare calf, heard his joyous sniff,
and bent and caressed him.  In the darkness he could not see, but his
heart warmed with knowledge that Jerry's tail was surely bobbing.

Many of the frightened return boys had crowded on deck, and their
plaintive, querulous voices sounded like the sleepy noises of a roost of
birds.  Borckman came and stood by Van Horn's shoulder, and both men,
strung to their tones in the tenseness of apprehension, strove to
penetrate the surrounding blackness with their eyes, while they listened
with all their ears for any message of the elements from sea and air.

"Where's the rain?" Borckman demanded peevishly.  "Always wind first, the
rain follows and kills the wind.  There is no rain."

Van Horn still stared and listened, and made no answer.

The anxiety of the two men was sensed by Jerry, who, too, was on his
toes.  He pressed his cool nose to Skipper's leg, and the rose-kiss of
his tongue brought him the salt taste of sea-water.

Skipper bent suddenly, rolled Jerry with quick toughness into the
blanket, and deposited him in the hollow between two sacks of yams lashed
on deck aft of the mizzenmast.  As an afterthought, he fastened the
blanket with a piece of rope yarn, so that Jerry was as if tied in a
sack.

Scarcely was this finished when the spanker smashed across overhead, the
headsails thundered with a sudden filling, and the great mainsail, with
all the scope in the boom-tackle caused by Van Horn's giving of the
sheet, came across and fetched up to tautness on the tackle with a crash
that shook the vessel and heeled her violently to port.  This second
knock-down had come from the opposite direction, and it was mightier than
the first.

Jerry heard Skipper's voice ring out, first, to the mate: "Stand by main-
halyards!  Throw off the turns!  I'll take care of the tackle!"; and,
next, to some of the boat's crew: "Batto! you fella slack spanker tackle
quick fella!  Ranga! you fella let go spanker sheet!"

Here Van Horn was swept off his legs by an avalanche of return boys who
had cluttered the deck with the first squall.  The squirming mass, of
which he was part, slid down into the barbed wire of the port rail
beneath the surface of the sea.

Jerry was so secure in his nook that he did not roll away.  But when he
heard Skipper's commands cease, and, seconds later, heard his cursings in
the barbed wire, he set up a shrill yelping and clawed and scratched
frantically at the blanket to get out.  Something had happened to
Skipper.  He knew that.  It was all that he knew, for he had no thought
of himself in the chaos of the ruining world.

But he ceased his yelping to listen to a new noise--a thunderous slatting
of canvas accompanied by shouts and cries.  He sensed, and sensed
wrongly, that it boded ill, for he did not know that it was the mainsail
being lowered on the run after Skipper had slashed the boom-tackle across
with his sheath-knife.

As the pandemonium grew, he added his own yelping to it until he felt a
fumbling hand without the blanket.  He stilled and sniffed.  No, it was
not Skipper.  He sniffed again and recognized the person.  It was
Lerumie, the black whom he had seen rolled on the beach by Biddy only the
previous morning, who, still were recently, had kicked him on his stub of
a tail, and who not more than a week before he had seen throw a rock at
Terrence.

The rope yarn had been parted, and Lerumie's fingers were feeling inside
the blanket for him.  Jerry snarled his wickedest.  The thing was
sacrilege.  He, as a white man's dog, was taboo to all blacks.  He had
early learned the law that no nigger must ever touch a white-god's dog.
Yet Lerumie, who was all of evil, at this moment when the world crashed
about their ears, was daring to touch him.

And when the fingers touched him, his teeth closed upon them.  Next, he
was clouted by the black's free hand with such force as to tear his
clenched teeth down the fingers through skin and flesh until the fingers
went clear.

Raging like a tiny fiend, Jerry found himself picked up by the neck, half-
throttled, and flung through the air.  And while flying through the air,
he continued to squall his rage.  He fell into the sea and went under,
gulping a mouthful of salt water into his lungs, and came up strangling
but swimming.  Swimming was one of the things he did not have to think
about.  He had never had to learn to swim, any more than he had had to
learn to breathe.  In fact, he had been compelled to learn to walk; but
he swam as a matter of course.

The wind screamed about him.  Flying froth, driven on the wind's breath,
filled his mouth and nostrils and beat into his eyes, stinging and
blinding him.  In the struggle to breathe he, all unlearned in the ways
of the sea, lifted his muzzle high in the air to get out of the
suffocating welter.  As a result, off the horizontal, the churning of his
legs no longer sustained him, and he went down and under perpendicularly.
Again he emerged, strangling with more salt water in his windpipe.  This
time, without reasoning it out, merely moving along the line of least
resistance, which was to him the line of greatest comfort, he
straightened out in the sea and continued so to swim as to remain
straightened out.

Through the darkness, as the squall spent itself, came the slatting of
the half-lowered mainsail, the shrill voices of the boat's crew, a curse
of Borckman's, and, dominating all, Skipper's voice, shouting:

"Grab the leech, you fella boys!  Hang on!  Drag down strong fella!  Come
in mainsheet two blocks!  Jump, damn you, jump!"



CHAPTER VI


At recognition of Skipper's voice, Jerry, floundering in the stiff and
crisping sea that sprang up with the easement of the wind, yelped eagerly
and yearningly, all his love for his new-found beloved eloquent in his
throat.  But quickly all sounds died away as the _Arangi_ drifted from
him.  And then, in the loneliness of the dark, on the heaving breast of
the sea that he recognized as one more of the eternal enemies, he began
to whimper and cry plaintively like a lost child.

Further, by the dim, shadowy ways of intuition, he knew his weakness in
that merciless sea with no heart of warmth, that threatened the
unknowable thing, vaguely but terribly guessed, namely, death.  As
regarded himself, he did not comprehend death.  He, who had never known
the time when he was not alive, could not conceive of the time when he
would cease to be alive.

Yet it was there, shouting its message of warning through every tissue
cell, every nerve quickness and brain sensitivity of him--a totality of
sensation that foreboded the ultimate catastrophe of life about which he
knew nothing at all, but which, nevertheless, he _felt_ to be the
conclusive supreme disaster.  Although he did not comprehend it, he
apprehended it no less poignantly than do men who know and generalize far
more deeply and widely than mere four-legged dogs.

As a man struggles in the throes of nightmare, so Jerry struggled in the
vexed, salt-suffocating sea.  And so he whimpered and cried, lost child,
lost puppy-dog that he was, only half a year existent in the fair world
sharp with joy and suffering.  And he _wanted_ _Skipper_.  Skipper was a
god.

* * * * *

On board the _Arangi_, relieved by the lowering of her mainsail, as the
fierceness went out of the wind and the cloudburst of tropic rain began
to fall, Van Horn and Borckman lurched toward each other in the
blackness.

"A double squall," said Van Horn.  "Hit us to starboard and to port."

"Must a-split in half just before she hit us," the mate concurred.

"And kept all the rain in the second half--"

Van Horn broke off with an oath.

"Hey!  What's the matter along you fella boy?" he shouted to the man at
the wheel.

For the ketch, under her spanker which had just then been flat-hauled,
had come into the wind, emptying her after-sail and permitting her
headsails to fill on the other tack.  The _Arangi_ was beginning to work
back approximately over the course she had just traversed.  And this
meant that she was going back toward Jerry floundering in the sea.  Thus,
the balance, on which his life titubated, was inclined in his favour by
the blunder of a black steersman.

Keeping the _Arangi_ on the new tack, Van Horn set Borckman clearing the
mess of ropes on deck, himself, squatting in the rain, undertaking to
long-splice the tackle he had cut.  As the rain thinned, so that the
crackle of it on deck became less noisy, he was attracted by a sound from
out over the water.  He suspended the work of his hands to listen, and,
when he recognized Jerry's wailing, sprang to his feet, galvanized into
action.

"The pup's overboard!" he shouted to Borckman.  "Back your jib to
wind'ard!"

He sprang aft, scattering a cluster of return boys right and left.

"Hey!  You fella boat's crew!  Come in spanker sheet!  Flatten her down
good fella!"

He darted a look into the binnacle and took a hurried compass bearing of
the sounds Jerry was making.

"Hard down your wheel!" he ordered the helmsman, then leaped to the wheel
and put it down himself, repeating over and over aloud, "Nor'east by east
a quarter, nor'east by east a quarter."

Back and peering into the binnacle, he listened vainly for another wail
from Jerry in the hope of verifying his first hasty bearing.  But not
long he waited.  Despite the fact that by his manoeuvre the _Arangi_ had
been hove to, he knew that windage and sea-driftage would quickly send
her away from the swimming puppy.  He shouted Borckman to come aft and
haul in the whaleboat, while he hurried below for his electric torch and
a boat compass.

The ketch was so small that she was compelled to tow her one whaleboat
astern on long double painters, and by the time the mate had it hauled in
under the stern, Van Horn was back.  He was undeterred by the barbed
wire, lifting boy after boy of the boat's crew over it and dropping them
sprawling into the boat, following himself, as the last, by swinging over
on the spanker boom, and calling his last instructions as the painters
were cast off.

"Get a riding light on deck, Borckman.  Keep her hove to.  Don't hoist
the mainsail.  Clean up the decks and bend the watch tackle on the main
boom."

He took the steering-sweep and encouraged the rowers with:
"Washee-washee, good fella, washee-washee!"--which is the beche-de-mer
for "row hard."

As he steered, he kept flashing the torch on the boat compass so that he
could keep headed north-east by east a quarter east.  Then he remembered
that the boat compass, on such course, deviated two whole points from the
_Arangi's_ compass, and altered his own course accordingly.

Occasionally he bade the rowers cease, while he listened and called for
Jerry.  He had them row in circles, and work back and forth, up to
windward and down to leeward, over the area of dark sea that he reasoned
must contain the puppy.

"Now you fella boy listen ear belong you," he said, toward the first.
"Maybe one fella boy hear 'm pickaninny dog sing out, I give 'm that
fella boy five fathom calico, two ten sticks tobacco."

At the end of half an hour he was offering "Two ten fathoms calico and
ten ten sticks tobacco" to the boy who first heard "pickaninny dog sing
out."

* * * * *

Jerry was in bad shape.  Not accustomed to swimming, strangled by the
salt water that lapped into his open mouth, he was getting loggy when
first he chanced to see the flash of the captain's torch.  This, however,
he did not connect with Skipper, and so took no more notice of it than he
did of the first stars showing in the sky.  It never entered his mind
that it might be a star nor even that it might not be a star.  He
continued to wail and to strangle with more salt water.  But when he at
length heard Skipper's voice he went immediately wild.  He attempted to
stand up and to rest his forepaws on Skipper's voice coming out of the
darkness, as he would have rested his forepaws on Skipper's leg had he
been near.  The result was disastrous.  Out of the horizontal, he sank
down and under, coming up with a new spasm of strangling.

This lasted for a short time, during which the strangling prevented him
from answering Skipper's cry, which continued to reach him.  But when he
could answer he burst forth in a joyous yelp.  Skipper was coming to take
him out of the stinging, biting sea that blinded his eyes and hurt him to
breathe.  Skipper was truly a god, his god, with a god's power to save.

Soon he heard the rhythmic clack of the oars on the thole-pins, and the
joy in his own yelp was duplicated by the joy in Skipper's voice, which
kept up a running encouragement, broken by objurgations to the rowers.

"All right, Jerry, old man.  All right, Jerry.  All right.--Washee-washee,
you fella boy!--Coming, Jerry, coming.  Stick it out, old man.  Stay with
it.--Washee-washee like hell!--Here we are, Jerry.  Stay with it.  Hang
on, old boy, we'll get you.--Easy . . . easy.  'Vast washee."

And then, with amazing abruptness, Jerry saw the whaleboat dimly emerge
from the gloom close upon him, was blinded by the stab of the torch full
in his eyes, and, even as he yelped his joy, felt and recognized
Skipper's hand clutching him by the slack of the neck and lifting him
into the air.

He landed wet and soppily against Skipper's rain-wet chest, his tail
bobbing frantically against Skipper's containing arm, his body wriggling,
his tongue dabbing madly all over Skipper's chin and mouth and cheeks and
nose.  And Skipper did not know that he was himself wet, and that he was
in the first shock of recurrent malaria precipitated by the wet and the
excitement.  He knew only that the puppy-dog, given him only the previous
morning, was safe back in his arms.

While the boat's crew bent to the oars, he steered with the sweep between
his arm and his side in order that he might hold Jerry with the other
arm.

"You little son of a gun," he crooned, and continued to croon, over and
over.  "You little son of a gun."

And Jerry responded with tongue-kisses, whimpering and crying as is the
way of lost children immediately after they are found.  Also, he shivered
violently.  But it was not from the cold.  Rather was it due to his over-
strung, sensitive nerves.

Again on board, Van Horn stated his reasoning to the mate.

"The pup didn't just calmly walk overboard.  Nor was he washed overboard.
I had him fast and triced in the blanket with a rope yarn."

He walked over, the centre of the boat's crew and of the three-score
return boys who were all on deck, and flashed his torch on the blanket
still lying on the yams.

"That proves it.  The rope-yarn's cut.  The knot's still in it.  Now what
nigger is responsible?"

He looked about at the circle of dark faces, flashing the light on them,
and such was the accusation and anger in his eyes, that all eyes fell
before his or looked away.

"If only the pup could speak," he complained.  "He'd tell who it was."

He bent suddenly down to Jerry, who was standing as close against his
legs as he could, so close that his wet forepaws rested on Skipper's bare
feet.

"You know 'm, Jerry, you known the black fella boy," he said, his words
quick and exciting, his hand moving in questing circles toward the
blacks.

Jerry was all alive on the instant, jumping about, barking with short
yelps of eagerness.

"I do believe the dog could lead me to him," Van Horn confided to the
mate.  "Come on, Jerry, find 'm, sick 'm, shake 'm down.  Where is he,
Jerry?  Find 'm.  Find 'm."

All that Jerry knew was that Skipper wanted something.  He must find
something that Skipper wanted, and he was eager to serve.  He pranced
about aimlessly and willingly for a space, while Skipper's urging cries
increased his excitement.  Then he was struck by an idea, and a most
definite idea it was.  The circle of boys broke to let him through as he
raced for'ard along the starboard side to the tight-lashed heap of trade-
boxes.  He put his nose into the opening where the wild-dog laired, and
sniffed.  Yes, the wild-dog was inside.  Not only did he smell him, but
he heard the menace of his snarl.

He looked up to Skipper questioningly.  Was it that Skipper wanted him to
go in after the wild-dog?  But Skipper laughed and waved his hand to show
that he wanted him to search in other places for something else.

He leaped away, sniffing in likely places where experience had taught him
cockroaches and rats might be.  Yet it quickly dawned on him that it was
not such things Skipper was after.  His heart was wild with desire to
serve, and, without clear purpose, he began sniffing legs of black boys.

This brought livelier urgings and encouragements from Skipper, and made
him almost frantic.  That was it.  He must identify the boat's crew and
the return boys by their legs.  He hurried the task, passing swiftly from
boy to boy, until he came to Lerumie.

And then he forgot that Skipper wanted him to do something.  All he knew
was that it was Lerumie who had broken the taboo of his sacred person by
laying hands on him, and that it was Lerumie who had thrown him
overboard.

With a cry of rage, a flash of white teeth, and a bristle of short neck-
hair, he sprang for the black.  Lerumie fled down the deck, and Jerry
pursued amid the laughter of all the blacks.  Several times, in making
the circuit of the deck, he managed to scratch the flying calves with his
teeth.  Then Lerumie took to the main rigging, leaving Jerry impotently
to rage on the deck beneath him.

About this point the blacks grouped in a semi-circle at a respectful
distance, with Van Horn to the fore beside Jerry.  Van Horn centred his
electric torch on the black in the rigging, and saw the long parallel
scratches on the fingers of the hand that had invaded Jerry's blanket.  He
pointed them out significantly to Borckman, who stood outside the circle
so that no black should be able to come at his back.

Skipper picked Jerry up and soothed his anger with:

"Good boy, Jerry.  You marked and sealed him.  Some dog, you, some big
man-dog."

He turned back to Lerumie, illuminating him as he clung in the rigging,
and his voice was harsh and cold as he addressed him.

"What name belong along you fella boy?" he demanded.

"Me fella Lerumie," came the chirping, quavering answer.

"You come along Pennduffryn?"

"Me come along Meringe."

Captain Van Horn debated the while he fondled the puppy in his arms.
After all, it was a return boy.  In a day, in two days at most, he would
have him landed and be quit of him.

"My word," he harangued, "me angry along you.  Me angry big fella too
much along you.  Me angry along you any amount.  What name you fella boy
make 'm pickaninny dog belong along me walk about along water?"

Lerumie was unable to answer.  He rolled his eyes helplessly, resigned to
receive a whipping such as he had long since bitterly learned white
masters were wont to administer.

Captain Van Horn repeated the question, and the black repeated the
helpless rolling of his eyes.

"For two sticks tobacco I knock 'm seven bells outa you," the skipper
bullied.  "Now me give you strong fella talk too much.  You look 'm eye
belong you one time along this fella dog belong me, I knock 'm seven
bells and whole starboard watch outa you.  Savve?"

"Me savve," Lerumie, plaintively replied; and the episode was closed.

The return boys went below to sleep in the cabin.  Borckman and the
boat's crew hoisted the mainsail and put the _Arangi_ on her course.  And
Skipper, under a dry blanket from below, lay down to sleep with Jerry,
head on his shoulder, in the hollow of his arm.



CHAPTER VII


At seven in the morning, when Skipper rolled him out of the blanket and
got up, Jerry celebrated the new day by chasing the wild-dog back into
his hole and by drawing a snicker from the blacks on deck, when, with a
growl and a flash of teeth, he made Lerumie side-step half a dozen feet
and yield the deck to him.

He shared breakfast with Skipper, who, instead of eating, washed down
with a cup of coffee fifty grains of quinine wrapped in a cigarette
paper, and who complained to the mate that he would have to get under the
blankets and sweat out the fever that was attacking him.  Despite his
chill, and despite his teeth that were already beginning to chatter while
the burning sun extracted the moisture in curling mist-wreaths from the
deck planking, Van Horn cuddled Jerry in his arms and called him
princeling, and prince, and a king, and a son of kings.

For Van Horn had often listened to the recitals of Jerry's pedigree by
Tom Haggin, over Scotch-and-sodas, when it was too pestilentially hot to
go to bed.  And the pedigree was as royal-blooded as was possible for an
Irish terrier to possess, whose breed, beginning with the ancient Irish
wolf-hound, had been moulded and established by man in less than two
generations of men.

There was Terrence the Magnificent--descended, as Van Horn remembered,
from the American-bred Milton Droleen, out of the Queen of County Antrim,
Breda Muddler, which royal bitch, as every one who is familiar with the
stud book knows, goes back as far as the almost mythical Spuds, with
along the way no primrose dallyings with black-and-tan Killeney Boys and
Welsh nondescripts.  And did not Biddy trace to Erin, mother and star of
the breed, through a long descendant out of Breda Mixer, herself an
ancestress of Breda Muddler?  Nor could be omitted from the purple record
the later ancestress, Moya Doolen.

So Jerry knew the ecstasy of loving and of being loved in the arms of his
love-god, although little he knew of such phrases as "king's son" and
"son of kings," save that they connoted love for him in the same way that
Lerumie's hissing noises connoted hate.  One thing Jerry knew without
knowing that he knew, namely, that in the few hours he had been with
Skipper he loved him more than he had loved Derby and Bob, who, with the
exception of Mister Haggin, were the only other white-gods he had ever
known.  He was not conscious of this.  He merely loved, merely acted on
the prompting of his heart, or head, or whatever organic or anatomical
part of him that developed the mysterious, delicious, and insatiable
hunger called "love."

Skipper went below.  He went all unheeding of Jerry, who padded softly at
his heels until the companionway was reached.  Skipper was unheeding of
Jerry because of the fever that wrenched his flesh and chilled his bones,
that made his head seem to swell monstrously, that glazed the world to
his swimming eyes and made him walk feebly and totteringly like a drunken
man or a man very aged.  And Jerry sensed that something was wrong with
Skipper.

Skipper, beginning the babblings of delirium which alternated with silent
moments of control in order to get below and under blankets, descended
the ladder-like stairs, and Jerry, all-yearning, controlled himself in
silence and watched the slow descent with the hope that when Skipper
reached the bottom he would raise his arms and lift him down.  But
Skipper was too far gone to remember that Jerry existed.  He staggered,
with wide-spread arms to keep from falling, along the cabin floor for'ard
to the bunk in the tiny stateroom.

Jerry was truly of a kingly line.  He wanted to call out and beg to be
taken down.  But he did not.  He controlled himself, he knew not why,
save that he was possessed by a nebulous awareness that Skipper must be
considered as a god should be considered, and that this was no time to
obtrude himself on Skipper.  His heart was torn with desire, although he
made no sound, and he continued only to yearn over the companion combing
and to listen to the faint sounds of Skipper's progress for'ard.

But even kings and their descendants have their limitations, and at the
end of a quarter of an hour Jerry was ripe to cease from his silence.
With the going below of Skipper, evidently in great trouble, the light
had gone out of the day for Jerry.  He might have stalked the wild-dog,
but no inducement lay there.  Lerumie passed by unnoticed, although he
knew he could bully him and make him give deck space.  The myriad scents
of the land entered his keen nostrils, but he made no note of them.  Not
even the flopping, bellying mainsail overhead, as the _Arangi_ rolled
becalmed, could draw a glance of quizzical regard from him.

Just as it was tremblingly imperative that Jerry must suddenly squat
down, point his nose at the zenith, and vocalize his heart-rending woe,
an idea came to him.  There is no explaining how this idea came.  No more
can it be explained than can a human explain why, at luncheon to-day, he
selects green peas and rejects string beans, when only yesterday he
elected to choose string beans and to reject green peas.  No more can it
be explained than can a human judge, sentencing a convicted criminal and
imposing eight years imprisonment instead of the five or nine years that
also at the same time floated upward in his brain, explain why he
categorically determined on eight years as the just, adequate punishment.
Since not even humans, who are almost half-gods, can fathom the mystery
of the genesis of ideas and the dictates of choice, appearing in their
consciousness as ideas, it is not to be expected of a more dog to know
the why of the ideas that animate it to definite acts toward definite
ends.

And so Jerry.  Just as he must immediately howl, he was aware that the
idea, an entirely different idea, was there, in the innermost centre of
the quick-thinkingness of him, with all its compulsion.  He obeyed the
idea as a marionette obeys the strings, and started forthwith down the
deck aft in quest of the mate.

He had an appeal to make to Borckman.  Borckman was also a two-legged
white-god.  Easily could Borckman lift him down the precipitous ladder,
which was to him, unaided, a taboo, the violation of which was pregnant
with disaster.  But Borckman had in him little of the heart of love,
which is understanding.  Also, Borckman was busy.  Besides overseeing the
continuous adjustment, by trimming of sails and orders to the helmsman,
of the _Arangi_ to her way on the sea, and overseeing the boat's crew at
its task of washing deck and polishing brasswork, he was engaged in
steadily nipping from a stolen bottle of his captain's whiskey which he
had stowed away in the hollow between the two sacks of yams lashed on
deck aft the mizzenmast.

Borckman was on his way for another nip, after having thickly threatened
to knock seven bells and the ten commandments out of the black at the
wheel for faulty steering, when Jerry appeared before him and blocked the
way to his desire.  But Jerry did not block him as he would have blocked
Lerumie, for instance.  There was no showing of teeth, no bristling of
neck hair.  Instead, Jerry was all placation and appeal, all softness of
pleading in a body denied speech that nevertheless was articulate, from
wagging tail and wriggling sides to flat-laid ears and eyes that almost
spoke, to any human sensitive of understanding.

But Borckman saw in his way only a four-legged creature of the brute
world, which, in his arrogant brutalness he esteemed more brute than
himself.  All the pretty picture of the soft puppy, instinct with
communicativeness, bursting with tenderness of petition, was veiled to
his vision.  What he saw was merely a four-legged animal to be thrust
aside while he continued his lordly two-legged progress toward the bottle
that could set maggots crawling in his brain and make him dream dreams
that he was prince, not peasant, that he was a master of matter rather
than a slave of matter.

And thrust aside Jerry was, by a rough and naked foot, as harsh and
unfeeling in its impact as an inanimate breaking sea on a beach-jut of
insensate rock.  He half-sprawled on the slippery deck, regained his
balance, and stood still and looked at the white-god who had treated him
so cavalierly.  The meanness and unfairness had brought from Jerry no
snarling threat of retaliation, such as he would have offered Lerumie or
any other black.  Nor in his brain was any thought of retaliation.  This
was no Lerumie.  This was a superior god, two-legged, white-skinned, like
Skipper, like Mister Haggin and the couple of other superior gods he had
known.  Only did he know hurt, such as any child knows under the blow of
a thoughtless or unloving mother.

In the hurt was mingled a resentment.  He was keenly aware that there
were two sorts of roughness.  There was the kindly roughness of love,
such as when Skipper gripped him by the jowl, shook him till his teeth
rattled, and thrust him away with an unmistakable invitation to come back
and be so shaken again.  Such roughness, to Jerry, was heaven.  In it was
the intimacy of contact with a beloved god who in such manner elected to
express a reciprocal love.

But this roughness of Borckman was different.  It was the other kind of
roughness in which resided no warm affection, no heart-touch of love.
Jerry did not quite understand, but he sensed the difference and
resented, without expressing in action, the wrongness and unfairness of
it.  So he stood, after regaining balance, and soberly regarded, in a
vain effort to understand, the mate with a bottle-bottom inverted
skyward, the mouth to his lips, the while his throat made gulping
contractions and noises.  And soberly he continued to regard the mate
when he went aft and threatened to knock the "Song of Songs" and the rest
of the Old Testament out of the black helmsman whose smile of teeth was
as humbly gentle and placating as Jerry's had been when he made his
appeal.

Leaving this god as a god unliked and not understood, Jerry sadly trotted
back to the companionway and yearned his head over the combing in the
direction in which he had seen Skipper disappear.  What bit at his
consciousness and was a painful incitement in it, was his desire to be
with Skipper who was not right, and who was in trouble.  He wanted
Skipper.  He wanted to be with him, first and sharply, because he loved
him, and, second and dimly, because he might serve him.  And, wanting
Skipper, in his helplessness and youngness in experience of the world, he
whimpered and cried his heart out across the companion combing, and was
too clean and direct in his sorrow to be deflected by an outburst of
anger against the niggers, on deck and below, who chuckled at him and
derided him.

From the crest of the combing to the cabin floor was seven feet.  He had,
only a few hours before, climbed the precipitous stairway; but it was
impossible, and he knew it, to descend the stairway.  And yet, at the
last, he dared it.  So compulsive was the prod of his heart to gain to
Skipper at any cost, so clear was his comprehension that he could not
climb down the ladder head first, with no grippingness of legs and feet
and muscles such as were possible in the ascent, that he did not attempt
it.  He launched outward and down, in one magnificent and love-heroic
leap.  He knew that he was violating a taboo of life, just as he knew he
was violating a taboo if he sprang into Meringe Lagoon where swam the
dreadful crocodiles.  Great love is always capable of expressing itself
in sacrifice and self-immolation.  And only for love, and for no lesser
reason, could Jerry have made the leap.

He struck on his side and head.  The one impact knocked the breath out of
him; the other stunned him.  Even in his unconsciousness, lying on his
side and quivering, he made rapid, spasmodic movements of his legs as if
running for'ard to Skipper.  The boys looked on and laughed, and when he
no longer quivered and churned his legs they continued to laugh.  Born in
savagery, having lived in savagery all their lives and known naught else,
their sense of humour was correspondingly savage.  To them, the sight of
a stunned and possibly dead puppy was a side-splitting, ludicrous event.

Not until the fourth minute ticked off did returning consciousness enable
Jerry to crawl to his feet and with wide-spread legs and swimming eyes
adjust himself to the _Arangi's_ roll.  Yet with the first glimmerings of
consciousness persisted the one idea that he must gain to Skipper.
Blacks?  In his anxiety and solicitude and love they did not count.  He
ignored the chuckling, grinning, girding black boys, who, but for the
fact that he was under the terrible aegis of the big fella white marster,
would have delighted to kill and eat the puppy who, in the process of
training, was proving a most capable nigger-chaser.  Without a turn of
head or roll of eye, aristocratically positing their non-existingness to
their faces, he trotted for'ard along the cabin floor and into the
stateroom where Skipper babbled maniacally in the bunk.

Jerry, who had never had malaria, did not understand.  But in his heart
he knew great trouble in that Skipper was in trouble.  Skipper did not
recognize him, even when he sprang into the bunk, walked across Skipper's
heaving chest, and licked the acrid sweat of fever from Skipper's face.
Instead, Skipper's wildly-thrashing arms brushed him away and flung him
violently against the side of the bunk.

This was roughness that was not love-roughness.  Nor was it the roughness
of Borckman spurning him away with his foot.  It was part of Skipper's
trouble.  Jerry did not reason this conclusion.  But, and to the point,
he acted upon it as if he had reasoned it.  In truth, through inadequacy
of one of the most adequate languages in the world, it can only be said
that Jerry _sensed_ the new difference of this roughness.

He sat up, just out of range of one restless, beating arm, yearned to
come closer and lick again the face of the god who knew him not, and who,
he knew, loved him well, and palpitatingly shared and suffered all
Skipper's trouble.

"Eh, Clancey," Skipper babbled.  "It's a fine job this day, and no better
crew to clean up after the dubs of motormen. . . . Number three jack,
Clancey.  Get under the for'ard end."  And, as the spectres of his
nightmare metamorphosed: "Hush, darling, talking to your dad like that,
telling him the combing of your sweet and golden hair.  As if I couldn't,
that have combed it these seven years--better than your mother, darling,
better than your mother.  I'm the one gold-medal prize-winner in the
combing of his lovely daughter's lovely hair. . . . She's broken out!
Give her the wheel aft there!  Jib and fore-topsail halyards!  Full and
by, there!  A good full! . . . Ah, she takes it like the beauty fairy
boat that she is upon the sea. . . I'll just lift that--sure, the limit.
Blackey, when you pay as much to see my cards as I'm going to pay to see
yours, you're going to see some cards, believe me!"

And so the farrago of unrelated memories continued to rise vocal on
Skipper's lips to the heave of his body and the beat of his arms, while
Jerry, crouched against the side of the bunk mourned and mourned his
grief and inability to be of help.  All that was occurring was beyond
him.  He knew no more of poker hands than did he know of getting ships
under way, of clearing up surface car wrecks in New York, or of combing
the long yellow hair of a loved daughter in a Harlem flat.

"Both dead," Skipper said in a change of delirium.  He said it quietly,
as if announcing the time of day, then wailed: "But, oh, the bonnie,
bonnie braids of all the golden hair of her!"

He lay motionlessly for a space and sobbed out a breaking heart.  This
was Jerry's chance.  He crept inside the arm that tossed, snuggled
against Skipper's side, laid his head on Skipper's shoulder, his cool
nose barely touching Skipper's cheek, and felt the arm curl about him and
press him closer.  The hand bent from the wrist and caressed him
protectingly, and the warm contact of his velvet body put a change in
Skipper's sick dreams, for he began to mutter in cold and bitter
ominousness: "Any nigger that as much as bats an eye at that puppy. . ."



CHAPTER VIII


When, in half an hour, Van Horn's sweat culminated in profusion, it
marked the breaking of the malarial attack.  Great physical relief was
his, and the last mists of delirium ebbed from his brain.  But he was
left limply weak, and, after tossing off the blankets and recognizing
Jerry, he fell into a refreshing natural sleep.

Not till two hours later did he awake and start to go on deck.  Half-way
up the companion, he deposited Jerry on deck and went back to the
stateroom for a forgotten bottle of quinine.  But he did not immediately
return to Jerry.  The long drawer under Borckman's bunk caught his eye.
The wooden button that held it shut was gone, and it was far out and
hanging at an angle that jammed it and prevented it from falling to the
floor.  The matter was serious.  There was little doubt in his mind, had
the drawer, in the midst of the squall of the previous night, fallen to
the floor, that no _Arangi_ and no soul of the eighty souls on board
would have been left.  For the drawer was filled with a heterogeneous
mess of dynamite sticks, boxes of fulminating caps, coils of fuses, lead
sinkers, iron tools, and many boxes of rifle, revolver and pistol
cartridges.  He sorted and arranged the varied contents, and with a
screwdriver and a longer screw reattached the button.

In the meantime, Jerry was encountering new adventure not of the
pleasantest.  While waiting for Skipper to return, Jerry chanced to see
the wild-dog brazenly lying on deck a dozen feet from his lair in the
trade-boxes.  Instantly stiffly crouching, Jerry began to stalk.  Success
seemed assured, for the wild-dog, with closed eyes, was apparently
asleep.

And at this moment the mate, two-legging it along the deck from for'ard
in the direction of the bottle stored between the yam sacks, called,
"Jerry," in a remarkably husky voice.  Jerry flattened his filbert-shaped
ears and wagged his tail in acknowledgment, but advertised his intention
of continuing to stalk his enemy.  And at sound of the mate's voice the
wild-dog flung quick-opened eyes in Jerry's direction and flashed into
his burrow, where he immediately turned around, thrust his head out with
a show of teeth, and snarled triumphant defiance.

Baulked of his quarry by the inconsiderateness of the mate, Jerry trotted
back to the head of the companion to wait for Skipper.  But Borckman,
whose brain was well a-crawl by virtue of the many nips, clung to a petty
idea after the fashion of drunken men.  Twice again, imperatively, he
called Jerry to him, and twice again, with flattened ears of gentleness
and wagging tail, Jerry good-naturedly expressed his disinclination.
Next, he yearned his head over the coming and into the cabin after
Skipper.

Borckman remembered his first idea and continued to the bottle, which he
generously inverted skyward.  But the second idea, petty as it was,
persisted; and, after swaying and mumbling to himself for a time, after
unseeingly making believe to study the crisp fresh breeze that filled the
_Arangi's_ sails and slanted her deck, and, after sillily attempting on
the helmsman to portray eagle-like vigilance in his drink-swimming eyes,
he lurched amidships toward Jerry.

Jerry's first intimation of Borckman's arrival was a cruel and painful
clutch on his flank and groin that made him cry out in pain and whirl
around.  Next, as the mate had seen Skipper do in play, Jerry had his
jowls seized in a tooth-clattering shake that was absolutely different
from the Skipper's rough love-shake.  His head and body were shaken, his
teeth clattered painfully, and with the roughest of roughness he was
flung part way down the slippery slope of deck.

Now Jerry was a gentleman.  All the soul of courtesy was in him, for
equals and superiors.  After all, even in an inferior like the wild-dog,
he did not consciously press an advantage very far--never extremely far.
In his stalking and rushing of the wild-dog, he had been more sound and
fury than an overbearing bully.  But with a superior, with a two-legged
white-god like Borckman, there was more a demand upon his control,
restraint, and inhibition of primitive promptings.  He did not want to
play with the mate a game that he ecstatically played with Skipper,
because he had experienced no similar liking for the mate, two-legged
white-god that he was.

And still Jerry was all gentleness.  He came back in a feeble imitation
rush of the whole-hearted rush that he had learned to make on Skipper.  He
was, in truth, acting, play-acting, attempting to do what he had no heart-
prompting to do.  He made believe to play, and uttered simulated growls
that failed of the verity of simulation.

He bobbed his tail good-naturedly and friendly, and growled ferociously
and friendly; but the keenness of the drunkenness of the mate discerned
the difference and aroused in him, vaguely, the intuition of difference,
of play-acting, of cheating.  Jerry was cheating--out of his heart of
consideration.  Borckman drunkenly recognized the cheating without
crediting the heart of good behind it.  On the instant he was
antagonistic.  Forgetting that he was only a brute, he posited that this
was no more than a brute with which he strove to play in the genial
comradely way that the Skipper played.

Red war was inevitable--not first on Jerry's part, but on Borckman's
part.  Borckman felt the abysmal urgings of the beast, as a beast, to
prove himself master of this four-legged beast.  Jerry felt his jowl and
jaw clutched still more harshly and hardly, and, with increase of
harshness and hardness, he was flung farther down the deck, which, on
account of its growing slant due to heavier gusts of wind, had become a
steep and slippery hill.

He came back, clawing frantically up the slope that gave him little
footing; and he came back, no longer with poorly attempted simulation of
ferocity, but impelled by the first flickerings of real ferocity.  He did
not know this.  If he thought at all, he was under the impression that he
was playing the game as he had played it with Skipper.  In short, he was
taking an interest in the game, although a radically different interest
from what he had taken with Skipper.

This time his teeth flashed quicker and with deeper intent at the jowl-
clutching hand, and, missing, he was seized and flung down the smooth
incline harder and farther than before.  He was growing angry, as he
clawed back, though he was not conscious of it.  But the mate, being a
man, albeit a drunken one, sensed the change in Jerry's attack ere Jerry
dreamed there was any change in it.  And not only did Borckman sense it,
but it served as a spur to drive him back into primitive beastliness, and
to fight to master this puppy as a primitive man, under dissimilar
provocation, might have fought with the members of the first litter
stolen from a wolf-den among the rocks.

True, Jerry could trace as far back.  His ancient ancestors had been
Irish wolf-hounds, and, long before that, the ancestors of the
wolf-hounds had been wolves.  The note in Jerry's growls changed.  The
unforgotten and ineffaceable past strummed the fibres of his throat.  His
teeth flashed with fierce intent, in the desire of sinking as deep in the
man's hand as passion could drive.  For Jerry by this time was all
passion.  He had leaped back into the dark stark rawness of the early
world almost as swiftly as had Borckman.  And this time his teeth scored,
ripping the tender and sensitive and flesh of all the inside of the first
and second joints of Borckman's right hand.  Jerry's teeth were needles
that stung, and Borckman, gaining the grasp on Jerry's jaw, flung him
away and down so that almost he hit the _Arangi's_ tiny-rail ere his
clawing feet stopped him.

And Van Horn, having finished his rearrangement and repair of the
explosive-filled drawer under the mate's bunk, climbed up the companion
steps, saw the battle, paused, and quietly looked on.

But he looked across a million years, at two mad creatures who had
slipped the leach of the generations and who were back in the darkness of
spawning life ere dawning intelligence had modified the chemistry of such
life to softness of consideration.  What stirred in the brain crypts of
Borckman's heredity, stirred in the brain-crypts of Jerry's heredity.
Time had gone backward for both.  All the endeavour and achievement of
the ten thousand generations was not, and, as wolf-dog and wild-man, the
combat was between Jerry and the mate.  Neither saw Van Horn, who was
inside the companionway hatch, his eyes level with the combing.

To Jerry, Borckman was now no more a god than was he himself a mere,
smooth-coated Irish terrier.  Both had forgotten the million years
stamped into their heredity more feebly, less eraseably, than what had
been stamped in prior to the million years.  Jerry did not know
drunkenness, but he did know unfairness; and it was with raging
indignation that he knew it.  Borckman fumbled his next counter to
Jerry's attack, missed, and had both hands slashed in quick succession
ere he managed to send the puppy sliding.

And still Jerry came back.  As any screaming creature of the jungle, he
hysterically squalled his indignation.  But he made no whimper.  Nor did
he wince or cringe to the blows.  He bored straight in, striving, without
avoiding a blow, to beat and meet the blow with his teeth.  So hard was
he flung down the last time that his side smashed painfully against the
rail, and Van Horn cried out:

"Cut that out, Borckman!  Leave the puppy alone!"

The mate turned in the startle of surprise at being observed.  The sharp,
authoritative words of Van Horn were a call across the million years.
Borckman's anger-convulsed face ludicrously attempted a sheepish,
deprecating grin, and he was just mumbling, "We was only playing," when
Jerry arrived back, leaped in the air, and sank his teeth into the
offending hand.

Borckman immediately and insanely went back across the million years.  An
attempted kick got his ankle scored for his pains.  He gibbered his own
rage and hurt, and, stooping, dealt Jerry a tremendous blow alongside the
head and neck.  Being in mid-leap when he received the blow Jerry was
twistingly somersaulted sidewise before he struck the deck on his back.
As swiftly as he could scramble to footing and charge, he returned to the
attack, but was checked by Skipper's:

"Jerry!  Stop it!  Come here!"

He obeyed, but only by prodigious effort, his neck bristling and his lips
writhing clear of his teeth as he passed the mate.  For the first time
there was a whimper in his throat; but it was not the whimper of fear,
nor of pain, but of outrage, and of desire to continue the battle which
he struggled to control at Skipper's behest.

Stepping out on deck, Skipper picked him up and patted and soothed him
the while he expressed his mind to the mate.

"Borckman, you ought to be ashamed.  You ought to be shot or have your
block knocked off for this.  A puppy, a little puppy scarcely weaned.  For
two cents I'd give you what-for myself.  The idea of it.  A little puppy,
a weanling little puppy.  Glad your hands are ripped.  You deserved it.
Hope you get blood-poisoning in them.  Besides, you're drunk.  Go below
and turn in, and don't you dare come on deck until you're sober.  Savve?"

And Jerry, far-journeyer across life and across the history of all life
that goes to make the world, strugglingly mastering the abysmal slime of
the prehistoric with the love that had come into existence and had become
warp and woof of him in far later time, his wrath of ancientness still
faintly reverberating in his throat like the rumblings of a passing
thunder-storm, knew, in the wide warm ways of feeling, the augustness and
righteousness of Skipper.  Skipper was in truth a god who did right, who
was fair, who protected, and who imperiously commanded this other and
lesser god that slunk away before his anger.



CHAPTER IX


Jerry and Skipper shared the long afternoon-watch together, the latter
being guilty of recurrent chuckles and exclamations such as: "Gott-fer-
dang, Jerry, believe _me_, you're some fighter and all dog"; or, "You're
a proper man's dog, you are, a lion dog.  I bet the lion don't live that
could get your goat."

And Jerry, understanding none of the words, with the exception of his own
name, nevertheless knew that the sounds made by Skipper were broad of
praise and warm of love.  And when Skipper stooped and rubbed his ears,
or received a rose-kiss on extended fingers, or caught him up in his
arms, Jerry's heart was nigh to bursting.  For what greater ecstasy can
be the portion of any creature than that it be loved by a god?  This was
just precisely Jerry's ecstasy.  This was a god, a tangible, real, three-
dimensioned god, who went about and ruled his world in a loin-cloth and
on two bare legs, and who loved him with crooning noises in throat and
mouth and with two wide-spread arms that folded him in.

At four o'clock, measuring a glance at the afternoon sun and gauging the
speed of the _Arangi_ through the water in relation to the closeness of
Su'u, Van Horn went below and roughly shook the mate awake.  Until both
returned, Jerry held the deck alone.  But for the fact that the white-
gods were there below and were certain to be back at any moment, not many
moments would Jerry have held the deck, for every lessened mile between
the return boys and Malaita contributed a rising of their spirits, and
under the imminence of their old-time independence, Lerumie, as an
instance of many of them, with strong gustatory sensations and a positive
drooling at the mouth, regarded Jerry in terms of food and vengeance that
were identical.

Flat-hauled on the crisp breeze, the _Arangi_ closed in rapidly with the
land.  Jerry peered through the barbed wire, sniffing the air, Skipper
beside him and giving orders to the mate and helmsman.  The heap of trade-
boxes was now unlashed, and the boys began opening and shutting them.
What gave them particular delight was the ringing of the bell with which
each box was equipped and which rang whenever a lid was raised.  Their
pleasure in the toy-like contrivance was that of children, and each went
back again and again to unlock his own box and make the bell ring.

Fifteen of the boys were to be landed at Su'u and with wild
gesticulations and cries they began to recognize and point out the
infinitesimal details of the landfall of the only spot they had known on
earth prior to the day, three years before, when they had been sold into
slavery by their fathers, uncles, and chiefs.

A narrow neck of water, scarcely a hundred yards across, gave entrance to
a long and tiny bay.  The shore was massed with mangroves and dense,
tropical vegetation.  There was no sign of houses nor of human occupancy,
although Van Horn, staring at the dense jungle so close at hand, knew as
a matter of course that scores, and perhaps hundreds, of pairs of human
eyes were looking at him.

"Smell 'm, Jerry, smell 'm," he encouraged.

And Jerry's hair bristled as he barked at the mangrove wall, for truly
his keen scent informed him of lurking niggers.

"If I could smell like him," the captain said to the mate, "there
wouldn't be any risk at all of my ever losing my head."

But Borckman made no reply and sullenly went about his work.  There was
little wind in the bay, and the _Arangi_ slowly forged in and dropped
anchor in thirty fathoms.  So steep was the slope of the harbour bed from
the beach that even in such excessive depth the _Arangi's_ stern swung in
within a hundred feet of the mangroves.

Van Horn continued to cast anxious glances at the wooded shore.  For Su'u
had an evil name.  Since the schooner _Fair_ _Hathaway_, recruiting
labour for the Queensland plantations, had been captured by the natives
and all hands slain fifteen years before, no vessel, with the exception
of the _Arangi_, had dared to venture into Su'u.  And most white men
condemned Van Horn's recklessness for so venturing.

Far up the mountains, that towered many thousands of feet into the trade-
wind clouds, arose many signal smokes that advertised the coming of the
vessel.  Far and near, the _Arangi's_ presence was known; yet from the
jungle so near at hand only shrieks of parrots and chatterings of
cockatoos could be heard.

The whaleboat, manned with six of the boat's crew, was drawn alongside,
and the fifteen Su'u boys and their boxes were loaded in.  Under the
canvas flaps along the thwarts, ready to hand for the rowers, were laid
five of the Lee-Enfields.  On deck, another of the boat's crew, rifle in
hand, guarded the remaining weapons.  Borckman had brought up his own
rifle to be ready for instant use.  Van Horn's rifle lay handy in the
stern sheets where he stood near Tambi, who steered with a long sweep.
Jerry raised a low whine and yearned over the rail after Skipper, who
yielded and lifted him down.

The place of danger was in the boat; for there was little likelihood, at
this particular time, of a rising of the return boys on the _Arangi_.
Being of Somo, No-ola, Langa-Langa, and far Malu they were in wholesome
fear, did they lose the protection of their white masters, of being eaten
by the Su'u folk, just as the Su'u boys would have feared being eaten by
the Somo and Langa-Langa and No-ola folk.

What increased the danger of the boat was the absence of a covering boat.
The invariable custom of the larger recruiting vessels was to send two
boats on any shore errand.  While one landed on the beach, the other lay
off a short distance to cover the retreat of the shore party, if trouble
broke out.  Too small to carry one boat on deck, the _Arangi_ could not
conveniently tow two astern; so Van Horn, who was the most daring of the
recruiters, lacked this essential safeguard.

Tambi, under Van Horn's low-uttered commands, steered a parallel course
along the shore.  Where the mangroves ceased, and where high ground and a
beaten runway came down to the water's edge, Van Horn motioned the rowers
to back water and lay on their oars.  High palms and lofty, wide-branched
trees rose above the jungle at this spot, and the runway showed like the
entrance of a tunnel into the dense, green wall of tropical vegetation.

Van Horn, regarding the shore for some sign of life, lighted a cigar and
put one hand to the waist-line of his loin-cloth to reassure himself of
the presence of the stick of dynamite that was tucked between the loin-
cloth and his skin.  The lighted cigar was for the purpose, if emergency
arose, of igniting the fuse of the dynamite.  And the fuse was so short,
with its end split to accommodate the inserted head of a safety match,
that between the time of touching it off with the live cigar to the time
of the explosion not more than three seconds could elapse.  This required
quick cool work on Van Horn's part, in case need arose.  In three seconds
he would have to light the fuse and throw the sputtering stick with
directed aim to its objective.  However, he did not expect to use it, and
had it ready merely as a precautionary measure.

Five minutes passed, and the silence of the shore remained profound.
Jerry sniffed Skipper's bare leg as if to assure him that he was beside
him no matter what threatened from the hostile silence of the land, then
stood up with his forepaws on the gunwale and continued to sniff eagerly
and audibly, to prick his neck hair, and to utter low growls.

"They're there, all right," Skipper confided to him; and Jerry, with a
sideward glance of smiling eyes, with a bobbing of his tail and a quick
love-flattening of his ears, turned his nose shoreward again and resumed
his reading of the jungle tale that was wafted to him on the light fans
of the stifling and almost stagnant air.

"Hey!" Van Horn suddenly shouted.  "Hey, you fella boy stick 'm head out
belong you!"

As if in a transformation scene, the apparently tenantless jungle spawned
into life.  On the instant a hundred stark savages appeared.  They broke
forth everywhere from the vegetation.  All were armed, some with Snider
rifles and ancient horse pistols, others with bows and arrows, with long
throwing spears, with war-clubs, and with long-handled tomahawks.  In a
flash, one of them leaped into the sunlight in the open space where
runway and water met.  Save for decorations, he was naked as Adam before
the Fall.  A solitary white feather uprose from his kinky, glossy, black
hair.  A polished bodkin of white petrified shell, with sharp-pointed
ends, thrust through a hole in the partition of his nostrils, extended
five inches across his face.  About his neck, from a cord of twisted
coconut sennit, hung an ivory-white necklace of wild-boar's tusks.  A
garter of white cowrie shells encircled one leg just below the knee.  A
flaming scarlet flower was coquettishly stuck over one ear, and through a
hole in the other ear was threaded a pig's tail so recently severed that
it still bled.

As this dandy of Melanesia leaped into the sunshine, the Snider rifle in
his hands came into position, aimed from his hip, the generous muzzle
bearing directly on Van Horn.  No less quick was Van Horn.  With equal
speed he had snatched his rifle and brought it to bear from his hip.  So
they stood and faced each other, death in their finger-tips, forty feet
apart.  The million years between barbarism and civilization also yawned
between them across that narrow gulf of forty feet.  The hardest thing
for modern, evolved man to do is to forget his ancient training.  Easiest
of all things is it for him to forget his modernity and slip back across
time to the howling ages.  A lie in the teeth, a blow in the face, a love-
thrust of jealousy to the heart, in a fraction of an instant can turn a
twentieth-century philosopher into an ape-like arborean pounding his
chest, gnashing his teeth, and seeing red.

So Van Horn.  But with a difference.  He straddled time.  He was at one
and the same instant all modern, all imminently primitive, capable of
fighting in redness of tooth and claw, desirous of remaining modern for
as long as he could with his will master the study of ebon black of skin
and dazzling white of decoration that confronted him.

A long ten seconds of silence endured.  Even Jerry, he knew not why,
stilled the growl in his throat.  Five score of head-hunting cannibals on
the fringe of the jungle, fifteen Su'u return blacks in the boat, seven
black boat's crew, and a solitary white man with a cigar in his mouth, a
rifle at his hip, and an Irish terrier bristling against his bare calf,
kept the solemn pact of those ten seconds, and no one of them knew or
guessed what the outcome would be.

One of the return boys, in the bow of the whaleboat, made the peace sign
with his palm extended outward and weaponless, and began to chirp in the
unknown Su'u dialect.  Van Horn held his aim and waited.  The dandy
lowered his Snider, and breath came more easily to the chests of all who
composed the picture.

"Me good fella boy," the dandy piped, half bird-like and half elf.

"You big fella fool too much," Van Horn retorted harshly, dropping his
gun into the stern-sheets, motioning to rowers and steersman to turn the
boat around, and puffing his cigar as carelessly casual as if, the moment
before, life and death had not been the debate.

"My word," he went on with fine irritable assumption.  "What name you
stick 'm gun along me?  Me no kai-kai (eat) along you.  Me kai-kai along
you, stomach belong me walk about.  You kai-kai along me, stomach belong
you walk about.  You no like 'm kai-kai Su'u boy belong along you?  Su'u
boy belong you all the same brother along you.  Long time before, three
monsoon before, me speak 'm true speak.  Me say three monsoon boy come
back.  My word, three monsoon finish, boy stop along me come back."

By this time the boat had swung around, reversing bow and stern, Van Horn
pivoting so as to face the Snider-armed dandy.  At another signal from
Van Horn the rowers backed water and forced the boat, stern in, up to the
solid ground of the runway.  And each rower, his oar in position in case
of attack, privily felt under the canvas flap to make sure of the exact
location of his concealed Lee-Enfield.

"All right boy belong you walk about?" Van Horn queried of the dandy, who
signified the affirmative in the Solomon Islands fashion by half-closing
his eyes and nodding his head upward, in a queer, perky way;

"No kai-kai 'm Su'u fella boy suppose walk about along you?"

"No fear," the dandy answered.  "Suppose 'm Su'u fella boy, all right.
Suppose 'm no fella Su'u boy, my word, big trouble.  Ishikola, big fella
black marster along this place, him talk 'm me talk along you.  Him say
any amount bad fella boy stop 'm along bush.  Him say big fella white
marster no walk about.  Him say jolly good big fella white marster stop
'm along ship."

Van Horn nodded in an off-hand way, as if the information were of little
value, although he knew that for this time Su'u would furnish him no
fresh recruits.  One at a time, compelling the others to remain in their
places, he directed the return boys astern and ashore.  It was Solomon
Islands tactics.  Crowding was dangerous.  Never could the blacks be
risked to confusion in numbers.  And Van Horn, smoking his cigar in
lordly indifferent fashion, kept his apparently uninterested eyes glued
to each boy who made his way aft, box on shoulder, and stepped out on the
land.  One by one they disappeared into the runway tunnel, and when the
last was ashore he ordered the boat back to the ship.

"Nothing doing here this trip," he told the mate.  "We'll up hook and out
in the morning."

The quick tropic twilight swiftly blent day and darkness.  Overhead all
stars were out.  No faintest breath of air moved over the water, and the
humid heat beaded the faces and bodies of both men with profuse sweat.
They ate their deck-spread supper languidly and ever and anon used their
forearms to wipe the stinging sweat from their eyes.

"Why a man should come to the Solomons--beastly hole," the mate
complained.

"Or stay on," the captain rejoined.

"I'm too rotten with fever," the mate grumbled.  "I'd die if I left.
Remember, I tried it two years ago.  It takes the cold weather to bring
out the fever.  I arrived in Sydney on my back.  They had to take me to
hospital in an ambulance.  I got worse and worse.  The doctors told me
the only thing to do was to head back where I got the fever.  If I did I
might live a long time.  If I hung on in Sydney it meant a quick finish.
They packed me on board in another ambulance.  And that's all I saw of
Australia for my holiday.  I don't want to stay in the Solomons.  It's
plain hell.  But I got to, or croak."

He rolled, at a rough estimate, thirty grains of quinine in a cigarette
paper, regarded the result sourly for a moment, then swallowed it at a
gulp.  This reminded Van Horn, who reached for the bottle and took a
similar dose.

"Better put up a covering cloth," he suggested.

Borckman directed several of the boat's crew in the rigging up of a thin
tarpaulin, like a curtain along the shore side of the _Arangi_.  This was
a precaution against any bushwhacking bullet from the mangroves only a
hundred feet away.

Van Horn sent Tambi below to bring up the small phonograph and run off
the dozen or so scratchy, screechy records that had already been under
the needle a thousand times.  Between records, Van Horn recollected the
girl, and had her haled out of her dark hole in the lazarette to listen
to the music.  She obeyed in fear, apprehensive that her time had come.
She looked dumbly at the big fella white master, her eyes large with
fright; nor did the trembling of her body cease for a long time after he
had made her lie down.  The phonograph meant nothing to her.  She knew
only fear--fear of this terrible white man that she was certain was
destined to eat her.

Jerry left the caressing hand of Skipper for a moment to go over and
sniff her.  This was an act of duty.  He was identifying her once again.
No matter what happened, no matter what months or years might elapse, he
would know her again and for ever know her again.  He returned to the
free hand of Skipper that resumed its caressing.  The other hand held the
cigar which he was smoking.

The wet sultry heat grew more oppressive.  The air was nauseous with the
dank mucky odour that cooked out of the mangrove swamp.  Rowelled by the
squeaky music to recollection of old-world ports and places, Borckman lay
on his face on the hot planking, beat a tattoo with his naked toes, and
gutturally muttered an unending monologue of curses.  But Van Horn, with
Jerry panting under his hand, placidly and philosophically continued to
smoke, lighting a fresh cigar when the first gave out.

He roused abruptly at the faint wash of paddles which he was the first on
board to hear.  In fact, it was Jerry's low growl and neck-rippling of
hair that had keyed Van Horn to hear.  Pulling the stick of dynamite out
from the twist of his loin cloth and glancing at the cigar to be certain
it was alight, he rose to his feet with leisurely swiftness and with
leisurely swiftness gained the rail.

"What name belong you?" was his challenge to the dark.

"Me fella Ishikola," came the answer in the quavering falsetto of age.

Van Horn, before speaking again, loosened his automatic pistol half out
of its holster, and slipped the holster around from his hip till it
rested on his groin conveniently close to his hand.

"How many fella boy stop along you?" he demanded.

"One fella ten-boy altogether he stop," came the aged voice.

"Come alongside then."  Without turning his head, his right hand
unconsciously dropping close to the butt of the automatic, Van Horn
commanded: "You fella Tambi.  Fetch 'm lantern.  No fetch 'm this place.
Fetch 'm aft along mizzen rigging and look sharp eye belong you."

Tambi obeyed, exposing the lantern twenty feet away from where his
captain stood.  This gave Van Horn the advantage over the approaching
canoe-men, for the lantern, suspended through the barbed wire across the
rail and well down, would clearly illuminate the occupants of the canoe
while he was left in semi-darkness and shadow.

"Washee-washee!" he urged peremptorily, while those in the invisible
canoe still hesitated.

Came the sound of paddles, and, next, emerging into the lantern's area of
light, the high, black bow of a war canoe, curved like a gondola, inlaid
with silvery-glistening mother-of-pearl; the long lean length of the
canoe which was without outrigger; the shining eyes and the black-shining
bodies of the stark blacks who knelt in the bottom and paddled; Ishikola,
the old chief, squatting amidships and not paddling, an unlighted, empty-
bowled, short-stemmed clay pipe upside-down between his toothless gums;
and, in the stern, as coxswain, the dandy, all nakedness of blackness,
all whiteness of decoration, save for the pig's tail in one ear and the
scarlet hibiscus that still flamed over the other ear.

Less than ten blacks had been known to rush a blackbirder officered by no
more than two white men, and Van Horn's hand closed on the butt of his
automatic, although he did not pull it clear of the holster, and
although, with his left hand, he directed the cigar to his mouth and
puffed it lively alight.

"Hello, Ishikola, you blooming old blighter," was Van Horn's greeting to
the old chief, as the dandy, with a pry of his steering-paddle against
the side of the canoe and part under its bottom, brought the dug-out
broadside-on to the _Arangi_ so that the sides of both crafts touched.

Ishikola smiled upward in the lantern light.  He smiled with his right
eye, which was all he had, the left having been destroyed by an arrow in
a youthful jungle-skirmish.

"My word!" he greeted back.  "Long time you no stop eye belong me."

Van Horn joked him in understandable terms about the latest wives he had
added to his harem and what price he had paid for them in pigs.

"My word," he concluded, "you rich fella too much together."

"Me like 'm come on board gammon along you," Ishikola meekly suggested.

"My word, night he stop," the captain objected, then added, as a
concession against the known rule that visitors were not permitted aboard
after nightfall: "You come on board, boy stop 'm along boat."

Van Horn gallantly helped the old man to clamber to the rail, straddle
the barbed wire, and gain the deck.  Ishikola was a dirty old savage.  One
of his tambos (tambo being beche-de-mer and Melanesian for "taboo") was
that water unavoidable must never touch his skin.  He who lived by the
salt sea, in a land of tropic downpour, religiously shunned contact with
water.  He never went swimming or wading, and always fled to shelter from
a shower.  Not that this was true of the rest of his tribe.  It was the
peculiar tambo laid upon him by the devil-devil doctors.  Other tribesmen
the devil-devil doctors tabooed against eating shark, or handling turtle,
or contacting with crocodiles or the fossil remains of crocodiles, or
from ever being smirched by the profanity of a woman's touch or of a
woman's shadow cast across the path.

So Ishikola, whose tambo was water, was crusted with the filth of years.
He was sealed like a leper, and, weazen-faced and age-shrunken, he
hobbled horribly from an ancient spear-thrust to the thigh that twisted
his torso droopingly out of the vertical.  But his one eye gleamed
brightly and wickedly, and Van Horn knew that it observed as much as did
both his own eyes.

Van Horn shook hands with him--an honour he accorded only chiefs--and
motioned him to squat down on deck on his hams close to the fear-struck
girl, who began trembling again at recollection of having once heard
Ishikola offer five twenties of drinking coconuts for the meat of her for
a dinner.

Jerry needs must sniff, for future identification purposes, this
graceless, limping, naked, one-eyed old man.  And, when he had sniffed
and registered the particular odour, Jerry must growl intimidatingly and
win a quick eye-glance of approval from Skipper.

"My word, good fella kai-kai dog," said Ishikola.  "Me give 'm
half-fathom shell money that fella dog."

For a mere puppy this offer was generous, because half a fathom of shell-
money, strung on a thread of twisted coconut fibres, was equivalent in
cash to half a sovereign in English currency, to two dollars and a half
in American, or, in live-pig currency, to half of a fair-sized fat pig.

"One fathom shell-money that fella dog," Van Horn countered, in his heart
knowing that he would not sell Jerry for a hundred fathoms, or for any
fabulous price from any black, but in his head offering so small a price
over par as not to arouse suspicion among the blacks as to how highly he
really valued the golden-coated son of Biddy and Terrence.

Ishikola next averred that the girl had grown much thinner, and that he,
as a practical judge of meat, did not feel justified this time in bidding
more than three twenty-strings of drinking coconuts.

After these amenities, the white master and the black talked of many
things, the one bluffing with the white-man's superiority of intellect
and knowledge, the other feeling and guessing, primitive statesman that
he was, in an effort to ascertain the balance of human and political
forces that bore upon his Su'u territory, ten miles square, bounded by
the sea and by landward lines of an inter-tribal warfare that was older
than the oldest Su'u myth.  Eternally, heads had been taken and bodies
eaten, now on one side, now on the other, by the temporarily victorious
tribes.  The boundaries had remained the same.  Ishikola, in crude beche-
de-mer, tried to learn the Solomon Islands general situation in relation
to Su'u, and Van Horn was not above playing the unfair diplomatic game as
it is unfairly played in all the chancellories of the world powers.

"My word," Van Horn concluded; "you bad fella too much along this place.
Too many heads you fella take; too much kai-kai long pig along you."
(Long pig, meaning barbecued human flesh.)

"What name, long time black fella belong Su'u take 'm heads, kai-kai
along long pig?" Ishikola countered.

"My word," Van Horn came back, "too much along this place.  Bime by,
close up, big fella warship stop 'm along Su'u, knock seven balls outa
Su'u."

"What name him big fella warship stop 'm along Solomons?" Ishikola
demanded.

"Big fella _Cambrian_, him fella name belong ship," Van Horn lied, too
well aware that no British cruiser had been in the Solomons for the past
two years.

The conversation was becoming rather a farcical dissertation upon the
relations that should obtain between states, irrespective of size, when
it was broken off by a cry from Tambi, who, with another lantern hanging
overside at the end of his arm had made a discovery.

"Skipper, gun he stop along canoe!" was his cry.

Van Horn, with a leap, was at the rail and peering down over the barbed
wire.  Ishikola, despite his twisted body, was only seconds behind him.

"What name that fella gun stop 'm along bottom?" Van Horn indignantly
demanded.

The dandy, in the stern, with a careless look upward, tried with his foot
to shove over the green leaves so as to cover the out-jutting butts of
several rifles, but made the matter worse by exposing them more fully.  He
bent to rake the leaves over with his hand, but sat swiftly upright when
Van Horn roared at him:

"Stand clear!  Keep 'm fella hand belong you long way big bit!"

Van Horn turned on Ishikola, and simulated wrath which he did not feel
against the ancient and ever-recurrent trick.

"What name you come alongside, gun he stop along canoe belong you?" he
demanded.

The old salt-water chief rolled his one eye and blinked a fair simulation
of stupidity and innocence.

"My word, me cross along you too much," Van Horn continued.  "Ishikola,
you plenty bad fella boy.  You get 'm to hell overside."

The old fellow limped across the deck with more agility than he had
displayed coming aboard, straddled the barbed wire without assistance,
and without assistance dropped into the canoe, cleverly receiving his
weight on his uninjured leg.  He blinked up for forgiveness and in
reassertion of innocence.  Van Horn turned his face aside to hide a grin,
and then grinned outright when the old rascal, showing his empty pipe,
wheedled up:

"Suppose 'm five stick tobacco you give 'm along me?"

While Borckman went below for the tobacco, Van Horn orated to Ishikola on
the sacred solemnity of truth and promises.  Next, he leaned across the
barbed wire and handed down the five sticks of tobacco.

"My word," he threatened.  "Somo day, Ishikola, I finish along you
altogether.  You no good friend stop along salt-water.  You big fool stop
along bush."

When Ishikola attempted protest, he shut him off with, "My word, you
gammon along me too much."

Still the canoe lingered.  The dandy's toe strayed privily to feel out
the butts of the Sniders under the green leaves, and Ishikola was loth to
depart.

"Washee-washee!" Van Horn cried with imperative suddenness.

The paddlers, without command from chief or dandy, involuntarily obeyed,
and with deep, strong strokes sent the canoe into the encircling
darkness.  Just as quickly Van Horn changed his position on deck to the
tune of a dozen yards, so that no hazarded bullet might reach him.  He
crouched low and listened to the wash of paddles fade away in the
distance.

"All right, you fella Tambi," he ordered quietly.  "Make 'm music he
fella walk about."

And while "Red Wing" screeched its cheap and pretty rhythm, he reclined
elbow on deck, smoked his cigar, and gathered Jerry into caressing
inclosure.

As he smoked he watched the abrupt misting of the stars by a rain-squall
that made to windward or to where windward might vaguely be configured.
While he gauged the minutes ere he must order Tambi below with the
phonograph and records, he noted the bush-girl gazing at him in dumb
fear.  He nodded consent with half-closed eyes and up-tilting face,
clinching his consent with a wave of hand toward the companionway.  She
obeyed as a beaten dog, spirit-broken, might have obeyed, dragging
herself to her feet, trembling afresh, and with backward glances of her
perpetual terror of the big white master that she was convinced would
some day eat her.  In such fashion, stabbing Van Horn to the heart
because of his inability to convey his kindness to her across the abyss
of the ages that separated them, she slunk away to the companionway and
crawled down it feet-first like some enormous, large-headed worm.

After he had sent Tambi to follow her with the precious phonograph, Van
Horn continued to smoke on while the sharp, needle-like spray of the rain
impacted soothingly on his heated body.

Only for five minutes did the rain descend.  Then, as the stars drifted
back in the sky, the smell of steam seemed to stench forth from deck and
mangrove swamp, and the suffocating heat wrapped all about.

Van Horn knew better, but ill health, save for fever, had never concerned
him; so he did not bother for a blanket to shelter him.

"Yours the first watch," he told Borckman.  "I'll have her under way in
the morning, before I call you."

He tucked his head on the biceps of his right arm, with the hollow of the
left snuggling Jerry in against his chest, and dozed off to sleep.

And thus adventuring, white men and indigenous black men from day to day
lived life in the Solomons, bickering and trafficking, the whites
striving to maintain their heads on their shoulders, the blacks striving,
no less single-heartedly, to remove the whites' heads from their
shoulders and at the same time to keep their own anatomies intact.

And Jerry, who knew only the world of Meringe Lagoon, learning that these
new worlds of the ship _Arangi_ and of the island of Malaita were
essentially the same, regarded the perpetual game between the white and
the black with some slight sort of understanding.



CHAPTER X


Daylight saw the _Arangi_ under way, her sails drooping heavily in the
dead air while the boat's crew toiled at the oars of the whaleboat to tow
her out through the narrow entrance.  Once, when the ketch, swerved by
some vagrant current, came close to the break of the shore-surf, the
blacks on board drew toward one another in apprehension akin to that of
startled sheep in a fold when a wild woods marauder howls outside.  Nor
was there any need for Van Horn's shout to the whaleboat: "Washee-washee!
Damn your hides!"  The boat's crew lifted themselves clear of the thwarts
as they threw all their weight into each stroke.  They knew what dire
fate was certain if ever the sea-washed coral rock gripped the _Arangi's_
keel.  And they knew fear precisely of the same sort as that of the fear-
struck girl below in the lazarette.  In the past more than one
Langa-Langa and Somo boy had gone to make a Su'u feast day, just as Su'u
boys, on occasion, had similarly served feasts at Langa-Langa and at
Somo.

"My word," Tambi, at the wheel, addressed Van Horn as the period of
tension passed and the _Arangi_ went clear.  "Brother belong my father,
long time before he come boat's crew along this place.  Big fella
schooner brother belong my father he come along.  All finish this place
Su'u.  Brother belong my father Su'u boys kai-kai along him altogether."

Van Horn recollected the _Fair_ _Hathaway_ of fifteen years before,
looted and burned by the people of Su'u after all hands had been killed.
Truly, the Solomons at this beginning of the twentieth century were
savage, and truly, of the Solomons, this great island of Malaita was
savagest of all.

He cast his eyes speculatively up the slopes of the island to the
seaman's landmark, Mount Kolorat, green-forested to its cloud-capped
summit four thousand feet in the air.  Even as he looked, thin
smoke-columns were rising along the slopes and lesser peaks, and more
were beginning to rise.

"My word," Tambi grinned.  "Plenty boy stop 'm bush lookout along you eye
belong him."

Van Horn smiled understandingly.  He knew, by the ancient telegraphy of
smoke-signalling, the message was being conveyed from village to village
and tribe to tribe that a labour-recruiter was on the leeward coast.

All morning, under a brisk beam wind which had sprung up with the rising
of the sun, the _Arangi_ flew north, her course continuously advertised
by the increasing smoke-talk that gossiped along the green summits.  At
high noon, with Van Horn, ever-attended by Jerry, standing for'ard and
conning, the _Arangi_ headed into the wind to thread the passage between
two palm-tufted islets.  There was need for conning.  Coral patches
uprose everywhere from the turquoise depths, running the gamut of green
from deepest jade to palest tourmaline, over which the sea filtered
changing shades, creamed lazily, or burst into white fountains of sun-
flashed spray.

The smoke columns along the heights became garrulous, and long before the
_Arangi_ was through the passage the entire leeward coast, from the salt-
water men of the shore to the remotest bush villagers, knew that the
labour recruiter was going in to Langa-Langa.  As the lagoon, formed by
the chain of islets lying off shore, opened out, Jerry began to smell the
reef-villages.  Canoes, many canoes, urged by paddles or sailed before
the wind by the weight of the freshening South East trade on spread
fronds of coconut palms, moved across the smooth surface of the lagoon.
Jerry barked intimidatingly at those that came closest, bristling his
neck and making a ferocious simulation of an efficient protector of the
white god who stood beside him.  And after each such warning, he would
softly dab his cool damp muzzle against the sun-heated skin of Skipper's
leg.

Once inside the lagoon, the _Arangi_ filled away with the wind a-beam.  At
the end of a swift half-mile she rounded to, with head-sails trimming
down and with a great flapping of main and mizzen, and dropped anchor in
fifty feet of water so clear that every huge fluted clamshell was visible
on the coral floor.  The whaleboat was not necessary to put the Langa-
Langa return boys ashore.  Hundreds of canoes lay twenty deep along both
sides of the _Arangi_, and each boy, with his box and bell, was clamoured
for by scores of relatives and friends.

In such height of excitement, Van Horn permitted no one on board.
Melanesians, unlike cattle, are as prone to stampede to attack as to
retreat.  Two of the boat's crew stood beside the Lee-Enfields on the
skylight.  Borckman, with half the boat's crew, went about the ship's
work.  Van Horn, Jerry at his heels, careful that no one should get at
his back, superintended the departure of the Langa-Langa returns and kept
a vigilant eye on the remaining half of the boat's crew that guarded the
barbed-wire rails.  And each Somo boy sat on his trade-box to prevent it
from being tossed into the waiting canoes by some Langa-Langa boy.

In half an hour the riot departed ashore.  Only several canoes lingered,
and from one of these Van Horn beckoned aboard Nau-hau, the biggest chief
of the stronghold of Langa-Langa.  Unlike most of the big chiefs, Nau-hau
was young, and, unlike most of the Melanesians, he was handsome, even
beautiful.

"Hello, King o' Babylon," was Van Horn's greeting, for so he had named
him because of fancied Semitic resemblance blended with the crude power
that marked his visage and informed his bearing.

Born and trained to nakedness, Nau-hau trod the deck boldly and
unashamed.  His sole gear of clothing was a length of trunk strap buckled
about his waist.  Between this and his bare skin was thrust the naked
blade of a ten-inch ripping knife.  His sole decoration was a white China
soup-plate, perforated and strung on coconut sennit, suspended from about
his neck so that it rested flat on his chest and half-concealed the
generous swell of muscles.  It was the greatest of treasures.  No man of
Malaita he had ever heard of possessed an unbroken soup-plate.

Nor was he any more ridiculous because of the soup-plate than was he
ludicrous because of his nakedness.  He was royal.  His father had been a
king before him, and he had proved himself greater than his father.  Life
and death he bore in his hands and head.  Often he had exercised it,
chirping to his subjects in the tongue of Langa-Langa: "Slay here," and
"Slay there"; "Thou shalt die," and "Thou shalt live."  Because his
father, a year abdicated, had chosen foolishly to interfere with his
son's government, he had called two boys and had them twist a cord of
coconut around his father's neck so that thereafter he never breathed
again.  Because his favourite wife, mother of his eldest born, had dared
out of silliness of affection to violate one of his kingly tamboos, he
had had her killed and had himself selfishly and religiously eaten the
last of her even to the marrow of her cracked joints, sharing no morsel
with his boonest of comrades.

Royal he was, by nature, by training, by deed.  He carried himself with
consciousness of royalty.  He looked royal--as a magnificent stallion may
look royal, as a lion on a painted tawny desert may look royal.  He was
as splendid a brute--an adumbration of the splendid human conquerors and
rulers, higher on the ladder of evolution, who have appeared in other
times and places.  His pose of body, of chest, of shoulders, of head, was
royal.  Royal was the heavy-lidded, lazy, insolent way he looked out of
his eyes.

Royal in courage was he, this moment on the _Arangi_, despite the fact
that he knew he walked on dynamite.  As he had long since bitterly
learned, any white man was as much dynamite as was the mysterious death-
dealing missile he sometimes employed.  When a stripling, he had made one
of the canoe force that attacked the sandalwood-cutter that had been even
smaller than the _Arangi_.  He had never forgotten that mystery.  Two of
the three white men he had seen slain and their heads removed on deck.
The third, still fighting, had but the minute before fled below.  Then
the cutter, along with all her wealth of hoop-iron, tobacco, knives and
calico, had gone up into the air and fallen back into the sea in
scattered and fragmented nothingness.  It had been dynamite--the MYSTERY.
And he, who had been hurled uninjured through the air by a miracle of
fortune, had divined that white men in themselves were truly dynamite,
compounded of the same mystery as the substance with which they shot the
swift-darting schools of mullet, or blow up, in extremity, themselves and
the ships on which they voyaged the sea from far places.  And yet on this
unstable and death-terrific substance of which he was well aware Van Horn
was composed, he trod heavily with his personality, daring, to the verge
of detonation, to impact it with his insolence.

"My word," he began, "what name you make 'm boy belong me stop along you
too much?"  Which was a true and correct charge that the boys which Van
Horn had just returned had been away three years and a half instead of
three years.

"You talk that fella talk I get cross too much along you," Van Horn
bristled back, and then added, diplomatically, dipping into a half-case
of tobacco sawed across and proffering a handful of stick tobacco: "Much
better you smoke 'm up and talk 'm good fella talk."

But Nau-hau grandly waved aside the gift for which he hungered.

"Plenty tobacco stop along me," he lied.  "What name one fella boy go way
no come back?" he demanded.

Van Horn pulled the long slender account book out of the twist of his
loin-cloth, and, while he skimmed its pages, impressed Nau-hau with the
dynamite of the white man's superior powers which enabled him to remember
correctly inside the scrawled sheets of a book instead of inside his
head.

"Sati," Van Horn read, his finger marking the place, his eyes alternating
watchfully between the writing and the black chief before him, while the
black chief himself speculated and studied the chance of getting behind
him and, with the single knife-thrust he knew so well, of severing the
other's spinal cord at the base of the neck.

"Sati," Van Horn read.  "Last monsoon begin about this time, him fella
Sati get 'm sick belly belong him too much; bime by him fella Sati finish
altogether," he translated into beche-de-mer the written information:
_Died_ _of_ _dysentery_ _July_ _4th_, 1901.

"Plenty work him fella Sati, long time," Nau-hau drove to the point.
"What come along money belong him?"

Van Horn did mental arithmetic from the account.

"Altogether him make 'm six tens pounds and two fella pounds gold money,"
was his translation of sixty-two pounds of wages.  "I pay advance father
belong him one ten pounds and five fella pounds.  Him finish altogether
four tens pounds and seven fella pounds."

"What name stop four tens pounds and seven fella pounds?" Nau-hau
demanded, his tongue, but not his brain, encompassing so prodigious a
sum.

Van Horn held up his hand.

"Too much hurry you fella Nau-hau.  Him fella Sati buy 'm slop chest
along plantation two tens pounds and one fella pound.  Belong Sati he
finish altogether two tens pounds and six fella pounds."

"What name stop two tens pounds and six fella pounds?" Nau-hau continued
inflexibly.

"Stop 'm along me," the captain answered curtly.

"Give 'm me two tens pounds and six fella pounds."

"Give 'm you hell," Van Horn refused, and in the blue of his eyes the
black chief sensed the impression of the dynamite out of which white men
seemed made, and felt his brain quicken to the vision of the bloody day
he first encountered an explosion of dynamite and was hurled through the
air.

"What name that old fella boy stop 'm along canoe?" Van Horn asked,
pointing to an old man in a canoe alongside.  "Him father belong Sati?"

"Him father belong Sati," Nau-hau affirmed.

Van Horn motioned the old man in and on board, beckoned Borckman to take
charge of the deck and of Nau-hau, and went below to get the money from
his strong-box.  When he returned, cavalierly ignoring the chief, he
addressed himself to the old man.

"What name belong you?"

"Me fella Nino," was the quavering response.  "Him fella Sati belong
along me."

Van Horn glanced for verification to Nau-hau, who nodded affirmation in
the reverse Solomon way; whereupon Van Horn counted twenty-six gold
sovereigns into the hand of Sati's father.

Immediately thereafter Nau-hau extended his hand and received the sum.
Twenty gold pieces the chief retained for himself, returning to the old
man the remaining six.  It was no quarrel of Van Horn's.  He had
fulfilled his duty and paid properly.  The tyranny of a chief over a
subject was none of his business.

Both masters, white and black, were fairly contented with themselves.  Van
Horn had paid the money where it was due; Nau-hau, by virtue of kingship,
had robbed Sati's father of Sati's labour before Van Horn's eyes.  But
Nau-hau was not above strutting.  He declined a proffered present of
tobacco, bought a case of stick tobacco from Van Horn, paying him five
pounds for it, and insisted on having it sawed open so that he could fill
his pipe.

"Plenty good boy stop along Langa-Langa?" Van Horn, unperturbed, politely
queried, in order to make conversation and advertise nonchalance.

The King o' Babylon grinned, but did not deign to reply.

"Maybe I go ashore and walk about?" Van Horn challenged with tentative
emphasis.

"Maybe too much trouble along you," Nau-hau challenged back.  "Maybe
plenty bad fella boy kai-kai along you."

Although Van Horn did not know it, at this challenge he experienced the
hair-pricking sensations in his scalp that Jerry experienced when he
bristled his back.

"Hey, Borckman," he called.  "Man the whaleboat."

When the whaleboat was alongside, he descended into it first, superiorly,
then invited Nau-hau to accompany him.

"My word, King o' Babylon," he muttered in the chief's ears as the boat's
crew bent to the oars, "one fella boy make 'm trouble, I shoot 'm hell
outa you first thing.  Next thing I shoot 'm hell outa Langa-Langa.  All
the time you me fella walk about, you walk about along me.  You no like
walk about along me, you finish close up altogether."

And ashore, a white man alone, attended by an Irish terrier puppy with a
heart flooded with love and by a black king resentfully respectful of the
dynamite of the white man, Van Horn went, swashbuckling barelegged
through a stronghold of three thousand souls, while his white mate,
addicted to schnapps, held the deck of the tiny craft at anchor off
shore, and while his black boat's crew, oars in hands, held the whaleboat
stern-on to the beach to receive the expected flying leap of the man they
served but did not love, and whose head they would eagerly take any time
were it not for fear of him.

Van Horn had had no intention of going ashore, and that he went ashore at
the black chief's insolent challenge was merely a matter of business.  For
an hour he strolled about, his right hand never far from the butt of the
automatic that lay along his groin, his eyes never too far from the
unwilling Nau-hau beside him.  For Nau-hau, in sullen volcanic rage, was
ripe to erupt at the slightest opportunity.  And, so strolling, Van Horn
was given to see what few white men have seen, for Langa-Langa and her
sister islets, beautiful beads strung along the lee coast of Malaita,
were as unique as they were unexplored.

Originally these islets had been mere sand-banks and coral reefs awash in
the sea or shallowly covered by the sea.  Only a hunted, wretched
creature, enduring incredible hardship, could have eked out a miserable
existence upon them.  But such hunted, wretched creatures, survivors of
village massacres, escapes from the wrath of chiefs and from the long-pig
fate of the cooking-pot, did come, and did endure.  They, who knew only
the bush, learned the salt water and developed the salt-water-man breed.
They learned the ways of the fish and the shell-fish, and they invented
hooks and lines, nets and fish-traps, and all the diverse cunning ways by
which swimming meat can be garnered from the shifting, unstable sea.

Such refugees stole women from the mainland, and increased and
multiplied.  With herculean labour, under the burning sun, they conquered
the sea.  They walled the confines of their coral reefs and sand-banks
with coral-rock stolen from the mainland on dark nights.  Fine masonry,
without mortar or cutting chisel, they builded to withstand the ocean
surge.  Likewise stolen from the mainland, as mice steal from human
habitations when humans sleep, they stole canoe-loads, and millions of
canoe-loads, of fat, rich soil.

Generations and centuries passed, and, behold, in place of naked
sandbanks half awash were walled citadels, perforated with launching-ways
for the long canoes, protected against the mainland by the lagoons that
were to them their narrow seas.  Coconut palms, banana trees, and lofty
breadfruit trees gave food and sun-shelter.  Their gardens prospered.
Their long, lean war-canoes ravaged the coasts and visited vengeance for
their forefathers upon the descendants of them that had persecuted and
desired to eat.

Like the refugees and renegades who slunk away in the salt marshes of the
Adriatic and builded the palaces of powerful Venice on her deep-sunk
piles, so these wretched hunted blacks builded power until they became
masters of the mainland, controlling traffic and trade-routes, compelling
the bushmen for ever after to remain in the bush and never to dare
attempt the salt-water.

And here, amidst the fat success and insolence of the sea-people, Van
Horn swaggered his way, taking his chance, incapable of believing that he
might swiftly die, knowing that he was building good future business in
the matter of recruiting labour for the plantations of other adventuring
white men on far islands who dared only less greatly than he.

And when, at the end of an hour, Van Horn passed Jerry into the
sternsheets of the whaleboat and followed, he left on the beach a stunned
and wondering royal black, who, more than ever before, was respectful of
the dynamite-compounded white men who brought to him stick tobacco,
calico, knives and hatchets, and inexorably extracted from such trade a
profit.



CHAPTER XI


Back on board, Van Horn immediately hove short, hoisted sail, broke out
the anchor, and filled away for the ten-mile beat up the lagoon to
windward that would fetch Somo.  On the way, he stopped at Binu to greet
Chief Johnny and land a few Binu returns.  Then it was on to Somo, and to
the end of voyaging for ever of the _Arangi_ and of many that were aboard
of her.

Quite the opposite to his treatment at Langa-Langa was that accorded Van
Horn at Somo.  Once the return boys were put ashore, and this was
accomplished no later than three-thirty in the afternoon, he invited
Chief Bashti on board.  And Chief Bashti came, very nimble and active
despite his great age, and very good-natured--so good-natured, in fact,
that he insisted on bringing three of his elderly wives on board with
him.  This was unprecedented.  Never had he permitted any of his wives to
appear before a white man, and Van Horn felt so honoured that he
presented each of them with a gay clay pipe and a dozen sticks of
tobacco.

Late as the afternoon was, trade was brisk, and Bashti, who had taken the
lion's share of the wages due to the fathers of two boys who had died,
bought liberally of the _Arangi's_ stock.  When Bashti promised plenty of
fresh recruits, Van Horn, used to the changeableness of the savage mind,
urged signing them up right away.  Bashti demurred, and suggested next
day.  Van Horn insisted that there was no time like the present, and so
well did he insist that the old chief sent a canoe ashore to round up the
boys who had been selected to go away to the plantations.

"Now, what do you think?" Van Horn asked of Borckman, whose eyes were
remarkably fishy.  "I never saw the old rascal so friendly.  Has he got
something up his sleeve?"

The mate stared at the many canoes alongside, noted the numbers of women
in them, and shook his head.

"When they're starting anything they always send the Marys into the
bush," he said.

"You never can tell about these niggers," the captain grumbled.  "They
may be short on imagination, but once in a while they do figure out
something new.  Now Bashti's the smartest old nigger I've ever seen.
What's to prevent his figuring out that very bet and playing it in
reverse?  Just because they've never had their women around when trouble
was on the carpet is no reason that they will always keep that practice."

"Not even Bashti's got the savvee to pull a trick like that," Borckman
objected.  "He's just feeling good and liberal.  Why, he's bought forty
pounds of goods from you already.  That's why he wants to sign on a new
batch of boys with us, and I'll bet he's hoping half of them die so's he
can have the spending of their wages."

All of which was most reasonable.  Nevertheless, Van Horn shook his head.

"All the same keep your eyes sharp on everything," he cautioned.  "And
remember, the two of us mustn't ever be below at the same time.  And no
more schnapps, mind, until we're clear of the whole kit and caboodle."

Bashti was incredibly lean and prodigiously old.  He did not know how old
he was himself, although he did know that no person in his tribe had been
alive when he was a young boy in the village.  He remembered the days
when some of the old men, still alive, had been born; and, unlike him,
they were now decrepit, shaken with palsy, blear-eyed, toothless of
mouth, deaf of ear, or paralysed.  All his own faculties remained
unimpaired.  He even boasted a dozen worn fangs of teeth, gum-level, on
which he could still chew.  Although he no longer had the physical
endurance of youth, his thinking was as original and clear as it had
always been.  It was due to his thinking that he found his tribe stronger
than when he had first come to rule it.  In his small way he had been a
Melanesian Napoleon.  As a warrior, the play of his mind had enabled him
to beat back the bushmen's boundaries.  The scars on his withered body
attested that he had fought to the fore.  As a Law-giver, he had
encouraged and achieved strength and efficiency within his tribe.  As a
statesman, he had always kept one thought ahead of the thoughts of the
neighbouring chiefs in the making of treaties and the granting of
concessions.

And with his mind, still keenly alive, he had but just evolved a scheme
whereby he might outwit Van Horn and get the better of the vast British
Empire about which he guessed little and know less.

For Somo had a history.  It was that queer anomaly, a salt-water tribe
that lived on the lagoon mainland where only bushmen were supposed to
live.  Far back into the darkness of time, the folk-lore of Somo cast a
glimmering light.  On a day, so far back that there was no way of
estimating its distance, one, Somo, son of Loti, who was the chief of the
island fortress of Umbo, had quarrelled with his father and fled from his
wrath along with a dozen canoe-loads of young men.  For two monsoons they
had engaged in an odyssey.  It was in the myth that they circumnavigated
Malaita twice, and forayed as far as Ugi and San Cristobal across the
wide seas.

Women they had inevitably stolen after successful combats, and, in the
end, being burdened with women and progeny, Somo had descended upon the
mainland shore, driven the bushmen back, and established the salt-water
fortress of Somo.  Built it was, on its sea-front, like any island
fortress, with walled coral-rock to oppose the sea and chance marauders
from the sea, and with launching ways through the walls for the long
canoes.  To the rear, where it encroached on the jungle, it was like any
scattered bush village.  But Somo, the wide-seeing father of the new
tribe, had established his boundaries far up in the bush on the shoulders
of the lesser mountains, and on each shoulder had planted a village.  Only
the greatly daring that fled to him had Somo permitted to join the new
tribe.  The weaklings and cowards they had promptly eaten, and the
unbelievable tale of their many heads adorning the canoe-houses was part
of the myth.

And this tribe, territory, and stronghold, at the latter end of time,
Bashti had inherited, and he had bettered his inheritance.  Nor was he
above continuing to better it.  For a long time he had reasoned closely
and carefully in maturing the plan that itched in his brain for
fulfilment.  Three years before, the tribe of Ano Ano, miles down the
coast, had captured a recruiter, destroyed her and all hands, and gained
a fabulous store of tobacco, calico, beads, and all manner of trade
goods, rifles and ammunition.

Little enough had happened in the way of price that was paid.  Half a
year after, a war vessel had poked her nose into the lagoon, shelled Ano
Ano, and sent its inhabitants scurrying into the bush.  The landing-party
that followed had futilely pursued along the jungle runways.  In the end
it had contented itself with killing forty fat pigs and chopping down a
hundred coconut trees.  Scarcely had the war vessel passed out to open
sea, when the people of Ano Ano were back from the bush to the village.
Shell fire on flimsy grass houses is not especially destructive.  A few
hours' labour of the women put that little matter right.  As for the
forty dead pigs, the entire tribe fell upon the carcasses, roasted them
under the ground with hot stones, and feasted.  The tender tips of the
fallen palms were likewise eaten, while the thousands of coconuts were
husked and split and sun-dried and smoke-cured into copra to be sold to
the next passing trader.

Thus, the penalty exacted had proved a picnic and a feast--all of which
appealed to the thrifty, calculating brain of Bashti.  And what was good
for Ano Ano, in his judgment was surely good for Somo.  Since such were
white men's ways who sailed under the British flag and killed pigs and
cut down coconuts in cancellation of blood-debts and headtakings, Bashti
saw no valid reason why he should not profit as Ano Ano had profited.  The
price to be paid at some possible future time was absurdly
disproportionate to the immediate wealth to be gained.  Besides, it had
been over two years since the last British war vessel had appeared in the
Solomons.

And thus, Bashti, with a fine fresh idea inside his head, bowed his
chief's head in consent that his people could flock aboard and trade.
Very few of them knew what his idea was or that he even had an idea.

Trade grew still brisker as more canoes came alongside and black men and
women thronged the deck.  Then came the recruits, new-caught, young,
savage things, timid as deer, yet yielding to stern parental and tribal
law and going down into the _Arangi's_ cabin, one by one, their fathers
and mothers and relatives accompanying them in family groups, to confront
the big fella white marster, who wrote their names down in a mysterious
book, had them ratify the three years' contract of their labour by a
touch of the right hand to the pen with which he wrote, and who paid the
first year's advance in trade goods to the heads of their respective
families.

Old Bashti sat near, taking his customary heavy tithes out of each
advance, his three old wives squatting humbly at his feet and by their
mere presence giving confidence to Van Horn, who was elated by the stroke
of business.  At such rate his cruise on Malaita would be a short one,
when he would sail away with a full ship.

On deck, where Borckman kept a sharp eye out against danger, Jerry
prowled about, sniffing the many legs of the many blacks he had never
encountered before.  The wild-dog had gone ashore with the return boys,
and of the return boys only one had come back.  It was Lerumie, past whom
Jerry repeatedly and stiff-leggedly bristled without gaining response of
recognition.  Lerumie coolly ignored him, went down below once and
purchased a trade hand-mirror, and, with a look of the eyes, assured old
Bashti that all was ready and ripe to break at the first favourable
moment.

On deck, Borckman gave this favourable moment.  Nor would he have so
given it had he not been guilty of carelessness and of disobedience to
his captain's orders.  He did not leave the schnapps alone.  Be did not
sense what was impending all about him.  Aft, where he stood, the deck
was almost deserted.  Amidships and for'ard, gamming with the boat's
crew, the deck was crowded with blacks of both sexes.  He made his way to
the yam sacks lashed abaft the mizzenmast and got his bottle.  Just
before he drank, with a shred of caution, he cast a glance behind him.
Near him stood a harmless Mary, middle-aged, fat, squat, asymmetrical,
unlovely, a sucking child of two years astride her hip and taking
nourishment.  Surely no harm was to be apprehended there.  Furthermore,
she was patently a weaponless Mary, for she wore no stitch of clothing
that otherwise might have concealed a weapon.  Over against the rail, ten
feet to one side, stood Lerumie, smirking into the trade mirror he had
just bought.

It was in the trade mirror that Lerumie saw Borckman bend to the
yam-sacks, return to the erect, throw his head back, the mouth of the
bottle glued to his lips, the bottom elevated skyward.  Lerumie lifted
his right hand in signal to a woman in a canoe alongside.  She bent
swiftly for something that she tossed to Lerumie.  It was a long-handled
tomahawk, the head of it an ordinary shingler's hatchet, the haft of it,
native-made, a black and polished piece of hard wood, inlaid in rude
designs with mother-of-pearl and wrapped with coconut sennit to make a
hand grip.  The blade of the hatchet had been ground to razor-edge.

As the tomahawk flew noiselessly through the air to Lerumie's hand, just
as noiselessly, the next instant, it flew through the air from his hand
into the hand of the fat Mary with the nursing child who stood behind the
mate.  She clutched the handle with both hands, while the child, astride
her hip, held on to her with both small arms part way about her.

Still she waited the stroke, for with Borckman's head thrown back was no
time to strive to sever the spinal cord at the neck.  Many eyes beheld
the impending tragedy.  Jerry saw, but did not understand.  With all his
hostility to niggers he had not divined the attack from the air.  Tambi,
who chanced to be near the skylight, saw, and, seeing, reached for a Lee-
Enfield.  Lerumie saw Tambi's action and hissed haste to the Mary.

Borckman, as unaware of this, his last second of life, as he had been of
his first second of birth, lowered the bottle and straightened forward
his head.  The keen edge sank home.  What, in that flash of instant when
his brain was severed from the rest of his body, Borckman may have felt
or thought, if he felt or thought at all, is a mystery unsolvable to
living man.  No man, his spinal cord so severed, has ever given one word
or whisper of testimony as to what were his sensations and impressions.
No less swift than the hatchet stroke was the limp placidity into which
Borckman's body melted to the deck.  He did not reel or pitch.  He
_melted_, as a sack of wind suddenly emptied, as a bladder of air
suddenly punctured.  The bottle fell from his dead hand upon the yams
without breaking, although the remnant of its contents gurgled gently out
upon the deck.

So quick was the occurrence of action, that the first shot from Tambi's
musket missed the Mary ere Borckman had quite melted to the deck.  There
was no time for a second shot, for the Mary, dropping the tomahawk,
holding her child in both her hands and plunging to the rail, was in the
air and overboard, her fall capsizing the canoe which chanced to be
beneath her.

Scores of actions were simultaneous.  From the canoes on both sides
uprose a glittering, glistening rain of mother-of-pearl-handled tomahawks
that descended into the waiting hands of the Somo men on deck, while the
Marys on deck crouched down and scrambled out of the fray.  At the same
time that the Mary who had killed Borckman leapt the rail, Lerumie bent
for the tomahawk she had dropped, and Jerry, aware of red war, slashed
the hand that reached for the tomahawk.  Lerumie stood upright and loosed
loudly, in a howl, all the pent rage and hatred, of months which he had
cherished against the puppy.  Also, as he gained the perpendicular and as
Jerry flew at his legs, he launched a kick with all his might that caught
and lifted Jerry squarely under the middle.

And in the next second, or fraction of second, as Jerry lifted and soared
through the air, over the barbed wire of the rail and overboard, while
Sniders were being passed up overside from the canoes, Tambi fired his
next hasty shot.  And Lerumie, the foot with which he had kicked not yet
returned to the deck as again he was in mid-action of stooping to pick up
the tomahawk, received the bullet squarely in the heart and pitched down
to melt with Borckman into the softness of death.

Ere Jerry struck the water, the glory of Tambi's marvellously lucky shot
was over for Tambi; for, at the moment he pressed trigger to the
successful shot, a tomahawk bit across his skull at the base of the brain
and darkened from his eyes for ever the bright vision of the sea-washed,
sun-blazoned tropic world.  As swiftly, all occurring almost
simultaneously, did the rest of the boat's crew pass and the deck became
a shambles.

It was to the reports of the Sniders and the noises of the death scuffle
that Jerry's head emerged from the water.  A man's hand reached over a
canoe-side and dragged him in by the scruff of the neck, and, although he
snarled and struggled to bite his rescuer, he was not so much enraged as
was he torn by the wildest solicitude for Skipper.  He knew, without
thinking about it, that the _Arangi_ had been boarded by the hazily
sensed supreme disaster of life that all life intuitively apprehends and
that only man knows and calls by the name of "death."  Borckman he had
seen struck down.  Lerumie he had heard struck down.  And now he was
hearing the explosions of rifles and the yells and screeches of triumph
and fear.

So it was, helpless, suspended in the air by the nape of the neck, that
he bawled and squalled and choked and coughed till the black, disgusted,
flung him down roughly in the canoe's bottom.  He scrambled to his feet
and made two leaps: one upon the gunwale of the canoe; the next,
despairing and hopeless, without consideration of self, for the rail of
the _Arangi_.

His forefeet missed the rail by a yard, and he plunged down into the sea.
He came up, swimming frantically, swallowing and strangling salt water
because he still yelped and wailed and barked his yearning to be on board
with Skipper.

But a boy of twelve, in another canoe, having witnessed the first black's
adventure with Jerry, treated him without ceremony, laying, first the
flat, and next the edge, of a paddle upon his head while he still swam.
And the darkness of unconsciousness welled over his bright little love-
suffering brain, so that it was a limp and motionless puppy that the
black boy dragged into his canoe.

In the meantime, down below in the _Arangi's_ cabin, ere ever Jerry hit
the water from Lerumie's kick, even while he was in the air, Van Horn, in
one great flashing profound fraction of an instant, had known his death.
Not for nothing had old Bashti lived longest of any living man in his
tribe, and ruled wisest of all the long line of rulers since Somo's time.
Had he been placed more generously in earth space and time, he might well
have proved an Alexander, a Napoleon, or a swarthy Kahehameha.  As it
was, he performed well, and splendidly well, in his limited little
kingdom on the leeward coast of the dark cannibal island of Malaita.

And such a performance!  In cool good nature in rigid maintenance of his
chiefship rights, he had smiled at Van Horn, given royal permission to
his young men to sign on for three years of plantation slavery, and
exacted his share of each year's advance.  Aora, who might be described
as his prime minister and treasurer, had received the tithes as fast as
they were paid over, and filled them into large, fine-netted bags of
coconut sennit.  At Bashti's back, squatting on the bunk-boards, a slim
and smooth-skinned maid of thirteen had flapped the flies away from his
royal head with the royal fly-flapper.  At his feet had squatted his
three old wives, the oldest of them, toothless and somewhat palsied, ever
presenting to his hand, at his head nod, a basket rough-woven of pandanus
leaf.

And Bashti, his keen old ears pitched for the first untoward sound from
on deck, had continually nodded his head and dipped his hand into the
proffered basket--now for betel-nut, and lime-box, and the invariable
green leaf with which to wrap the mouthful; now for tobacco with which to
fill his short clay pipe; and, again, for matches with which to light the
pipe which seemed not to draw well and which frequently went out.

Toward the last the basket had hovered constantly close to his hand, and,
at the last, he made one final dip.  It was at the moment when the Mary's
axe, on deck, had struck Borckman down and when Tambi loosed the first
shot at her from his Lee-Enfield.  And Bashti's withered ancient hand,
the back of it netted with a complex of large up-standing veins from
which the flesh had shrunk away, dipped out a huge pistol of such remote
vintage that one of Cromwell's round-heads might well have carried it or
that it might well have voyaged with Quiros or La Perouse.  It was a
flint-lock, as long as a man's forearm, and it had been loaded that
afternoon by no less a person than Bashti himself.

Quick as Bashti had been, Van Horn was almost as quick, but not quite
quick enough.  Even as his hand leapt to the modern automatic lying out
of it's holster and loose on his knees, the pistol of the centuries went
off.  Loaded with two slugs and a round bullet, its effect was that of a
sawed-off shotgun.  And Van Horn knew the blaze and the black of death,
even as "Gott fer dang!" died unuttered on his lips and as his fingers
relaxed from the part-lifted automatic, dropping it to the floor.

Surcharged with black powder, the ancient weapon had other effect.  It
burst in Bashti's hand.  While Aora, with a knife produced apparently
from nowhere, proceeded to hack off the white master's head, Bashti
looked quizzically at his right forefinger dangling by a strip of skin.
He seized it with his left hand, with a quick pull and twist wrenched it
off, and grinningly tossed it, as a joke, into the pandanus basket which
still his wife with one hand held before him while with the other she
clutched her forehead bleeding from a flying fragment of pistol.

Collaterally with this, three of the young recruits, joined by their
fathers and uncles, had downed, and were finishing off the only one of
the boat's crew that was below.  Bashti, who had lived so long that he
was a philosopher who minded pain little and the loss of a finger less,
chuckled and chirped his satisfaction and pride of achievement in the
outcome, while his three old wives, who lived only at the nod of his
head, fawned under him on the floor in the abjectness of servile
congratulation and worship.  Long had they lived, and they had lived long
only by his kingly whim.  They floundered and gibbered and mowed at his
feet, lord of life and death that he was, infinitely wise as he had so
often proved himself, as he had this time proved himself again.

And the lean, fear-stricken girl, like a frightened rabbit in the mouth
of its burrow, on hands and knees peered forth upon the scene from the
lazarette and knew that the cooking-pot and the end of time had come for
her.



CHAPTER XII


What happened aboard the _Arangi_ Jerry never knew.  He did know that it
was a world destroyed, for he saw it destroyed.  The boy who had knocked
him on the head with the paddle, tied his legs securely and tossed him
out on the beach ere he forgot him in the excitement of looting the
_Arangi_.

With great shouting and song, the pretty teak-built yacht was towed in by
the long canoes and beached close to where Jerry lay just beyond the
confines of the coral-stone walls.  Fires blazed on the beach, lanterns
were lighted on board, and, amid a great feasting, the _Arangi_ was
gutted and stripped.  Everything portable was taken ashore, from her pigs
of iron ballast to her running gear and sails.  No one in Somo slept that
night.  Even the tiniest of children toddled about the feasting fires or
sprawled surfeited on the sands.  At two in the morning, at Bashti's
command, the shell of the boat was fired.  And Jerry, thirsting for
water, having whimpered and wailed himself to exhaustion, lying helpless,
leg-tied, on his side, saw the floating world he had known so short a
time go up in flame and smoke.

And by the light of her burning, old Bashti apportioned the loot.  No one
of the tribe was too mean to receive nothing.  Even the wretched bush-
slaves, who had trembled through all the time of their captivity from
fear of being eaten, received each a clay pipe and several sticks of
tobacco.  The main bulk of the trade goods, which was not distributed,
Bashti had carried up to his own large grass house.  All the wealth of
gear was stored in the several canoe houses.  While in the devil devil
houses the devil devil doctors set to work curing the many heads over
slow smudges; for, along with the boat's crew there were a round dozen of
No-ola return boys and several Malu boys which Van Horn had not yet
delivered.

Not all these had been slain, however.  Bashti had issued stern
injunctions against wholesale slaughter.  But this was not because his
heart was kind.  Rather was it because his head was shrewd.  Slain they
would all be in the end.  Bashti had never seen ice, did not know it
existed, and was unversed in the science of refrigeration.  The only way
he knew to keep meat was to keep it alive.  And in the biggest canoe
house, the club house of the stags, where no Mary might come under
penalty of death by torture, the captives were stored.

Tied or trussed like fowls or pigs, they were tumbled on the hard-packed
earthen floor, beneath which, shallowly buried, lay the remains of
ancient chiefs, while, overhead, in wrappings of grass mats, swung all
that was left of several of Bashti's immediate predecessors, his father
latest among them and so swinging for two full generations.  Here, too,
since she was to be eaten and since the taboo had no bearing upon one
condemned to be cooked, the thin little Mary from the lazarette was
tumbled trussed upon the floor among the many blacks who had teased and
mocked her for being fattened by Van Horn for the eating.

And to this canoe house Jerry was also brought to join the others on the
floor.  Agno, chief of the devil devil doctors, had stumbled across him
on the beach, and, despite the protestations of the boy who claimed him
as personal trove, had ordered him to the canoe house.  Carried past the
fires of the feasting, his keen nostrils had told him of what the feast
consisted.  And, new as the experience was, he had bristled and snarled
and struggled against his bonds to be free.  Likewise, at first, tossed
down in the canoe house, he had bristled and snarled at his fellow
captives, not realizing their plight, and, since always he had been
trained to look upon niggers as the eternal enemy, considering them
responsible for the catastrophe to the _Arangi_ and to Skipper.

For Jerry was only a little dog, with a dog's limitations, and very young
in the world.  But not for long did he throat his rage at them.  In vague
ways it was borne in upon him that they, too, were not happy.  Some had
been cruelly wounded, and kept up a moaning and groaning.  Without any
clearness of concept, nevertheless Jerry had a realization that they were
as painfully circumstanced as himself.  And painful indeed was his own
circumstance.  He lay on his side, the cords that bound his legs so tight
as to bite into his tender flesh and shut off the circulation.  Also, he
was perishing for water, and panted, dry-tongued, dry-mouthed, in the
stagnant heat.

A dolorous place it was, this canoe house, filled with groans and sighs,
corpses beneath the floor and composing the floor, creatures soon to be
corpses upon the floor, corpses swinging in aerial sepulchre overhead,
long black canoes, high-ended like beaked predatory monsters, dimly
looming in the light of a slow fire where sat an ancient of the tribe of
Somo at his interminable task of smoke-curing a bushman's head.  He was
withered, and blind, and senile, gibbering and mowing like some huge ape
as ever he turned and twisted, and twisted back again, the suspended head
in the pungent smoke, and handful by handful added rotten punk of wood to
the smudge fire.

Sixty feet in the clear, the dim fire occasionally lighted, through
shadowy cross-beams, the ridge-pole that was covered with sennit of
coconut that was braided in barbaric designs of black and white and that
was stained by the smoke of years almost to a monochrome of dirty brown.
From the lofty cross-beams, on long sennit strings, hung the heads of
enemies taken aforetime in jungle raid and sea foray.  The place breathed
the very atmosphere of decay and death, and the imbecile ancient, curing
in the smoke the token of death, was himself palsiedly shaking into the
disintegration of the grave.

Toward daylight, with great shouting and heaving and pull and haul,
scores of Somo men brought in another of the big war canoes.  They made
way with foot and hand, kicking and thrusting dragging and shoving, the
bound captives to either side of the space which the canoe was to occupy.
They were anything but gentle to the meat with which they had been
favoured by good fortune and the wisdom of Bashti.

For a time they sat about, all pulling at clay pipes and chirruping and
laughing in queer thin falsettos at the events of the night and the
previous afternoon.  Now one and now another stretched out and slept
without covering; for so, directly under the path of the sun, had they
slept nakedly from the time they were born.

Remained awake, as dawn paled the dark, only the grievously wounded or
the too-tightly bound, and the decrepit ancient who was not so old as
Bashti.  When the boy who had stunned Jerry with his paddle-blade and who
claimed him as his own stole into the canoe house, the ancient did not
hear him.  Being blind, he did not see him.  He continued gibbering and
chuckling dementedly, to twist the bushman's head back and forth and to
feed the smudge with punk-wood.  This was no night-task for any man, nor
even for him who had forgotten how to do aught else.  But the excitement
of cutting out the _Arangi_ had been communicated to his addled brain,
and, with vague reminiscent flashes of the strength of life triumphant,
he shared deliriously in this triumph of Somo by applying himself to the
curing of the head that was in itself the concrete expression of triumph.

But the twelve-year-old lad who stole in and cautiously stepped over the
sleepers and threaded his way among the captives, did so with his heart
in his mouth.  He knew what taboos he was violating.  Not old enough even
to leave his father's grass roof and sleep in the youths' canoe house,
much less to sleep with the young bachelors in their canoe house, he knew
that he took his life, with all of its dimly guessed mysteries and
arrogances, in his hand thus to trespass into the sacred precinct of the
full-made, full-realized, full-statured men of Somo.

But he wanted Jerry and he got him.  Only the lean little Mary, trussed
for the cooking, staring through her wide eyes of fear, saw the boy pick
Jerry up by his tied legs and carry him out and away from the booty of
meat of which she was part.  Jerry's heroic little heart of courage would
have made him snarl and resent such treatment of handling had he not been
too exhausted and had not his mouth and throat been too dry for sound.  As
it was, miserably and helplessly, not half himself, a puppet dreamer in a
half-nightmare, he knew, as a restless sleeper awakening between vexing
dreams, that he was being transported head-downward out of the canoe
house that stank of death, through the village that was only less
noisome, and up a path under lofty, wide-spreading trees that were
beginning languidly to stir with the first breathings of the morning
wind.



CHAPTER XIII


The boy's name, as Jerry was to learn, was Lamai, and to Lamai's house
Jerry was carried.  It was not much of a house, even as cannibal grass-
houses go.  On an earthen floor, hard-packed of the filth of years, lived
Lamai's father and mother and a spawn of four younger brothers and
sisters.  A thatched roof that leaked in every heavy shower leaned to a
wabbly ridge-pole over the floor.  The walls were even more pervious to a
driving rain.  In fact, the house of Lamai, who was the father of Lumai,
was the most miserable house in all Somo.

Lumai, the house-master and family head, unlike most Malaitans, was fat.
And of his fatness it would seem had been begotten his good nature with
its allied laziness.  But as the fly in his ointment of jovial
irresponsibility was his wife, Lenerengo--the prize shrew of Somo, who
was as lean about the middle and all the rest of her as her husband was
rotund; who was as remarkably sharp-spoken as he was soft-spoken; who was
as ceaselessly energetic as he was unceasingly idle; and who had been
born with a taste for the world as sour in her mouth as it was sweet in
his.

The boy merely peered into the house as he passed around it to the rear,
and he saw his father and mother, at opposite corners, sleeping without
covering, and, in the middle of the floor, his four naked brothers and
sisters curled together in a tangle like a litter of puppies.  All about
the house, which in truth was scarcely more than an animal lair, was an
earthly paradise.  The air was spicily and sweetly heavy with the scents
of wild aromatic plants and gorgeous tropic blooms.  Overhead three
breadfruit trees interlaced their noble branches.  Banana and plantain
trees were burdened with great bunches of ripening fruit.  And huge,
golden melons of the papaia, ready for the eating, globuled directly from
the slender-trunked trees not one-tenth the girth of the fruits they
bore.  And, for Jerry, most delightful of all, there was the gurgle and
plash of a brooklet that pursued its invisible way over mossy stones
under a garmenture of tender and delicate ferns.  No conservatory of a
king could compare with this wild wantonness of sun-generous vegetation.

Maddened by the sound of the water, Jerry had first to endure an
embracing and hugging from the boy, who, squatted on his hams, rocked
back and forth and mumbled a strange little crooning song.  And Jerry,
lacking articulate speech, had no way of telling him of the thirst of
which he was perishing.

Next, Lamai tied him securely with a sennit cord about the neck and
untied the cords that bit into his legs.  So numb was Jerry from lack of
circulation, and so weak from lack of water through part of a tropic day
and all of a tropic night, that he stood up, tottered and fell, and, time
and again, essaying to stand, floundered and fell.  And Lamai understood,
or tentatively guessed.  He caught up a coconut calabash attached to the
end of a stick of bamboo, dipped into the greenery of ferns, and
presented to Jerry the calabash brimming with the precious water.

Jerry lay on his side at first as he drank, until, with the moisture,
life flowed back into the parched channels of him, so that, soon, still
weak and shaky, he was up and braced on all his four wide-spread legs and
still eagerly lapping.  The boy chuckled and chirped his delight in the
spectacle, and Jerry found surcease and easement sufficient to enable him
to speak with his tongue after the heart-eloquent manner of dogs.  He
took his nose out of the calabash and with his rose-ribbon strip of
tongue licked Lamai's hand.  And Lamai, in ecstasy over this
establishment of common speech, urged the calabash back under Jerry's
nose, and Jerry drank again.

He continued to drink.  He drank until his sun-shrunken sides stood out
like the walls of a balloon, although longer were the intervals from the
drinking in which, with his tongue of gratefulness, he spoke against the
black skin of Lamai's hand.  And all went well, and would have continued
to go well, had not Lamai's mother, Lenerengo, just awakened, stepped
across her black litter of progeny and raised her voice in shrill protest
against her eldest born's introducing of one more mouth and much more
nuisance into the household.

A squabble of human speech followed, of which Jerry knew no word but of
which he sensed the significance.  Lamai was with him and for him.
Lamai's mother was against him.  She shrilled and shrewed her firm
conviction that her son was a fool and worse because he had neither the
consideration nor the silly sense of a fool's solicitude for a
hard-worked mother.  She appealed to the sleeping Lumai, who awoke
heavily and fatly, who muttered and mumbled easy terms of Somo dialect to
the effect that it was a most decent world, that all puppy dogs and
eldest-born sons were right delightful things to possess, that he had
never yet starved to death, and that peace and sleep were the finest
things that ever befell the lot of mortal man--and, in token thereof,
back into the peace of sleep, he snuggled his nose into the biceps of his
arm for a pillow and proceeded to snore.

But Lamai, eyes stubbornly sullen, with mutinous foot-stampings and a
perfect knowledge that all was clear behind him to leap and flee away if
his mother rushed upon him, persisted in retaining his puppy dog.  In the
end, after an harangue upon the worthlessness of Lamai's father, she went
back to sleep.

Ideas beget ideas.  Lamai had learned how astonishingly thirsty Jerry had
been.  This engendered the idea that he might be equally hungry.  So he
applied dry branches of wood to the smouldering coals he dug out of the
ashes of the cooking-fire, and builded a large fire.  Into this, as it
gained strength, he placed many stones from a convenient pile, each fire-
blackened in token that it had been similarly used many times.  Next,
hidden under the water of the brook in a netted hand-bag, he brought to
light the carcass of a fat wood-pigeon he had snared the previous day.  He
wrapped the pigeon in green leaves, and, surrounding it with the hot
stones from the fire, covered pigeon and stones with earth.

When, after a time, he removed the pigeon and stripped from it the
scorched wrappings of leaves, it gave forth a scent so savoury as to
prick up Jerry's ears and set his nostrils to quivering.  When the boy
had torn the steaming carcass across and cooled it, Jerry's meal began;
nor did the meal cease till the last sliver of meat had been stripped and
tongued from the bones and the bones crunched and crackled to fragments
and swallowed.  And throughout the meal Lamai made love to Jerry,
crooning over and over his little song, and patting and caressing him.

On the other hand, refreshed by the water and the meat, Jerry did not
reciprocate so heartily in the love-making.  He was polite, and received
his petting with soft-shining eyes, tail-waggings and the customary body-
wrigglings; but he was restless, and continually listened to distant
sounds and yearned away to be gone.  This was not lost upon the boy, who,
before he curled himself down to sleep, securely tied to a tree the end
of the cord that was about Jerry's neck.

After straining against the cord for a time, Jerry surrendered and slept.
But not for long.  Skipper was too much with him.  He knew, and yet he
did not know, the irretrievable ultimate disaster to Skipper.  So it was,
after low whinings and whimperings, that he applied his sharp first-teeth
to the sennit cord and chewed upon it till it parted.

Free, like a homing pigeon, he headed blindly and directly for the beach
and the salt sea over which had floated the _Arangi_, on her deck Skipper
in command.  Somo was largely deserted, and those that were in it were
sunk in sleep.  So no one vexed him as he trotted through the winding
pathways between the many houses and past the obscene kingposts of
totemic heraldry, where the forms of men, carved from single tree trunks,
were seated in the gaping jaws of carved sharks.  For Somo, tracing back
to Somo its founder, worshipped the shark-god and the salt-water deities
as well as the deities of the bush and swamp and mountain.

Turning to the right until he was past the sea-wall, Jerry came on down
to the beach.  No _Arangi_ was to be seen on the placid surface of the
lagoon.  All about him was the debris of the feast, and he scented the
smouldering odours of dying fires and burnt meat.  Many of the feasters
had not troubled to return to their houses, but lay about on the sand, in
the mid-morning sunshine, men, women, and children and entire families,
wherever they had yielded to slumber.

Down by the water's edge, so close that his fore-feet rested in the
water, Jerry sat down, his heart bursting for Skipper, thrust his nose
heavenward at the sun, and wailed his woe as dogs have ever wailed since
they came in from the wild woods to the fires of men.

And here Lamai found him, hushed his grief against his breast with
cuddling arms, and carried him back to the grass house by the brook.
Water he offered, but Jerry could drink no more.  Love he offered, but
Jerry could not forget his torment of desire for Skipper.  In the end,
disgusted with so unreasonable a puppy, Lamai forgot his love in his
boyish savageness, clouted Jerry over the head, right side and left, and
tied him as few whites men's dogs have ever been tied.  For, in his way,
Lamai was a genius.  He had never seen the thing done with any dog, yet
he devised, on the spur of the moment, the invention of tying Jerry with
a stick.  The stick was of bamboo, four feet long.  One end he tied
shortly to Jerry's neck, the other end, just as shortly to a tree.  All
that Jerry's teeth could reach was the stick, and dry and seasoned bamboo
can defy the teeth of any dog.



CHAPTER XIV


For many days, tied by the stick, Jerry remained Lamai's prisoner.  It
was not a happy time, for the house of Lumai was a house of perpetual
bickering and quarrelling.  Lamai fought pitched battles with his
brothers and sisters for teasing Jerry, and these battles invariably
culminated in Lenerengo taking a hand and impartially punishing all her
progeny.

After that, as a matter of course and on general principles, she would
have it out with Lumai, whose soft voice always was for quiet and repose,
and who always, at the end of a tongue-lashing, took himself off to the
canoe house for a couple of days.  Here, Lenerengo was helpless.  Into
the canoe house of the stags no Mary might venture.  Lenerengo had never
forgotten the fate of the last Mary who had broken the taboo.  It had
occurred many years before, when she was a girl, and the recollection was
ever vivid of the unfortunate woman hanging up in the sun by one arm for
all of a day, and for all of a second day by the other arm.  After that
she had been feasted upon by the stags of the canoe house, and for long
afterward all women had talked softly before their husbands.

Jerry did discover liking for Lamai, but it was not strong nor
passionate.  Rather was it out of gratitude, for only Lamai saw to it
that he received food and water.  Yet this boy was no Skipper, no Mister
Haggin.  Nor was he even a Derby or a Bob.  He was that inferior
man-creature, a nigger, and Jerry had been thoroughly trained all his
brief days to the law that the white men were the superior two-legged
gods.

He did not fail to recognize, however, the intelligence and power that
resided in the niggers.  He did not reason it out.  He accepted it.  They
had power of command over other objects, could propel sticks and stones
through the air, could even tie him a prisoner to a stick that rendered
him helpless.  Inferior as they might be to the white-gods, still they
were gods of a sort.

It was the first time in his life that Jerry had been tied up, and he did
not like it.  Vainly he hurt his teeth, some of which were loosening
under the pressure of the second teeth rising underneath.  The stick was
stronger than he.  Although he did not forget Skipper, the poignancy of
his loss faded with the passage of time, until uppermost in his mind was
the desire to be free.

But when the day came that he was freed, he failed to take advantage of
it and scuttle away for the beach.  It chanced that Lenerengo released
him.  She did it deliberately, desiring to be quit of him.  But when she
untied Jerry, he stopped to thank her, wagging his tail and smiling up at
her with his hazel-brown eyes.  She stamped her foot at him to be gone,
and uttered a harsh and intimidating cry.  This Jerry did not understand,
and so unused was he to fear that he could not be frightened into running
away.  He ceased wagging his tail, and, though he continued to look up at
her, his eyes no longer smiled.  Her action and noise he identified as
unfriendly, and he became alert and watchful, prepared for whatever
hostile act she might next commit.

Again she cried out and stamped her foot.  The only effect on Jerry was
to make him transfer his watchfulness to the foot.  This slowness in
getting away, now that she had released him, was too much for her short
temper.  She launched the kick, and Jerry, avoiding it, slashed her
ankle.

War broke on the instant, and that she might have killed Jerry in her
rage was highly probable had not Lamai appeared on the scene.  The stick
untied from Jerry's neck told the tale of her perfidy and incensed Lamai,
who sprang between and deflected the blow with a stone poi-pounder that
might have brained Jerry.

Lamai was now the one in danger of grievous damage, and his mother had
just knocked him down with a clout alongside the head when poor Lumai,
roused from sleep by the uproar, ventured out to make peace.  Lenerengo,
as usual, forgot everything else in the fiercer pleasure of berating her
spouse.

The conclusion of the affair was harmless enough.  The children stopped
their crying, Lamai retied Jerry with the stick, Lenerengo harangued
herself breathless, and Lumai departed with hurt feelings for the canoe
house where stags could sleep in peace and Marys pestered not.

That night, in the circle of his fellow stags, Lumai recited his sorrows
and told the cause of them--the puppy dog which had come on the _Arangi_.
It chanced that Agno, chief of the devil devil doctors, or high priest,
heard the tale, and recollected that he had sent Jerry to the canoe house
along with the rest of the captives.  Half an hour later he was having it
out with Lamai.  Beyond doubt, the boy had broken the taboos, and privily
he told him so, until Lamai trembled and wept and squirmed abjectly at
his feet, for the penalty was death.

It was too good an opportunity to get a hold over the boy for Agno to
misplay it.  A dead boy was worth nothing to him, but a living boy whose
life he carried in his hand would serve him well.  Since no one else knew
of the broken taboo, he could afford to keep quiet.  So he ordered Lamai
forthright down to live in the youths' canoe house, there to begin his
novitiate in the long series of tasks, tests and ceremonies that would
graduate him into the bachelors' canoe house and half way along toward
being a recognized man.

* * * * *

In the morning, obeying the devil devil doctor's commands, Lenerengo tied
Jerry's feet together, not without a struggle in which his head was
banged about and her hands were scratched.  Then she carried him down
through the village on the way to deliver him at Agno's house.  On the
way, in the open centre of the village where stood the kingposts, she
left him lying on the ground in order to join in the hilarity of the
population.

Not only was old Bashti a stern law-giver, but he was a unique one.  He
had selected this day at the one time to administer punishment to two
quarrelling women, to give a lesson to all other women, and to make all
his subjects glad once again that they had him for ruler.  Tiha and
Wiwau, the two women, were squat and stout and young, and had long been a
scandal because of their incessant quarrelling.  Bashti had set them a
race to run.  But such a race.  It was side-splitting.  Men, women, and
children, beholding, howled with delight.  Even elderly matrons and
greybeards with a foot in the grave screeched and shrilled their joy in
the spectacle.

The half-mile course lay the length of the village, through its heart,
from the beach where the _Arangi_ had been burned to the beach at the
other end of the sea-wall.  It had to be covered once in each direction
by Tiha and Wiwau, in each case one of them urging speed on the other and
the other desiring speed that was unattainable.

Only the mind of Bashti could have devised the show.  First, two round
coral stones, weighing fully forty pounds each, were placed in Tiha's
arms.  She was compelled to clasp them tightly against her sides in order
that they might not roll to the ground.  Behind her, Bashti placed Wiwau,
who was armed with a bristle of bamboo splints mounted on a light long
shaft of bamboo.  The splints were sharp as needles, being indeed the
needles used in tattooing, and on the end of the pole they were intended
to be applied to Tiha's back in the same way that men apply ox-goads to
oxen.  No serious damage, but much pain, could be inflicted, which was
just what Bashti had intended.

Wiwau prodded with the goad, and Tiha stumbled and wabbled in gymnastic
efforts to make speed.  Since, when the farther beach had been reached,
the positions would be reversed and Wiwau would carry the stones back
while Tiha prodded, and since Wiwau knew that for what she gave Tiha
would then try to give more, Wiwau exerted herself to give the utmost
while yet she could.  The perspiration ran down both their faces.  Each
had her partisans in the crowd, who encouraged and heaped ridicule with
every prod.

Ludicrous as it was, behind it lay iron savage law.  The two stones were
to be carried the entire course.  The woman who prodded must do so with
conviction and dispatch.  The woman who was prodded must not lose her
temper and fight her tormentor.  As they had been duly forewarned by
Bashti, the penalty for infraction of the rules he had laid down was
staking out on the reef at low tide to be eaten by the fish-sharks.

As the contestants came opposite where Bashti and Aora his prime minister
stood, they redoubled their efforts, Wiwau goading enthusiastically, Tiha
jumping with every thrust to the imminent danger of dropping the stones.
At their heels trooped the children of the village and all the village
dogs, whooping and yelping with excitement.

"Long time you fella Tiha no sit 'm along canoe," Aora bawled to the
victim and set Bashti cackling again.

At an unusually urgent prod, Tiha dropped a stone and was duly goaded
while she sank to her knees and with one arm scooped it in against her
side, regained her feet, and waddled on.

Once, in stark mutiny at so much pain, she deliberately stopped and
addressed her tormentor.

"Me cross along you too much," she told Wiwau.  "Bime by, close--"

But she never completed the threat.  A warmly administered prod broke
through her stoicism and started her tottering along.

The shouting of the rabble ebbed away as the queer race ran on toward the
beach.  But in a few minutes it could be heard flooding back, this time
Wiwau panting with the weight of coral stone and Tiha, a-smart with what
she had endured, trying more than to even the score.

Opposite Bashti, Wiwau lost one of the stones, and, in the effort to
recover it, lost the other, which rolled a dozen feet away from the
first.  Tiha became a whirlwind of avenging fury.  And all Somo went
wild.  Bashti held his lean sides with merriment while tears of purest
joy ran down his prodigiously wrinkled cheeks.

And when all was over, quoth Bashti to his people: "Thus shall all women
fight when they desire over much to fight."

Only he did not say it in this way.  Nor did he say it in the Somo
tongue.  What he did say was in beche-de-mer, and his words were:

"Any fella Mary he like 'm fight, all fella Mary along Somo fight 'm this
fella way."



CHAPTER XV


For some time after the conclusion of the race, Bashti stood talking with
his head men, Agno among them.  Lenerengo was similarly engaged with
several old cronies.  As Jerry lay off to one side where she had
forgotten him, the wild-dog he had bullied on the _Arangi_ came up and
sniffed at him.  At first he sniffed at a distance, ready for instant
flight.  Then he drew cautiously closer.  Jerry watched him with
smouldering eyes.  At the moment wild-dog's nose touched him, he uttered
a warning growl.  Wild-dog sprang back and whirled away in headlong
flight for a score of yards before he learned that he was not pursued.

Again he came back cautiously, as it was the instinct in him to stalk
wild game, crouching so close to the ground that almost his belly
touched.  He lifted and dropped his feet with the lithe softness of a
cat, and from time to time glanced to right and to left as if in
apprehension of some flank attack.  A noisy outburst of boys' laughter in
the distance caused him to crouch suddenly down, his claws thrust into
the ground for purchase, his muscles tense springs for the leap he knew
not in what direction, from the danger he knew not what that might
threaten him.  Then he identified the noise, know that no harm impended,
and resumed his stealthy advance on the Irish terrier.

What might have happened there is no telling, for at that moment Bashti's
eyes chanced to rest on the golden puppy for the first time since the
capture of the _Arangi_.  In the rush of events Bashti had forgotten the
puppy.

"What name that fella dog?" he cried out sharply, causing wild-dog to
crouch down again and attracting Lenerengo's attention.

She cringed in fear to the ground before the terrible old chief and
quavered a recital of the facts.  Her good-for-nothing boy Lamai had
picked the dog from the water.  It had been the cause of much trouble in
her house.  But now Lamai had gone to live with the youths, and she was
carrying the dog to Agno's house at Agno's express command.

"What name that dog stop along you?" Bashti demanded directly of Agno.

"Me kai-kai along him," came the answer.  "Him fat fella dog.  Him good
fella dog kai-kai."

Into Bashti's alert old brain flashed an idea that had been long
maturing.

"Him good fella dog too much," he announced.  "Better you eat 'm bush
fella dog," he advised, pointing at wild-dog.

Agno shook his head.  "Bush fella dog no good kai-kai."

"Bush fella dog no good too much," was Bashti's judgment.  "Bush fella
dog too much fright.  Plenty fella bush dog too much fright.  White
marster's dog no fright.  Bush dog no fight.  White marster's dog fight
like hell.  Bush dog run like hell.  You look 'm eye belong you, you
see."

Bashti stepped over to Jerry and cut the cords that tied his legs.  And
Jerry, upon his feet in a surge, was for once in too great haste to pause
to give thanks.  He hurled himself after wild-dog, caught him in
mid-flight, and rolled him over and over in a cloud of dust.  Ever wild-
dog strove to escape, and ever Jerry cornered him, rolled him, and bit
him, while Bashti applauded and called on his head men to behold.

By this time Jerry had become a raging little demon.  Fired by all his
wrongs, from the bloody day on the _Arangi_ and the loss of Skipper down
to this latest tying of his legs, he was avenging himself on wild-dog for
everything.  The owner of wild-dog, a return boy, made the mistake of
trying to kick Jerry away.  Jerry was upon him in a flash scratching his
calves with his teeth, in the suddenness of his onslaught getting between
the black's legs and tumbling him to the ground.

"What name!" Bashti cried in a rage at the offender, who lay
fear-stricken where he had fallen, trembling for what next words might
fall from his chief's lips.

But Bashti was already doubling with laughter at sight of wild-dog
running for his life down the street with Jerry a hundred feet behind and
tearing up the dust.

As they disappeared, Bashti expounded his idea.  If men planted banana
trees, it ran, what they would get would be bananas.  If they planted
yams, yams would be produced, not sweet potatoes or plantains, but yams,
nothing but yams.  The same with dogs.  Since all black men's dogs were
cowards, all the breeding of all black men's dogs would produce cowards.
White men's dogs were courageous fighters.  When they were bred they
produced courageous fighters.  Very well, and to the conclusion, namely,
here was a white man's dog in their possession.  The height of
foolishness would be to eat it and to destroy for all time the courage
that resided in it.  The wise thing to do was to regard it as a seed dog,
to keep it alive, so that in the coming generations of Somo dogs its
courage would be repeated over and over and spread until all Somo dogs
would be strong and brave.

Further, Bashti commanded his chief devil devil doctor to take charge of
Jerry and guard him well.  Also, he sent his word forth to all the tribe
that Jerry was taboo.  No man, woman, or child was to throw spear or
stone at him, strike him with club or tomahawk, or hurt him in any way.

* * * * *

Thenceforth, and until Jerry himself violated one of the greatest of
taboos, he had a happy time in Agno's gloomy grass house.  For Bashti,
unlike most chiefs, ruled his devil devil doctors with an iron hand.
Other chiefs, even Nau-hau of Langa-Langa, were ruled by their devil
devil doctors.  For that matter, the population of Somo believed that
Bashti was so ruled.  But the Somo folk did not know what went on behind
the scenes, when Bashti, a sheer infidel, talked alone now with one
doctor and now with another.

In these private talks he demonstrated that he knew their game as well as
they did, and that he was no slave to the dark superstitions and gross
impostures with which they kept the people in submission.  Also, he
exposited the theory, as ancient as priests and rulers, that priests and
rulers must work together in the orderly governance of the people.  He
was content that the people should believe that the gods, and the priests
who were the mouth-pieces of the gods, had the last word, but he would
have the priests know that in private the last word was his.  Little as
they believed in their trickery, he told them, he believed less.

He knew taboo, and the truth behind taboo.  He explained his personal
taboos, and how they came to be.  Never must he eat clam-meat, he told
Agno.  It was so selected by himself because he did not like clam-meat.
It was old Nino, high priest before Agno, with an ear open to the voice
of the shark-god, who had so laid the taboo.  But, he, Bashti, had
privily commanded Nino to lay the taboo against clam-meat upon him,
because he, Bashti, did not like clam-meat and had never liked clam-meat.

Still further, since he had lived longer than the oldest priest of them,
his had been the appointing of every one of them.  He knew them, had made
them, had placed them, and they lived by his pleasure.  And they would
continue to take program from him, as they had always taken it, or else
they would swiftly and suddenly pass.  He had but to remind them of the
passing of Kori, the devil devil doctor who had believed himself stronger
than his chief, and who, for his mistake, had screamed in pain for a week
ere what composed him had ceased to scream and for ever ceased to scream.

* * * * *

In Agno's large grass house was little light and much mystery.  There was
no mystery there for Jerry, who merely knew things, or did not know
things, and who never bothered about what he did not know.  Dried heads
and other cured and mouldy portions of human carcasses impressed him no
more than the dried alligators and dried fish that contributed to the
festooning of Agno's dark abode.

Jerry found himself well cared for.  No children nor wives cluttered the
devil devil doctor's house.  Several old women, a fly-flapping girl of
eleven, and two young men who had graduated from the canoe house of the
youths and who were studying priestcraft under the master, composed the
household and waited upon Jerry.  Food of the choicest was his.  After
Agno had eaten first-cut of pig, Jerry was served second.  Even the two
acolytes and the fly-flapping maid ate after him, leaving the debris for
the several old women.  And, unlike the mere bush dogs, who stole shelter
from the rain under overhanging eaves, Jerry was given a dry place under
the roof where the heads of bushmen and of forgotten sandalwood traders
hung down from above in the midst of a dusty confusion of dried viscera
of sharks, crocodile skulls, and skeletons of Solomons rats that measured
two-thirds of a yard in length from bone-tip of nose to bone-tip of tail.

A number of times, all freedom being his, Jerry stole away across the
village to the house of Lumai.  But never did he find Lamai, who, since
Skipper, was the only human he had met that had placed a bid to his
heart.  Jerry never appeared openly, but from the thick fern of the
brookside observed the house and scented out its occupants.  No scent of
Lamai did he ever obtain, and, after a time, he gave up his vain visits
and accepted the devil devil doctor's house as his home and the devil
devil doctor as his master.

But he bore no love for this master.  Agno, who had ruled by fear so long
in his house of mystery, did not know love.  Nor was affection any part
of him, nor was geniality.  He had no sense of humour, and was as
frostily cruel as an icicle.  Next to Bashti he stood in power, and all
his days had been embittered in that he was not first in power.  He had
no softness for Jerry.  Because he feared Bashti he feared to harm Jerry.

The months passed, and Jerry got his firm, massive second teeth and
increased in weight and size.  He came as near to being spoiled as is
possible for a dog.  Himself taboo, he quickly learned to lord it over
the Somo folk and to have his way and will in all matters.  No one dared
to dispute with him with stick or stone.  Agno hated him--he knew that;
but also he gleaned the knowledge that Agno feared him and would not dare
to hurt him.  But Agno was a chill-blooded philosopher and bided his
time, being different from Jerry in that he possessed human prevision and
could adjust his actions to remote ends.

From the edge of the lagoon, into the waters of which, remembering the
crocodile taboo he had learned on Meringe, he never ventured, Jerry
ranged to the outlying bush villages of Bashti's domain.  All made way
for him.  All fed him when he desired food.  For the taboo was upon him,
and he might unchidden invade their sleeping-mats or food calabashes.  He
might bully as he pleased, and be arrogant beyond decency, and there was
no one to say him nay.  Even had Bashti's word gone forth that if Jerry
were attacked by the full-grown bush dogs, it was the duty of the Somo
folk to take his part and kick and stone and beat the bush dogs.  And
thus his own four-legged cousins came painfully to know that he was
taboo.

And Jerry prospered.  Fat to stupidity he might well have become, had it
not been for his high-strung nerves and his insatiable, eager curiosity.
With the freedom of all Somo his, he was ever a-foot over it, learning
its metes and bounds and the ways of the wild creatures that inhabited
its swamps and forests and that did not acknowledge his taboo.

Many were his adventures.  He fought two battles with the wood-rats that
were almost of his size, and that, being mature and wild and cornered,
fought him as he had never been fought before.  The first he had killed,
unaware that it was an old and feeble rat.  The second, in prime of
vigour, had so punished him that he crawled back, weak and sick to the
devil devil doctor's house, where, for a week, under the dried emblems of
death, he licked his wounds and slowly came back to life and health.

He stole upon the dugong and joyed to stampede that silly timid creature
by sudden ferocious onslaughts which he knew himself to be all sound and
fury, but which tickled him and made him laugh with the consciousness of
playing a successful joke.  He chased the unmigratory tropi-ducks from
their shrewd-hidden nests, walked circumspectly among the crocodiles
hauled out of water for slumber, and crept under the jungle-roof and
spied upon the snow-white saucy cockatoos, the fierce ospreys, the heavy-
flighted buzzards, the lories and kingfishers, and the absurdly garrulous
little pygmy parrots.

Thrice, beyond the boundaries of Somo, he encountered the little black
bushmen who were more like ghosts than men, so noiseless and
unperceivable were they, and who, guarding the wild-pig runways of the
jungle, missed spearing him on the three memorable occasions.  As the
wood-rats had taught him discretion, so did these two-legged lurkers in
the jungle twilight.  He had not fought with them, although they tried to
spear him.  He quickly came to know that these were other folk than Somo
folk, that his taboo did not extend to them, and that, even of a sort,
they were two-legged gods who carried flying death in their hands that
reached farther than their hands and bridged distance.

As he ran the jungle, so Jerry ran the village.  No place was sacred to
him.  In the devil devil houses, where, before the face of mystery men
and women crawled in fear and trembling, he walked stiff-legged and
bristling; for fresh heads were suspended there--heads his eyes and keen
nostrils identified as those of once living blacks he had known on board
the _Arangi_.  In the biggest devil devil house he encountered the head
of Borckman, and snarled at it, without receiving response, in
recollection of the fight he had fought with the schnapps-addled mate on
the deck of the _Arangi_.

Once, however, in Bashti's house, he chanced upon all that remained on
earth of Skipper.  Bashti had lived very long, had lived most wisely and
thought much, and was thoroughly aware that, having lived far beyond the
span of man his own span was very short.  And he was curious about it
all--the meaning and purpose of life.  He loved the world and life, into
which he had been fortunately born, both as to constitution and to place,
which latter, for him, had been the high place over hie priests and
people.  He was not afraid to die, but he wondered if he might live
again.  He discounted the silly views of the tricky priests, and he was
very much alone in the chaos of the confusing problem.

For he had lived so long, and so luckily, that he had watched the waning
to extinction of all the vigorous appetites and desires.  He had known
wives and children, and the keen-edge of youthful hunger.  He had seen
his children grow to manhood and womanhood and become fathers and
grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers.  But having known woman, and
love, and fatherhood, and the belly-delights of eating, he had passed on
beyond.  Food?  Scarcely did he know its meaning, so little did he eat.
Hunger, that bit him like a spur when he was young and lusty, had long
since ceased to stir and prod him.  He ate out of a sense of necessity
and duty, and cared little for what he ate, save for one thing: the eggs
of the megapodes that were, in season, laid in his private, personal,
strictly tabooed megapode laying-yard.  Here was left to him his last
lingering flesh thrill.  As for the rest, he lived in his intellect,
ruling his people, seeking out data from which to induce laws that would
make his people stronger and rivet his people's clinch upon life.

But he realized clearly the difference between that abstract thing, the
tribe, and that most concrete of things, the individual.  The tribe
persisted.  Its members passed.  The tribe was a memory of the history
and habits of all previous members, which the living members carried on
until they passed and became history and memory in the intangible sum
that was the tribe.  He, as a member, soon or late, and late was very
near, must pass.  But pass to what?  There was the rub.  And so it was,
on occasion, that he ordered all forth from his big grass house, and,
alone with his problem, lowered from the roof-beams the matting-wrapped
parcels of heads of men he had once seen live and who had passed into the
mysterious nothingness of death.

Not as a miser had he collected these heads, and not as a miser counting
his secret hoard did he ponder these heads, unwrapped, held in his two
hands or lying on his knees.  He wanted to know.  He wanted to know what
he guessed they might know, now that they had long since gone into the
darkness that rounds the end of life.

Various were the heads Bashti thus interrogated--in his hands, on his
knees, in his dim-lighted grasshouse, while the overhead sun blazed down
and the fading south-east sighed through the palm-fronds and breadfruit
branches.  There was the head of a Japanese--the only one he had ever
seen or heard of.  Before he was born it had been taken by his father.
Ill-cured it was, and battered and marred with ancientness and rough
usage.  Yet he studied its features, decided that it had once had two
lips as live as his own and a mouth as vocal and hungry as his had often
been in the past.  Two eyes and a nose it had, a thatched crown of roof,
and a pair of ears like to his own.  Two legs and a body it must once
have had, and desires and lusts.  Heats of wrath and of love, so he
decided, had also been its once on a time when it never thought to die.

A head that amazed him much, whose history went back before his father's
and grandfather's time, was the head of a Frenchman, although Bashti knew
it not.  Nor did he know it was the head of La Perouse, the doughty old
navigator, who had left his bones, the bones of his crews, and the bones
of his two frigates, the _Astrolabe_ and the _Boussole_, on the shores of
the cannibal Solomons.  Another head--for Bashti was a confirmed head-
collector--went back two centuries before La Perouse to Alvaro de
Mendana, the Spaniard.  It was the head of one of Mendana's armourers,
lost in a beach scrimmage to one of Bashti's remote ancestors.

Still another head, the history of which was vague, was a white woman's
head.  What wife of what navigator there was no telling.  But earrings of
gold and emerald still clung to the withered ears, and the hair,
two-thirds of a fathom long, a shimmering silk of golden floss, flowed
from the scalp that covered what had once been the wit and will of her
that Bashti reasoned had in her ancient time been quick with love in the
arms of man.

Ordinary heads, of bushmen and salt-water men, and even of
schnapps-drinking white men like Borckman, he relegated to the canoe
houses and devil devil houses.  For he was a connoisseur in the matter of
heads.  There was a strange head of a German that lured him much.  Red-
bearded it was, and red-haired, but even in dried death there was an
ironness of feature and a massive brow that hinted to him of mastery of
secrets beyond his ken.  No more than did he know it once had been a
German, did he know it was a German professor's head, an astronomer's
head, a head that in its time had carried within its content profound
knowledge of the stars in the vasty heavens, of the way of star-directed
ships upon the sea, and of the way of the earth on its starry course
through space that was a myriad million times beyond the slight concept
of space that he possessed.

Last of all, sharpest of bite in his thought, was the head of Van Horn.
And it was the head of Van Horn that lay on his knees under his
contemplation when Jerry, who possessed the freedom of Somo, trotted into
Bashti's grass house, scented and identified the mortal remnant of
Skipper, wailed first in woe over it, then bristled into rage.

Bashti did not notice at first, for he was deep in interrogation of Van
Horn's head.  Only short months before this head had been alive, he
pondered, quick with wit, attached to a two-legged body that stood erect
and that swaggered about, a loincloth and a belted automatic around its
middle, more powerful, therefrom, than Bashti, but with less wit, for had
not he, Bashti, with an ancient pistol, put darkness inside that skull
where wit resided, and removed that skull from the soddenly relaxed
framework of flesh and bone on which it had been supported to tread the
earth and the deck of the _Arangi_?

What had become of that wit?  Had that wit been all of the arrogant,
upstanding Van Horn, and had it gone out as the flickering flame of a
splinter of wood goes out when it is quite burnt to a powder-fluff of
ash?  Had all that made Van Horn passed like the flame of the splinter?
Had he passed into the darkness for ever into which the beast passed,
into which passed the speared crocodile, the hooked bonita, the netted
mullet, the slain pig that was fat to eat?  Was Van Horn's darkness as
the darkness of the blue-bottle fly that his fly-flapping maid smashed
and disrupted in mid-flight of the air?--as the darkness into which
passed the mosquito that knew the secret of flying, and that, despite its
perfectness of flight, with almost an unthought action, he squashed with
the flat of his hand against the back of his neck when it bit him?

What was true of this white man's head, so recently alive and erectly
dominant, Bashti knew was true of himself.  What had happened to this
white man, after going through the dark gate of death, would happen to
him.  Wherefore he questioned the head, as if its dumb lips might speak
to him from out of the mystery and tell him the meaning of life, and the
meaning of death that inevitably laid life by the heels.

Jerry's long-drawn howl of woe at sight and scent of all that was left of
Skipper, roused Bashti from his reverie.  He looked at the sturdy, golden-
brown puppy, and immediately included it in his reverie.  It was alive.
It was like man.  It knew hunger, and pain, anger and love.  It had blood
in its veins, like man, that a thrust of a knife could make redly gush
forth and denude it to death.  Like the race of man it loved its kind,
and birthed and breast-nourished its young.  And passed.  Ay, it passed;
for many a dog, as well as a human, had he, Bashti, devoured in his hey-
dey of appetite and youth, when he knew only motion and strength, and fed
motion and strength out of the calabashes of feasting.

But from woe Jerry went on into anger.  He stalked stiff-legged, with a
snarl writhen on his lips, and with recurrent waves of hair-bristling
along his back and up his shoulders and neck.  And he stalked not the
head of Skipper, where rested his love, but Bashti, who held the head on
his knees.  As the wild wolf in the upland pasture stalks the mare mother
with her newly delivered colt, so Jerry stalked Bashti.  And Bashti, who
had never feared death all his long life and who had laughed a joke with
his forefinger blown off by the bursting flint-lock pistol, smiled
gleefully to himself, for his glee was intellectual and in admiration of
this half-grown puppy whom he rapped on the nose with a short, hardwood
stick and compelled to keep distance.  No matter how often and fiercely
Jerry rushed him, he met the rush with the stick, and chuckled aloud,
understanding the puppy's courage, marvelling at the stupidity of life
that impelled him continually to thrust his nose to the hurt of the
stick, and that drove him, by passion of remembrance of a dead man to
dare the pain of the stick again and again.

This, too, was life, Bashti meditated, as he deftly rapped the screaming
puppy away from him.  Four-legged life it was, young and silly and hot,
heart-prompted, that was like any young man making love to his woman in
the twilight, or like any young man fighting to the death with any other
young man over a matter of passion, hurt pride, or thwarted desire.  As
much as in the dead head of Van Horn or of any man, he realized that in
this live puppy might reside the clue to existence, the solution of the
riddle.

So he continued to rap Jerry on the nose away from him, and to marvel at
the persistence of the vital something within him that impelled him to
leap forward always to the stick that hurt him and made him recoil.  The
valour and motion, the strength and the unreasoning of youth he knew it
to be, and he admired it sadly, and envied it, willing to exchange for it
all his lean grey wisdom if only he could find the way.

"Some dog, that dog, sure some dog," he might have uttered in Van Horn's
fashion of speech.  Instead, in beche-de-mer, which was as habitual to
him as his own Somo speech, he thought:

"My word, that fella dog no fright along me."

But age wearied sooner of the play, and Bashti put an end to it by
rapping Jerry heavily behind the ear and stretching him out stunned.  The
spectacle of the puppy, so alive and raging the moment before, and, the
moment after, lying as if dead, caught Bashti's speculative fancy.  The
stick, with a single sharp rap of it, had effected the change.  Where had
gone the anger and wit of the puppy?  Was that all it was, the flame of
the splinter that could be quenched by any chance gust of air?  One
instant Jerry had raged and suffered, snarled and leaped, willed and
directed his actions.  The next instant he lay limp and crumpled in the
little death of unconsciousness.  In a brief space, Bashti knew,
consciousness, sensation, motion, and direction would flow back into the
wilted little carcass.  But where, in the meanwhile, at the impact of the
stick, had gone all the consciousness, and sensitiveness, and will?

Bashti sighed wearily, and wearily wrapped the heads in their grass-mat
coverings--all but Van Horn's; and hoisted them up in the air to hang
from the roof-beams--to hang as he debated, long after he was dead and
out if it, even as some of them had so hung from long before his father's
and his grandfather's time.  The head of Van Horn he left lying on the
floor, while he stole out himself to peer in through a crack and see what
next the puppy might do.

Jerry quivered at first, and in the matter of a minute struggled feebly
to his feet where he stood swaying and dizzy; and thus Bashti, his eye to
the crack, saw the miracle of life flow back through the channels of the
inert body and stiffen the legs to upstanding, and saw consciousness, the
mystery of mysteries, flood back inside the head of bone that was covered
with hair, smoulder and glow in the opening eyes, and direct the lips to
writhe away from the teeth and the throat to vibrate to the snarl that
had been interrupted when the stick smashed him down into darkness.

And more Bashti saw.  At first, Jerry looked about for his enemy,
growling and bristling his neck hair.  Next, in lieu of his enemy, he saw
Skipper's head, and crept to it and loved it, kissing with his tongue the
hard cheeks, the closed lids of the eyes that his love could not open,
the immobile lips that would not utter one of the love-words they had
been used to utter to the little dog.

Next, in profound desolation, Jerry set down before Skipper's head,
pointed his nose toward the lofty ridge-pole, and howled mournfully and
long.  Finally, sick and subdued, he crept out of the house and away to
the house of his devil devil master, where, for the round of twenty-four
hours, he waked and slept and dreamed centuries of nightmares.

For ever after in Somo, Jerry feared that grass house of Bashti.  He was
not in fear of Bashti.  His fear was indescribable and unthinkable.  In
that house was the nothingness of what once was Skipper.  It was the
token of the ultimate catastrophe to life that was wrapped and twisted
into every fibre of his heredity.  One step advanced beyond this, Jerry's
uttermost, the folk of Somo, from the contemplation of death, had
achieved concepts of the spirits of the dead still living in immaterial
and supersensuous realms.

And thereafter Jerry hated Bashti intensely, as a lord of life who
possessed and laid on his knees the nothingness of Skipper.  Not that
Jerry reasoned it out.  All dim and vague it was, a sensation, an
emotion, a feeling, an instinct, an intuition, name it mistily as one
will in the misty nomenclature of speech wherein words cheat with the
impression of definiteness and lie to the brain an understanding which
the brain does not possess.



CHAPTER XVI


Three months more passed; the north-west monsoon, after its half-year of
breath, had given way to the south-east trade; and Jerry still continued
to live in the house of Agno and to have the run of the village.  He had
put on weight, increased in size, and, protected by the taboo, had become
self-confident almost to lordliness.  But he had found no master.  Agno
had never won a heart-throb from him.  For that matter, Agno had never
tried to win him.  Nor, in his cold-blooded way, had he ever betrayed his
hatred of Jerry.

Not even the several old women, the two acolytes, and the fly-flapping
maid in Agno's house dreamed that the devil devil doctor hated Jerry.  Nor
did Jerry dream it.  To him Agno was a neutral sort of person, a person
who did not count.  Those of the household Jerry recognized as slaves or
servants to Agno, and he knew when they fed him that the food he ate
proceeded from Agno and was Agno's food.  Save himself, taboo protected,
all of them feared Agno, and his house was truly a house of fear in which
could bloom no love for a stray puppy dog.  The eleven-years' maid might
have placed a bid for Jerry's affection, had she not been deterred at the
start by Agno, who reprimanded her sternly for presuming to touch or
fondle a dog of such high taboo.

What delayed Agno's plot against Jerry for the half-year of the monsoon
was the fact that the season of egg-laying for the megapodes in Bashti's
private laying-yard did not begin until the period of the south-east
trades.  And Agno, having early conceived his plot, with the patience
that was characteristic of him was content to wait the time.

Now the megapode of the Solomons is a distant cousin to the brush turkey
of Australia.  No larger than a large pigeon, it lays an egg the size of
a domestic duck's.  The megapode, with no sense of fear, is so silly that
it would have been annihilated hundreds of centuries before had it not
been preserved by the taboos of the chiefs and priests.  As it was, the
chiefs were compelled to keep cleared patches of sand for it, and to
fence out the dogs.  It buried its eggs two feet deep, depending on the
heat of the sun for the hatching.  And it would dig and lay, and continue
to dig and lay, while a black dug out its eggs within two or three feet
of it.

The laying-yard was Bashti's.  During the season, he lived almost
entirely on megapode eggs.  On rare occasion he even had megapodes that
were near to finishing their laying killed for his kai-kai.  This was no
more than a whim, however, prompted by pride in such exclusiveness of
diet only possible to one in such high place.  In truth, he cared no more
for megapode meat than for any other meat.  All meat tasted alike to him,
for his taste for meat was one of the vanished pleasures in the limbo of
memory.

But the eggs!  He liked to eat them.  They were the only article of food
he liked to eat, They gave him reminiscent thrills of the ancient food-
desires of his youth.  Actually was he hungry when he had megapode eggs,
and the well-nigh dried founts of saliva and of internal digestive juices
were stimulated to flow again at contemplation of a megapode egg prepared
for the eating.  Wherefore, he alone of all Somo, barred rigidly by
taboo, ate megapode eggs.  And, since the taboo was essentially
religious, to Agno was deputed the ecclesiastical task of guarding and
cherishing and caring for the royal laying-yard.

But Agno was no longer young.  The acid bite of belly desire had long
since deserted him, and he, too, ate from a sense of duty, all meat
tasting alike to him.  Megapode eggs only stung his taste alive and
stimulated the flow of his juices.  Thus it was that he broke the taboos
he imposed, and, privily, before the eyes of no man, woman, or child ate
the eggs he stole from Bashti's private preserve.

So it was, as the laying season began, and when both Bashti and Agno were
acutely egg-yearning after six months of abstinence, that Agno led Jerry
along the taboo path through the mangroves, where they stepped from root
to root above the muck that ever steamed and stank in the stagnant air
where the wind never penetrated.

The path, which was not an ordinary path and which consisted, for a man,
in wide strides from root to root, and for a dog in four-legged leaps and
plunges, was new to Jerry.  In all his ranging of Somo, because it was so
unusual a path, he had never discovered it.  The unbending of Agno, thus
to lead him, was a surprise and a delight to Jerry, who, without
reasoning about it, in a vague way felt the preliminary sensations that
possibly Agno, in a small way, might prove the master which his dog's
soul continually sought.

Emerging from the swamp of mangroves, abruptly they came upon a patch of
sand, still so salt and inhospitable from the sea's deposit that no great
trees rooted and interposed their branches between it and the sun's heat.
A primitive gate gave entrance, but Agno did not take Jerry through it.
Instead, with weird little chirrupings of encouragement and excitation,
he persuaded Jerry to dig a tunnel beneath the rude palisade of fence.  He
helped with his own hands, dragging out the sand in quantities, but
imposing on Jerry the leaving of the indubitable marks of a dog's paws
and claws.

And, when Jerry was inside, Agno, passing through the gate, enticed and
seduced him into digging out the eggs.  But Jerry had no taste of the
eggs.  Eight of them Agno sucked raw, and two of them he tucked whole
into his arm-pits to take back to his house of the devil devils.  The
shells of the eight he sucked he broke to fragments as a dog might break
them, and, to build the picture he had long visioned, of the eighth egg
he reserved a tiny portion which he spread, not on Jerry's jowls where
his tongue could have erased it, but high up about his eyes and above
them, where it would remain and stand witness against him according to
the plot he had planned.

Even worse, in high priestly sacrilege, he encouraged Jerry to attack a
megapode hen in the act of laying.  And, while Jerry slew it, knowing
that the lust of killing, once started, would lead him to continue
killing the silly birds, Agno left the laying-yard to hot-foot it through
the mangrove swamp and present to Bashti an ecclesiastical quandary.  The
taboo of the dog, as he expounded it, had prevented him from interfering
with the taboo dog when it ate the taboo egg-layers.  Which taboo might
be the greater was beyond him.  And Bashti, who had not tasted a megapode
egg in half a year, and who was keen for the one recrudescent thrill of
remote youth still left to him, led the way back across the mangrove
swamp at so prodigious a pace as quite to wind his high priest who was
many years younger than he.

And he arrived at the laying-yard and caught Jerry, red-pawed and red-
mouthed, in the midst of his fourth kill of an egg-layer, the raw yellow
yolk of the portion of one egg, plastered by Agno to represent many eggs,
still about his eyes and above his eyes to the bulge of his forehead.  In
vain Bashti looked about for one egg, the six months' hunger stronger
than ever upon him in the thick of the disaster.  And Jerry, under the
consent and encouragement of Agno, wagged his tail to Bashti in a bid for
recognition, of prowess, and laughed with his red-dripping jowls and
yellow plastered eyes.

Bashti did not rage as he would have done had he been alone.  Before the
eyes of his chief priest he disdained to lower himself to such commonness
of humanity.  Thus it is always with those in the high places, ever
temporising with their natural desires, ever masking their ordinariness
under a show of disinterest.  So it was that Bashti displayed no vexation
at the disappointment to his appetite.  Agno was a shade less controlled,
for he could not quite chase away the eager light in his eyes.  Bashti
glimpsed it and mistook it for simple curiosity of observation not
guessing its real nature.  Which goes to show two things of those in the
high place: one, that they may fool those beneath them; the other, that
they may be fooled by those beneath them.

Bashti regarded Jerry quizzically, as if the matter were a joke, and shot
a careless side glance to note the disappointment in his priest's eyes.
Ah, ha, thought Bashti; I have fooled him.

"Which is the high taboo?" Agno queried in the Somo tongue.

"As you should ask.  Of a surety, the megapode."

"And the dog?" was Agno's next query.

"Must pay for breaking the taboo.  It is a high taboo.  It is my taboo.
It was so placed by Somo, the ancient father and first ruler of all of
us, and it has been ever since the taboo of the chiefs.  The dog must
die."

He paused and considered the matter, while Jerry returned to digging the
sand where the scent was auspicious.  Agno made to stop him, but Bashti
interposed.

"Let be," he said.  "Let the dog convict himself before my eyes."

And Jerry did, uncovering two eggs, breaking them and lapping that
portion of their precious contents which was not spilled and wasted in
the sand.  Bashti's eyes were quite lack-lustre as he asked

"The feast of dogs for the men is to-day?"

"To-morrow, at midday," Agno answered.  "Already are the dogs coming in.
There will be at least fifty of them."

"Fifty and one," was Bashti's verdict, as he nodded at Jerry.

The priest made a quick movement of impulse to capture Jerry.

"Why now?" the chief demanded.  "You will but have to carry him through
the swamp.  Let him trot back on his own legs, and when he is before the
canoe house tie his legs there."

Across the swamp and approaching the canoe house, Jerry, trotting happily
at the heels of the two men, heard the wailing and sorrowing of many dogs
that spelt unmistakable woe and pain.  He developed instant suspicion
that was, however, without direct apprehension for himself.  And at that
moment, his ears cocked forward and his nose questing for further
information in the matter, Bashti seized him by the nape of the neck and
held him in the air while Agno proceeded to tie his legs.

No whimper, nor sound, nor sign of fear, came from Jerry--only choking
growls of ferociousness, intermingled with snarls of anger, and a
belligerent up-clawing of hind-legs.  But a dog, clutched by the neck
from the back, can never be a match for two men, gifted with the
intelligence and deftness of men, each of them two-handed with four
fingers and an opposable thumb to each hand.

His fore-legs and hind-legs tied lengthwise and crosswise, he was carried
head-downward the short distance to the place of slaughter and cooking,
and flung to the earth in the midst of the score or more of dogs
similarly tied and helpless.  Although it was mid-afternoon, a number of
them had so lain since early morning in the hot sun.  They were all bush
dogs or wild-dogs, and so small was their courage that their thirst and
physical pain from cords drawn too tight across veins and arteries, and
their dim apprehension of the fate such treatment foreboded, led them to
whimper and wail and howl their despair and suffering.

The next thirty hours were bad hours for Jerry.  The word had gone forth
immediately that the taboo on him had been removed, and of the men and
boys none was so low as to do him reverence.  About him, till night-fall,
persisted a circle of teasers and tormenters.  They harangued him for his
fall, sneered and jeered at him, rooted him about contemptuously with
their feet, made a hollow in the sand out of which he could not roll and
desposited him in it on his back, his four tied legs sticking
ignominiously in the air above him.

And all he could do was growl and rage his helplessness.  For, unlike the
other dogs, he would not howl or whimper his pain.  A year old now, the
last six months had gone far toward maturing him, and it was the nature
of his breed to be fearless and stoical.  And, much as he had been taught
by his white masters to hate and despise niggers, he learned in the
course of these thirty hours an especially bitter and undying hatred.

His torturers stopped at nothing.  Even they brought wild-dog and set him
upon Jerry.  But it was contrary to wild-dog's nature to attack an enemy
that could not move, even if the enemy was Jerry who had so often bullied
him and rolled him on the deck.  Had Jerry, with a broken leg or so,
still retained power of movement, then he would have mauled him, perhaps
to death.  But this utter helplessness was different.  So the expected
show proved a failure.  When Jerry snarled and growled, wild-dog snarled
and growled back and strutted and bullied around him, him to persuasion
of the blacks could induce but no sink his teeth into Jerry.

The killing-ground before the canoe house was a bedlam of horror.  From
time to time more bound dogs were brought in and flung down.  There was a
continuous howling, especially contributed to by those which had lain in
the sun since early morning and had no water.  At times, all joined in,
the control of the quietest breaking down before the wave of excitement
and fear that swept spasmodically over all of them.  This howling, rising
and falling, but never ceasing, continued throughout the night, and by
morning all were suffering from the intolerable thirst.

The sun blazing down upon them in the white sand and almost parboiling
them, brought anything but relief.  The circle of torturers formed about
Jerry again, and again was wreaked upon him all abusive contempt for
having lost his taboo.  What drove Jerry the maddest were not the blows
and physical torment, but the laughter.  No dog enjoys being laughed at,
and Jerry, least of all, could restrain his wrath when they jeered him
and cackled close in his face.

Although he had not howled once, his snarling and growling, combined with
his thirst, had hoarsened his throat and dried the mucous membranes of
his mouth so that he was incapable, except under the sheerest
provocation, of further sound.  His tongue hung out of his mouth, and the
eight o'clock sun began slowly to burn it.

It was at this time that one of the boys cruelly outraged him.  He rolled
Jerry out of the hollow in which he had lain all night on his back,
turned him over on his side, and presented to him a small calabash filled
with water.  Jerry lapped it so fanatically that not for half a minute
did he become aware that the boy had squeezed into it many hot seeds of
ripe red peppers.  The circle shrieked with glee, and what Jerry's thirst
had been before was as nothing compared with this new thirst to which had
been added the stinging agony of pepper.

Next in event, and a most important event it was to prove, came Nalasu.
Nalasu was an old man of three-score years, and he was blind, walking
with a large staff with which he prodded his path.  In his free hand he
carried a small pig by its tied legs.

"They say the white master's dog is to be eaten," he said in the Somo
speech.  "Where is the white master's dog?  Show him to me."

Agno, who had just arrived, stood beside him as he bent over Jerry and
examined him with his fingers.  Nor did Jerry offer to snarl or bite,
although the blind man's hands came within reach of his teeth more than
once.  For Jerry sensed no enmity in the fingers that passed so softly
over him.  Next, Nalasu felt over the pig, and several times, as if
calculating, alternated between Jerry and the pig.

Nalasu stood up and voiced judgment:

"The pig is as small as the dog.  They are of a size, but the pig has
more meat on it for the eating.  Take the pig and I shall take the dog."

"Nay," said Agno.  "The white master's dog has broken the taboo.  It must
be eaten.  Take any other dog and leave the pig.  Take a big dog."

"I will have the white master's dog," Nalasu persisted.  "Only the white
master's dog and no other."

The matter was at a deadlock when Bashti chanced upon the scene and stood
listening.

"Take the dog, Nalasu," he said finally.  "It is a good pig, and I shall
myself eat it."

"But he has broken the taboo, your great taboo of the laying-yard, and
must go to the eating," Agno interposed quickly.

Too quickly, Bashti thought, while a vague suspicion arose in his mind of
he knew not what.

"The taboo must be paid in blood and cooking," Agno continued.

"Very well," said Bashti.  "I shall eat the small pig.  Let its throat be
cut and its body know the fire."

"I but speak the law of the taboo.  Life must pay for the breaking."

"There is another law," Bashti grinned.  "Long has it been since ever
Somo built these walls that life may buy life."

"But of life of man and life of woman," Agno qualified.

"I know the law," Bashti held steadily on.  "Somo made the law.  Never
has it been said that animal life may not buy animal life."

"It has never been practised," was the devil devil doctor's fling.

"And for reason enough," the old chief retorted.  "Never before has a man
been fool enough to give a pig for a dog.  It is a young pig, and it is
fat and tender.  Take the dog, Nalasu.  Take the dog now."

But the devil devil doctor was not satisfied.

"As you said, O Bashti, in your very great wisdom, he is the seed dog of
strength and courage.  Let him be slain.  When he comes from the fire,
his body shall be divided into many small pieces so that every man may
eat of him and thereby get his portion of strength and courage.  Better
is it for Somo that its men be strong and brave rather than its dogs."

But Bashti held no anger against Jerry.  He had lived too long and too
philosophically to lay blame on a dog for breaking a taboo which it did
not know.  Of course, dogs often were slain for breaking the taboos.  But
he allowed this to be done because the dogs themselves in nowise
interested him, and because their deaths emphasized the sacredness of the
taboo.  Further, Jerry had more than slightly interested him.  Often,
since, Jerry had attacked him because of Van Horn's head, he had pondered
the incident.  Baffling as it was, as all manifestations of life were
baffling, it had given him food for thought.  Then there was his
admiration for Jerry's courage and that inexplicable something in him
that prevented him crying out from the pain of the stick.  And, without
thinking of it as beauty, the beauty of line and colour of Jerry had
insensibly penetrated him with a sense of pleasantness.  It was good to
look upon.

There was another angle to Bashti's conduct.  He wondered why his devil
devil doctor so earnestly desired a mere dog's death.  There were many
dogs.  Then why this particular dog?  That the weight of something was on
the other's mind was patent, although what it was Bashti could not gauge,
guess--unless it might be revenge incubated the day he had prevented Agno
from eating the dog.  If such were the case, it was a state of mind he
could not tolerate in any of his tribespeople.  But whatever was the
motive, guarding as he always did against the unknown, he thought it well
to discipline his priest and demonstrate once again whose word was the
last word in Somo.  Wherefore Bashti replied:

"I have lived long and eaten many pigs.  What man may dare say that the
many pigs have entered into me and made me a pig?"

He paused and cast a challenging eye around the circle of his audience;
but no man spoke.  Instead, some men grinned sheepishly and were restless
on their feet, while Agno's expression advertised sturdy unbelief that
there was anything pig-like about his chief.

"I have eaten much fish," Bashti continued.  "Never has one scale of a
fish grown out on my skin.  Never has a gill appeared on my throat.  As
you all know, by the looking, never have I sprouted one fin out of my
backbone.--Nalasu, take the dog.--Aga, carry the pig to my house.  I
shall eat it to-day.--Agno, let the killing of the dogs begin so that the
canoe-men shall eat at due time."

Then, as he turned to go, he lapsed into beche-de-mer English and flung
sternly over his shoulder, "My word, you make 'm me cross along you."



CHAPTER XVII


As blind Nalasu slowly plodded away, with one hand tapping the path
before him and with the other carrying Jerry head-downward suspended by
his tied legs, Jerry heard a sudden increase in the wild howling of the
dogs as the killing began and they realized that death was upon them.

But, unlike the boy Lamai, who had known no better, the old man did not
carry Jerry all the way to his house.  At the first stream pouring down
between the low hills of the rising land, he paused and put Jerry down to
drink.  And Jerry knew only the delight of the wet coolness on his
tongue, all about his mouth, and down his throat.  Nevertheless, in his
subconsciousness was being planted the impression that, kinder than
Lamai, than Agno, than Bashti, this was the kindest black he had
encountered in Somo.

When he had drunk till for the moment he could drink no more, he thanked
Nalasu with his tongue--not warmly nor ecstatically as had it been
Skipper's hand, but with due gratefulness for the life-giving draught.
The old man chuckled in a pleased way, rolled Jerry's parched body into
the water, and, keeping his head above the surface, rubbed the water into
his dry skin and let him lie there for long blissful minutes.

From the stream to Nalasu's house, a goodly distance, Nalasu still
carried him with bound legs, although not head-downward but clasped in
one arm against his chest.  His idea was to love the dog to him.  For
Nalasu, having sat in the lonely dark for many years, had thought far
more about the world around him and knew it far better than had he been
able to see it.  For his own special purpose he had need of a dog.
Several bush dogs he had tried, but they had shown little appreciation of
his kindness and had invariably run away.  The last had remained longest
because he had treated it with the greatest kindness, but run away it had
before he had trained it to his purpose.  But the white master's dog, he
had heard, was different.  It never ran away in fear, while it was said
to be more intelligent than the dogs of Somo.

The invention Lamai had made of tying Jerry with a stick had been noised
abroad in the village, and by a stick, in Nalasu's house, Jerry found
himself again tied.  But with a difference.  Never once was the blind man
impatient, while he spent hours each day in squatting on his hams and
petting Jerry.  Yet, had he not done this, Jerry, who ate his food and
who was growing accustomed to changing his masters, would have accepted
Nalasu for master.  Further, it was fairly definite in Jerry's mind,
after the devil devil doctor's tying him and flinging him amongst the
other helpless dogs on the killing-ground, that all mastership of Agno
had ceased.  And Jerry, who had never been without a master since his
first days in the world, felt the imperative need of a master.

So it was, when the day came that the stick was untied from him, that
Jerry remained, voluntarily in Nalasu's house.  When the old man was
satisfied there would be no running away, he began Jerry's training.  By
slow degrees he advanced the training until hours a day were devoted to
it.

First of all Jerry learned a new name for himself, which was Bao, and he
was taught to respond to it from an ever-increasing distance no matter
how softly it was uttered, and Nalasu continued to utter it more softly
until it no longer was a spoken word, but a whisper.  Jerry's ears were
keen, but Nalasu's, from long use, were almost as keen.

Further, Jerry's own hearing was trained to still greater acuteness.
Hours at a time, sitting by Nalasu or standing apart from him, he was
taught to catch the slightest sounds or rustlings from the bush.  Still
further, he was taught to differentiate between the bush noises and
between the ways he growled warnings to Nalasu.  If a rustle took place
that Jerry identified as a pig or a chicken, he did not growl at all.  If
he did not identify the noise, he growled fairly softly.  But if the
noise were made by a man or boy who moved softly and therefore
suspiciously, Jerry learned to growl loudly; if the noise were loud and
careless, then Jerry's growl was soft.

It never entered Jerry's mind to question why he was taught all this.  He
merely did it because it was this latest master's desire that he should.
All this, and much more, at a cost of interminable time and patience,
Nalasu taught him, and much more he taught him, increasing his vocabulary
so that, at a distance, they could hold quick and sharply definite
conversations.

Thus, at fifty feet away, Jerry would "Whuff!" softly the information
that there was a noise he did not know; and Nalasu, with different
sibilances, would hiss to him to stand still, to whuff more softly, or to
keep silent, or to come to him noiselessly, or to go into the bush and
investigate the source of the strange noise, or, barking loudly, to rush
and attack it.

Perhaps, if from the opposite direction Nalasu's sharp ears alone caught
a strange sound, he would ask Jerry if he had heard it.  And Jerry, alert
to his toes to listen, by an alteration in the quantity or quality of his
whuff, would tell Nalasu that he did not hear; next, that he did hear;
and, perhaps finally, that it was a strange dog, or a wood-rat, or a man,
or a boy--all in the softest of sounds that were scarcely more than
breath-exhalations, all monosyllables, a veritable shorthand of speech.

Nalasu was a strange old man.  He lived by himself in a small grass house
on the edge of the village.  The nearest house was quite a distance away,
while his own stood in a clearing in the thick jungle which approached no
where nearer than sixty feet.  Also, this cleared space he kept
continually free from the fast-growing vegetation.  Apparently he had no
friends.  At least no visitors ever came to his dwelling.  Years had
passed since he discouraged the last.  Further, he had no kindred.  His
wife was long since dead, and his three sons, not yet married, in a foray
behind the bounds of Somo had lost their heads in the jungle runways of
the higher hills and been devoured by their bushman slayers.

For a blind man he was very busy.  He asked favour of no one and was self-
supporting.  In his house-clearing he grew yams, sweet potatoes, and
taro.  In another clearing--because it was his policy to have no trees
close to his house--he had plantains, bananas, and half a dozen coconut
palms.  Fruits and vegetables he exchanged down in the village for meat
and fish and tobacco.

He spent a good portion of his time on Jerry's education, and, on
occasion, would make bows and arrows that were so esteemed by his
tribespeople as to command a steady sale.  Scarcely a day passed in which
he did not himself practise with bow and arrow.  He shot only by
direction of sound; and whenever a noise or rustle was heard in the
jungle, and when Jerry had informed him of its nature, he would shoot an
arrow at it.  Then it was Jerry's duty cautiously to retrieve the arrow
had it missed the mark.

A curious thing about Nalasu was that he slept no more than three hours
in the twenty-four, that he never slept at night, and that his brief
daylight sleep never took place in the house.  Hidden in the thickest
part of the neighbouring jungle was a sort of nest to which led no path.
He never entered nor left by the same way, so that the tropic growth on
the rich soil, being so rarely trod upon, ever obliterated the slightest
sign of his having passed that way.  Whenever he slept, Jerry was trained
to remain on guard and never to go to sleep.

Reason enough there was and to spare for Nalasu's infinite precaution.
The oldest of his three sons had slain one, Ao, in a quarrel.  Ao had
been one of six brothers of the family of Anno which dwelt in one of the
upper villages.  According to Somo law, the Anno family was privileged to
collect the blood-debt from the Nalasu family, but had been balked of it
by the deaths of Nalasu's three sons in the bush.  And, since the Somo
code was a life for a life, and since Nalasu alone remained alive of his
family, it was well known throughout the tribe that the Annos would never
be content until they had taken the blind man's life.

But Nalasu had been famous as a great fighter, as well as having been the
progenitor of three such warlike sons.  Twice had the Annos sought to
collect, the first time while Nalasu still retained his eyesight.  Nalasu
had discovered their trap, circled about it, and in the rear encountered
and slain Anno himself, the father, thus doubling the blood-debt.

Then had come his accident.  While refilling many-times used Snider
cartridges, an explosion of black powder put out both his eyes.
Immediately thereafter, while he sat nursing his wounds, the Annos had
descended upon him--just what he had expected.  And for which he had made
due preparation.  That night two uncles and another brother stepped on
poisoned thorns and died horribly.  Thus the sum of lives owing the Annos
had increased to five, with only a blind man from whom to collect.

Thenceforth the Annos had feared the thorns too greatly to dare again,
although ever their vindictiveness smouldered and they lived in hope of
the day when Nalasu's head should adorn their ridgepole.  In the meantime
the state of affairs was not that of a truce but of a stalemate.  The old
man could not proceed against them, and they were afraid to proceed
against him.  Nor did the day come until after Jerry's adoption, when one
of the Annos made an invention the like of which had never been known in
all Malaita.



CHAPTER XVIII


Meanwhile the months slipped by, the south-east trade blew itself out,
the monsoon had begun to breathe, and Jerry added to himself six months
of time, weight, stature, and thickness of bone.  An easy time his half-
year with the blind man had been, despite the fact that Nalasu was a
rigid disciplinarian who insisted on training Jerry for longer hours, day
in and day out, than falls to the lot of most dogs.  Never did Jerry
receive from him a blow, never a harsh word.  This man, who had slain
four of the Annos, three of them after he had gone blind, who had slain
still more men in his savage youth, never raised his voice in anger to
Jerry and ruled him by nothing severer than the gentlest of chidings.

Mentally, the persistent education Jerry received, in this period of late
puppyhood, fixed in him increased brain power for all his life.  Possibly
no dog in all the world had ever been so vocal as he, and for three
reasons: his own intelligence, the genius for teaching that was Nalasu's,
and the long hours devoted to the teaching.

His shorthand vocabulary, for a dog, was prodigious.  Almost might it be
said that he and the man could talk by the hour, although few and simple
were the abstractions they could talk; very little of the immediate
concrete past, and scarcely anything of the immediate concrete future,
entered into their conversations.  Jerry could no more tell him of
Meringe, nor of the _Arangi_, than could he tell him of the great love he
had borne Skipper, or of his reason for hating Bashti.  By the same
token, Nalasu could not tell Jerry of the blood-feud with the Annos, nor
of how he had lost his eyesight.

Practically all their conversation was confined to the instant present,
although they could compass a little of the very immediate past.  Nalasu
would give Jerry a series of instructions, such as, going on a scout by
himself, to go to the nest, then circle about it widely, to continue to
the other clearing where were the fruit trees, to cross the jungle to the
main path, to proceed down the main path toward the village till he came
to the great banyan tree, and then to return along the small path to
Nalasu and Nalasu's house.  All of which Jerry would carry out to the
letter, and, arrived back, would make report.  As, thus: at the nest
nothing unusual save that a buzzard was near it; in the other clearing
three coconuts had fallen to the ground--for Jerry could count unerringly
up to five; between the other clearing and the main path were four pigs;
along the main path he had passed a dog, more than five women, and two
children; and on the small path home he had noted a cockatoo and two
boys.

But he could not tell Nalasu his states of mind and heart that prevented
him from being fully contented in his present situation.  For Nalasu was
not a white-god, but only a mere nigger god.  And Jerry hated and
despised all niggers save for the two exceptions of Lamai and Nalasu.  He
tolerated them, and, for Nalasu, had even developed a placid and sweet
affection.  Love him he did not and could not.

At the best, they were only second-rate gods, and he could not forget the
great white-gods such as Skipper and Mister Haggin, and, of the same
breed, Derby and Bob.  They were something else, something other,
something better than all this black savagery in which he lived.  They
were above and beyond, in an unattainable paradise which he vividly
remembered, for which he yearned, but to which he did not know the way,
and which, dimly sensing the ending that comes to all things, might have
passed into the ultimate nothingness which had already overtaken Skipper
and the _Arangi_.

In vain did the old man play to gain Jerry's heart of love.  He could not
bid against Jerry's many reservations and memories, although he did win
absolute faithfulness and loyalty.  Not passionately, as he would have
fought to the death for Skipper, but devotedly would he have fought to
the death for Nalasu.  And the old man never dreamed but what he had won
all of Jerry's heart.

* * * * *

Came the day of the Annos, when one of them made the invention, which was
thick-plaited sandals to armour the soles of their feet against the
poisoned thorns with which Nalasu had taken three of their lives.  The
day, in truth, was the night, a black night, a night so black under a
cloud-palled sky that a tree-trunk could not be seen an eighth of an inch
beyond one's nose.  And the Annos descended on Nalasu's clearing, a dozen
of them, armed with Sniders, horse pistols, tomahawks and war clubs,
walking gingerly, despite their thick sandals, because of fear of the
thorns which Nalasu no longer planted.

Jerry, sitting between Nalasu's knees and nodding sleepily, gave the
first warning to Nalasu, who sat outside his door, wide-eyed, ear-strung,
as he had sat through all the nights of the many years.  He listened
still more tensely through long minutes in which he heard nothing, at the
same time whispering to Jerry for information and commanding him to be
soft-spoken; and Jerry, with whuffs and whiffs and all the short-hand
breath-exhalations of speech he had been taught, told him that men
approached, many men, more men than five.

Nalasu reached the bow beside him, strung an arrow, and waited.  At last
his own ears caught the slightest of rustlings, now here, now there,
advancing upon him in the circle of the compass.  Still speaking for
softness, he demanded verification from Jerry, whose neck hair rose
bristling under Nalasu's sensitive fingers, and who, by this time, was
reading the night air with his nose as well as his ears.  And Jerry, as
softly as Nalasu, informed him again that it was men, many men, more men
than five.

With the patience of age Nalasu sat on without movement, until, close at
hand, on the very edge of the jungle, sixty feet away, he located a
particular noise of a particular man.  He stretched his bow, loosed the
arrow, and was rewarded by a gasp and a groan strangely commingled.  First
he restrained Jerry from retrieving the arrow, which he knew had gone
home; and next he fitted a fresh arrow to the bow string.

Fifteen minutes of silence passed, the blind man as if carven of stone,
the dog, trembling with eagerness under the articulate touch of his
fingers, obeying the bidding to make no sound.  For Jerry, as well as
Nalasu, knew that death rustled and lurked in the encircling dark.  Again
came a softness of movement, nearer than before; but the sped arrow
missed.  They heard its impact against a tree trunk beyond and a
confusion of small sounds caused by the target's hasty retreat.  Next,
after a time of silence, Nalasu told Jerry silently to retrieve the
arrow.  He had been well trained and long trained, for with no sound even
to Nalasu's ears keener than seeing men's ears, he followed the direction
of the arrow's impact against the tree and brought the arrow back in his
mouth.

Again Nalasu waited, until the rustlings of a fresh drawing-in of the
circle could be heard, whereupon Nalasu, Jerry accompanying him, picked
up all his arrows and moved soundlessly half-way around the circle.  Even
as they moved, a Snider exploded that was aimed in the general direction
of the spot just vacated.

And the blind man and the dog, from midnight to dawn, successfully fought
off twelve men equipped with the thunder of gunpowder and the
wide-spreading, deep-penetrating, mushroom bullets of soft lead.  And the
blind man defended himself only with a bow and a hundred arrows.  He
discharged many hundreds of arrows which Jerry retrieved for him and
which he discharged over and over.  But Jerry aided valiantly and well,
adding to Nalasu's acute hearing his own acuter hearing, circling
noiselessly about the house and reporting where the attack pressed
closest.

Much of their precious powder the Annos wasted, for the affair was like a
game of invisible ghosts.  Never was anything seen save the flashes of
the rifles.  Never did they see Jerry, although they became quickly aware
of his movements close to them as he searched out the arrows.  Once, as
one of them felt for an arrow which had narrowly missed him, he
encountered Jerry's back with his hand and acknowledged the sharp slash
of Jerry's teeth with a wild yell of terror.  They tried firing at the
twang of Nalasu's bowstring, but every time Nalasu fired he instantly
changed position.  Several times, warned of Jerry's nearness, they fired
at him, and, once even, was his nose slightly powder burned.

When day broke, in the quick tropic grey that marks the leap from dark to
sun, the Annos retreated, while Nalasu, withdrawn from the light into his
house, still possessed eighty arrows, thanks to Jerry.  The net result to
Nalasu was one dead man and no telling how many arrow-pricked wounded men
who dragged themselves away.

And half the day Nalasu crouched over Jerry, fondling and caressing him
for what he had done.  Then he went abroad, Jerry with him, and told of
the battle.  Bashti paid him a visit ere the day was done, and talked
with him earnestly.

"As an old man to an old man, I talk," was Bashti's beginning.  "I am
older than you, O Nalasu; I have ever been unafraid.  Yet never have I
been braver than you.  I would that every man of the tribe were as brave
as you.  Yet do you give me great sorrow.  Of what worth are your courage
and cunning, when you have no seed to make your courage and cunning live
again?"

"I am an old man," Nalasu began.

"Not so old as I am," Bashti interrupted.  "Not too old to marry so that
your seed will add strength to the tribe."

"I was married, and long married, and I fathered three brave sons.  But
they are dead.  I shall not live so long as you.  I think of my young
days as pleasant dreams remembered after sleep.  More I think of death,
and the end.  Of marriage I think not at all.  I am too old to marry.  I
am old enough to make ready to die, and a great curiousness have I about
what will happen to me when I am dead.  Will I be for ever dead?  Will I
live again in a land of dreams--a shadow of a dream myself that will
still remember the days when I lived in the warm world, the quick juices
of hunger in my mouth, in the chest of the body of me the love of woman?"

Bashti shrugged his shoulders.

"I too, have thought much on the matter," he said.  "Yet do I arrive
nowhere.  I do not know.  You do not know.  We will not know until we are
dead, if it happens that we know anything when what we are we no longer
are.  But this we know, you and I: the tribe lives.  The tribe never
dies.  Wherefore, if there be meaning at all to our living, we must make
the tribe strong.  Your work in the tribe is not done.  You must marry so
that your cunning and your courage live after you.  I have a wife for
you--nay, two wives, for your days are short and I shall surely live to
see you hang with my fathers from the canoe-house ridgepole."

"I will not pay for a wife," Nalasu protested.  "I will not pay for any
wife.  I would not pay a stick of tobacco or a cracked coconut for the
best woman in Somo."

"Worry not," Bashti went on placidly.  "I shall pay you for the price of
the wife, of the two wives.  There is Bubu.  For half a case of tobacco
shall I buy her for you.  She is broad and square, round-legged, broad-
hipped, with generous breasts of richness.  There is Nena.  Her father
sets a stiff price upon her--a whole case of tobacco.  I will buy her for
you as well.  Your time is short.  We must hurry."

"I will not marry," the old blind man proclaimed hysterically.

"You will.  I have spoken."

"No, I say, and say again, no, no, no, no.  Wives are nuisances.  They
are young things, and their heads are filled with foolishness.  Their
tongues are loose with idleness of speech.  I am old, I am quiet in my
ways, the fires of life have departed from me, I prefer to sit alone in
the dark and think.  Chattering young things about me, with nothing but
foam and spume in their heads, on their tongues, would drive me mad.  Of
a surety they would drive me mad--so mad that I will spit into every clam
shell, make faces at the moon, and bite my veins and howl."

"And if you do, what of it?  So long as your seed does not perish.  I
shall pay for the wives to their fathers and send them to you in three
days."

"I will have nothing to do with them," Nalasu asserted wildly.

"You will," Bashti insisted calmly.  "Because if you do not you will have
to pay me.  It will be a sore, hard debt.  I will have every joint of you
unhinged so that you will be like a jelly-fish, like a fat pig with the
bones removed, and I will then stake you out in the midmost centre of the
dog-killing ground to swell in pain under the sun.  And what is left of
you I shall fling to the dogs to eat.  Your seed shall not perish out of
Somo.  I, Bashti, so tell you.  In three days I shall send to you your
two wives. . . . "

He paused, and a long silence fell upon them.

"Well?" Bashti reiterated.  "It is wives or staking out unhinged in the
sun.  You choose, but think well before you choose the unhinging."

"At my age, with all the vexations of youngness so far behind me!" Nalasu
complained.

"Choose.  You will find there is vexation, and liveliness and much of it,
in the centre of the dog-killing yard when the sun cooks your sore joints
till the grease of the leanness of you bubbles like the tender fat of a
cooked sucking-pig."

"Then send me the wives," Nalasu managed to utter after a long pause.
"But send them in three days, not in two, nor to-morrow."

"It is well," Bashti nodded gravely.  "You have lived at all only because
of those before you, now long in the dark, who worked so that the tribe
might live and you might come to be.  You are.  They paid the price for
you.  It is your debt.  You came into being with this debt upon you.  You
will pay the debt before you pass out of being.  It is the law.  It is
very well."



CHAPTER XIX


And had Bashti hastened delivery of the wives by one day, or by even two
days, Nalasu would have entered the feared, purgatory of matrimony.  But
Bashti kept his word, and on the third day was too busy, with a more
momentous problem, to deliver Bubu and Nena to the blind old man who
apprehensively waited their coming.  For the morning of the third day all
the summits of leeward Malaita smoked into speech.  A warship was on the
coast--so the tale ran; a big warship that was heading in through the
reef islands at Langa-Langa.  The tale grew.  The warship was not
stopping at Langa-Langa.  The warship was not stopping at Binu.  It was
directing its course toward Somo.

Nalasu, blind, could not see this smoke speech written in the air.
Because of the isolation of his house, no one came and told him.  His
first warning was when shrill voices of women, cries of children, and
wailings of babes in nameless fear came to him from the main path that
led from the village to the upland boundaries of Somo.  He read only fear
and panic from the sounds, deduced that the village was fleeing to its
mountain fastnesses, but did not know the cause of the flight.

He called Jerry to him and instructed him to scout to the great banyan
tree, where Nalasu's path and the main path joined, and to observe and
report.  And Jerry sat under the banyan tree and observed the flight of
all Somo.  Men, women, and children, the young and the aged, babes at
breast and patriarchs leaning on sticks and staffs passed before his
eyes, betraying the greatest haste and alarm.  The village dogs were as
frightened, whimpering and whining as they ran.  And the contagion of
terror was strong upon Jerry.  He knew the prod of impulse to join in
this rush away from some unthinkably catastrophic event that impended and
that stirred his intuitive apprehensions of death.  But he mastered the
impulse with his sense of loyalty to the blind man who had fed him and
caressed him for a long six months.

Back with Nalasu, sitting between his knees, he made his report.  It was
impossible for him to count more than five, although he knew the fleeing
population numbered many times more than five.  So he signified five men,
and more; five women, and more five children, and more; five babies, and
more; five dogs, and more--even of pigs did he announce five and more.
Nalasu's ears told him that it was many, many times more, and he asked
for names.  Jerry know the names of Bashti, of Agno, and of Lamai, and
Lumai.  He did not pronounce them with the slightest of resemblance to
their customary soundings, but pronounced them in the whiff-whuff of
shorthand speech that Nalasu had taught him.

Nalasu named over many other names that Jerry knew by ear but could not
himself evoke in sound, and he answered yes to most of them by
simultaneously nodding his head and advancing his right paw.  To some
names he remained without movement in token that he did not know them.
And to other names, which he recognized, but the owners of which he had
not seen, he answered no by advancing his left paw.

And Nalasu, beyond knowing that something terrible was
impending--something horribly more terrible than any foray of
neighbouring salt-water tribes, which Somo, behind her walls, could
easily fend off, divined that it was the long-expected punitive man-of-
war.  Despite his three-score years, he had never experienced a village
shelling.  He had heard vague talk of what had happened in the matter of
shell-fire in other villages, but he had no conception of it save that it
must be, bullets on a larger scale than Snider bullets that could be
fired correspondingly longer distances through the air.

But it was given to him to know shell-fire before he died.  Bashti, who
had long waited the cruiser that was to avenge the destruction of the
_Arangi_ and the taking of the heads of the two white men, and who had
long calculated the damage to be wrought, had given the command to his
people to flee to the mountains.  First in the vanguard, borne by a dozen
young men, went his mat-wrapped parcels of heads.  The last slow trailers
in the rear of the exodus were just passing, and Nalasu, his bow and his
eighty arrows clutched to him, Jerry at his heels, made his first step to
follow, when the air above him was rent by a prodigiousness of sound.

Nalasu sat down abruptly.  It was his first shell, and it was a thousand
times more terrible than he had imagined.  It was a rip-snorting, sky-
splitting sound as of a cosmic fabric being torn asunder between the
hands of some powerful god.  For all the world it was like the roughest
tearing across of sheets that were thick as blankets, that were broad as
the earth and wide as the sky.

Not only did he sit down just outside his door, but he crouched his head
to his knees and shielded it with the arch of his arms.  And Jerry, who
had never heard shell-fire, much less imagined what it was like, was
impressed with the awfulness of it.  It was to him a natural catastrophe
such as had happened to the _Arangi_ when she was flung down reeling on
her side by the shouting wind.  But, true to his nature, he did not
crouch down under the shriek of that first shell.  On the contrary, he
bristled his hair and snarled up with menacing teeth at whatever the
thing was which was so enormously present and yet invisible to his eyes.

Nalasu crouched closer when the shell burst beyond, and Jerry snarled and
rippled his hair afresh.  Each repeated his actions with each fresh
shell, for, while they screamed no more loudly, they burst in the jungle
more closely.  And Nalasu, who had lived a long life most bravely in the
midst of perils he had known, was destined to die a coward out of his
fear of the thing unknown, the chemically propelled missile of the white
masters.  As the dropping shells burst nearer and nearer, what final self-
control he possessed left him.  Such was his utter panic that he might
well have bitten his veins and howled.  With a lunatic scream, he sprang
to his feet and rushed inside the house as if forsooth its grass thatch
could protect his head from such huge projectiles.  He collided with the
door-jamb, and, ere Jerry could follow him, whirled around in a part
circle into the centre of the floor just in time to receive the next
shell squarely upon his head.

Jerry had just gained the doorway when the shell exploded.  The house
went into flying fragments, and Nalasu flew into fragments with it.
Jerry, in the doorway, caught in the out-draught of the explosion, was
flung a score of feet away.  All in the same fraction of an instant,
earthquake, tidal wave, volcanic eruption, the thunder of the heavens and
the fire-flashing of an electric bolt from the sky smote him and smote
consciousness out of him.

He had no conception of how long he lay.  Five minutes passed before his
legs made their first spasmodic movements, and, as he stumbled to his
feet and rocked giddily, he had no thought of the passage of time.  He
had no thought about time at all.  As a matter of course, his own idea,
on which he proceeded to act without being aware of it, was that, a part
of a second before, he had been struck a terrific blow magnified
incalculable times beyond the blow of a stick at a nigger's hands.

His throat and lungs filled with the pungent stifling smoke of powder,
his nostrils with earth and dust, he frantically wheezed and sneezed,
leaping about, falling drunkenly, leaping into the air again, staggering
on his hind-legs, dabbing with his forepaws at his nose head-downward
between his forelegs, and even rubbing his nose into the ground.  He had
no thought for anything save to remove the biting pain from his nose and
mouth, the suffocation from his lungs.

By a miracle he had escaped being struck by the flying splinters of iron,
and, thanks to his strong heart, had escaped being killed by the shock of
the explosion.  Not until the end of five minutes of mad struggling, in
which he behaved for all the world like a beheaded chicken, did he find
life tolerable again.  The maximum of stifling and of agony passed, and,
although he was still weak and giddy, he tottered in the direction of the
house and of Nalasu.  And there was no house and no Nalasu--only a debris
intermingled of both.

While the shells continued to shriek and explode, now near, now far,
Jerry investigated the happening.  As surely as the house was gone, just
as surely was Nalasu gone.  Upon both had descended the ultimate
nothingness.  All the immediate world seemed doomed to nothingness.  Life
promised only somewhere else, in the high hills and remote bush whither
the tribe had already fled.  Loyal he was to his salt, to the master whom
he had obeyed so long, nigger that he was, who so long had fed him, and
for whom he had entertained a true affection.  But this master no longer
was.

Retreat Jerry did, but he was not hasty in retreat.  For a time he
snarled at every shell-scream in the air and every shell-burst in the
bush.  But after a time, while the awareness of them continued
uncomfortably with him, the hair on his neck remained laid down and he
neither uttered a snarl nor bared his teeth.

And when he parted from what had been and which had ceased to be, not
like the bush dogs did he whimper and run.  Instead, he trotted along the
path at a regular and dignified pace.  When he emerged upon the main
path, he found it deserted.  The last refugee had passed.  The path,
always travelled from daylight to dark, and which he had so recently seen
glutted with humans, now in its emptiness affected him profoundly with
the impression of the endingness of all things in a perishing world.  So
it was that he did not sit down under the banyan tree, but trotted along
at the far rear of the tribe.

With his nose he read the narrative of the flight.  Only once did he
encounter what advertised its terror.  It was an entire group annihilated
by a shell.  There were: an old man of fifty, with a crutch because of
the leg which had been slashed off by a shark when he was a young boy; a
dead Mary with a dead babe at her breast and a dead child of three
clutching her hand; and two dead pigs, huge and fat, which the woman had
been herding to safety.

And Jerry's nose told him of how the stream of the fugitives had split
and flooded past on each side and flowed together again beyond.  Incidents
of the flight he did encounter: a part-chewed joint of sugar-cane some
child had dropped; a clay pipe, the stem short from successive breakages;
a single feather from some young man's hair, and a calabash, full of
cooked yams and sweet potatoes, deposited carefully beside the trail by
some Mary for whom its weight had proved too great.

The shell-fire ceased as Jerry trotted along; next he heard the rifle-
fire from the landing-party, as it shot down the domestic pigs on Somo's
streets.  He did not hear, however, the chopping down of the coconut
trees, any more than did he ever return to behold what damage the axes
had wrought.

For right here occurred with Jerry a wonderful thing that thinkers of the
world have not explained.  He manifested in his dog's brain the free
agency of life, by which all the generations of metaphysicians have
postulated God, and by which all the deterministic philosophers have been
led by the nose despite their clear denouncement of it as sheer illusion.
What Jerry did he did.  He did not know how or why he did it any more
than does the philosopher know how or why he decides on mush and cream
for breakfast instead of two soft-boiled eggs.

What Jerry did was to yield in action to a brain impulse to do, not what
seemed the easier and more usual thing, but to do what seemed the harder
and more unusual thing.  Since it is easier to endure the known than to
fly to the unknown; since both misery and fear love company; the apparent
easiest thing for Jerry to have done would have been to follow the tribe
of Somo into its fastnesses.  Yet what Jerry did was to diverge from the
line of retreat and to start northward, across the bounds of Somo, and
continue northward into a strange land of the unknown.

Had Nalasu not been struck down by the ultimate nothingness, Jerry would
have remained.  This is true, and this, perhaps, to the one who considers
his action, might have been the way he reasoned.  But he did not reason
it, did not reason at all; he acted on impulse.  He could count five
objects, and pronounce them by name and number, but he was incapable of
reasoning that he would remain in Somo if Nalasu lived, depart from Somo
if Nalasu died.  He merely departed from Somo because Nalasu was dead,
and the terrible shell-fire passed quickly into the past of his
consciousness, while the present became vivid after the way of the
present.  Almost on his toes did he tread the wild bushmen's trails,
tense with apprehension of the lurking death he know infested such paths,
his ears cocked alertly for jungle sounds, his eyes following his ears to
discern what made the sounds.

No more doughty nor daring was Columbus, venturing all that he was to the
unknown, than was Jerry in venturing this jungle-darkness of black
Malaita.  And this wonderful thing, this seeming great deed of free will,
he performed in much the same way that the itching of feet and tickle of
fancy have led the feet of men over all the earth.

Though Jerry never laid eyes on Somo again, Bashti returned with his
tribe the same day, grinning and chuckling as he appraised the damage.
Only a few grass houses had been damaged by the shells.  Only a few
coconuts had been chopped down.  And as for the slain pigs, lest they
spoil, he made of their carcasses a great feast.  One shell had knocked a
hole through his sea-wall.  He enlarged it for a launching-ways, faced
the sides of it with dry-fitted coral rock, and gave orders for the
building of an additional canoe-house.  The only vexation he suffered was
the death of Nalasu and the disappearance of Jerry--his two experiments
in primitive eugenics.



CHAPTER XX


A week Jerry spent in the bush, deterred always from penetrating to the
mountains by the bushmen who ever guarded the runways.  And it would have
gone hard with him in the matter of food, had he not, on the second day,
encountered a lone small pig, evidently lost from its litter.  It was his
first hunting adventure for a living, and it prevented him from
travelling farther, for, true to his instinct, he remained by his kill
until it was nearly devoured.

True, he ranged widely about the neighbourhood, finding no other food he
could capture.  But always, until it was gone, he returned to the slain
pig.  Yet he was not happy in his freedom.  He was too domesticated, too
civilized.  Too many thousands of years had elapsed since his ancestors
had run freely wild.  He was lonely.  He could not get along without man.
Too long had he, and the generations before him, lived in intimate
relationship with the two-legged gods.  Too long had his kind loved man,
served him for love, endured for love, died for love, and, in return,
been partly appreciated, less understood, and roughly loved.

So great was Jerry's loneliness that even a two-legged black-god was
desirable, since white-gods had long since faded into the limbo of the
past.  For all he might have known, had he been capable of conjecturing,
the only white-gods in existence had perished.  Acting on the assumption
that a black-god was better than no god, when he had quite finished the
little pig, he deflected his course to the left, down-hill, toward the
sea.  He did this, again without reasoning, merely because, in the subtle
processes of his brain, experience worked.  His experience had been to
live always close by the sea; humans he had always encountered close by
the sea; and down-hill had invariably led to the sea.

He came out upon the shore of the reef-sheltered lagoon where ruined
grass houses told him men had lived.  The jungle ran riot through the
place.  Six-inch trees, throated with rotten remnants of thatched roofs
through which they had aspired toward the sun, rose about him.
Quick-growing trees had shadowed the kingposts so that the idols and
totems, seated in carved shark jaws, grinned greenly and monstrously at
the futility of man through a rime of moss and mottled fungus.  A poor
little sea-wall, never much at its best, sprawled in ruin from the
coconut roots to the placid sea.  Bananas, plantains, and breadfruit lay
rotting on the ground.  Bones lay about, human bones, and Jerry nosed
them out, knowing them for what they were, emblems of the nothingness of
life.  Skulls he did not encounter, for the skulls that belonged to the
scattered bones ornamented the devil devil houses in the upland bush
villages.

The salt tang of the sea gladdened his nostrils, and he snorted with the
pleasure of the stench of the mangrove swamp.  But, another Crusoe
chancing upon the footprint of another man Friday, his nose, not his
eyes, shocked him electrically alert as he smelled the fresh contact of a
living man's foot with the ground.  It was a nigger's foot, but it was
alive, it was immediate; and, as he traced it a score of yards, he came
upon another foot-scent, indubitably a white man's.

Had there been an onlooker, he would have thought Jerry had gone suddenly
mad.  He rushed frantically about, turning and twisting his course, now
his nose to the ground, now up in the air, whining as frantically as he
rushed, leaping abruptly at right angles as new scents reached him,
scurrying here and there and everywhere as if in a game of tag with some
invisible playfellow.

But he was reading the full report which many men had written on the
ground.  A white man had been there, he learned, and a number of blacks.
Here a black had climbed a coconut tree and cast down the nuts.  There a
banana tree had been despoiled of its clustered fruit; and, beyond, it
was evident that a similar event had happened to a breadfruit tree.  One
thing, however, puzzled him--a scent new to him that was neither black
man's nor white man's.  Had he had the necessary knowledge and the wit of
eye-observance, he would have noted that the footprint was smaller than a
man's and that the toeprints were different from a Mary's in that they
were close together and did not press deeply into the earth.  What
bothered him in his smelling was his ignorance of talcum powder.  Pungent
it was in his nostrils, but never, since first he had smelled out the
footprints of man, had he encountered such a scent.  And with this were
combined other and fainter scents that were equally strange to him.

Not long did he interest himself in such mystery.  A white man's
footprints he had smelled, and through the maze of all the other prints
he followed the one print down through a breach of sea-wall to the sea-
pounded coral sand lapped by the sea.  Here the latest freshness of many
feet drew together where the nose of a boat had rested on the beach and
where men had disembarked and embarked again.  He smelled up all the
story, and, his forelegs in the water till it touched his shoulders, he
gazed out across the lagoon where the disappearing trail was lost to his
nose.

Had he been half an hour sooner he would have seen a boat, without oars,
gasoline-propelled, shooting across the quiet water.  What he did see was
an _Arangi_.  True, it was far larger than the _Arangi_ he had known, but
it was white, it was long, it had masts, and it floated on the surface of
the sea.  It had three masts, sky-lofty and all of a size; but his
observation was not trained to note the difference between them and the
one long and the one short mast of the _Arangi_.  The one floating world
he had known was the white-painted _Arangi_.  And, since, without a
quiver of doubt, this was the _Arangi_, then, on board, would be his
beloved Skipper.  If _Arangis_ could resurrect, then could Skippers
resurrect, and in utter faith that the head of nothingness he had last
seen on Bashti's knees he would find again rejoined to its body and its
two legs on the deck of the white-painted floating world, he waded out to
his depth, and, swimming dared the sea.

He greatly dared, for in venturing the water he broke one of the greatest
and earliest taboos he had learned.  In his vocabulary was no word for
"crocodile"; yet in his thought, as potent as any utterable word, was an
image of dreadful import--an image of a log awash that was not a log and
that was alive, that could swim upon the surface, under the surface, and
haul out across the dry land, that was huge-toothed, mighty-mawed, and
certain death to a swimming dog.

But he continued the breaking of the taboo without fear.  Unlike a man
who can be simultaneously conscious of two states of mind, and who,
swimming, would have known both the fear and the high courage with which
he overrode the fear, Jerry, as he swam, knew only one state of mind,
which was that he was swimming to the _Arangi_ and to Skipper.  At the
moment preceding the first stroke of his paws in the water out of his
depth, he had known all the terribleness of the taboo he deliberately
broke.  But, launched out, the decision made, the line of least
resistance taken, he knew, single-thoughted, single-hearted, only that he
was going to Skipper.

Little practised as he was in swimming, he swam with all his strength,
whimpering in a sort of chant his eager love for Skipper who indubitably
must be aboard the white yacht half a mile away.  His little song of
love, fraught with keenness of anxiety, came to the ears of a man and
woman lounging in deck-chairs under the awning; and it was the quick-eyed
woman who first saw the golden head of Jerry and cried out what she saw.

"Lower a boat, Husband-Man," she commanded.  "It's a little dog.  He
mustn't drown."

"Dogs don't drown that easily," was "Husband-Man's" reply.  "He'll make
it all right.  But what under the sun a dog's doing out here . . . "  He
lifted his marine glasses to his eyes and stared a moment.  "And a white
man's dog at that!"

Jerry beat the water with his paws and moved steadily along, straining
his eyes at the growing yacht until suddenly warned by a sensing of
immediate danger.  The taboo smote him.  This that moved toward him was
the log awash that was not a log but a live thing of peril.  Part of it
he saw above the surface moving sluggishly, and ere that projecting part
sank, he had an awareness that somehow it was different from a log awash.

Next, something brushed past him, and he encountered it with a snarl and
a splashing of his forepaws.  He was half-whirled about in the vortex of
the thing's passage caused by the alarmed flirt of its tail.  Shark it
was, and not crocodile, and not so timidly would it have sheered clear
but for the fact that it was fairly full with a recent feed of a huge sea
turtle too feeble with age to escape.

Although he could not see it, Jerry sensed that the thing, the instrument
of nothingness, lurked about him.  Nor did he see the dorsal fin break
surface and approach him from the rear.  From the yacht he heard rifle-
shots in quick succession.  From the rear a panic splash came to his
ears.  That was all.  The peril passed and was forgotten.  Nor did he
connect the rifle-shots with the passing of the peril.  He did not know,
and he was never to know, that one, known to men as Harley Kennan, but
known as "Husband-Man" by the woman he called "Wife-Woman," who owned the
three-topmast schooner yacht _Ariel_, had saved his life by sending a
thirty-thirty Marlin bullet through the base of a shark's fin.

But Jerry was to know Harley Kennan, and quickly, for it was Harley
Kennan, a bowline around his body under his arm-pits, lowered by a couple
of seamen down the generous freeboard of the _Ariel_, who gathered in by
the nape of the neck the smooth-coated Irish terrier that, treading water
perpendicularly, had no eyes for him so eagerly did he gaze at the line
of faces along the rail in quest of the one face.

No pause for thanks did he make when he was dropped down upon the deck.
Instead, shaking himself instinctively as he ran, he scurried along the
deck for Skipper.  The man and his wife laughed at the spectacle.

"He acts as if he were demented with delight at being rescued," Mrs.
Kennan observed.

And Mr. Kennan: "It's not that.  He must have a screw loose somewhere.
Perhaps he's one of those creatures who've slipped the ratchet off the
motion cog.  Maybe he can't stop running till he runs down."

In the meantime Jerry continued to run, up port side and down starboard
side, from stern to bow and back again, wagging his stump tail and
laughing friendliness to the many two-legged gods he encountered.  Had he
been able to think to such abstraction he would have been astounded at
the number of white-gods.  Thirty there were at least of them, not
counting other gods that were neither black nor white, but that still,
two-legged, upright and garmented, were beyond all peradventure gods.
Likewise, had he been capable of such generalization, he would have
decided that the white-gods had not yet all of them passed into the
nothingness.  As it was, he realized all this without being aware that he
realized it.

But there was no Skipper.  He sniffed down the forecastle hatch, sniffed
into the galley where two Chinese cooks jabbered unintelligibly to him,
sniffed down the cabin companionway, sniffed down the engine-room
skylight and for the first time knew gasoline and engine oil; but sniff
as he would, wherever he ran, no scent did he catch of Skipper.

Aft, at the wheel, he would have sat down and howled his heartbreak of
disappointment, had not a white-god, evidently of command, in
gold-decorated white duck cap and uniform, spoken to him.  Instantly,
always a gentleman, Jerry smiled with flattened ears of courtesy, wagged
his tail, and approached.  The hand of this high god had almost caressed
his head when the woman's voice came down the deck in speech that Jerry
did not understand.  The words and terms of it were beyond him.  But he
sensed power of command in it, which was verified by the quick withdrawal
of the hand of the god in white and gold who had almost caressed him.
This god, stiffened electrically and pointed Jerry along the deck, and,
with mouth encouragements and urgings the import of which Jerry could
only guess, directed him toward the one who so commanded by saying:

"Send him, please, along to me, Captain Winters."

Jerry wriggled his body in delight of obeying, and would loyally have
presented his head to her outreaching caress of hand, had not the
strangeness and difference of her deterred him.  He broke off in
mid-approach and with a show of teeth snarled himself back and away from
the windblown skirt of her.  The only human females he had known were
naked Marys.  This skirt, flapping in the wind like a sail, reminded him
of the menacing mainsail of the _Arangi_ when it had jarred and crashed
and swooped above his head.  The noises her mouth made were gentle and
ingratiating, but the fearsome skirt still flapped in the breeze.

"You ridiculous dog!" she laughed.  "I'm not going to bite you."

But her husband thrust out a rough, sure hand and drew Jerry in to him.
And Jerry wriggled in ecstasy under the god's caress, kissing the hand
with a red flicker of tongue.  Next, Harley Kennan directed him toward
the woman sitting up in the deck-chair and bending forward, with hovering
hands of greeting.  Jerry obeyed.  He advanced with flattened ears and
laughing mouth: but, just ere she could touch him, the wind fluttered the
skirt again and he backed away with a snarl.

"It's not you that he's afraid of, Villa," he said.  "But of your skirt.
Perhaps he's never seen a skirt before."

"You mean," Villa Kennan challenged, "that these head-hunting cannibals
ashore here keep records of pedigrees and maintain kennels; for surely
this absurd adventurer of a dog is as proper an Irish terrier as the
_Ariel_ is an Oregon-pine-planked schooner."

Harley Kennan laughed in acknowledgment.  Villa Kennan laughed too; and
Jerry knew that these were a pair of happy gods, and himself laughed with
them.

Of his own initiative, he approached the lady god again, attracted by the
talcum powder and other minor fragrances he had already identified as the
strange scents encountered on the beach.  But the unfortunate trade wind
again fluttered her skirt, and again he backed away--not so far, this
time, with much less of a bristle of his neck and shoulder hair, and with
no more of a snarl than a mere half-baring of his fangs.

"He's afraid of your skirt," Harley insisted.  "Look at him!  He wants to
come to you, but the skirt keeps him away.  Tuck it under you so that it
won't flutter, and see what happens."

Villa Kennan carried out the suggestion, and Jerry came circumspectly,
bent his head to her hand and writhed his back under it, the while he
sniffed her feet, stocking-clad and shoe-covered, and knew them as the
feet which had trod uncovered the ruined ways of the village ashore.

"No doubt of it," Harley agreed.  "He's white-man selected, white-man
bred and born.  He has a history.  He knows adventure from the ground-
roots up.  If he could tell his story, we'd sit listening entranced for
days.  Depend on it, he's not known blacks all his life.  Let's try him
on Johnny."

Johnny, whom Kennan beckoned up to him, was a loan from the Resident
Commissioner of the British Solomons at Tulagi, who had come along as
pilot and guide to Kennan rather than as philosopher and friend.  Johnny
approached grinning, and Jerry's demeanour immediately changed.  His body
stiffened under Villa Kennan's hand as he drew away from her and stalked
stiff-legged to the black.  Jerry's ears did not flatten, nor did he
laugh fellowship with his mouth, as he inspected Johnny and smelt his
calves for future reference.  Cavalier he was to the extreme, and, after
the briefest of inspection, he turned back to Villa Kennan.

"What did I say?" her husband exulted.  "He knows the colour line.  He's
a white man's dog that has been trained to it."

"My word," spoke up Johnny.  "Me know 'm that fella dog.  Me know 'm papa
and mamma belong along him.  Big fella white marster Mister Haggin stop
along Meringe, mamma and papa stop along him that fella place."

Harley Kennan uttered a sharp exclamation.

"Of course," he cried.  "The Commissioner told me all about it.  The
_Arangi_, that the Somo people captured, sailed last from Meringe
Plantation.  Johnny recognizes the dog as the same breed as the pair
Haggin, of Meringe, must possess.  But that was a long time ago.  He must
have been a little puppy.  Of course he's a white man's dog."

"And yet you've overlooked the crowning proof of it," Villa Kennan
teased.  "The dog carries the evidence around with him."

Harley looked Jerry over carefully.

"Indisputable evidence," she insisted.

After another prolonged scrutiny, Kennan shook his head.

"Blamed if I can see anything so indisputable as to leave conjecture
out."

"The tail," his wife gurgled.  "Surely the natives do not bob the tails
of their dogs.--Do they, Johnny?  Do black man stop along Malaita chop 'm
off tail along dog."

"No chop 'm off," Johnny agreed.  "Mister Haggin along Meringe he chop 'm
off.  My word, he chop 'm that fella tail, you bet."

"Then he's the sole survivor of the _Arangi_," Villa Kennan concluded.
"Don't you agree, Mr. Sherlock Holmes Kennan?"

"I salute you, Mrs. S. Holmes," her husband acknowledged gallantly.  "And
all that remains is for you to lead me directly to the head of La Perouse
himself.  The sailing directions record that he left it somewhere in
these islands."

Little did they guess that Jerry had lived on intimate terms with one
Bashti, not many miles away along the shore, who, in Somo, at that very
moment, sat in his grass house pondering over a head on his withered
knees that had once been the head of the great navigator, the history of
which had been forgotten by the sons of the chief who had taken it.



CHAPTER XXI


The fine, three-topmast schooner _Ariel_, on a cruise around the world,
had already been out a year from San Francisco when Jerry boarded her.  As
a world, and as a white-god world, she was to him beyond compare.  She
was not small like the _Arangi_, nor was she cluttered fore and aft, on
deck and below, with a spawn of niggers.  The only black Jerry found on
her was Johnny; while her spaciousness was filled principally with two-
legged white-gods.

He met them everywhere, at the wheel, on lookout, washing decks,
polishing brass-work, running aloft, or tailing on to sheets and tackles
half a dozen at a time.  But there was a difference.  There were gods and
gods, and Jerry was not long in learning that in the hierarchy of the
heaven of these white-gods on the _Ariel_, the sailorizing, ship-working
ones were far beneath the captain and his two white-and-gold-clad
officers.  These, in turn, were less than Harley Kennan and Villa Kennan;
for them, it came quickly to him, Harley Kennan commanded.  Nevertheless,
there was one thing he did not learn and was destined never to learn,
namely, the supreme god over all on the _Ariel_.  Although he never tried
to know, being unable to think to such a distance, he never came to know
whether it was Harley Kennan who commanded Villa, or Villa Kennan who
commanded Harley.  In a way, without vexing himself with the problem, he
accepted their over-lordship of the world as dual.  Neither out-ranked
the other.  They seemed to rule co-equal, while all others bowed before
them.

It is not true that to feed a dog is to win a dog's heart.  Never did
Harley or Villa feed Jerry; yet it was to them he elected to belong, them
he elected to love and serve rather than to the Japanese steward who
regularly fed him.  For that matter, Jerry, like any dog, was able to
differentiate between the mere direct food-giver and the food source.
That is, subconsciously, he was aware that not alone his own food, but
the food of all on board found its source in the man and woman.  They it
was who fed all and ruled all.  Captain Winters might give orders to the
sailors, but Captain Winters took orders from Harley Kennan.  Jerry knew
this as indubitably as he acted upon it, although all the while it never
entered his head as an item of conscious knowledge.

And, as he had been accustomed, all his life, as with Mister Haggin,
Skipper, and even with Bashti and the chief devil devil doctor of Somo,
he attached himself to the high gods themselves, and from the gods under
them received deference accordingly.  As Skipper, on the _Arangi_, and
Bashti in Somo, had promulgated taboos, so the man and the woman on the
_Ariel_ protected Jerry with taboos.  From Sano, the Japanese steward,
and from him alone, did Jerry receive food.  Not from any sailor in
whaleboat or launch could he accept, or would he be offered, a bit of
biscuit or an invitation to go ashore for a run.  Nor did they offer it.
Nor were they permitted to become intimate, to the extent of romping and
playing with him, nor even of whistling to him along the deck.

By nature a "one-man" dog, all this was very acceptable to Jerry.
Differences of degree there were, of course; but no one more delicately
and definitely knew those differences than did Jerry himself.  Thus, it
was permissible for the two officers to greet him with a "Hello," or a
"Good morning," and even to touch a hand in a brief and friendly pat to
his head.  With Captain Winters, however, greater familiarity obtained.
Captain Winters could rub his ears, shake hands with his, scratch his
back, and even roughly catch him by the jowls.  But Captain Winters
invariably surrendered him up when the one man and the one woman appeared
on deck.

When it came to liberties, delicious, wanton liberties, Jerry alone of
all on board could take them with the man and woman, and, on the other
hand, they were the only two to whom he permitted liberties.  Any
indignity that Villa Kennan chose to inflict upon him he was throbbingly
glad to receive, such as doubling his ears inside out till they stuck, at
the same time making him sit upright, with helpless forefeet paddling the
air for equilibrium, while she blew roguishly in his face and nostrils.
As bad was Harley Kennan's trick of catching him gloriously asleep on an
edge of Villa's skirt and of tickling the hair between his toes and
making him kick involuntarily in his sleep, until he kicked himself awake
to hearing of gurgles and snickers of laughter at his expense.

In turn, at night on deck, wriggling her toes at him under a rug to
simulate some strange and crawling creature of an invader, he would dare
to simulate his own befoolment and quite disrupt Villa's bed with his
frantic ferocious attack on the thing that he knew was only her toes.  In
gales of laughter, intermingled with half-genuine cries of alarm as
almost his teeth caught her toes, she always concluded by gathering him
into her arms and laughing the last of her laughter away into his
flattened ears of joy and love.  Who else, of all on board the _Ariel_,
would have dared such devilishness with the lady-god's bed?  This
question it never entered his mind to ask himself; yet he was fully aware
of how exclusively favoured he was.

Another of his deliberate tricks was one discovered by accident.
Thrusting his muzzle to meet her in love, he chanced to encounter her
face with his soft-hard little nose with such force as to make her recoil
and cry out.  When, another time, in all innocence this happened again,
he became conscious of it and of its effect upon her; and thereafter,
when she grew too wildly wild, too wantonly facetious in her teasing
playful love of him, he would thrust his muzzle at her face and make her
throw her head back to escape him.  After a time, learning that if he
persisted, she would settle the situation by gathering him into her arms
and gurgling into his ears, he made it a point to act his part until such
delectable surrender and joyful culmination were achieved.

Never, by accident, in this deliberate game, did he hurt her chin or
cheek so severely as he hurt his own tender nose, but in the hurt itself
he found more of delight than pain.  All of fun it was, all through, and,
in addition, it was love fun.  Such hurt was more than fun.  Such pain
was heart-pleasure.

All dogs are god-worshippers.  More fortunate than most dogs, Jerry won
to a pair of gods that, no matter how much they commanded, loved more.
Although his nose might threaten grievously to hurt the cheek of his
adored god, rather than have it really hurt he would have spilled out all
the love-tide of his heart that constituted the life of him.  He did not
live for food, for shelter, for a comfortable place between the
darknesses that rounded existence.  He lived for love.  And as surely as
he gladly lived for love, would he have died gladly for love.

Not quickly, in Somo, had Jerry's memory of Skipper and Mister Haggin
faded.  Life in the cannibal village had been too unsatisfying.  There
had been too little love.  Only love can erase the memory of love, or
rather, the hurt of lost love.  And on board the _Ariel_ such erasement
occurred quickly.  Jerry did not forget Skipper and Mister Haggin.  But
at the moments he remembered them the yearning that accompanied the
memory grew less pronounced and painful.  The intervals between the
moments widened, nor did Skipper and Mister Haggin take form and reality
so frequently in his dreams; for, after the manner of dogs, he dreamed
much and vividly.



CHAPTER XXII


Northward, along the leeward coast of Malaita, the _Ariel_ worked her
leisurely way, threading the colour-riotous lagoon that lay between the
shore-reefs and outer-reefs, daring passages so narrow and coral-patched
that Captain Winters averred each day added a thousand grey hairs to his
head, and dropping anchor off every walled inlet of the outer reef and
every mangrove swamp of the mainland that looked promising of cannibal
life.  For Harley and Villa Kennan were in no hurry.  So long as the way
was interesting, they dared not how long it proved from anywhere to
anywhere.

During this time Jerry learned a new name for himself--or, rather, an
entire series of names for himself.  This was because of an aversion on
Harley Kennan's part against renaming a named thing.

"A name he must have had," he argued to Villa.  "Haggin must have named
him before he sailed on the _Arangi_.  Therefore, nameless he must be
until we get back to Tulagi and find out his real name."

"What's in a name?" Villa had begun to tease.

"Everything," her husband retorted.  "Think of yourself, shipwrecked,
called by your rescuers 'Mrs. Riggs,' or 'Mademoiselle de Maupin,' or
just plain 'Topsy.'  And think of me being called 'Benedict Arnold,' or '
Judas,' or . . . or . . . 'Haman.'  No, keep him nameless, until we find
out his original name."

"Must call him something," she objected.  "Can't think of him without
thinking something."

"Then call him many names, but never the same name twice.  Call him 'Dog'
to-day, and 'Mister Dog' to-morrow, and the next day something else."

So it was, more by tone and emphasis and context of situation than by
anything else, that Jerry came hazily to identify himself with names such
as: Dog, Mister Dog, Adventurer, Strong Useful One, Sing Song Silly,
Noname, and Quivering Love-Heart.  These were a few of the many names
lavished on him by Villa.  Harley, in turn, addressed him as: Man-Dog,
Incorruptible One, Brass Tacks, Then Some, Sin of Gold, South Sea Satrap,
Nimrod, Young Nick, and Lion-Slayer.  In brief, the man and woman
competed with each other to name him most without naming him ever the
same.  And Jerry, less by sound and syllable than by what of their hearts
vibrated in their throats, soon learned to know himself by any name they
chose to address to him.  He no longer thought of himself as Jerry, but,
instead, as any sound that sounded nice or was love-sounded.

His great disappointment (if "disappointment" may be considered to
describe an unconsciousness of failure to realize the expected) was in
the matter of language.  No one on board, not even Harley and Villa,
talked Nalasu's talk.  All Jerry's large vocabulary, all his proficiency
in the use of it, which would have set him apart as a marvel beyond all
other dogs in the mastery of speech, was wasted on those of the _Ariel_.
They did not speak, much less guess, the existence of the whiff-whuff
shorthand language which Nalasu had taught him, and which, Nalasu dead,
Jerry alone knew of all living creatures in the world.

In vain Jerry tried it on the lady-god.  Sitting squatted on his
haunches, his head bowed forward and held between her hands, he would
talk and talk and elicit never a responsive word from her.  With tiny
whines and thin whimperings, with whiffs and whuffs and growly sorts of
noises down in his throat, he would try to tell her somewhat of his tale.
She was all meltingness of sympathy; she would hold her ear so near to
the articulate mouth of him as almost to drown him in the flowing
fragrance of her hair; and yet her brain told her nothing of what he
uttered, although her heart surely sensed his intent.

"Bless me, Husband-Man!" she would cry out.  "The Dog is talking.  I know
he is talking.  He is telling me all about himself.  The story of his
life is mine, could I but understand.  It's right here pouring into my
miserable inadequate ears, only I can't catch it."

Harley was sceptical, but her woman's intuition guessed aright.

"I know it!" she would assure her husband.  "I tell you he could tell the
tale of all his adventures if only we had understanding.  No other dog
has ever talked this way to me.  There's a tale there.  I feel its
touches.  Sometimes almost do I know he is telling of joy, of love, of
high elation, and combat.  Again, it is indignation, hurt of outrage,
despair and sadness."

"Naturally," Harley agreed quietly.  "A white man's dog, adrift among the
anthropophagi of Malaita, would experience all such sensations and, just
as naturally, a white man's woman, a Wife-Woman, a dear, delightful Villa
Kennan woman, can of herself imagine such a dog's experiences and deem
his silly noises a recital of them, failing to recognize them as
projections of her own delicious, sensitive, sympathetic self.  The song
of the sea from the lips of the shell--Pshaw!  The song oneself makes of
the sea and puts into the shell."

"Just the same--"

"Always the same," he gallantly cut her off.  "Always right, especially
when most wrong.  Not in navigation, of course, nor in affairs such as
the multiplication table, where the brass tacks of reality stud the way
of one's ship among the rocks and shoals of the sea; but right, truth
beyond truth to truth higher than truth, namely, intuitional truth."

"Now you are laughing at me with your superior man-wisdom," she retorted.
"But I know--" she paused for the strength of words she needed, and words
forsook her, so that her quick sweeping gesture of hand-touch to heart
named authority that overrode all speech.

"We agree--I salute," he laughed gaily.  "It was just precisely what I
was saying.  Our hearts can talk our heads down almost any time, and,
best all, our hearts are always right despite the statistic that they are
mostly wrong."

Harley Kennan did not believe, and never did believe, his wife's report
of the tales Jerry told.  And through all his days to the last one of
them, he considered the whole matter a pleasant fancy, all poesy of
sentiment, on Villa's part.

But Jerry, four-legged, smooth-coated, Irish terrier that he was, had the
gift of tongues.  If he could not teach languages, at least he could
learn languages.  Without effort, and quickly, practically with no
teaching, he began picking up the language of the _Ariel_.  Unfortunately,
it was not a whiff-whuff, dog-possible language such as Nalasu had
invented.  While Jerry came to understand much that was spoken on the
_Ariel_, he could speak none of it.  Three names, at least, he had for
the lady-god: "Villa," "Wife-Woman," "Missis Kennan," for so he heard her
variously called.  But he could not so call her.  This was god-language
entire, which only gods could talk.  It was unlike the language of
Nalasu's devising, which had been a compromise between god-talk and dog-
talk, so that a god and a dog could talk in the common medium.

In the same way he learned many names for the one-man god: "Mister
Kennan," "Harley," "Captain Kennan," and "Skipper."  Only in the intimacy
of the three of them alone did Jerry hear him called: "Husband-Man," "My
Man," "Patient One," "Dear Man," "Lover," and "This Woman's Delight."  But
in no way could Jerry utter these names in address of the one-man nor the
many names in address of the one-woman.  Yet on a quiet night with no
wind among the trees, often and often had he whispered to Nalasu, by
whiff-whuff of name, from a hundred feet away.

One day, bending over him, her hair (drying from a salt-water swim)
flying about him, the one-woman, her two hands holding his head and jowls
so that his ribbon of kissing tongue just missed her nose in the empty
air, sang to him: "'Don't know what to call him, but he's mighty lak' a
rose!'"

On another day she repeated this, at the same time singing most of the
song to him softly in his ear.  In the midst of it Jerry surprised her.
Equally true might be the statement that he surprised himself.  Never,
had he consciously done such a thing before.  And he did it without
volition.  He never intended to do it.  For that matter, the very thing
he did was what mastered him into doing it.  No more than could he
refrain from shaking the water from his back after a swim, or from
kicking in his sleep when his feet were tickled, could he have avoided
doing this imperative thing.

As her voice, in the song, made soft vibrations in his ears, it seemed to
him that she grew dim and vague before him, and that somehow, under the
soft searching prod of her song, he was otherwhere.  So much was he
otherwhere that he did the surprising thing.  He sat down abruptly,
almost cataleptically, drew his head away from the clutch of her hands
and out of the entanglement of her hair, and, his nose thrust upward at
an angle of forty-five degrees, he began to quiver and to breathe audibly
in rhythm to the rhythm of her singing.  With a quick jerk,
cataleptically, his nose pointed to the zenith, his mouth opened, and a
flood of sound poured forth, running swiftly upward in crescendo and
slowly falling as it died away.

This howl was the beginning, and it led to the calling him "Sing Song
Silly."  For Villa Kennan was quick to seize upon the howling her singing
induced and to develop it.  Never did he hang back when she sat down,
extended her welcoming hands to him, and invited: "Come on, Sing Song
Silly."  He would come to her, sit down with the loved fragrance of her
hair in his nostrils, lay the side of his head against hers, point his
nose past her ear, and almost immediately follow her when she began her
low singing.  Minor strains were especially provocative in getting him
started, and, once started, he would sing with her as long as she wished.

Singing it truly was.  Apt in all ways of speech, he quickly learned to
soften and subdue his howl till it was mellow and golden.  Even could he
manage it to die away almost to a whisper, and to rise and fall,
accelerate and retard, in obedience to her own voice and in accord with
it.

Jerry enjoyed the singing much in the same way the opium eater enjoys his
dreams.  For dream he did, vaguely and indistinctly, eyes wide open and
awake, the lady-god's hair in a faint-scented cloud about him, her voice
mourning with his, his consciousness drowning in the dreams of
otherwhereness that came to him of the singing and that was the singing.
Memories of pain were his, but of pain so long forgotten that it was no
longer pain.  Rather did it permeate him with a delicious sadness, and
lift him away and out of the _Ariel_ (lying at anchor in some coral
lagoon) to that unreal place of Otherwhere.

For visions were his at such times.  In the cold bleakness of night, it
would seem he sat on a bare hill and raised his howl to the stars, while
out of the dark, from far away, would drift to him an answering howl.  And
other howls, near and far, would drift along until the night was vocal
with his kind.  His kind it was.  Without knowing it he _knew_ it, this
camaraderie of the land of Otherwhere.

Nalasu, in teaching him the whiff-whuff language, deliberately had gone
into the intelligence of him; but Villa, unwitting of what she was doing,
went into the heart of him, and into the heart of his heredity, touching
the profoundest chords of ancient memories and making them respond.

As instance: dim shapes and shadowy forms would sometimes appear to him
out of the night, and as they flitted spectrally past he would hear, as
in a dream, the hunting cries of the pack; and, as his pulse quickened,
his own hunting instinct would rouse until his controlled soft-howling in
the song broke into eager whinings.  His head would lower out of the
entanglement of the woman's hair; his feet would begin making restless,
spasmodic movements as if running; and Presto, in a flash, he would be
out and away, across the face of time, out of reality and into the dream,
himself running in the midst of those shadowy forms in the hunting
fellowship of the pack.

And as men have ever desired the dust of the poppy and the juice of the
hemp, so Jerry desired the joys that were his when Villa Kennan opened
her arms to him, embraced him with her hair, and sang him across time and
space into the dream of his ancient kind.

Not always, however, were such experiences his when they sang together.
Usually, unaccompanied by visions, he knew no more than vaguenesses of
sensations, sadly sweet, ghosts of memories that they were.  At other
times, incited by such sadness, images of Skipper and Mister Haggin would
throng his mind; images, too, of Terrence, and Biddy, and Michael, and
the rest of the long-vanished life at Meringe Plantation.

"My dear," Harley said to Villa at the conclusion of one such singing,
"it's fortunate for him that you are not an animal trainer, or, rather, I
suppose, it would be better called 'trained animal show-woman'; for you'd
be topping the bill in all the music-halls and vaudeville houses of the
world."

"If I did," she replied, "I know he'd just love to do it with me--"

"Which would make it a very unusual turn," Harley caught her up.

"You mean . . .?"

"That in about one turn in a hundred does the animal love its work or is
the animal loved by its trainer."

"I thought all the cruelty had been done away with long ago," she
contended.

"So the audience thinks, and the audience is ninety-nine times wrong."

Villa heaved a great sigh of renunciation as she said, "Then I suppose I
must abandon such promising and lucrative career right now in the very
moment you have discovered it for me.  Just the same the billboards would
look splendid with my name in the hugest letters--"

"Villa Kennan the Thrush-throated Songstress, and Sing Song Silly the
Irish-Terrier Tenor," her husband pictured the head-lines for her.

And with dancing eyes and lolling tongue Jerry joined in the laughter,
not because he knew what it was about, but because it tokened they were
happy and his love prompted him to be happy with them.

For Jerry had found, and in the uttermost, what his nature craved--the
love of a god.  Recognizing the duality of their lordship over the
_Ariel_, he loved the pair of them; yet, somehow, perhaps because she had
penetrated deepest into his heart with her magic voice that transported
him to the land of Otherwhere, he loved the lady-god beyond all love he
had ever known, not even excluding his love for Skipper.



CHAPTER XXIII


One thing Jerry learned early on the _Ariel_, namely, that nigger-chasing
was not permitted.  Eager to please and serve his new gods, he took
advantage of the first opportunity to worry a canoe-load of blacks who
came visiting on board.  The quick chiding of Villa and the command of
Harley made him pause in amazement.  Fully believing he had been
mistaken, he resumed his ragging of the particular black he had picked
upon.  This time Harley's voice was peremptory, and Jerry came to him,
his wagging tail and wriggling body all eagerness of apology, as was his
rose-strip of tongue that kissed the hand of forgiveness with which
Harley patted him.

Next, Villa called him to her.  Holding him close to her with her hands
on his jowls, eye to eye and nose to nose, she talked to him earnestly
about the sin of nigger-chasing.  She told him that he was no common bush-
dog, but a blooded Irish gentleman, and that no dog that was a gentleman
ever did such things as chase unoffending black men.  To all of which he
listened with unblinking serious eyes, understanding little of what she
said, yet comprehending all.  "Naughty" was a word in the _Ariel_
language he had already learned, and she used it several times.
"Naughty," to him, meant "must not," and was by way of expressing a
taboo.

Since it was their way and their will, who was he, he might well have
asked himself, to disobey their rule or question it?  If niggers were not
to be chased, then chase them he would not, despite the fact that Skipper
had encouraged him to chase them.  Not in such set terms did Jerry
consider the matter; but in his own way he accepted the conclusions.

Love of a god, with him, implied service.  It pleased him to please with
service.  And the foundation-stone of service, in his case, was
obedience.  Yet it strained him sore for a time to refrain from snarl and
snap when the legs of strange and presumptuous blacks passed near him
along the _Ariel's_ white deck.

But there were times and times, as he was to learn, and the time came
when Villa Kennan wanted a bath, a real bath in fresh, rain-descended,
running water, and when Johnny, the black pilot from Tulagi, made a
mistake.  The chart showed a mile of the Suli river where it emptied into
the sea.  Why it showed only a mile was because no white man had ever
explored it farther.  When Villa proposed the bath, her husband advised
with Johnny.  Johnny shook his head.

"No fella boy stop 'm along that place," he said.  "No make 'm trouble
along you.  Bush fella boy stop 'm long way too much."

So it was that the launch went ashore, and, while its crew lolled in the
shade of the beach coconuts, Villa, Harley, and Jerry followed the river
inland a quarter of a mile to the first likely pool.

"One can never be too sure," Harley said, taking his automatic pistol
from its holster and placing it on top his heap of clothes.  "A stray
bunch of blacks might just happen to surprise us."

Villa stepped into the water to her knees, looked up at the dark jungle
roof high overhead through which only occasional shafts of sunlight
penetrated, and shuddered.

"An appropriate setting for a dark deed," she smiled, then scooped a
handful of chill water against her husband, who plunged in in pursuit.

For a time Jerry sat by their clothes and watched the frolic.  Then the
drifting shadow of a huge butterfly attracted his attention, and soon he
was nosing through the jungle on the trail of a wood-rat.  It was not a
very fresh trail.  He knew that well enough; but in the deeps of him were
all his instincts of ancient training--instincts to hunt, to prowl, to
pursue living things, in short, to play the game of getting his own meat
though for ages man had got the meat for him and his kind.

So it was, exercising faculties that were no longer necessary, but that
were still alive in him and clamorous for exercise, he followed the long-
since passed wood-rat with all the soft-footed crouching craft of the
meat-pursuer and with utmost fineness of reading the scent.  The trail
crossed a fresh trail, a trail very fresh, very immediately fresh.  As if
a rope had been attached to it, his head was jerked abruptly to right
angles with his body.  The unmistakable smell of a black was in his
nostrils.  Further, it was a strange black, for he did not identify it
with the many he possessed filed away in the pigeon-holes of his brain.

Forgotten was the stale wood-rat as he followed the new trail.  Curiosity
and play impelled him.  He had no thought of apprehension for Villa and
Harley--not even when he reached the spot where the black, evidently
startled by bearing their voices, had stood and debated, and so left a
very strong scent.  From this point the trail swerved off toward the
pool.  Nervously alert, strung to extreme tension, but without alarm,
still playing at the game of tracking, Jerry followed.

From the pool came occasional cries and laughter, and each time they
reached his ears Jerry experienced glad little thrills.  Had he been
asked, and had he been able to express the sensations of emotion in terms
of thought, he would have said that the sweetest sound in the world was
any sound of Villa Kennan's voice, and that, next sweetest, was any sound
of Harley Kennan's voice.  Their voices thrilled him, always, reminding
him of his love for them and that he was beloved of them.

With the first sight of the strange black, which occurred close to the
pool, Jerry's suspicions were aroused.  He was not conducting himself as
an ordinary black, not on evil intent, should conduct himself.  Instead,
he betrayed all the actions of one who lurked in the perpetration of
harm.  He crouched on the jungle floor, peering around a great root of a
board tree.  Jerry bristled and himself crouched as he watched.

Once, the black raised his rifle half-way to his shoulder; but, with an
outburst of splashing and laughter, his unconscious victims evidently
removed themselves from his field of vision.  His rifle was no
old-fashioned Snider, but a modern, repeating Winchester; and he showed
habituation to firing it from his shoulder rather than from the hip after
the manner of most Malaitans.

Not satisfied with his position by the board tree, he lowered his gun to
his side and crept closer to the pool.  Jerry crouched low and followed.
So low did he crouch that his head, extended horizontally forward, was
much lower than his shoulders which were humped up queerly and composed
the highest part of him.  When the black paused, Jerry paused, as if
instantly frozen.  When the black moved, he moved, but more swiftly,
cutting down the distance between them.  And all the while the hair of
his neck and shoulders bristled in recurrent waves of ferocity and wrath.
No golden dog this, ears flattened and tongue laughing in the arms of the
lady-god, no Sing Song Silly chanting ancient memories in the
cloud-entanglement of her hair; but a four-legged creature of battle, a
fanged killer ripe to rend and destroy.

Jerry intended to attack as soon as he had crept sufficiently near.  He
was unaware of the _Ariel_ taboo against nigger-chasing.  At that moment
it had no place in his consciousness.  All he knew was that harm
threatened the man and woman and that this nigger intended this harm.

So much had Jerry gained on his quarry, that when again the black
squatted for his shot, Jerry deemed he was near enough to rush.  The
rifle was coming to shoulder when he sprang forward.  Swiftly as he
sprang, he made no sound, and his victim's first warning was when Jerry's
body, launched like a projectile, smote the black squarely between the
shoulders.  At the same moment his teeth entered the back of the neck,
but too near the base in the lumpy shoulder muscles to permit the fangs
to penetrate to the spinal cord.

In the first fright of surprise, the black's finger pulled the trigger
and his throat loosed an unearthly yell.  Knocked forward on his face, he
rolled over and grappled with Jerry, who slashed cheek-bone and cheek and
ribboned an ear; for it is the way of an Irish terrier to bite repeatedly
and quickly rather than to hold a bulldog grip.

When Harley Kennan, automatic in hand and naked as Adam, reached the
spot, he found dog and man locked together and tearing up the forest
mould in their struggle.  The black, his face streaming blood, was
throttling Jerry with both hands around his neck; and Jerry, snorting,
choking, snarling, was scratching for dear life with the claws of his
hind feet.  No puppy claws were they, but the stout claws of a mature dog
that were stiffened by a backing of hard muscles.  And they ripped naked
chest and abdomen full length again and again until the whole front of
the man was streaming red.  Harley Kennan did not dare chance a shot, so
closely were the combatants locked.  Instead, stepping in close; he
smashed down the butt of his automatic upon the side of the man's head.
Released by the relaxing of the stunned black's hands, Jerry flung
himself in a flash upon the exposed throat, and only Harley's hand on his
neck and Harley's sharp command made him cease and stand clear.  He
trembled with rage and continued to snarl ferociously, although he would
desist long enough to glance up with his eyes, flatten his ears, and wag
his tail each time Harley uttered "Good boy."

"Good boy" he knew for praise; and he knew beyond any doubt, by Harley's
repetition of it, that he had served him and served him well.

"Do you know the beggar intended to bush-whack us," Harley told Villa,
who, half-dressed and still dressing, had joined him.  "It wasn't fifty
feet and he couldn't have missed.  Look at the Winchester.  No old smooth
bore.  And a fellow with a gun like that would know how to use it."

"But why didn't he?" she queried.

Her husband pointed to Jerry.

Villa's eyes brightened with quick comprehension.  "You mean . . . ?" she
began.

He nodded.  "Just that.  Sing Song Silly beat him to it."  He bent,
rolled the man over, and discovered the lacerated back of the neck.
"That's where he landed on him first, and he must have had his finger on
the trigger, drawing down on you and me, most likely me first, when Sing
Song Silly broke up his calculations."

Villa was only half hearing, for she had Jerry in her arms and was
calling him "Blessed Dog," the while she stilled his snarling and soothed
down the last bristling hair.

But Jerry snarled again and was for leaping upon the black when he
stirred restlessly and dizzily sat up.  Harley removed a knife from
between the bare skin and a belt.

"What name belong you?" he demanded.

But the black had eyes only for Jerry, staring at him in wondering amaze
until he pieced the situation together in his growing clarity of brain
and realized that such a small chunky animal had spoiled his game.

"My word," he grinned to Harley, "that fella dog put 'm crimp along me
any amount."

He felt out the wounds of his neck and face, while his eyes embraced the
fact that the white master was in possession of his rifle.

"You give 'm musket belong me," he said impudently.

"I give 'm you bang alongside head," was Harley's answer.

"He doesn't seem to me to be a regular Malaitan," he told Villa.  "In the
first place, where would he get a rifle like that?  Then think of his
nerve.  He must have seen us drop anchor, and he must have known our
launch was on the beach.  Yet he played to take our heads and get away
with them back into the bush--"

"What name belong you?" he again demanded.

But not until Johnny and the launch crew arrived breathless from their
run, did he learn.  Johnny's eyes gloated when he beheld the prisoner,
and he addressed Kennan in evident excitement.

"You give 'm me that fella boy," he begged.  "Eh?  You give 'm me that
fella boy."

"What name you want 'm?"

Not for some time would Johnny answer this question, and then only when
Kennan told him that there was no harm done and that he intended to let
the black go.  At this Johnny protested vehemently.

"Maybe you fetch 'm that fella boy along Government House, Tulagi,
Government House give 'm you twenty pounds.  Him plenty bad fella boy too
much.  Makawao he name stop along him.  Bad fella boy too much.  Him
Queensland boy--"

"What name Queensland?" Kennan interrupted.  "He belong that fella
place?"

Johnny shook his head.

"Him belong along Malaita first time.  Long time before too much he
recruit 'm along schooner go work along Queensland."

"He's a return Queenslander," Harley interpreted to Villa.  "You know,
when Australia went 'all white,' the Queensland plantations had to send
all the black birds back.  This Makawao is evidently one of them, and a
hard case as well, if there's anything in Johnny's gammon about twenty
pounds reward for him.  That's a big price for a black."

Johnny continued his explanation which, reduced to flat and sober
English, was to the effect that Makawao had always borne a bad character.
In Queensland he had served a total of four years in jail for thefts,
robberies, and attempted murder.  Returned to the Solomons by the
Australian government, he had recruited on Buli Plantation for the
purpose--as was afterwards proved--of getting arms and ammunition.  For
an attempt to kill the manager he had received fifty lashes at Tulagi and
served a year.  Returned to Buli Plantation to finish his labour service,
he had contrived to kill the owner in the manager's absence and to escape
in a whaleboat.

In the whaleboat with him he had taken all the weapons and ammunition of
the plantation, the owner's head, ten Malaita recruits, and two recruits
from San Cristobal--the two last because they were salt-water men and
could handle the whaleboat.  Himself and the ten Malaitans, being
bushmen, were too ignorant of the sea to dare the long passage from
Guadalcanar.

On the way, he had raided the little islet of Ugi, sacked the store, and
taken the head of the solitary trader, a gentle-souled half-caste from
Norfolk Island who traced back directly to a Pitcairn ancestry straight
from the loins of McCoy of the Bounty.  Arrived safely at Malaita, he and
his fellows, no longer having any use for the two San Cristobal boys, had
taken their heads and eaten their bodies.

"My word, him bad fella boy any amount," Johnny finished his tale.
"Government House, Tulagi, damn glad give 'm twenty pounds along that
fella."

"You blessed Sing Song Silly," Villa, murmured in Jerry's ears.  "If it
hadn't been for you--"

"Your head and mine would even now be galumping through the bush as
Makawao hit the high places for home," Harley concluded for her.  "My
word, some fella dog that, any amount," he added lightly.  "And I gave
him merry Ned just the other day for nigger-chasing, and he knew his
business better than I did all the time."

"If anybody tries to claim him--" Villa threatened.

Harley confirmed her muttered sentiment with a nod.

"Any way," he said, with a smile, "there would have been one consolation
if your head had gone up into the bush."

"Consolation!" she cried, throaty with indignation.

"Why, yes; because in that case my head would have gone along."

"You dear and blessed Husband-Man," she murmured, a quick cloudiness of
moisture in her eyes, as with her eyes she embraced him, her arms still
around Jerry, who, sensing the ecstasy of the moment, kissed her fragrant
cheek with his ribbon-tongue of love.



CHAPTER XXIV


When the _Ariel_ cleared from Malu, on the north-west coast of Malaita,
Malaita sank down beneath the sea-rim astern and, so far as Jerry's life
was concerned, remained sunk for ever--another vanished world, that, in
his consciousness, partook of the ultimate nothingness that had befallen
Skipper.  For all Jerry might have known, though he pondered it not,
Malaita was a universe, beheaded and resting on the knees of some
brooding lesser god, himself vastly mightier than Bashti whose knees bore
the brooding weight of Skipper's sun-dried, smoke-cured head, this lesser
god vexed and questing, feeling and guessing at the dual twin-mysteries
of time and space and of motion and matter, above, beneath, around, and
beyond him.

Only, in Jerry's case, there was no pondering of the problem, no
awareness of the existence of such mysteries.  He merely accepted Malaita
as another world that had ceased to be.  He remembered it as he
remembered dreams.  Himself a live thing, solid and substantial,
possessed of weight and dimension, a reality incontrovertible, he moved
through the space and place of being, concrete, hard, quick, convincing,
an absoluteness of something surrounded by the shades and shadows of the
fluxing phantasmagoria of nothing.

He took his worlds one by one.  One by one his worlds evaporated, rose
beyond his vision as vapours in the hot alembic of the sun, sank for ever
beneath sea-levels, themselves unreal and passing as the phantoms of a
dream.  The totality of the minute, simple world of the humans,
microscopic and negligible as it was in the siderial universe, was as far
beyond his guessing as is the siderial universe beyond the starriest
guesses and most abysmal imaginings of man.

Jerry was never to see the dark island of savagery again, although often
in his sleeping dreams it was to return to him in vivid illusion, as he
relived his days upon it, from the destruction of the _Arangi_ and the
man-eating orgy on the beach to his flight from the shell-scattered house
and flesh of Nalasu.  These dream episodes constituted for him another
land of Otherwhere, mysterious, unreal, and evanescent as clouds drifting
across the sky or bubbles taking iridescent form and bursting on the
surface of the sea.  Froth and foam it was, quick-vanishing as he awoke,
non-existent as Skipper, Skipper's head on the withered knees of Bashti
in the lofty grass house.  Malaita the real, Malaita the concrete and
ponderable, vanished and vanished for ever, as Meringe had vanished, as
Skipper had vanished, into the nothingness.

From Malaita the _Ariel_ steered west of north to Ongtong Java and to
Tasman--great atolls that sweltered under the Line not quite awash in the
vast waste of the West South Pacific.  After Tasman was another wide sea-
stretch to the high island of Bougainville.  Thence, bearing generally
south-east and making slow progress in the dead beat to windward, the
_Ariel_ dropped anchor in nearly every harbour of the Solomons, from
Choiseul and Ronongo islands, to the islands of Kulambangra, Vangunu,
Pavuvu, and New Georgia.  Even did she ride to anchor, desolately lonely,
in the Bay of a Thousand Ships.

Last of all, so far as concerned the Solomons, her anchor rumbled down
and bit into the coral-sanded bottom of the harbour of Tulagi, where,
ashore on Florida Island, lived and ruled the Resident Commissioner.

To the Commissioner, Harley Kennan duly turned over Makawao, who was
committed to a grass-house jail, well guarded, to sit in leg-irons
against the time of trial for his many crimes.  And Johnny, the pilot,
ere he returned to the service of the Commissioner, received a fair
portion of the twenty pounds of head money that Kennan divided among the
members of the launch crew who had raced through the jungle to the rescue
the day Jerry had taken Makawao by the back of the neck and startled him
into pulling the trigger of his unaimed rifle.

"I'll tell you his name," the Commissioner said, as they sat on the wide
veranda of his bungalow.  "It's one of Haggin's terriers--Haggin of
Meringe Lagoon.  The dog's father is Terrence, the mother is Biddy.  The
dog's own name is Jerry, for I was present at the christening before ever
his eyes were open.  Better yet, I'll show you his brother.  His
brother's name is Michael.  He's nigger-chaser on the _Eugenie_, the two-
topmast schooner that rides abreast of you.  Captain Kellar is the
skipper.  I'll have him bring Michael ashore.  Beyond all doubt, this
Jerry is the sole survivor of the _Arangi_."

"When I get the time, and a sufficient margin of funds, I shall pay a
visit to Chief Bashti--oh, no British cruiser program.  I'll charter a
couple of trading ketches, take my own black police force and as many
white men as I cannot prevent from volunteering.  There won't be any
shelling of grass houses.  I'll land my shore party down the coast and
cut in and come down upon Somo from the rear, timing my vessels to arrive
on Somo's sea-front at the same time."

"You will answer slaughter with slaughter?" Villa Kennan objected.

"I will answer slaughter with law," the Commissioner replied.  "I will
teach Somo law.  I hope that no accidents will occur.  I hope that no
life will be lost on either side.  I know, however, that I shall recover
Captain Van Horn's head, and his mate Borckman's, and bring them back to
Tulagi for Christian burial.  I know that I shall get old Bashti by the
scruff of the neck and sit him down while I pump law and square-dealing
into him.  Of course . . . "

The Commissioner, ascetic-looking, an Oxford graduate, narrow-shouldered
and elderly, tired-eyed and bespectacled like the scholar he was, like
the scientist he was, shrugged his shoulders.  "Of course, if they are
not amenable to reason, there may be trouble, and some of them and some
of us will get hurt.  But, one way or the other, the conclusion will be
the same.  Old Bashti will learn that it is expedient to maintain white
men's heads on their shoulders."

"But how will he learn?" Villa Kennan asked.  "If he is shrewd enough not
to fight you, and merely sits and listens to your English law, it will be
no more than a huge joke to him.  He will no more than pay the price of
listening to a lecture for any atrocity he commits."

"On the contrary, my dear Mrs. Kennan.  If he listens peaceably to the
lecture, I shall fine him only a hundred thousand coconuts, five tons of
ivory nut, one hundred fathoms of shell money, and twenty fat pigs.  If
he refuses to listen to the lecture and goes on the war path, then,
unpleasantly for me, I assure you, I shall be compelled to thrash him and
his village, first: and, next, I shall triple the fine he must pay and
lecture the law into him a trifle more compendiously."

"Suppose he doesn't fight, stops his ears to the lecture, and declines to
pay?" Villa Kennan persisted.

"Then he shall be my guest, here in Tulagi, until he changes his mind and
heart, and does pay, and listens to an entire course of lectures."

* * * * *

So it was that Jerry came to hear his old-time name on the lips of Villa
and Harley, and saw once again his full-brother Michael.

"Say nothing," Harley muttered to Villa, as they made out, peering over
the bow of the shore-coming whaleboat, the rough coat, red-wheaten in
colour, of Michael.  "We won't know anything about anything, and we won't
even let on we're watching what they do."

Jerry, feigning interest in digging a hole in the sand as if he were on a
fresh scent, was unaware of Michael's nearness.  In fact, so well had
Jerry feigned that he had forgotten it was all a game, and his interest
was very real as he sniffed and snorted joyously in the bottom of the
hole he had dug.  So deep was it, that all he showed of himself was his
hind-legs, his rump, and an intelligent and stiffly erect stump of a
tail.

Little wonder that he and Michael failed to see each other.  And Michael,
spilling over with unused vitality from the cramped space of the
_Eugenie's_ deck, scampered down the beach in a hurly-burly of joy,
scenting a thousand intimate land-scents as he ran, and describing a
jerky and eccentric course as he made short dashes and good-natured snaps
at the coconut crabs that scuttled across his path to the safety of the
water or reared up and menaced him with formidable claws and a
spluttering and foaming of the shell-lids of their mouths.

The beach was only so long.  The end of it reached where rose the rugged
wall of a headland, and while the Commissioner introduced Captain Kellar
to Mr. and Mrs. Kennan, Michael came tearing back across the wet-hard
sand.  So interested was he in everything that he failed to notice the
small rear-end portion of Jerry that was visible above the level surface
of the beach.  Jerry's ears had given him warning, and, the precise
instant that he backed hurriedly up and out of the hole, Michael collided
with him.  As Jerry was rolled, and as Michael fell clear over him, both
erupted into ferocious snarls and growls.  They regained their legs,
bristled and showed teeth at each other, and stalked stiff-leggedly, in a
stately and dignified sort of way, as they drew intimidating semi-circles
about each other.

But they were fooling all the while, and were more than a trifle
embarrassed.  For in each of their brains were bright identification
pictures of the plantation house and compound and beach of Meringe.  They
knew, but they were reticent of recognition.  No longer puppies, vaguely
proud of the sedateness of maturity, they strove to be proud and sedate
while all their impulse was to rush together in a frantic ecstasy.

Michael it was, less travelled in the world than Jerry, by nature not so
self-controlled, who threw the play-acting of dignity to the wind, and,
with shrill whinings of emotion, with body-wrigglings of delight, flashed
out his tongue of love and shouldered his brother roughly in eagerness to
get near to him.

Jerry responded as eagerly with kiss of tongue and contact of shoulder;
then both, springing apart, looked at each other, alert and querying,
almost in half challenge, Jerry's ears pricked into living
interrogations, Michael's one good ear similarly questioning, his
withered ear retaining its permanent queer and crinkly cock in the tip of
it.  As one, they sprang away in a wild scurry down the beach, side by
side, laughing to each other and occasionally striking their shoulders
together as they ran.

"No doubt of it," said the Commissioner.  "The very way their father and
mother run.  I have watched them often."

* * * * *

But, after ten days of comradeship, came the parting.  It was Michael's
first visit on the _Ariel_, and he and Jerry had spent a frolicking half-
hour on her white deck amid the sound and commotion of hoisting in boats,
making sail, and heaving out anchor.  As the _Ariel_ began to move
through the water and heeled to the filling of her canvas by the brisk
trade-wind, the Commissioner and Captain Kellar shook last farewells and
scrambled down the gang-plank to their waiting whaleboats.  At the last
moment Captain Kellar had caught Michael up, tucked him under an arm, and
with him dropped into the, sternsheets of his whaleboat.

Painters were cast off, and in the sternsheets of each boat solitary
white men were standing up, heads bared in graciousness of conduct to the
furnace-stab of the tropic sun, as they waved additional and final
farewells.  And Michael, swept by the contagion of excitement, barked and
barked again, as if it were a festival of the gods being celebrated.

"Say good-bye to your brother, Jerry," Villa Kennan prompted in Jerry's
ear, as she held him, his quivering flanks between her two palms, on the
rail where she had lifted him.

And Jerry, not understanding her speech, torn about with conflicting
desires, acknowledged her speech with wriggling body, a quick back-toss
of head, and a red flash of kissing tongue, and, the next moment, his
head over the rail and lowered to see the swiftly diminishing Michael,
was mouthing grief and woe very much akin to the grief and woe his
mother, Biddy, had mouthed in the long ago, on the beach of Meringe, when
he had sailed away with Skipper.

For Jerry had learned partings, and beyond all peradventure this was a
parting, though little he dreamed that he would again meet Michael across
the years and across the world, in a fabled valley of far California,
where they would live out their days in the hearts and arms of the
beloved gods.

Michael, his forefeet on the gunwale, barked to him in a puzzled,
questioning sort of way, and Jerry whimpered back incommunicable
understanding.  The lady-god pressed his two flanks together
reassuringly, and he turned to her, his cool nose touched questioningly
to her cheek.  She gathered his body close against her breast in one
encircling arm, her free hand resting on the rail, half-closed, a pink-
and-white heart of flower, fragrant and seducing.  Jerry's nose quested
the way of it.  The aperture invited.  With snuggling, budging, and
nudging-movements he spread the fingers slightly wider as his nose
penetrated into the sheer delight and loveliness of her hand.

He came to rest, his golden muzzle soft-enfolded to the eyes, and was
very still, all forgetful of the _Ariel_ showing her copper to the sun
under the press of the wind, all forgetful of Michael growing small in
the distance as the whaleboat grew small astern.  No less still was
Villa.  Both were playing the game, although to her it was new.

As long as he could possibly contain himself, Jerry maintained his
stiffness.  And then, his love bursting beyond the control of him, he
gave a sniff--as prodigious a one as he had sniffed into the tunnel of
Skipper's hand in the long ago on the deck of the _Arangi_.  And, as
Skipper had relaxed into the laughter of love, so did the lady-god now.
She gurgled gleefully.  Her fingers tightened, in a caress that almost
hurt, on Jerry's muzzle.  Her other hand and arm crushed him against her
till he gasped.  Yet all the while his stump of tail valiantly bobbed
back and forth, and, when released from such blissful contact, his silky
ears flattened back and down as, with first a scarlet slash of tongue to
cheek, he seized her hand between his teeth and dented the soft skin with
a love bite that did not hurt.

And so, for Jerry, vanished Tulagi, its Commissioner's bungalow on top of
the hill, its vessels riding to anchor in the harbour, and Michael, his
full blood-brother.  He had grown accustomed to such vanishments.  In
such way had vanished as in the mirage of a dream, Meringe, Somo, and the
_Arangi_.  In such way had vanished all the worlds and harbours and
roadsteads and atoll lagoons where the _Ariel_ had lifted her laid anchor
and gone on across and over the erasing sea-rim.





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