Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Officer And Man - 1901
Author: Becke, Louis
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Officer And Man - 1901" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



OFFICER AND MAN

From “The Tapu Of Banderah and Other Stories”

By Louis Becke

C. Arthur Pearson Ltd.

1901

The anchor of her Majesty’s ship _Hannibal_ was underfoot and the
captain on the bridge, and Rear-Admiral Garnet had shaken hands with
the last of the “leading” Fijian white residents, who always did the
welcoming and farewelling when distinguished persons visited Levuka,
when Lieutenant Bollard approached him and intimated that “a person”
 from the shore had just come alongside in a boat and desired to see “his
Excellency on private and important business.”

“What the devil does the fellow want?” said the Admiral irascibly, not
a whit softened by the “his Excellency” style of address; “I’m going on
the bridge, and can’t see any one now; we can’t delay the ship and get
into a mess going through the passage.”

“Told him so, sir; but he says he wants to see you upon an important--a
most pressing matter.”

“Oh, well! Confound him! Let the sentry show him to my cabin, and tell
Captain Bracely I shall be up in five minutes.”

The “person,” conducted by the sentry, was shown into the cabin, where
the Admiral, without taking a seat or offering one to his visitor,
inquired with a cold, cautious politeness born of much experience of
island visitors with “important and private Service matters of great
urgency,” what he might be pleased to want?

The stranger was a short, fat, coarse-looking man with little pig-like
eyes and scanty tufts of black beard and whiskers growing in irregular
patches on his cheeks and chin, like clumps of gorse on clayey banks.
He was dressed--in a manner--in an ill-fitting black cloth suit imported
from Sydney. His hair was very black and shiny, plastered down over
his temples and beautifully parted at the back of his bullet head.
Altogether he was an unpleasantly sleek, oleaginous creature, and as
he stood bowing and smirking with a catlike grin, the Admiral felt
an almost irresistible impulse to kick him out of the cabin.
Notwithstanding his haste, however, he began to recollect the man as an
individual who had been introduced to him a few days previously at some
municipal function.

“Can’t recollect the fellow’s name,” he muttered to himself. “I wonder
what the devil the creature wants! Got a complaint against the Consul
very likely--every one has a complaint against a Consul--it’s a disease
in the South Seas. Confound their twopenny-halfpenny squabbles!” Then
the little fat man, with another servile grin, spoke.

“I wish, your Excellency, to see you upon a matter which I think, as
a loyal subject, it is my duty--my painful duty--to bring under your
notice.”

“Thought as much,” said the Admiral to himself. “Some row about a
trader insulting a native teacher, or _vice-versa_.” Then smothering an
exclamation of impatience, he said--

“What is it, sir? I have no time to lose. By the way, who are you, sir?”

“My name, your Excellency, is Obadiah Howl-man. I had the distinguished
honour, your Excellency, of showing your Excellency over the grounds of
the new Mission College. I was the contractor for the erection of that
ornament to our little town.” And again the oily creature smirked and
bowed and did the invisible soap business.

“Surely _you_ are not a missionary, sir?” asked the Admiral, with
undisguised contempt.

“I am not, your Excellency. That is, I am not yet an ordained labourer
in the Vineyard, your Excellency; but I hope soon to be one. Meanwhile,
all the time that is left to me from my business (I am a storekeeper and
contractor) is given to the cause of spreading the Light I was once a
lost soul, your----”

“I see, I see,” interrupted the Admiral, with ill-disguised disgust
and open impatience, “but do, for Heaven’s sake, tell me what is your
complaint. I am due in Sydney on the tenth of this month, and the ship
is already under way. As it is, we shall have to stop outside the reef
to let you get into your boat.”

“I am aware of it, your Excellency, and I should not have ventured to
detain you, but this is a very serious matter--I may say, a criminal
matter. When I had the honour of meeting your Excellency, on the
occasion of your Excellency’s visit to the College, I would have spoken
of this matter then; but my poor, weak nature was so torn by conflicting
emotions that I _could_ not And for the past two nights have I struggled
and wrestled in spirit, and sought Divine guidance. ‘Tis indeed hard for
one man to reveal the sins and wickedness of a fellow-sinner--knowing
that we are all but weak vessels. But yet in this case it is my bounden
duty as a loyal----”

“Go on--go on, for Heaven’s sake! What on earth is the matter? And what
the deuce do you want?”

“Your Excellency, I wish, in all sorrow and tribulation of spirit,
to give you information as to the whereabouts of a deserter from her
Majesty’s Navy.”

“What do you mean, sir? None of my men are missing, and if any were, I’d
tell the Fijian police about it, and not delay the _Hannibal_,” and with
a curt nod the Admiral turned on his heel and was about to leave the
cabin, when the man stepped forward and interrupted him, saying--

“One word more, your Excellency. There is in connection with this
case----”

“The reward. Yes, of course. I forgot all about that. If there is a
deserter from any of her Majesty’s ships living ashore here, you will
get the usual reward, I have no doubt. But really, sir, this is a matter
that you must arrange with the police when the next man-of-war comes
here, or go to the Consul”--and then, _sotto voce_--“or the devil,
confound you!” and the Admiral more than ever felt inclined to kick his
visitor out.

“You quite mistake me, Admiral Garnet I have no wish to claim an earthly
reward for doing my duty to my Queen and country. Since I have lived in
these islands the Lord has prospered me in my worldly affairs, and I am
in a position far above taking payment in money for doing my duty. I am,
I trust, walking in the Light, and do not want to obtain wealth--which
is but of this world--for performing such duty.”

“Well, well, I am sure I beg your pardon, Mr. Howlman. But now I really
cannot talk any longer here, so please do not keep me. At the same time
if there is a deserter here I don’t see what business it is of yours to
interest yourself in his capture. Don’t you think you have enough to do
to look after your store, and contracting, and your _alleged_ missionary
business, without running after deserters?” And inwardly the Admiral
cursed his visitor for a meddlesome ass. He was in a hurry to get to
sea, and yet this fellow might make it necessary for the ship to be
delayed till the deserter was apprehended.

“My humble connection with missionaries, Admiral, has taught me that, at
whatever cost to my own feelings, my duty as a loyal subject must, next
to my duty as a Christian, be performed honestly.”

“Oh, yes, yes. That’s all right, I meant no disrespect to the
missionaries. Many of the _gentlemen_ engaged in missionary work in
these islands have rendered very valuable services to her Majesty’s
ships on many occasions,” and then to himself, “and given us a devil of
a lot of trouble as well.”

“Now, sir,” the Admiral resumed, “having explained that the Consul
or police will attend to this deserter, you will allow me to say
‘Good-day.’”

“One moment more, sir,” and a spiteful green lit up the little piggish
eyes. “I desire, as a British subject, to speak to you privately on
this matter, and to you alone. There are reasons--very particular
reasons--why her Majesty’s Consul or the Fiji police here cannot deal
with this case.”

“Oh, well,” sighed the Admiral resignedly; “sit down, Mr. Howlman. I see
I am in for it, and so I’ll send for my secretary and----”

“Cannot this matter be arranged without a third party?”

“No, sir; it CANNOT!”

The Admiral said this with so much emphasis, and rang the bell with so
much force at the same moment, that the sentry almost jumped into the
cabin to see what was the matter.

“Pass the word for Mr. Hayling to come to my cabin, and to the captain
that I shall not be with him for ten minutes yet. Ten minutes will do
your business, Mr. Howlman, eh?”

“Certainly, your Excellency,” and an evil smile crossed the man’s
repulsive features.

The marine saluted, the secretary appeared, and the Admiral, nodding
towards Mr. Howlman in anything but a friendly manner, growled: “My
secretary, Mr. Hayling. This is Mr. Howlman, Mr. Hayling; he has a
communication to make about a deserter. Now, sir, proceed.”

“This,” said the man, producing a photograph and laying it on the table,
“is a portrait of a person named George Barcom, who, I have every reason
to believe, was a sergeant of marines on the _Flycatcher_ when she was
on this station five years ago.”

“Take charge of that photograph, Mr. Hayling. Go ahead, Mr. Howlman.”

“This man, after deserting from the _Flycatcher_ at a place in this
group called Yasawa, managed to make his way to the island of
Niuafou, where at that time I was in temporary charge of the Christian
Cultivation Association’s trading station. He came to the island in
an open boat from the Yasawa Group, and was not suspected until quite
recently.”

“Deuced long time finding him out. But proceed, sir.”

“Guilty as the man was of the crime of desertion, I must yet, perforce,
say that he behaved himself very well. He was kindly received by the
King Tepuaka (a very earnest seeker after the Light), and all went well
for the space of four years.”

“Well, what happened then? Five minutes left,” and the Admiral looked at
his watch.

“My story will soon be told, your Excellency. The man, who calls
himself George Barcom, gained the affections of Tuilagi,{*} the youngest
daughter of the King. She, although not a seeker after the truth, was
yet beginning to display some interest in the teachings of Christianity,
and was an exceedingly comely young woman.” Here Mr. Howlman clasped
his fat hands together and cast up his eyes. “But her father, at my
suggestion, objected to their union. One night Barcom and the poor,
misguided girl were missing. They had fled in an open boat to another
island called Anuda--one of those dark places of the earth where the
good seed has not yet been sown.”

     * Tuilagi--“Queen of the Sky”; a name common in Polynesia.

“And what was the nature and reason of your objection to their
marriage?” said the Admiral quietly.

“I had every reason by this time to believe that the man was a deserter,
and in my capacity as a preacher of the Gospel--though not ordained as
such--I----”

“Confine yourself to the subject, if you please,” interrupted the
Admiral, with a mingled look of impatience and disgust. “You are not
a missionary, you tell me, and I’m hanged if I’m going to listen to a
sermon in my own cabin just now. Yet I have already given you as much
of my time as if you were one. But don’t trespass on my good nature too
much.”

“I thought it my duty to interfere and prevent such a wicked and
improper marriage. And, your Excellency, this carrying away the young
woman against her father’s wishes was very detrimental to the progress
of the Mission work. As I have said, she was beginning to evince a
certain concern for her soul----”

“Confound it, man! why will you so persistently harp upon irrevelant
matters that do not, as far as I can see, possibly concern what you
really want to tell me? Have you a brief to speak for the missionaries?
I am acquainted with the principal _gentlemen_ (again he emphasised the
word) who conduct mission work in the South Seas, but I’ll be hanged if
I ever heard your name before--not even as a house-builder, or whatever
your vocation is.” And then, with a quick glance at the cunning
visage of Howlman, he added, “I suppose you knew this young woman very
well--perhaps were a particular friend of hers?”

Mr. Obadiah Howlman coughed. “Hm--er. Well, your Excellency, my dear
wife, who has now departed to her rest--an indeed well-earned rest--when
alive, took much interest in this young girl, and, before she was called
away, besought me to cherish and protect her. And, as time went on,
there _was_ formed, I may say, an attachment between this young creature
and myself--that is, of course, such an attachment as could exist
between a young woman of this kind, yearning for instruction, and her
spiritual adviser and guide.”

“Yes, yes; I quite understand, Mr. Howlman. Mr. Hayling has notes of
your statement, and the photograph. Now, if you will kindly keep your
own counsel on the matter, you will hear in due course that we have
arrested this man, and then, I think, you will be satisfied.”

Then turning to his secretary, the Admiral said, “The _Spitfire_ is due
at Levuka about the 8th. Write a letter to Commander Arness, and tell
him to call at Anuda and arrest a deserter from the marines, calling
himself George Barcom, and who can be identified by this photograph. He
is the only white man on the island, so this Mr. Howlman says, and
there should be no difficulty in finding him. That will satisfy you, I
presume, Mr. Howlman?”

“Quite, sir, I assure you. I have done my duty and----”

“Good-day, sir. You will just have time to get into your boat and get
ashore while we are in smooth water, and before we start the engines.”

The Admiral did not seem to notice the little fat man’s outstretched
hand. The secretary bowed him out of the cabin, holding the photograph
in one hand and his notebook in the other. Neither of them liked his
look well enough to shake hands with him.

The Admiral, however, did not give the order to start the engines
immediately, for the sentry, in accordance with orders received from
the secretary, waited till Mr. Obadiah Howlman was at the foot of the
accommodation-ladder, and then called out, “Hold on that boat a minute
or two; the Admiral wants to send a letter ashore.”

For twenty minutes Mr. Howlman waited impatiently in the boat, and
then a big, official-looking letter was handed down the ladder to the
boatman, addressed: “O.H.M.S.--Commander Arness, H.M.S. _Spitfire_ care
of H.B.M. Consul, Levuka, Fiji.”

Mr. Howlman smiled to himself with the satisfied air of a man who
has done his duty. He knew the contents of the letter, and recognised
through its envelope the hard cardboard of the photograph of George
Barcom enclosed therein. There was also a smaller note, addressed to
Commander Arness by name, and marked, “Private letter.”

Five minutes later the _Hannibal_ steamed through the passage, and
shaped a course for Sydney.

*****

The _Spitfire_ was steaming full speed E.S.E. from Levuka. On the bridge
was Commander Arness talking to the navigating lieutenant, a young and
almost effeminate-looking officer.

The land had just been sighted, and lay right ahead.

“Will there be daylight enough left for us to get there and have this
wretched thing over, Carteret?” asked Commander Arness.

“Plenty, sir, if this weather keeps up and you don’t want to stay there
more than a couple of hours.”

“No. Two hours should be ample time. This letter from Hayling explains
the whole business,” and he handed, the lieutenant the despatch from
the Admiral’s secretary, which duly set forth that the _Spitfire_ was to
take on board a certain white trader living on Anuda--otherwise, Cherry
Island--and bring him prisoner to Sydney. His wife was to be returned
to her father at Niuafou. The last paragraph in the letter was to this
effect--

“Be careful to identify beyond doubt this alleged deserter. The
Rear-Admiral has received this information at the instant of sailing,
and he is by no means certain that the statements of his informant
can be depended upon. A photograph of the reputed deserter is enclosed
herewith. The Admiral thinks that Mr. Carteret may know the man, as he
was serving in the _Flycatcher_ five years ago.”

“This rascal Howlman has informed upon the poor devil for spite,” said
the Commander; “here’s a private note from Hayling to myself about the
fellow.”

The lieutenant took the note and read--

     “My dear Arness,--Just a line on my own account. Be careful
     what you are doing in this business. The fellow who informed
     is a sort of hanger-on to the missionaries here. They don’t
     think much of him, but seem to put up with the swab as a
     necessary evil. He confessed that jealousy had something to
     do with the matter, and I could see the Admiral wanted to
     kick him out of the cabin. Make sure that this man Barcom
     _is_ a deserter, or there will be the devil to pay if he
     should prove to be an American citizen, or anything of that
     kind.--Yours, CHARLES Hayling.”

“You see why they have left the matter to us, Carteret. You were on the
_Flycatcher_ five years ago, and the Admiral thinks you may be able to
identify this fellow. Of course Barcom is not his name.”

Mr. Carteret at this moment was very busy with the chart, over which he
bent his head a moment, and then turned sharply to the man at the wheel,
who was not out of earshot.

“Keep your course,” he said sharply; “why don’t you attend to your
steering!” Then he turned to the commander: “I beg your pardon, sir; you
were saying?----”

“I was saying that you ought to remember such an incident as a sergeant
of marines deserting from the _Flycatcher_ when she was down here five
years ago.”

“I do remember it. The man’s name was Charles Parker.”

“Is that the man?” And Arness handed him a photograph of a man dressed
in white ducks and a straw hat, evidently taken by an amateur.

Carteret looked at the photograph for fully a couple of minutes before
he answered slowly--

“No, I don’t think that this is the man.”

A few hours later the _Spitfire_ had steamed in close to the land, and
a boat was lowered. In this boat were Lieutenant Carteret, a sergeant of
marines, with three privates and half a dozen bluejackets.

“I have force enough to take a boat-load of deserters,” remarked the
lieutenant to his commander, as he descended the poop ladder on his way
to the boat.

Commander Arness laughed. “Oh, well, you know the natives might take
it into their heads to resist his arrest. But be careful what you are
doing: make perfectly sure that he _is_ the man. You don’t know what
complications might arise if we carried off the wrong person.”

* * * * *

The moment the boat touched the shore, she was surrounded by a crowd
of friendly, brown-skinned islanders, who seemed delighted to see the
strangers.

“Any one of you fellows speak English?” asked Mr. Carteret

“Yes, sir,” and a big, burly fellow with a fine open countenance
advanced to the officer. “Me speak English, and plenty more men here
speak it, too. What you want, sir?”

“Any white men living here?” asked Carteret quietly.

“Oh, yes--one, a very good man; his name is Joajai” [George].

“Take me to his house,” said the officer. “I want to see him.”

In a few minutes Mr. Carteret and his marines were being conducted up
a steep and rugged path towards the white trader’s house, which was
situated quite apart from the native village, while the bluejackets were
left in the boat, remarking to each other that this white man was a most
cursed unfriendly sort of a chap not to come down to the beach when he
saw a man-of-war’s boat ashore.

“Don’t you be such a fool, Tom,” said the coxswain to one of the men.
“You’re always a-jumpin’ at conclusions too rapid. Just you wait a bit
and see. It’s my belief that this chap has been up to something, and the
marines have gone with Carteret to scruff him and bring him aboard. I
saw the sergeant had a pair of darbies, and what do you suppose that
Carteret’s come ashore with a regular escort for?”

A ten minutes’ walk and Lieutenant Carteret and his men, guided by a
number of natives, reached the white man’s thatched dwelling, which
stood amid a grove of banana and bread-fruit trees. When within a few
yards, the lieutenant saw a tall, graceful young native girl, clad in
semi-European style, advance to the open door, and then with a terrified
exclamation withdraw again.

“That is Tui,{*} Joajai’s wife,” said one of the natives, pointing to
the girl, who now again appeared, and, with her full dark eyes dilated
with alarm, timidly held out her hand to the officer and murmured
something in the native tongue.

     * The diminutive of Tuilagi.

“She speaks English, but she is afraid of the men with the guns,”
 explained the native guide.

“Where is your husband?” said Lieutenant Carteret, motioning to the girl
to seat herself, and the marines to stand back.

She only shook her head, and turned inquiringly to the natives who
accompanied the officer.

“The white man is away on the other side of the island, sir. He be here
in ‘bout one half-hour,” said the English-speaking native. “Suppose you
like, sir, I send some one go tell him come quick?”

Carteret hesitated a moment, then answered “No.” Then turning to the
sergeant of marines, he said, “Let your men fall still further back,
sergeant This is a delicate matter, and I don’t want this confounded
crowd of natives, many of whom understand English, to hear what I have
to say to this woman. Send a man down to the boat, and tell the coxswain
that I shall have to wait for some time. If the ship makes a signal, the
boat can go off and tell the captain that I shall have to wait; then she
can come back for me.”

All this time the trader’s young wife sat trembling upon a rude couch
that stretched across one side of the room; and her eyes never left
the officer’s face for an instant, save when for a moment she gave a
terrified glance at the rifles and bayonets of the marine escort.

The moment that the marines had fallen back the lieutenant stepped
forward and took the young woman by the hand.

“Tui,” he said hurriedly, drawing her to the further end of the room
with firm but gentle hand, and speaking so low and without motion of his
lips that none but she knew that he spoke at all, “for God’s sake and
for mine and your husband’s, do not be frightened, but listen to me and
do exactly as I tell you.”

Still trembling like a startled fawn, the girl raised her lustrous eyes
to the young officer’s face. His earnest, sincere manner and expression
of deep concern seemed to reassure her, and though her bosom heaved and
her breath came in quick, short gasps, she turned her face to him in the
confidence of dawning hope.

“Who are you, sir, and what do you wan’ my husban’ for?”

“Tell these natives to go,” said the lieutenant “Have no fear. I am your
husband’s friend; but, _be quick_!”

Still, with a wondering look upon her beautiful face, the girl advanced
to the door, said something in the island tongue to the crowd of curious
natives, and then gently closed the door.

“This is a rum go!” said the sergeant of marines to himself, as he
saw the door shut to. “What the devil has the girl been doing? Are the
bracelets for her, I wonder?”

“Tui,” said Lieutenant Carteret, the moment they were alone, “time
presses. You speak English so well as to thoroughly understand that
which I am now about to tell you?”

“Yes, sir,” she answered, standing before him with clasped hands, “I
think so. A white woman who is dead now taught me to read and write
English, and my husban’ always talk English to me.”

“Good. Then listen to me, my girl. I am Lieutenant Carteret, of H.M.S.
_Spitfire_--that ship out there--sent here with the ship’s police to
arrest a deserter from the _Flycatcher_ on this station five years ago.
This is the man’s photograph. He is said to be your husband, and calls
himself George Barcom. Now, when I was an officer of the _Flycatcher_,
I knew a man named Charles Parker”--her face went a deadly pallor--“who
deserted the ship at the Yasawa Group in Fiji. I can, without doubt,
identify this man. But, Tui, I have looked at this photograph when it
was held in the hand of my captain, and said that this is _not_ the man
whom I knew as Charles Parker. But look at it yourself and tell me--is
this the photograph of your husband, and is this man on this island?”

With shaking fingers she took it from him, looked at it, and then raised
her face to the officer.

“Is this the doin’ of a man called Obadiah Howlman?”

“Yes,” answered the lieutenant, “it _is_ the work of Obadiah Howlman. He
brought this photograph to the Admiral only a few days ago.”

A savage gleam came into her eyes. “The brute! I kill him for _this_
some day!”

“That will not save your husband, my girl,” said Carteret; then he
waited a moment and added, “whatever it might do later on.”

Suddenly the girl’s dark eyes filled with tears, and she laid her hand
on the officer’s sleeve.

“What is to be done, sir? For God’s sake don’ you take my husband from
me, sir.”

“_This_ can be done. You have seen this photograph. You say that it is
not that of your husband, don’t you? But, Tui, I must do my duty, do you
understand? I must see your husband.”

“And you are the man whose life he saved--for now I ‘member your name
and the story he told me long ago--you who say you are his friend,
you would do this thing, you who in the ship gave him money so that he
might----”

“Wait, my girl, till I have finished; then you will understand. Listen
now. I will remain here, and you will yourself find your husband and
bring him here to this house so that I may see him. Bring him here
quickly, and by some way that my men cannot see his face. And then, Tui,
when I have spoken to him, then for your sake and for his sake I will
lie, and swear he is not the man I have been sent to take. Then, when
my ship has gone, you--you and he--you must promise me this, Tui--must
leave this island as quickly as possible; so that when Obadiah Howlman
sends another warship here--as he will do--they may not discover that I
am a liar and have been false to my duty.”

“Oh, sir, is this true? Surely you would not tell a lie to a poor native
girl like me?”

“Go, my girl”--and Carteret placed a kindly hand on her shoulder--“go
quickly to Parker--I know very well that he is not far off. _He_ will
believe what I say.”

For a moment she gazed intently into his face, as if she would read his
soul; and then seizing his hand pressed it to her lips, and went out by
the door that opened at the rear of the house.

Then the lieutenant opened the front door and walked slowly across to
where the marines were standing.

“Take your men out of sight, sergeant. I don’t want this fellow
frightened until I know who he is. If he’s the man we want, we’ll have
no trouble in getting him. I’ve induced his wife to go and bring him.”

Whistling softly in an unconcerned manner, he turned back and stood at
the door of the house and waited there for perhaps ten minutes, until
he saw the girl returning with a white man, who appeared to be ill and
weak, for he had on a heavy top-coat, and a shawl wrapped round his neck
in such a way that his features were almost entirely hidden.

*****

Lieutenant Carteret allowed the man and woman to enter, and then
followed, closing the door after him.

As soon as he was inside, the white man threw off his muffler and turned
towards the officer.

“You must take me, sir,” he said, speaking calmly. “I cannot let you do
this for me. I know, sir, that you cannot help yourself.”

“No, by Heavens! Parker, I cannot take you. You jumped overboard and
saved my life. I tell you, man, that I _can’t_ do it. Do you think I can
ever forget that awful thirty minutes, nearly six years ago, when you
kept me afloat off the Bampton Shoal? Now, Parker, just listen. I have a
plan; the whole thing is arranged as soon as we leave here. But you and
your wife _must_ get away from this island soon after the _Spitfire_
leaves. That infernal sweep, Howlman, will be sure to send another
man-of-war after you----”

“Listen to me, sir. I, too, have a plan. You shall not ruin yourself for
me. You are only a very young man, sir, and have the world before you.
I dread nothing but the temporary separation from Tui here. To me my
arrest means only dismissal from the service and a couple of years
in gaol; and likely enough, I shall get back here again without much
trouble.”

“No, I----”

“Don’t waste time, sir. Call the escort, but for God’s sake, sir, do the
thing quickly; look at my girl, sir, and let me get away before I break
down too, and act the coward. If you don’t call the escort at once, I
will.”

“You madman, Parker,” began Carteret, and then Tui threw her arms round
her husband.

“Are you tired of me?” she sobbed. “Is this how you would leave the
woman who loves you, and who will be the mother of your child?”

The deserter caught her in his arms, and looking over his shoulder at
the lieutenant, said, “For God’s sake, sir, don’t wait. Call in your men
and get it over.”

“Parker, for Heaven’s sake take this chance. I tell you, man, that I
have no fear for myself. I don’t care a straw about the Service if this
is discovered.”

“Stand aside, sir. I’m not the man to let you sacrifice yourself for
me----” And unloosing his wife’s arms from his neck, he advanced to the
door.

“Very well; it is your own fault.”

The next instant the lieutenant threw open the door.

“Sergeant, bring your men here.”

* * * * *

Half an hour later Lieutenant Carteret reported to Commander Arness.

“I have brought the prisoner on board, sir. He is a man named Charles
Parker, and was sergeant of marines on the _Flycatcher?_”

“Very good, Mr. Carteret What have you done with his wife?”

“She refused to leave, sir, and when we brought the man away, went off
to the other side of the island.”

* * * * *

When the _Spitfire_ reached Sydney, Charles Parker was duly tried by
court-martial, and in consequence of the friendly exertions of the
principal witness against him, Lieutenant Neil Carteret, was let
off lightly. He was dismissed from the service, and sentenced to
imprisonment in a Sydney jail for eighteen months.

When his time had expired, he managed, after a few months of waiting
about in Sydney, to work his way back to Anuda Island. And scarce had
the boat touched the beach when he was seized by the welcoming arms of
his native friends and carried ashore.

“Is it well with my wife, O friends?” he asked.

“It is well with her,” they answered; “in a little while we will take
you to her, but first let us tell thee of that which has befallen her on
this island.”

Then they told him.

*****

“One day after the warship had gone,” they said, “there came here a
trading schooner from Niuafou. On the ship were Tepuaka, the King of
Niuafou--the father of thy wife--and many of his men. And with him there
came also the little fat white man named Opataia [Obadiah]. All those
men that came with Tepuaka, the King, were _lotu_ [Christians]. No
sooner did they land, than Tepuaka and his friend, the fat little white
man, Opataia, walked to the house of his daughter, thy wife, Tui, but
all of his men he bade remain here in the village.

“‘See,’ said one of these men of Niuafou to us vauntingly, ‘see what has
come to pass! Tuilagi refused to take for her husband the good and pious
man Opataia, but fled with this common white man, who is no better than
a heathen. And then what comes? This bad white man is caught by his
countrymen and put in a prison with chains upon his body. So now the
King comes for his daughter, for even now is Opataia willing to take
her, though she is but of little worth, to my mind.’

“While they spoke thus to us, Tepuaka and his white friend had gone to
thy house, and there did Tui, thy wife, meet them with smiles to hide
what lay in her heart.

“‘Get thee ready, thou wicked woman,’ said her father roughly to her;
‘get thee ready quickly to leave this heathen land and return to thy own
country, where thou shalt be wife to this good man, Opataia, who desires
thee still.’

“‘It is well, my father,’ said Tui; ‘but yet leave us now for a little.
Surely if this man desires me for his house he can speak to me with his
own mouth, and not through thine.’

“So her father went without the house, and Opataia, the white man,
remained with Tui.

“Then said the evil-faced white man to Tui: ‘For the wrong that thou
did’st me by running away with that evil white man do I forgive thee,
for I love thee well.’ And then he put his arms about her, and sought to
embrace her after the manner of a lover.

“And then from beneath her gown did Tui take out a little gun that fires
six bullets; and as the fat man, Opataia, pressed her to his bosom and
heeded not what she did, she placed the mouth of the little gun to the
side of his fat head. Then she said--

“‘This do I, dog, for the husband of whom thou hast robbed me,’ and then
there came a flash and a cry, and the white man sprang to his feet and
fell forward on his face--dead.

“Then Tui ran from the house. She fled from her father and came towards
the village, and Tepuaka the King followed her with death in his face.

“‘Kill her!’ he called to the men of Niuafou.

“But then we men of Anuda sprang to her aid with our clubs in our hands,
and she ran into our midst and called to us to save her from her father.

“So there was much talk, and then her father’s wrath began to subside,
for we made him many presents of food for his journey back, and he went
away in peace.

“That is all. And see, Jaojai, hither comes thy wife with her son in her
arms to welcome thee home.”





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Officer And Man - 1901" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home