The Project Gutenberg eBook of The hermit hunter of the wilds

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The hermit hunter of the wilds

Author: Gordon Stables

Illustrator: W. G. Easton

Release date: September 7, 2023 [eBook #71590]

Language: English

Original publication: London: Blackie and Son ltd, 1889

Credits: Chuck Greif, Al Haines and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


[The image of the book's cover is unavailable.]




Crown 8vo. Cloth elegant. Illustrated.

In the Great White Land

A Tale of the Antarctic. 3s. 6d.

“Full of life and go, and just the kind that is beloved of boys.”—Court Circular.

In Quest of the Giant Sloth. 3s. 6d.

“The heroes are brave, their doings are bold, and the story is anything but dull.”—Athenæum.

Kidnapped by Cannibals

A Story of the Southern Seas. 3s. 6d.

“Full of exciting adventure, and told with spirit.”—Globe.

The Naval Cadet

A Story of Adventure on Land and Sea. 3s. 6d.

“An interesting traveller’s tale with plenty of fun and incident in it.”—Spectator.

To Greenland and the Pole. 3s.

“His Arctic explorers have the verisimilitude of life.”—Truth.

Westward with Columbus. 3s.

“We must place Westward with Columbus among those books that all boys ought to read.”—Spectator.

’Twixt School and College. 3s.

“One of the best of a prolific writer’s books for boys, being full of practical instructions as to keeping pets, and inculcates, in a way which a little recalls Miss Edgeworth’s ‘Frank’, the virtue of self-reliance.”—Athenæum.

The Hermit Hunter of the Wilds. 2s. 6d.

“Pirates and pumas, mutiny and merriment, a castaway and a cat, furnish the materials for a tale that will gladden the heart of many a bright boy.”—Methodist Recorder.

In Far Bolivia

A Story of a Strange Wild Land. 2s.

“An exciting and altogether admirable story.”—Sheffield Telegraph.


London: BLACKIE & SON, Limited.


The Hermit Hunter
of the Wilds



Author of “Twixt School and College” “To Greenland and the Pole”
“The Naval Cadet” “Westward with Columbus” &c.







Chap.  Page
I. By the Firelight,9
II. “It was on just such a night as this, sister,”17
III. “The fearfulness of our situation can hardly be realized,”28
IV. Among the Woods of Craigielea,42
V. “The whole world is full of changes,”53
VI. “Run, run!” cried Tom; “the man must not die yet!”65
VII. “Here hangs his brother’s scalp,”78
VIII. “Never before had Tom experienced such a feeling of awful danger,”89
IX. “The whole sea of mist turned to clouds of mingled gold and crimson,”101
X. “In the forests strange shrieks and sounds were heard,”111
XI. “The trees went down before it like hay before the mower’s scythe,”121
XII. “A shower of poisoned darts fell pattering on the stockade,”132
XIII. The dying Ayah tells of Bernard,142 {6}
XIV. “Filled with gold doubloons— Sirr, are ye listening?”153
XV. “Next instant the ship was struck and staved,”163
XVI. “A vast green and flowery valley surrounded by romantic hills,”174
XVII. Strange Life on the beautiful Island,185
XVIII. “He was convinced now he had seen a spectre and nothing else,”197
XIX. “Under the grave you dug are gold and precious stones,”205
XX. “O, Bernard, it is your father’s ship!”214



Tom crouched lower and lower” [Image unavailable.]Frontis. 100
Tom introduces His Cat84
“Behold your chief!” she cried145
Giant Tortoise Riding216






TOMMY TALISKER was probably one of the most unassuming boys that ever lived. At all events everybody said so. And this is equivalent to stating that the boy’s general behaviour gave him a character for modesty.

He was the youngest of a family of five; the eldest being his only sister, and she, like her mother, made a good deal of Tommy, and thought a good deal about him too in certain ways.

“I don’t think,” said Tommy’s father to Tommy’s mother one evening as they all sat round the parlour hearth; “I don’t think we’ll ever be able to make much of Tommy.”

Perhaps Tommy’s father was at present merely speaking for speaking’s sake; for there had been general silence for a short time previously, broken only by the sound of mother’s knitting-wires, the{10} crackle of uncle’s newspaper as he turned it, and the howthering of the wind round the old farmhouse.

Tommy’s mother looked at Tommy, and heaved a little bit of a sigh, for she was very much given to taking everything for granted that her husband said.

But Tommy’s sister, who always sat in the left-hand corner of the fireside, with Tommy squatting on a footstool right in front of her, drew the lad’s head closer to her knee, and smoothed his white brow and his yellow hair.

Tommy took no notice of anything or anybody, but continued to gaze into the fire. That fire was well worth looking at, though I am not at all sure that Tommy saw it. It was a fire that made one drowsily contented and happy to sit by,—a comfort-giving, companionable sort of a fire. Built on the low hearth, with huge logs of wood sawn from the trunk of a poplar-tree that had succumbed to a summer squall, logs sawn from the roots of a sturdy old pine-tree that had weathered many and many a gale, and logs sawn from the withered limbs of a singularly gnarled and ancient pippin-tree that had grown and flourished in the orchard ever since this farmer’s father was a boy. There were huge lumps of coals there also, and a wall round the whole of dark-brown peats, hard enough to have cut and chiselled the hull of a toy yacht from.{11}

It is not to be wondered at that Tommy took no notice of the somewhat commonplace talk that went on around him; he was listening to a conversation that was being carried on in the fire between the blazing wood and the coals and the peat.

“You have no idea, my friends,” said the poplar log, after emitting a hissing jet of steam by way of drawing attention and commanding silence—“you have no idea what a stately and beautiful tree I was when in my prime. I and my fellows, who were all alive and well when I heard from them last, were the tallest and most gracefully-waving trees in the country-side. Poets and artists, and clever people generally, used to say we gave quite a character to the landscape. We knew we were very beautiful, because the broad winding river went through the meadow where we stood, and all day long we could see our faces therein. O, we were very beautiful! I do assure you. The seasons thought so, and every one of them did something for us. Spring came first, as soon as she had fastened the downy buds on the waving willows; placed wee crimson-topped anemones on the hazel boughs—five to each nodding catkin; scattered the burgeons over the hawthorn hedges; tasselled the larches with vermilion and green; adorned the rocks with lichen and moss; brought early daisies to the meadow-lands, the gold of the celandine to the{12} banks of the streamlets, and the silver of a thousand white starry buttercups to float on the ponds; breathed through the woods and awakened the birds to light, love, and song; led the bee to the crocus, the butterfly to the primrose; awakened even the drowsy dormouse and the shivering hedgehog from their long winter’s slumber, to peep hungrily from their holes and wearily wonder where food could be found. Then Spring came to us. Spring came and kissed us, and we responded with green-yellow leaves to her balmy caress. Ah, the sun’s rays looked not half so golden anywhere else, as seen through our glancing quivering foliage. We raised our heads so high in air, that the larks seemed to sing to us alone, and the very clouds told us their secrets.

“But Summer came next and changed our leaves to a darker, sturdier green. And she brought us birds. The rooks themselves used to rest and sway on our topmost branches, lower down the black-bibbed sparrows built; in our hollows the starlings laid their eggs of pearl, while even the blackbird had her nest among the ivy that draped our shapely stems.

“We were things of beauty even when winds of Autumn blew; and Winter himself must clothe our leafless limbs with its silvery hoar-frost, till every branch and twiglet looked like radiant coral against the deep blue of the cloudless sky.{13}

“Hush! hush!” cried the pine-tree root. “Dost thou well, O poplar-tree log, to boast thus of thy beauty and stateliness? I lived on the mountain brow not far off. I marked your rise and fall. Out upon your beauty! Where was your strength? To me thou wert but as a sapling, or a willow withe bending in the summer air. But my strength was as the strength of nations. On the hill yonder I flourished for hundreds of years; my foot was on the rocks, my dark head swept the clouds, my brown stem was a landmark for sailors far at sea. In the plains below I saw the seasons come and go. Houses were built, and in time became ruins; children were born, grew up, grew old and died, but I changed not. The wild birds of the air, of the rock, and the eyrie were my friends—the eagle, the osprey, the hawk, and curlew. The deer and the roe bounded swiftly past me, the timid coney and the hare found shelter near me. I have battled with a thousand gales; thunders rolled and lightnings flashed around me, and left me unscathed. I stood there as heroes stand when the battle rages fiercest, and my weird black fingers seemed to direct the hurricane wind. I was the spirit of the storm.

“And I too had beauty, an arboreal beauty that few trees can lay claim to; whether in autumn with the crimson heather all around me, in summer with the last red rays of sunset lingering in my foliage, or in winter itself—my branches sil{14}houetted against the green of a frosty sky. But I fell at last. We all must fall, and age had weakened my roots. But I fell as giants fall, amidst the roar of the elements and chaos of strife. The skies wept over my bier, rain clouds were my pall, and the wild winds shrieked my dirge.”

There was silence in the fire for some little time after the pine log had finished speaking, and Tommy thought the conversation had ceased; but presently a voice, soft and musical as summer winds in the linden-tree, came from the gnarled pippin log:

“O men of pride and war!” said the voice, “I envy neither of you. Mine was a life of peace and true beauty; and had I my days to live over again, I would not have them otherwise. My home was in the orchard, and the seasons were good to me too, and all things loved me. In spring-time no bride was ever arrayed as I was; the very rustics that passed along the roads used to stop their horses to gaze at me in open-mouthed admiration. Then all the bees loved me, and all the birds sang to me, and the westling winds made dreamy music in my foliage. Lovers sat on the seat beneath my spreading branches, when the gloaming star was in the east, and told their tales of love heedless that I heard them. In summer merry children played near me and swung from my boughs, and in autumn and even winter{15} many a family showered blessings on the good old pippin-tree. ‘Peace, my friends, hath its victories not less renowned than war.’

“O dear me!” sighed a smouldering peat, “how humble I should feel in such company. I really have nothing to say and nothing to tell, for my life, if life it could be called, was spent on a lonesome moor; true, the heath bloomed beautiful there in autumn, but the wintry winds that swept across the shelterless plain had a dreary song to sing. The will o’ the wisp was a friend of mine, and an aged white-haired witch, that at the dead hours of moonlight nights used to come groaning past me, culling strange herbs, and using incantations that I shudder to hear. There were many strange creatures besides the witch that came to the moor where I dwelt; and even fairies danced there at times. But for the most part the strange creatures I saw took the form of creeping or flying things; fairies changed themselves into beautiful moths and wild bees, but brownies and spunkies to crawling toads and tritons. But heigho! I fear a poor peat has few opportunities of doing good in the world.”

“Say not so!” exclaimed a blazing lump of coal; “even a humble peat is not to be despised. How often have you not brought joy and gladness to the poor man’s fireside, caused the porridge-pot to boil and the bairns to laugh with glee, banished the cold of winter, and infused comfort{16} and warmth into the limbs of the aged. But you are modest, and modesty is ever the companion of genuine merit.”

“And you, sir,” said the peat to the coal, “you are very, very great and very, very old—are you not?”

“I am very, very old, and I am no doubt very, very powerful. Yet my powers are gifts of the great Creator, and it is mine to distribute them to toiling and deserving man. Ages and ages ago before this ancient pine log was thought of or dreamt of, before mankind even dwelt on these islands, when its woods were the home of the wildest of beasts, when gigantic woolly elephants with curling tusks roamed free in its forests, and its marshes and lakes swarmed with loathsome saurians, I dwelt on earth’s surface. But changes came with time, and for thousands of years I was dead and buried in the earth’s black depths. The ingenuity of man has resuscitated me, and now I have gladly become his servant and slave. I warm the castle, the palace, and the humble cot. I give light as well as heat; I am swifter than the eagle in my flight. I am more powerful than the wind; I drag man’s chariots across the land, I waft his ships to every clime and every sea. I move the mightiest machinery; I am gentle in peace and dreadful in war.

“Nay more, the great wizard Science has but to lift his wand, and lo! I yield up products more{17} wonderful than any yet on earth. Gorgeous were the colours that adorned the flowers of the land in ages long gone by, delicate and delightful were their perfumes; but these perfumes and these colours I have carefully stored, and give them now to man.”

What more Tommy would have overheard, as he sat there at his sister’s knee, it is impossible to say, for the boy had fallen asleep.



“NO,” repeated Tommy’s father as he proceeded to refill his pipe; “we mustn’t expect to make much of Tommy.”

“Tommy may be president of America yet,” said Uncle Robert, looking quietly up from his paper. “Stranger things have happened, brother; much stranger.”

“Pigs might fly,” said Tommy’s father, somewhat unfeelingly. “Stranger things have happened, brother; much stranger.”

Tommy’s brothers laughed aloud.

Tommy’s mother smiled faintly.

But the boy slept on, all unconscious that he was being made the butt of a joke.{18}

Tommy was not an over-strong lad to look at. About eleven or twelve years old, perhaps. He had fair silky hair, regular features, and great wondering blue eyes that appeared to look very far away sometimes. For Tommy was a dreamy, thinking boy. To tell the truth, he lived as much in a world of his own as if he were in the moon, and the man of the moon away on a long holiday. He seemed to possess very little in common with his brothers. Their tastes, at all events, were infinitely different from his; in fact they were lads of the usual style or “run” which you find reared on such farms as those of Laird Talisker’s—called laird because he owned all the land he tilled. Dugald, Dick, and John were quite en rapport with all their surroundings. They loved horses and dogs and riding and shooting, and they had to take to farming whether they liked it or not. Dugald was the eldest; he was verging on seventeen, and had long left school. Indeed he was his father’s right hand, both in the office and in the fields. His father and he were seldom seen apart, at church or market, mill or smithy; and as time rolled on and age should compel Mr. Talisker to take things easy, Dugald would naturally step into his father’s shoes.

Dick was sixteen, and Jack or John about fourteen; and neither had as yet left the parish school, which was situated about a mile and a half beyond the hill. All boys in Scotland receive{19} tolerably advanced education if their parents can possibly manage to keep them at their studies, and these two lads were already deeply read in the classics and higher branches of mathematics.

What were they going to be? Well, Dick said he should be a clergyman and nothing else, and Jack had made up his mind to be a cow-boy. He had read somewhere all about cow-boys in the south-western states of America, and the life, he thought, would suit him entirely. How glorious it must feel to go galloping over a ranche, armed with a powerful whip; to bestride a noble horse, with a broad hat on one’s head and revolvers at one’s hip! Then, of course, every other week, if not oftener, there would be wild adventures with Comanche red-skins, or Indians of some other equally warlike tribe; while now and then this jolly life would be enlivened by hunting horse-stealers across the boundless prairie, and perhaps even lynching them if they happened to catch the thieves, and there was a tree handy.

Jack’s classical education might not be of much service to him in the wild West, either in fighting bears or scalping Indians; though it would be easily carried. He determined, however, not to neglect the practical part of the business; and so whenever opportunity favoured him he used to mount the biggest horse in the stable and go swinging across the fields and the moors, leaping{20} fences and ditches, and in every way behaving precisely as he imagined a cow-boy would.

Several times Jack had narrowly escaped having his neck broken in teaching Glancer—that was the big horse’s name—to buck-jump. Glancer was by no means a bad-tempered beast; but when it came to slipping a rough pebble under the saddle, then he buck-jumped to some purpose, and Jack had the worst of it.

Mrs. Talisker herself was a somewhat delicate, gentle English lady, whom the laird had wooed and won among the woodlands of “bonnie Berkshire.” Her daughter Alicia, who was but a year older than Dugald, took very much after the mother, and was in consequence, perhaps, the worthy laird’s darling and favourite.

One thing must be said in favour of this honest farmer-laird: his whole life and soul were bound up in his family, and his constant care was to do well by them and bring them up to the best advantage. But he did not think it right to thwart his boys’ intentions with regard to the choice of a profession. There was admittedly a deal of difference between a clergyman of the good old Scottish Church and a cow-boy. However, as Jack had elected to be a cow-boy, a cow-boy he should be—if he did not break his neck before his father managed to ship him off to the wild West.

But as to Tommy, why the laird hardly cared{21} to trouble. Tommy was Uncle Robert’s boy. Uncle Robert, an old bachelor, who had spent his younger days at sea, had constituted himself Tommy’s tutor, and had taught the boy all he knew as yet. Uncle Robert ruled the lad by love alone, or love and common sense combined. He did not attempt to put a new disposition into him, but he did try to make the very best of that which he possessed. In this he showed his great wisdom. In fact, in training Tommy he followed the same tactics precisely as those that successful bird and beast-trainers make such good use of. And what I am going to say is well worth remembering by all boys who wish to teach tricks to pets, and make them appear to be supernaturally wise. Do not try to inculcate anything, in the shape of either motion or sound, which the creature does not evince an inclination or aptitude to learn. Take a white rat for example, and after it is thoroughly tame and used to running about anywhere, loving you, and having therefore no fear, begin your lessons by placing the cage on the table with the door open. It will run out and presently show its one wondrous peculiarity of appropriation. In very wantonness it will pick up article after article and run into its house with it—coins, thimbles, apples, cards, &c. Now, I hinge its education in a great measure on this, and in a few months I can teach it to tell fortunes with cards, and spell words even. A rat{22} has two other strange motions; one is standing like a bear, another is climbing poles. By educating it from each of these stand-points you can make the creature either a soldier or a sailor, or even both, and teach it tricks and actions the glory of which will be reflected on you, the teacher.

Tommy was exceedingly fond of Uncle Robert, to begin with, and never tired listening of an evening to his wonderful stories of travel and adventure.

Uncle lived in a little cottage not very far from the farm; and if he was not at the laird’s fireside of a winter evening he would generally be found at his own, and Tommy would not be far away. They used to sit without any light except that reflected from the fire. Stories told thus, Tommy thought, were ever so much nicer, especially if they were tales of mystery and adventure. For there were the long shadows flickering and dancing on the wall, the darkness of the room behind them, and the fitful gleams in the fire itself, in which the lad sometimes thought he could actually see the scenery and figures his uncle was describing; and all combined to produce effects that were really and truly dramatic.

Well, if by day Dugald was his father’s constant companion, Tommy was his uncle’s; and the one hardly ever went anywhere without the other.{23}

School hours were from nine till one o’clock; and uncle was a strict teacher, though by no means a hard task-master. Then the two of them had all the rest of the long day to read books, to wander about and study the great book of nature itself, to fish, or do whatsoever they pleased. It must be said here that Uncle Robert was almost quite as much a boy at heart as his little nephew. He was a good old-fashioned sailor, this uncle of Tommy, and a man who never could grow old; because he loved nature so, and nature never grows old: it is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

Uncle Robert was quite as good-natured as the big horse Glancer. But Glancer drew the line at pebbles under his saddle. The best-tempered horse in the world will draw the line at something or other. And uncle was the same. If anyone wanted to annoy him they had only to mention Tommy in a disparaging sort of way; then, like Glancer, Uncle Robert buck-jumped at once.

So, on that particular evening—a wild and stormy one it was in the latter end of April—when Tommy’s father talked about the improbability of pigs flying, and Tommy’s brothers had all laughed, Uncle Robert had felt a little nettled.

“Ah, you may laugh, lads,” he said, putting his paper down on his knee and thrusting his spectacles up over his bald brow—“you may laugh,{24} lads, and you may talk, brother, but I tell you that there is more in that boy than any of you are aware of; and mark my words, he is not going to remain a child all his life. Boys will be men, and Tommy will be Tom some day.”

Mrs. Talisker looked fondly over at her brother, and she really felt grateful to him for taking her boy’s part.

Whoo—oo—oo! howled the wind round the chimney, and doors and windows rattled as if rough hands were trying their fastenings. Every now and then the snow and the fine hail were driven against the panes, with a sound like that produced by the spray of an angry sea against frozen canvas.

At this very time, away down in the midlands of England, spring winds were softly blowing and the buds appearing on the trees; but on the west coast of Scotland, where the farm of Craigielea was situated, winter still held all the land, the moors, the lakes, and woods, firm in his icy grasp.

To-night the moon had sunk early in a purple-blue haze—a new moon it was, and looked through the mist like a Turkish scimitar wet with blood. The stars had been bright for a short time afterwards. But the wind rose roaring from the east, driving great dark clouds before it, that soon swallowed everything else up. Then it was night in earnest.{25}

Whoo—oo—oo! What a mournful sound it was, to be sure! You might have imagined that wild wolves were howling round the house, and stranger voices still rising high over the din of the raging storm.


“What a fearful night!” said Mrs. Talisker.

“Ay, sister,” said Uncle Robert; “it is blowing half a gale outside to-night, I’ll warrant, and may be more.”

By “outside” he did not mean out of doors simply. It is a sailor’s expression, and refers to the sea away beyond the harbour-mouth.

“It was on just such a night as this, sister, though not on such a cold sea as that which is sweeping over our beach to-night, that the Southern Hope was lost on the shores of Ecuador. Heigho-ho! My dear friend Captain Herbert has never been the same man since.

“And do you know, my dear, it happened exactly six years ago this very night.”

“How very strange!” said Tommy’s mother.

“Strange, my dear? Not a bit of it. What is strange, and how should it be strange—eh?”

“Oh, I meant, brother, that you should think of it. I believe that was what I meant.”

“You’re not very sure. But let me tell you this, that there never does pass a single 25th of February that I do not think of that fearful shipwreck. Ay, girl, and pray too. I’ve been pray{26}ing as I sat here—praying with my eyes on the newspaper, when you all thought I was reading it. You look at me, sister; and Tommy has woke up, and he is looking at me too. Well, you little know how often old sailors like me pray, and what strange things we do pray for, and how our prayers are often heard. You see, sister, those who go down to the sea in ships, and see the wonders of the Lord in the mighty deep, get a kind of used to thinking more than shore-folks do. In many a dark black middle watch, we are alone with the ocean, one might say, and that is like being in the presence of the great Maker of all. Verily, sister, I think the waves on such nights seem to talk to us, and tell us things that the ear of landsman never listened to. No one could long lead the life of a sailor and not be a believer. Do you mind, sister, that New Testament story of our Saviour being at sea one night with some of his disciples, when a great storm arose, and the craft was about to founder? How he was asleep in the stern-sheets, how in an agony of terror they awoke him, how his words ‘Peace, be still’ fell like oil on the troubled waters, and how they all marvelled, saying, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?’

“Well, sister, I never knew nor felt the full meaning of those words until I became a sailor. But sometimes on dreamy midnights, when darkness and danger were all around us, I have in my{27} thoughts accused the ocean of remorselessness, the winds of cruelty; and, as I did so, seemed to hear that answer come to me up from the black vastness, ‘We obey Him.’ The winds sang it as they went shrieking through the rigging, the waves sang it as they went toiling past: ‘We obey Him,’ ‘We obey Him.’ Then have I turned my thoughts heavenward and been comforted, knowing in whose good hands we all were.

“A sailor’s prayer, sister, on a night like this, while he sits comfortably by the fireside, is for those in danger far at sea or on some surf-tormented lee shore. But on this particular evening, on this 25th of February, I always add a prayer for my good old shipmate, Captain Herbert—and may heaven give him peace.”

“Captain Herbert is still at sea, brother?”

“Ay, sister, and will be, if spared, for many a year. He seems unable to rest on shore, although he is rich enough to retire. You see, he never had but the one boy, Bernard; and, foolish as it may appear, he cherishes the notion that he still lives, and that some day he will meet him again.

“And never a strange sailor does he meet in any part of the world, or any port of the world, but he questions concerning all his life and adventures. More than once has my friend been thus led astray, and has sailed to distant shores where he had heard some English lad was held prisoner by Indians or savages. But all in vain.{28}

“It was a sad story, you say, sister? Indeed, lass, it was. Shall I repeat it?

“Well, stir the fire, Tommy, and make it blaze and crackle. How the storm roars, to be sure.”

Whoo—oo—oo! Whoo—oo—oo! howled the wind again; but the fire only burned the brighter, and the fireside looked the cheerier for the sound.



UNCLE ROBERT sat for some little time with his eyes fixed on those burning logs before he commenced to speak, the firelight flickering on his face. But bygone scenes were being recalled, and events long past were being re-enacted in his memory as he sat thus.

He spoke at length; quietly at first, dreamily almost, as if unconscious of the presence of anyone near him, apparently addressing himself to no one, unless it were to the faces in the fire:—


Six years!—six years ago, and only six, and yet it seems like a lifetime, because I, who have been a rover and a wanderer since my boyhood, have come to settle down on this peaceful farm.{29} Yet I have been happy, quietly happy, in my sister’s family, and with the companionship of her dear children; but the afternoon of a sailor’s existence must ever be a somewhat restless one. Like the sea over which he has sailed so long, it is seldom he can be perfectly still. In spite of himself he feels a longing at times to revisit scenes of former days, and the lovely lands and sunny climes that time has hallowed and softened till they resemble more the phantasies of some beautiful dream than anything real and earthly.

A vision like this rises up before me even now, as I sit here. The wintry winds are howling round the house, but I hear them not, nor noise of hail or softer snow driving against the window panes. I am far away from Scotland, I am in a land whose rocky shores are laved by the blue rolling waves of the Pacific, I am in Ecuador. Ecuador! land of the equator; land of equal day and night; land that the swift-setting sun leaves to be plunged into darkness Cimmerian, or bathed in moonlight more tranquil and lovely than poets elsewhere can ever dream of; land of mighty mountains, whose snow-capped summits are lost in the blue vault of heaven or buried in clouds of rolling mist; land of ever-blazing volcanic fires, wreathing smoke, and muttering thunders; land of vast plains and prairies; land of swamps that seem boundless; land of forests whose depths are dark by daylight—forests that bathe the valleys,{30} the cañons, the glens with a foliage that is green, violet, and purple by turns, darkling as they climb the hills half-way to their rugged crests; land of waterfalls and foaming torrents, over which in the sunlight rainbows play against the moss-grown rocks or beetling cliffs beyond; land of mighty rivers, now sweeping through dreamy woods, now roaring green over the lava rocks, now broadening out into peaceful lakes or inland seas, with shores of silvery sand; land of tribal savages, wild and warlike or peaceful and uncouth; land of the Amazons; land of the fern, the moss, and the wild-flower; land of giant butterflies, with wings of bronzy silken velvet, or wings of colours more radiant than the humming-bird itself, or wings of transparent gauze that quiver and shimmer in the sunlight like plates of mica; land of strange birds; land of the vampire or blood-sucking bat, the tarantula, the centiped, and many a creeping horror besides; land, too, of the condor, the puma, the jaguar, the peccary, the tapir, the sloth, and agouti; land of romance, and a history going back, back, back into the remotest regions of the past;—truly a strange and wondrous land! I seem to see it all, everything, among those blazing logs to-night.

I lived in Ecuador for many, many months. I roughed it with the Indians, the Zaparos, the Napos, and Jivaros; I wandered over forest-land and plain and by the banks of the streams; I{31} hunted in the jungle and on the prairies, and after escaping many a danger I returned to the sea-coast, laden with skins and curios and a wealth of specimens that would have made the eyes of a naturalist sparkle with very joy.

During all my long wanderings my servants had been faithful; and although our lives had oftentimes been in danger from wild beasts and wilder men, here we were once more at Guayaquil safe and sound.

I was lucky enough to find a small Spanish vessel to take me and my treasures to Callao; and here, at this somewhat loud-smelling seaport, my good star was once more in the ascendant; and though I had arrived three weeks before my promised time, the Southern Hope was lying waiting for me.

My welcome on board was a very joyful and gratifying one. Captain Herbert himself met me in the gangway, and behind him was little Bernard. The boy was not content with shaking hands. He must jump joyfully into my arms and up and on to my shoulder; and thus he rode me aft to where good little Mrs. Herbert sat in her deck-chair nursing baby, with Lala, her sable ayah, standing near.

“Now, don’t rise,” I cried. “I won’t permit it. How well you look, Mrs. Herbert! The roses have quite returned to your once wan cheeks.{32}

“A nice compliment, Mr. Robert Sinclair,” she replied, smiling. “And you too are looking well.”

“Have I got roses on my cheeks?” I said.

“Yes,” she said; “peony roses.”

“And how is baby?”

“O, look at her; isn’t she charming?”

I gave baby a finger, which she at once proceeded to eat with as much relish as if she had been a young cannibal. And so our reunion was complete. At dinner that day we were all exceedingly happy and full of mirth and fun. We had so much to tell each other, too; for during my sojourn in Ecuador the Southern Hope had been on a long cruise among the Pacific islands, where everything had seemed so strange and delightfully foreign to both Captain and Mrs. Herbert, that, they told me, it was like being in another world.

The steward—I have good reason for mentioning this—was most assiduous in his attentions at table that day. He was a short, broad-shouldered, strong-jawed, half-caste Spaniard, exceedingly clever, as Mrs. Herbert assured me, but possessed of those dark shifty eyes that seem unable to trust anyone, or to inspire trust in others.

When dessert was put on the table—a dessert of such fruits as princes in England could not procure—Mrs. Herbert motioned to him that he might now retire. He only smiled and shrugged{33} his shoulders in reply, and presently he was entirely forgotten.

So our conversation rattled on. I told my adventures much to the delight of every one, but especially to that of our young mate and little Bernard, although the child was barely seven years of age.

“And those mysterious boxes, Mr. Sinclair,” said Mrs. Herbert, “when will you open those?”

“O, not before we get to San Francisco; when, you know, I must leave you all, and make my way home overland.”

From this reply, it will be understood that I was but a passenger on the Southern Hope. I was travelling, indeed, for pleasure and health combined, but had been altogether nearly a year and a half in this hitherto happy ship; which had been baby’s birthplace, for little Oceana was born on the ocean wave. Hence her name, which we always pronounced ’Theena.

“No, my dear Mrs. Herbert,” I continued, “those boxes contain greater treasures than ever were brought from the diamond mines of Golconda; treasures more beautiful, and rarer far than all the gold in rich Peru.”

“Well, Robert,” said the captain laughing heartily, “they are heavy enough for anything; and by St. George and merry England, my friend, you do well to keep such treasures in your own cabin.{34}

I was at that moment engaged fashioning some marvellous toy for Bernard from a piece of orange peel, but happening to look up I found the evil, sinister eyes of Roderigo the steward fixed on me with a look I did not half like.

I took occasion that same evening to ask Mrs. Herbert some particulars of this man’s history; for he had not been in the ship when I left it. She had little to tell me. James, the old steward, had run away or mysteriously disappeared somehow or other at Callao, and the very next day this Roderigo had applied for the situation. Captain Herbert had waited for his steward for a whole week; but as there were no signs of his coming, and no trace of him on shore, it was concluded he had gone to Lima. So, as he seemed eminently fitted for the duties of the post, the half-caste Spaniard was installed in his place. He proved to be all they could desire, Mr. Herbert continued, although he certainly was not handsome; but he was very fond of Bernard, and doated on baby ’Theena. I asked no more, but I felt far from content or easy in my mind.

We left Callao at last, and proceeded on our voyage to San Francisco. The Southern Hope was a good sea vessel; so our voyage was favourable, though the winds were light until we reached the equator, which we crossed in baffling winds, about 85° west longitude. We soon got enveloped in dense wet fogs, and for{35} days it was all but a dead calm. A breeze sprang up at last, however, and we kept on our course, and by and by the sky cleared and we saw the sun.

None too soon; for not ten miles to the east of us loomed the rocky cliffs of Northern Ecuador. They could be none other, yet why were we here?

Captain Herbert could not understand it for a time. He was as good a sailor as ever stood down the English Channel or crossed the far-famed Bay of Biscay. He was not left long in doubt, however.

There was villainy on board. Treachery had been at work, and the compass had been tampered with.

It was about two bells in the afternoon watch when he made the discovery. I heard him walking rapidly up and down the deck first, as some sailors do when deep in thought. Then he came below.

“Are your pistols all ready?” he said to me.

“Yes,” I answered; “but I sincerely hope there will be no need of them.”

Then he told me what he had discovered, and that he felt sure mutiny was intended.

He broke the news as gently as possible to his wife, and gave orders that she should keep to the cabin with the ayah and the children.

Then he and I went on deck together.{36}

As I passed the steward’s pantry I tried the door. It was locked, and I could see through the jalousies that no one was inside.

My doubts of the half-caste had become certainties.

“Call all hands, and let the men lay aft, mate!”

This was Herbert’s stern command.

“Ay, ay, sir,” came the cheerful reply.

The Southern Hope was but a moderate-sized ship, and our men, all told, were but nineteen hands.

The mate’s sonorous voice and the sound of his signalling boot on the deck could easily be heard all over the ship.

Captain Herbert and I waited uneasily and impatiently by the binnacle. His face was very pale, but firm and set, and I knew he would fight to the death, if fighting there was going to be.

Alas! we were not left long in doubt as to the exact position of affairs. Out of all the crew—which were mostly a mixed class of foreigners—only five lay aft.

“Where are the others?” shouted the captain.

Groaning and yelling came from below forward as a reply.

“The men have mutinied,” said the mate.

The words had scarcely left his lips ere, headed by Roderigo himself, the mutineers rushed on deck.

“You wanted us to lay aft,” cried Roderigo.{37} “Here we are. What do you want, Mr. Herbert, for I am captain now?”

Before the captain could reply, either by word of mouth or ring of pistol-shot, the mate had felled the steward with a capstan-bar. It was a blow that might have killed a puma; but, though bleeding like an ox, the half-caste drew his knife as he lay on deck, and next moment had sprung on the first officer as a jaguar springs on a deer.

The fight now became general; but in a very few minutes the mutineers were triumphant. Our mate was slain; while, whether dead or alive, the other poor fellows who had so nobly stuck by us were heaved into the sea.

A worse fate was probably intended for Captain Herbert and myself; but meanwhile, our hands were tied, and we were led to the after-cabin and there locked up. No one came near us all that afternoon, nor was there any sound that could give us even an inkling as to the fate of poor Mrs. Herbert, the children, and the ayah. Had they been murdered or even molested, we surely should have heard shrieks or appeals for mercy.

I did my best to keep up my companion’s heart, but there were moments when I thought he would lose his very reason in the depth of his despair.

About an hour afterwards it was quite dark,{38} and we could tell from the singing and roystering forward that the mutineers had broken into the spirit-room and were having a debauch. It had come on to blow too, and the motion of the vessel was uneasy and jerking. Evidently she was being badly steered, and an effort was also being made to shorten sail.

The storm increased till it blew all but a gale. Some sails had been rent in ribbons, and the noise of the flapping was like that of rifle platoon firing.

I was standing close by the cabin door, my ear anxiously drinking in every sound, when suddenly I was thrown violently on the deck, and by the dreadful grating and bumping noises under us we could tell that the vessel had struck heavily on a rock. Almost at the same moment there was the noise of falling spars and crashing wreck. Then a lull, succeeded by the sound of rushing footsteps overhead and cries of “Lower away the boats!”

The fearfulness of our situation after this can hardly be realized. Nothing was now to be heard except the roar of the winds and the thumping of the great seas against the vessel’s sides. Hopeless as we were, we longed for her to break up. Had she parted in two we felt that we could have rejoiced. Death by drowning would not seem so terrible, I thought, could we but see the stars above us or even feel the wind in our faces;{39} but to die shut up thus in the darkness like rats in a hole was too dreadful to think of—it was maddening!

In the midst of our despair, and just as we were beginning to think the end could not be far off, we heard a voice outside in the fore-cabin.

“Husband! husband!” it cried in pitiful tones; “where are you?”

“Here! here!” we both shouted in a breath.

Next minute a light shone glimmering through the keyhole, and we knew Mrs. Herbert had lit the lamp.

Then an axe was vigorously applied to our prison door, and in a short time we were free.

Mrs. Herbert had fainted in her husband’s arms.

She slowly recovered consciousness, and then could tell us all she knew.

The mutineers had rifled the ship; they had broken open my cabin and boxes, expecting to find treasure, and as soon as the vessel struck had lowered the boats and left the ship.

But where was Bernard?

And where was the ayah?

Alas! neither could be found. And from that day to this their fate is a mystery.

The storm was little more, after all, than a series of tropical squalls. The vessel did not break up just then, and when daylight broke the sea all around us was as calm and blue as baby ’Theena’s eyes.{40}

In the course of the day we managed to rig a raft and thereby reach the shore.

It was a wild and desolate beach on which we landed, and glad we were to find even the huts of Indians in which to shelter.

There we lived for three long weeks, making many trips in the canoes of the Indians to the ship, and bringing on shore as many of the necessaries of life as we could find.

But alas! the loss of Bernard and the terror of that terrible night had done their work on poor Mrs. Herbert. She gradually sunk and died.

We buried her near the beach on that strange wild shore, and raised a monument over the grave, roughly built in the form of a cross, from green lava rocks.

Our adventures after that may be briefly told.

The ship did not break up for many weeks, and where the carrion is there cometh the “hoody crow.” The first coasting vessel that found out the wreck plundered it, and sailed away leaving us to perish for aught they cared. But with the captain of the next we managed to come to terms, and the promise of a handsome reward secured us a passage to Callao, and there we found a Christian ship and in due time arrived in England.


“And what about Bernard?” said Tommy with eager eyes.

“The mystery about Bernard still remains, dear{41} boy. He may be living somewhere yet in the interior of Ecuador, or he may have been taken away by some passing ship, or—and this is my own opinion—he is dead.”

“And the baby ’Theena is living, isn’t she?” said Alicia.

“She was, dear, when last I heard of her, and the father too is well. Heigh-ho! I wonder if he knows I am thinking about him to-night, and telling his strange story and my own?”

Whoo—oo—oo! roared the storm. The wind-wolves still shrieked around the house. But suddenly Laird Talisker lifts a finger as if to command silence.

All listen intensely.

“That is something over and above the ‘howthering’ of the gale,” he says. “Hark!”

Rising unmistakably above the din of the storm-wind could now be heard the barking of dogs, as if in anger.

“Someone is coming undoubtedly,” says Uncle Robert.

Then the door opens and old Mawsie the housekeeper enters, looking so scared that the borders of the very cap or white linen mutch she wore seem to stand straight out as if starched.

“What can be the matter, Mawsie?” asks the laird.

“O, sir!” gasps old Mawsie, “on this awfu’ nicht—through the snaw and the howtherin{42}’ wind-storm—a carriage and pair drives up to the door, and a gentleman wi’ a bonnie wee lady alichts—”

What more Mawsie would have said may never be known, for at that moment straight into the room walk the arrivals themselves, and in his eagerness to get towards them Uncle Robert knocks over his chair, and the long stool on which the boys are sitting goes down with it, boys and all.

“By all that is curious!” cries Uncle Robert, giving a hand to each. “However did you come here? Talk of angels and lo! they appear.”

He shakes Captain Herbert by the hand as if he had determined to dislocate his elbow, and he fairly hugs little ’Theena in his arms.

“And this is baby,” he cries to Tommy’s mother, “and here is good old Captain Herbert himself. Why, this is the most joyful 25th of February I ever do remember.”



WITH the arrival of Captain Herbert and little ’Theena a fresh gleam of sunshine appeared to have fallen athwart our young hero’s pathway in life.{43}

As he sat in his corner that evening thoughtfully gazing on her sweet face, while her father and his uncle kept talking together as old friends and old sailors will, Tommy thought he had never seen anything on earth so lovely before, and albeit he was about half afraid of her he made up his mind to fall in love with her as early as possible. He really was not quite certain yet, however, that he might not be dreaming. Had he fallen asleep again, he wondered, after Uncle Robert had finished his story? and was ’Theena but a vision? She looked so ethereal and so like a fairy child that he could not help giving his own arm a sly pinch to find out whether he really was awake or not. He did feel that pinch, so it must be all right.

Next he wondered if his two big brothers would appropriate ’Theena almost exclusively to themselves while she stayed here. He determined to circumvent them, however. He had a hut and a home in the wild woods not far from the romantic ruin of Craigie Castle, and he felt sure that ’Theena would be delighted with this hermitage of his. She did not look very strong, but she would soon be rosier. He would wander through the woods and wilds and cull posies of wild-flowers, and by the sea-shore and gather shells for her—shells as prettily pink as those delicate ears of hers. What a pity, he thought, that it was still winter! But never mind, spring{44} would come, and he knew where nearly all the song-birds dwelt and built. And O! by the way, ’Theena’s eyes were as blue as the eggs of the accentor or hedge-sparrow. Even deeper, they were more like the blue of the pretty wee germander speedwell that before two months were past would be peeping up through the grass by the hedge-foot. Then further on there would be the wild blue hyacinth and the blue-bells of Scotlands (the hare-bell of English waysides), and the bugloss and milk-wort and succory—all of them more or less like ’Theena’s eyes—and a score of others besides, he could find and fashion into garlands.

’Theena smiled so sweetly when she bade him good-night, and was upon the whole so self-possessed and lady-like, that the boy felt infinitely beneath her in every way. But that did not matter; he would improve day by day, he felt certain enough on this point. So he went off to bed, and dreamed that he and ’Theena were up in a balloon together, sailing through the blue sky, and that down beneath them was spread out just such a romantic land as that of Ecuador, which his uncle had described. It was more like a scene of enchantment than anything else. But lo! even as he gazed in rapture from the car of the balloon, it entered a region of rolling clouds and snow mists; it became darker and darker, the gloom was only lit up by the hurtling fires of terrible{45} volcanoes, while all around the thunders pealed and lightnings flashed. Then the balloon seemed to collapse, and after a period of falling, falling, falling that felt interminable, suddenly the sun shone once more around them—’Theena was still by his side—and they found themselves in a kind of earthly arboreal and floral paradise. Near them stood a tall and handsome young man, dressed, however, like a savage, and armed with bow and arrow.

He advanced, smiling, to the spot where they stood, and extending a hand to each:

“Dear sister and brother,” he said, “do you not know me? Behold I am the long-lost Bernard!”

Then Tommy awoke and found it was daylight, and that the robin was singing on his windowsill expectant of crumbs.

. . . . . . .

Spring came all at one glad bound to the fields and woods of Craigielea this year.

Three weeks had passed away since the night Tommy had dreamt that strange dream. Captain Herbert had gone south. He would sail round the world before he returned to Craigielea to take his “little lass,” as he called ’Theena, away with him again. Meanwhile he knew she would be well cared for, and grow bigger and stronger.

Tommy’s brothers had made no attempt, or very little of an attempt, to win ’Theena over. True, Jack had mounted her once or twice on{46} Glancer; but Glancer, knowing the responsibility of such a charge, could not be induced to break even into a decent trot. So Jack got tired of ’Theena, and told her she might never expect to make a cow-boy.

And Dick could not get the girl to race, or play cricket or hockey, though he tried hard; and she was not even good at climbing trees nor riding on fences, and was positively afraid of Towsie, the white, shorthorn bull, because he had red eyes and tore up the ground with a fore-foot, while he bellowed like distant thunder.

“It’s no good, Jack,” said Dick; “we couldn’t make anything of ’Theena if we tried ever so long.”

“I don’t think so, Dick,” was Jack’s reply. “Besides, what is the use of girls anyhow?”

“Not much. I really want to know what they are put into the world for at all.”

“Well,” said Jack, “we’ll give her up, won’t we? Little Cinderella can have her for a plaything, can’t he?”

“Yes, Jack, she’ll just suit little Cinderella.” This was the name his brothers always called Tommy by, because he always sat by his sister’s knee close to the fire, and looked at it for hours.

“Dick,” said Jack, “there’s nothing like boys, is there?”

“Nothing much.{47}

“And there’s nobody like you and me. Hurrah! come and give me a leg up to mount Glancer, and just see me clear that farther fence. Besides, I’ve got a new way of making Glancer buck-jump. Hurrah, Dick! Cow-boys for ever!”

As the two went tearing along towards the paddock where Glancer was browsing, they met Tommy and ’Theena on their way to the woods. Tommy had a fishing-basket on his back, ’Theena carried the rod. Tommy had a bow and arrows besides, and ’Theena carried a real Arab spear.

“Hullo, Cinderella!” shouted Dick.

“Hurrah, Cinder!” cried Jack. “Why, where ever are you off to with all that gear?”

“We’re going to the hermitage,” said Tommy proudly. “I’m the Hermit Hunter of the Wilds.”

“Ha, ha, ha!” from both the bigger boys.

“And,” continued Tommy, “we’re going to play at wild man in the woods; and we’re going to gather flowers, and find birds’-nests, and fish in the Craigieburn, and perhaps go for a sail on the sea.”

“Ha, ha, ha! Well, don’t you dare to fall in anywhere and drown your little self,” said Jack; “else you will catch it. Good-bye, Cinder. Take care of baby. Good-bye, Eenie-’Theenie.”

And away went Dick and Jack whooping.

“I don’t love your brothers much,” said ’Theena, almost crying. “What makes them call you Cinder?{48}

“I don’t know, I’m sure, ’Theena; but I don’t mind it if you don’t.”

“I shall call you Tom.”

“Thank you; but really I don’t mind, you know, and if you would prefer—”

“No, no, no. I don’t like Cinderella. You’re not a girl.”

“O, no. I’m a boy, and Uncle Robert says I shall soon be a man. Wouldn’t you like to be a boy, ’Theena?”

“Yes, dearly.”

“It would be so nice if you were. We could have even better fun than we have now, and you would be able to get up trees, and shoot, and do everything I do.”

Talking thus they reached the great pine-wood, and entered among the trees. In this silent forest-land there was not a morsel of undergrowth, only the withered needles that had fallen from the pines and larches and formed a thick soft carpet. And the great tree-stems went towering skywards, brown for the pines, gray for the larches, till they ended far above in a canopy of darkest green that would hardly admit a ray of sunshine without breaking it all up into little patches of gold and silver.

’Theena felt somewhat afraid now, and crept closer to Tom, who took her hand, and thus they wandered on and on. And very small the two of them looked among those giant timber trees.{49}

“You’re not very much afraid, are you?” said Tom. “You needn’t be, you know, for I’m the Hermit Hunter of the Wilds, and could protect you against anything; and Connie here would protect us both.”

Connie was the long-haired collie dog, who followed his master everywhere like his shadow.

“You could shoot straight with your bow and arrow, couldn’t you, Tom, if any wild beast came upon us?”

“O, very straight.”

They were following a tiny beaten path that led them through the pine-wood. But it also led them up and up, and sometimes it was so steep that they had to scramble on their hands and knees.

By and by the pines gave place to silver-stemmed birch-trees, with shimmering, shivering leaves that reflected the sunshine in all directions. The perfume from these trees was delightful in the extreme.

They reached a clearing at last, where the heather grew green all round, and where there were lichen-clad stones to sit upon. Here one or two large and lovely lizards were basking, and a splendid green speckled snake went gliding away at their approach. Tom, being a Highland lad, was not afraid of either snakes or lizards. Neither was ’Theena; for though she was only seven years old she had been in strange countries with her{50} papa, and had seen far bigger snakes and lizards too than any we have in Scotland.

Having rested for a short time, they resumed their upward journey, and soon came to a little table-land about an acre in extent, and near it, in the shelter of a tall gray rock, with drooping birch-trees, and broom, and whins, lo! the hermitage and woodland home of the Hermit Hunter.

What a business the making of this hut had been, nobody ever knew except Tommy himself, Uncle Robert, and the collie dog Connie.

But now that it was made, it looked a very complete dwelling indeed, just such as a Crusoe would have delighted to live in.

’Theena was overjoyed.

“O!” she cried, “I would love to stay here always; a table and cupboard, and real seats, and real plates and things, and a window, and books and all! I can’t read much, can you?”

“Yes,” said Tom. “Uncle taught me. He teaches me always up here in summer, and he shall teach you too.”

After ’Theena had admired everything sufficiently long, they commenced to climb again, and soon rose out of the greenery of the woods entirely, high up the hill into the very sky itself; and, wonderful to say, here was a noble castle, though now but little more than a ruin.

“My ancestors,” said Tommy proudly, “once dwelt here, and they were great soldiers and{51} warriors. Dick and Jack don’t care anything about ancestors; but I do, Theena. And do you know what I am going to do?”

“No,” said ’Theena.

“After I grow a big man, I mean.”

“Yes, after you grow a big man.”

“Well, I’m going to make lots of money first, you know. For I shall be a sailor, and sail away to strange countries where the gold lies in heaps in the woods and wilds, watched over by terrible dragons.”

“Yes, Tom, I suppose there would be dragons.”

“Well, I shall kill the dragons, and bring away, O, ever so much gold! Then I will sail home in my ship, and I shall furnish this castle all splendid and new again, with beautiful furniture and pictures, and all sorts of nice things. O, but stop, there is something I am going to do before then.”

“Yes, Tom, something to do before then.”

“I’m going to find your brother Bernard.”

“O, that would be nice!”

“Yes, very. And I’ll bring him home, and we’ll all live happy here in this splendid castle; your father and my father, and mother, and uncle, and Bernard, and Alicia, and Connie and all.”

“Will your brothers be here too?”

“N—no, I think it better not, perhaps. Of course Dugald would be at the farm, and we could see him sometimes, but Dick and Jack better go away and preach and be a cow-boy.{52}

“And then,” said ’Theena, “they would never call you Cinder any more. But how very nice it will all be. And O, Tom, look at the waves!”

From the window of the room in which they stood the view was grand and imposing. Hills and rocks and woods on one side, the lovely glen on the other, and down yonder, stretching away and away to the illimitable horizon, the blue Atlantic dotted here and there with white sails, with one or two steamers in the far offing, ploughing their way northwards, and leaving their trailing wreaths of smoke and long white wakes.

And up from the woods beneath them came a chorus of bird songs. The mellow fluting of the blackbird, the sweat clear notes of the mavis, and bold bright lilt of chaffinch. Nearer still the linnet perched on the whin-bush, and high, high in air, dimly seen against a white fleecy cloud, but easily heard, was the laverock itself.

And the bright pure sunshine was over everything; glittering on the rippling sea, sparkling on the mountain-tops where the snow still lay, patching the woods with light and shadow, heightening the green of moss and heather, changing the streams into threadlets of silver, spreading out the petals of half-open flowers, the gowans on the lea, goldilocks by the meadow’s brink, awakening the bees, and causing ten thousand, thousand rainbow-coloured insects to join in the song of{53} gladness that rose everywhere on this lovely spring morning, from nature to nature’s God.

Tom and his companion stood long enough at the window to drink in the essence of the glorious scene, but no longer. The day was young, and they were young. There was a moping owl up in the ivy yonder; they would leave the ruined castle to him, while they should go forth and mingle with, and become part and parcel of, all the light and loveliness that made up the day.

“Come, ’Theena, we mustn’t keep the fish waiting. Come, Connie; and you must not go and bathe and splash to-day in the stream where we are fishing. ’Theena, I want to get a basket full to the top with such trout that will make Dick and Jack want to kick themselves with jealousy.”

And off they went, and no one saw either of them again till the sun was going down behind the sea, and changing the waves into billows of blood.



“WELL,” said Uncle Robert one morning some time after this, “if anybody twenty years ago had prophesied that I should become a schoolmaster in my declining years, I should have{54} laughed at him. But come, there is no help for it, and by good luck I’ve got two of the dearest and best little pupils that ever any teacher could desire.”

Perhaps, though, no boy or girl either was ever taught on so delightful a system before. For, every morning after breakfast—well rolled in fear-nothing plaids if it happened to be raining—Uncle Robert, with Tom and ’Theena, took their way towards the pine-wood and the hermitage. If Dick and Jack happened to be about when they started, they were sure to give them a hail.

“Good-bye, Eenie-’Theenie,” Dick would cry.

“Fare thee well, Old Cinder,” Jack would shout.

And Uncle Robert would pretend to growl like an old sea-lion, and shake his stick at the pair of them as they scampered off, looking nearly all legs, like the figures on the old Manx pennies.

Young as Tommy was, he had a very complete knowledge of geography, and even a smattering of navigation; for he had declared his intention of becoming a sailor, and nothing else. But this knowledge of his was not such as you learn in books alone; but from books, and maps, and charts, and the big globe itself. Tommy actually knew and felt he was in the world, and not inside the cover of a book. And if you asked him where any country was he pointed in the direction of it at once, taking his bearings as it were{55} by the sun or stars, and the time of day or night it happened to be at the time the question was put.

Their school was the hermitage in the woods, and here they laboured away most earnestly all the forenoon. Then they laid aside their books, and while uncle and ’Theena went outside to squat on the green-sward, Tom—we shall not call him Tommy any more—got ready the luncheon. A very simple repast it was—cheese and cake, and creamy milk.

Then uncle would light his pipe and perhaps tell a story, and after this they started off in pursuit of pleasure.

Were there not fish in the rivers, and shells by the sea-shore, and wondrous creatures of fur and feather in the woods and on the hills, beautiful insects everywhere, and wild-flowers everywhere?

So passed one summer quickly away; and another summer and another winter after that, and now Tom was thirteen and ’Theena was nine and over. Tom was a man, at least he thought he was; and now, dearly though he loved his old home, an almost irresistible longing took possession of him to go to sea—to sail away and see the world and all that is in it.

For Tom was already a sailor. One might hardly think this possible, until told that for a year and more hardly a fine day dawned that did not see Uncle Robert and him, and as often{56} as not little ’Theena also, afloat in uncle’s little yacht-boat. This saucy wee craft had been a man-o’-war’s cutter, sold as unfit for further service. But Uncle Robert had bought her, and had her brought round to the bay of Craigie, and there turned bottom upwards in old Dem Harrison’s boat-shed. And between the pair of them, aided by Tom and ’Theena, who did the looking-on, they soon made the hull seaworthy.

No flimsy work either. Wherever a plank was in the slightest degree decayed, it was taken out and a light, hard new one put in; the very best of copper nails being used, and nothing else. Then she was painted inside and out. This done, she was “whomeld,” as old Dem called it—that is, turned right side up; and so they proceeded to put a raised deck upon her, and step a nice raking mast with fore-and-aft mainsail and topsail and jibs to match. Fine big jibs they were too; honest spreads of canvas, having no resemblance to either a baby’s blanket or a biscuit sack. The wee yacht had an excellent rudder also, and a false keel that could be raised or lowered at pleasure, or to suit circumstances.

You must understand that the Oceana, as she was called, after ’Theena, had the most darling little saloon it is possible to imagine. To be sure, Uncle Robert looked a bit crowded in it; but when Tom and ’Theena were there by themselves, with only uncle’s legs dangling down the{57} companion as he sat steering, the place seemed just made for them. There was a couch at each side, supported by lockers, and prettily upholstered in crimson. There was a lamp in gimbals to burn at night, a natty little locker containing all sorts of dishes and all kinds of dainties, and brackets in the corners with pockets for flowers, and sconces for coloured candles; besides a rack for arms and fishing-gear; while the white paint, the gilding, and the mirrors completed the picture and made the place double the size it really was.

Just imagine if you can how delicious it was to go sailing away over the summer seas in a fairy-like yacht such as the Oceana—the blue above and the blue below, white-winged gulls tacking and half-tacking in the air around. Perhaps a shoal of porpoises in the offing, and great jelly-fishes floating everywhere in the water like animated parasols.

They were entirely independent of the land when once fairly afloat; for the Oceana was well provisioned, and had over and above all her other stores a tiny library of the most readable books of adventure and poetry.

No, it was little wonder that Tom became a sailor under so pleasant a captain as Uncle Robert, and on board so fairy-like a yacht.

But neither on shore was Tom’s nautical studies neglected; for in a room of uncle’s cottage was situated a huge toy ship, which he had built and{58} rigged himself, and which he and his pupils often dismantled and rigged up again. Full rigged she was, with every spar, bolt, and stay in its proper place—a very model of perfection.

But the most curious thing I have to relate is that ’Theena learned every branch of the seafarer’s craft quite as readily as, and even more quickly than, Tom himself. Born and brought up at sea, she appeared to take to everything intuitively.

Taking it all in all, both Uncle Robert and his pupils enjoyed themselves very much, indeed, both on shore and afloat; but whether most on shore or most afloat, it would have been difficult to say.

“My dear children,” said uncle one day at the hermitage, just as they had finished luncheon and were preparing for a long ramble—“my dear children, I shall miss you very much when you go away. I expect I’ll begin to get old very quickly after that.”

“Dear unky,” said Tom, “you are never going to grow old. Don’t you believe it.”

“And we are never going to grow any older either, unky,” said ’Theena.

Uncle Robert laughed.

“Well,” he said, “I should have no objections to make a bargain of that sort with old Father Time if we could fall in with him. But, my dears, changes will come, you know. The whole{59} world is full of changes, and the whole universe too for that matter. And you, Tom, will be going away to sea, and ’Theena will have to go to school. I might make a sailor of her, but, bother me if I could teach her the piano and dancing and the like of that, unless it were a hornpipe such as the sailors dance on a Saturday night. Yes, my dears, changes must and will come.”

Black Tom came up at this moment and began rubbing his great head against the boy’s arm as he lay on the grass. Black Tom was a cat, and a very wonderful specimen he was; elephantic in size as far as the term could be applied to any grimalkin, with an enormous broad and honest-looking face of his own. He was probably not more than two years of age at this time; but Tom—the boy Tom—had saved his life when he was little more than full-grown. It was quite a little adventure for the young Hermit Hunter of the Wilds. As far as could be known, the cat had attempted the abduction of a young or puppy-fox, but the mother coming home in time a furious battle had ensued. The hermit came up at the very moment the fox had scored victory, and was proceeding to break the cat up, as some day the dogs might break her up. But a well-directed arrow from Tom’s cross-bow sent her yelping to her den, and then the boy picked up the half-dead cat and carried him to the hermitage. He{60} recovered after a few weeks of careful nursing; and since then, wherever the boy went the cat followed, all through the woods and over the hills, and even out to sea in the Oceana yacht. Boy and cat were inseparable, and throughout the length and breadth of the parish they were known to everybody as “the two Toms.” When at peace, Tom the cat was very contented-looking, though no great beauty, his shoulder and head having been terribly scarred in that encounter with the fox; but he could be very fierce when he pleased. He tolerated Connie the collie dog, and even slept in his arms; but if any strange dog came into the hut Tom mounted his back and rode him out, whacking him all the way.

. . . . . . .

Changes must and will come. Yes, and changes came to all about Craigielea before very long. First and foremost Dick went away to Oxford. He had a cousin there who would look after him while at college, and, as Uncle Robert phrased it, put him up to the ropes.

Then an American farmer called at Craigielea and stayed for a week, telling very wonderful stories indeed about life and adventures in the sunny south of the United States, to all of which Jack listened with open-mouthed earnestness. And when this farmer went away he left poor Mrs. Talisker in tears, for her dear boy Jack went away with him.{61}

Dear boy Jack did not himself take on much about the matter, however. Indeed, though he did manage to screw a tear or two out when saying good-bye to his mother and Alicia, there certainly were no tears in his eyes as he parted with Tom.

“Ta, ta, Old Cinder!” he said, shaking his brother’s hand. “Take care of yourself, my Cinder; and if ever you are out our way drop round and see us, and I’ll let you ride a buck-jumper that will toss you half-way to the moon. Ta, ta! Be good.”

The old farm was a deal quieter after Dick and Jack had gone. There was far less whooping, or barking of dogs, or cracking of whips. Uncle Robert said the place was not the same at all.

Then came another change. For Captain Herbert walked into the house one forenoon as quietly and coolly as if he had not been from home for over a week. This caused the greatest change of all, for Tom had to get ready for sea at once. His uncle took him straight away to Glasgow to get his outfit; and when the boy was rigged out in his pilot suit, with gilt buttons and cap with badge and band, very natty and neat he looked. ’Theena was very proud of him now; but at the same time she was very sad, for those brass buttons and that blue pilot-jacket meant separation for many and many a long day.{62}

When Tom awoke one morning and looked out of his window he could see a beautiful black painted barque lying at anchor in the bay, with tall tapering spars shining white in the sunlight, as if they had been formed of satin-wood. Then Tom knew that his time had come.

He was not very elated about it at first. It was so sudden; and I do trust the reader will not think him any the less brave when I confess that he sat down beside the window and indulged in the luxury of a good cry. For remember that the boy was not very old yet. No; and I have known many much older boys than he shed tears at the prospect of leaving home.

He was to sail on the very next morning; and that day he and ’Theena went to take one last look at the hermitage and the old castle, and the woods and wilds generally. And Tom the cat followed them and kept close by his master all the way.

“Poor fellow!” said the boy, stooping down to caress his favourite; “he seems to know we are to be parted.”

“Purr-rrn!” said Tom the cat. That was all he could say, but there was more in it than either the boy or ’Theena understood just then.

“Mind,” said Tom to ’Theena, as they stood together at the window of the old castle overlooking the woods and the sea, “I am going to come back rich and bring your brother with me.{63}

“I don’t care so much for my brother as for you,” said ’Theena candidly. “You know you are my brother now.”

“Yes,” answered Tom abstractedly.

Then hand in hand they went down the hill and through the woods and forest, and so back home again.

Tom’s mother came to see him to bed this last sad night, and sat long with him in the moonlight giving him good advice—the best of which was that he was to read the little Bible she gave him every night, and never to forget to pray.

The bustle of starting saved everybody next day from making much display of grief, and everybody was thankful accordingly. Only poor little ’Theena was half frantic, and could hardly tear herself away from the only brother she had ever known or loved—that is, as far as she could remember.

But the parting was all over at last; and when the sun sank slowly behind the waves that night the Caledonia was far away on the western waters, ploughing her way southward, with the coast of Ireland a long distance on the weather-bow.

Tom was to be apprentice, and, as he was the only one on board, he messed in the saloon along with Captain Herbert and the first and second mate.

The boy had knocked about too long in his{64} uncle’s little yacht to feel the effects of the ship’s motion in the shape of sea-sickness, so he sat down to supper that evening in very good spirits and with a healthy appetite.

They were just about to commence that meal, when in at the saloon door, with tail erect and something like a smile on his broad face, walked Tom the black cat.

“Purr-rrn!” he said well-pleasedly as he jumped on his master’s knee and rubbed his head against the boy’s chest.

Tom was too much surprised to speak, but the captain and mates laughed heartily.

“A stowaway!” said the former.

“Yes,” said Tom. “I have no idea how he got on board.”

“Well, never mind. I’ll wager a shilling he will bring us good luck.”

Black Tom was henceforth installed as ship’s cat; and the men were all most kind to him, for every sailor of them knew that though black cats will bring good luck to a ship, nevertheless if ill treated or lost overboard, the luck is sure to turn.{65}



IT is not often that the lines of young sailor-lads fall in such pleasant places as did those of Tom Talisker on first going to sea. To begin with, he had no extra rough work to do, as is too often the case with apprentices, and even midshipmen, on first going afloat—scrubbing and scraping all day long, their hands in a bucket of tar one minute, and in a bucket of “slush” the next.

“Make a man of my lad,” had been about the last words of Uncle Robert to his friend Captain Herbert; and that honest old tar had proceeded to do so forthwith, not on the old plan of first breaking a boy’s heart, and then making a bully of him if he survived it. No, the captain put Tom into the second mate’s watch, with a request that he should do the best he could for the lad; and as Holborn himself, as this officer was called, was an excellent sailor, and a kindly-hearted though somewhat rough and uncouth individual, he set about putting Tom up to the ropes without loss of time.


Captain Herbert himself superintended the lad’s book-studies, so on the whole he was well off; and it is no wonder, therefore, that before he had been to sea for three years he was able to reef, steer, and do his duty both on deck and below almost as well as Holborn could.

But all this time the Caledonia had never once been back to England.

For Captain Herbert was quite a wandering Jew of a sailor, and the reasons for this are not far to seek. First and foremost, he had never yet given up hopes that he would one day find his lost son, and he certainly left no stone unturned to bring about so wished-for an event. Secondly, he was his own master, the barque he sailed being his own property. And thirdly, it paid him to keep going from country to country, as long as there was no real necessity for docking the ship. Not that he valued riches for his own sake, but for the sake of ’Theena and the son he ne’er again might look upon.

If Tom had felt a man before leaving England, he now almost looked one. Indeed, in size and strength he was a man quite; for whatever some may say, the ocean certainly never stunts a youth’s growth.

He was a good sailor, too, taking the adjective “good” in every sense of the word. Neither his mother’s advice, the second mate’s care, nor Captain Herbert’s kindness had been thrown away on the boy; and on many a dark and stormy{67} night he proved that he was just as good as brave.

Another year of voyaging here and there across the face of the great waters passed away. The Caledonia was lying at San Francisco, and the captain intimated to the officers his intention of bearing up for home. They would double the Horn for the last time; then hurrah for merry England!

There was rejoicing fore and aft at the glad news; for if there is one word in our language that can convey a thrill of happiness to a sailor’s heart, that word is “home.” And every seaman on board a ship carries about with him all over the world affections and ties with the dear ones he has left behind that nothing but death itself can sever.

“In nine months’ time, my lad,” said Captain Herbert cheerily to Tom, who was walking the deck with his constant companion the cat at his heels. “In nine months’ time I hope we’ll be sailing up the Clyde. We shall touch at Ecuador and at Callao, then steer away south.”

It was not the first time since they had sailed from England that the Caledonia had touched at Ecuador, so Tom was not surprised at what the captain now told him; for the grave of his wife was there on that rugged shore, and it was there, too, he had lost his boy.

“I’m getting old, Tom,” he added. “I cannot{68} do now what I could have done ten years ago, and I fear I may never be on this coast again.”

Tom could hardly repress a sigh as he looked at him. He certainly was getting old, and very white in hair and beard; but probably it was his never-ending sorrow that had aged him quite as much as his years.

The Caledonia lay for many days near the spot where the Southern Hope was lost. Captain Herbert seemed to find a difficulty in tearing himself away this time. But when at last the wind began to blow high off the land, sail was set and away southwards once more went the good ship.

The captain was inexpressibly sorrowful as the vessel left the land, and Tom felt he could have given all he possessed in the world to dispel the clouds that hung so heavily over his dear old friend’s heart.

But Tom was too young to let sorrow depress him long, and that night after he had retired—for it would not be his watch on deck till the morning—he lay awake for hours thinking of home. How would every one be on his return, and how would they look?—his dear mother and quiet kindly father, his sister, his brother, and little ’Theena? But she would not be so very little now; and he supposed she would have forgotten him to a great extent, albeit she had written many a dear affectionate child-letter,{69} every one of which Tom had kept under lock and key in his ditty-box. His mother’s letters were there also, and a score of other odds and ends that no one knows the real value of except a sailor. He did not fall asleep until he heard the middle watch called, and Holborn came down below, and with him Tom the cat; for this strange animal evinced quite an affection for the second mate, and frequently kept watch with him even on stormy nights.

But he jumped now into Tom’s bunk with a little fond cry, nestled down in his arms, and the two Toms were soon fast asleep.

The Caledonia had cargo to leave at Callao and some to take on board; so the seamen and officers were busy for a time, almost night and day, as the captain was anxious now that no time should be lost.

At last, however, the vessel was loaded up, and nothing remained to be done except to bid some friends good-bye, and make purchase of a few curios to take to the old folks at home.

Tom and Captain Herbert were on shore, and had dined at one of the best hotels. Leaving his friend for a time Tom went out for a stroll and to enjoy the evening breeze, for the day had been very hot and sultry.

He stayed out longer than he had intended, and was making the best of his way back, when, in a side street through which he was passing by{70} way of taking a short cut, he came suddenly upon a wildly-excited group of men and women, who had rushed pell-mell and fighting from the door of an inn.

Suddenly there was the short, sharp ring of a revolver, then a shrill scream, and next moment the crowd dispersed, running in all directions.

Tom hastened up to where by the dim light of a hanging lamp he could see a man supporting himself on his elbow, groaning and in agony.

“Are you much hurt?” asked Tom, bending over him.

“I’m—dying—O! I’m dying,” was the man’s reply.

In the arms of the landlord of the inn and a single watchman he was borne inside and laid on the floor of a badly-lighted room, and soon a medical man entered. The wounded man, a dark evil-countenanced foreigner, lay so still and white one might have taken him for dead.

“His hours are numbered,” said the surgeon at last. “Send for a priest.”

The doomed wretch opened his eyes now.

“Yes, yes,” he gasped, “a priest. I have that on my mind I dare not die with. Boy,” he continued, looking bewilderingly at Tom, “did I see you with Herbert?”

“Captain Herbert,” replied Tom, “commands my ship.”

“Kneel down beside me then,” continued the{71} man. “Heaven sent you. I may yet be forgiven. Boy, have you heard him speak of the Southern Hope and of his steward Roderigo?”

“Yes, yes, a thousand times. Are you that villain?”

“I am that villain.”

The man had fainted again.

“Quick, quick,” cried Tom, addressing the landlord. “Bring brandy. Run, run. He must not die yet.”

“Who is to pay me for it?” answered the surly fellow. “I’ve had enough trouble for one night.”

Tom thrust money into his hand, and some poisonously-smelling spirit was soon produced.

After a little had trickled over the throat of the dying man he once more looked up.

“Speak slowly now,” said Tom, quietly supporting Roderigo with one arm. “Tell me more about the Southern Hope and the boy Bernard. O, tell me about him, and Captain Herbert will forgive you for anything, everything.”

“Yes, yes. The Southern Hope. We mutinied—we expected treasure—gold and precious stones—we found but insects, beetles, and stuffed birds. We were wild and wanted revenge. I would have fired the ship—but my comrades would not hear of it. The best revenge, they said, would be—was to—but where am I? Who are you?”

“Here, drink a little more. Now, tell me of the boy Bernard. You remember. Yes, you do,{72} I see it in your eye. Speak, if you hope for forgiveness.”

“Yes, I will confess all. But why comes not the priest? The boy Bernard we took away—”

“Does he live, tell me that?”

“He lives.”

“Heaven be praised!” exclaimed Tom. “O that Captain Herbert were but here himself! Tell me now, Roderigo, as you hope to be forgiven, where is the son of Captain Herbert? Where did you take him?”

“I—I know not—where he was taken—far into the interior.” The dying man was sinking fast. “I saw a trader lately—Bernard was with the Jivaros” (pronounced Heevaros). “He was well. Pray for me—I am dying.”

What could Tom do but kneel down there beside the poor wretch and pray for his forgiveness through the merits of our Saviour. It was the first prayer he had ever presented before the throne of grace otherwise than in the privacy of his own cabin or in his own thoughts, and he was surprised at his own earnestness.

“I am forgiven—I feel I am.”

These were the last words of the dying Roderigo. Just one last low sobbing sigh and all was over. Tom wept a little now as he stretched the unhappy man’s arms by his side, and closed his eyelids. Then he quietly took his leave.

Captain Herbert’s joy at the news Tom brought{73} him hardly knew any bounds. There was no going on board for either of them that night; and they sat till far into the small hours of the morning, talking of the past and laying schemes for the future. Or rather considering one particular scheme, which was of Tom’s proposing, and ultimately acceded to by Captain Herbert.

It was, in short, a plan of rescuing the boy, or rather young man, Bernard, from the tribe of warlike Indians in which he was a prisoner.

“Fain would I go with you,” said the captain, “for I fear the danger will be great; but I am feeble and far from well. I should but hinder you and clog your every movement.”

“Captain Herbert,” said Tom, “I am young if you are getting old. I am healthy and strong and I am not afraid of anything. I shall go as a hunter—go as my dear uncle went, see all he saw, do all and perhaps more than he did, and return, I doubt not, in company with your son Bernard.”

“May Heaven be with you then,” said the captain.

“I am not superstitious, dear sir,” continued Tom; “but the strange dream I had has never ceased to haunt me, and if I am instrumental in bringing back poor Bernard to his father and sister I shall be happy as long as I live.”

So it was agreed between them that all preparations should be at once made for Tom’s expedition{74} into the wilds of the strange land where Bernard was supposed to live, and in a few days after the burial of Roderigo, whom the captain had easily identified as his old steward, the Caledonia’s head was once more turned back towards the shores of Ecuador.

. . . . . . .

What a sad and eventful history is that of this lovely land of Ecuador! There is romance, too, in every page of it; but a romance, alas! that is all throughout stained with blood. Not the blood spilled in battle and with honour, not the blood of patriots and heroes, but blood spilled in civil wars, in petty strife, and the blood of murder and massacre.

If the purple mists of oblivion could be dispelled and we had a peep of the far bygone past, we should first find this country peopled by a race called Quitus; subjects of a king, but altogether lawless and independent, for the simple reason that communications betwixt tribe and tribe were few and far between, as in many cases were the tribes themselves. If they kept touch with each other it was through traditions, or through the more tangible instrumentality of knife or spear or poisoned dart.

Thus they may have lived and died for thousands of years, then we read of the first invasion. For some peoples dwelling far to the south had advanced further in civilization than the poor Quitus, with{75} the inevitable result—a desire for conquest, bloodshed, and rapine.

They were called Karans, and made their warlike descent upon the coast in armed boats or rafts. These Karans went to work in the usual way with invaders of the past—they slew the men and old of both sexes, enslaving the women and the girls and boys. Having once conquered the country they kept it, just as we Britons would have done, only we use the more refined expression “annexation.”

These Karans had a fine time of it after this. The country was such a wild and glorious one; no need to work or do anything, except hunt and fish and enjoy life. They called their kings “Shyris,” though there certainly was very little shyness about any of them. As these kings waxed richer and richer they grew more and more independent, not to say insolent, till their fame attracted the attention and inflamed the ambition of a great Inca called Tupac Yupanqui. Then war began in earnest, and lasted till the death of this King Tupac. There was a short lull after that; but, the days of his mourning being over, the dead monarch’s son Huayna-Kapak, a still more daring warrior than his father, continued the terrible warfare, and at length in a great battle conquered the Karans and slew their last Shyri. Well, the Karans were conquered; but they did not know it, for they simply made the dear kin{76}g’s daughter their queen and continued to fight under her.

Huayna-Kapak found he had all his work cut out, and that it would take him an age to kill all these warlike Karans, who were here, there, and everywhere at the same time. So for a time he was nonplussed. But lo! to his tent one day came an emissary from the enemy. He had not come to sue for peace; very far from it—only for a truce during the flood season, and that the dead might be properly interred on both sides.

Perhaps Kapak was a Scotchman, anyhow he was very canny. It would have been easy enough for him to have deprived this emissary of his head, but it would not have been diplomacy. Instead of taking his head or even his scalp he treated him very kindly and asked him as many questions as possible, the emissary in return telling him as many lies as he could think of. But there was one thing on which this Karan was extremely enthusiastic, namely, the beauty and accomplishments of the young queen. She was more lovely and radiant than the most beautiful bird in the forest, and she was as brave as a jaguar. Well, the canny Inca went to bed and dreamt about all the Karan had told him, and he was not any better when he came to breakfast next morning—he was in love. Why should we fight against so charming a queen? It would be easier to conquer the Karans by marrying her. So an interview{77} was arranged and a marriage next, and this bold but love-smitten Inca never went back—another proof, I think, that he must have been of Scotch descent—but dwelt in Quitu or Ecuador and ruled over his people for forty years.

After his death the kingdom became divided into two, for the king left one part of it, namely Cusco, to Huascar, half-brother to Atchualpa, the king’s son by his Shyri queen, the latter falling heir to Quitu proper.

Huascar was a quarrelsome fellow, and finally he declared war on his half-brother, but was defeated and thrown into prison. Poor Atchualpa some time after this fell a victim to treachery, his retainers were brutally massacred and he himself strangled.

After this the government of Ecuador became pretty much of a muddle. A chief called Rumiñagui made himself King of Quitu first, but the Spaniards determined to put him down. He was beaten in battle after battle, and on getting nearer to the capital this reckless and cruel chief massacred the “virgins of the sun” and burned the city. He found time to remove even all his gold and treasure, which he took with him to the wilds, burying them in a mountain, which still bears his own name. Some day a portion of this treasure, which I am told is still concealed at the base of this mighty hill, may be discovered by some adventurous boy who leaves this country{78} with twopence-halfpenny in his pocket, and who will, after killing wild beasts innumerable, return to England and live happy ever after.

The Spaniards now came into possession of the country, and after a deal of additional wars and a great deal of massacre and bloodshed, Ecuador became a republic. This happened about sixty years ago, and ever since it has been as much a prey to rebellions and revolutions as to earthquakes, being probably less happy and contented even now than when it was governed by the easy going kings of the Shyri dynasty. The greater portion of the country east of the Andes is clad in dense forests, and inhabited by wild beasts and still wilder men. And it was into this wilderness our hero Tom was now about to penetrate.



THE scene is changed.

And such a change!

It is but little more than a fortnight since Tom was busily engaged getting cargo on board the Caledonia at the noisy and far from romantic seaport of Callao. It is little over a week since he bade adieu to Captain Herbert and his friends{79} in the ship, and started from Guayaquil on his daring journey into the wilds of this veritable land of mountain and flood. It is little over a week, and yet it seems an age, and here he is at Riobamba; a town of strange low houses, few of which can boast more than a single apartment, but standing in their own grounds nevertheless. A town which does not look very imposing from a distance, and certainly does not improve on closer acquaintance; built on a sandy plain, in sight of and surrounded by the highest giants of the Andes.

It is night, and Tom, tired of wandering through the streets, is returning to the outskirts, where his little encampment is stationed. He prefers the company of Indians even, to a sojourn for even a single night in the inexpressibly filthy rooms of the city.

It is quieter, too, here; the silence only broken occasionally by the yelping of half-wild curs quarrelling over their carrion, or the cries of the night-birds. The moon is shining very clearly, and the stars look so near that the snow-capped mountains seem far above them. Yonder is the far-famed Chimborazo; Altur is also in sight, with its precipitous and rugged sides, and Carhuairazo, and mighty Tinguragua.

It is seldom indeed that they can be seen so distinctly as they are to-night; but when the moon rises slowly up into the deep-blue sky,{80} flooding all the scene with its dreamy light, the view on every side is grand in the extreme.

And those everlasting hills, the brilliant moon, and the silvery stars, are to Tom’s mind but steps in a ladder that leads his thoughts to heaven itself. He is so impressed with the solemnity of the whole scene, that before he retires to his tent he must needs kneel down and pray. He has much to pray for; he has not thoughtlessly entered upon the undertaking which has hardly yet commenced. He knew all the dangers to which he would be exposed; and although the very idea of being a lonely wanderer through Ecuador wilds appealed to the romance of his character, he would not willingly have risked his young life had not a greater reward than pleasure only seemed to depend upon the success of his expedition, namely, the realization of his dream, and the finding of lost Bernard Herbert. So he prayed now for a blessing on his endeavours; and for an unseen hand to support him in his journeyings, and to shield him from the dangers in forest, in jungle, and plain.

He rose refreshed in spirit, and soon reached his little toldo. His people had built themselves a hut of branches and grass, to shield them from the sun and rain by day and the dews at night. But three of them were waiting to receive him at his toldo door. This toldo, I may here mention, was a kind of gypsy tent of canvas. It had been{81} Captain Herbert’s last gift to him before they parted, and was made by the sailors on board the Caledonia.

It had not been difficult for Tom to secure servants for his expedition into the interior. He had fifty volunteers at least, and from these he chose five. Most of whom were real Indians, with a little Spanish blood in them. Active, young, and strong fellows every one of them, though certainly far from good-looking. Neither were they tall. Tom towered above them like a giant, or as the great volcanic crater of Cotapaxi towers above the neighbouring mountains. I believe each and all of his servants were just a little proud of their young white master, and just a little afraid as well. Tom, during the long years he had spent at sea, had not only developed immense strength, but something of a quick and imperious temper as well. Not that he was a bad-natured fellow by any means, only he would have things done his own way; he would be obeyed, and he had a pair of eyes that looked a man through and through while he issued an order or asked a question. In brief, Tom was not to be trifled with.

As he now approached his toldo, three Indians who had been squatting in the shade walked forth a few paces to meet him, bowed, and stood silently leaning on their tall spears, waiting for their white chief to speak. In their dark cotton ponchos and trowserets, if I may coin a word,{82} their heads dressed in tall feathers, and a bold, half-defiant look on the face of each, they certainly looked picturesque enough.

They were Indians of different tribes—a Canelo, a Napo, and a Thaparo; but as Tom had them armed and dressed precisely alike, it would have been difficult for a stranger to have seen much difference in them, by moonlight at all events.

“Well, men,” said Tom, stopping in front of them, “what is the news?”

“De news is,” said Tootu, the Canelo, for he was usually spokesman, his English being the best. “De news is dat de Tapir and de Wild Turkey hab eet plenty and go to sleep like pigs, and dat de Debil hab come, señor.”

Oko and Taoh both bowed, as if to confirm the information, startling though it sounded.

Tootu, Taoh, and Oko, signifying wind, fire, and water, were Tom’s principal men at present. The Tapir and the Wild Turkey were savages of a lower cast, and fit only to look after the horses and dogs, of which there were five of the former and three of the latter. “De Debil” himself was the guide par excellence, and for him they had been waiting for two or three days. His name in Indian language was Samaro, and Samaro we must call him in future, though it means much the same.

“Light the lamp in my toldo, Tootu, and we will receive Samaro.{83}

The lamp was lit, and Tom, somewhat tired of his rambling walk, threw himself on a mat on the ground. On this mat was curled no less a personage than Black Tom, the cat, who responded to Tom’s caress with his usual fond purr—rrn.

An attempt had been made to keep this strange puss on board, but all in vain. He had watched his master’s every movement, and when one of the sailors had attempted to catch him, with the intention of shutting him up, Black Tom had made it very hot indeed for that particular sailor. He had been glad enough to let him go.

And now Samaro entered.

Samaro was a very clever and very remarkable-looking Indian. Almost as tall as Tom himself, though probably double his age, with straight dark hair, and eyes of a piercing black, his face almost white, and singularly handsome. His poncho was of some light-coloured fur, and rather voluminous; while, as he stood with it thrown back over the arm which held his high feather-adorned spear and shield as well, in his girdle could be seen an ugly and business-like knife, and also a huge revolver. On his head was a cap of feathers, and there were toucan’s tails dangling to his girdle at one side, and something very dreadful to behold at the other. This was nothing more nor less than the complete skin of{84} the head and face of an enemy killed in battle, filled out with moss, but shrivelled to the size of a cocoa-nut, the features awfully pinched and contorted, and the whole appearance of the horrible ornament ugly enough to give one the nightmare.

“Señor Samaro?” said Tom.

“De Debil, señor, at your service.”

“We will call you Samaro.”

“Si, señor. Samaro will do.”

“Well, Samaro, I like the looks of you; though I don’t admire that ornament at your belt.”

“I do not admire that ornament at your side, señor.”

“That,” said Tom laughing. “O, that is my pet cat; and he must be your friend as well as mine.”

“That is well. I will love him.”

“Then we won’t quarrel.”

“No, we cannot. I have a reason to respect you. I was guide to a good white man before. It is many, many years ago. Ten years and ten moons, señor.”

“He was kind to you?”

“Ah, yes, he was kind to me. I shall never forget him.”

“His name?”

“Robert—Señor Robert. I think his other name was Sinclair.”

“Samaro!” cried Tom, springing up and clasping

[Image unavailable:TOM INTRODUCES HIS CAT]


the astonished Indian by the hand. “That was my Uncle Robert. How pleased I am. Sit down. Here Tootu, Taoh, Oko—wind, fire, and water,—where are you? Sit down on my mat, Samaro.”

So loudly had Tom shouted, that Wind, Fire, and Water rushed into the toldo like a first-class hurricane, almost upsetting each other in their eagerness.

“Bring coffee and food, and be smart about it.”

“Samaro,” he continued, “this is delightful! How glad I am to have met you. There, look, even my friend, the cat, is getting fond of you.”

Samaro stroked Black Tom somewhat dubiously. Then he looked up.

“Señor,” he said.

“Yes, Samaro.”

“This is not your private debil, is it?”

“No, no. I assure you it is not. I do not keep a private debil. I shouldn’t know what to do with one.”

“Then, señor,” said Samaro in a low voice, and with one rapid glance towards the toldo entrance, “we will say so. We will tell the boys it is your evil spirit.”

“But why, Samaro?”

“Why, señor, it may save your life many times during your stay in the wilds.”

Black Tom was meanwhile walking back and{86} fore betwixt his master and Samaro, with his tail very erect indeed, singing loudly, and evidently doing his best to cement a friendship thus strangely begun.

“Samaro, do you remember all my dear uncle’s adventures?”

“Yes, and all he said. Is the dear señor alive?”

“I trust so. Well, we will oftentimes talk of him. I think, Samaro, you are a good man.”

Samaro laughed aloud, but not disrespectfully.

“I am clever,” he said; “but not good. He! he! O, no; goodness does not pay. I am a thorough blackguard.”

“Samaro, you astonish me! And I don’t believe you.”

“But I have been told so. I have fought plenty, I have scalped my enemies, I have revelled in bloodshed.”

“But you never have betrayed a friend?”

“No, no, no; sooner would Samaro die.”

“And you speak the truth, do you not?”

“Yes. Because one lie told requires five more to shore it up.”

“Shore it up?” said Tom. “That is a sailor’s expression. Where did you acquire it?”

“From your good uncle. But I have much been to sea.”

“You have been to Callao?{87}

“I know every one there. I have been all over the world too.”

“Do you know that my uncle’s ship was seized by mutineers, with one Roderigo at their head?”

“I know all the story.”

“Samaro, do you know the reason why I am going all alone to the wilds—I mean without a white companion?”

“Like your uncle, you go to hunt.”

“No, that is not my chief reason. Samaro, listen. The captain of that unhappy ship had a son—a boy—who was stolen from his parents, and carried into the interior—”

“No, no,” interrupted Samaro. “He was carried no farther than here at first. He was sold here at Riobamba as a slave, and by Indians taken away across the terrible mountains. Roderigo is a foul fiend! See here,” he continued, his dark eyes blazing with excitement. “Roderigo had a brother, a fierce Spaniard, likewise a fiend; I killed him. Here hangs his brother’s scalp, and I have sworn that Roderigo’s shall hang beside it.”

“Samaro, Roderigo is dead.”

Samaro laughed, a grim and ghastly laugh.

“I know the story. I too have a brother. It was my brother who slew Roderigo. He has his scalp by this time. The grave could not hide his foe long from my brother’s gaze.”

“Samaro,” said Tom, “you almost make me{88} shudder. Surely this villain Roderigo has done you and your brother some irreparable injury?”

Samaro’s face grew dark as night.

“Had Roderigo a thousand lives,” he said, “he should yield them slowly up one by one before he could atone for the injury he did to me and mine. We will say no more now. Believe only this, he—this fiend Roderigo—slew my mother, burned our huts, and stole my brother’s wife and child.”

“So terrible a subject,” said Tom, “is best allowed to rest. But richly indeed did the wretch deserve his fate.”

Samaro sat in silence sipping his coffee for some time after this. But gradually the troubled look that had crept over his face left it, and soon he was talking again cheerfully enough.

“And so,” said Samaro, “I am henceforth to be your guide.”

“You are to be my chief guide, my steward, my counsellor, and my head man in every way.”

Samaro smiled in a pleased way.

“We will begin to get ready at once—to-morrow morning at sunrise,” he said, “if it so please you, señor.”

“That will do, Samaro. I long to be on the road. But one other question I wish to ask you before you retire. Have you any guess as to where Bernard Herbert is or what is his condition?{89}

“Absolutely none as to his condition, but he was taken away by the Jivaros.”

“Just what the dying Roderigo told me.”

“There was a lady, too,” continued Samaro, “a delicate young girl, sold at the same time. She came from the far east in your uncle’s ship, and had been nurse to Mr. Herbert’s child.”

“Yes, yes; that was the ayah. Did they ill-treat her?”

“No; they were afraid of her. They looked upon her as a being from another world.”

“Did she go with the boy?”

“She did.”

“Then we may find both?”

“I fear neither.”


“I give you no hope of finding either. But we may.”

“Ah! yes, Samaro, we may. Good-night. I’ll sleep and dream on that hope.”




SAMARO had been exceedingly well recommended to Tom as a perfect guide for the wilds, but the very fact that he had been with{90} his uncle would in itself have been the best of testimony in the man’s favour.

He proved himself most active and energetic from the first.

And there was quite a deal to be seen to. All stores of every kind had been brought from the ship and from Guayaquil, and shortly after sunrise Samaro proceeded to muster his forces and take stock of everything.

The stores were a medley; but the heaviest packages were those that contained articles for barter with the Indians of the interior, and these consisted chiefly of light cloth, thread, needles, pins, beads, axes, knives, spear-heads, looking-glasses, an African tom-tom, and a couple of German concertinas. Many of these things would be given away as presents, and there was even a gun or two that might also change hands.

The stores for the use of Tom himself and his Indian followers consisted for the most part of the tent, a grass hammock, a few blankets, with plenty of rifles, revolvers, and ammunition. Fishing gear had not been forgotten, nor useful tools of various sorts, to say nothing of preserved meats and a few simple medicines.

Such was the outfit of the Hermit Hunter of the Wilds. A hermit of the old school might have been content with far less, but your modern wanderers do not despise anything which science may suggest as likely to add to their comfort{91}. The horses were wiry, useful, willing beasts; strong too, and as sure-footed as mules even. The dogs were probably better than they looked. Mongrel greyhounds they were—not unlike a breed we find in Australia under the name of kangaroo-hounds.

The packages were carried by the horses in light, wicker baskets saddle fashion, and all were covered with waterproof canvas.

Tom had already enjoyed some of the delights of Ecuador travelling—if, indeed, there was very much delight in it—and his adventures as far as Riobamba would be worth relating were it not that those which followed were far more thrilling. But there had been rivers to cross, over tumble-down bridges, mountains to climb along tracks called roads which sheep in England would disdain, deep forests to force through, and long stretches of sandy plains to struggle over by paths that seemed interminable.

But although the rainy season was scarcely past the weather had been comparatively fine; and the scenery, ever varying, according to the altitude above the sea-level, was at times beautiful in the extreme, or grand even to awesome sublimity.

Tom was fond of nature in all her varied aspects, and all through his journeyings he had the pleasant companionship of birds and flowers and ferns, to say nothing of many a little forest friend{92} in fur, that hardly thought of running away, so unused were the creatures of the wilds to the presence of man.

The greater part of the population of Riobamba turned out to see Tom start.

In addition to the pack-horses he had brought two others to ride—one for himself and the other for Samaro. This guide went on first, then Tom and the others followed in Indian file.

It was a delightful morning, with a breeze blowing from the distant mountain slopes of Chimborazo; and the throng of Indians spear-armed and clad in their gay-coloured ponchos, the huts and houses, the cattle, horses, and strange-looking llamas, the greenery of the shrubs and bushes, the jagged hills and blue sky above, flecked with many a fleecy cloud, made up a scene that was both beautiful and picturesque.

But all was soon left behind, and solitude reigned supreme.

The pack-horses and men were lagging behind. Samaro was a long way ahead, and when Tom pulled rein and looked about him, hearing nothing but the rustling of the wind through the wild corn and dark-leaved aloe bushes, he realized for the first time that he was really on his way to the wilderness.

All the year round the sun sets about six o’clock in the land of Ecuador, and a full hour before that time Tom gave orders for the halt;{93} and not far from the banks of a river the tent or toldo was erected, and supper prepared. It would have been easy to have pushed on a few miles farther to the village of Penipe, but for the time-being at all events Tom was independent of villages of any kind. Nor did he have a very high opinion of the cooking and accommodation to be obtained therein. Certainly in a town a greater amount of so-called civilization was to be met with; but there the insects were more civilized too. That is how Tom Talisker argued. Out in the open country, even in the bush, although these plagues were to be met with in every shape and form—flying beetles, gigantic mosquitoes, cockroaches, earwigs, scorpions, centipeds, and winged bugs, to say nothing of a host of other creepie-creepies,—they were wild; while, on the other hand, those that dwelt in houses were tame, disgustingly so, and au fait in all the ways of the world. Besides, there was in the open the blessings obtainable from fresh air.

I have already said that hermit hunter though he was Tom did not despise his comforts. On my honour now, I think he would have been a fool if he had. What good would it have done himself or anybody else had he dressed in sackcloth and ashes? He could have gotten plenty of both in Ecuador had his fancy led him to adopt so sad a costume. But it did not. He preferred alpaca and fine linen, and he actually carried an excel{94}lent hunting watch. Every night, too, while in the wilderness he had his tent erected, his hammock slung, and the whole of the latter neatly surrounded by a mosquito curtain. If ever, dear reader, you go to the wilds, I advise you to adopt the same plan.

Well then, after Samaro had tucked his master in, as you might say, he threw up one side of the tent, and lo! the sweet pure air of heaven swept in. The creepies came too—some of them at all events. The scorpions and centipeds had not a chance, and the flying “ferlies” could only grind their mandibles outside the curtain. Mosquitoes are very insinuating though, and if there had been a hole in the curtain big enough to admit the end of a pencil some enterprising mosquito would have found it out and forthwith started a limited liability company, thousands would have joined, and before morning Tom’s face would have been a sight to see in the looking-glass—that is, if seeing was any longer a possibility.

“Stay and talk with me to-night,” said Tom, after Samaro had tucked him in. “Throw up the tent that I may see the stars. That’s right. Now smoke.”

“Is this going to be the order of our evenings?” said Samaro.

It will be observed that this man talked excellent English, and well he might: he had lived in every country under the sun.{95}

“Yes,” replied Tom, “if you don’t mind. You see, it is too soon to go to sleep, and if I have the lamp lit we will have more flying things about us than I care for.”

To keep stray pumas, or a wandering and inquisitive jaguar—the American tiger, at a respectable distance, a fire of wood was lit every evening, and near this lay talking low, and sometimes singing strange uncouth lilts of love and war, Tom’s five men. There was one drawback to their pleasure—the snakes. But it was a very slight one; for as a rule snakes do not bite unless you tread on their tails. They take good care you never tread on their heads; they glide away quickly enough to save the front portions of their anatomy. It is the after-part of the procession that cannot be got away in time to save itself, and when the unhappy man’s foot comes down the snake strikes at once, and there is but little chance of life after that.

Well, when one goes first to the wilderness, if he be a green hand, or tender-foot as the Yankees call a novice, he keeps thinking about snakes all day long, and they even follow him into his dreams, fevering body as well as mind, and destroying all chance of perfect happiness. But a few weeks in the wilds harden even a tender-foot, and he finds out as his face gets browner that even snakes never bite except in self-defence, and that if he observes ordinary caution he is{96} as safe on the plains as he would be in Hyde Park.

“O,” said Samaro, “I shall be very much pleased.”

“Well then, tell me a story, and sing me a song if you can. I want to feel perfectly at home.”

And Samaro not only this night but every night almost told Tom stories of his wild life and adventures, and sang him songs, just as if he had been a little boy at home in his own bed-room. And to tell the truth Tom used very often to go to sleep before Samaro had done singing.

Tom, the black cat, invariably retired to the hammock with his master. By day he rode on the saddle sometimes, or he might disappear altogether for half a day at a time. Black Tom was permitted to do precisely as he pleased, and that is the secret of his affection for White Tom.

Tom was never tired hearing Samaro tell all about Uncle Robert’s adventures, and, to a great extent, he determined to do very much as his uncle had done.

“It will be such a surprise, you know,” he told Samaro, “to collect precisely the same kind of curios, and skins of birds and beasts, and butterflies, and beetles as Uncle Robert did. Why, when I go home and show him all these, he will be as happy as the good little boys in the fairy-books.{97}

This was a happy thought, and Samaro entered into the scheme with great spirit and joy.

Between Riobamba, therefore, and Banyos they spent three whole weeks. But bird skins and butterflies were almost the sole objects that Tom collected in these regions. They had hardly yet come to lions and tigers. He gathered, however, specimens of ore, which Samaro assured him contained gold as well as other precious metals.

Sometimes they met wandering bands of Indians. They were quiet and civil as yet, but they were extremely curious to know what brought the white hunter to these regions. They were satisfied each and all of them with Samaro’s explanations. All Englishmen were mad, the guide told them, except a very few, and these were fools.

Seeing Tom pursuing bright-winged butterflies they naturally concluded he belonged to the latter section.

“It is well it should be thought so,” said Samaro. “Your fame and reputation will go before you into the wilds.”

“My reputation as a fool—eh?” said Tom laughing.

“Yes, as a fool. Then if your friend Bernard does indeed live among the Jivaros, you will be more likely to find and free him. They will not suspect a fool.{98}

They found the horses very handy at present; but by and by the country would be far too wild to make any use of them.

The dogs, however, were as yet of little service. However they occasionally caught a cavy or agouti, and these, roasted whole in gypsy fashion, formed occasionally a very appetizing supper.

Fruit was everywhere abundant here, and eggs of various kinds of birds added considerably to the contents of the larder.

The rain, however, spoiled many a good day’s sport, and always after a “spate” or downfall the streams became swollen.

They would have to ford these at times with considerable risk; while at other times they found bridges. But terrible bridges they were. It really makes me shudder a little to think of them, although I am not much given to shuddering as a general rule. The best of them were suspension bridges, and the method adopted in their construction was simplicity itself. Three or four chains were swung across the stream and tied to the tree trunks, and on these pieces of wood were fastened with withes, and lo! the bridge was complete, but fearfully unsafe. They were very high above the water to prevent their being washed away during floods, and as they were stretched over the narrowest gulleys, the water beneath rushed onward with such rapidity,{99} that the strongest swimmer that ever lived would not have had the ghost of a chance for his life had he fallen off the bridge.

Imagine if you can horses having to cross such a bridge. But they often had to.

Tom had one adventure on a bridge that he is never likely to forget. He was all alone too; that is, no human being was within reach. About four miles down a stream he had found a ford in the morning, but on returning about an hour before sunset he came to this fearful bridge and determined to cross over. He tied his horse up first, then ventured on himself, and went backwards and forwards several times to test its strength. The bridge was not more than four feet wide, but felt firm enough, and it was all right with Tom so long as he did not let his eyes fall in the direction of the roaring, tumbling torrent far down beneath. If he did so for a moment he felt as if the whole structure were gliding from under him.

But now for the horse. It was not difficult to get the wise creature on, though he walked with excessive care and caution, feeling his way as it were step by step, with his eyes fixed steadfastly on the bank beyond.

Tom walked on before holding the bridle. The bridge bent as they neared the centre till it assumed almost the shape of a hammock, and Tom began to think it must break. He kept up{100} his heart, however, and with gentle, encouraging words urged his beast to follow.

They had reached the middle when, without the slightest warning, a squall came suddenly roaring down the gulley, and the bridge began to sway and swing and creak and crack. Never in his lifetime before had Tom experienced such a feeling of awful danger. The horse stood still now, shaking with dread, and emitting a low, frightened kind of a whinny, while the sweat poured over his hoofs.

Tom crouched lower and lower to save himself from falling, but he still kept hold of the bridle; for even in the extremity of his own danger, he did not forget that the touch from man’s hand gives confidence to the brute, even when seemingly paralysed with terror.

The squall luckily did not last many minutes. Then it fell calm again, and in a very short time he and his faithful horse were safely across. But even then he dared scarcely look back and down into that frightful chasm that seemed to have been yawning hungrily for his life.{101}



THE crossing of streams, either by swinging bridges or through fords in which the water roared and rushed with the rapidity of a mill-stream, constituted a source of ever-recurring danger. The bridges at times were of even simpler construction than that already described, especially if the stream or chasm were narrow, for then two trees, or perhaps but one, would have to do duty as a support for the cross-pieces of wood; and as these latter were often so rotten that they snapped in two with the weight of a man, it may easily be perceived that the comfort and feeling of security while on them were but slight.

As a rule the natives have but little faith in these frail and fearful structures, and will go a long distance round to find a ford; unless indeed they are intoxicated, which they too often are when a chance occurs. But the bridges as a rule are left standing until they fall with the weight of some unlucky wight.

I have said that the horses were exceedingly sure-footed. So they needed to be; for the tracks in this mountain-land sometimes went winding{102} alongside of frightful precipices, and the danger was quite as great in coming down as in going up.

But a horse occasionally got frightened, and lost for a time all his presence of mind.

One day Tom was riding on in front on just such a pathway as that I have mentioned. It was nowhere more than five feet wide; the mountain rising steep close on one side, the yawning gulf at the other, with bushes clinging to its edges. Stones occasionally came tumbling down from above with a hurtling noise; but when they rolled over the precipice they were heard no more, for they had fallen into space, and the sudden silence was awfully suggestive. Now and then came a sharp angle or curve in the pathway; and here the danger was at its height, for you could no longer see where the road led. You were riding right on to the cliff; and it was impossible to divest the mind of the idea that next moment the horse you bestrode would be pawing the air, as he and you were being hurled to destruction.

It was close to such an eeriesome and uncanny corner as this, and immediately after he had passed it, that Tom found himself face to face with a puma, coming along the narrow pathway with long, stealthy, lynx-like steps. The beast was as much startled as anyone. He emitted one low growl, then immediately turned to fly.{103}

Nothing but instant action could have saved Tom’s life now, for the horse reared and swerved half over the cliff, as his rider threw himself off against the hill and clung to some rhododendron bushes. He had not quitted hold of the bridle, and slight though this support was it probably saved his horse. The beast’s hind-legs and thighs had almost disappeared. His nostrils were distended, and his eyes seemed to flash dark fire, as for a moment he hung ’twixt life and death. The shuddering, quivering groan the poor brute gave when he once more stood safe on the path was evidence of his appreciation of the terrible danger he had just escaped.

It will be easily seen, therefore, that travelling in Ecuador is fraught with many perils, and one may truly be said to take the road with his life in his hand. As far as our hero was concerned, however, this spice of danger certainly did not detract from the pleasures of the journey. He was nevertheless most careful before setting out of a morning to see that his horse and all the horses had been well fed and harnessed; for this concerned the safety of the poor brutes as well as his own. So simple an accident as the loosening of a belly-band has ere now in this wild land resulted in horse and rider being precipitated over a mountain-side, or swept from a ford into the rapids of some swollen river.

Dangers come when least looked for; nothing{104} is certain when travelling except the unexpected, and it is always prudent to be prepared.

But I do not mean to hold my hero up as a paragon of prudence, or any other virtue for that matter; and I have to confess that his love of nature, and his search for the beautiful and the picturesque, often led him into difficulties he might otherwise have steered clear of.

“I say, Samaro,” he said one night to his major-domo, “I have a notion to climb one of these lofty mountains. Up into the region of perpetual snow. Do you understand?”

“I understand, señor; but—”

“Well, what?”

“Your uncle would not have dared to do so.”

“O, I shall dare more than my uncle ever dared. And whatever a man dares he can do.”

“Well, señor, I am ready. Will you start to-morrow?”

“Yes. The hill is at hand, or mountain rather; and it does not seem difficult to ascend. Looks quite near, indeed.”

“Excuse me, señor,” said Samaro, “if I take the liberty of laughing. The mountain certainly seems near, but so does the moon. The air is very clear, señor.”

“Well, all the better for us.”

Tom was early astir next morning; but early though it was he found Samaro busy enough. He was squatting under a bush, making for him{105}self what looked to Tom something like a pair of leather breeches with feet attached.

“Ah! I see,” said Tom. “You expect it will be cold up yonder, so you are utilizing a puma’s skin.”

“I have been there before,” said Samaro, “with—”

“With whom?”

“A mad Englishman.”

“O! and now you will have to pilot a fool?”

“Si, señor.”

“Well, are you nearly ready, Mr. Guide?”

“I am ready,” replied Samaro; “and,” he added, pointing upward at the mighty Tinguragua, “the mountain is ready and waiting also.”

The journey and ascent, for it was both combined, were now commenced.

“There is no occasion to hurry,” said Tom; “we will take it easy.”

Well, mountain climbing does always seem easy at first; but, anyhow, Tom was now in grand form: his limbs were as hard and tough as hawsers, and it would have taken a good deal to make his heart palpitate. On they went, and soon leaving the river’s bank they penetrated into the depths of the primeval forest, and following a little track made by some wild animals in their nightly visits to the river, began to ascend.

The company consisted of Tom and his guide, with Tootu, Taoh, and Oko carrying ropes, axes,{106} arms, provisions, and blankets. It was wonderful how well these three honest fellows agreed. As a rule wind, fire, and water do not pull well together when they meet, but in this case they did. Tootu was usually spokesman; but whatever he said, the other two, fire and water, were ready to chime in with, and swear to if need be.

Onwards and upwards they journeyed now for hours, the pathway sometimes so steep that they had to clamber on their hands and knees.

Onwards and upwards, then onwards and downwards. This was the worst of it. It was as trying to the nerves as the temper. It did seem a pity that, after they had reached a certain elevation, they should be confronted with a ravine into the very bottom of which the pathway led them before taking them onwards and upwards again. It was like having to do the ascent twice over. But there was no help for it.

Tom was amply rewarded, however, by the beauty of the tropical forest. I should search in vain through the tablets of my memory for words in which to express the charm and singularity of those woodlands. On the lower grounds, indeed, the vegetation was all a wild and lovely tangle, representing on an enormous scale the struggle for existence that has been going on here for ages. It was one great and continued fight for the sunlight, in which to some extent and for a time the largest and strongest trees gained the{107} victory. But the smaller and weaker plants, the splendidly-flowered creepers, the mosses, the orchids, and lesser ferns were not to be denied. There was nowhere they would not go, no height to which they would not aspire and climb. They draped the tree-stems and branches with blossoms, it is true; but by and by that very wealth of trailing, hanging, waving beauty proved the downfall of the most lordly giants of the forest; and when winds swept through the woods they came down with a crash, and in a few weeks had disappeared off the face of the earth. For here a fallen trunk is seldom seen, in such teeming myriads do busy-footed insects work on the ground and beneath it.

Out at last came the wanderers upon a higher region still, and now they had to traverse for miles a kind of hilly plateau that looked altogether like the work of some wonderful landscape gardener. It was a plateau covered with innumerable little tree-clad, fern-clad, moss-clad, flower-covered hills, with rocks in the shape of gray needles, silvery boulders, square towers, domes, and minarets, peeping up through the foliage everywhere. Round and among these wound many a little footpath—the footpaths of wild beasts—but none, probably, more dangerous than the timid agouti, the cavy, or peccary. Occasionally they crossed small meandering streams that appeared here and there, popping out from{108} banks of foliage or gushing and trickling from the hill-sides, and disappearing again soon in the same mysterious manner.

Add to this “garden wide and wild” birds that flutter from bough to bough, many silent but of rainbow radiance, others gray and brown and hardly seen, but trilling forth such melody as can be heard from no other feathered songsters on earth; add to it radiant butterflies and moths in clouds; bees also, some of enormous size and dangerous wrathful appearance; and snakes basking on the moss of rocks, gliding swiftly through the little glades, or hanging asleep on the bushes.

Close to a tiny stream of clear water Tom sat down; the weary carriers threw down their burdens, and a welcome meal was made of biscuits and fruit, and a long rest taken before resuming the ascent.

The great mountain was there before them still, looking as big and far steeper than when they started.

The foliage changed now, and some parts of the mountain over which they climbed were all ablaze with tree-rhododendrons, while the perfume of wild heliotrope filled the air. Heaths, too, were abundant, many of which put Tom in mind of those he had wandered among on the mountains of the Cape of Good Hope.

Climbing began in earnest soon after this; and no one spoke, but clambered on and up in silent{109} earnestness. Just about sunset they found themselves once more on a vast plateau, on which grew only the scantiest herbage. After crossing this they found a small cave in the mountain-side, and here for the night the bivouac was made.

While dinner was being prepared Tom climbed higher up still and sat himself down on a rock; but the vastness and grandeur of the scene, and its indescribable silence and solemnity, must be left to the reader’s imagination.

He must have been fully ten thousand feet above the sea-level; and yet the snowy craters of Carhuairazo, just visible over the bluff bare brow of the mountain, still towered high above him.

Far below was an ocean of lesser hills, of woods and plains and smiling valleys, with streams that looked like trickling rills or silver threads among the green, and here and there a glassy lake.

The sun went down in a blaze of glory, and he now hastened below to enjoy repose and a well-earned dinner.

About nine o’clock, though the stars had been very bright before this, a storm-cloud passed over the mountain-side, with a roaring wind, heavy rain, and thunder and lightning. After this Tom went out to have one more look at the scene before turning in. Nothing was now visible beneath but a dim chaos of clouds, nothing on the horizon either, except, far away to the north, the giant{110} cone of Cotopaxi. Its snow-girt crater was lit up every now and then by the gleams of the great fires within—gleams that darted in straight lines up through the rolling clouds of smoke that hung pall-like over it.

This is the loftiest and mightiest volcano in the world. Talk not of its height in feet or yards—speak of it in miles; and fancy, if you can, a burning mountain nearly five miles in height, the thunders of whose workings can be heard, and have been heard, six hundred miles away! It made Tom shiver to think of it. But O, the illimitable distance of the stars that shone above, and to think of God who made them all! What a mystery of mysteries! And the stars are voice-less, and these dread volcanoes speak only to us in thunders that we cannot understand, till we are fain to seek for refuge in the only refuge we have: our belief in the goodness of the Father, and the religion revealed to us in the Book of Books.

Tom sighed, he knew not why, and crept inside to the shelter of the cave, and wrapping himself in his blanket soon sank to sleep. But many times ere morning he was startled by the roar of falling debris of earth, rocks, and stone, loosened by the recent rain storm.

Samaro roused his young master early to see the sunrise. But when he went outside he stood for a few moments in silent wonder. Where{111} had the world all gone to? It had disappeared, most assuredly—most of it at all events. Here was the mountain above and round him, but all the gorgeous scenery he had gazed on last night was swallowed up in an ocean of white mist or clouds. The word “ocean” is precisely the one to use. Beneath and as far as the eye could gaze all was a vast white sea, only it was bounded on the horizon by the jagged ridges and crater-cones of the mountains, and these looked like rocks and cliffs overhanging this ocean.

It was a marvellous sight; but when presently the red sun showed over the edge the scene was changed, and the whole sea of mist turned to clouds of mingled gold and crimson.



IT was only that daring and indomitable spirit of adventure which every true-born healthy Briton possesses that compelled Tom to climb any further into cloud-land to-day.

Tootu and his companions were left behind at the cave, our hero going up alone with Samaro. He meant to reach the snow-line, and he did;{112} and had the satisfaction of walking a mile or two over a region of glaciers unsurpassed anywhere else in the world.

Apart from the pleasure he felt in having gained his desires, and standing where no human foot had probably ever trodden before, there was little comfort at this sublime altitude. A high cutting wind was blowing, and the cold was intense and piercing. Poor Samaro looked blue and benumbed; and albeit he had donned those wonderful nether garments of his, he was a very pitiable spectacle indeed.

At last he stopped, and pointing to a cloud that seemed fast approaching—

“Has my young chief,” he said, “made his will? If we have to die, Samaro would prefer to be where the birds sing.”

So enchanted had Tom been with the desolalation and sublimity of the scene everywhere beneath, above, and around him, that he took no heed of anything else, and had hardly felt the cold.

But his eyes now followed the direction of Samaro’s finger, and to his surprise and alarm he noticed that the last shoulder of the mighty mountain was already hidden with a darkling cloud. It was as if this monarch of the Andes were himself feeling the effects of the bitter wind and drawing his mantle close around him.

“Come, sir, come; there is not a moment to lose.{113}

Tom looked now towards the point from which they had entered the plateau; it appeared very far away indeed.

“We can run,” he said.

“Nay, nay,” was the reply. “We will be exhausted soon enough. As well lie down and die as run.”

The guide going on in front at a moderately quick pace, with Tom in the rear, they now began to retrace their steps.

But soon the snow began to drive athwart the track in a blinding shower, the wind and cold also increased till the former gained all the awful strength of a blizzard. In less than five minutes their footprints in the soft snow were entirely obliterated. But Samaro held on unheeding, and now and then some hummock of ice dimly seen through the snow-cloud proved to Tom that they were still in the right track.

There was no talking now. Indeed had they shrieked even, their voices would hardly have been heard in the howling of that awful storm.

How long they had walked Tom never knew: it seemed hours and hours; but he was drowsy, stupid, and all but benumbed. He was aroused at length from his lethargy by the Indian violently shaking him, for he had almost sunk down with the terrible fatigue. Samaro, standing there by his side all clad in ice and snow, looked like the very spirit of the storm.{114}

Tom pulled himself together once more and followed his guide.

At last, at long, long last they were descending.

Tom could breathe more freely now at every step. The terrible tightness across his chest had gone, and the fearful feeling of suffocation that had half-garrotted him.

Then the snow changed gradually to sleet, the sleet to rain, and the rain to mountain-mist. In half an hour the sun was shining brightly, though all around the terrible mountain-top the clouds still curled and mixed.

They were saved! Saved but by the merest chance; for Samaro now told Tom that had the wind changed by so much as two points of the compass, as it often does during these blizzards, they must both have sunk and perished.

“You were steering by the wind, then?” said Tom.

“Entirely by the wind, señor.”

. . . . . . .

In another week’s time a change was made in the method of travelling, for the party were now entering a region so terribly wild and trackless that horses would no longer be of any service to them. So well and faithfully, however, had these honest nags served them, that Tom determined not to part entirely with them; and as Samaro thought it would be possible to trust to the honesty of some of the people of the last village{115} through which they passed before entering the wilderness proper, they were left there, and might or might not be awaiting them on the return journey, if ever such a journey should be permitted them.

Ten additional carriers had now to be hired, and, to his credit be it said, Samaro made the very best bargains possible for his young master.

Altogether, the crew all told, as we say at sea, of the little expedition now consisted of seventeen souls, not including the three dogs and Black Tom himself, who possibly had souls as well as the rest. Here what the poet Tupper says on this subject:—

“It is not unwisdom to hold with the savage
That brutes (as we name them for dumbness) have souls,
For though, as with us, death’s fury may ravage
Their bodies—their spirits it never controls.
Dumb innocents, often too cruelly treated,
May well for their patience find future reward,
And the Great Judge in mercy and majesty seated
Claims all His creation as bought by its Lord.”

Black Tom and the dogs, it may be added, were very friendly; though at the same time puss gave the dogs to understand that he was king of the castle, being his master’s chief pet and favourite, and sleeping in his arms every night.

One evening puss brought home a fine specimen of cavy which he had caught in the forest. He laid it dead at his master’s feet; and receiving{116} the praise that was his due, went immediately forth and brought in another. His master offered those to Tootu; but Tootu said, “No sah, I not eat de food wot de debil catch.”

So the cavies were cooked for Tom himself, and his guide shared them, washing the excellent food down with a cup of yerba-maté, which Samaro assured his white chief came all the way from Patagonia. A most delightful beverage it made; and it turned out that the guide had quite a store of it. After drinking it a gentle feeling of comfort seems instilled through every vein and nerve in the body, far more pleasant than that produced by tea, but by no means approaching the stimulating effects of wine or beer.

Still acting on the advice of his clever guide and companion, Tom continued to figure as an eccentric Englishman, and made no hurry across country into the land of the Indians proper. They had seen but few of these even yet, so the packages of gifts had not been broached.

The life now led was quite of a gypsy character. Whenever Tom found a more comfortable bivouac than usual, “Here shall we stay for a day or two, Samaro,” he would say, and probably this day would be extended to a week or even more.

Tom fished as well as hunted.

In many of the lesser streams the fish were truly marvellously tame. Here hardly any science at all was required to catch them. A hook “busked{117}” with a little white hair or cotton at the end of a strong line, and a short stout rod, was all that was required. Patience is one of the angler’s virtues in this country, but in the wilds out there it was not needed; for at times one might work two rods, leaving one line in the water while taking the fish from the other, and even thus he would have plenty of work to do.

Strange to say the cat always accompanied his master on a fishing expedition; but very seldom, indeed, when he went shooting. Cats, we all know, are fond of fish; but there are exceptions, and this particular puss could never be prevailed upon to eat fish raw or cooked. Nevertheless he would play with those his master threw out on the bank, and thus had no end of fun.

Black Tom came to the tent one evening with a huge snake in his mouth. He no doubt expected praise for this exploit also; but on being admonished about the matter he evidently made a resolve not to repeat the offence, at all events he never did.

One evening, on returning after dark, Tom found Samaro with the cat on his knee, and nearly all the men standing silently round him. He jumped up laughing as his master approached, and puss sprang on Tom’s shoulder with his usual fond cry of welcome.

“What were you doing with pussy?” asked Tom that same night.{118}

“Hush, chief!” said Samaro. “I was keeping up their creed—the servants’ creed.”

“And that is—”

“That the cat is a debil. I was stroking his back, and the ’lectricity was crackling, and the sparks flying plentifully when you, señor, came up. They think the chief is a great man to have a private debil.”

Tom laughed, and the subject dropped.

In the forests of Ecuador, by day as well as by night, there are all kinds of strange shrieks and sounds to be heard; but returning about sunset one evening towards his little camp, and just before leaving the woods, Tom heard a plaintive scream that caused him at once to pause and listen. Again and again it was repeated, and he hastened in the direction from which it came.

None too soon, for there on the top of a large spreading tree was his favourite and pet, and not five yards away a gigantic puma preparing to spring.

Up came the rifle. He hardly took aim, but nevertheless one minute afterwards the puma was stretched lifeless on the ground, and the cat was singing a song of victory on his master’s shoulder.

About a week after this, our hero had a very narrow escape from death by drowning. His company were on the march, when they came to{119} an extremely rapid river that had to be crossed acrobatically. It was well for Tom that he was a sailor, for the rope bridge is very common in these wilds. This one looked rather insecure, for it stretched with each man till his feet were almost touching the torrent beneath. Package after package had been swung over in the loop attached to the rope, and man after man, in somewhat the same way adopted in saving life by a line from a wrecked ship to the shore. The dogs had been taken over, and then it came to Tom’s own turn—the cat, as usual on such occasions, clinging to his shoulder. When about half-way across there was an ominous crack; but still the rope held, and it was not until he was nearly at bank that it gave way suddenly and entirely, and the white chief was plunged into the boiling whirling rapids.

He struck out bravely though blindly. He could see nothing and hear nothing save the roaring of the water in his ears. How long he struggled he could not have told. It seemed like an age. He was giving up at last, when all at once the surging sound of the rapids ceased, and he found himself near the bank and in calm water. He caught at a tree-trunk that was floating slowly down stream, and held on till rescued by the Indians.

But where was Black Tom? Gone undoubtedly.

They did not travel much farther that day{120} before the white chief called a halt, although it still wanted three hours to sunset.

The tent was erected, and the men soon built themselves shelters of palm and plantain leaves. The camp fires were lit, and dinner cooked and eaten. Then the men settled down for their long forenight’s chat and smoke, and as usual Samaro threw himself down beside his chief.

But his chief was very sad to-night.

He cared not for the guide’s stories or conversation, nor would he partake of the fragrant yerba-maté.

All was silence and gloom for a time, but as it grew darker the forest seemed to suddenly awake to life—though a weird wild life it was. The low grumbling growl of the prowling jaguar, the strange medley of notes produced by flying or crawling insects, the plaintive wailings of the night-birds, and now and then these howlings and shriekings from the darkest depths of the woods that make one’s spine feel like ice to listen to, and cause the superstitious Indians themselves to place their fingers in their ears and cease for a time to talk.

“The señor is very sad to-night,” said Samaro.

“Very sad, my friend. Very sad.”

“And I too mourn the loss of your poor dark friend.”

“He has been with me so long, Samaro.”

“And he has come through so much, señor.{121}

“And was always so loving and faithful, Samaro.”

What Samaro was going to reply will never be known, for at that moment a wild and frightened yell burst from the lungs of the Indian servants. Something black had leapt over their heads.

Tom made a spring for his rifle, which lay loaded near him, thinking a jaguar had attacked the camp. But the mystery was speedily solved; for here was Black Tom himself, none the worse for his adventure, as dry as if he had never been half drowned, and in his mouth a plump little cavy. Tom could talk after that.

Samaro brewed an additional bowl of maté, and it was quite late that night before either thought of retiring.



THE road next day led over a very lofty range of mountains. I say “road” for want of a better word; for, in the direction they took at the advice of Samaro, there was not even a path. The forest that they had to penetrate, half the{122} distance towards the nearest ridge, was an almost impassible jungle. They had to fight almost every yard of the way against trees and creepers and rocks. There were pumas in this forest; they sighted and startled jaguars even, and snakes seemed to be everywhere, but they thought of nothing but how best to get onwards.

When they reached the mountain top at last, and lay down to rest—fully five thousand feet above the sea-level—every man in the company felt as tired as if a long day’s work had been done.

A cool breeze was blowing at this great altitude however, and having partaken of a moderate luncheon, everybody felt once more as active as Black Tom himself.

The view spread out before them here was wide, wonderful, and magnificent in the extreme. Probably in no country in the world is the scenery more grand and thrilling than in this land of Ecuador. Tom felt the influence of the situation in all its force, as he reclined on a moss-covered bank and gazed enraptured on the panorama that was spread out far below him—the wide and beautiful valley, the winding silvery river with its whirling rapids and waterfalls that sparkled in the sun, hills wooded to the top and forests everywhere, the distant sierras on the horizon, and the sky itself bluer in its rifts to-day than{123} ever he had seen it, because there were ominous-looking rain clouds about.

“I think,” he said to himself, “I could be perfectly happy here if I had anyone to share my pleasure with me. Heigho!” he sighed. “Even the life of a hermit hunter has its drawbacks.”

Then his heart gave a big throb of joy-expectant, as he thought of the probability of soon having as a companion poor lost Bernard, ’Theena’s brother. ’Theena! Yes, dear little ’Theena. He wondered what she was doing just then. But she would not be so little now. ’Theena at thirteen would look and act differently from the ’Theena of nine years old, that had to be forced weeping from his arms when he left his native shore, long, long ago. Ay, indeed it seemed very long ago; for his young life had been so crowded with strange incidents and events, that the past appeared like an age.

And his uncle and dear mother, what would they be doing just then? Sitting by the fire perhaps, and talking of him; for though it was early forenoon here, it would be evening in Scotland. He began to reckon the time in his own mind. He was right, it would be about nine o’clock. His father would be in the corner with that studious face, and that everlasting long pipe of his; his mother and Alicia would be quietly knitting; uncle would be reading his paper with ’Theena by his side; and the great logs and the{124} coal and peats would be merrily blazing on the hearth as they used to be in the dear old days when Jack and Dick used to tease and chaff him, and call him Cinderella. Then he remembered his dream.

“O,” he said, half aloud, “that dream will assuredly come true. I shall find and free poor Bernard if he be in the land of Ecuador.”

The very words suggested action, and he sprang to his feet. In five minutes more the expedition was once again on the move.

Were I to relate all Tom’s adventures during his memorable march into the land of the Ecuador Indians, what a very large book I could make! And what a very large price my readers would have to pay for it! It may not be; I must hurry on with my narrative, my main object being to give but the principle lines in the picture of the life a wanderer must lead in this wild country. One way or another Tom and his party spent nearly five months on the journey. It was a long time, but it passed away most pleasantly and quickly; and Tom could say what few travellers in Ecuador ever could—that he had the utmost faith in his servants, from Samaro, his major-domo, down to Rooph, the Indian boy, who did little else except shoot strange birds with his blow-gun, and whom no threats or punishment either could induce to carry a package of any sort. Tom’s servants all liked him too, and he{125} felt confident they would fight for him if ever there should be any necessity. Well, the life these Indians now led under their white chief was a very enjoyable one, and as they were engaged to bring Tom back to Riobamba, they would each have a modest sum at their banker’s when they got there—if ever they did.

There were times when it really did not seem at all likely any one of the party should ever come up out of the wilderness again.

Once, for example, they were encamped by the banks of a beautiful river and close to the edge of the forest. It was a charming situation, and they had lain here for over a week. On this particular night Tom thought as he took his last look at the sky he had never noticed the stars shining more brightly nor looking more near. There were the usual sounds in the forest and all about, but otherwise the deep solitude was unbroken; for not a breath of wind was there to move the long grass that grew near the tent. It was unusually sultry and hot too. But for the creepies Tom would have laid himself down as the men were lying, on a bed of palm leaves, and slept sound till morning. He envied the poor fellows their sweet repose. The creepies did not appear to trouble them. Musquitoes might sing and buzz about their heads, drink their blood and go, but the men slept on. Centipeds—and in the forest the green-backed ones are quite as dangerous as{126} snakes—might crawl over their hands, and cockroaches in scores pass over their faces, but they would not heed even if they felt them. Serpents even might take a short cut over their bodies without awaking them, while the mournful cries of the night-birds in the adjoining forest but lulled them to dreamless slumber. It was very different with Tom though; he dared no more sleep in the open than in a tiger’s den.

“Señor, señor, awake!” It was Samaro’s voice, and he was swinging Tom’s hammock to arouse him.

“What is it, Samaro?” cried Tom, raising himself on his elbow.

“We must strike camp at once, señor, or we will be swept away by the flood. Listen!”

There was little need to listen. That peal of thunder would have awakened Rip Van Winkle himself.

“Are the men astir?”

“Si, señor. Hurry, señor. Hurry, there is not a moment to lose!”

Tom was on his feet in an instant, and the men were soon busily engaged making up the tent. He was a good general, and never during all his long sojourn in the wilds did he retire for the night until he had seen everything ready for a start. There was never any telling what might occur. A sudden attack by hostile Indians, a flood, or a fire in the forest might necessitate{127} instant movement, and if they were not ready for such a contingency, all would be loss and confusion.

“Now, Samaro, whither away? Shall we cross back into the plains, for we cannot get over the river?”

“We must get to yonder hill,” was the reply. “Come.”

The sky was black during the brief intervals in which the lightning did not play. But this was incessant, so that everything around was almost as bright as day, though the light was strangely confusing.

They had to go through the forest. This was the most dangerous part of the journey; for here the flashes played around every tree, while every now and then some branch or even tree-trunk would fall crashing across the track.

Luckily for our adventurers, it was along a path made by tapirs that the route lay, so it was broad and well beaten. These strange animals are about four feet high and fully six feet long, and are exceedingly numerous in the wilderness of the Andes, especially in the vicinity of a not too rapid river.

The rain now began to patter around them, the lightning became even more vivid, and the terrible thunder-cannonade was increased tenfold. The wind also began to rise; it came down with the storm from the north and west. It was this{128} direction of the clouds that had caused the ever-watchful Samaro to expect a flood. Had the depression come up stream the danger would not have been so urgent.

They had still half a mile to go, as the crow flies; and as the pathway, like that of all wild beasts, was very winding, it would be at least half an hour before they could hope to reach a position of safety.

Samaro was here, there, and everywhere, hurrying and encouraging all hands, using a bamboo cane even to stimulate the flagging calves of a few of the men. Suddenly there was a wild and frightened yell from someone in front, a yell that was heard high over the hurtling of the thunder.

“Eemateena! Eemateena!” was the shout from the others. “The jaguar! the jaguar!” and for a few moments every man seemed panic-stricken. They even dropped their burdens, and hardly knowing what they were about would have hurried wildly back towards the river, had not Samaro and Tom, revolvers in hand, barred their progress. The terrible confusion that had ensued was fatal to the poor fellow, who had been attacked by the dreaded king of the wilderness. He might have been saved had Tom got to the front in time.

As it was, the beast dragged him at once into the depths of the forest. A few more piercing shrieks were heard, then it was evident that all{129} was over. The jaguar, or tiger as he is generally called, must have been coming towards the river, and thus met the unhappy man in his path; for during a storm these animals will hardly ever go out of their way to attack either man or beast.

The storm ceased almost as suddenly as it had commenced, though the rain now came down in rushing torrents, and just an occasional flash of lightning shot athwart the inky gloom and served to reveal the pathway.

As soon as they reached the high ground or knoll they were safe. Here were a hundred pathways instead of one, and all led upwards. The top of the little hill was beaten hard with the feet of the tapirs, and probably peccaries, who for reasons best known to themselves must have assembled here at times. It was only a wonder none of these creatures were found here now; but their strange instincts had doubtless warned them to seek for higher grounds before the floods came down. It rained heavily for hours, then morning broke gray and uncertain over the hills, and about the same time down came the river “bore.”

Tom had never witnessed anything in life so appalling, and even Samaro himself confessed that such a quick and rapid “spate” was unusual. The roar of this immense wall of water could be heard for long minutes before it dashed round the bend of the stream, and came tumbling onwards carrying with it huge masses of rock and{130} even soil that looked like islands in the midst of the murky flood. The bore must have been fully twenty feet in height, and the forest trees went down before it like hay before the mower’s scythe. The noise at first was deafening; but it gradually subsided, and before ten o’clock had entirely ceased. But at this time the whole valley looked like an immense inland sea or lake studded with little islands. One of these islands was the hill on which Tom and his men stood, and on which they were for a time as completely imprisoned and isolated as if the ground had been a rock in mid-ocean.

There were three days rain, and all this time the river, instead of going down, seemed gradually rising.

It rose, and rose, and rose, as slowly but as surely as fate itself, till the island was limited to little over the site of the tent.

Then the rain ceased for a time. But the clouds were very dark away towards the north, from which direction low muttering thunder was occasionally heard.

Was another storm brewing? If another bore came down the stream, though not even half as big as the last, the fate of the little expedition would be sealed, and its doom be swift indeed. All day long they watched the rising clouds. When the sun set at last, forked lightning darted here and there across the dark sky, with now and{131} then streams of fire rushing downwards from zenith to nadir. These last were followed by tremendous peals of thunder, but still the rain kept off. No one thought of lying down to rest, and for hours and hours no one spoke.

All eyes were turned towards the north. They were like men waiting for death.

The clouds mounted higher and higher; they saw star after star and constellation after constellation blotted out, or swallowed up as it were in the gloom. Still they sat and silently watched.

The suspense was terrible; every flash was now like a message from an unseen world, every peal sounded like a knell of doom.

Tom was praying. He was trying hard, too, to yield himself to the will of heaven; but it seemed sad to die so young.

Probably he had fallen into a kind of uneasy doze at last, for suddenly he felt Samaro clutch at his arm.

“It is coming! It is coming!” he cried.

“The flood, Samaro? Is it coming at last?”

“No, no, señor. I would not wake you for that. Better you should die asleep. But look yonder! Look eastwards!”

Tom did as he was told, and saw in the sky a long line of glittering silver.

The moon was rising!

Up, up, up she sailed, the clouds changing from black to gauze and gold before her, and by{132} and by she found a little rift of blue to shine in, and her radiance was reflected from the river beneath as if showers of diamonds were falling on it from the sky.

By next morning the flood had gone down considerably, but days must elapse before they could once more resume their journey.

What struck Tom now as remarkable was the deep impressive silence by night. Except in the river there was no life about—no beasts or birds of the forest, not even insect life itself. Never a whisper, never a hum, except the little sad lilt the river sang as it went rippling past the island shore.



ONE day about three weeks after the adventure in the floods, as the party were filing over the ridge of a hill, Samaro pointed away towards the horizon with his outstretched arm.

There was a joyful smile on his face.

“At last, señor,” he said, “we come to human beings.”

True; there was a village down there, for blue smoke was curling up over the green of the palm-trees.{133}

Tom was rejoiced. What if Bernard himself were in that village! Perhaps he would be one of the first to come to meet them. And what a strange story it would be his to tell!

Tom could not think of his captain’s son as a slave. No white man ever remained long in a position of actual slavery among Indians; and Bernard, if indeed he were alive, would doubtless be some great chief or warrior.

They were nearing the land of the Jivaro Indians.

Two hours more of a toilsome march across ground which was partly marsh and partly fallen forest brought them to hard open ground. They could hear the beating of drums and shouting of the natives, and presently a dusky crowd swarmed out to meet them.

A halt was immediately ordered, for even among Indians etiquette must be obeyed.

Samaro advanced alone with Tom; who, by the way, much to the terror of some of the juvenile portion of this wild community, had his feline pet perched upon his shoulder.

But their reception on the whole was a hearty one. The general notion that appeared to prevail among these Indian villagers was that Tom and all his party were starving, for they brought them food of all kinds; and to refuse to taste at least would have been a grave offence.

That evening a grand festival was held at one{134} of the chiefs’ houses. Tom was not quite sure, indeed, if the man was a chief, or held some office akin to that of our mayors in this country.

Every one in the village or town was armed in some form or another. Even the boys moved about with their blow-guns; while spears and shields formed the defensive weapons of their elders. Many of the latter had the awful-looking scalp hanging at their waists, just as Samaro wore his. This evidently entitled them to be looked upon as braves; for these scalps had all been taken in battle.

Tom spent a few days in this village, distributed a few presents, and went on again, having left nothing but good-will behind him, and being therefore assured of a welcome if ever he returned this way.

On the evening of the day of their departure from this village of Jivaros, and while resting by the camp fire in the solitude of the forest, Tom questioned Samaro about the probability of their finding Bernard among these tribes.

Samaro’s first reply was a negative and solemn shake of the head.

Then he became a little more explicit. He had feared he said to put questions too directly, but at a feast one evening he had led round deftly to the subject by asking an old warrior whether Tom was not the second Englishman ever he had seen; Tom’s Uncle Robert, who had{135} been here, being reckoned the first. “Yes,” the brave had replied, “with the exception of a child.”

This child, he had told Samaro later on, had been the cause of a great quarrel; for the Jivaros on the other bank of the river had borne him off. The Canelo Indians had joined against these. But, meanwhile, the boy had been sold to a tribe who had taken him northward and east, perhaps to Napo or Zaparo-land, and he might be killed. The old warrior knew no more, or would tell no more.

This was far from encouraging intelligence to Tom, but he determined at all hazards to pursue his wanderings and his investigations until at all events he should discover the fate of Bernard Herbert.

They visited many more villages and scattered hamlets of the Jivaros. Each of these possess what is called a war-drum, which if beaten at one village is heard at another, and soon echoes throughout the length and breadth of the tribal land. This is a method of calling the warriors together, and is as much resorted to as was the fiery cross in the brave days of old in the Scottish Highlands.

. . . . . . .

About a month after his visit to the Jivaro Indians Tom found himself with his men descending a ridge of hills towards a river, where{136} Samaro expected to find a village. He had been here before, and was somewhat surprised now to find as they drew near no appearance of smoke, nor any sound of life among the trees. True, many if not most of the tribes in these regions are nomads; but so well situated was this town, on the banks of the Aguarico, not far from its conjunction with the Napo, that something very remarkable must have occurred to account for its apparent desolation.

They were not left long in doubt; for Samaro, who had entered the town some distance in front of Tom, stopped short, then turning round beckoned to his master to hurry.

Here on its back lay a corpse. The neck had been fearfully gashed with a spear, and one hand was almost severed through. The unfortunate man must have been alive but a short time before, for decomposition, so rapid in these hot regions, had not yet set in.

They found the bodies of many more murdered Indians; indeed, almost every house told its sad story of massacre, not even the children nor old women having been spared. The huts had been all plundered, but otherwise left intact.

“Who has done these fearful deeds?” said Tom, addressing Samaro.

“The Awheeshiries, without doubt,” was the reply.

Some broken blow-guns and spears lay about,{137} but otherwise there was scarcely any evidence of a struggle. The attack must have been made at the dead of night; and from the dreadful way the victims had been cut and hacked about, the probability is that revenge had instigated the attack quite as much as the hopes of plunder.

Close to the village, at a bend of the river, they came upon several boats drawn up on the beach. They had evidently been used very shortly before this, as evidenced by the number of fresh banana skins lying here and there. The hostile Indians must have come in these war-canoes therefore; and it was certain they had not gone. Indeed, from the care with which the paddles were secured, and the boats themselves shaded by bushes from the sun, it appeared certain they meant to return. Where were they now? In all probability they had gone farther inland, bent on plundering other peaceful villages; and Tom shuddered as he thought of the awful deeds that might be enacted in that lovely, still, forest land before the sun now declining towards the west should again rise and shine over the greenery of the woods.

What must now be done? was the next question to be considered. Savages on the war-path, their knives and hands still red with the fresh-drawn blood of fellow-savages, are but little likely to brook the presence of strangers in their midst. Tom knew he could not expect to gain{138} anything by fair means. He must be on the defensive; and there was no time to lose.

So he held a council of war.

Tom proposed instant embarkation in the canoes, and a passage down the river. But wiser and more wary Samaro vetoed such a plan. They knew the dangers around them now, but to drop down an unknown river at night would almost certainly expose them to worse, not the least of which might be perils from rapids and cataracts.

But a sand bank or spit ran out into the river some distance down, and this could easily be fortified, and held against a whole cloud of hostile Indians. To decide was to act with Tom. The packages and stores were therefore immediately transferred to the boats, and landed on the spit; and at the land-side thereof a long trench was dug, where a kind of fort, formed of the bamboo fences dragged from the village, had been formed. Behind this they would be safe against even poisoned darts, for luckily there was no cover for the enemy anywhere very close at hand.

The sun was almost set, and Tom was having one final run round the village, to find out if there were not some poor wretch still alive that he might render assistance to. He came upon a footpath that led him for some distance directly away from the river, through the bush, to the very gates of an Indian compound of far greater{139} pretensions than any he had yet seen. It must be a kind of palace, Tom thought. As he listened before pushing open the door of the hut, he heard the unmistakable moaning of someone in pain. He hesitated no longer, and next moment stood in the inner compartment. Here on a kind of raised wicker couch lay the insensible form of a woman, who, a glance told him, was certainly no Indian belonging to this land of Ecuador. Her face, though sadly racked by anguish, was very fair and finely chiselled. Her hair—long, dark, and straight, though now dishevelled—and her dress betokened her a kind of princess of the tribe.

She raised herself on her elbow as Tom entered, and looked at him for a moment wildly and wistfully.

“O,” she exclaimed, “an Englishman! You are not my boy, Bernard?”

“No, no,” cried Tom advancing excitedly. “I am not Bernard. I have come to seek him. O, it is awful to find you thus! You were the ayah on board the Southern Hope. Speak! tell me quickly where I can find Bernard.”

“Find? Find my boy? Yes, I will tell you.”

A spasm of pain passed over her pale face, and she fell back as if dead.

A calabash of water stood near, and Tom moistened her lips and brow, and presently she revived.{140}

“You are wounded,” Tom said. “I am selfish to ask you to talk now. I will hurry away for help; but first let me bind your arm.”

It had been frightfully gashed with a knife while she was trying to ward off a blow aimed at her heart.

Tom brought the edges together, and bound the arm up with leaves and grass cloth. At that moment Samaro himself entered.

“Quick, señor,” he said, “the Awheeshiries are returning. If they find us here we will have but small mercy.”

“Help me then to bear this lady to our camp, my good friend. Pray heaven she may live, for she knows Bernard’s story.”

Between them they carried the ayah princess out and away to the fortified sand-spit. And none too soon. Hardly had they entered when savages appeared from the bush, and a shower of poison darts fell pattering upon the stockade.

As there was no reply from the fort they came nearer and nearer, brandishing spears and capering and howling like very demons. The reply they sought came at length, however. Tom’s rifle rang out sharp and clear in the evening air, and the foremost foeman fell never to rise more. Consternation seized the Indians, and they fled indiscriminately towards the bush; but before they could reach it Tom fired his revolver, and some of them were wounded. It was from no{141} spirit of cruelty he opened fire on a retreating foe, but for the safety of his camp. He wished to show these savages what kind of an enemy they had to deal with, and the lesson was well merited.

It fell dark now; but presently the moon rose, silvering the beautiful river and casting a glamour over the now silent woods.

Yes, the woods were silent; for the savages appeared to have fled. But about midnight there were signs unmistakable that they were continuing their unhallowed work in other places; for every now and then, borne along on the light breeze, came sounds that made Tom’s heart thrill with anger—the exultant shouts of victorious Indians mingling with mournful cries of agony and fear.

Then a great red gleam appeared in the north, and dense white clouds of smoke rolled skyward. The savages had fired the forest.

Nearer and nearer came that red glare as the night wore on, and soon they could hear the crackling of the blazing wood; then the deserted village took fire, and burned with terrible fierceness for a time.

Constantly all night long after this, in the fitful light of the conflagration, creatures could be seen leaping madly into the river, and swimming towards the other bank for safety. These were the denizens of the woods and wilds; but many must have perished in the merciless flames.{142}



DAYLIGHT dawned at last, and heavy rain began to fall, and soon even smoke itself had ceased to rise from the blackened woods and ruins of the village.

That the enemy still lay in ambush was evident, for now and then dusky forms could be seen moving about among the dark tree-trunks. Towards noon they came near enough to shoot darts at the fort from their blow-guns, and Tom found it necessary to fire once more.

The wounded ayah had remained insensible all night long, but at daybreak revived and beckoned Tom to her side.

“I am going,” she said. “I will be with my dear mistress soon, and if Bernard is dead I will be with him. I am glad.”

“But you do not think Bernard is dead?”

“I fear—nay, I hope he is. He will be at peace.”

Tom spoke not. He feared to say anything to confuse the dying woman. He tried even to control his feelings as he listened to the ayah’s terrible story of her slavery, and that of the poor boy, among the Indians. She spoke with difficulty, pausing often, sometimes even fainting{143} away entirely. But Tom’s patience was rewarded at last.

The mutineers of the good ship Southern Hope had taken Bernard and the ayah into the interior, as far as Riobamba, and there they were both sold. The poor ayah would have been happy even then had they both been bought by the same master, or even by the same tribe. But this was not so; for, while Bernard was first taken to the Jivaro country, and sold thence to one of the wildest tribes of the far interior, she had remained all along with the Zaparo Indians. They had not been altogether unkind to her, though the lord and master who had claimed her made her drudge and toil at household duties, like the slaves that the wives of the Indians there ever are. She had to prepare and cook his food with her own hands, see to his arms and clothing, make and dye the very material of which his garments were composed, and, while wandering from place to place and sleeping in the woods, she had even at night to lie down in the place most open to the attacks of the jaguar or puma, or more likely to be traversed by some deadly snake. For all these toils and acts of kindness her reward was nothing save the bite and the blow. Finally she had fled, and after adventures innumerable she had found her boy. Though it was many years since he had seen her, and he had grown up into a tall skin-clad young savage,{144} he knew his second mother, and gladly ran away with her. Both had been captured by the Zaparos, and brought to the very village from which the ayah had fled. Here she was condemned to die, and her “injured” lord and master was to be the executioner.

As she lay in her grass hut on the night before her intended execution she heard some movement near her, and next minute a tiny dagger was put into her hands. Then she knew that her would-be deliverer was Bernard. She could have cut the cords that bound her now, and once more sought safety in flight, but she would not leave her boy. Dead or alive she would be with him.

The morning came, and she was led out to die. The Indians were there in their thousands to see the grand spectacle of a foreign woman being massacred by their chief. She was led to the stake; for death by torture was her intended doom. Bernard was placed close to her that he might witness her sufferings.

And now her master approached with stern, set brow to begin the torture.

Suddenly with her own hand her cords were severed, and with a yell like that of a panther she sprang upon the chief, and cast him on the ground stabbed to the heart.

For a moment the tribe was silent, paralysed as it were, and the ayah herself broke the spell.

Advancing to where Bernard stood she cut the

[Image unavailable:“‘BEHOLD YOUR CHIEF!’ SHE CRIED.”]

thongs that bound his hands, placed the spear of the dead chief in his hand, and waving her hands in the air above him:

“Behold your chief!” she cried. “The White Chief of the Zaparo Indians, sent by the Great Spirit to rule over them—and I am his mother!”

Then wild exclamations rent the air, as the Indians crowded round their new king and threw themselves on the ground before him.

All had been peace for years after this in the camping ground of the Zaparos. They became less nomadic in their tendencies, and built themselves better villages by the river. And whenever they were insulted by other tribes Bernard led them on the war-path; and they never failed to gain the victory, and to return home rejoicing, laden with spoil and many scalps.

The Zaparos are very warlike when roused; but prefer hunting to fishing, and are the most expert woodsmen probably in the world, and this is saying a great deal. The spear and the blow-gun are their weapons par excellence, and they are experts with either.

Bernard made a noble young chief. He had all the wisdom of the white race, combined with the cunning and training of the savages he had dwelt so long amongst. He had no fear, either when hunting or fighting. From hunting his party would return laden with skins and meat. He tackled single-handed either the jaguar or{146} puma, and many a sturdy tapir fell beneath his spear. From a raid on the foe Bernard’s warriors came back with joy and song, and for weeks thereafter the sound of the war-drum was heard in all the villages by the river’s bank.

But Bernard was not wholly a savage; and it had come to pass that he was seized with an irresistible longing to see the ocean once more, and find out if possible if his mother still lived. So he chose from among his warriors fifty of the bravest and most trustworthy, and bidding the ayah adieu, amidst the tears of his people he departed on his dangerous journey.

Then fell the curtain over his life-drama. The dying ayah knew no more. He had never returned; but rumours reached the tribe that their white chief had been captured far beyond the rocky Andes, and that all his followers were killed by the hands of hostile Spaniards.

The poor ayah! She held Tom’s hand as her life was ebbing away. But she evidently was not afraid to die. The religion that had been instilled into her mind on board the Southern Hope had been all through her weary life a guiding star to her, and let us hope that when daylight streamed through the fence, and fell on her pale dead face, the soul had gone to a land where there is no more sorrow.

They buried her there deep down in the sand; and that same evening the boats were loaded up,{147} and in the hour of darkness, ’twixt sunset and moonrise, they dropped silently down stream, and succeeded in eluding their dangerous foes, who, no doubt, lay in wait near the sand-spit ready to renew their attack whenever opportunity offered.

As soon as the moon began to glimmer over the distant mountains they paddled towards the shore, and hid under the thick foliage till morning. Then after a hurried breakfast, principally of fruit, they once more embarked and went gliding down the river.

It was no part of Tom’s intention, however, to keep to the stream. It would have led him on to the great Marañon, or even into the wilds of Brazil. So the very next morning, being now safe from pursuit, they once more took to the woods, and the long and toilsome march was commenced towards the distant shores of the Pacific, and Guayaquil.

All speed, however, was made on the backward journey. There was no more dallying to collect beautiful butterflies, or to seek for more skins of bird or beast. If Tom could but succeed in saving the splendid collection he had already made he felt he should be more than happy. The party still depended on their guns for their living, however, and killed each day just sufficient food to carry them on.

Their adventures were of the usual sort already{148} described, and many a hair-breadth escape both Tom and his companions had by flood and field.

While nearing Guayaquil, however, the fatigues on this terribly-forced march began to tell on Tom’s excellent constitution, and he fell sick.

A few days’ rest became imperative now.

“Just a few days, Samaro,” Tom said, “and I shall be well, and able to go on again.”

That night he was in a burning fever, and for three long weeks he hovered betwixt life and death.

But his youth claimed victory at last; and Samaro had been a most faithful nurse. It would have been difficult to say which of the two—Samaro or Black Tom—showed the greatest exuberance of delight when the master became quiet and sensible once more. About the first food that Tom ate was a tenderly-cooked cavy that this strange puss had caught and brought in. Indeed, Samaro said that all through Tom’s terrible illness hardly a day passed that the cat did not bring either a cavy or dead bird in, and he invariably jumped into his master’s hammock with the offering, laid it by his cheek, and then sat down to watch his face.

So now that Tom was apparently out of danger, both Samaro and the faithful cat went about singing—each in his own way—from morning till night.

One day as Tom lay in his hammock, with the end of the tent thrown up to let him breathe the{149} fresh, pure mountain air, and feast his eyes on the wild and beautiful scenery all around the camp, he heard strange voices, and in another minute, lo! there stood before him a tall and somewhat ungainly Quaker-looking Yankee.

That he was a Yankee Tom could tell at a glance, and the first words he spoke confirmed it.

“My name’s Barnaby Blunt,” he said, throwing his rifle on the grass; “and I’m mighty sorry to see a young Britisher in such a plight as you are, sirr. But precious glad I’ll be if I can do you a service.”

Tom smiled feebly, and thanked him; but he was far too languid to talk much.

That did not matter much, for this Yankee could talk for two, or even for half a dozen at a push. And he had not squatted beside Tom’s hammock much over ten minutes before his listener had his whole history, and that of his wife and wife’s family.

But Barnaby Blunt proved himself a true friend indeed, and to his disinterested kindness Tom no doubt owed his life.

“I’m only hunting about here,” he told Tom, “and it ain’t a deal o’ matter where I goes; but out o’ this camp I don’t budge for a week, and by that time I’ll have you taut and trim enough to come along. Trust Barnaby Blunt to do the right thing for a stranger, and all the more if that stranger be a Britisher.{150}

Tom smiled, and feebly thanked him.

“My wife’s a Britisher; but for all that ye won’t find a longer-headed old gal about anywhere’s than ’Liza Ann. ’Liza Ann is my wife’s name, and ’Liza Ann is the name o’ my ship; and now you see what kind o’ water you’re in.” “But,” he added, after a brief pause, “I’m not going to bother you now. I’ll come again. My camp’s only just over here.”

Barnaby did come again—that very evening, too. And he did not come empty-handed either. Before he sat down on a package—which was the only thing by way of a chair the tent contained—he began to empty his pockets, and Tom could not help smiling at the magnitude and diversity of their contents. Pots of jelly, parcels of Iceland moss, boxes of marvellous tonic pills, bags of arrow-root, and bottles of wine. He handed the things one by one to Samaro, and then he sat down.

“Now, young fellow,” he said, “you haven’t got anything else in this world to do or to think about but getting well. And as to that, why, your worthy servant and myself will shore you up in a brace of shakes. No, you mustn’t talk. You must listen, and I guess I’ll amuse you. See here, you’ve been in the wilds for about a year, haven’t you?”

Tom nodded.

“That’s right,” continued the Yankee. “Nod{151} your head for ‘Yes;’ shut your eyes for ‘No.’ Give yourself no earthly trouble about anything, and we’ll get on like a boundless prairie on fire. You’ve been out o’ the world, I’ve been in it, and every night I’ll tell you or read you some news.”

Barnaby was as good as his word. He came regularly every forenoon and every evening, and read or talked to Tom; and no woman could have been more kind or more considerate. It is not wonderful then that, in less than a fortnight, the patient was able to sit once more by the camp fire, and could give information as well as receive it. He told Barnaby all his adventures, and those of his uncle and Bernard as well. The Yankee marvelled very much at all he heard.

“Of course you have a collection of curios, haven’t you?”

“Rather,” said Tom proudly.

“Then I guess we can deal.”

“I guess we can’t.” And Tom laughed.

“Will you sell the cat? Why, there’s a small fortune in that animile.”

But Tom refused to sell his favourite.

“And now,” said the Yankee one evening, “I’m going to sea for three months, and as you’ve nothing particular to do, why, come along. It’ll set you up for life. What say?”

“I accept your hospitality,” said Tom “and thank you very much.{152}

“Don’t you dare thank me. By thunder, sir, if you thank me I’ll throw you overboard. Barnaby Blunt wants no reward, not even a wordy one. But you’ll come?”

“Like a shot.”

“Spoken like a man and a Britisher. Tip us your flipper. Now, good-night; I’ll go and get ready for the march.”

“Good-night, and may God himself reward you.”

“Amen,” said Barnaby, and next minute he was out of sight.

A week after this Tom was back in Guayaquil, and had bidden his faithful servants a long farewell.

The boy Rooph was disconsolate in the extreme, and shed tears abundantly.

To comfort him in some measure Tom gave him his photograph.

“Ah,” said the lad, “you leave wid me, then, your soul! O, I shall ever love it, and I shall weep when I look at it when you are far from poor Rooph!”

Samaro was affected also, though he shed no tears.

“Perhaps,” he said somewhat sadly, “we shall meet again. I will live in hope, señor.{153}



THE ’Liza Ann was about as strange-looking a craft as ever Tom had clapped eyes upon. He was not well enough yet to be hypercritical; but for all that he could not resist the temptation of making his boatman pull right round and round her at some distance away, so that he might see her from every point of the compass.

She lay like a duck on the water, there was no doubts about that; in fact she had about the same comparative breadth of beam that a duck possesses, the same lowness of free-board, and the same depth or rather absence of depth of hull. Her masts, two in all, were set in with a pretty, though rather old-fashioned rake. She was brig-rigged, though, considering her length, she might easily have been a barque. Her spars were not of great height, and her yards were very long. There was no mistake about it, she could take a good spread of canvas. Well, she was painted dark green all over; picked out as to ports with a lighter green, and her bulwarks inside were also light green.

Tom smiled to himself as he sized her up. Barnaby Blunt saw that smile. He was probably six hundred yards away at the time, and stand{154}ing on the quarter-deck of his own ship; but he had eyes like a hawk, and “barnacles,” as he called the lorgnettes that hung in a patent leather case by his side, to aid those eyes.

“That Britisher is a-sizing of my ship up,” he said to Pebbles his mate. “Britishers don’t know everything. I’ll talk to him.”

The Yankee was politeness itself to his passenger. He had a seat all ready for him on deck under a snow-white awning, a delightfully easy deck chair, in which one might sleep as comfortably as in a hammock, or dream without sleeping.

The mate hastened to assist Tom on board, but the captain was before him.

“With all due deference to you, Mr. Pebbles,” he said, “I’m going to do everything for our guest with my own hands. If my wife was on board I’d turn him over to her. As she ain’t, I does the honours. Take my arm, young man. You ain’t so strong as you think. You’re as shaky as an old chimney-pot.”

“Thank you,” said Tom; “you really are good.”

“I’d do the same for a nigger, sirr, if he were as shaky as you; and if my wife were on board, she’d do more. Now, sit down there; I’m not going to pester you with any extra attentions. Whatever you needs you hollers for.”

“I don’t think,” said Tom, “I’ll have to holler for anything. This chair is delightful, and the awning is a happy thought.{155}

“We don’t sail before to-morrow morning, cause I’ve more stores to get off. And now, as we don’t dine for an hour yet, suppose we have a drink. What shall it be—wine, old rye, a cup o’ coffee, or a cock-tail?”

“I’d prefer coffee, I think; but isn’t it rather hot?”

“O, bless your innocence, we’ll have it iced! Ginger Brandy, where are you?”

A bullet-headed nigger boy, dressed in white calico, with face and calves as black as pitch, rushed up.

“Heeh I is, sah,” he said.

“Mr. Talisker, here’s your slave. His name is Ginger Brandy. If he irritates you, don’t hit him over the back with a capstan-bar, ’cause you’ll break the bar. Don’t heave a cocoa-nut at his head, ’cause you’ll damage the cocoa-nut. Just get up and toe his shins. Now, Ginger Brandy, bring the ice, and the coffee, and the lemons, and my pipe, and a bundle of smokes. Skedaddle!”

Ginger skedaddled quickly, brought out a little table from the raised poop, spread a white cloth, and in two minutes more had placed thereon two cups of fragrant coffee, with lumps of clear ice floating in each. And when Tom lit his cigar after drinking half of the coffee, Ginger Brandy took his stand beside his chair with a huge fan, and our hero felt as happy and comfortable as ever he had done in his life.{156}

The Yankee’s pipe stood on deck, an immense hubble-bubble; the smoke, which passed through iced-water, being conducted to his lips by means of a tube that seemed yards in length. Sitting there in his rocker, with his long legs dangling over the bulwarks and his eyes half closed, Barnaby Blunt looked the quintessence of enjoyment.

“And what d’ye think o’ my little yacht, sirr,” he drawled at last. “Mind ye, I twigged you sizing her up. I see’d your smile; yes, sirr, I think I heard it.”

“Well,” said Tom, “to tell you the truth, I never saw so strange a craft before; and had I met her at sea, I shouldn’t have been able to say what was her nationality.”

“You do me honour. She’s my own idee. I’ve sailed in all kinds o’ craft, and saved a little pile. ‘Barn,’ says my wife to me onct, ‘why don’t ye build a boat o’ your own, and deal in notions?’ Well, sirr, the same thing had been runnin’ thro’ my head for months, and I set to work and planned out the ’Liza Ann. She is the safest brig that sails. She’s maybe not the fastest. Safety before speed, sirr. ‘I don’t mind waitin’ a month or six weeks,’ says my wife to me; ‘I don’t mind that, Barn,’ says she, ‘but always come home in your own ship, and not atop o’ the hencoop.’

“Yes, sirr, and the ’Liza Ann won’t broach to{157} either, and she can’t be taken aback, and the sticks won’t blow out o’ her, and she’ll float in shoal water if a punt can, and if she does ship green seas, sirr, why they slide off again like rain off a garden roller. That’s what my ’Liza Ann is, sirr.”

Tom laughed at the Yankee’s enthusiasm.

“All my own idee—all my own and ’Liza’s remember.”

“Well, it must be a pleasant life—going anywhere and seeing anything.”

“You bet it is; making a few dollars too. There is nothing I won’t trade in. Now, those curios o’ yours—they did tempt me. I guess you’d better sell. The white ants may eat them all if they lie long at Guayaquil.”

“I’ve provided against that. They’re all preserved in tin cases; but as they are for my uncle, I wouldn’t sell them for the world.”

“What! you’re goin’ to pawn them then?”

“No, no, no; I don’t mean that uncle. I mean my uncle Robert; who, like yourself, is a splendid fellow and a thorough sailor. And I’m sure he’ll be delighted to make your acquaintance if ever he has the good luck to meet you.”

“Give us your hand, young man. That little speech is good enough for the senate. I say, what a pity you ain’t a true-born American. I guess you’re a sailor yourself out and out.”

Tom was indeed a sailor out and out. When{158} he went on deck next day he found that the ’Liza Ann, with all sail set and almost dead before the wind, was ploughing and plunging southwards through the Gulf of Guayaquil. The anchor had been weighed, and a start made in the moonlight long before the sun or Tom either had dreamt of rising.

“Young man, come in to breakfast,” said a voice behind him. “Ye can’t live without eating, you know. Good-morning. I hope you slept—and your cat? Droll idee a cat. Ha, ha! Well, come and tuck in a bit. Why, you’re looking better already.”

Talking thus, Captain Barnaby Blunt led the way into the poop, which was flush with the upper deck in the grand old fashion. He pointed to two chairs.

“There’s a seat for you, sirr, and one for your friend. Droll idee, truly. Ha, ha, ha! Looks as wise as a Christian, and I daresay is better than many. Now, sirr, you see what’s on the table. Eat, drink, and be merry; and during all this voyage I’m your servant, Brandy’s your slave, and you’ve nothing to do but get well.”

Before touching a knife or fork, however, this strange Yankee lifted his right hand piously to his ear to ask a blessing. It was quite the length of a short prayer, but evidently came right away from the speaker’s heart.

Tom liked him better after this.{159}

“Now fall to, sir. Ginger Brandy, keep that fan moving.”

It was pretty evident that during this voyage Barnaby Blunt was going to do most of the talking. Tom was rather pleased than otherwise that it should be so. He was now in that delightful, half-dreamy stage of convalescence that all must have experienced who have ever been downright ill, and in which existence itself seems a pleasure, and everything one looks at is seen through rose-coloured glasses.

But had Tom been even in robust health, a voyage like that he was now embarked in would have been pleasant in the extreme.

The ship was everything that could be desired from bowsprit to binnacle. She had every good quality except speed. But who could wish to speed over an ocean like that which sparkled all around them in the sun’s rays; a sun, mind, that did not feel a single degree too hot, albeit they were almost on the equator. The wind too was favourable, and kept so for over a week, and when it did at last die almost down, no one on board appeared to regret it; even the ship herself seemed to think it was the most natural thing in the world she should take it easy a bit.

There were plenty of books on board, plenty of ice, Ginger Brandy with his fan, and Barnaby Blunt with his ever cheery smile and his wealth of droll conversation.{160}

“Say, young man,” said Barnaby to Tom one day as both reclined in their chairs on deck, “don’t you wonder where you’re goin’ to?”

“No,” said Tom with half-shut eyes. “It never occurred to me to ask. You said I was to come with you, and I’ve come. By the way, where are we going? To Tahiti, to Fife, New Zealand, or where?”

“Ha, ha, ha! Well, that cat and you are a pair, I guess. Ha, ha, ha! How ’Liza, my wife, would enjoy you. But now, look here. I’m going to tell you a story.”

“I’m all attention.”

“Well, don’t go to sleep. Once upon a time—”

“That’s a nice beginning,” said Tom.

“Once upon a time a ship filled with gold doubloons—Sirr, are you listening?”

“Yes, gold doubloons—”

“Seems to me you nodded. But never mind. She sailed away from Calla—O. It was all specie and nothing else she had on board. There must have been pretty near five million dollars. Are you awake?”

“I’m listening. I like to keep my eyes shut when anyone else is telling a good story. Go on.”

“Well, sirr, a certain bad lot who lived at Lima got wind of it, and pursued this craft in a hired {161}cruiser, with a hired crew—assassins—overtook—ugly affair—spared none—plank—sharks—Australia—back—island—mutiny—gold hidden—terrible sufferings—death—nobody found—Galapagos Islands—”

The above disjointed sentences are the skipper’s strange story as Tom heard it—not as the Yankee told it; and at the word “islands” Tom dropped to sleep altogether, and did not awake until Barnaby had finished.

“Very remarkable story indeed!” said Tom; “very remarkable! And of course they hanged him?”

“Hanged whom—eh?”

“Why, didn’t you say that somebody—Why, I do believe I was half asleep.”

“I guess you were, and so was the cat. But there, it don’t matter. I mean to find that pile. If I don’t somebody else will, and then Barnaby Blunt won’t have it—eh?”

“Certainly not.”

“And when Barnaby Blunt does find it and does get it on board, then hurrah! for ’Frisco and my old woman ’Liza, and no more going to sea for me on this side the grave. Only, altho’ I must confess you ain’t the most inquisitive coon ever I came across, still I thought I’d tell you the strange story, and let you know where I was bearing up for, and the kind o’ notion Barnaby Blunt had in his long head.”

“Well, I’m much obliged, Captain Blunt, for your confidence in me; and all will, I hope, turn out well and for the best.{162}

It may as well be confessed here at once that Tom’s notions even now as to where the ship was going to were the most hazy imaginable.

All went well in the ’Liza Ann for two more weeks.

The men called her the lazy ’Liza; but certainly they appeared to enjoy the ship’s laziness very much. They were only ten all told, including Ginger Brandy; but dolce far niente was their motto, from Pebbles the mate all the way down.

The masts, as I have said, were not tall, and as there was patent reefing tackle they never had far aloft to go; so their work was very easy. But they kept the ship as clean as a new sovereign. They sang all day long, and danced in the evening—verily a happy-go-lucky crew.

Tom the cat was a favourite forward; indeed, this strange puss, being thoroughly up to the ways of ships and sailors, seemed happier now than ever he had been in his life.

He used to sit in the weather-bow of a night till a flying-fish came on board, then catch it and come aft with it to his master, and go back and wait for another. The men averred that these fish flew at Tom’s eyes, because they looked like a couple of ship’s lanterns in the dark. Perhaps this was the true explanation. At all events, the fish did fly on board, and were duly cooked for breakfast every morning; and if there be anything nicer for breakfast than a broiled flying-{163}fish, I have yet to learn something new about the sea, and things in general.

Years and years after this, Tom—our hero, not the cat—used to look back to the days he spent on board of the lazy ’Liza as among the most delightful—dreamily delightful—in all his experience of a seafarer’s life.

Ah! but they came to an end in a sadly unexpected way.



“IF this breeze keeps,” said Captain Barnaby Blunt—“if this breeze keeps up, we should sight Chatham to-morrow.”

“Oh, indeed!” said Tom.

“Yes. We are here now, I reckon,” continued Blunt, sticking a pin in the chart that was spread out on the cabin table.

Something called the worthy Yank on deck just then, and Tom closed his book.

“I say, Brandy, little boy.”

“I’se a-listenin’, sah, propah.”

“Do you know where the ship is going to, and what she is going to do? Funny now, but I’ve{164} never looked at the chart yet. I think I’ve eaten the lotus leaf.”

Spects you has, sah. I don’t know nuffin neider, sah. I’m jes’ like yourse’f, sah.”

“Well, I’ve been so happy and so—so—half asleep all the time; but now I’ll have a peep at the chart. Here we are—Guayaquil Gulf. Why, what a zig-zag course the tub has taken. Oh! here we are—Galapagos! Whatever are we going to do here? Ah! well, time will tell, and it’s nothing to me much.”

The day passed dreamily away, like all the other days; and night fell, and with it the wind. Before turning in Tom went on deck. Such a night of inky darkness and mysterious silence he could not remember ever experiencing. The blackness brooded over the sea—it was almost palpable, and the silence seemed to enter one’s very soul. Hardly a sound in board, no sound at all out yonder in the beyond. The men’s voices forward round the bow when they did speak sounded loud and strange. Tom even felt relieved when a sail flapped or a bolt creaked to some almost imperceptible roll of the ship. There was never a star in the sky to-night, and a mist that was not a mist appeared to completely envelop the ship.

Pebbles came aft quietly to where he could dimly see Tom’s figure in a ray of light streaming from the poop cabin.{165}

He took Tom’s hand.

“Come with me,” he said, “and listen.”

He led Tom forward through the darkness to the bows.

“We’ve heard it again,” said one of the men in a half-suppressed whisper. “Listen! Away out yonder. It is coming this way; but what is it?”

They leant over the bows, “peering,” “keening” into the mysterious darkness.

The sound was like some great living monster steering through the water, breathing heavily with every stroke—sighing I had almost said—ceasing sometimes, to be heard closer to the ship the next minute.

Pebbles still held Tom’s hand, as if in his anxiety he had forgotten to let it go; and Tom could feel that hand tremble.

“Look! look! Oh—h!”

The “Oh—h!” was a simultaneous cry of fear from the men. Tom felt like one in a dream. For there in the sea, higher far than the bulwarks, blacker even than the blackness of night, was a shape!

Next instant the ship was struck and staved. Every timber of her shook and shivered from stem to stern, and some loose belaying-pins leapt clear of their holes and fell rattling on deck.

All was shouting and confusion on board now. The captain rushed out of his cabin, the mate ran aft; but no one could tell what had happened.{166}

“She has run on a snag rock?” cried the captain.

“We cannot say, sir; but we saw—”

The carpenter, lantern in hand, appeared from below.

“She is making water at a tremendous rate, sir. Shouldn’t think she’d float an hour.”

Blunt went away with him to see for himself. When he came up again he entered the cabin, where Tom was standing by the table looking white and scared; for he was yet little more than an invalid.

“Well,” said the captain, “this is about the suddentest thing, I guess, I ever came across. It’s a sudden thing, sirr, and it’s a very solemn thing too. Mister Talisker, it’s a good thing your clothes is on.”

“Has it come to that?” said Tom.

“Well, sirr, it hasn’t come to the hen-coop quite; but it’s come to boats. Now, I always said the ’Liza Ann was the safest ship out; but I didn’t reckon on snags in deep water. Pebbles!”

“I’m here, sir.”

“Well, tell the hands to lay aft here. I guess we’ll have time for prayers.”

“She’s going fast, sir.”

“We’ll have time for prayers, I tell you.”

“Very good, sir.”

Tom had never known so cool a sailor as this. With the sound of the water rushing into the{167} sinking, reeling ship, he nevertheless found time—nay, but made time, to kneel there and pray long and fervently for protection to Him who rules on sea as well as on earth, and whose hand and eye are everywhere, in the blackness of night as well as in the sunshine.

The men’s response of “Amen” was deep and solemn. Half a minute of dead silence, then all rose from their knees.

“Now, Pebbles!” roared Captain Blunt, “bustle about. Load up the dinghy and the jolly-boat. Put in everything we’re likely to want—arms, ammunition, water, food. Mr. Talisker, you’ll go in the dinghy with Ginger Brandy and Smith.”

“Ay, ay, sir.”

“Well, see after your own affairs. Don’t forget lights, for keep together we must.”

There were no signs of weakness about Tom now. He appeared to have grown suddenly strong and well.

Smith was a sort of hobble-de-hoy sailor—a lad of seventeen, with plenty of strength, but not much brains to command action. Ginger Brandy, the other half of Tom’s crew, was far more useful; so he gave the nigger charge of the white man. This was reversing the order of nature some might think, but it worked very well indeed on the present occasion.

Tom showed good generalship. He first had a run below to see how fast the water was gaining.{168} It certainly was coming in at a very rapid rate. But she would last an hour, Tom thought; so he at once set to work to provision his boat.

The dinghy was not over twelve feet long, but she was broad in beam and with a good free-board. So Tom had her lowered, and swung a lantern over the side where she was that its light might shine right into her. Then under his directions the lads began to load up.

“You’ll have her too deep, I reckon,” said Captain Blunt as he passed.

“Thank you,” replied Tom, “but I do not think so; for you see if it comes on to blow we can lighten her by pitching the least necessary things overboard.”

The jolly-boat was ready first, and lay waiting till Tom and his crew embarked. Both boats had stepped their masts, ready for the least puff of wind; and both had compasses and a ready-made chart each.

“Good-bye!” cried pious Blunt. “Keep our light in sight; keep yours hanging on your mast as we have ours. Fire a rifle if ye want assistance. May the Lord be with you! Now, men, three farewell cheers for the dear old ’Liza Ann.”

What sorrowful cheers they were, and how strangely they sounded in the pitchy darkness!

“Pull round the bows, lads, in close. I just want to put my hand on her once more. Now give way.{169}

These are the last words Tom heard the Yankee skipper speak, and presently the jolly-boat was swallowed up in the blackness. All except her twinkling light—and by this the dinghy was steered.

Everything went well till morning. Then with the sun, that leapt up like a ball of fire and changed the waters to a pool of crimson, came a breeze of wind. Oars were taken in and a little sail set. Tom hoped it would not increase, for he desired to save all her stores if possible.

About noon that day the jolly-boat was distant nearly a league, about two points on the weather-bow. She was signalling to the dinghy, and presently she took in sail. Tom increased his, rightly judging that Captain Blunt wished him to come closer.

The dinghy leaned over now in a most uncomfortable way. Tom, still determined if possible to save his precious cargo, made his men sit well to the weather-side, and thus they managed to keep her lee-gunwale out of the water as they tried to get closer to the jolly-boat. The latter was seen to lower sail altogether, and Tom could not make out what the matter was. He understood soon, however; for down the wind at that moment he descried rolling along a dark wall of fog. In a few minutes the jolly-boat was engulphed, and soon after the dinghy.

All that day the fog lasted; but now and then{170} Tom could hear the ring of a rifle, and steered by that. Towards evening the wind had increased in force, and he heard no more firing. The jolly-boat would doubtless lie to, however,—so Tom thought; and by next day, when the fog cleared, he should see the boat again. The fog did not clear next day, however, nor for many days; and when the sun shone at last there was no sail in sight!

There was no help for it; they must make the nearest land, and doubtless the other boat would do the same.

And now ensued a painful and weary time.

The wind had died down entirely. It seemed as though it would never blow again. The sea all round was like molten glass, a long rolling swell coming in from the north-west—a swell that was delusive in the extreme, causing them to believe they were making progress to the south, although the current was dead against them. The sun’s rays, beating straight down from the heavens and reflected from the waters, were doubly fierce, and there was no awning for protection.

Two days passed like this; then poor Smith sickened and died. Tom had given him the last drop of water that remained in the boat. So between them Ginger Brandy and he gently lifted the body up and dropped it astern, and the scene that followed was horrible to witness. Before their eyes the corpse was torn in pieces by those tigers of the sea—the hammer-headed sharks.{171} There must have been at least a dozen at that dreadful feast, yet next minute several were floating alongside, and casting sidelong glances up at the rowers with their hungry, eager, and awful eyes.

On and on and on they rowed, resting often on their oars and gazing round them in the vain hope of descrying a sail.

A bird alighted in the water on the forenoon of next day. A strange weird-looking gull, the like of which Tom had never seen before. It was so tame that Brandy easily knocked it dead with his oar, and they sucked its blood and devoured the flesh raw and warm. Horrid meal though this appears to have been, it revived them better than anything else save water could have done. Of food there was abundance in the boat; it was water alone they craved for. That same evening it rained a little. They caught the water in their jackets and eagerly drank it.

Another long dark black starless night; but in the morning the clouds were dissolved, and the sun shone more fiercely than ever.

No rain, no mist even.

They dipped biscuits in the sea and sucked them, but the thirst grew more intense.

Tom suffered worst; his agony was fearful. With eyes and brow that felt bursting with pain, and swollen and parched tongue, he sat at the oar and rowed feebly and mechanically.{172}

Birds came now in larger numbers, but none came near enough to be caught.

Surely they were nearing land! But nothing was in sight from where they sat. Only the burning sky, only the heaving sea!

A bright-eyed butterfly flew on board one day, and the negro boy shouted for joy. But Tom heeded it not; he was past heeding anything. Pain was gone though. He felt nothing. His very mind seemed to have fled. He remembered looking down at his own hands holding the oars, and wondering to whom they belonged. The birds screaming around the boat became spirits with human voices and kept saying things to him, and awful-looking black lizards swam in the water near.

Then through the mist and haze that had gathered before his eyes he could dimly see the negro lad approach nearer. The boy took someone’s oars gently out of his hand, and laid someone down in the bottom of the boat. But who was the someone, Tom wondered. It could not be himself, for he felt nothing.

Then all was a blank.

When he opened his eyes again he was no longer in the boat. The boy was pouring something down his throat. It revived him, and he sat up.

He pointed to some immense lizards—the same he had seen in the sea. They were lying together on some igneous rocks in the sunlight, as large as{173} young alligators but ten times more ugly—broad in head with spreading legs, squalid, hideous, fearsome.

Tom tried to speak as he pointed to them, but could only utter a series of unintelligible vowel-sounds with the back of his throat.

But poor little Brandy understood him.

“Yes, sah, dey are dere all right. You not dream at all, sah. I see dem.”

Then the boy took a stick and forced them off the rock; though some of them turned round as if to bite, and others caught the stick in their hands in a way that curdles one’s blood to think of.

Tom lay back now and slept again.

It must have been near morning when he awoke, feeling almost well.

He was quite covered with a piece of sail, and lay on a bed of soft dry sea-weed.

For a few moments he could remember nothing, and sadly wondered where he was. But memory soon returned. The stars were shining brightly above. By its light he could see the foam of the wavelets that sang dolefully on the beach. He could see, too, the rocks and boulders near the water. As he gazed on these, to his horror and surprise some of them moved away inland slowly with a harsh and rattling noise.

“Surely I am on an island of enchantment,” thought poor Tom, “or I cannot be awake!”

“Ginger Brandy!” he cried as well as he could.{174}

“I’se heah, sah. Tank de Lawd, marster, you hab got your voice once mo’, sah!”

“Brandy, I saw the rocks move slowly away. Was I dreaming?”

“No, sah. Nevah feah, sah. Dem not rocks; dey are to’toises, as big as elerphants. I ride on one to-day all ’long de beach. Dey are puffikly ha’mless, sah. Don’t you be ’larmed. I’se fit ’nuff to look arter you. Sleep, sah, sleep; de sun rise soon.”

As the boy spoke a gush of bird-melody came from a neighbouring bush, so entrancingly sweet but so wondrously strange, that Tom at once placed his head again on his pillow of sea-weed to listen.

Sleep the most refreshing ever he had enjoyed in his life succeeded; but all through his slumbers rang the bird-song, mingling with his dreams like chimes from elfin-land.



“YOU bettah now, sah?”

“O yes, Brandy; I’ll soon be all right. But where are we?{175}

“I don’t know nuffin’ ’t all. On’y dis is an island—I make shuah ob dat.”

“How long have I slept?”

“Two day, sah. I gib you plenty watah all de time; and you suckee he down all same’s modder’s milk, sah. You will lib now.”

“And thanks to you. But who helped you up with the boat?”

“He, he, he! You not believe, plaps. But Brandy neveh tell lie. I hab de paintah ob de boat all ready, and presently one big elerphant-to’toise come down. Plenty quick I hitch de bight ober dat varmint’s neck. Den I cried ‘shoo!’ Den he pull and I push, and ’way we go cheerily. But la! de elerphant-to’toise, he had strangle his little self. And I make soup of some of him, fo’ true!”

Hardly believing what Brandy said Tom got slowly up, and lo! there was the dead tortoise right enough; and Tom had never seen such a monster[1] before. Nor could he have seen one, for the creature belongs only to the Galapagos Islands.

“Why, Brandy,” he said, “it is bigger than a feather bed. I begin to believe, my boy, we have landed on one of the enchanted islands I used to read of long ago; and I can easily fancy a ship-wrecked mariner making a boat of the shell of {176}one of these beasts, and with a bamboo for a mast and his jacket for a sail, crossing the ocean to the mainland. And you strangled him?”

“No, he strangle his little self, sah. I help jes’ a leetle wid de axe. Den he bleed—O, he bleed mo’ dan one big bull, sah.”

“And where is the blood, Brandy?”

“De fly eatee he all up plenty quick, and de ants eatee all de fly leave. Den I dink all de rest myself. But come, sah; de soup is all ready.”

On board the ’Liza Ann Ginger Brandy had gone about his duties in a very quiet way, indeed. He had shown himself smart enough, but had exhibited no extra talent of any kind. Now, lo and behold! all his nature was changed. He was in the wilds; he was part and parcel of the wilds, and his capabilities of making the best of everything appeared to know neither bounds nor limits. During the time Tom had been lying insensible, he had not only got the boat drawn up, but had built a hut inside a broken-down rocky cone, which looked like a small volcanic crater. It was cool and clean. The roof was formed of the sail, and inside was a soft bed of sea-weed. The provisions and ammunition were also carefully stored here; and as there appeared to be no destroying angels in the shape of ants about, everything was safe enough.

The soup was splendid. Tom felt a new man as soon as he had eaten a shellful. They had no{177} basins, only shells. But several pannikins or billies were among the precious stores; so there seemed but little likelihood that they would have to live on raw meat for many a day.

After dinner Tom noticed that Ginger Brandy was carefully banking the fire with turf and ashes.

“Why not let it out, Brandy? You can light it again.”

“No, sah; nebber no mo’.”


Cause, sah, I let fall de packet of lucifire match. One box catchee fi’. Den I jump on de packet to stamp he out, and all de rest go puff. You bery angry, sah?”

“No, my friend; it can’t be helped. Cheer up. I say, Brandy?”

“Yes, sah.”

“Isn’t it fun being a Crusoe? I used to be the Hermit Hunter of the Wilds; now I’ve turned a Crusoe, and you’re my man Friday.”

“Befo’ de Lawd, sah,” said Ginger Brandy looking tremendously serious all at once, “I tink de sun or de soup hab affect you’ head!”

Tom laughed.

“Don’t you know what a Crusoe is?”

“Sumfin’ to eat, plaps?”

“No, Brandy; it’s nothing to eat or drink either. Come, I’ll tell you the story.”

And as far as he could remember it, Tom told{178} Ginger Brandy all the romance of Juan Fernandez, much to his delight.

“Dat is fus’rate, sah. Aha! you and I play at Crusoes. Aha! dere is nuffin’ like fun. Is dere, sah? But now look, marster. De sun go down, all red like one big slice ob pomola. You not well yet, sah. S’pose you go to bed?”

And Tom did, and found himself so strong next morning that he was able for a good long stroll.

Ginger Brandy came with him and helped to carry his gun.

What a mysterious looking place it was, and how black and dreary everything a little way inland looked! Those fearsome lizards basking on the dark burned rocks near the sea seemed the evil genii of the place. Tom could not look at them without shuddering.

But bigger and more powerful genii than they have been at work here and all about in ages long since passed away. The genii of volcanic fire and water. The soil was everywhere brown and scorched looking, extinct craters like shafts of founderies stood here and there, and ugly dark boulders lay scattered in the open as if they had been rained from heaven. Among these, snakes of many kinds wriggled hither and thither, or lay coiled up in huge old half-broken shells. The very bushes appeared black and blighted, and at a little distance seemed to have no leaves; while the birds that flew from bough to bough were{179} dusky, and even the moths and beetles were sad in colour. And yet high above, the sky was blue, and the billows out yonder sparkled in his rays as if diamonds were being scattered on them by angels’ hands.

The shrubs and cacti that grew further from the sea had branches so wildly erratic, and shapes so weird, that do what he would Tom could not disabuse his mind of the notion that either he was really on an island of enchantment, or that he was dreaming, and might awake at any moment on board the ’Liza Ann.

The gun so far was useless; there was nothing to shoot except those huge elephantic tortoises, and that would have been cruel. They were as deaf as posts, but wondrous quick in seeing. At a little distance many of them looked like flat or rounded rocks; and it was therefore rather startling to one’s nerves on getting alongside an immense slab of supposed rock to find it had a long neck and awful head, and that it hissed louder than a python, and began to move away.

Tom was not sorry when the walk was over, and he found himself once more reclining on his sea-weed couch reading Shakespeare, while Ginger Brandy busied himself not far off making tortoise stew, with a bit of bacon in it to give it a flavour. The delicious steam went all round Tom’s heart each time Brandy lifted the lid to peep inside.{180}

Tom and Ginger Brandy spent many days at the seaside, dragging the boat down sometimes and going for a sail. In this way they cruised round a considerable portion of the coast. They found no signs of life anywhere, however, and though they landed at several places they found no tortoises.[2]

Inland they could see high hills, but all the coast-line was bordered with black rocks, boulders, and scoriæ. The ugly lizards were everywhere, and swam in the water as well as crawled on the beach.

As regards fish, Tom found the island coast a mine of luxury. Wherever the water was fairly shallow they found them in shoals, and could capture them with their hands—at least Ginger Brandy could; and his method of fishing was peculiar, to say the least of it. First he divested himself of his clothes, then overboard he sprang like a frog. Holding one hand under the water, he dropped a few crumbs of biscuit from the other. The fish, by no means shy, sailed up at once, and Brandy seized them one by one slowly but surely, and threw them into the boat.

Tom was a fairly clever naturalist, but he could not name a tenth of the many strange {181}varieties of fish caught, nor even guess the natural orders to which they belonged. Most were edible.

Some were too gaudily coloured to be otherwise than suspicious. These Brandy discarded. Others were horribly grotesque, with immense heads, diabolical faces and horns. Brandy would have nothing to say to these either.

He held a frightfully ugly specimen up one day for Tom’s inspection.

“Is he for dinner, Ginger Brandy?”

“Gully, massy; no, sah. Plaps, sah, he one debil. He no aflaid ob de fire nor de f’ying pan. Suppose I put he ober de fire, sah, his ugly mouf grow bigger, his horns grow longer, his eyes grow fierce, den he switch his tail, jump out ob de fire and gobble up bof you and me, and fly away in de smoke.”

“Brandy,” said Tom one morning after breakfast, “I’m strong enough now to explore.”

“To ’splore, sah?”

“Yes, Brandy. To explore the island.”

“Well I’se strong ’nuff to ’splore mos’ anyting, sah.”

“All right, we’ll start. There is no fear of anyone breaking into the house while we’re away, so you needn’t lock the door, Brandy.”

It was a delightful day, with a strong breeze chafing the sea and roaring through the stunted shrubs and thorny cacti. The sky too was over{182}cast with clouds; and it being the end of October some showers had fallen, so that the air was wondrously cool considering that they were right under the equator.

Tom felt as easy-minded and happy to-day as ever he did in his life.

There was something in the very air of this semi-enchanted isle of the ocean, that seemed to engender happiness, and hope as well. Tom had not begun to think yet if there was any chance of his ever getting away from the island.

“One of these days,” he said to Brandy, “you and I will sit down and do a jolly big think. But there is no occasion to hurry. Is there, Brandy?”

“O, I’se in no ’ticular hurry, sah! Not in de slightest. I lub dis little island. ’Spose we lib heah always, I not care.”

For miles and miles they scrambled onwards and upwards, wondering, like the little girl in the fairy tale, where they would come to at last. They took a straight course through the thorny jungle; but afterwards found that though this was the nearest route, it certainly was not the quickest. Poor Brandy’s feet were cut with cinders and rocks, and both had their faces and clothes torn with the cruel briers, that were as sharp and long as penknives.

They found themselves on a hilltop at last, and looking down, to their great astonishment, into a perfect paradise.{183}

What was it like? It is not easy to describe. Imagine if you can a vast green and flowery valley, surrounded on all sides by romantic hills covered half-way to the top with waving woods, their summits round, fantastic, coned, or serrated; the valley itself containing every description of beautiful scenery that can be conceived. Yonder are green parks or fields, with cattle and donkeys quietly browsing in them, and shrubby knolls and patches of trees in their midst; yonder a beautiful lake or pond, with cattle wading therein or standing drowsily in its shallows; yonder a racing streamlet, like a thread of silver, winding through the plain till lost among the woods.

Down towards this paradise the Crusoes now hurry, new wonders greeting their sight at every turn. The forest itself is garlanded and festooned with flowers, trailing, climbing, and hanging, and shedding beauty everywhere. And when they leave the woods at last and come into the open, there are more marvels yet in store for them. A herd of wild pigs start squeaking and grunting away from a thicket of bananas, where they have been feeding on the fruit. There are groves of oranges, of citrons, and limes, and further on patches of wild potatoes, yams, and vegetables innumerable.

And to crown all the other wonders, lo! they come to a house or rather a hut, and at a little distance off there are others. But no smoke is{184} now curling up from the compounds around. The fences are decayed and overrun with creepers; snakes glide here and there through what had once been a pretty garden, and the door of the principal hut has fallen from its hinges.

Nay, not fallen; it has been smashed in, and the two skeletons that lie bleaching not far off—one that of a child—tell the tale of a tragedy that was enacted in these wilds many years ago far more graphically than any words could have done.

“I not like de look ob tings at p’esent, sah,” said Brandy.

“Nor I either, my friend. But it is pretty evident that this island has at one time been a settlement, that there has been a foul deed done, and that the murderers have fled. Never mind, Brandy, we shall remove from the desolate triton-haunted sea-shore to this lovely valley, and build ourselves a hut. As for these poor remains we will bury them. The wretches who committed the crime doubtless landed from a ship, and the story of their terrible iniquity may never, never be known.”

The Crusoes returned to the hut by the sea that same evening, Brandy carrying on his shoulder a tiny young pig, part of which he meant to cook for supper.

They got up shortly after sunrise next day, and were off to the wild interior again as soon{185} as breakfast had been discussed. Tom carried his rifle, Brandy carried a spade.

In a little orange grove they dug a shallow grave, and there laid the skeletons side by side and covered them up.

“We’ll come some other day, Brandy, and erect a cross here,” said Tom as they walked away.

He paused several times to look back at the spot he had chosen for a last resting-place for the remains. It was peculiar, and the more he thought of it the stranger it appeared. Three trees had been planted at right angles to the wood that rose over a hill on the east side of the valley. They were equidistant, and close to the centre one, almost overshadowed by it indeed, was the grove of orange-trees and bananas in which they had made the grave. No other trees were anywhere nearer than the wood itself.

They must have been planted there as a mark to something. But to what?



TOM TALISKER knew nothing for some time after this of the terrible tragedy that had taken place on the island. The place had{186} once been a small penal settlement for political prisoners from Ecuador, the governor himself a suspect; but the men had revolted and slain both him and his family, and escaping on a raft or boat had gone no one knew whither, though in all probability to the bottom of the sea.

Such things as men landing from a passing ship, to rob and mayhap murder a few inhabitants of a lonely island, have happened many times and oft, and might happen again, Tom thought. He was determined, therefore, to be prepared. So he built a little outlook, well screened with trees, on the top of one of the highest hills, and here he or Brandy could go every morning to reconnoitre, with the aid of the telescope they had brought with them. They could from this vantage ground see passing ships, and if possible signal to them by smoke or otherwise; but if men came on shore who looked like cut-throats, it would be easy for them to hide in the forest.

The finding of the skeletons and their burial in the orange grove did not tend to raise the spirits of our hero; but as to Ginger Brandy, nothing on earth was calculated to depress that boy long. More than once next day, while they were busily engaged building their new hut not far from the ruins of the old settlement, though nearer to the orange grove, Brandy told Tom he was glad they had been cast away here, and that{187} for his part he would be sorry if any ship found them and brought them away.

The building of the new villa, as they called it, was a work of time as well as art. First and foremost they had to transport all their stores to a tent of bamboo and plaintain leaves which they erected near the old settlement. This necessitated a great many journeys back and fore to the coast; and when night came at last, and they could no longer work, both were so tired that they fell sound asleep after supper, and did not awake until well into the morning.

Some cattle were browsing near, but they fled in wild alarm as soon as they saw human beings. One immense red-eyed fierce-looking bull at first showed fight, but finally retreated slowly towards the other end of the plain, growling ominously as he did so, and giving Tom clearly to understand that his presence here was an intrusion that he should one day resent. This bull had evidently been monarch of all he surveyed before Tom’s arrival, and now to be deposed was hard indeed to bear.

But how labour lightens the mind. Both Tom and his dusky companion were singing and laughing all day long as they worked away at the building of the villa.

It really was no child’s play, however, which they had taken in hand. All the uprights and transverse beams, the couples, &c., had to be{188} made of trees cut down in the woods, and borne on the shoulders to the site they had chosen. Here they had to be deprived of their bark, for Tom knew better than leave any shelter in his house for venomous creepie-creepies. While he would be engaged at this bark-stripping Brandy would be busy cooking the one great meal of the day, namely, supper, which they discussed together by the camp fire and under the stars.

It took them three whole weeks to complete the building of the house, but when it was at last finished they had good cause indeed to be proud of their handiwork. It was certainly of no great size, nor was it of very showy pretentions. The couples that supported the grass roof came right down to the ground, as they had no iron nails big enough to affix it to the top of the plank walls. A couple of axes, a good saw, some hammers and chisels, were all the tools they possessed, and the nails had to be made of hard wood, the holes to receive them being bored by means of a piece of red-hot iron.

All their energies and all their ingenuity too was therefore taxed to make a complete job of this rustic dwelling.

“I tell you what it is, Brandy,” Tom said one day, “I thank my stars I had such a clever uncle when a boy. Our hermitage in the woods was built something in this fashion, and Uncle Robert taught me how to use not only the woodma{189}n’s axe and the carpenter’s saw, but the plasterer’s trowel as well.”

“Yes, sah,” replied Brandy; “and you mus’ tellee me mo’ ’bout dat same uncle after dinner, sah.”

That after-dinner hour or two by the camp fire was the most delightful of the whole twenty-four. Tom was the story-teller, and his powers of invention were so great that he never once found himself short of material for a good spicy tale of sea and land. All his adventures here and there, in many lands and round the world, were related to his companion with a hundred different verbal embellishments; and Brandy made a most excellent listener.

But Brandy himself had an accomplishment: he could sing. His voice was a sweet contralto; and, strange as it may seem, he always sung in good English, though we know he could not talk the language well. Tom taught him a great many songs he had never known before. So, what with story-telling and singing, the long dark evenings passed quickly enough away, and once they laid their heads down on their grass pillows they knew no more about the world until the sun rose once again.

Brandy was always first up, and Tom’s breakfast was waiting for him by the time he had come back from the lake, where he used to have his morning swim, much to the consternation of the{190} half-wild ducks that floated there, and built their nests among the sedges.

When the hut was built it was plastered inside and out with a blackish clay, which finally grew as hard as cement. Then some rude seats were made, and a rough table, while all around the house a garden was trenched and inclosed with a plantation fence. All kinds of vegetables were planted or sown in this garden, and flowers from the woods and the valley planted in beds and borders, with climbing ones along the fence; but not along the walls. Tom knew better than that, for during their work in the woods he had come across some very awful-looking spiders, and other ugly crawling things that he wished to keep at as safe a distance as possible.

If Brandy was enamoured of his wild and lonely life, so was Black Tom, the cat. He was seldom at home from sunrise till sunset; but invariably put in an appearance at dinner-time, and kept up the old sea custom of sleeping in his master’s arms every night. Tom had come to love this honest cat so much, that he even doubted whether he would not as soon have lost Brandy himself as puss. If he happened to be half an hour late of an evening his master would even put dinner back till he came.

Black Tom one day proved himself a friend in need in a very remarkable manner.

All unconscious of danger Tom Talisker was{191} coming singing to himself, gun on shoulder, across the plain, when out from the woods rushed that fiery-eyed bull. He was close on Tom before he knew what was about to happen. His rifle was unloaded. Instinct caused him to run, and he did his best while doing so to get a cartridge in.

On rushes the maddened brute, with tail erect and awful horned head at the charge. It seems as if nothing can save Tom. The cartridge will neither go in nor come out from where it has stuck. But at that moment something rushes past Tom which at first he can hardly see. It is his feline friend, and he springs at once on the bull’s head with a yell of anger and claws at his eyes. This is more than the bull has bargained for. He pauses and tosses his head wildly in the air, but the cat keeps firm hold.

At last the cartridge goes home, and Tom advances now. But where to fire is the difficulty. His aim must be a steady one, else he may kill his little protector.

Bang! at last, and the bull drops. Dead? Yes, dead; for the bullet has entered behind and below the ear, torn through the carotid artery, and lodged in the brain itself.

The cat comes singing up now and rubs himself against his master’s knee, and the two walk home together.

The very next day another huge black bull{192} was seen to quietly possess himself of the dead monarch’s flock. Where he had come from Tom could not even guess, but the probability is he had been condemned to a life in the woods during his predecessor’s reign.

“Do cats go to heaben w’en dey dies, sah?” asked Brandy one evening as the three friends lounged near the camp fire.

“What makes you speak so, Brandy?”

Cause, sah, I ’spects dat cat is one angel, sah. I ’spects some day he talk.”

“Well, I shouldn’t wonder a great deal. Indeed, I would not wonder at anything that happened in this strange island.”

It may be as well mentioned that never an evening did Tom lie down without reading a portion of the Bible that his mother had given him, and praying a simple but earnest little prayer for their own safety during the silent watches of the night, and for those who were far, far away in their homes beyond the sea.

No work was ever done on Sunday, and no stories told except those of Bible lands or the sweet old story of our salvation, which the negro boy was never tired listening to.

One evening, about three months after they had landed on the island, a terrible storm swept over it. The lightning seemed to set the very woods on fire, and to run along the ground in the awful rain. Next day the inland lake was a{193} little sea, and acres of the forest had been levelled to the ground by the force of the gale.

When Brandy went out in the morning to prepare breakfast, a sorrowful lad was he; for the rain had completely drowned out the fire, and there were no matches.

He was not to be beaten, however; and so set to work to make fire in the usual way adopted by savages—piercing a hole in a piece of soft plank and twirling a pointed piece of very hard dry wood. It took him nearly an hour, however, to accomplish the feat.

Two months passed away, making five months in all since the foundering of the ’Liza Ann, but all that time they had never seen a passing ship. True, they spent only a part of the day at the outlook; but the view was so extensive that had a vessel been anywhere within a radius of twenty miles or more they would have discried it.

All the food, consisting chiefly of biscuits and tinned meats which they had taken from the ship, had long since been finished; but this was a small matter so long as their ammunition held out. Of this, however, Tom was now unusually careful; and for ordinary purposes of hunting they used bows and arrows, and soon became very accomplished marksmen indeed.

They also paid frequent visits to the sea-shore, and, embarking in their dinghy, caught fish. As to fruit and vegetables, these were{194} abundant; so that on the whole they wanted for nothing.

Salt, by the way, was at first wanting, till Tom thought of the old-fashioned plan of placing seawater in shallows or rocks. When it evaporated it left a crust of saline matter, and this had to do duty as a relish.

And now with constant hard work in the forest their clothes began to get somewhat ragged, and also their shoes; so Tom had to learn two new trades, those of shoemaker—or rather cobbler—and tailor. As for Ginger Brandy, he dispensed entirely with the use of shoes, and almost entirely with clothes even. He told Tom that he was not afraid of the sun spoiling his complexion.

“But, O marster,” he added, “you is getting redder ebery day. Bymeby you turn brown, den black, and den dere will be two niggah boys. Aha! Your ole moder won’t know you, sah, when you goes home.”

“Home, Brandy!” said Tom with a sigh. “Heigh-ho! I begin to think we will never, never see home any more.”

Yes, Tom had sighed. It was the first sigh for liberty; for albeit the wild free life the two Crusoes led now was very enjoyable, there were times when, do as he might, he could not prevent thoughts of home from crowding into his mind.{195}

But he could not help thinking also how happy he was to have such a faithful companion as Ginger Brandy. To be quite alone on such an island as this at night and all the livelong day would, he thought, have driven him out of his mind.

The silence was irksome by day, although then there were the songs of birds and the loud hum of insect life; but at night hardly a hush was to be heard, except now and then a strange eerie cry in the forest that only served to make the solitude feel more deep and awful.

They were several miles inland, and yet every night the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks fell distinctly on their ears, and all night long till sunrise awakened once more the voices of the woods and glens.

There grew a tree with a tall, slim, even stem not far from the hut, and every Saturday afternoon Tom cut a notch thereon, and thus kept count of time. One day he reckoned these up. There were thirty-eight in all! He started. He could hardly believe it. But it was true nevertheless. They had been over eight long months on the island!

And the time had gone quickly enough by. Tom could not say he was unhappy. There was something in the very air they breathed which had seemed to brew contentment, and make the days fly quickly past.{196}

Birds and beasts too became very tame. Wild ducks even came in flocks to the water’s edge to be fed, and the new bull was such a gentlemanly fellow that he used to lead his cows towards the hut to be milked. The mocking-birds would sit on the fence at sundown and sing low and sweetly till darkness fell, and moon or stars shone out.

But I have something still more wonderful to relate. Those elephantic tortoises that came almost every day to look for their favourite food in the valley—a species of sweet and esculent cactus—grew so tame at last that they no longer drew in their necks or even hissed when Tom or Brandy approached, which they never did without an armful of something for them to eat.

They had their regular beaten tracks to or from the high plateau where the Crusoes lived. When upon these they turned neither to the right hand nor to the left, but went steadily though slowly on to their journey’s end.

Well, Brandy and Tom soon fell upon a plan to take advantage of this. If they wanted to go towards the beach they would turn a monster in that direction on his beaten pathway, then mount his back and be hauled away. If the monsters they squatted on felt disinclined to move, they had only to strike two on the shell and off they waddled.

This was glorious fun, and only had one drawback—the tortoises seldom moved at a quicker{197} pace than two miles an hour; but as time was no object to either Tom or Brandy, it did not make much difference in the long run. They were always good to their strange steeds and never attempted to ride back to the valley, and it is to be hoped the tortoises appreciated their goodness.



WHEN a few months more had gone over their heads it is no wonder that the time began to seem a little longer.

Tom spent more time now alone by himself at the outlook station on the hilltop. I really ought not to say “alone,” however, when so faithful a companion as puss was with him.

Brandy and he had built a sun shelter here, and as there was always a little breeze blowing it was delightful enough to sit under cover and read or write. He read his Shakespeare till he had it well nigh by heart, and used to spend hours in reciting. Often of an evening too he used to delight his dusky companion by reading nearly a whole play. This was a pleasant way of spending the time. But he thought of an{198}other, and one which Ginger Brandy became quite enamoured of. This was simply the good old-fashioned game of draughts; and over this they spent many a quiet and pleasant evening. It was very easy to make a board, and anything did duty as men—slices of vegetables, for instance.

Although it fell dark shortly after sunset in this island, it must not be supposed they wanted light. No; for from the fat of the animals killed for food they made excellent candles, the wicks being composed of a kind of pith from rushes that grew plentifully near the water’s edge.

In the mornings Brandy went hunting in the woods or over the hills with his master, then he would go by himself to the hut to get dinner ready, and prepare to have a delightful hour or two before retiring. But it soon grew a habit with Tom to spend the afternoon with pussy at the outlook.

But, alas! he swept the horizon in vain for any signs of the coming ship.

One afternoon a sharp thunder-storm kept him longer at his station than usual. But the sun went down, and darkness came on apace, before he had recognized that it was so late. It would be impossible now to find his way down through the woods until the moon should rise. Brandy would certainly be anxious about him; but there was no help for it, wait he must.{199}

Happily the moon was nearly a full one, when it did rise he would have plenty of light.

But waiting here was certainly lonesome.

He began to think of home, and before many minutes he was in dreamland. And the spirit of his dreams flew away with him far over the sea, far over the wild mountain lands of Ecuador, across Colombia, and across the wide Atlantic to the dear old farm of Craigielea; and he found himself, as he thought, walking towards the house from the pine-wood, with little laughing ’Theena by his side. ’Theena was not a whit bigger, nor did she seem a day older, than when he had left her. Nor was his mother, father, and uncle at all astonished to see him, but simply made room for him at the fireside, as in the days of yore; and he sat as of old at his sister’s feet, with her loving fingers entwined in his hair.

How long he had slept he could not tell. He awoke with a start at last; for the cat had sprung on his shoulder, and was growling low and ominously. The moon was very high now, and suddenly escaping from a cloud shone full on the figure of a man, or—was it a spectre?

An unaccountable feeling of superstitious dread seized him, and he trembled in every limb. The figure was tall, and as well as could be made out dressed in skins, but with naked brown arms and feet. The face was almost black, and a short dark beard curled round cheeks and chin.{200}

Next instant he or it had glided silently behind a tree.

Tom forced a laugh to relieve his mind.

“I have been dreaming,” he said aloud.

But surely there must have been something there, else why had the cat growled?

For the first time in his life, as far as he could remember, he experienced something akin to genuine fear as he set out to walk homewards through the woods.

The clouds were very high to-night, which gave the moon the appearance of being exceedingly far away. The whole sky, partially overcast with these soft-looking feathery clouds, had little rifts of deep dark blue between, and it was only when the moon escaped into one of these that everything could be seen distinctly.

But a hundred times at least during his journey through that wild forest Tom started, as he thought he saw that strange skin-clad man lurking among the bushes.

What a relief it was to his feelings when he got clear at last of the weird-looking trees, whose very shadows to-night seemed to enter his soul! And, look, yonder was Brandy bounding joyfully to meet him.

“O, sah, sah, I’se so glad you come. I tink you lost. I tink I nebber, nebber see you no more. And de drefful man, sah! O, he scare poor Brandy a’most to def, sah.{201}

“The man, Brandy! What, you have seen him too? Then it was no apparition.”

“I dun know nuffin’, sah. I was bend down near de fire to makee he burn up more bright, den I hear a footstep. I look up plenty quick, and dere—O, it was drefful, sah, dat hairy man, all same’s one big baboon!”

“Which way did he go?”

“Round by de ruins, sah. Den I see him run to de forest, O, ebber so fast! I tink he one ghost, sah. Den I tink plaps he hab murder you, and I turn pale wid fear.”

“Come along anyhow,” said Tom, “and give me some dinner. I am famishing, and food will banish fear; though, Brandy, I think it would take a good deal to make you turn pale.”

Hardly anything else was thought about that night except the apparition; and lest he should come again at midnight, Tom loaded his rifle and kept it handy by his couch.

Days wore by, and nothing more was seen of the hairy man, and Tom began to think it must after all have been a baboon. Brandy and he went to the woods together as usual; but after this somehow neither cared to stay alone at the outlook station, and they were always at home by nightfall.

One evening, however,—a clear and starlit one it was, with everything easily seen at a considerable distance—Tom was taking a last look{202} round before turning in, when he saw that figure again crossing the plain not a hundred yards away.

He followed slowly. He seemed impelled to follow. The figure glided on silently far in front, and finally disappeared in the orange grove where the graves were.

While following the strange figure Tom had experienced no fear; but immediately it disappeared the same unaccountable feeling of apprehension stole over him, and he retraced his steps to the hut, nor would he have gazed behind him for all the world.

He was convinced now in his own mind that he had seen a spectre and nothing else.

Curiosity led Brandy and him to visit the orange grove next day, nevertheless.

What they saw almost took their breath away for a moment.

The grave had been opened, the skeletons taken up and thrown on one side, and quite a quantity of earth excavated from the bed in which they had lain.

“No spectre has done this,” said Tom as soon as he had recovered the power of speech.

“Look, marster,” said Brandy; “it is de ebil man. He hab drefful claws.”

The sides of the grave really did appear to have been clawed at, and this only deepened the mystery.{203}

Tom touched nothing; he even obliterated the marks of their footsteps, and left the skeletons as they were.

“Was the creature who had done this deed a ghoul?” he could not help thinking as he walked silently back to the hut with Ginger Brandy.

“Brandy,” he said that afternoon, “let us have an early dinner to-night.”

“Sartinly, sah. But—”

“But what, my friend?”

“Dere am sumfing strange in your eye, sah. You is goin’ to de grabe after dinner to watch?”

“You have guessed aright, Brandy. I am going to the grave to watch. Be this creature man or beast, fiend or ghoul, I shall get to the bottom of the mystery to-night.”

“Brandy go too?”

“No, you must stop in the hut; and you must keep Black Tom in too. The cat might spoil all.”

“I stay at home den, marster. But I dreffully frightened.”

“There is no occasion to be frightened, Brandy. Say your prayers, and nothing will happen to you or to me.”

“O, I pray, sah, fo’ true. I pray all de time you away; but I dreffully aflaid all de same.”

The moon would not rise to-night till past twelve, and there was little likelihood of the creature visiting the orange grove before then.{204}

But soon after ten o’clock Tom, with revolver in belt, left the hut, and betook himself across the plain to the little grove of trees where the now unburied skeletons lay.

The tree that overshadowed the place afforded ample room for concealment, so he climbed well up and sat down to watch.

Would the ghoul appear?

How very long the time seemed!

The silence was intense to-night, for not a breath of air was stirring among the leaves. The moan of the restless sea was distinctly audible. And at intervals strange voice-sounds came from the woods, and from the lonesome far-off hills; sounds that perhaps birds or beasts emitted, and which it was difficult to locate exactly, for at times they appeared to come from the very sky itself. But they made Tom feel very eerie, and more than once he repented of his rashness, and wished he had not undertaken so lonely a vigil.

At long last the moon rose red and rosy over the mountains, and soon its light glimmered through the orange trees and fell in patches on and around the grave.

Tom placed his hand on his revolver, and sat on his perch as silent as the leaves themselves.{205}



THE creature, whatever it was, came at last, and so silently, too, that Tom was startled. How his heart did beat! It was audible to himself, it caused him even to shake, and he fancied he could even feel the branch of the tree tremble under him.

The figure stood for fully a minute gazing down into the grave; then a sigh escaped it, and descending into the hollow the operation of digging was commenced with vigour. Not with the hands or claws, however, but with a huge white shell; and it was the marks of this on the sides of the excavation that had so alarmed poor Brandy.

The strength of the creature seemed enormous, and the grave got deeper and deeper every minute. But in a short time the figure desisted, and standing up wiped the perspiration from its brow. This was a very human act, and went far to banish fear from Tom’s heart. Almost at the same moment the creature turned its face up towards the moonlight, and Tom was able to satisfy himself it was a man and nothing else.

He made up his mind for instant action now, and just as this skin-clad savage had commenced{206} to dig again he sprang lightly from the tree and stood before him, revolver in hand.

An eldritch scream was the first result of this manœuvre of Tom’s, and the wild man attempted to scramble from the grave.

“Hold, my friend!—hold!” cried Tom. “I am armed. You see my pistol. Do not force me to fire.”

“Fire!—no, no, no!” was the reply in strangely broken and semi-guttural English. “Fire me!—no, no! I surrend—I surrend—I prison—I prison—”

“Yes, you are my prisoner. But you have nothing to fear; only come along with me to my hut. Promise me you will not run away, and I and my black servant will do everything we can for your comfort.”

“You English? No, I fly not from Englishmen. I took you—Spanish—Ecuador.”

The strange being was smiling now.

“O!” he continued, “I—happy.”

It was soon evident to Tom that this wild man was, like himself, a Briton, but must have been so long a recluse that he had forgotten his own language. This became more apparent every minute. Tom’s voice and talking seemed to recall words and phrases to him, though for weeks after their meeting the man could not finish any long word.

Great indeed was Brandy’s surprise and terror{207} when Tom walked into the hut in company with the very apparition they had both seen, and who had clawed up the grave.

“Come, Brandy, boy, don’t stand and stare. This is an Englishman. He was only afraid of us because he thought we were Spanish. Get us supper quick, and get something nice while you are about it.”

Brandy took one more look at the wild man, then laughing heartily held out his hand. This was cordially shaken, and thus friendly relations between all three were speedily established. Nay, but between all four, I should say; for Black Tom soon jumped on the stranger’s knee and gave vent to his pleasure in a song.

“But,” said Brandy, “I take you for de debil at fust, sah. But now I’se mistaken. Aha! O, golly! dere is one big load tumble off dis chile’s liber. Aha! I not turn pale wid fear no more.”

And away bustled Brandy to get the supper ready.

The wild man ate what was placed before him almost ravenously, though with little regard to table etiquette. Indeed, Tom half thought at one time he wanted to take the food into a corner quietly and devour it as a tiger does his prey.

He spoke scarcely a word all the time supper was being partaken of, but he was evidently far from at ease. The wind had risen now and was moaning drearily round the hut, and he started{208} often and listened as if he heard voices in it. When Brandy had cleared away he spoke at last.

“I—go—now,” he said with some hesitation, “to the woods.”

“No, no, no!” cried Tom. “My dear friend, you are safe here. Yonder on a bed of grass you shall sleep. Nothing shall hurt you. To-morrow, or rather to-day—for it is late—we will talk.”

And the strange wild man extended a sleepy hand to Tom, smoothed the cat—a touch of nature not lost on Tom—and went and threw himself on his bed, and almost immediately went sound asleep.

Before Brandy retired he advanced furtively and half fearfully to his master, and pointing to the recumbent figure, “Marster,” he said, “he safe—puffikly safe? And he not de debil—you is sure? Den I sleep. All same, I pray some mo’.”

Both Brandy and Tom slept late. When they awoke they found the wild man’s couch deserted. But he had not fled; he was outside lying under a bush playing with the cat; and when Tom proposed an adjournment to the lake for the purpose of ablution and a swim, he joyfully assented.

Tom was perfectly astonished at the wild man’s prowess in the water. He had all the strength and agility of a seal.

After breakfast Tom and he went off for a walk in the woods. They went not anywhere{209} near the orange grove to-day. They passed over the hill where the outlook station was.

“I see you often here,” said Tom’s companion.

“I wish you had revealed yourself sooner.”

“I was afraid. Say, will you come to my house?”

Tom looked at him just once. Yes, he could trust him. There was something almost benevolent in the man’s face, wild though he was and had been. His eye was a dark and kindly one, and strangely enough Tom thought that he had seen someone like him somewhere. He was not old, this wild man—probably but little older than Tom; and he was remarkably handsome—every movement of his lithe body was as graceful and easy as those of the jaguar.

“What shall I call you?” said Tom.

“My name is Yanakova.”

He led Tom through the woods and wilds for many miles, then into a close dark bit of jungle near the top of a high hill. Here was a cave. It was lined with skins and carpeted with skins—skins everywhere, indeed.

From the doorway of this strange dwelling, where the bushes were tied back with a piece of thong, they could see the ocean spread blue and beautiful far beneath them, the sea-beach with the white line of breaking waters, and all the greenery of hills and dells, ending in the dark and burned border around the sea.{210}

Here the two new-made friends rested for nearly an hour, hardly speaking, for the day was a drowsy one.

“My good Yanakova,” said Tom at last, “will you tell me your story? It must be a strange one.”

“I’ll tell you my story,” said Yanakova with all the simplicity of a little child. And he spoke as follows, though it would be impossible to give the exact words, or even to describe the wild man’s method of talking:—

“My story is a sad one. I will begin not at the beginning but the end of it, when I met you. I took you for Spanish. Most of the Spanish I hate. But I had one friend among them. He was governor of this island long, long ago. We were convicts all, in number ten. The others had died or been taken away. Then the government of Ecuador forgot us. Sometimes in long intervals a ship would come, but not often. So the governor told me. They came for tortoises, but the tortoises were nearly all killed; then they came no more. But the convicts were bad; they rose one day and killed my friend the governor and his children, I fought like a madman. I loved the governor. But they left me for dead, and went away in a raft from the island. I could not look at the settlement after that. I fled to the woods, and lived as best I could.”

“Had you been long on the island?{211}

“If I can judge of time, only a year or two. But it seemed an age. O, I feel very old!”

“But, Yanakova, what had you done to deserve banishment here?”

“I was an Indian chief. I came from the eastern wilds of Ecuador with fifty warriors. They said I conspired against the government; and so they sent me here. I do not now repent it. I have met you.”

“But stay, Yanakova, this is not all your terribly eventful history. Go farther back into the past—tell me of your childhood, your earlier days, your parents.”

“No, no, no!” cried Yanakova; “that is all a dream, and some part of it is a fearful dream. I do not wish to dream that dream again.”

“Then listen, Yanakova, and I will tell you a story—a brief one.”

As Tom spoke he was sitting on a fallen tree at the entrance to the cave, his wild companion lying at full length at his feet, leaning on his elbows and gazing intently and intensely at Tom’s face as he proceeded with his story.

“There was a ship many years ago” he said, “that sailed away from England to visit strange islands and countries on the Pacific shore; for the captain was rich, owned his ship, and dearly loved a life on the ocean wave. He had a wife and a little boy, and both went with him. Nay{212} more, on the sea a baby was born; and no one was happier than the kindly captain then.”

Tom paused.

“Go on. Speak quick,” cried Yanakova.

“It came to pass soon after, that thinking to make themselves rich, the crew, under the command of an evil-minded half-caste, mutinied. They killed the mate, and those of the men that had taken the captain’s part. Then they ran the ship on the rocks and left the rest to perish.”

All the rest?”

“No, not all the rest. They took away the boy, and the boy’s nurse, and sold them both for slaves—”

Yanakova’s excitement was almost fearful to witness. He had raised himself to his knees, and thus remained clutching Tom’s hands.

“The boy’s name?” he gasped.

“Bernard Herbert, and you are he!”

“Then the Great Spirit has heard my prayer. I have found one who can tell me of my parents. Does mother live?”

“Alas, no. But your sister and father lives, I hope.”

“My sister?”

“Yes, the child ’Theena.”

“Then tell me more, tell me all, and tell who you are.”

So Tom had to repeat the story of his own life and adventures from the very beginning, Ber{213}nard never once taking his eyes off his face while he spoke.

When he had finished, Tom took from a little pocket-book a bunch of portraits, and handed them to his companion. He looked half afraid of them at first.

“O,” he cried, “is this right? I have seen such things at Quito. Are these the souls of these peoples stolen away?”[3]

“No, no,” replied Tom laughing. “Only sun pictures—only shadow likenesses.”

He handled them rapidly now; but put them all aside except one—his mother’s.

On this he gazed long and fondly, the tears meanwhile chasing each other adown his sun-browned face.

Tom was glad to see him weep. It was so human. He was no longer the savage, no longer the wild man. He was Bernard Herbert, ’Theena’s brother.

Then Tom told him more about ’Theena, and about the dream he had in his boyhood.

“Part of this dream has come true,” said Tom; “and you see the Great Spirit has also heard my prayer. The other part about going back to my own country wealthy and restoring the old castle was but a child’s idle folly. O, Bernard, if ever we can leave this island, and return to dear old {214}Craigielea and my parents, I shall be happy even if in rags.”

“O, but stay, brother, stay. You shall be wealthy. In the orange grove down yonder, under the grave you dug, are more gold and precious stones than we could carry or even lift. I found the treasure; but I touch it not unless you consent to share it.”

“This, then,” said Tom laughing now, “is the secret of the grave we had thought desecrated. Come, then, we shall bury the skeletons elsewhere; and, if we are fortunate ever to get away from this lonely island, I will share your treasure.”

“Thank you, brother, thank you. How good the Great Spirit is to us at last!”



AFTER the strange meeting with Bernard Herbert, his imprisonment on the lonely island no longer felt irksome to Tom Talisker.

Indeed, for a time at all events, he was in no hurry for “the ship” to come. Had it arrived the first week even, I daresay Tom would have been a little disappointed. O, it was bound to{215} appear some day or other; all three prisoners felt sure of that. For they were young and healthy, and therefore they were happy and hopeful. Why should they not enjoy life as thoroughly as possible, therefore? They did so anyhow.

They hunted, they fished, they roamed through the woods and wild glens, and studied nature in its every phase and form, and in fact really felt part and parcel of the living joys and wonders all around them.

“It is very well being a Crusoe, for a short time all by yourself,” Tom said one day to Bernard; “but it is doubly delightful to have a companion.”

The very flowers seemed more beautiful now, the trees looked greener, and the sky and sea a deeper blue.

Strange to say, neither Tom nor Bernard thought twice of the buried treasure. It was there waiting them when they wanted it. Far more in gold alone than would purchase all the lands of Craigielea, and half the parish besides. They did not even trouble themselves to wonder how it had come there. A dying convict had told Bernard its whereabouts—a convict that he had befriended—and doubtless it had been concealed long years ago by the buccaneers who infested these seas in the good old times.

The huge tame tortoises were a source of end{216}less amusement to the Crusoes. They even managed to domesticate them. Two of these especially were great pets and favourites. Both were old males—bulls Bernard called them; and there is really no saying how long they might not have crawled about the island—probably a hundred years if not two. Tortoises are animals that take life wondrously easy. They never hurry, and most assuredly never worry; and thus they manage to exist for a whole century, and live happy ever afterwards.

One would think that during such a long innings the Galapagos tortoise would amass a vast deal of wisdom. Perhaps they do; but, if so, they keep it to themselves. They seem to know that silence is golden, and consequently stick to it. These two giants, Peter and John the Crusoes called them, knew well enough what was good for them; and that is more than some boys do. Their food was collected for them, and they stopped eating at once when nature was satisfied; and they never touched anything that was left, a second time. If stale food were offered to them, they snorted and drew in their heads at once; but as soon as the half-dry stuff was taken away, and some nice juicy morsels of cacti placed about a yard off, out came the heads again. Not quickly; O, no, they did not even hurry themselves in putting their heads out; though they always managed to draw them in with a jerk

[Image unavailable:GIANT TORTOISE RIDING]


when offended. Black Tom was their particular aversion. I cannot understand why, but as soon as he appeared, “Pshaw!” they would shout, and in went their heads in a moment; and away Black Tom would fly, with his tail on end and like a bottle brush. The cat could growl and hiss pretty well himself; but not in the terribly startling way the tortoises did. John was the better-natured of these two race-horses. That is the reason they call him John. The other was a little crotchety so they called him Peter. Peter did not like anyone to point a stick or even a finger at him. If you did so, you offended him at once. “Pshaw!” he would cry, and draw in his head, and one could not help feeling mean. But you might have pointed a finger all day long at John, and he would not have troubled himself.

Is it possible, I wonder, for huge ungainly monsters like these to possess affection? I myself believe it is; and that John grew really fond of Tom. For sometimes after eating his dinner, instead of drawing in his neck and going quickly to sleep as his brother Peter did, John started looking or staring at Tom, if he happened to be lying reading out of doors. It was a long, steady, stony stare, that lasted for perhaps half an hour at a time. Bernard used to say that he saw a smile on John’s face; but Tom would not admit that. However, there was no mistake{218} about the staring; for Tom used to shift his position, and the head and neck followed him slowly round. But John never turned his body round. That would have been far too much trouble. When Tom got tired of being stared at like this he used to call for pussy. That was enough for John. “Pshaw!” he would cry, and in would go the neck.

. . . . . . .

In about a month’s time Bernard Herbert, though still dressed in garments made of skin, was as thoroughly civilized as could be wished, and his English was now unexceptionably good. But though a handsome man, he was a terribly red-brown one. The tanning his skin had received in the wilds of the eastern lands of Ecuador would probably never leave it; only there was surely nothing to be sorry for on this account.

Tom had commenced to teach Bernard to read, and, partly because his heart was in it, and partly because he really was very clever, he soon made excellent progress.

One forenoon when Brandy was away in the woods Tom had just sat down to give Brother Bernard, as he called him, a lesson, when they heard a distant shout, and looking up beheld the negro boy coming rushing wildly over the plain.

Tom ran for his rifle, then hastened to meet him, not knowing what might be the matter.{219} He hailed the lad when near enough; but Brandy had no voice now, he could only point away seawards and make faces.

“Is it a ship?” cried Tom.

Brandy signalled assent, and back ran Tom, shouting wildly, madly, exultantly—

“A ship! A ship!”

And Bernard threw his goat-skin cap in the air and joined the chorus, for Brandy had recovered his breath, and the very woods and welkin rang with—

“A ship! A ship!”

Then away they all hurried together to the look-out station.

The vessel was standing steadily in towards the land, with all sail set.

But Tom had only to look at her once before he exclaimed:

“O, Bernard, it is the Caledonia! It is your father’s ship!”

Bernard smiled faintly, then pressed both hands to his heart, as if in sudden pain. Strong man though he was, the joyful and sudden news was almost too much for him.

He recovered in a moment though; then, as if by some sudden impulse, the three joined hands and danced and capered there until they were fain to desist from sheer exhaustion. They quieted down after this. They had allayed their excitement, blown off their steam. But for the time{220} being surely no madder, dafter dance had ever been danced on a hilltop. Brandy, with his black face and white rolling eyes, the wild red man in his skins, and honest Tom Talisker in his rags-a comical trio!

I think when the dance was over they were all a little ashamed of it; but after all what else could they have done under the circumstances?

“Well, sah,” said Ginger Brandy, “I’se ’llayed my feelings plenty proper.”

“And I’ve allayed mine,” said Tom.

“I think,” said Bernard, “that dance has saved my reason.”

“And now,” cried Tom, “look, yonder goes the anchor down. Let us run and meet them.”

Well, surely there is truth in the old saying that wonders will never cease, for who should Tom meet near the shore coming panting up the tortoise-path but Uncle Robert himself.

“O, may the Lord be praised, my boy, we have found you.”

And for one moment Tom in his rags was pressed to the old man’s heart, and, will it be believed, he was sobbing like a child.

Uncle Robert saw he could not speak, though he was trying hard to, so he wisely forestalled his questions.

“Your mother and father, sister and brothers are all well, and ’Theena is here on board the Caledonia.{221}

About the same time an earnest-eyed red man in goat skins had rushed up to Captain Herbert on the beach.

“Father,” he said. “Do not start, I am your boy, Bernard!”

But wonders had not ceased even yet. For coming along the path, clambering over lumps of scoriæ and kicking away cinders, was Barnaby Blunt himself.

“I tell you what it is, friends, this is about the prettiest bit of an ending to a drama that ever I see’d in all my born days, and I reckon nobody’ll care to contradict me. Here was Captain Barnaby Blunt foundered at sea, and took to boats, separated from his dinghy and finally picked up by a whaler, who landed him at Buenos Ayres. Here five months afterwards was Captain Herbert, and my young friend’s Uncle Robert, come out from England to look for their runaway boys, and here we all meet again as unexpected as if we had dropped out of a balloon. If it ain’t about the strangest and queerest thing that ever happened, then may Barnaby Blunt never command a ship of his own again, nor meet his dear old wife, ’Liza Ann. And here’s Brandy himself.”

Then this queer old Quaker Yankee got serious all at once.

“I say, men and boys,” he said, “don’t you think we’ve all got a deal to be thankful for. Then let{222} us just kneel down here among the cinders and praise God’s holy name.”

They did kneel down—just there, where they had been standing, and if Barnaby Blunt’s prayer was brief it was heartfelt.

. . . . . . .

Reader, my story is all but ended, and I am not the one to keep the curtain up a single minute longer than is necessary.

Just as they were then, in their rags and skins, Captain Herbert insisted on bundling them on board the Caledonia. “Bundling” is the right word in the right place.

When Tom Talisker saw advancing to meet him on the quarter-deck a beautiful girl of some seventeen summers—we should always call it summers when talking of a lady’s age—he felt inclined to hang fire, and Bernard was half afraid too.

But Tom soon screwed up his courage, took Brother Bernard by the hand, and both advanced; and when she looked at them ’Theena first smiled and then laughed right heartily, though the tears were rolling over her face all the time. And everybody joined in the laugh, even the Crusoes themselves.

. . . . . . .

The treasure was safely loaded and stowed, and let me say to his credit that Barnaby Blunt was not a bit jealous of the young men’s luck.{223}

Liza Ann and me has eno’, praised be His name,” said Barnaby, “and I wish you long life and luck to spend your fortune, boys.”

When boats at Guayaquil brought off Tom’s treasures of natural history, and brought off at the same time his old friend Samaro to see Uncle Robert, the latter was indeed a proud and happy man. And his parting with his quondam guide was quite affecting.

“My boy Tom may see you again, Samaro,” he said, “he is a rover born; but I never shall till we meet up bye. Farewell!”

A dios, my good señor. A dios.

These were Samaro’s last words as he went slowly over the side.

. . . . . . .

It was many months after this ere the good ship Caledonia was towed up the Clyde; but the long voyage had been a very happy one, almost idyllic indeed, and ere it was all ended ’Theena had one evening under the silvery stars promised Tom Talisker that she would take a longer voyage with him—the voyage through life.

They are living now at Craigielea; Tom’s parents still keep the fine old farm, but Tom himself lives at Craigie Castle, and owns the shootings. Black Tom, the cat, is also alive and very living like. Uncle Robert has rooms at the castle too. The place would not be complete without Uncle Robert.{224}

Bernard is still a bachelor and likely to be, but he has bought a fine estate not far from Tom’s place.

Between them they own a very beautiful yacht, with decks white as snow and sails like sea-bird’s wings; but only their most intimate friends know the reason why she is named the Southern Hope.

“English boys owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Henty.”—Athenæum.

Blackie & Son’s
Illustrated Story Books

Large Crown 8vo, Cloth Extra, Olivine Edges


On the Irrawaddy: A Story of the First Burmese War. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Stanley Brooke’s pluck is even greater than his luck, and he is precisely the boy to hearten with emulation the boys who read his stirring story.”—Saturday Review.

A March on London: A Story of Wat Tyler’s insurrection. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“The story is set forth with a degree of cunning that may always be looked for in the work that comes from this practised hand.”—Daily Telegraph.

Through the Sikh War: A Tale of the Conquest of the Punjaub. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“On the whole we have never read a more vivid and faithful narrative of military adventure in India.”—Academy.

In Greek Waters: A Story of the Grecian war of Independence. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“There are adventures of all kinds for the hero and his friends, whose pluck and ingenuity in extricating themselves from awkward fixes are always equal to the occasion.”—Journal of Education.

Maori and Settler: A Story of the New Zealand War. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“This is a first-rate book, brimful of adventure.”—Schoolmaster.

St. Bartholomew’s Eve: A Tale of the Huguenot Wars. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“A really good story.”—Bookman.

Under Drake’s Flag: A Tale of the Spanish Main. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“A stirring book of Drake’s time.”—Daily Telegraph.

Orange and Green: A Tale of the Boyne and Limerick. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

Orange and Green is an extremely spirited story.”—Saturday Review.

A Final Reckoning: A Tale of Bush Life in Australia. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Mr. Henty has never published a more readable, a more carefully constructed, or a better-written story than this.”—Spectator.

By Right of Conquest: or, With Cortez in Mexico. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Mr. Henty’s skill has never been more convincingly displayed than in this admirable and ingenious story.”—Saturday Review.

With Cochrane the Dauntless: A Tale of his Exploits. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“This tale we specially recommend, for the career of Lord Cochrane and his many valiant fights in the cause of liberty deserve to be better known than they are.”—St. James’s Gazette.

A Jacobite Exile: or, In the Service of Charles XII of Sweden. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Full of life, adventure, movement, and admirably illustrated.”—Scotsman.

With Frederick the Great: A Tale of the Seven Years’ War. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“It is a good deal to say, but this prolific and admirable writer has never done better than this story.”—British Weekly.

With Moore at Corunna: A Tale of the Peninsular War. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“A very spirited story.”—Spectator.

Facing Death: or, The Hero of the Vaughan Pit. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“If any father, godfather, clergyman, or schoolmaster is on the lookout for a good book to give as a present to a boy who is worth his salt, this is the book we would recommend.”—Standard.

—The Dragon and the Raven: or, The Days of King Alfred. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“A well-built superstructure of fiction on an interesting substratum of fact.”—Athenæum.

—One of the 28th: A Tale of Waterloo. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Contains one of the best descriptions of the various battles which raged round Waterloo which it has ever been our fate to read.”—Daily Telegraph.

—Cat of Bubastes: A Story of Ancient Egypt. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Full of exciting adventures.”—Saturday Review.

—With Clive in India: or, The Beginnings of an Empire. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Those who know something about India will be the first to thank Mr. Henty for giving them this instructive volume to place in the hands of their children.”—Academy.

—Condemned as a Nihilist: A Story of Escape from Siberia. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“His narrative is more interesting than many of the tales with which the public is familiar of escape from Siberia.”—National Observer.

—Under Wellington’s Command: A Tale of the Peninsular War. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“An admirable exposition of Mr. Henty’s masterly method of combining instruction with amusement.”—World.

—The Young Carthaginian: A Story of the Times of Hannibal. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“From first to last nothing stays the interest of the narrative.”—Saturday Review.

—By England’s Aid: or, The Freeing of the Netherlands (1585-1604). With 4 Maps. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Boys know and love Mr. Henty’s books of adventure, and will welcome his tale of the freeing of the Netherlands.”—Athenæum.

The Lion of the North: A Tale of Gustavus Adolphus. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“A clever and instructive piece of history. As boys may be trusted to read it conscientiously, they can hardly fail to be profited as well as pleased.”—Times.

The Lion of St. Mark: A Tale of Venice. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Every boy should read The Lion of St. Mark.”—Saturday Review.

Both Sides the Border: A Tale of Hotspur and Glendower. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Mr. Henty retains the reader’s interest throughout the story, which he tells clearly and vigorously.”—Daily Telegraph.

Captain Bayley’s Heir: A Tale of the Gold Fields of California. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Told with that vigour which is peculiar to Mr. Henty.”—Academy.

By Pike and Dyke: A Tale of the Rise of the Dutch Republic. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Told with a vividness and skill worthy of Mr. Henty at his best.”—Academy.

A Chapter of Adventures: or, Through the Bombardment of Alexandria. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Their chapter of adventures is so brisk and entertaining we could have wished it longer than it is.”—Saturday Review.

For the Temple: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Many an ‘old boy’, as well as the younger ones, will delight in this narrative of that awful page of history.”—Church Times.

Through the Fray: A Story of the Luddite Riots. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“This is one of the best of the many good books Mr. Henty has produced.”—Record.

The Young Colonists: A Tale of the Zulu and Boer Wars. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“It is vigorously written.”—Standard.

In Freedom’s Cause: A Story of Wallace and Bruce. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“His tale is full of stirring action and will commend itself to boys.”—Athenæum.

When London Burned: A Story of Restoration Times. 6s.

“A handsome volume, and boys will rejoice to possess it....”—Record.

—The Treasure of the Incas: A Tale of Adventure in Peru. With a Map. 5s.

“The interest never flags for one moment, and the story is told with vigour.”—World.

With Roberts to Pretoria: A Tale of the South African War. With a Map. 6s.

“In this story of the South African war Mr. Henty proves once more his incontestable pre-eminence as a writer for boys.”—Standard.

Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Tale of Fontenoy and Culloden. 6s.

“A historical romance of the best quality.”—Academy.

Through Russian Snows: or, Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow. 5s.

“Very graphically told.”—St. James’s Gazette.

The Tiger of Mysore: A Story of the War with Tippoo Saib. 6s.

“A thrilling tale.”—Athenæum.

Wulf the Saxon: A Story of the Norman Conquest. 6s.

“We may safely say that a boy may learn from it more genuine history than he will from many a tedious tome.”—Spectator.

With Kitchener in the Soudan: A Tale of Atbara and Omdurman. With 3 Maps. 6s.

“Characterized by those familiar traits which endear Mr. Henty to successive generations of schoolboys.”—Pall Mall Gazette.

At the Point of the Bayonet: A Tale of the Mahratta War. With 2 Maps. 6s.

“A brisk, dashing narrative.”—Bookman.

Through Three Campaigns: A Story of Chitral, the Tirah, and Ashanti. With 3 Maps. 6s.

“Every true boy will enjoy this story of plucky adventure.”—Educational News.

St. George for England: A Tale of Cressy and Poitiers. 5s.

“A story of very great interest for boys.”—Pall Mall Gazette.

With the British Legion: A Story of the Carlist Wars. 6s.

“It is a rattling story told with verve and spirit.”—Pall Mall Gazette.

True to the Old Flag: A Tale of the American War of Independence. 6s.

“Mr. Henty undoubtedly possesses the secret of writing eminently successful historical tales.”—Academy.

At Aboukir and Acre. 5s.

“For intrinsic interest and appropriateness, At Aboukir and Acre should rank high.”—Spectator.

Redskin and Cow-Boy: A Tale of the Western Plains. 6s.

“A strong interest of open-air life and movement pervades the whole book.”—Scotsman.

With Buller in Natal: or, A Born Leader. With a Map. 6s.

“Just the sort of book to inspire an enterprising boy.”—Army and Navy Gazette.

By Conduct and Courage: A Story of the Days of Nelson. 6s.

“As it is the last it is good to be able to say that it shows no falling off in the veteran’s vigour of style or in his happy choice of a subject.”—Globe.

With the Allies to Pekin: A Story of the Relief of the Legations. With a Map. 6s.

“The author’s object being to interest and amuse, it must be admitted that he has succeeded.”—Guardian.

By Sheer Pluck: A Tale of the Ashanti War. 5s.

“Written with a simple directness, force, and purity of style worthy of Defoe.”—Christian Leader.

With Lee in Virginia: A Story of the American Civil War. With 6 Maps. 6s.

“The story is a capital one and full of variety.”—Times.

To Herat and Cabul: A Story of the First Afghan War. With Map. 5s.

“We can heartily commend it to boys, old and young.”—Spectator.

A Knight of the White Cross: A Tale of the Siege of Rhodes. 6s.

“Quite up to the level of Mr. Henty’s former historical tales.”—Saturday Review.

In the Heart of the Rockies: A Story of Adventure in Colorado. 5s.

“Mr. Henty is seen here at his best as an artist in lightning fiction.”—Academy.

The Bravest of the Brave: or, With Peterborough in Spain. 5s.

“Lads will read this book with pleasure and profit.”—Daily Telegraph.

A Roving Commission: or, Through the Black Insurrection of Hayti. 6s.

“May be confidently recommended to schoolboy readers.”—Guardian.

For Name and Fame: or, To Cabul with Roberts. 5s.

“The book teems with spirited scenes and stirring adventures.”—School Guardian.

In the Reign of Terror: The Adventures of a Westminster Boy. 5s.

“May fairly be said to beat Mr. Henty’s record.”—Saturday Review.

Beric the Briton: A Story of the Roman Invasion of Britain. 6s.

“One of the most spirited and well-imagined stories Mr. Henty has written.”—Saturday Review.

No Surrender! A Tale of the Rising in La Vendée. 5s.

“A vivid tale of manly struggle against oppression.”—World.

The Dash for Khartoum: A Tale of the Nile Expedition. 6s.

“It is literally true that the narrative never flags a moment.”—Academy.

With Wolfe in Canada: or, The Winning of a Continent. 6s.

“A moving tale of military exploit and thrilling adventure.”—Daily News.

Out With Garibaldi: A Story of the Liberation of Italy. 5s.

“It is a stirring tale.”—Graphic.

Held Fast for England: A Tale of the Siege of Gibraltar. 5s.

“There is no cessation of exciting incident throughout the story.”—Athenæum.

Won by the Sword: A Tale of the Thirty Years’ War. 6s.

“As fascinating as ever came from Mr. Henty’s pen.”—Westminster Gazette.

In the Irish Brigade: A Tale of War in Flanders and Spain. 6s.

“A stirring book of military adventure.”—Scotsman.

At Agincourt: A Tale of the White Hoods of Paris. 6s.

“Cannot fail to commend itself to boys of all ages.”—Manchester Courier.

Blackie & Son’s
Story Books for Boys

Large Crown 8vo, Cloth Extra. Illustrated


The Hero of Panama: A Tale of the Great Canal. Illustrated by W. Rainey, R.I.Olivine edges, 6s.

Under the Chinese Dragon: A Tale of Mongolia. Illustrated by Charles M. Sheldon. Olivine edges, 5s.

Tom Stapleton, the Boy Scout: With a commendation by Lieut.-General Sir R. S. S. Baden-Powell, and illustrated with coloured frontispiece and in black-and-white by Gordon Browne, R.I.3s. 6d.

“A rousing piece of story-telling.”—Westminster Gazette.

The Great Aeroplane: A Thrilling Tale of Adventure. 6s.

“The story is a bracing one.”—Outlook.

Indian and Scout: A Tale of the Gold Rush to California, 5s.

“A dashing narrative of the best quality.”—British Weekly.

A Hero of Sedan: A Tale of the Franco-Prussian War. 6s.

“The exciting events of the book are developed in a manly spirit and healthy tone.”—Academy.

John Bargreave’s Gold: A Tale of Adventure in the Caribbean. 5s.

“The book is full of breathless happenings.”—Daily Graphic.

How Canada was Won: A tale of Wolfe and Quebec. 6s.

“Will make the strongest appeal to the juvenile fancy.”—Outlook.

Roughriders of the Pampas: A Tale of Ranch Life in South America. 5s.

“The interest is unflagging throughout the well-written tale.”—World.

With Wolseley to Kumasi: A Story of the First Ashanti War. 6s.

“Boys will want nothing better.”—Daily Graphic.

Jones of the 64th: A Tale of the Battles of Assaye and Laswaree. 5s.

“The story is full of dash and spirit.”—Birmingham Post.

Roger the Bold: A Tale of the Conquest of Mexico. 6s.

“The tale forms lively reading, the fighting being especially good.”—Athenæum.

With Roberts to Candahar: A Tale of the Third Afghan War. 5s.

“A very tried author, who improves with each book he writes, is Captain F. S. Brereton.”—Academy.

A Soldier of Japan: A Tale the Russo-Japanese War. 5s.

“The pages bristle with hairbreadth escapes and gallantry.”—Graphic.

Foes of the Red Cockade: A Story of the French Revolution. 6s.

“A stirring picture of a fearful time.”—World.

With the Dyaks of Borneo: A Tale of the Head Hunters. 6s.

“Young readers must be hard to please if With the Dyaks does not suit them.”—Spectator.

A Hero of Lucknow: A Tale of the Indian Mutiny. 5s.

“Full of action and picturesque adventure.”—British Weekly.

A Knight of St. John: A Tale of the Siege of Malta. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“Would enthral any boy reader.”—World.

In the Grip of the Mullah: A Tale of Somaliland. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

“A more spirited tale could not be wished for.”—British Weekly.

With Rifle and Bayonet: A Story of the Boer War. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

A Gallant Grenadier: A Story of the Crimean War. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

One of the Fighting Scouts. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

The Dragon of Pekin. New Edition. 3s. 6d.

With Shield and Assegai. 3s. 6d.


Pioneers in West Africa. With 8 coloured illustrations by the author, and maps and other illustrations in black-and-white. Demy 8vo, cloth extra, 6s.

Pioneers in Canada. With 8 coloured illustrations by E. Wallcousins, and maps and other illustrations in black-and-white. Demy 8vo, cloth extra, 6s.

These two volumes are the first of a series, the object of which is to provide reading of “real adventures” of those pioneers who have helped to lay the foundations of the British Empire. The story is truthfully told in a picture of splendid colouring, and with great accuracy.


Through the Heart of Tibet: A Tale of a Secret Mission to Lhasa. 6s.

“A rattling story.”—British Weekly.

The White Trail: A Story of the Early Days of Klondike. 6s.

“Should satisfy any boy’s mental appetite.”—Outlook.

The Pearl Seekers: A Story of Adventure in the Southern Seas. 6s.

“This is the kind of story a boy will want to read at a sitting.”—Schoolmaster.

The Invisible Island: A Story of the Far North of Queensland. 5s.

“A well-told story.”—World.

The Quest of the Black Opals: A Story of Adventure in the Heart of Australia. 5s.

“An admirable tale.”—Westminster Gazette.

The Lost Explorers: A Story of the Trackless Desert. 6s.

“As vivid a narrative as any boy could wish to read.”—Daily Graphic.


A Middy of the King: A Romance of the Old British Navy. Illustrated by E. S. Hodgson. Olivine edges, 5s.

The Adventures of Dick Maitland: A Tale of Unknown Africa. Illustrated by Alec Ball. Olivine edges, 3s. 6d.

A Middy of the Slave Squadron: A West African Story. 5s.

“An up-to-date sea story.”—Truth.

Overdue: or, The Strange Story of a Missing Ship. 3s. 6d.

“A story of thrilling interest.”—British Weekly.

The Cruise of the Thetis: A Tale of the Cuban Insurrection. 5s.

“A good, stirring book.”—Times.


On Foreign Service: or, The Santa Cruz Revolution. Illustrated by W. Rainey, r.i. 6s.

“It is a rousing good yarn.”—Athenæum.

Ford of H.M.S. Vigilant: A Tale of Adventure in the Chusan Archipelago. 5s.

“A distinctly good story.”—Naval and Military Record.


Mr. Midshipman Glover, R.N.: A Tale of the Royal Navy of To-day. 5s.

“Full of exciting adventures and gallant fighting.”—Truth.


The Adventures of Harry Rochester: A Story of the Days of Marlborough and Eugene. 6s.

“One of the best stories of a military and historical type we have seen for many a day.”—Athenæum.

—Boys of the Light Brigade: A Story of Spain and the Peninsular War. 6s.

Professor Oman (Chichele Professor of Modern History at Oxford, and author of A History of the Peninsular War) writes: “I can’t tell you what a pleasure and rarity it is to the specialist to find a tale on the history of his own period in which the details are all right ... accept thanks from a historian for having got historical accuracy combined with your fine romantic adventures.”

—Brown of Moukden: A Story of the Russo-Japanese War. 5s.

“The book will hold boy readers spellbound.”—Church Times.

—Tom Burnaby: A Story of Uganda and the Great Congo Forest. 5s.

“A delightful story of African adventure.”—Spectator.

—Kobo: A Story of the Russo-Japanese War. 5s.

“For vibrant actuality there is nothing to come up to Mr. Strang’s Kobo.”—Academy.


The Rival Treasure Hunters:A Tale of the Debatable Frontier of British Guiana. 6s.

“A story which every schoolboy would probably describe as ‘simply ripping’.”—Daily Graphic.

—The Great White Chief: A Story of Adventure in Unknown New Guinea. 6s.

“A rattling story told with spirit and vigour.”—British Weekly.


Under the Flag of France: A Tale of Bertrand du Guesclin. 5s.

“Full of vigour and movement.”—British Weekly.

Among the Dark Mountains: or, Cast away in Sumatra. 3s. 6d.

“A glorious tale of adventure.”—Educational News.


The Diamond Seekers: A Story of Adventure in South Africa. 6s.

“We have seldom seen a better story for boys.”—Guardian.

In Search of the Okapi: A Story of Adventure in Central Africa. 6s.

“An admirable story.”—Daily Chronicle.


Every Inch a Briton:A School Story. 3s. 6d.

“Mr. Meredith Fletcher has scored a success.”—Manchester Guardian.

Jefferson Junior: A School Story. 3s. 6d.

“A comical yarn.”—Yorkshire Daily Observer.


The Disputed V.C. A Tale of the Indian Mutiny. 3s.

“A good, stirring tale, well told.”—Graphic.


The Boys at Menhardoc: A Story of Cornish Nets and Mines. 3s.

“The story is well worth reading.”—British Weekly.

Bunyip Land: Among the Blackfellows in New Guinea. 3s.

“One of the best tales of adventure produced by any living writer.”—Daily Chronicle. {225}

—In the King’s Name. 3s. 6d.

“This is, we think, the best of all Mr. Fenn’s productions.”—Daily News.

—Dick o’ the Fens: A Romance of the Great East Swamp. 3s. 6d.

“We conscientiously believe that boys will find it capital reading.”—Times.


The Naval Cadet: A Story of Adventure on Land and Sea. 3s. 6d.

“An interesting travellers’ tale, with plenty of fun and incident in it.”—Spectator.

—For Life and Liberty: A Tale of the Civil War in America. 3s.

“The story is lively and spirited.”—Times.

—To Greenland and the Pole: A story of the Arctic Regions. 3s.

“One of the best books Dr. Stables has ever written.”—Truth.


The World of Animal Life. A Natural History for Little Folk. With eight full-page coloured Illustrations and numerous black-and-white Illustrations. Crown 4to, 11¼ inches by 9½ inches. Handsome cloth cover. Gilt top, 5s.

“An admirable volume.”—Birmingham Gazette.


Lords of the World: A Tale of the Fall of Carthage and Corinth. 3s. 6d.

“As a boys’ book, Lords of the World deserves a hearty welcome.”—Spectator.


The Nameless Prince: A Tale of Plantagenet Days. Illustrated by Charles M. Sheldon. 2s. 6d.

—The Red Knight: A Tale of the Days of King Edward III. Illustrated. 2s. 6d.

“It holds the imagination from beginning to end.”—British Weekly. {226}


When Lion-Heart was King: A Tale of Robin Hood and Merry Sherwood. 3s. 6d.

“A lively tale.”—Birmingham Post.


Hawkwood the Brave: A Tale of Mediæval Italy. 3s. 6d.

“A good story for boys.”—Literary World.


God’s Bairn: A Story of the Fen Country. 3s. 6d.

“An excellent tale, most dainty in execution and fortunate in subject.”—Globe.

The Luck of Ledge Point: A Tale of 1805. 2s. 6d.

“We thoroughly recommend it as a giftbook.”—Schoolmaster.


For the Sake of His Chum: A School Story. 3s. 6d.

“There is a breeziness about the book which is sure to commend it.”—Athenæum.

Two Scapegraces: A School Story. 3s. 6d.

“A school story of high merit.”—Liverpool Mercury.


The Red Army Book. With many Illustrations in colour and in black-and-white. 6s.

“Every boy would glory in the keeping and reading of such a prize.”—Daily Telegraph.


The Nelson Navy Book. With many Illustrations in colour and in black-and-white. 6s.

“A stirring, heartening tale, bold and bracing as the sea itself.”—Standard.


The Quest of the Golden Hope: A Seventeenth century Story of Adventure. Illustrated by Frank Wiles. 2s. 6d.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

for Samoro now told=> for Samaro now told {pg 114}

Barnably Blunt looked=> Barnaby Blunt looked {pg 156}

see the the negro=> see the negro {pg 172}


[1] Some of these wonderful tortoises are so large that half a dozen men can hardly lift them from the ground.

[2] Owing to the raids made upon these strange animals by the American whalers they had become very scarce, but this island not having been visited for many years, they had recuperated their forces.—G. S.

[3] This is the idea Indians have of photographs.