"And so it was all settled easily
enough," Sheldon was saying.
He was on the veranda, drinking
coffee. The whale-boat was being
carried into its shed. "Boucher
was a bit timid at first to carry
off the situation with a strong
hand, but he did very well once
we got started. We made a play
at holding a court, and Telepasse,
the old scoundrel, accepted the
findings. He's a Port Adams chief,
a filthy beggar. We fined him
ten times the value of the pigs,
and made him move on with his
mob. Oh, they're a sweet lot,
I must say, at least sixty of
them, in five big canoes, and
out for trouble. They've got
a dozen Sniders that ought to
"Why didn't you?" Joan
"And have a
row on my hands with the Commissioner?
touchy about his black wards,
as he calls them. Well, we started
them along their way, though
they went in on the beach to
kai-kai several miles back. They
ought to pass here some time
Two hours later the canoes
arrived. No one saw them come.
The house-boys were busy in the
kitchen at their own breakfast.
The plantation hands were similarly
occupied in their quarters. Satan
lay sound asleep on his back
under the billiard table, in
his sleep brushing at the flies
that pestered him. Joan was rummaging
in the store-room, and Sheldon
was taking his siesta in a hammock
on the veranda. He awoke gently.
In some occult, subtle way a
warning that all was not well
had penetrated his sleep and
aroused him. Without moving,
he glanced down and saw the ground
beneath covered with armed savages.
They were the same ones he had
parted with that morning, though
he noted an accession in numbers.
There were men he had not seen
He slipped from the hammock
and with deliberate slowness
sauntered to the railing, where
he yawned sleepily and looked
down on them. It came to him
curiously that it was his destiny
ever to stand on this high place,
looking down on unending hordes
of black trouble that required
control, bullying, and cajolery.
But while he glanced carelessly
over them, he was keenly taking
stock. The new men were all armed
with modern rifles. Ah, he had
thought so. There were fifteen
of them, undoubtedly the Lunga
runaways. In addition, a dozen
old Sniders were in the hands
of the original crowd. The rest
were armed with spears, clubs,
bows and arrows, and long-handled
tomahawks. Beyond, drawn up on
the beach, he could see the big
war-canoes, with high and fantastically
carved bows and sterns, ornamented
with scrolls and bands of white
cowrie shells. These were the
men who had killed his trader,
Oscar, at Ugi.
"What name you walk about this
place?" he demanded.
At the same time he stole a
glance seaward to where the Flibberty-
Gibbet reflected herself in the
glassy calm of the sea. Not a
soul was visible under her awnings,
and he saw the whale-boat was
missing from alongside. The Tahitians
had evidently gone shooting fish
up the Balesuna. He was all alone
in his high place above this
trouble, while his world slumbered
peacefully under the breathless
Nobody replied, and he repeated
his demand, more of mastery in
his voice this time, and a hint
of growing anger. The blacks
moved uneasily, like a herd of
cattle, at the sound of his voice.
But not one spoke. All eyes,
however, were staring at him
in certitude of expectancy. Something
was about to happen, and they
were waiting for it, waiting
with the unanimous, unstable
mob-mind for the one of them
who would make the first action
that would precipitate all of
them into a common action. Sheldon
looked for this one, for such
was the one to fear. Directly
beneath him he caught sight of
the muzzle of a rifle, barely
projecting between two black
bodies, that was slowly elevating
toward him. It was held at the
hip by a man in the second row.
"What name you?" Sheldon
suddenly shouted, pointing
the man who held the gun, who
startled and lowered the muzzle.
Sheldon still held the whip
hand, and he intended to keep
"Clear out, all you fella boys," he
ordered. "Clear out and walk
along salt water. Savvee!"
"Me talk," spoke
up a fat and filthy savage
whose hairy chest
was caked with the unwashed dirt
"Oh, is that you, Telepasse?" the
white man queried genially. "You
tell 'm boys clear out, and you
stop and talk along me."
"Him good fella boy," was the
reply. "Him stop along."
"Well, what do you want?" Sheldon
asked, striving to hide under
assumed carelessness the weakness
"That fella boy belong along
me." The old chief pointed out
Gogoomy, whom Sheldon recognized.
"White Mary belong you too
much no good," Telepasse went
on. "Bang 'm head belong Gogoomy.
Gogoomy all the same chief. Bimeby
me finish, Gogoomy big fella
chief. White Mary bang 'm head.
No good. You pay me plenty tobacco,
plenty powder, plenty calico."
"You old scoundrel," was
Sheldon's comment. An hour
before, he had
been chuckling over Joan's recital
of the episode, and here, an
hour later, was Telepasse himself
come to collect damages.
"Gogoomy," Sheldon ordered, "what
name you walk about here? You
get along quarters plenty quick."
"Me stop," was
the defiant answer.
"White Mary b'long you bang
'm head," old Telepasse began
again. "My word, plenty big fella
trouble you no pay."
"You talk along boys," Sheldon
said, with increasing irritation. "You
tell 'm get to hell along beach.
Then I talk with you."
Sheldon felt a slight vibration
of the veranda, and knew that
Joan had come out and was standing
by his side. But he did not dare
glance at her. There were too
many rifles down below there,
and rifles had a way of going
off from the hip.
Again the veranda vibrated
with her moving weight, and he
knew that Joan had gone into
the house. A minute later she
was back beside him. He had never
seen her smoke, and it struck
him as peculiar that she should
be smoking now. Then he guessed
the reason. With a quick glance,
he noted the hand at her side,
and in it the familiar, paper-wrapped
dynamite. He noted, also, the
end of fuse, split properly,
into which had been inserted
the head of a wax match.
you old reprobate, tell 'm
boys clear out along
beach. My word, I no gammon along
"Me no gammon," said the chief. "Me
want 'm pay white Mary bang 'm
head b'long Gogoomy."
"I'll come down there and bang
'm head b'long you," Sheldon
replied, leaning toward the railing
as if about to leap over.
An angry murmur arose, and
the blacks surged restlessly.
The muzzles of many guns were
rising from the hips. Joan was
pressing the lighted end of the
cigarette to the fuse. A Snider
went off with the roar of a bomb-gun,
and Sheldon heard a pane of window-
glass crash behind him. At the
same moment Joan flung the dynamite,
the fuse hissing and spluttering,
into the thick of the blacks.
They scattered back in too great
haste to do any more shooting.
Satan, aroused by the one shot,
was snarling and panting to be
let out. Joan heard, and ran
to let him out; and thereat the
tragedy was averted, and the
Rifles and spears were dropped
or flung aside in a wild scramble
for the protection of the cocoanut
palms. Satan multiplied himself.
Never had he been free to tear
and rend such a quantity of black
flesh before, and he bit and
snapped and rushed the flying
legs till the last pair were
above his head. All were treed
except Telepasse, who was too
old and fat, and he lay prone
and without movement where he
had fallen; while Satan, with
too great a heart to worry an
enemy that did not move, dashed
frantically from tree to tree,
barking and springing at those
who clung on lowest down.
"I fancy you need a lesson
or two in inserting fuses," Sheldon
Joan's eyes were scornful.
"There was no detonator on
it," she said. "Besides, the
detonator is not yet manufactured
that will explode that charge.
It's only a bottle of chlorodyne."
She put her fingers into her
mouth, and Sheldon winced as
he saw her blow, like a boy,
a sharp, imperious whistle--the
call she always used for her
sailors, and that always made
"They're gone up the Balesuna,
shooting fish," he explained. "But
there comes Oleson with his boat's-crew.
He's an old war-horse when he
gets started. See him banging
the boys. They don't pull fast
enough for him."
"And now what's to be done?" she
asked. "You've treed your game,
but you can't keep it treed."
"No; but I
can teach them a lesson."
Sheldon walked over to the
"It is all right," he replied
to her gesture of protest. "My
boys are practically all bushmen,
while these chaps are salt-water
men, and there's no love lost
between them. You watch the fun."
He rang a general call, and
by the time the two hundred labourers
trooped into the compound Satan
was once more penned in the living-
room, complaining to high heaven
at his abominable treatment.
The plantation hands were dancing
war-dances around the base of
every tree and filling the air
with abuse and vituperation of
their hereditary enemies. The
skipper of the Flibberty-Gibbet
arrived in the thick of it, in
the first throes of oncoming
fever, staggering as he walked,
and shivering so severely that
he could scarcely hold the rifle
he carried. His face was ghastly
blue, his teeth clicked and chattered,
and the violent sunshine through
which he walked could not warm
"I'll s-s-sit down, and k-k-keep
a guard on 'em," he chattered. "D-d-dash
it all, I always g-get f-fever
when there's any excitement.
W-w-wh-what are you going to
the guns first of all."
Under Sheldon's direction the
house-boys and gang-bosses collected
the scattered arms and piled
them in a heap on the veranda.
The modern rifles, stolen from
Lunga, Sheldon set aside; the
Sniders he smashed into fragments;
the pile of spears, clubs, and
tomahawks he presented to Joan.
"A really unique addition to
your collection," he smiled; "picked
up right on the battlefield."
Down on the beach he built
a bonfire out of the contents
of the canoes, his blacks smashing,
breaking, and looting everything
they laid hands on. The canoes
themselves, splintered and broken,
filled with sand and coral-boulders,
were towed out to ten fathoms
of water and sunk.
"Ten fathoms will be deep enough
for them to work in," Sheldon
said, as they walked back to
Here a Saturnalia had broken
loose. The war-songs and dances
were more unrestrained, and,
from abuse, the plantation blacks
had turned to pelting their helpless
foes with pieces of wood, handfuls
of pebbles, and chunks of coral-rock.
And the seventy-five lusty cannibals
clung stoically to their tree-perches,
enduring the rain of missiles
and snarling down promises of
"There'll be wars for forty
years on Malaita on account of
this," Sheldon laughed. "But
I always fancy old Telepasse
will never again attempt to rush
"Eh, you old scoundrel," he
added, turning to the old chief,
who sat gibbering in impotent
rage at the foot of the steps. "Now
head belong you bang 'm too.
Come on, Miss Lackland, bang
'm just once. It will be the
too dirty. I'd rather give
him a bath. Here, you, Adamu
Adam, give this devil-devil a
wash. Soap and water! Fill that
wash-tub. Ornfiri, run and fetch
The Tahitians, back from their
fishing and grinning at the bedlam
of the compound, entered into
"Tambo! Tambo!" shrieked
the cannibals from the trees,
at so awful a desecration, as
they saw their chief tumbled
into the tub and the sacred dirt
rubbed and soused from his body.
Joan, who had gone into the
bungalow, tossed down a strip
of white calico, in which old
Telepasse was promptly wrapped,
and he stood forth, resplendent
and purified, withal he still
spat and strangled from the soap-suds
with which Noa Noah had gargled
The house-boys were directed
to fetch handcuffs, and, one
by one, the Lunga runaways were
haled down out of their trees
and made fast. Sheldon ironed
them in pairs, and ran a steel
chain through the links of the
irons. Gogoomy was given a lecture
for his mutinous conduct and
locked up for the afternoon.
Then Sheldon rewarded the plantation
hands with an afternoon's holiday,
and, when they had withdrawn
from the compound, permitted
the Port Adams men to descend
from the trees. And all afternoon
he and Joan loafed in the cool
of the veranda and watched them
diving down and emptying their
sunken canoes of the sand and
rocks. It was twilight when they
embarked and paddled away with
a few broken paddles. A breeze
had sprung up, and the Flibberty-Gibbet
had already sailed for Lunga
to return the runaways.