They were deep in a game of
billiards the next morning, after
the eleven o'clock breakfast,
when Viaburi entered and announced,
schooner close up."
Even as he spoke, they heard
the rumble of chain through hawse-
pipe, and from the veranda saw
a big black-painted schooner,
swinging to her just-caught anchor.
"It's a Yankee," Joan cried. "See
that bow! Look at that elliptical
stern! Ah, I thought so--" as
the Stars and Stripes fluttered
to the mast-head.
Noa Noah, at Sheldon's direction,
ran the Union Jack up the flag-
"Now what is an American vessel
doing down here?" Joan asked. "It's
not a yacht, though I'll wager
she can sail. Look! Her name!
What is it?"
"Martha, San Francisco," Sheldon
read, looking through the telescope. "It's
the first Yankee I ever heard
of in the Solomons. They are
coming ashore, whoever they are.
And, by Jove, look at those men
at the oars. It's an all-white
crew. Now what reason brings
"They're not proper sailors," Joan
commented. "I'd be ashamed of
a crew of black-boys that pulled
in such fashion. Look at that
fellow in the bow--the one just
jumping out; he'd be more at
home on a cow-pony."
The boat's-crew scattered up
and down the beach, ranging about
with eager curiosity, while the
two men who had sat in the stern-sheets
opened the gate and came up the
path to the bungalow. One of
them, a tall and slender man,
was clad in white ducks that
fitted him like a semi-military
uniform. The other man, in nondescript
garments that were both of the
sea and shore, and that must
have been uncomfortably hot,
slouched and shambled like an
overgrown ape. To complete the
illusion, his face seemed to
sprout in all directions with
a dense, bushy mass of red whiskers,
while his eyes were small and
sharp and restless.
Sheldon, who had gone to the
head of the steps, introduced
them to Joan. The bewhiskered
individual, who looked like a
Scotsman, had the Teutonic name
of Von Blix, and spoke with a
strong American accent. The tall
man in the well-fitting ducks,
who gave the English name of
Tudor--John Tudor--talked purely-enunciated
English such as any cultured
American would talk, save for
the fact that it was most delicately
and subtly touched by a faint
German accent. Joan decided that
she had been helped to identify
the accent by the short German-looking
moustache that did not conceal
the mouth and its full red lips,
which would have formed a Cupid's
bow but for some harshness or
severity of spirit that had moulded
Von Blix was rough and boorish,
but Tudor was gracefully easy
in everything he did, or looked,
or said. His blue eyes sparkled
and flashed, his clean-cut mobile
features were an index to his
slightest shades of feeling and
expression. He bubbled with enthusiasms,
and his faintest smile or lightest
laugh seemed spontaneous and
genuine. But it was only occasionally
at first that he spoke, for Von
Blix told their story and stated
They were on a gold-hunting
expedition. He was the leader,
and Tudor was his lieutenant.
All hands--and there were twenty-eight--
were shareholders, in varying
proportions, in the adventure.
Several were sailors, but the
large majority were miners, culled
from all the camps from Mexico
to the Arctic Ocean. It was the
old and ever-untiring pursuit
of gold, and they had come to
the Solomons to get it. Part
of them, under the leadership
of Tudor, were to go up the Balesuna
and penetrate the mountainous
heart of Guadalcanar, while the
Martha, under Von Blix, sailed
away for Malaita to put through
"And so," said Von Blix, "for
Mr. Tudor's expedition we must
have some black-boys. Can we
get them from you?"
"Of course we will pay," Tudor
broke in. "You have only to charge
what you consider them worth.
You pay them six pounds a year,
"In the first place we can't
spare them," Sheldon answered. "We
are short of them on the plantation
as it is."
"WE?" Tudor asked quickly. "Then
you are a firm or a partnership?
I understood at Guvutu that you
were alone, that you had lost
Sheldon inclined his head toward
Joan, and as he spoke she felt
that he had become a trifle stiff.
has become interested in the
plantation since then.
But to return to the boys. We
can't spare them, and besides,
they would be of little use.
You couldn't get them to accompany
you beyond Binu, which is a short
day's work with the boats from
here. They are Malaita-men, and
they are afraid of being eaten.
They would desert you at the
first opportunity. You could
get the Binu men to accompany
you another day's journey, through
the grass- lands, but at the
first roll of the foothills look
for them to turn back. They likewise
are disinclined to being eaten."
"Is it as bad as that?" asked
"The interior of Guadalcanar
has never been explored," Sheldon
explained. "The bushmen are as
wild men as are to be found anywhere
in the world to-day. I have never
seen one. I have never seen a
man who has seen one. They never
come down to the coast, though
their scouting parties occasionally
eat a coast native who has wandered
too far inland. Nobody knows
anything about them. They don't
even use tobacco--have never
learned its use. The Austrian
expedition--scientists, you know--got
part way in before it was cut
to pieces. The monument is up
the beach there several miles.
Only one man got back to the
coast to tell the tale. And now
you have all I or any other man
knows of the inside of Guadalcanar."
"But gold--have you heard of
gold?" Tudor asked impatiently. "Do
you know anything about gold?"
Sheldon smiled, while the two
visitors hung eagerly upon his
"You can go
two miles up the Balesuna and
wash colours from
the gravel. I've done it often.
There is gold undoubtedly back
in the mountains."
Tudor and Von Blix looked triumphantly
at each other.
"Old Wheatsheaf's yarn was
true, then," Tudor said, and
Von Blix nodded. "And if Malaita
turns out as well--"
Tudor broke off and looked
"It was the tale of this old
beachcomber that brought us here," he
explained. "Von Blix befriended
him and was told the secret." He
turned and addressed Sheldon. "I
think we shall prove that white
men have been through the heart
of Guadalcanar long before the
time of the Austrian expedition."
Sheldon shrugged his shoulders.
"We have never heard of it
down here," he said simply. Then
he addressed Von Blix. "As to
the boys, you couldn't use them
farther than Binu, and I'll lend
you as many as you want as far
as that. How many of your party
are going, and how soon will
"Ten," said Tudor; "nine
men and myself."
"And you should be able to
start day after to-morrow," Von
Blix said to him. "The boats
should practically be knocked
together this afternoon. To-morrow
should see the outfit portioned
and packed. As for the Martha,
Mr. Sheldon, we'll rush the stuff
ashore this afternoon and sail
As the two men returned down
the path to their boat, Sheldon
regarded Joan quizzically.
"There's romance for you," he
said, "and adventure--gold-hunting
among the cannibals."
"A title for a book," she cried. "Or,
better yet, 'Gold-Hunting Among
the Head-Hunters.' My! wouldn't
"And now aren't you sorry you
became a cocoanut planter?" he
teased. "Think of investing in
such an adventure."
"If I did," she retorted, "Von
Blix wouldn't be finicky about
my joining in the cruise to Malaita."
"I don't doubt
but what he would jump at it."
"What do you think of them?" she
"Oh, old Von
Blix is all right, a solid
sort of chap in his fashion;
but Tudor is fly-away--too much
on the surface, you know. If
it came to being wrecked on a
desert island, I'd prefer Von
"I don't quite understand," Joan
objected. "What have you against
Browning's 'Last Duchess'?"
reminds me of her--"
"But she was
"So she was.
But she was a woman. One expects
different from a man--more control,
you know, more restraint, more
deliberation. A man must be more
solid, more solid and steady-
going and less effervescent.
A man of Tudor's type gets on
my nerves. One demands more repose
from a man."
Joan felt that she did not
quite agree with his judgment;
and, somehow, Sheldon caught
her feeling and was disturbed.
He remembered noting how her
eyes had brightened as she talked
with the newcomer--confound it
all, was he getting jealous?
he asked himself. Why shouldn't
her eyes brighten? What concern
was it of his?
A second boat had been lowered,
and the outfit of the shore party
was landed rapidly. A dozen of
the crew put the knocked-down
boats together on the beach.
There were five of these craft--lean
and narrow, with flaring sides,
and remarkably long. Each was
equipped with three paddles and
several iron-shod poles.
"You chaps certainly seem to
know river-work," Sheldon told
one of the carpenters.
The man spat a mouthful of
tobacco-juice into the white
sand, and answered, -
"We use 'em
in Alaska. They're modelled
after the Yukon poling-
boats, and you can bet your life
they're crackerjacks. This creek'll
be a snap alongside some of them
Northern streams. Five hundred
pounds in one of them boats,
an' two men can snake it along
in a way that'd surprise you."
At sunset the Martha broke
out her anchor and got under
way, dipping her flag and saluting
with a bomb gun. The Union Jack
ran up and down the staff, and
Sheldon replied with his brass
signal- cannon. The miners pitched
their tents in the compound,
and cooked on the beach, while
Tudor dined with Joan and Sheldon.
Their guest seemed to have
been everywhere and seen everything
and met everybody, and, encouraged
by Joan, his talk was largely
upon his own adventures. He was
an adventurer of adventurers,
and by his own account had been
born into adventure. Descended
from old New England stock, his
father a consul-general, he had
been born in Germany, in which
country he had received his early
education and his accent. Then,
still a boy, he had rejoined
his father in Turkey, and accompanied
him later to Persia, his father
having been appointed Minister
to that country.
Tudor had always been a wanderer,
and with facile wit and quick
vivid description he leaped from
episode and place to episode
and place, relating his experiences
seemingly not because they were
his, but for the sake of their
bizarreness and uniqueness, for
the unusual incident or the laughable
situation. He had gone through
South American revolutions, been
a Rough Rider in Cuba, a scout
in South Africa, a war correspondent
in the Russo-Japanese war. He
had mushed dogs in the Klondike,
washed gold from the sands of
Nome, and edited a newspaper
in San Francisco. The President
of the United States was his
friend. He was equally at home
in the clubs of London and the
Continent, the Grand Hotel at
Yokohama, and the selector's
shanties in the Never-Never country.
He had shot big game in Siam,
pearled in the Paumotus, visited
Tolstoy, seen the Passion Play,
and crossed the Andes on mule-back;
while he was a living directory
of the fever holes of West Africa.
Sheldon leaned back in his
chair on the veranda, sipping
his coffee and listening. In
spite of himself he felt touched
by the charm of the man who had
led so varied a life. And yet
Sheldon was not comfortable.
It seemed to him that the man
addressed himself particularly
to Joan. His words and smiles
were directed impartially toward
both of them, yet Sheldon was
certain, had the two men of them
been alone, that the conversation
would have been along different
lines. Tudor had seen the effect
on Joan and deliberately continued
the flow of reminiscence, netting
her in the glamour of romance.
Sheldon watched her rapt attention,
listened to her spontaneous laughter,
quick questions, and passing
judgments, and felt grow within
him the dawning consciousness
that he loved her.
So he was very quiet and almost
sad, though at times he was aware
of a distinct irritation against
his guest, and he even speculated
as to what percentage of Tudor's
tale was true and how any of
it could be proved or disproved.
In this connection, as if the
scene had been prepared by a
clever playwright, Utami came
upon the veranda to report to
Joan the capture of a crocodile
in the trap they had made for
Tudor's face, illuminated by
the match with which he was lighting
his cigarette, caught Utami's
eye, and Utami forgot to report
to his mistress.
"Hello, Tudor," he
said, with a familiarity that
The Polynesian's hand went
out, and Tudor, shaking it, was
staring into his face.
"Who is it? " he asked. "I
can't see you."
"And who the
dickens is Utami? Where did
I ever meet you, my
"You no forget the Huahine?" Utami
chided. "Last time Huahine sail?"
Tudor gripped the Tahitian's
hand a second time and shook
it with genuine heartiness.
only one kanaka who came out
of the Huahine that
last voyage, and that kanaka
was Joe. The deuce take it, man,
I'm glad to see you, though I
never heard your new name before."
speak me Joe along the Huahine.
Utami my name
all the time, just the same."
"But what are you doing here?" Tudor
asked, releasing the sailor's
hand and leaning eagerly forward.
"Me sail along
Missie Lackalanna her schooner
Miele. We go Tahiti,
Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora-Bora, Manua,
Tutuila, Apia, Savaii, and Fiji
Islands--plenty Fiji Islands.
Me stop along Missie Lackalanna
in Solomons. Very soon she catch
"He and I were the two survivors
of the wreck of the Huahine," Tudor
explained to the others. "Fifty-seven
all told on board when we sailed
from Huapa, and Joe and I were
the only two that ever set foot
on land again. Hurricane, you
know, in the Paumotus. That was
when I was after pearls."
"And you never told me, Utami,
that you'd been wrecked in a
hurricane," Joan said reproachfully.
The big Tahitian shifted his
weight and flashed his teeth
in a conciliating smile.
"Me no t'ink nothing 't all," he
He half-turned, as if to depart,
by his manner indicating that
he considered it time to go while
yet he desired to remain.
"All right, Utami," Tudor said. "I'll
see you in the morning and have
"He saved my life, the beggar," Tudor
explained, as the Tahitian strode
away and with heavy softness
of foot went down the steps. "Swim!
I never met a better swimmer."
And thereat, solicited by Joan,
Tudor narrated the wreck of the
Huahine; while Sheldon smoked
and pondered, and decided that
whatever the man's shortcomings
were, he was at least not a liar.