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I signed my name and we The old fool must have been gave the boy the letter. Next out of his mind. But anyway, day R. left for P
can't you imagine the Greek, It was fourteen days before with six rifles and two thouI saw him again, and almost sand rupees, going to shoot the first thing he did as he elephants for an Indian! It's entered the camp was to show a perfect gem. Naturally, our me a letter authorising him good friend Xavier set off for to arrest the Greek.
the happy hunting grounds in “What's this ?” I asked. this country, and has not been “Turned policeman !"
heard of since, excepting for “No, but I'll tell you when one letter about four months I've had a drink. It's a per- ago, when he wrote to the fect joy in P-"
bania asking for more money, “I wept across to see old as food is very dear, and the Mahommed,” he began, as he elephants very fierce.' I saw flopped back in his chair. “I the letter. It is perfectly wanted a new shirt or two, so true. I went to see what he had got “ As far as I can make out, in the cloth line. Well, be all that cloth and the guns he asked me if I had ever heard showed us when we first struck of a Greek called Xavier. When him belonged to the deluded I said I had, the old fellow went Mahommed, and you remember off into hysterics. It appears those two tusks he had! Well, that last year old Xavier went he sold those in Portuguese to Mahommed's store for some territory and kept the money. clothes. The wily bania smelt I gather that when Mahommed
profit, and approached heard of it he nearly went Xavier on the subject of ivory. mad. At any rate he got Old Xavier said he was broke authority from the coast to at the moment, whereupon arrest our Greek pal, and he's Mahommed proposed to find issued the thing to me, and him rifles and ammunition and I'm going to arrest him.” give him some money for a “Don't be silly," I laughed. licence and food, and so on.
“ You can't do that." The Greek was then to go down “ Can't I! You watch me! to Portuguese territory and Honestly, B., I'm absolutely shoot elephants for the bania. fed up with the blighter. I've Well, eventually, it was all got a weakness for old Maarranged. Mahommed gave hommed. He's a dear old chap, him six .303 rifles (where he and he comes from a village got them from Heaven alone near Barrackpur-our old depôt knows !) and two thousand you know. Feel I must do rupees for expenses."
something for him. I tell you, "Two-thousand—rupees !” if I see the Greek again, I shall I interrupted in amazement. arrest him." “Yes, two thousand rupees.
“But that authority is no
good on Portuguese soil," I he gradually gave up the purprotested.
suit. “ Who cares about that?' Then came the final blow.
' But what are you going to We were up beyond the say to him when you arrest Great Bend of the Rovuma, him
towards the lake, after ele“Leave that to me, my lad. phants. The rains were very I've never been stuck for words near and we were hurrying yet!”
back to camp as fast as we Finally I let the thing go. could make it, when outside R. was obviously determined the village of Tagora we came to have a shot at arresting the on a hot spoor. It looked like Greek, legally or illegally, and, a big tusker so we followed, after all, if it amused him to and after about four hours be a policeman-why not? came up with a lone bull "Live and let live ” has always carrying somewhere about been my motto in life.
eighty pound tusks. We Followed a hectic period of toppled it over without much three or four months for R. trouble, and as we had plenty He thoroughly investigated of boys with us decided to every rumour and clue that leave four behind to get out came to our ears about the the tusks, and to follow us Greek, but he soon found that on to camp as soon as they he was up against the same could. We were about ninety trouble that the three posses miles at this time from Siwezi, of police had been up against and we reckoned that the boys - lack of native information. should not be longer than seven This puzzled us completely for days. a long time, until we discovered We made camp in four days, that the Greek was, or had and were astounded when we been, supplying the natives heard the shouts of boys comwith alcohol (gin !) in return ing from across the river late for their silence
as to his on the fifth night. whereabouts. Gradually the Who's that?” I shouted to ardour of the amateur police- Selimani. man abated. At first he had “It is Swalayo, master,” he persisted in wearing his old answered, “and there is big Sam Browne when on duty,” trouble out there." but after two or three months Now Swalayo was the name he began to leave it off. His of the boy I had left in charge nightmare was lest he should of the ivory, and though we see the Greek in the bush one conjectured many things as day, and not be wearing his the canoe came slowly across Sam Browne or not have the the river, we never had an warrant with him. However, inkling of the real truth. Preas things fell out he never did sently the canoe landed, and see the Greek, and as I say, in the light of the hurricane
lamp we saw the four boys that he will rush to the nearest we had left behind climb slowly store to sell it. If he gets there up the bank. Swalayo came before us, he'll get the money up to the house, and stood for it, because you can't prove swaying against the verandah ownership of ivory.” post.
“That's so," I agreed," and “What's the matter ?” asked as far as I can see we can't R. sharply.
possibly beat him to the store, “The ivory has been stolen, because I take it he would master.”
make for M’kondo. That's the “What ! ” we cried together, nearest I know of.” springing to our feet.
R. rose to fetch our map. “The ivory-stolen, master,” “Here's where we shot the he repeated.
elephant,” he said, putting his “Who stole it?" I managed finger on a spot south of the to get out.
Great Bend. “Here is M'kondo. “A white man!” and as he I suppose he would do thirty spoke, I knew it was the un- miles a day, and it's onespeakable Greek.
two three four five For a moment we stood and six-seven, say six and a half stared at the boy. It was no days, and he has three days' use cursing him. Oh ! for one
Oh ! for one start. No, we can't possibly short minute with the Greek. do it. You see, we are & R. wandered round the room, shade nearer M’kondo from bereft of words. It was un- this camp, but even so, we speakable. There had been a couldn't arrive there under four streak of humour in our deal- and a half days, and that is ings with the fellow up to reckoning forty miles a day.” date, but this outrage was “No. It's impossible, but beyond anything.
we can't afford to lose two “Oh, the swine! The dirty tusks like that." blackguard !” ejaculated R. at “We won't lose them," said last, finding his tongue. By R. determinedly. "Not if we heaven! it would give me have to take them from the pleasure to shoot him." store. After all, they are ours."
“That's no good," said I. For a while we thought the What we want is our ivory.” question out. As far as one
"Exactly—and how do you could humanly see, there was propose getting it?"
going to be trouble and plenty We were far too upset to of it-whichever way things think of anything at the mo- happened, because of one thing ment, so we dismissed the boy we were both agreed—we were and sat down to a cup of tea. not going to lose the ivory!
“He's taken that ivory be- The next point to consider was cause he wants money,” said the journey to M’kondo, and R. some time later, thought- the sooner we got there the fully. “It seems clear to me better. It was towards the
of the month, and the within forty - one miles of moon was rising about 3.30 M’kondo, according to our own A.M., we reckoned. By this reckoning. The next morning time it was already eleven we set out at half-past three in o'clock, and, as the trail was a firm endeavour to do the fairly clear, we decided to start complete distance. By noon away with the moon. Selimani we had covered twenty-five was informed of our plans, and miles, but while we were snatchthe safari ordered for three ing a hasty lunch, the first o'clock. Rations were served rain fell. This delayed us à out on the spot, and every- considerable time, as the trail thing being ready, we lay down was very clayey and difficult to snatch a couple of hours' to walk on. By nightfall we sleep.
had still eight miles to go, but Promptly at 3.45 A.M. we such was our anxiety that, left camp, and by dawn had taking our three hurricane covered a good eight miles. lamps, Selimani and the cook, We had a big safari, numbering we left the boys to camp and thirty-one boys, but each boy's pushed on alone to M’kondo. load weighed but a few pounds, It was ten o'clock when we as speed was the main con- arrived there, and going straight sideration. By nightfall we to the store, we inquired if had covered thirty-eight miles. any ivory had been brought in. The next day was much heavier “None since you sent your going, and though we went on last lot through,"
through,” answered until dark, we only covered, we the boy promptly, and we estimated, thirty-one miles. could have danced a jigon That night we were very tired. the spot, despite our weary The rains were on the top of legs. us, and the weather was hot Hardly had we finished conand steamy. The hot trail gratulating ourselves when the had burnt the boys' feet, and Portuguese proprietor arrived. several of them were limping To him we hastily explained badly. We were away before the situation, and as the gloridawn the next morning, but ous Greek had stolen a rifle try how we would we could of his-or, at least, had bornot do more than thirty miles. rowed it and omitted to return Fortunately that thirty miles same—he was as anxious to carried us into a village where meet the gentleman as we we succeeded in replacing the were. He managed to put us lamest of the boys. There up for the night, pending the was no news whatever of the arrival of our boys on the Greek.
morrow, and early next mornBy giving the heaviest loads ing we went to the administo the fresh boys, we were able trator, who was by way of to accomplish thirty-six miles being a friend of ours, and that day, which brought us charged the Greek with rob
bery. Orders were promptly content. The ivory was ours given for his apprehension, and again. we sat ourselves down to await About half-past eight the the denouement with what boys arrived, and the headman patience we could muster. of the safari was brought to
All that day we waited and the administrator's house. all that night, but the Greek “Yes," said the boy, in did not put in an appearance. answer to our questions. “The Doubts began to raise their master started with us seven hydra heads and torment us days ago, but at M'pinda (a with the thought that he might village quite close to the Great have gone to another store, Bend) heard that the but always we argued that it Bwanas from Siwezi were leavwas the money he wanted, and ing their camp in a great hurry. the longer he held the ivory the My master sent us on alone, greater became the danger. and he went back, and we are Finally, at lunch next day, to take the money for this word came in vid the bush, ivory back to Sultan M'kara, that two tusks of ivory were who will keep it for my master coming down the trail. The until he returns.” little storekeeper hugged him- And where has your master self with glee, and we smiled gone?” asked R. sweetly. sardonically. We sent out our “I don't know, master, but boys to bring in the earliest I think a long way.” possible news, and the adminis- “I'll bet be has," said R. trator had a cell in the native bitterly. gaol cleaned out and put in We confiscated the ivory, of order. Everything was ready course, and although the adfor M. Xavier's arrival !
ministrator was willing to send Towards four o'clock what out a search party to round had been merest suspicion hard- up the Greek, we decided to ened into a definite rumour. let the whole business slide. There was no white man with “ We shall meet him all the safari. Could it be true ? right one day, never fear,” said
He'd never trust a native R. as we bade good-bye to the with £160, surely,” argued R., storekeeper, having seen our but as the hours went on the ivory safely labelled to the rumour was repeated and re- bank, and despatched by the peated until it was a moral store's own porters. certainty. The Greek had And when you see him, slipped us. Still, we had the take my gun from him and ivory, though the revenge we keep it for me, will you ! had planned would have been begged the storekeeper. so deliciously sweet. Towards R. looked at me and I looked dusk we heard that our boys at him. We grinned. and the police had taken charge “Well, Sir Galabad !” Iljibed, of the safari, and so we rested “by the time you have righted