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the wrongs of all these store- Surely no one else comkeepers you will be an old man. ing?” he muttered. “Leave it to me, laddie,'
We followed his glance. replied my partner. “I've " It is,” said R., whose eyes got a feeling I shall get level are phenomenally good. “It's with Mr Xavier before many a white person, too, judging weeks have passed," and with by his loads." that and the fervent thanks of For a while we sat and the too trusting storekeeper, watched the oncoming safari. we passed out down the trail, It was easily a mile away, but and commenced our weary trek something in the gait of the back to Siwezi. By this time man leading made me pause. the rains had settled in good I ran for our glasses, and one and proper, and it was many look was sufficient. months before we again heard “The robber chief," I cried. any news from
the outside “M. Xavier of the kingdom of world, for no one travels in Greece.” the monsoon months who can “No!” said R., jumping to avoid it.
his feet. The final act was not played “It is, as sure as death,” out until the following summer, I repeated, and in a few more when we happened to find our- minutes there was no possible selves at the Boma, P- doubt about it. We had had a long circular We watched the safari make hunt lasting over four months, camp some four hundred yards and feeling bored with each away, and then we turned to other and life in general, we the administrator and told him decided to go into P- for the whole story of our cona week or two, and get some nection with M. Xavier. tennis (on their home-made “Now what about it?" courts) and some bridge. There asked R. “We want revenge !” were two other Britishers in “I should imagine so," reP- and they were as pleased plied the A.O. in his best to see us as we were to see official manner,
“but you see them, so that we made a very all this occurred in foreign cheerful quartette.
territory. I am quite helpless Things went with a swing to assist you." for a week, and no happier “ Then must I be the law,” folk could be imagined than quoted R., and picking up we four. Then—it was on a his hippo whip from a chair, Sunday evening, I remember- strode firmly to the door. we were sitting drinking our “If he runs you in, I shall sundowners on the verandah fine you five pounds for assault, ” when the policeman suddenly called out the A.O. narrowed his eyes, and gazed “It will be worth it,” replied up the big road into the setting R. loftily, and in a few minutes sun.
was off along the road.
“ You see,
Within ten minutes he was he challenged Mahommed to back again with his face as prove his words, and in the black as thunder.
event of his not being able to “Nice sort of fool I am,” he do so, claimed 3000 rupees growled challengingly.
damages. “ Thou has said it," I re- That was the gist of the marked sweetly.
thing, and the A.O., when he Oh ! Dash it! You can't had heard the claim and heard larrop a chap of his age, es- what Mahommed had to say, pecially when he lies down to looked very black indeed. it," he mumbled.
“I believe he'll get away I laughed. I had experienced with it, you know," he said, the same feeling. You just suddenly, at dinner that night. could not thrash that oily Oh, never ! ” we protested Greek.
violently. For a while there was silence. “He will, I'm certain," re
“What do you think he's peated the A.O. come for?” asked R. suddenly. the whole thing was sub rosa.
“To borrow money,” I sug- Mahommed evidently trusted gested promptly.
the old swine, and further“No. He's come to enter more, he couldn't take a receipt a suit for defamation of character for the rifles, because it's illegal against Mahommed."
for him to have firearms. Nor I fell back into my chair. could he engage him to shoot “For what?" I stammered. ivory, because he can't take
Defamation of character,” out a licence to import it into repeated R. seriously.
the country. So that he had Well, that is the limit! to trust him." roared the policeman, and for “Well, it's a howling shame the next minute or two we if he does get away with it," laughed until our sides ached. broke out R. “ The law's an
However, next morning at ass if it can't nab that old nine o'clock M. Xavier pre- villain.” sented himself at the office of The A.O. spread his hands. the A.O., and duly stated his “I can only dispense justice case. His claim against Ma- as per the book of words,” he hommed was for libellous utter- said. ances that had damaged his Cha ! snorted R. “Bang character severely. The words him into jug and chance it !” he complained of were: (1) Well, despite all our protests Mahommed's statements that which were many—and all he had engaged him (the Greek) our threats—which were more to shoot elephants in Portu- —the case proceeded, and as guese territory ; (2) that Ma- the A.0. had predicted, the hommed had given him 2000 Greek won. Mahommed simply rupees ; (3) that he had given badn't a leg to stand on. He him six rifles. Furthermore, hadn't a shred of evidence to support his contention, and to Flats. I heard again the soft all intents and purposes he note of the violins as they sang had made very libellous state- a dreamy valse tune to the ments against the shining white- laughing couples on the club ness of the character of M. floor; smelled again the hauntXavier, a Greek gentleman. ing sweetness of the lotus
Then came the question of blossoms on Shalima. the damages. With the yellow Shaking myself vigorously, I and black tooth flapping wildly looked across at my partner. in and out of his mouth, the His eyes were far away. unspeakable Greek made an “For the sake of the old impassioned speech for five regiment and in memory of all thousand rupees. I could have the mad, gay days in India,' shot him where he stood—the he said softly, reaching into liar !-but, like all other sinners, his pocket. he succeeded and was awarded “And for all the tongafive hundred rupees.
wallahs I've beaten,” said I R.'s curses were loud and hysterically, dragging out some long, and that night we sat in notes. secret conclave with our old The Sahibs !” exclaimed friend Mahommed. He simply the old man, tears streaming had not got the five hundred, down his face as he gathered and we believed him. Poor old up the notes. “ The Sahibs fellow, he was most terribly I have heard my father speak agitated. He would never be of. They never die ! able to return to his village For the rest of the night we in India, and he hated and were strangely silent. Not so loathed the idea of dying in easily is the magic of the old Africa. What could he do! days to be dispelled. And his family!
Curse that damned Greek, Softly the Hindustani words said R. viciously, as he punched floated into our ears. The his pillow into shape. little store faded back, and do the wicked prosper 9” into my memory swam the 'Don't spoil it,” murmured picture of the old regiment as I, pathetically, closing my eyes it swung down the Gharial to the moonlit witchery of this Road to the church on the alien land.
VOL. CCXVIII.-NO. MCCCXXII.
A FOGGY AFFAIR.
BY T. A. POWELL.
On the lower reaches of the this gloomy berth that I joined Tyne, where man has taken submarine “08” one drizzling charge of this beautiful river evening in September 1916. and used it for his own pur- We had six boats in the poses, one sees British industry flotilla, which allowed for three in its most unattractive form. to be berthed alongside the Rusty skeletons of half-built ship, one to be refitting, and ships, squalid slums and coal- the other two to be detached ing staiths jostle each other to a sub-depôt at Blyth, seven for room on the precious river miles up the coast.
“ C8 ” had frontage, while the air is full seen much service, as subof the reek of furnaces and marines go. She was very chemical works.
small, and had but fifteen men If there be one reach more in her crew; but she was my hideous than the rest, it is first command, and, as such, Jarrow Slake. Though one of I was very proud of her. the least desirable places in We were a training and coast the British Isles, it is full of defence flotilla ; our days were historical interest. Near this spent in diving exercises off spot, a few years ago, were the coast, and our nights were dredged up some old oak tim- spoilt by raids and rumours bers, part of the foundations of raids. Often there would of a Roman bridge, probably be a scare in the middle of the built by the Emperor Severus. night, and a bugle would sound They were quite sound after the call for submarine crews having lain submerged for to man their boats—a particuseventeen centuries. On the larly aggressive piece of music, northern bank is the end of which fills me with loathing Hadrian's Wall, while on the even now. A crowd of sleepy Durham side is Bede's Church, wretches in oilskins and seaall that remains of Jarrow boots would stumble along the Monastery.
greasy gang-planks and cast Here, during most of the off the “springs.” The boats war, moored head and stern would glide out one by one in the dirty water, lay the old into the darkness of mid-stream submarine depôt ship Bonaven- and pick their way past the ture, with her port side within moored steamers and barges fifty yards of a row of decayed to the open sea. Sometimes wooden piles marking the edge we lay at a buoy off Tyneof a half-tide timber-pool on mouth in order to be ready to the southern bank. It was at reach our patrol positions be
fore dawn-a lesson learnt from a light was seen in her wheel. the Scarborough raid, -and to house, and next morning the avoid that nightmare journey lifeboat managed to rescue sixdown the winding unlighted teen half-dead Lascars, wrapped river. These scares were almost up in coloured bunting from invariably false alarms, and the steamer's flag-lockers. How therefore most exasperating; the deck-house had remained but it was always pleasant to was a miracle, as the rest of remember that every soldier the ship was smashed to bits. up and down the East Coast The lifeboat came alongside had to turn out and be un- the yacht on her return, and comfortable too.
I filled up the crew with coffee After working a month from and bread and cheese. The Jarrow, it was our turn to go famous Cox'n Smith was in to Blyth. This was a much charge of the boat
a wonderful better life; the only thing bearded old veteran of sixty, which worried us was the tele- hero of the Rohilla and dozens phone from the Bonaventure. of other wrecks. In a few Here we lived very comfort- days' time I was to take a ably in the old hulk of the keen interest in lifeboats. yacht Tyne, late headquarters On 16th December we were of the Northumberland Yacht due to return to the BonaClub, with the senior C.o. as venture and be relieved by captain of the yacht. Great C10." We were in for a were the parties on board that cold snap at the time, and a old "junk.” Officers from the thick fog lay along the coast. Titania's flotilla and soldiers My orders were to be in readifrom the defences would come ness to leave as soon as the over most evenings for a game fog lifted up till 3 P.M. ; but of chance and a late supper. for the next two days it was During November and Decem- as thick as pea-soup, and I ber we had several bad gales, had to remain at Blyth with with two wrecks within a mile the boat ready to leave at of Blyth pier. The second one five minutes' notice. was a big steamer which had About 3 o'clock on 19th damaged her rudder, and drove December the fog cleared ashore on Blyth sands during slightly, and I decided to leave, an easterly gale. A British as I was already two days and two Russian seamen tried overdue. In addition to my to swim ashore and were picked crew with their bags, hamup drowned, but the Lascar mocks, and mess-gear, I took crew remained on board. The my marine servant, one Private Tyne motor-lifeboat tried to Carlin, who had been catering get alongside, and was nearly for us in the yacht. We were lost herself; she reported that delayed twenty minutes at the there was no sign of life in the entrance by a steamer coming ship. However, that evening in, and I passed “010 ” just