I had expected. The lower line of the snow was of course

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After this the talk turned on other topics till Tam, still nursing his grievance, asked a question on his own account. 'Did you ever come across a great big native parson called Laputa? He came on board as we were leaving Durban, and I had to turn out of my cabin for him.' Tam described him accurately but vindictively, and added that 'he was sure he was up to no good.'

I had expected. The lower line of the snow was of course

Aitken shook his head. 'No, I don't know the man. You say he landed here? Well, I'll keep a look-out for him. Big native parsons are not so common.'

I had expected. The lower line of the snow was of course

Then I asked about Henriques, of whom Tam knew nothing. I described his face, his clothes, and his habits. Aitken laughed uproariously.

I had expected. The lower line of the snow was of course

'Tut, my man, most of the subjects of his Majesty the King of Portugal would answer to that description. If he's a rascal, as you think, you may be certain he's in the I.D.B. business, and if I'm right about Blaauwildebeestefontein you'll likely have news of him there some time or other. Drop me a line if he comes, and I'll get on to his record.'

I saw Tam off in the boat with a fairly satisfied mind. I was going to a place with a secret, and I meant to find it out. The natives round Blaauwildebeestefontein were queer, and diamonds were suspected somewhere in the neighbourhood.

Henriques had something to do with the place, and so had the Rev. John Laputa, about whom I knew one strange thing. So did Tam by the way, but he had not identified his former pursuer, and I had told him nothing. I was leaving two men behind me, Colles at Durban and Aitken at Lourenco Marques, who would help me if trouble came. Things were shaping well for some kind of adventure.

The talk with Aitken had given Tam an inkling of my thoughts. His last words to me were an appeal to let him know if there was any fun going.

'I can see you're in for a queer job. Promise to let me hear from you if there's going to be a row, and I'll come up country, though I should have to desert the service. Send us a letter to the agents at Durban in case we should be in port. You haven't forgotten the Dyve Burn, Davie?'



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