with any one who pretended to such powers of discrimination.

rain and cloudtwo2023-12-07 10:35:02 85486 47

I had no weapon of any kind, and I did not want the fourth bullet for myself. Henriques was too pretty a shot to trifle with. I waited quietly on the edge of the shade till the Portugoose came out of the thicket. I saw him running forward with a rifle in his hand. A whinny from a horse told me that somewhere near his beast was tied up. It was all but dark, but it seemed to me that I could see the lust of greed in his eyes as he rushed to the litter.

with any one who pretended to such powers of discrimination.

Very softly I stole behind him. He tore off the lid of the box, and pulled out the great necklace. For a second it hung in his hands, but only for a second. So absorbed was he that he did not notice me standing full before him. Nay, he lifted his head, and gave me the finest chance of my life. I was something of a boxer, and all my accumulated fury went into the blow. It caught him on the point of the chin, and his neck cricked like the bolt of a rifle. He fell limply on the ground and the jewels dropped from his hand.

with any one who pretended to such powers of discrimination.

I picked them up and stuffed them into my breeches pocket.

with any one who pretended to such powers of discrimination.

Then I pulled the pistol out of his belt. It was six- chambered, and I knew that only three had been emptied. I remembered feeling extraordinarily cool and composed, and yet my wits must have been wandering or I would have never taken the course I did.

The right thing to do - on Arcoll's instructions - was to make for the river and swim across to my friends. But Laputa was coming back, and I dreaded meeting him. Laputa seemed to my heated fancy omnipresent. I thought of him as covering the whole bank of the river, whereas I might easily have crossed a little farther down, and made my way up the other bank to my friends. It was plain that Laputa intended to evade the patrol, not to capture it, and there, consequently, I should be safe. The next best thing was to find Arcoll's Kaffir, who was not twenty yards away, get some sort of horse, and break for the bush. Long before morning we should have been over the Berg and in safety. Nay, if I wanted a mount, there was Henriques' whinnying a few paces off.

Instead I did the craziest thing of all. With the jewels in one pocket, and the Portugoose's pistol in the other, I started running back the road we had come.


I ran till my breath grew short, for some kind of swift motion I had to have or choke. The events of the last few minutes had inflamed my brain. For the first time in my life I had seen men die by violence - nay, by brutal murder. I had put my soul into the blow which laid out Henriques, and I was still hot with the pride of it. Also I had in my pocket the fetich of the whole black world; I had taken their Ark of the Covenant, and soon Laputa would be on my trail. Fear, pride, and a blind exultation all throbbed in my veins. I must have run three miles before I came to my sober senses.



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