He took his worlds one by one. One by one his worlds evaporated, rose beyond his vision as vapours in the hot alembic of the sun, sank for ever beneath sea-levels, themselves unreal and passing as the phantoms of a dream. The totality of the minute, simple world of the humans, microscopic and negligible as it was in the siderial universe, was as far beyond his guessing as is the siderial universe beyond the starriest guesses and most abysmal imaginings of man.
Jerry was never to see the dark island of savagery again, although often in his sleeping dreams it was to return to him in vivid illusion, as he relived his days upon it, from the destruction of the Arangi and the man-eating orgy on the beach to his flight from the shell-scattered house and flesh of Nalasu. These dream episodes constituted for him another land of Otherwhere, mysterious, unreal, and evanescent as clouds drifting across the sky or bubbles taking iridescent form and bursting on the surface of the sea. Froth and foam it was, quick-vanishing as he awoke, non-existent as Skipper, Skipper’s head on the withered knees of Bashti in the lofty grass house. Malaita the real, Malaita the concrete and ponderable, vanished and vanished for ever, as Meringe had vanished, as Skipper had vanished, into the nothingness.
From Malaita the Ariel steered west of north to Ongtong Java and to Tasman—great atolls that sweltered under the Line not quite awash in the vast waste of the West South Pacific. After Tasman was another wide sea-stretch to the high island of Bougainville. Thence, bearing generally south-east and making slow progress in the dead beat to windward, the Ariel dropped anchor in nearly every harbour of the Solomons, from Choiseul and Ronongo islands, to the islands of Kulambangra, Vangunu, Pavuvu, and New Georgia. Even did she ride to anchor, desolately lonely, in the Bay of a Thousand Ships.
Last of all, so far as concerned the Solomons, her anchor rumbled down and bit into the coral-sanded bottom of the harbour of Tulagi, where, ashore on Florida Island, lived and ruled the Resident Commissioner.
To the Commissioner, Harley Kennan duly turned over Makawao, who was committed to a grass-house jail, well guarded, to sit in leg-irons against the time of trial for his many crimes. And Johnny, the pilot, ere he returned to the service of the Commissioner, received a fair portion of the twenty pounds of head money that Kennan divided among the members of the launch crew who had raced through the jungle to the rescue the day Jerry had taken Makawao by the back of the neck and startled him into pulling the trigger of his unaimed rifle.
“I’ll tell you his name,” the Commissioner said, as they sat on the wide veranda of his bungalow. “It’s one of Haggin’s terriers—Haggin of Meringe Lagoon. The dog’s father is Terrence, the mother is Biddy. The dog’s own name is Jerry, for I was present at the christening before ever his eyes were open. Better yet, I’ll show you his brother. His brother’s name is Michael. He’s nigger-chaser on the Eugenie, the two-topmast schooner that rides abreast of you. Captain Kellar is the skipper. I’ll have him bring Michael ashore. Beyond all doubt, this Jerry is the sole survivor of the Arangi.”