“And remember all that I have taught you,” shouted Bastin.
Marama shivered, though whether at the mention of the god Oro, of whose powers the Orofenans had so painful a recollection, or at the result of Bastin’s teachings, I do not know. And that was the last we shall ever see of each other in this world.
The island faded behind us and, sore at heart because of all that we had found and lost again, for three days we sailed northward with a fair and steady wind. On the fourth evening by an extraordinary stroke of fortune, we fell in with an American tramp steamer, trading from the South Sea Islands to San Francisco. To the captain, who treated us very kindly, we said simply that we were a party of Englishmen whose yacht had been wrecked on a small island several hundreds of miles away, of which we knew neither the name, if it had one, nor the position.
This story was accepted without question, for such things often happen in those latitudes, and in due course we were landed at San Francisco, where we made certain depositions before the British Consul as to the loss of the yacht Star of the South. Then we crossed America, having obtained funds by cable, and sailed for England in a steamer flying the flag of the United States.
Of the great war which made this desirable I do not speak since it has nothing, or rather little, to do with this history. In the end we arrived safely at Liverpool, and thence travelled to our homes in Devonshire.
Thus ended the history of our dealings with Oro, the super-man who began his life more than two hundred and fifty thousand years ago, and with his daughter, Yva, whom Bastin still often calls the Glittering Lady.
Bastin Discovers a Resemblance
There is little more to tell.
Shortly after our return Bickley, like a patriotic Englishman, volunteered for service at the front and departed in the uniform of the R.A.M.C. Before he left he took the opportunity of explaining to Bastin how much better it was in such a national emergency as existed, to belong to a profession in which a man could do something to help the bodies of his countrymen that had been broken in the common cause, than to one like his in which it was only possible to pelt them with vain words.
“You think that, do you, Bickley?” answered Bastin. “Well, I hold that it is better to heal souls than bodies, because, as even you will have learned out there in Orofena, they last so much longer.”
“I am not certain that I learned anything of the sort,” said Bickley, “or even that Oro was more than an ordinary old man. He said that he had lived a thousand years, but what was there to prove this except his word, which is worth nothing?”
“There was the Lady Yva’s word also, which is worth a great deal, Bickley.”
“Yes, but she may have meant a thousand moons. Further, as according to her own showing she was still quite young, how could she know her father’s age?”