“I wonder if it would offend them if we were to distribute what we can’t use among the poor.”
“I am sure it would please the poor as much as it would please us. They’ll all be poor, you know. I have two hundred and eighty-three pairs of trousers and only seven shirts. If I could trade in two hundred and fifty pants for an extra shirt or two, I’d be a much happier bridegroom.”
“I dare say they can cut down some of my kimonas to fit you. I have at least three hundred.”
“I’d like that blue one and the polka dot up there. They’d make corking shirts. I’ll trade you twelve of my umbrellas for one of those grass bonnets of yours. They’ve been showing too much partiality. Here you’ve got nearly one hundred suits of pajamas and I have but eleven.”
“Yes, but think of the suits of armor they’ve made for you and not one for me.”
“But I wouldn’t have time to change armor during a battle, would I? One suit is enough for me. By George, they look worse than football suits, don’t they? One couldn’t drive a javelin through this chunk of stuff with a battering ram.”
Everywhere about them were proofs of the indefatigable but lamentable industry of their dusky friends. Articles inconceivable in more ways than one were heaped in the huge room. Nondescript is no word to describe the heterogeneous collection of things supposed to be useful as well as ornamental. Household utensils, pieces of furniture, bric-a-brac of the most appalling design, knickknacks and gewgaws without end or purpose stared the bewildered white people in the face with an intensity that confused and embarrassed them beyond power of expression.
Shortly after their strange betrothal, Lady Tennys had become a strong advocate of dress reform for women on the island of Nedra. Neat, loose and convenient pajamas succeeded the cumbersome petticoats of everyday life. She, as well as her subjects, made use of these thrifty garments at all times except on occasions of state. They were cooler, more rational—particularly becoming—and less troublesome than skirts, and their advent created great rejoicing among the natives, who, prior to the arrival of their white leaders, had worn little more than nothing and yet had been quite fashionable.
Tennys was secretly rehearsing the marriage ceremony in the privacy of her chamber, prompted and praised by her faithful handmaidens. To her, this startling wedding meant but one thing: the resignation of all intent to leave the island. The day she and Hugh Ridgeway were united according to the custom sacred to these people, their fate was to be sealed forever. It was to bind them irrevocably to Nedra, closing forever to them the chance of returning to the civilization they had known and were relinquishing.
Ridgeway daily inventoried his rapidly increasing stock of war implements, proud of the prowess that had made him a war-god. He soberly prohibited the construction of a great boat which might have carried him and his fair companion back to the old world.