Then came the struggle for Hugh and Tennys Huntingford. For an hour they wavered and then the die was cast. Back to the old world!
When it became known that the Izors who had done so much for them were to leave the island on the big, strange thing of the deep, the greatest consternation and grief ensued. Chattering disconsolately, the whole village accompanied the belongings of the Izors to the beach. Lady Tennys and Ridgeway went among their savage friends with the promise to return some day, a promise which they meant to fulfil.
“I’ll have missionaries out here in a month,” vowed Hugh, biting his lips and trying to speak calmly through the grip that was choking him involuntarily.
King Pootoo, the picture of despair, stood knee-deep in the water. As the sailors pushed off, he threw up his hands and wailed aloud; and then the whole tribe behind him fell grovelling in the sand. Two white-robed figures flung themselves in the water and grasped the gunwales as the boat moved away. The sailors tried to drive them off, but they screamed and turned their pleading faces toward their mistress.
“Please take them in,” she cried, and strong arms drew the dusky women into the boat. They were Alzam and Nattoo, the devoted handmaidens of the beautiful Izor. Trembling and in fear of dire punishment for their audacity, they sank to the bottom of the boat. Nor did they cease their moaning until they were on the broad deck of the Winnetka, where astonishment overcame fear.
Slowly the boat moved away from the island of Nedra, just one year after its new passengers had set foot on its shores. High upon the top of the tall gatepost fluttered the frayed remnants of an American flag. The captain pointed toward it, removed his cap proudly, and then there arose a mighty cheer from the men on board the man o’ war.
The Winnetka passed Corregidor Island and dropped anchor in Manila harbor on the morning of June 1st. On the forward deck stood Hugh Ridgeway and Tennys Huntingford. They went ashore with Captain Hildebrand, Ensign Carruthers, the paymaster and several others. Another launch landed their nondescript luggage—their wedding possessions—and the faithful handmaidens. The captain and his passengers went at once to shipping quarters, where the man in charge was asked if he could produce a list of those on board the Tempest Queen at the time she went down.
“I have a list of those who left Aden and of those who were rescued. Did you have friends on board?”
“Yes, we had friends,” answered Hugh, in a choking voice. “First, let me see a list of the lost.” The clerk found the book containing the list, alphabetically arranged, and placed it on the desk before the trembling man and woman. Both had an insane desire to rush from the office and back to the Winnetka, where they could hide from the very knowledge they were seeking. In their hearts they were wishing for the solitude and happiness of the Island of Nedra. The clerk, observing their anxiety, considerately offered to read the names to them.