For five minutes they sat and discussed possibilities and probabilities, fully realizing that they were objects of awe to the savages. Finally the tall one left the group and drew near the couple, approaching in fine humility. When he was a dozen feet from them, they arose, extending friendly hands toward him. He dropped to his knees and fairly ground his head upon the rock. Then he arose and came directly to them. Hugh marvelled at his size. Tremendous muscles, cords, knots and ridges stood, out all over his symmetrical body. He peered intently at the white man’s flesh and then dubiously at his own. When he turned his inspection to Tennys, his eyes riveted themselves upon her clear white face, the most gorgeously beautiful flower he ever had seen. He could not grasp the full glory of that dazzling flower; he was stupefied, helpless before the blue eyes and dazzling smile. In mute idolatry he at last lifted his puzzled gaze to the sun and then, extending his great arms upward, uttered a few low, guttural appeals to the King of the sky.
“He thinks we are from the sun,” said she, keenly ingenious.
“This fellow really seems quite willing to worship us. The best we can do for the present is to set ourselves up as idols. I think I can be a very clever idol with precious little practice. You can be one without an effort. Shall we set up a worship shop among these decidedly willing subjects?”
“But, Hugh, if we go away from the coast we cannot hope to see a white man again; these poor fellows are now, for the first time, looking upon one. Should we not stay here?” she asked, full of fear and perplexity.
“If a white man ever finds this land he will discover us. Besides, we cannot live on this rock forever. It would only be a question of time until we should starve or be killed by wild beasts. I am in favor of retaining the very evident monopoly we have established in this land of nowhere.”
“But if they should prove treacherous?”
“There’s no mistaking the honesty of their wonder. We are real curiosities, and we have only to follow up the advantage to become regular despots.” He was enthused by the possibilities that thronged his imagination.
“I will leave it all to you, Hugh. Do what you think best,” she said softly and resumed her seat on the rock.
With his heart quickened by the inspiration in that trusting face, Hugh boldly stepped to the side of the brown giant, deliberately taking his hand to lead him to the edge of the precipice.
There, by signs and gesticulations, he endeavored to tell him that they came from over the sea. From the awed expression on the face of the savage he guessed that he had increased the mystery. It was quite evident that his auditor now believed them to be from the bottom of the sea instead of from the sun. To Hugh it mattered little as long as he could have the wand of power over their heads. He delighted the chief by making him understand that he and his companion would accompany them in the boats. The word was conveyed to his warriors, and a wild chatter of joy went up from among them. They fell upon their faces and groaned in mighty discord.