Ridgeway touched his shoulder and bade him arise, pointing toward the mounts and their attendant glory. To his amazement the chief uttered an exclamation of satisfaction and abruptly ran back to the boats. In an incredibly short space of time the restless savages were coming up the beach with their canoes on their shoulders, heading straight for the opening through which the moonlight streamed. Two of them formed a “basket,” and Lady Tennys, taking her seat upon their hands, and holding timidly to their hard, muscular shoulders, was borne swiftly onward and upward, Ridgeway having some difficulty in keeping pace with the human carriage.
Big rocks told them that they were at the base of the rocky columns and the course of the little band indicated that they were to pass between the towering, almost perpendicular monsters. Suddenly the little cavalcade of the night came to a halt, the boats were thrown down and Hugh arrived at the conclusion that they were to stop until morning. In this he found himself mistaken, for with the very next moment he heard the splashing of water, seemingly beneath his feet. Up to now he had been looking upward at the rift in the rocks. Instead of a rocky gorge he now saw the shimmering of water, and a fresh exclamation of surprise fell from his lips.
“Can this be fairyland?” he cried, completely dazed.
“We must be dreaming, Hugh,” murmured she. The party stood at the water’s edge, looking up through the miniature canon, the rushing of distant rapids coming to their ears.
The boats were lowered, and the oarsmen were soon pulling sturdily between the tall twins. These frowning monsters formed a perfect gateway from the sea to the home of the savages. Hugh felt that he was shut off forever from the outside world as he surveyed, with sinking heart, the portals through which they had passed. Soon a second landing was made, this time upon soft, rich soil, instead of crunching sand. It was easy to tell that they were standing on velvety grass, soft, cool and dewy. The boats were made fast, the spar and shell were swung upon broad shoulders, and then the party plunged straight into the wood, Lady Tennys being carried as before.
After ten minutes of rapid walking over a well-beaten trail the band halted, and the chief uttered several piercing cries. From afar off in the still night came an echoing answer and again the march was resumed, the travellers keeping close to the bank of the river. In time they reached an open stretch, across which the escort started, turning away from the stream.
There were fitful flashes of light ahead. Across the little plain came a jumble of flying human beings, two or three bearing torches. They seemed to have sprung from the ground, so abruptly did they appear before the eyes of the dumbfounded strangers in this strange land. The chief went forward rapidly and checked the advancing figures, preparing them for what was to follow. The entire company prostrated itself in good form.