Now I was dressed, as fittingly as possible in the circumstances, but I felt that my chief need was a bed to lie down upon. I did not wish to sleep in the bath-room, so, taking my torch from the stand in which I had placed it, I sallied forth into the corridors, attired as I have described, and carrying my coat under my arm. A distant light, and the noise of females giggling, which increased most indecorously as I drew near, attracted my attention. Walking in the direction of the sounds, I soon discovered the two young women to whose charge I had been committed by the chief. They appeared to be in high spirits, and, seizing my arms before I could offer any resistance, they dragged me at a great pace down the passage and out into the verandah. Here the air was very fragrant and balmy, and a kind of comfortable “shakedown” of mattresses, covered with coloured blankets, had been laid for me in a corner. I lay down as soon as the sound of the young women’s merriment died out in the distance, and after the extraordinary events of the night, I was soon sleeping as soundly as if I had been in my father’s house at Hackney Wick.
V. A STRANGER ARRIVES.
When I wakened next morning, wonderfully refreshed by sleep and the purity of the air, I had some difficulty in remembering where I was and how I came there in such a peculiar costume. But the voices of the servants in the house, and the general stir of people going to and fro, convinced me that I had better be up and ready to put my sickle into this harvest of heathen darkness. Little did I think how soon the heathen darkness would be trying to put the sickle into me! I made my way with little difficulty, being guided by the sound of the running water, to the bath-room, and thence into the gardens. These were large and remarkably well arranged in beds and plots of flowers and fruit-trees. I particularly admired a fountain in the middle, which watered the garden, and supplied both the chief’s house and the town. Returning by way of the hall, I met the chief, who, saluting me gravely, motioned me to one of many small tables on which was set a bowl of milk, some cakes, and some roasted kid’s flesh.