In the Wrong Paradise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about In the Wrong Paradise.

She was a dear good girl, Doto, in spite of her heathen training. {74}

Strangely enough, as I thought at the time, she burst out weeping when I took my leave of her, and seemed almost as if she had some secret to impart to me.  This, at least, showed an interest in me, and I walked to my home with high presumptuous thoughts.

As I passed a certain group of rocks, in a lonely uncultivated district, while the grey of evening was falling, I heard a low whistle.  The place had a bad reputation, being thought to be haunted.  Perhaps I had unconsciously imbibed some of the superstitions of the natives, for I started in alarm.

Then I heard an unmistakably British voice cry, in a suppressed tone, “Hi!”

The underwood rustled, and I beheld, to my astonishment, the form, the crawling and abject form, of William Bludger!

Since the day of his landing we had never once met, William having been sent off to a distant part of the island.

“Hi!” he said again, and when I exclaimed, naturally, “Hullo!” he put his finger on his lips, and beckoned to me to join him.  This I did, and found that he was lurking in a cavern under the group of grey weather-worn stones.

When I entered the cave, Bludger fell a-trembling so violently that he could not speak.  He seemed in the utmost alarm, his face quite ashen with terror.

“What is the matter, William Bludger?” I asked; “have you had a Call, or why do you thrust yourself on me?”

“Have you sich a thing as a chaw about ye?” he asked in tremulous accents.  “I’m that done; never a drop has passed my lips for three days, strike me dead; and I’d give anything for a chaw o’ tobacco.  A sup of drink you have not got, Capt’n Hymn-book, axing your pardon for the liberty?”

“William,” I said, “even in this benighted island, you set a pitiful example.  You have been drinking, sir; you are reaping what you have sown; and only temperance, strict, undeviating total abstinence rather, can restore your health.”

“So help me!” cried the wretched man, “except a drop of Pramneian {76} I took, the morning I cut and run,—­and that was three days ago,—­nothing stronger than castor-oil berries have crossed my lips.  It ain’t that, sir; it ain’t the drink.  It’s—­it’s the Thargeelyah.  Next week, sir, they are going to roast us—­you and me—­flog us first, and roast us after.  Oh Lord!  Oh Lord!”

VII.  FLIGHT.

“Flog us first, and roast us afterwards.”  I repeated mechanically the words of William Bludger.  “Why, you must be mad; they are more likely to fall down and worship us,—­me at any rate.”

“No, Capt’n,” replied William; “that’s your mistake.  They say we’re both Catharmata; that’s what they call us; and you’re no better than me.”

“And what are Catharmata?” I inquired, remembering that this word, or something like it, had been constantly used by the natives in my hearing.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
In the Wrong Paradise from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook