The Pilot, on hearing the first shot, ran to the spot, and both he and Jack arrived at the same instant, where the savage lay bleeding on the ground.
“You are safe and sound, I hope?” said Willis, anxiously.
“With the exception of some slight contusions, and the loss of my clothes, thank God, I am all right, Willis.”
“We are born to bad luck, it seems.”
“Say rather we are the spoilt children of Providence. I have just passed through the eye of a needle.”
“Is this the only savage you have seen?”
“No, there were two of them; and, to judge from their actions, I verily believe the rascals intended to eat me. As for this one, he is more frightened than hurt.”
And so it was, he had escaped with some slugs in his shoulders; but he seemed, by the contortions of his face, to think that he was dying.
“Fortunately,” said Jack, “my rifle was not loaded with ball. I should be sorry to have the death of a human being on my conscience.”
“Well,” said Willis, “I am not naturally cruel, but, beset as you have been, I should have shot both the fellows without the slightest compunction.”
“Still,” said Jack, giving the wounded savage a mouthful of brandy, “we ought to have mercy on the vanquished—they are men like ourselves, at all events.”
“Yes, they have flesh and bone, arms, legs, hands, and teeth like us; but I doubt whether they are possessed of souls and hearts.”
“The chances are that they possess both, Willis; only neither the one nor the other has been trained to regard the things of this world in a proper light. Their notions as to diet, for example, arise from ignorance as to what substances are fit and proper for human food.”
“As you like,” said Willis; “but let us be off; there may be more of them lurking about.”
“What! again without water?”
“No, this time I have taken care to fill the casks; the canoe is laden with fresh water.”
“Fritz must be very uneasy about us; but this man may die if we leave him so.”
“Very likely,” said the Pilot; “but that is no business of ours.”
“Good bye,” said Jack, lifting up the wounded savage, and propping him against a tree; “I may never have the pleasure of seeing you again, and am sorry to leave you in such a plight; but it will be a lesson for you, and a hint to be a little more hospitable for the future in your reception of strangers.”
The savage raised his eyes for an instant, as if to thank Jack for his good offices, and then relapsed into his former attitude of dejection.
Twenty minutes later the canoe was aboard the pinnace.
“Fritz,” said Jack, throwing his arms round his brother’s neck, “I am delighted to see you again; half an hour ago I had not the shadow of a chance of ever beholding you more.”