“I’ve got to land this wicked brute, some way, or I may as well conclude that the jig is danced through, as far as I am concerned,” Reade thought ruefully.
Panting, quivering, in dread of being choked again, and much harder, Tom tried to think fast in the effort to devise some new plan for worsting this terrible opponent.
“I’ve been fooling myself all along,” Tom told himself, with a sinking heart. “I’ve been up against several men who were too weak or too cowardly to fight, and I’ve somehow gained the opinion that I could fight. But this black fellow has taken all the conceit out of me. I was a fool ever to think that I could fight! I’m nothing but a piece of jelly—–or putty!”
Of a sudden Reade tried to wrench himself free at the collar, at the same time raising his right knee with a forceful jerk. He wanted to drive that knee into the black man’s wind.
But Sambo seemed to guess the plan without trouble. He gave a twist that choked Tom, once more, until all went black before him. Then the negro slammed his victim down hard on the ground, well-nigh stunning the young engineer.
“Ah done see w’at Ah gotta do wid yo’,” Sambo announced. “Ah gotta tie yo’ up, load yo’ pockets wid rocks, and den take yo’ out in de Gulf ah’ lose yo’! Dat’s w’at Ah gotta do, an’ Ah ain’ gwine lose no time about it either.”
Sambo was in earnest, too. He had mapped out that very course!
A DAVID FOR A GOLIATH
From his pockets the big fellow brought out a coil of stout cord. Without much trouble he slipped a noose over one of Tom’s wrists. Then began an active fight, the object of which, on the black man’s part, was to make the other wrist secure.
But here Tom developed an amount of agility and a skill in fighting that angered Sambo.
“Doggone yo’, ef yo’ won’t take it peaceable-like, den yo’ll get it do odder way.”
With that, Sambo delivered a blow that made young Reade see stars. His head swam dizzily. Now, the black man secured the other wrist, making a turn and a knot that would have done credit to an expert.
But about that time something else happened. Whack! A blow from a club landed across the negro’s head.
“Who doin’ dat?” demanded the negro, blinking and half turning.
“I did eet, you miser-r-r-rable black smoke, and I do eet again!” rang the voice of Nicolas, as that valiant Mexican circled around the negro.
“Yo’ blow away, yaller baby!” jeered Sambo, whose head had been not at all hurt by the blow.
“I show you eel I run away!” bridled up Nicolas.
Tom now began to recover enough to know that his faithful servant was on the scene.
“Scoot, Nicolas!” urged Tom, in a gasping Voice. “Run for all you’re worth. This fellow will eat you up. Run and bring help.”