White Shadows in the South Seas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 365 pages of information about White Shadows in the South Seas.

“Now this governor was on the ship going away, and he had not been killed.  This made all Marquesans sad, and those in the crew talked to Earth Worm, who had also been wronged, and urged him to rise and strike.  But he said nothing.

“The ship came to the Paumotas, and the governor sat all day long on a stool on the deck, watching the islands as they passed.  Earth Worm sat in his place, watching the governor.  One night at dark he rose, and taking an iron rod laid beside him by one of the crew he crept along the deck and stood behind the man on the stool.  He raised the iron rod and brought it down with fury upon the head of that man, who fell covered with blood.  Then he leaped into the sea.

“But the governor had gone below, and it was Jean Richard who sat on the stool in the darkness.  He was found bleeding upon the deck, and the bones of his head were cut and lifted and patched, so that to-day he lives, as well as ever.  Earth Worm was never found.  A boat with a lantern was lowered, but it found nothing but the fins of sharks.

“That was the work of Drink of Beer, who had hated Earth Worm because he was a brave and strong man of Taaoa.  When this was told to Drink of Beer, he smiled and said, ’Earth Worm is safer where he is.’

“I have talked too much.  Your rum is very good.  I thank you for your kindness.  You will not forget to deign to speak to the governor concerning the matter of the gun?”

I promised that I would not forget, and after a prolonged leavetaking the Shan-Shan man slipped silently down the trail and vanished in the moon-lit forest.

CHAPTER XXXVI

The madman Great Moth of the Night; story of the famine and the one family that ate pig.

Le Brunnec, the trader, was opening a roll of Tahiti tobacco five feet long, five inches in diameter at the center, and tapering toward the ends.  It was bound, as is all Tahiti tobacco, in a purau rope, which had to be unwound and which weighed two pounds.  The eleven pounds of tobacco were hard as wood, the leaves cemented by moisture.  Le Brunnec hacked it with an axe into suitable portions to sell for three francs a pound, the profit on which is a franc.

The immediate customer was Tavatini (Many Pieces of Tattooing), a rich man of Taaoa, in his fifties.  His face was grilled with ama ink.  One streak of the natural skin alone remained.  Beside him on the counter sat a commanding-looking man, whose eyes, shining from a blue background of tattooing, were signals to make one step aside did one meet him on the trail.  They had madness in them, but they were a revelation of wickedness.

Some men, without a word or gesture, make you think intently.  There is that in their appearance which starts a train of ideas, of wonder, of guesses at their past, of horror at what is written upon their faces.  This man’s visage was seamed and wrinkled in a network of lines that said more plainly than words that he was a monster whose villainies would chill imagination.  The brain was a spoiled machine, but it had been all for evil.

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White Shadows in the South Seas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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