Now was the time for the savage to wreak his vengeance on his enemy; but, fortunately, that villain, despite his subtlety and cunning, had not conceived the possibility of the youth indulging in such an unnatural recreation as a nap in the forenoon. He had, therefore, retired to his native jungle, and during the hour in which Henry was buried in repose, and in which he might have accomplished his end without danger or uncertainty, he was seated in a dark, cave, moodily resolving in his mind future plans of villainy, and, indulging the hope that on the youth’s returning homeward be would be more successful in finding a favorable opportunity to take his life.
During this same hour it was that our low-hulled little schooner hove in sight on the horizon, ran swiftly down before the breeze, cast anchor in the bay, and sent her boat ashore, as we have seen, with the captain, the surly man called Dick, and our friend John Bumpus.
It happened that, just as the boat ran under the shelter of a rocky point and touched the strand, Keona left his cave for the purpose of observing what young Stuart was about. He knew that he could not have retraced his homeward way without passing within sight of his place of concealment.
A glance of surprise crossed his dark visage as he crept to the edge of the underwood and saw the schooner at anchor in the bay. This was succeeded by a fiendish grin of exultation as his eye fell on the slumbering form of the youth. He instantly took advantage of the opportunity; and so deeply was he engrossed with his murderous intention, that he did not observe the captain of the schooner as he turned a projecting rock, and suddenly appeared upon the scene. The captain, however, saw the savage, and instantly drew back, signing, at the same time, to his two men to keep under cover.
A second glance showed him the sleeping form of Henry, and, almost before he had time to suspect that foul play was going on, he saw the savage glide from the bushes to the side of the sleeper, raise his spear, and poise it for one moment, as if to make sure of sending it straight to the youth’s heart.
There was not a moment to lose. The captain carried a short carbine in his hand, with which he took aim at the savage,—going down on one knee to make a surer shot, for the carbine of those days was not to be depended on at a distance much beyond a hundred yards; and as the actors in this scene were separated by even more than that distance, there was a considerable chance of missing the savage and hitting the young man.
This, however, was not a moment to calculate chances. The captain pulled the trigger, and the crash of the shot was followed by a howl from the savage, as his uplifted arm dropped to his side, and the spear fell across the face of the sleeper. Henry instantly awoke, and sprang up with the agility of a panther. Before he could observe what had occurred, Keona leaped into the bushes disappeared. Henry at once bounded after him; and the captain, giving vent to a lusty cheer, rushed across the beach, and sprang into the forest, closely followed by surly Diet and John Bumpus, whose united cheers of excitement and shouts of defiance awoke the echoes of the place with clamorous discords.