Before it had made up its mind on this point, Corrie’s eye alighted on it.
“Hist!” exclaimed he with a gesture of caution to his companions. “Look there! We’ve had nothing to eat for an awful time,—nothing since breakfast on Sunday morning. I feel as if my interior had been amputated. Oh, what a jolly roast that fellow would make if we could only kill him!”
“Wot’s in the pistol?” inquired Bumpus, pointing to the weapon which Corrie had stuck ostentatiously into his belt.
“Nothin’,” answered the boy. “I fired the last charge in the face of a savage.”
“Fling it at him,” suggested Bumpus, getting cautiously up. “Here, hand it to me. I’ve seed a heavy horse-pistol like that do great execution when well aimed by a stout arm.”
The pig seemed to have an intuitive perception that danger was approaching; for it turned abruptly round just as the missile left the seaman’s hand, and received the butt with full force close to the root of its tail.
A pig’s tendency to shriek on the receipt of the slightest injury is well known. It is therefore not to be wondered at that this pig went off into the bushes under cover of a series of yells so terrific they might have been heard for miles around.
“I’ll after him,” cried Bumpus, catching up a large stone, and leaping forward a few paces almost as actively as if nothing had happened to him.
“Hurrah!” shouted Corrie; “I’ll go too.”
“Hold on,” cried Bumpus, stopping suddenly.
“Why?” inquired the boy.
“‘Cause you must stop an’ take care of the gals. It won’t do to leave ’em alone again, you know, Corrie.”
This remark was accompanied with an exceedingly huge wink, full of deep meaning, which Corrie found it convenient not to notice, as he observed gravely:
“Ah! true. One of us must remain with ’em, poor, helpless things; so—so you had better go after the squeaker.”
“All right,” said Bumpus, with a broad grin—“Hallo! why, here’s a spear, that must ha’ been dropped by one o’ them savages. That’s a piece o’ good luck, anyhow, as the man said when he f’und the fi’ pun’ note. Now, then, keep an eye on them gals, lad, and I’ll be back as soon as ever I can; though I does feel rather stiffish. My old timbers ain’t used to such deep divin’, d’ye see.”
Bumpus entered the thicket as he spoke, and Corrie returned to console the girls with the feeling and the air of a man whose bosom is filled with a stern resolve to die, if need be, in the discharge of an important duty.