The Land of Mystery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 188 pages of information about The Land of Mystery.

“It may be that since we are suspicious of them,” said Fred, “they feel the same toward us, and are unwilling to make our acquaintance until after reconnoiterin’ us.  Helloa! what’s up now?”

This question was caused by the action of Bippo, who, trembling in every limb, and with the appearance of a person overcome with terror, pointed to the forest behind them.

CHAPTER IX.

A NATIVE HERCULES.

The savages that had shown such pluck in the instances described, now gave another striking proof of their courage.

At the moment the mystified explorers were discussing the strange appearance and actions of the white men, more than twenty of the athletic barbarians issued as stealthily as phantoms from the trail leading from the forest and crouched along the edge of the timber.

Their silence added impressiveness to the singular scene and prevented their movements being observed except by Bippo, who was so terrified that he could only tremble and point at them.

They were partly hidden by the shadow which put out a short distance from the fringe of the wood, but there could be no doubt of their hostile intentions.  They assumed the form of a line, somewhat after the manner of the combatants in the square of the native village.  This was to give free play to their arms in flinging their javelins.

The occasion was one in which the fate of the explorers depended upon their promptness and bravery.  Anything like timidity or hesitation meant sure destruction, and the whites knew it.

“Into the boat!” commanded Ashman, addressing Bippo and his friends.

The words were like an electric shock to the helpers, who instantly clambered into the canoe and lay flat behind the luggage, where they were safe from the poisoned missiles that would soon be flying through the air.

Those natives, with their crude weapons, were only incumbrances in a crisis like the present.

The whites exchanged but a word or two and then opened the ball.

A savage, evidently the leader, and one who probably now saw the whites for the first time, had the audacity to step forward a couple of paces, and with a yell of defiance, raised his spear over his head.

Before he could launch the missile Jared Long sent a bullet through him, and then, shifting the muzzle of his Winchester toward the line of dusky figures, he blazed away as fast as he could sight the weapon and pull the trigger.

At the same instant the Professor and Ashman opened, and the bombardment which followed was enough to strike terror to the hearts of a hundred men.

It was more than the savages could stand, but, great as was their panic, most of them hurled one or two javelins apiece at the white men who stood fearlessly erect and combated them.  They had come from their village prepared for a fight, and each warrior was provided with several of the poisoned missiles.

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The Land of Mystery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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