She kept carefully out of the way of all human beings, so she had lost all hope of succor from the brown people, who had become so hateful to her as the scavengers of the jungle. There was something to admire in the tiger, the leopard, the wild elephant; but she placed all natives (perhaps wrongly) in a class with the unclean jackals and hyenas.
Tanned deeply by wind and sun, Kathlyn was darker than many a native woman. Often she thought of Bruce, but hope of his finding her had long since died within her. Every night when she climbed to her platform she vowed she would start south the next morning; south, toward the land where there were white people; but each morning found her hesitant.
Behind her tree there was a clearing, then a jumble of thickly growing trees; beyond those was another clearing, upon which stood a deserted elephant stockade. The grass had grown rank in it for want of use. She was in the act of putting on grass sandals when she saw, to her dismay, the approach of men and elephants. Two elephants were ridden by mahouts. Two other elephants were being jostled toward the stockade, evidently new captives. They proceeded passively, however, for elephants submit to captivity with less real trouble than any other wild beast. Kathlyn crouched low in the grass and waited till the men and elephants entered the stockade; then she ran quickly toward her haven, the platform in the tree. She never went very far from this, save in search of food. She had also recovered the idol and set it back in its place. It was not, fortunately, a much frequented spot. It was for the benefit of the occasional pilgrim, the ryots having shrines more conveniently situated.
She nestled down among her rushes and waited. She could not see the stockade from where she now was, but she could hear shouts from the mahouts.
Recently she had discovered a leopard’s lair near the stockade and was very careful to avoid it, much as she wanted to seize the pretty cubs and run away with them. By this time she knew the habits, fears, and hatreds of these people of the jungle, and she scrupulously attended her affairs as they attended theirs. Sometimes the great striped tiger prowled about the base of the tree, sharpened his claws on the bark, but he never attempted to ascend to the platform. Perhaps he realized the uselessness of investigation, since the platform made it impossible for him to see what was up there. But always now, to and from the truce water, he paused, looked up, circled the tree, and went away mystified.
Only the grass eating beasts came down to water that night, and Kathlyn understood by this that the men and the elephants were still in the stockade.
The following morning she went down to the stream to bathe; at the same time the parent leopards came for drink. They had not cared to seek their lair during the night on account of the fires; and, worrying over their cubs, they were not in the most agreeable mood.