“Case of good-bye, Major. Sometimes they chop off nut, sometimes they spiflicate in gold tub, sometimes priest-man make hole in what white doctor call diagram—and shake hands with heart.—All matter of taste, Major, just as Asika please. If she like victim or they old friends, chop off head; if she not like him—do worse things.”
More than satisfied with his information Alan went to bed. For hour after hour that night he lay tossing and turning, haunted by the recollections of the dreadful sights that he had seen and of the horrible Asika, horrible and half-naked, glaring at him amorously through the crystal eyes of Little Bonsa. When at last he fell asleep it was to dream that he was alone in the water with the god which pursued him as a shark pursues a shipwrecked sailor. Never did he experience a nightmare that was half so awful. Only one thing could be more awful, the reality itself.
THE MOTHER OF JEEKIE
“Jeekie,” said Alan next morning, “I tell you again that I have had enough of this place, I want to get out.”
“Yes, Major, that just what mouse say when he finish cheese in trap, but missus come along, call him ‘Pretty, pretty,’ and drown him all the same,” and he nodded in the direction of the Asika’s house.
“Jeekie, it has got to be done—do you hear me? I had rather die trying to get away than stop here till the next two months are up. If I am here on the night of the next full moon but one, I shall shoot that Asika and then shoot myself, and you must take your chance. Do you understand?”
“Understand that foolish game and poor lookout for Jeekie, Major, but can’t think of any plan.” Then he rubbed his big nose reflectively and added, “Fahni and his people your slaves now, ’spose we have talk with him. I tell priests to bring him along when they come with breakfast. Leave it to me, Major.”
Alan did leave it to him, with the result that after long argument the priests consented or obtained permission to produce Fahni and his followers, and a little while after the great men arrived looking very dejected, and saluted Alan humbly. Bidding the rest of them be seated, he called Fahni to the end of the room and asked him through Jeekie if he and his men did not wish to return home.
“Indeed we do, white lord,” answered the old chief, “but how can we? The Asika has a grudge against our tribe and but for you would have killed every one of us last night. We are snared and must stop here till we die.”
“Would not your people help you if they knew, Fahni?”
“Yes, lord, I think so. But how can I tell them who doubtless believe us dead? Nor can I send a messenger, for this place is guarded and he would be killed at once. We came here for your sake because you had Little Bonsa, a god that is known in the east and the west, in the north and the south, and because you saved me from the lion, and here, alas! we must perish.”