Jeekie looked up and down the river and saw that in the centre of it about half a mile away, there was an island on which grew some trees.
“Little Bonsa will camp yonder,” he said. “Go, make her house ready, light fire and bring canoe to paddle us across. Now leave us, all of you, for if you look too long upon the face of the Yellow God she will ask a sacrifice, and it is not lawful that you should see where she hides herself away.”
At this saying the cannibals departed as one man, and at top speed, some of the canoes and others to warn their fellows who were engaged in the congenial work of hunting and killing the dwarfs, not to dare to approach the white man and his companion. A third party ran to the bank of the river that was opposite to the island to make ready as they had been bidden, so that presently Alan and Jeekie were left quite alone.
“Ah!” said Jeekie, with a gasp of satisfaction, “that all right, everything arranged quite comfortable. Thought Little Bonsa come out top somehow and score off dirty dwarf monkeys. They never get home to tea anyway—stay and dine with Ogula.”
“Stop chattering, Jeekie, and untie this infernal mask, I am almost choked,” broke in Alan in a hollow voice.
“Not say ‘infernal mask,’ Major, say ‘face of angel.’ Little Bonsa woman and like it better, also true, if on this occasion only, for she save our skins,” said Jeekie as he unknotted the thongs and reverently replaced the fetish in its tin box. “My!” he added, contemplating his master’s perspiring countenance, “you blush like garden carrot; well, gold hot wear in afternoon sun beneath Tropic of Cancer. Now we walk on quietly and I tell you all I arrange for night’s lodging and future progress of joint expedition.”
So gathering together what remained of their few possessions, they started leisurely down the slope towards the island, and as they went Jeekie explained all that had happened, since Ogula was not one of the African languages with which Alan was acquainted and he had only been able to understand a word here and there.
“Look,” said Jeekie when he had finished, and turning, he pointed to the cannibals who were driving the few survivors of the dwarfs before them to the spot where their canoes were beached. “Those dwarfs done for; capital business, forest road quite safe to travel home by; Ogula best friends in world; very remarkable escape from delicate situation.”
“Very remarkable indeed,” said Alan; “I shall soon begin to believe in the luck of Little Bonsa.”
“Yes, Major, you see she anxious to get home and make path clear. But,” he added gloomily, “how she behave when she reach there, can’t say.”
“Nor can I, Jeekie, but meanwhile I hope she will provide us with some dinner, for I am faint for want of food and all the tinned meat is lost.”