Having examined everything that was within reach of his eye, Alan sank back upon his cushions and began to realize that he was very faint and hungry. It was just then that the sound of a familiar voice reached his ears. It was the voice of Jeekie, and he did not speak, he chanted in English to a melody which Alan at once recognized as a Gregorian tone, apparently from the second litter.
“Oh, Major,” he sang, “have you yet awoke from refre-e-eshing sleep? If so, please answer me in same tone of voice, for remember that you de-e-evil of a swell, Lord of the Little Bonsa, and must not speak like co-o-ommon cad.”
Feeble as he was Alan nearly burst out laughing, then remembering that probably he was expected not to laugh, chanted his answer as directed, which having a good tenor voice, he did with some effect, to the evident awe and delight of all the escort within hearing.
“I am awake, most excellent Jee-e-ekie, and feel the need of food, if you have such a thing abou-ou-out you and it is lawful for the Lord of Little Bonsa to take nu-tri-ment.”
Instantly Jeekie’s deep voice rose in reply.
“That good tidings upon the mountain tops, Ma-ajor. Can’t come out to bring you chop because too i-i-infra dig, for now I also biggish bug, the little bird what sit upon the rose, as poet sa-a-ays. I tell these Johnnies bring you grub, which you eat without qualm, for Asiki Al coo-o-ook.”
Then followed loud orders issued by Jeekie to his immediate entourage, and some confusion.
As a result presently Alan’s litter was halted, the curtains were opened and kneeling women thrust through them platters of wood upon which, wrapped up in leaves, were the dismembered limbs of a bird which he took to be chicken or guinea-fowl, and a gold cup containing water pleasantly flavoured with some essence. This cup interested him very much both on account of its shape and workmanship, which if rude, was striking in design, resembling those drinking vessels that have been found in Mycenian graves. Also it proved to him that Jeekie’s stories of the abundance of the precious metal among the Asiki had not been exaggerated. If it were not very plentiful, they would scarcely, he thought, make their travelling cups of gold. Evidently there was wealth in the land.