He was a greater hero on the lonely New Guinea coast than at Mons or r pres
AT SO early an hour as this, Mr. Richard Duffy was usually in his hammock under a mosquito net on the verandah of his bungalow. But this morning the sun had hardly thrust its burnished rim up over the eastern horizon when the pyjamaed figure had first stirred in the hammock and next slipped to the verandah floor. Meanwhile, the inevitable sun rose yet a little more, and the veil of fine mist which hung along the sullen West New Guinea coast twisted and writhed in delicate tentacles and vanished into the ether.
Mr. Richard Duffy yawned, stretched, sighed and proceeded to walk slowly along the verandah to a point whence he had an unobstructed view of the sea. He was a tall man, forty years old, rather thin formerly, rather stout now, but still retaining a soldierly carriage, and a steady, deliberate tread. His eyes were gray and clear, and although there was a slight puffiness about his flesh, a certain unhealthiness which" suggested a languid and futile and dissipated life, there was still a kind of ironical dignity about him, and the remnants of a one-time authority were expressed in the tone of his voice.
It was as if he would have you know that although he had made his own little hell and brought it with him here to this sullen strip of coast, he was quite prepared to lie on his own bed, rough as it was, and needed no help from anybody or anything.
That he was drinking himself to death was entirely his own business.
Standing now on the verandah of the trading station, he espied afar off, so far off that it was but a dot on the water, the lugger which came once in a while with supplies and whose coming had aroused him far before the accustomed hour. And wlTilst he watched her, Kassim, his Malay; servant,
who had informed him of her approach, came out of the bungalow and stood beside him, dark-skinned and implacable, almost as much of an enigma as his truculent land whence he had come to look after his master.
Mr. Richard Duffy had a peculiar affection for Kassim, and preferred him as a house-boy to the natives of the
coast. Moreover, Kassim and he understood each other in such a way and with such thoroughness as to make for harmony. Kassim obeyed. He was never surprised. He performed his duties in a faultless, inevitable way, and could always be depended upon to keep things running in a smooth and satisfactory fashion. It was Kassim who dealt with all intruders and with the various problems and distempers inseparable from a trader’s life, even the life of such a trader as was Mr. Richard Duffy. And it was Kassim, who, by judicious administration and skilful timing, saw to it that there was a never-failing supply of liquor in the house. The lugger standing in for
shore now was coming by order of Kassim, and theseveral cases of whisky which it bore were also approaching by order of Kassim. An order, however, begotten by a knowledge of the white man’s unexpressed yet undisobeyable wish.
Mr. Richard Duffy turned upon the Malay now and spoke these familiar words: “A bottle
and a glass, Kassim. I return to my boudoir to await the arrival of the enemy. And oh, Kassim,” as the latter turned to go. “Tuan?”
“You will have the canoe launched so that we may go out to meet the luggerwhen it anchors.”
“Yes, Tuan.” Returning to his hammock, the white man stood silent for a moment, and then as if acting upon a sudden thought, vanished indoors to a room which he occupied for sleeping purposes on those occasions when the weather forbade his use of the hammock on the verandah. He opened a kind of wardrobe f and removed from therein a suit of duck which for spotlessness and immaculateness could not have been improved upon. And this he donned.
It was not his habit to wear duck
nowadays. He still retained his dread of an u ishaven face, but insofar as clothes were concerned he had grown more and more lackadaisical. A suit of pyjamas was his daily attire. But to-day, in honor of the occasion, he donned spotless duck, a very white topee and equally white, rope-soled canvas shoes; also, he equipped himself with a malacca cane. Then, minus breakfast save in liquid and alcoholic form, he proceeded, some time later, down to the beach where the canoe, manned by a couple of natives, was waiting for him. Kassim likewise waited, and Kassim likewise obeyed when the tuan ordered him to get aboard and assist him over the gunwale.
Mr. Richard Duffy was drunk, despite that he had awakened sober no more than an hour and a half ago. But an hour and a half is a long time on the coast of West New Guinea, and the tuan had drunk well if unwisely. Yet he did not look drunk as he sat in the stern of the canoe, gazing over Kassim’s shoulder before him and over the shoulders of the two fuzzy-headed natives. He looked dignified and stern and spoke like one who owned the world, and all the black and yellow men therein.
From the dark and brooding shore the canoe glided out over water faintly corrugated by a fitful breeze. In the intense sunlight the naked bodies of the natives glistened with the sweat that was upon them, and ever and anon there arose the bubble and suck and splash of water against the hull and the dipping of the paddle-blades. And away out from the shore, almost motionless now on a calm and windless patch of sea, rode the lugger.
She did not drop anchor, nor even lower her sails when the canoe came abeam. She was merely brought up to the wind, whilst a dinghy was launched to help convey the stores ashore, for the canoe would not hold them all.
“Good morning, Captain,” greeted Mr.
“Good day,” said the man standing on the deck of the lugger.
This man, a bearded fellow in dirty duck, spoke as if he had very little time for Mr. Richard Duffy. He hadn’t, either. He disliked him, and his dislike was based on three things. Firstly, he did not like Englishmen; secondly, he did not like remittance men, and he was aware that the trader received money from home; and thirdly, he had desired for himself the station which Mr. Richard Duffy had by some mysterious means procured. So he eyed his visitor with something like contempt and treated him with something like contempt.
But Mr. Richard Duffy, dignified and serene despite his drunkeness, did not bat an eyelid. “You got here a little sooner than we expected, Captain. Did you have a good passage?”
“Fair,” said the captain.
“Only fair. Hmm. Well, you might shove those cases aboard the canoe, and the other things can go ashore in the dinghy.” Mr. Richard Duffy, covering his mouth with his hand, hiccoughed, and then gestured toward tíre cases with his cane. “Put one of them amidships, Captain, and the other forward. My boys will come aft a little.”
The captain did not move, except to turn his head and give an order to one of his kanaka crew. He would not himself execute orders given by the trader, and as much as said so with the glance he turned toward him. But he would collect his money.
“And no cheques this time, Mr. Duffy,” he said.
Mr. Richard Duffy eyed him steadily. “Why not? Wasn’t the last one honored?”
“Yes, but no cheques. I want cash.”
“Very well, you shall have cash. But I haven’t it with me. You’ll have to come ashore for it.”
The captain glanced at the sun, much as one would glance at a watch. It was easy to see that it was his way of telling the time.
“I’m in a hurry to get away, Mr. Duffy. You can bring it out to me.”
“I prefer you should come ashore for it.”
Mr. Richard Duffy looked at him for a second, frowned slightly, and then threw back his head and laughed goodhumoredly. “Captain, you’re a hard man to deal with, ’pon my word you are. Well, I’m a sporting man, and I’ll make a sporting offer. I’ll toss you to decide which it is to be. I have one coin with me. You cry, Captain.”
The coin spun, and fell into the bottom of the canoe. The captain had not uttered a word. Mr. Richard Duffy looked at him, severely.
“I’m not a child,” said the captain sullenly. “And I’ve got no time to waste. You fetch the money out, and I’ll be getting along.”
That it was a ticklish situation for Mr. Richard Duffy was evidenced by the serious set of his mouth and the number of creases which adorned his brow and crowsfooted out from the corners of his eyes. He knew that the natives were watching him. He knew that even Kassim was watching him. And he knew that it was at such times as this that a white man was judged, whether to be admired and feared or to be secretly despised, and perhaps even openly despised, resting entirely upon himself.
But again he had to fall back on a good-humored
Can We Stop the Leak?
SEVEN years ago, the United States census bureau reported that more than 1,100,000 Canadians and former Canadians were residents in the United States. Since that census was taken, more than 600,000 other Canadians have left their native land to go to the United States. Some of the latter have returned, but the majority have not.
One Canadian university reports that one-third of its living graduates are now in the United States. The records of another Canadian university show that forty per cent, of one graduating class in medicine emigrated to the United States. Other figures tell similar stories about our graduates in engineering.
Why the exodus?
Can we do anything to prevent this drain on our man power and our brain power?
Read what 200 university-trained Canadians now living in the United States have to say about it, as reported by
W. A. Irwin in MacLean s, May 15
laugh. “Captain,” he said, “I’ll compromise. I was always one for compromising. I’ll give the money to your boys to fetch out when they land with the stores. Now, Captain, let me have those cases, and I’ll be getting along.”
The captain stared at him for a moment, and then yielded. For all his drunkenness, there was something about Mr. Richard Duffy that commanded, something that rose up now and again and looked out of his eyes. Steel, you might say; or just plain personality. Yet the white trader had been made a fool of, and the white trader knew it, and the natives knew it, and Kassim as well. Not that it mattered where Kassim was concerned, though. There was something of the faithful dog about Kassim; rather blind to his master’s shortcomings, as it were; ready to accept him as a demi-god at all times and under all circumstances.
The cases were lifted into the canoe, and the stores into the dinghy. The dinghy was turned round and headed toward the shore, and at a word from the trader the canoe was likewise swung round. As the natives bent and cut the water with their paddles, Mr. Richard Duffy waved his hand toward the captain.
“Goodbye!” he said, in a loud voice, and again waved his hand.
The captain inclined his head, and muttered: “Good bye, Mr. Duffy.” '
Speeding toward the shore, straight as the flight of an arrow, the canoe finally broke through the light surf and nosed up on to the beach. The white man got out, swayed for a moment, stiffened himself to a more steady balance, and ordered the natives to take up the cases. The natives moved off, one behind the other; and behind them came the lugger’s crew with the provisions; and behind these, swinging his cane and walking with an erect carriage though none too steady a step, came Mr. Richard Duffy.
“Right wheel!” he ordered, as they skirted a patch of mangrove swamp. “Left wheel!” he ordered, as they came to a bend in the track, and branched off in the direction of the bungalow.
Reaching the verandah, he had the natives go up the steps one at a time and carry the goods inside. Then he had them all come out again, and, dismissing his own two boys, ordered the kanakas to wait. Indoors himself, he began a tedious search which finally resulted in the
unearthing of a number of banknotes. These he enclosed in an envelope, which he addressed to the captain, sealed, and bore outside. The kanakas were sent back to their dinghy. He watched them as they rowed the craft out from the shore to the lugger, and watched the lugger fill her sails with wind and creep slowly away. Then he returned indoors.
“You will open that case and place the contents on the table. Then when you have dusted each bottle with due care and thoroughness, you will return the bottles to the case one by one, except the last one. The last one you will bring to me and place in my hand so that I may hold it up to the light and gaze through it and take joy thereof. Then I will hand the bottle back to you, and you will remove the cork and pour some of the contents into a glass and bring it to me. Is that quite clear, Kassim?”
“I understand, Tuan.”
“Very good; proceed.”
Kassim proceeded, and Mr. Richard Duffy, àsprawl in a creaking cane chair, sat and waited. Afterwards he sat and drank. He drank for a long time, and talked for a long time. He talked about London and Paris, about Mons and Ypres, and about a multitude of other things and other places. Talked without caring whether any listened to him, and talked with such irony that few would have understood what he meant even were they far more used to white men than was Kassim. Talked, for the most part, for the sake of talking.
“Amusin’ fellow, that captain, Kassim,’ he said at length. “Quite amusin’, really. Awfully. Makes me want to laugh when I think of him, Kassim, standin’ there like a stuffed dummy and as obstinate as a mule. Oh, well, it’s our duty to be amusin’, Kassim. That’s what we’re put here for, to be amusin’. Make people laugh, that’s the idea. Make ’em laugh. No good of weepin’, Kassim. Nobody likes you if you weep. Laugh, that’s it. Be amusin’. Our duty, Kassim.”
Kassim gazed at him without comment. He gazed with what one might have taken for gravity, yet which was merely his natural expression. He had often seen the tuan like this and heard him babble like this. He considered it part of his duty to listen. He squatted on the floor, his sarong creasing about him, and his kris at his side. He sat and watched and listened and said nothing.
After a moment of silence, Mr. Richard Duffy broke into fresh speech. And these words he spoke now Kassim had oftentimes heard before.
“Her eyes were blue, Kassim. You might not believe me when I say it, but her eyes were as blue as the sky when there a«e no clouds and the sun is shining. Not gray, you understand, nor green, nor brown—just blue. But of an extraordinary kind of blue. Never saw it before, and I’ll never see it again. Only really blue eyes in the world, seems to me. Other eyes go gray in some lights, but these eyes were never anything but blue. You believe me, Kassim?”
“Tuan, I know you never lie.”
“Quite so. Quite so. Strictly truthful sort of person, drunk or sober. Always make a point of keeping your word, Kassim. Never tell a lie. It doesn’t pay, really. So I’m telling the truth—her eyes were blue. No other color —never. Most extraordinary shade of blue. Most—”
His head fell forward, and the glass slipped from his fingers. But his head was up again with a jerk, and he stared stupidly at the glass which had rolled to a standstill on the floor.
Kassim picked it up for him, but he did not take it.
He walked unsteadily to a corner of the room and took a rifle from a rack. Then he opened a box of cartridges, and filled the magazine. After this he ordered Kassim to take up the cartridges and a fairly large target, made of cloth stretched on a wooden frame and with paper pasted over the cloth, turned face to the wall in the corner where the rifle had been. Thus equipped they went out of doors.
Whenever Mr. Richard Duffy remembered that he was a good marksman, he went, as he was going now, to the beach to prove it. Sober, he could shoot infallibly straight; drunk, he was not so skilful. But that mattered little for he did not know it. He knew only an immense satisfaction in the act of lying down on his stomach and pulling the trigger and listening to the staccato explosion of the cartridges, and suffering the sullen kick of the butt against his shoulder.
Following him to the beach, Kassim, proceeding some
distance farther over the sand, set up the target and returned out of the line of fire. Mr. Richard Duffy, stretching himself on the sand, gazed for a great while along the sights, and fired his first shot. Then, very awkwardly, he took up a pair of field glasses, adjusted them, and gazed through them.
“A bull, Kassim!” he exclaimed excitedly. “A bull, ’pon my soul!” And he proceeded to fire again.
So the morning passed. In the afternoon the tuan returned to his chair and‘drank. He drank and talked. And then night came, and awhile after it was come Kassim got him into the hammock on the verandah and drew the mosquito net over and about him.
AND so other mornings passed, and other afternoons.
Nights passed: Mr. Richard Duffy lying in drunken slumber, and Kassim, sleeping lightly as a cat, ever ready to be of service. The jungle sleeping: the dark thickets of mangroves whence vague wisps of vapor would rise under the first hot caress of the sun. And the sea sleeping, save for a feeble moan along the shore. Everything was very ordinary to one acquainted with the place. Nothing happened. Nothing was likely to happen. People died, that was all, and the jungle or the sea took them and hid them when they were dead.
Mr. Richard Duffy would die. He had come here to die. He was not appalled by the idea. He rather welcomed it. He wanted to let things slip, and as time went on he was letting them slip more and more. Half his time drunk, the remainder passed in a state of boredom and lethargy his station went to the dogs and he did not care. He had never come here to run a station as it should be run, anyway. No, he had come here to rot, to die. That was all.
He said so, often. But Kassim alone heard. There was nobody else to hear. There was nobody else to care for the tuan at all. No women came for him to make love to them. No men of his own race came to shake his hand. Nobody, save the natives, came to the station. A lugger showed up once in a blue moon, but it was seldom any white man put ashore. The tuan was a lonely man.
He was getting in bad trim now, too. Worse than at any time before. His flesh was more puffy, and there was a time when he didn’t shave for three days. His beard stood out in dark bristles. Nor did he care about his fingernails, or bother to dress himself. He went all day in his pyjamas. And that steel, that power, that personality which had so often expressed itself in his glance was showing itself but seldom now. He was becoming a drunken, futile,
slovenly heap of humanity. He knew it and did not care. Even the jungle, reaching down to the water’s edge, held no menace for him. Lying in his hammock on the verandah he would stare at it, and sneer at it, and laugh at it in the half-sanity of his drunkenness.
“You old devil, you!” he would exclaim. “You old devil, you’ll get me soon. But I’m not frightened of you. Lord no! Not a bit!” And then he would get a bit confused, and wander off along another path. “Her eyes were blue, Kassim. Extraordinary shade of blue, really. You may not believe me when I say it, but—” And then, realizing all at once that Kassim was not present, he would raise his voice. “Hey, Kassim! Where are you, you young rogue?”
“Ah, there you are!” as Kassim would appear on the verandah. “Thought you’d gone away and left me, Kassim. You mustn’t do that, really. I’d feel lost without you. Absolutely lost. Sit down there, where I can keep an eye on you.”
And Kassim would sit down. These days his duties seemed to consist almost entirely of sitting down and listening to somebody talk. It was a tedious occupation, but the Malay possessed the patience of Job.
ÏT WAS on one such occasion, however, when four or -*• five weeks had gone by since the visit of the lugger, that Kassim rose to his feet at the arrival of a native from the beach. The native spoke, and Kassim listened. Then, when the native was gone, the Malay turned to the figure in the hammock.
“Her eyes were blue, Kassim. You might not believe me when I say it, but—”
“An amusing fellow, really, that captain, Kassim. Makes me want to laugh when I think of him standing there like a stuffed dummy and as obstinate as a mule. Most extraordinary sort of man, really. But it’s our duty to be amusin’, Kassim. That’s what we’re—”
Mr. Richard Duffy raised himself on his elbow and looked over the edge of the hammock. His eyes were bloodshot now, red-rimmed, and his cheeks puffy.
“What is it, Kassim?”
“There is a story, Tuan, of a boat out on the sea which carried but one passenger, Tuan.”
“But one passenger, Kassim. Most extraordinary thing that a boat should carry but one passenger. Account for it, Kassim.”
“And that passenger a child, Tuan, a male child, that does not speak nor move, Tuan.”
“A male child that does not speak or move, Kassim. Is it dead, then?”
“It may be, Tuan.”
“Unhappy thought, Kassim. It must be brought ashore. Why has it not been brought ashore?”
“None will go near it, Tuan, lest it has died of the plague.”
“Ah, the rascals! The yellow-hearted rascals! Afraid of the plague!” Mr. Richard Duffy, indulging in a species of gymnastics, swung himself out of the hammock and stood unsteadily upon the verandah floor. “Kassim!” “Tuanl”
“The duty devolves upon ourselves.”
“We are brave men, are we not?”
“Then we shall advance! You will have the canoe ready, Kassim. I shall come to the beach at once. Where is my topee?”
They went down to the beach, Kassim in the lead to prepare the canoe, Mr. Richard Duffy staggering in the rear, swiping at the mosquitoes with his cane, and at every swipe swaying precariously to one side.
Assisting his master to a place in the canoe, Kassim himself shouldered the task of propelling it. With a single paddle, now used on one side and now on the other, he worked the craft out from the shore, first having waded behind it to thrust it out through the gentle surf.
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The canoe was not large and not heavy, and the water was perfectly calm and still. The rays of the sun gave it a glare that stung the eyes, and afar off where it met the sky there was no noticeable horizon, only a shifting, waving glimmer like that of quicksilver.
Ahead of them, away out on that flat, glassy expanse rode a ship’s boat. Its white hull showed clear above the water, and as the tide gripped it and bore it imperceptibly westward, it revolved in slow and hesitant fashion. And as it revolved, and as the canoe drew near, Mr. Richard Duffy could see, in the sternsheets near the locker, the head and shoulders of a child some seven or eight years old. It was lying against the locker, perfectly still, and pale as alabaster.
The canoe crept forward and drew alongside the white-hulled boat. Mr. Richard Duffy, placing his cane on the floor of the canoe, reached out and grabbed the gunwale, drawing the two craft together. Then he endeavored to rise and step into the ship’s boat, but Kassim, mindful of his employer’s precarious balance, forestalled him.
Lifting the child up in his arms, Kassim handed it over to the white man, who took it and nursed it in his lap, whilst Kassim clambered back to his place in the canoe. “There is no plague, Tuan?”
“No plague, Kassim.”
“Nor death, Tuan?”
“Nor death, Kassim. Starvation and thirst and fear, but no death. See, he breathes.”
“Ay, Tuan, he breathes.”
And Kassim bent to his paddle. The canoe came round in a semi-circle, and headed for the shore. The Malay’s naked back, presented to the stern, trickled sweat as he labored. He did not speak, nor look round. But he heard the white man speaking to the child—mumbled speech that he did not understand.
Mr. Richard Duffy himself carried the child up the path to the bungalow. His progress v, as erratic and labored, but he marched onward without pausing. He bore the child up the steps to the verandah and thence indoors. Placing him on his own bed he then stood off and gazed down in perplexity. The child did not stir, nor open its eyes, nor move its lips. It was plain that it was far gone, and
when Mr. Richard Duffy touched the pale brow with his hand he felt the heat of fever.
Kassim followed his movements thereafter with interested eyes. Mr. Richard Duffy was indubitably drunk, but although his actions were awkward he appeared to know what he wanted and was never in doubt. He unearthed from some forgotten corner a white case which had a red symbol upon it, and out of this case he extracted a number of forgotten things. One of these things he placed in the child’s mouth, and another of these things he put to his ears and to the child’s breast. Then, a moment later, he removed the thing from the child’s mouth and looked at it, and gave a grunt. Then he took a little bottle out of the case and measured out a dose of physic and let it trickle between the child’s lips. Afterwards, he performed other things which ultimately resulted in the child opening its eyes and looking up at Mr. Richard Duffy for a bewildered second. Then the eyes closed again, and the child sighed, and slept.
“Did you see?”said Mr. Richard Duffy.
“I saw, Tuan.”
“They were blue, Kassim. A most extraordinary shade of blue, really. Never expected to see eyes so blue again.” And Mr. Richard Duffy, retiring to his cane chair, sank asprawl and stared out through the open door and remained a long while silent.
The sun was drowning its heated orb in the western sea when he stirred again. He went to the bed and looked at the sleeping child and again put the thing in its mouth. This time it was removed he did not give a grunt, but a load seemed lifted off his shoulders and he stood up straight and erect.
“Prepare food, Kassim,” he said. “Such food as a sick child might eat to restore its strength, and hold it ready against the young beggar’s awakening. The fever is going away.”
Mr. Richard Duffy then went to the verandah and stood there watching the colors the setting sun had left amidst the western clouds. He watched the colors till they faded and saw the sea change from purple to black and heard the night sounds of the jungle. Then he heard another sound which drew him indoors.
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The child talked to him while he held its hand. He listened, his eyes upon its face. Half-delirious still, the child did not make him a complete eye-witness of what had happened, but he gathered enough for his imagination to work on. A foundered ship, a hurried taking to the boats; a wave breaking over the decks and carrying off the child’s mother and some of the other passengers and some of the crew; another boat smashing against the hull as it was lowered; and yet another boat, wherein was a solitary child, drifting free of the wreckage and miraculously keeping afloat.
These things the white man envisioned as he held the child’s hand, and watched it eat a little of the food Kassim had prepared and afterwards sink back to slumber again. But still he sat on, watching it, never taking his gaze off it, and grieving for the woman who had given it those blue eyes.
' I 'HEY opened again, these eyes, at daybreak the next morning. The white man still sat beside the bed, but his own eyes now were closed. Fatigue had conquered, and he sprawled half against the bed, his head twisted grotesquely. The child looked at him and spoke.
Mr. Richard Duffy awakened to find the occupant of the bed in need of food. Likewise he awakened to find himself in possession of an appalling headache and a swollen tongue. But he rose to the occasion and called Kassim, and had Kassim prepare the food.
The child ate. Mr. Richard Duffy proceeded to his toilet. He needed a shave, and he shaved. He needed something better than pyjamas for his daily garb, and he got it in the form of a suit of duck, not quite as clean and immaculate as that he had donned the day he had gone out to meet the lugger, but passable enough. Then he had his shoes clayed and his topee clayed, and sat down to his own breakfast of turtle soup and tinned meat and coffee.' He needed the coffee very badly to steady his nerves, and to clear his head.
When Kassim came to wait on him he noticed two things without giving eviddence that he noticed either. He noticed that the tuan had manicured his finger nails, and that he sat very erect, a figure almost austere in its dignity. But he did not notice the craving in the gray eyes, and Mr. Richard Duffy endeavored to keep the craving hidden.
Natives round about the station noticed the change, too. A very dignified white man came now on to the verandah of the bungalow and his clothes and shoes and topee shone white in the sun’s rays that slanted under the sloping roof. This white man didn’t reel about any more nor speak thickly any more nor swear loudly any more. He was altogether a different white from the one who had gone about in pyjamas and dirty shoes. And when he gave an order now, it was an order that had to be obeyed.
And presently he walked from the bungalow not alone. With him, toddling at his side, came a white child who looked thin and weak and tired, yet slowly seemed to be getting rid of his thinness and weakness and tiredness. After a while it was seen that he played as a child should play, and still later he got into mischief as a child should get into mischief, and for that mischief he was reprimanded as a child should be reprimanded.
These things were seen and remarked upon. And it was seen also that the white man laughed softly. It was long since he had laughed softly. His laughter had been cynical like his speech, but though his speech was still often the same, his laughter was warm and human and kind.
But there was something that the natives did not see. They did not see how hard Mr. Richard Duffy was fighting This was known only to Mr. Richard
Duffy himself. Not even Kassim knew about it. >
It was when the child was in bed at night and the white man stood on the verandah looking off into the sullen jungle that the fight was hardest. He would stand there, motionless and silent, with set lips. But occasionally he would make a movement with his hand, and this was to push his topee back and rub his fingers across his eyes. And perhaps after that he would take a turn along the verandah.
It would be about eleven o’clock when he would go indoors. Kassim probably would be out on the verandah or in another room. Mr. Richard Duffy would sit down in his cane chair and look at a case in a corner. In another corner was a similar case. He had never had these cases shifted from the room. He had liked, of old, to have them where he could see them. He had regarded them as friends, but now he regarded them as foes. He knew they were foes, and wondered who would win in the end.
But it was not alone at night that this battle was waged. It was a battle that continued on through the day, and for many days. But one of these days the issue was decided in no uncertain manner.
V/Ï R. RICHARD DUFFY, asprawl again in his chair, looked up from one of the cases and noticed a figure in the doorway. It was the figure of the child— a rather bored child, a child who had played with shells and coconuts and native spears and native ornaments till the novelty of all had departed. He stood now, rather lonely, gazing out toward the sea.
“Kassim!” called Mr. Richard Duffy.
“The child must be amused,” said Mr. Richard Duffy. “Our duty to be amusing. How shall we go about it, Kassim?”
Kassim did not know. “He needs children to play with, Tuan.”
“And he shall have playmates. But not yet, Kassim. In the meantime, how are we to amuse him?” Mr. Richard
Duffy, eyeing Kassim severely, at last gave a snort. “If you can’t think of a way, Kassim, then I must.” He pointed to one of the cases with his cane, and bade Kassim lift it in his arms. “And when you have carried that one to the beach,” said he, “you will return and carry the other one. Is that quite clear, Kassim?”
Thus were the natives on the beach made aware of a strange and unprecedented occurrence. First came Kassim, bearing a case, and after him came the white tuan and the white child. And then Kassim returned to the bungalow and came yet again to the beach carrying yet another case. And when these cases were deposited side by side on the sand, bottles were removed from them and placed on a wooden plank erected between two coco-palms. And then the white man dropped down into the sand and aimed with a rifle.
Close upon each shot Mr. Richard Duffy would raise the glasses to his eyes and exclaim: “A bull! A bull, upon
my soul, a bull!”
And gradually the heroic ranks of bottles were thinned, until there were no more left, and all that remained of them was a heap of broken glass.
After eyeing this heap of broken glass for a moment, Mr. Richard Duffy set off for the bungalow, the child accompanying him.
“You see, Kassim,” he said, when they were on the verandah, “the boy has been amused. And all that remains now .is to wait for a boat to come and take us away.
“You return to your own land, Tuan?"
“I return to my own land,” said Mr. Richard Duffy, “I take the boy home so that he may fit himself to take his place in the world. And when he has grown a little older I shall take him to Mons and Ypres in order that he may see the places where his father fought and where he received a bullet wound in his leg.”
And Mr. Richard Duffy, drawing up one of his trousers’ legs, displayed the scar of a wound three inches below his knee.