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the centre tabulos injunctioning
into the ge and most had gone because
drums, tom-toms, and bamboo flute ments of leaders and men, and they like contrivances made the presence wore long streamers, fastened in their of a village known a long way off bushy hair, and necklets of teeth. They We knew we were near, however, as were all armed with barbed spears, pads were often interrupting our course, spiked clubs, and dart blowpipes. They and we had to be very careful in avoid certainly looked capable of making ing sunken stake-traps. Suddenly we short work of any prospector. emerged from the forest and a glare of ‘I'll sell you my mosquito net, lights shone through a high bamboo cheap,' said Boston Bob to me as we stockade in front of us. We had ar- watched; but before I could reply rived at the dreaded village. Our car- Silent Ted touched me on the shoulder riers were too frightened to wail but and whispered: ‘Watch that fellow — they refused to follow us farther, even fourth in the centre row! their chief thinking it was up to the ‘That is the chief tabu priest;' I anwhite men to do the rest themselves. swered, but I obeyed Ted's injunction.
We peered through the stockade. The warriors were now marching Something was happening inside, but into the darkness on the other side of the silence was inexplicable. The vil- the village and most of the priests went lage was much like any other native with them. Soon all had gone and only village but larger than any we had ever women — recognized as such because seen, its tabu house being a most im- of the flowers in their well-dressed hair posing edifice, mounted on piles about — and the four central wizards were ten feet off the ground, thatched left. All were silent, and presently the artistically, and surmounted by a row women departed. of carved monstrosities fixed on the 'Now's our chance, Big Sam, who gable. Other houses also were large was always impetuously inclined, called and formed a square, from which out, climbing the stockade; but the radiated lines of smaller dwellings sur. Professor and the Doctor both signed to rounded by cultivated patches of yams, delay operations and he slid down again. tobacco, and other growths we did not 'Surely my imagination is tricking know. Some tree-houses could be seen me,' muttered the Doctor. 'Do any of in the distance, but the shadows cast you fellows notice anything familiar?' by a row of fires in the square prevented I started violently. The giant figure us from seeing the distant side of the I had been watching was nervously village.
scratching the back of his right leg. The square was crowded with fierce- "That is Mac!' I almost shouted. 'I'd looking warriors silently performing know him anywhere by that trick of some evolutions round a cluster of his — ' poles adorned with mummified human The Doctor's face was bathed in perheads, which occupied its centre. A spiration. 'It is!' he cried. “And look! number of grotesquely masked beings There is proof!' evidently were in charge of the pro- The masked man standing third had ceedings, and they seemed to be very seemingly got into an argument with efficient in giving silent directions. his neighbor and, as we were looking, Their masks covered half of their bod- the fourth man's fists shot out left and ies and were all of different designs, right and the third went down like a log, mostly tapering up to a point and give his mask smashed to fragments by the ing them the appearance of pantomime terrific blows. giants. Fibre kilts were the lower gar- 'Come on, boys!' yelled the Professor
felley, worth a ta patch of and any
and we were over the stockade in less surprised us was part of their usual than a minute. If the three remaining ceremonies before undertaking such priests saw us they made no sign, and a venture. the object of our interest strode after “We are free to clear out when we the warriors. As we approached, the like — maybe! — but two white men first man suddenly turned on the could never get down to the Yodda second, tripped him up and sat upon alive,' Carstairs added; ‘and anyhow him. Then he faced us. 'Glad to see we've struck a patch of gold not far you boys,' he drawled. 'Excuse me not away, worth a lot of fortunes, and you rising.'
fellows will come in very handy to help ‘Tommy Carstairs!' we cried simul- to work it.' taneously. “We thought you had 'But where has Mac gone now?' I passed out —'
asked. “And what about those two 'Well, I have n't. I'm second tabu fellows tied over there?' priest here and old Mac is first. Got a 'Oh, Mac has gone after the warriors smoke about you? I don't care much to throw curses — with his rifle — at for the home-grown tobacco.'
any deserters; and those two priests We all crowded round our old friend were jealous of our power and were with exclamations of joy, and Silent getting nasty. They'll run for their Ted pulled the enormous covering lives down to the next village when we from his body.
kick them out. We've made them 'Carry those beggars into the priests' break something about their tabu law house and tie them to the sacrificing by touching them, and they'll be the posts, while I do my best to spread centrepieces of a big grill if they are knowledge around,' laughed Carstairs. ever caught.' ‘But say, Boston, you ’ve lost that bet After a lengthy discussion it was dewith old Murphy about the size of the cided that we should return to our biggest crocodile. He was n't lying, for camp and wait there until Mac and there are some sacred ones in a pool Carstairs came for us, in state, and here more than twenty feet -'
took us to the village as their friends; Tommy Carstairs informed us that then fresh plans could be arranged. Mac and he were survivors of Macrae's We set the two priests free and they at party and that they had been kept for a once ran to the river and tumbling into special feast. In the interval another a canoe, pushed off downstream. We tribe from down the river had attacked followed in a larger craft, and our carthe village, and Mac had saved the riers ran alongside through the forest. chief from being carried off. The chief The blazing camp-fire soon shone had no love for the white men but, through the trees, and we beached our realizing the value of their presence, cleverly designed dugout and found had made Mac and Carstairs priests, that we had been raided, after all. Our out of gratitude. They had since been nets were transfixed with dozens of able to work magic in curing a lot of the spears, all thrown from the land side, leading warriors by the use of pills and John L. S. Chalmers proclaimed made of soap which they had recovered them to be the weapons of some other from their packs, and now were some tribe, lower down. what popular.
‘Evidently it is a bit exciting round The natives had gone out that night about here at times,' the Professor comto settle some old feud with a village mented, and we all agreed, and set upstream, and the silence which had about preparing breakfast.
fire s'beache found
minuten arvelouseyen the sand they which am surely to whatel of Englisthief.
nts of sight, “speckond night. 0. you he '118 already set saying,
'Hullo, you bold bad gold-hunters!'
cried Mac, as the first boat grounded. With the coming of the sun the 'Let me introduce you to my friend spirits of our carriers revived and, to Pickhimsbones, the mighty War Chief. make amends for their conduct during He does n't know a word of English, so the night, they helped to work the gold- listen carefully to what I am saying, sand patch we had struck. Their meth- for I am sure he has already settled on ods were amusing to us, at first: they which of you he 'll have for dinner tostretched themselves on the sand and, night. Don't trust him, but make a big thanks to marvelous eyesight,'specked' show of being impressed by the ugly the minute points of gold and picked old sinner.' Mac rubbed the back of them up with their tongues. At the end his right thigh as he spoke, and we of an hour they had collected more nearly spoiled the impressiveness of than we had with our pans, and the the introduction by laughing. Professor checked the amount to their We greeted Mac with a dignity that credit so as to give them a good reason hid our real feelings and responded to to stay with us. But their system had the Chief's grunt of salutation in a mandisadvantages. Lying prostrate on the ner suggestive of a meeting of potensand, they could not get a move on' tates. Pickhimsbones then rattled out very quickly, and when an enormous a long jargon of words and made signs saurian suddenly rushed out of the that he welcomed us as friends of his water and seized one, those disadvan- white priests. His warriors cheered tages became apparent. Silent Ted and lustily when he had finished, and Mac Sydney Charlie had seen the creature, explained that he had been boasting of however, and a moment before its great the fight during the night and of the jaws had actually exerted full pressure number of slaves he would have in the through the native's fibre kilt they had spirit world, — those slain in personal each sent a bullet through its eyes into combat become the slaves of the victor its brain. Paralyzed, but not yet dead, in the after world, — and that we had the monster relaxed its hold, and Bos- been invited to make his village our ton Bob and I pulled the man free. home while we were in the country. Another fusillade of bullets finished the We made suitable response and, at creature, and the Doctor attended to the same time, contrived to tell Mac the carrier, who was more frightened that our camp had been attacked, that than hurt. This incident put an end to we had plenty of ammunition, and had the gold-extracting work of the carriers. found gold.
While we were still talking over the ‘You can never work here,' Mac said, matter, a fleet of war canoes swept when we had told everything and Cardown the river toward us, the occu- stairs was telling the Chief some tale pants shouting 'Begga-be-begga' – supposed to be an interpretation of 'friends, we are friends.' Mac and Car- what we were saying, and some of the stairs were in the first canoe, unadorned, warriors were investigating our packs and with them was a powerfully built with doubtful intent. “You are between warrior with a ring in his nose and two of the most bloodthirsty tribes in saucer-like appendages to his ears, New Guinea and I think the Chief is whose hair-streamers and necklet of about to act treacherously now. Watch teeth proclaimed him as the great War the warriors nearest you, carefully, and Chief.
be ready to shoot if need be; I am going Our carriers disappeared at once. to spring a risky trick.' Mac turned to
whoser-like apa ring in werfully bed
the Chief and apparently saw the dead ideal,' I ventured. ‘But the law of tabu crocodile for the first time. A look of is a big factor in it.' horror came into his eyes and he ran 'And the butterflies and the orchids over to the motionless monster and are very beautiful —' began the bent over it. The Chief eyed him Professor. strangely and followed. It seemed to 'We have no time to waste, boys,' me that he was thinking Mac was be- interrupted Mac, as Big Sam came coming too popular and that the seven back with our carriers. 'Lead on, extra white men would be better with Tommy. Cross the river and hit the their heads on poles. But he got a pass leading through the divide.' shock. By some accident, apparently, Silent Ted, rightly interpreting Mac's signal, got in his way and tripped him. He fell on the dead body.
Mac's tireless energy and enthusiasm 'Tabu! Tabu!' screamed Mac, points were infectious, and, hastily collecting ing to a symbol burned into the croco our stores and gold, we negotiated the dile's scales.
river and cut through the dense underThe words acted like magic and growth of the forest until we struck after a moment's awed silence, the a well-defined pad leading into the warriors took them up.
ranges. At nightfall we were among “Tabu! Tabu!' they yelled and towering mountains, clad to their sumrushed to the war canoes.
mits with dense flowering vegetation, The Chief picked himself up and but our compasses were useless, and hesitated, as if he would like to risk the we had to climb trees to view the stars awful fate in store for those who had before we could determine which way been in contact, unlawfully, with any- we were heading. thing tabu; but his men were leaving 'I believe this pad leads through to him, so, with a sudden bound, he joined a west-coast river,' said Mac. 'That one of the boats. Mac still continued to peak on our right is Mount Albert shriek out the word and the Chief de- Edward, and the Papangis are afraid liberately hurled a spear at him from of the spirits that dwell beyond it.' the water. It missed, and while he was ‘But we came here for gold,'Big Sam aiming a second, Sydney Charlie shat- said. “We're not afraid of spirits.' tered his wrist with a bullet from his 'This afternoon you have been passWinchester. With frenzied shouts the ing through the biggest gold-formation warriors paddled up stream and Mac, that I know of in the world,' Mac rubbing his right leg, remarked: “That replied; ‘but we cannot work quartz was a piece of luck, boys. This croco reefs without plant, so we'll just have dile really is tabu. It must have got to be content with panning out sordid tired of the sacred pools in the village, wealth in the gully just ahead of us.'
It probably is the tomb of a lot of
Boston Bob measured the creature in paces and observed, 'I think old Murphy has won that bottle of fruit salts, after all.'
'I think that, for a quiet peaceful life, prospecting in New Guinea is
presently, under Carstairs' leadership, swung off to our right through a closegrown mass of scrubby entanglements and found ourselves in a ravine completely shut off by the vegetation which grew across the entrance.
“Now, you sinners,' spoke Mac, fondling his nether limb, ‘we have arrived. Eat well and sleep well to-night, for to- 'You are a regular glutton on gold, morrow the gold fever will be on. Mac,' laughed the Doctor as he turned You'll find gold wherever the sand is in for the night. ‘One would think you piled up against the hard quartz bar- enjoyed being a Papangi tabu priest.' riers which cross the bottom of this 'I did, Doctor,' Mac replied seriwatercourse.'
ously. 'I meant to kill old PickhimsWe were too tired to ask questions, bones some day and start growing and anyhow, no one had any worry rubber in his kingdom; labor would be when Mac was in charge; so, after cheap, and the fat priests would last as dining on wild pig, cooked in the ashes food for a long time — and just think of our camp-fire, we stretched ourselves how well a name like “The Papangi out for sleep in the smoke, each man Rubber Company, Limited” would taking an hour's turn on guard. Next look on business paper — Mac may morning we proved Mac to be correct. have rambled on, but all had fallen Gold was everywhere, and we panned asleep. out about three hundred ounces before Next day we repeated our first day's night.
performance, and that night the Pro'How did the Papangis manage to fessor gave us a learned discourse on catch you here?' the Professor asked orchids and butterflies; but it was the our two new members, as we again sat Doctor who put us to sleep with his smoking round our fire.
*They did n't get us here,' Carstairs microbe. answered. “We were going down to the The third day our enthusiasm eased river, homeward bound with our gold, off somewhat; getting gold was now when we ran into them. They've got monotonous work, fit only for our carour gold now -'
riers if they had not been so lazy. We ‘But they'll track us here, this time,' constructed some crude labor-saving said Mac, ‘so always say your prayers devices and, trusting to them to keep at night.
up the returns with lessened labor, 'How did you find this place?' I went out hunting, and incidentally asked. “You could n't tell such a place gained much knowledge of our surwas here from the pad outside?' roundings. We were continually strik
We did not know the pad was there ing fresh deposits of auriferous sands until the day before we left,' Carstairs and stumbling across rich quartz-reefs replied, while Mac, unconsciously, felt on those short trips, but we knew it was that his right leg was still where it useless attempting to develop any of should be. "We came in here over the our finds, with the knowledge that top of the divide, from the Mambare sooner or later the natives would track watershed on the other side. We did us down. not think we were going back by the By the end of a week we had secured Kumusi route when we left for home.' nearly two thousand ounces of gold and
'I think we'll go back by the Mam- were thinking about going back to tell bare,' I said. 'I prefer sailing down a of our fortune and get reënforcements. river among the gentle crocodiles to We had piled up a mass of dry scrub cutting through the forest to avoid the around our camp and had laid several Papangi and other villages.'
charges of gelignite in pop-holes unThere is plenty of gold on the other derneath, that would be fired — with side, too, among the Mount Scratchley more noise than anything else — when foothills.' Mac spoke thoughtfully. we set fire to the barricade. The Pa
not think we when we left the Mam- Wercur fortu