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ALBERT DORRINGTON

THE MAN WITH THE TIGER

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A "BULLY" HAYES STORY

ILLUSTRATED BY G. DENHOLM ARMOUR


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Published in:
The Popular Magazine, December 1907
The Pall-Mall Magazine, January 1908

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2019
Version Date: 2019-09-16
Produced by Terry Walker and Roy Glashan

All original content added by RGL is protected by copyright.

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Illustration

The Popular Magazine, December 1907, with "The Man with the Tiger"


ABOUT CAPTAIN "BULLY" HAYES

"BULLY" HAYES was a notorious American-born "blackbirder" who flourished in the 1860 and 1870s, and was murdered in 1877. He arrived in Australia in 1857 as a ships' captain, where he began a career as a fraudster and opportunist. Bankrupted in Western Australia after a "long firm" fraud, he joined the gold rush to Otago, New Zealand. He seems to have married around four times without the formality of a divorce from any of his wives.

He was soon back in another ship, whose co-owner mysteriously vanished at sea, leaving Hayes sole owner; and he joined the "blackbirding" trade, where Pacific islanders were coerced, or bribed, and then shipped to the Queensland canefields as indentured labourers. After a number of wild escapades, and several arrests and imprisonments, he was shot and killed by ship's cook, Peter Radek.

So notorious was "Bully" Hayes, and so apt his nickname, (he was a big, violent, overbearing and brutal man) that Radek was not charged; he was indeed hailed a hero.

Dorrington wrote a number of amusing and entirely fictitious short stories about Hayes. Australian author Louis Becke, who sailed with Hayes, also wrote about him.

Terry Walker



I'LL allow him ten minutes to come aboard," said Captain Hayes; "and thirty seconds to dump his cage and beast under the fo'c's'le awning."

Hundreds of lights flared between Howrah Bridge and Reuter's Wharf. A Singapore-bound steamer hooted her way from buoy to lightship like a thing in dread of the ever-shifting sandbars.

Captain Hayes wolfed the edges of a cigar fretfully as he spied a tarpaulin-covered waggon backing on to the wharf. A moment later a frock-coated Hindu alighted from a hansom, and passed gingerly between the piles of jute bags and wharf lumber until he arrived at the steamer's gangway.

Hayes watched him somewhat impatiently as he dawdled on the plank, and his impatience quickened when the Hindu paused elaborately to light a cigarette.

"Excuse me, Mr. Sundra, we're fifty minutes late." Hayes leaned over the rail, and his sun-blackened fists strayed casually into the pockets of his white-twill coat. "I guess we'll shake up our fires when your illustrious feet are ready to bring you aboard, sir." In acidulous moments the voice of Hayes grew smooth and pliable.

The Hindu glanced up in surprise at the big white man on the bridge. "I am sorry to make you wait, capateen. I experience trouble in the Strand Road with Nana Sahib."

"Nana Sahib! Is that the name of your pet tiger, Mr. Sundra?" Hayes stared at the long-faced Hindu incredulously.

"Nana Sahib is a goot name, eh, you think?" The Hindu smiled serenely; his jewelled fingers caressed the cigarette with feminine deliberation. "The Hamburg show people want heem delivered in healthy condition. We must take care of heem, capateen."

The waggon backed close to the steamer's side. A couple of wharf-hands drew away the tarpaulin, revealing a square, heavily-barred cage that seemed to have done service in a travelling menagerie. A flat, wicked head grew suddenly visible in the flickering light of the wharf lamp: a striped body and a pair of flaming eyes seemed to fade stealthily into the dark recess.

"Great Jerusalem!" Hayes drew back sharply; his half-lit cigar slipped from his fingers as he regarded the greasy iron cage and its occupant. "These Indian and Burma tigers are as big as cart-horses, and shifty as snakes."

A derrick swung the cage to the steamer's deck. Stonaway, the mate, stooped near the bars to unfasten the derrick chain, and leaped aside with a cry of fear. A huge paw smote the air within an inch of his body.

The Hindu hurried forward, protesting sharply: "Do not touch the cage with your hands. Nana does not care for strange men."

Hayes laughed as the mate side-skipped towards the hatch, but his manner changed swiftly as he caught sight of a well-dressed Englishman crossing the wharf towards the steamer.

"You'd better not come aboard, sir!" he shouted. "We're casting off."

The newcomer crossed the gangway briskly and heaved a small portmanteau to the deck. "Many pardons, Captain Hayes, but my business is more pressing than tides or sandbars. I have a letter from Reuter & Co., your agents. They informed me, an hour ago, that I would find a cabin berth aboard the steamer Havelock.

"Why didn't you try a passenger boat?" growled the captain. "This vessel wasn't built for commercial men. We've no saloon accommodation."

"I want to escape saloons and tourists, Captain Hayes. I want a rest from business worries. Your steamer fills the bill, and"—he fumbled at his breast pocket—"here's Reuter's letter anyhow."

Hayes took the missive and scanned it hastily by the binnacle light, and the frown on his face relaxed. "Guess you'll find things pretty musty aboard the Havelock, Mr. Hawler." He leaned over the bridge rail and nodded slightly to the fresh-faced Englishman. "Mr. Stonaway will berth you aft next to the gentleman who owns the tiger."

"The tiger!" Hawler glanced along the half-lit deck swiftly. "Heard some thing about it in the city to-day. The brute reached out with its claws for an old lady who happened to be passing the cage while it was standing at the railway station. She was a bit shocked, and is still threatening legal proceedings."

At eight o'clock a small tug hauled the Havelock into mid-stream. The night was insufferably hot, and the sound of the deck hose shooting streams of water around the cage seemed to annoy the fretting brute crouching in the dark recess.


DAWN found the heavily-laden cargo-tramp under full steam, the Sand-Heads well astern, and a stiff breeze on her quarter.


Illustration

Dawn found the heavily-laden cargo-tramp under full steam.


The Hindu remained in his cabin part of the morning, but at midday a series of belching roars brought him on deck hurriedly.

"Looks as if he'd got to feed 'im." The cook peeped from the galley and pointed towards the empty stone drinking-trough and greasy floor of the tiger-house. "'Arf a sheep a-day an' the fun of stickin' it under the bars," he added. "I'm not swappin' jobs with Mr. Sundra."

The Hindu insisted on feeding Nana Sahib with his own hands. The meat was thrust under the slide-bar with many endearing expressions and soft words uttered in the vernacular. "Eat, thou prince of the jungle. There is more when thou hast finished, my Nana. Clean drinks shalt thou have: sky-water of the gods shall be placed before thee."

For many hours the great brute sulked and lay with its flat jaw in the soft curve of its forepaw. Food failed to tempt it.

"He does not like the sea," purred the Hindu. "He has been accustomed to a Rajah's courtyard, and liberty to keel his own sheep and goats. The jungle knew heem as a whelp, but he has drunk from the elephant pool under a king's window."

"D'ye mean to say they allowed that man-eater to wander about a courtyard?" gasped the cook.

The Hindu smiled, and the edge of his white teeth gleamed through the rift in his beard. "Nana was the companion of a king's children. I was the tiger-keeper, you onderstan'." He glanced steadily at the blinking cook, a sudden light gathering in his restless eyes. "I do not want you to look aftair Nana Sahib," he said briefly.

"Oh my! ain't there some awful liars east of Aden!" chuckled the cook later. "Fancy a 'owlin 'orror like that playin' with a lot of kids. I wouldn't trust 'im in the same pantomime with my dawg."


THAT night Hayes stumbled on Hawler investigating the iron gate at the back of the tiger-house. He drew away in surprise as the Englishman straightened himself somewhat hurriedly like one caught in a guilty act.

Hayes frowned. "Guess there's more comfortable quarters on this vessel than at the back of a tiger's cage, sir. I'd advise you to keep clear of the brute's forearm; it's long enough to rip away the funnel-stays."

Hawler braced himself, as he emerged from the rear of the cage, like one about to make a confession. His alert eyes wandered from the bridge to the fo'c's'le head, as though to make sure that none of the deck hands were listening. "Nana Sahib was stolen from the Royal Palace at Mandalay the morning after the Red Star ruby was missing."

"They tell those yarns on the Irawadi steamboats," growled Hayes. "English tourists fancy that Burma is bulging with eight-ounce rubies and peacock thrones. Did Mr. Sundra steal the tiger and the ruby?" he asked jauntily. "He don't impress me as being strong enough to steal a prawn, sir."

"Ramidar Sundra came from Mandalay on the 28th of last month." Hawler spoke as though he were reading an ordinary newspaper item aloud. "The Red Star ruby belonged to Mindon Min, father of King Thebaw Min. A well-known European lapidarist estimates its value at three hundred thousand dollars. On the 26th of last month the palace attendants reported that the ruby had been cut from the brow of the Moon-god by one of the palace inmates."

"The hammer and chisel have blinded a lot of Hindu gods," laughed Hayes. "I tried the game myself once in a Ganges temple. I can't tell you what happened, but an old priest bit off the top of my right ear to show me that nobody was asleep."

Hawler was silent; he appeared to be listening to the guttural breathing that came from the tiger-cage.

Hayes paced the deck thoughtfully without meeting the Englishman's glance. Pausing almost sharply, he halted within a foot of the other's face. "I guess you are a Rangoon detective, Mr. Hawler. Why —" he flung out his question with savage impatience—"why didn't you arrest Sundra at Reuter's Wharf? You'd have made it easier for me, sir."

"Steady, Captain Hayes," drawled the Englishman. "I'm in no one's service but my own. I came east with the intention of picking up a few of the gems that go begging sometimes among the impecunious rajahs and princes. I'm a jeweller's agent on the look-out for bargains."

Hayes wiped his brow. "I don't quite follow you, sir. Did Ramidar Sundra steal the ruby? Is that why he is flying to Europe?"

Hawler drew a Singapore newspaper from his coat pocket, crossed to the port light and beckoned Hayes. Stooping over the jewel agent's shoulder, the captain was able to read a conspicuous cross-headed paragraph in the top right-hand corner.

Hayes whistled softly as he tiptoed towards the stairhead and glanced below. A light was burning in the Hindu's cabin. Eight bells had been struck, and the shadow of the look-out man swung across the port light. "Now" Hayes returned from the stairhead, "if he's got the ruby, what in thunder did he steal the tiger for?"

"The tiger may account for the ruby," chuckled the jewel agent. "Besides these native keepers get fairly rattled about their pet animals. Some of them can't sleep at night if they take away their cheetahs or elephants. I've seen a six- foot mahout weeping like a child because his best elephant was sick."

"But the ruby," insisted Hayes. "I'm not interested in a black man's affections."

"Listen, captain; the Calcutta police overhauled Ramidar's belongings without finding anything. The Red Star ruby was not concealed anywhere in his baggage. Where is it? His movements were shepherded from the moment he entered India. He had only sufficient money about him to pay his passage to Europe. Now... I have an idea, Captain Hayes, that we must turn to the tiger for information. Do you follow me?"

"You are a hard man to follow," growled the other. "Surely you can't suspect the animal of having pockets?"

Hawler laughed strangely and drew Hayes into the shadow of the poop. "A skilled veterinary surgeon or keeper could, with the aid of an anaesthetic, make an incision under the animal's skin and conceal a fairly round stone until he arrived in a foreign port. I am satisfied that Ramidar Sundra came to a similar conclusion. In fact, there was no other way of bringing the ruby out of India or Burma. The average policeman does not care to overhaul a big tiger in quest of stolen property. Besides, he isn't taught to think that way."


Illustration

"A skilled veterinary surgeon or keeper could make an incision
under the animal's skin and conceal a fairly round stone...


"You followed Ramidar aboard the Havelock on the chance&mdash" Hayes glanced sharply at the jewel agent.

"On the chance of poisoning a full-grown tiger named Nana Sahib. If you are a particular man, Captain Hayes, you'll object perhaps. You are master here, and — and—" Hawler lit a cigar ette slowly—"you'll admit I've put things in a nutshell."

Hayes made no immediate answer. Stealing towards the big, greasy cage, he raised the tarpaulin slightly and glanced beneath. The huge cat-like head was resting in the far corner; it moved with a loud snarl, showing its clawed foot under the slide-bar as Hayes withdrew.

The jewel agent breathed sharply at sight of the illumined eyes and swift-reaching claws. "A man would have no chance with a brute like that," he whispered.

"You think it was chloroformed while the Red Star ruby was let in under the skin?" Hayes spoke with his back to the cage. "Great Scott! it must have been a hair-raising operation."

"Inserted behind the left shoulder where the skin pouches and hangs loose," whipered the jewel agent.

"It makes one wild to think that a spindle-legged rice-chewer like Ramidar Sundra can negotiate rubies while better men are scrubbing the inside of a gaol," growled Hayes.

Hawler shrugged his shouldeis. "When we arrive at Suez, Mr. Sundra will disappear with Nana Sahib. The great Burmese ruby will be on sale in Amsterdam or London a month later."

"You set a three hundred thousand dollar value on it, Mr. Hawler?"

"Say two hundred and ninety thousand and you'll leave a profit margin for the dealer. I could sell a dozen Red Stars at the price. It is one of the purest stones in Asia."

Captain Hayes pocketed both hands like one meditating deeply. He would have scorned to steal common merchandise from the hold of a tramp steamer, but the thought of the precious Burmese ruby, concealed so cunningly within arm's length, affected him strangely. For twenty years fortune had avoided him with ruthless precision, compelling him to tramp the seas in quest of a mere livelihood. He had worked in unclean ships and rat-ridden schooners, had breathed and fought in the shanghai stews of Sydney and Valparaiso without profit. There rose in him, at times, a sudden fretful desire to return to his wife and child in Cleveland, Ohio. And —a third share in the Red Star ruby would enable him to give up the sea and make amends for his futile past.

Turning again towards the stairhead he looked below in the direction of the Hindu's cabin. A slight cough from behind the deck-house caused him to whip round smartly. A pair of eyes were regarding him from the darkness beyond; the smell of perfumed clothes assailed him as the Hindu's lank face came into view. A suspicion crossed Hayes' mind that the master of Nana Sahib had been listening to the conversation.

Ramidar Sundra slouched from the deck-house shadow lazily; a half-smoked cigarette sparkled between his thin lips. "Goot evening, Capateen Hayes! I think we have a vera fine trip," he said crisply.

Hayes faced him darkly. "Seems to me, sir, that this steamer isn't big enough for some people. It might be a fine trip, and it mightn't. I can't say that the smell of your tiger makes it brighter."

"Nana Sahib is in goot condition, Capateen Hayes. I look aftair heem myself."

"He's giving the steamer a musty smell, sir, and the crew are complaining. You've brought him from a plague-scheduled port; I can smell the complaint in his skin. I'll swear!" cried Hayes with sudden vigour, "that your tiger is developing buboes near his shoulder. There is a swelling under the skin as big as a potato."

The effect of his random shot was immediate. The Hindu's jaw hung sullenly, he stared owlishly for a moment like one who had been struck in the dark.

Hawler stepped forward briskly, as though nothing had happened. "Come, gentlemen," he began suavely, "let us have a bottle of wine and talk business."

A savage silence seemed to leap between the three men. The throbbing of the steamer's engines measured their quickening pulses. The Hindu's toes turned in suddenly like the paws of a wolf. His shining teeth were visible through the rift in his beard. "What for you talk business to me, eh?—You speak just now as though you have me in one damn trap!" He moved past Hawler, and allowed his hand to rest on the cage front nervously. "I say that Nana is in goot health.... I say that. Do you hear?"

He raised the tarpaulin as though to exhibit the tiger to their gaze.

Hayes loafed across the deck, smiling at the Hindu's ferocity of manner. "If you can explain that swelling behind the tiger's shoulder I'll apologise," he said slowly. "It might be an ordinary tumour, but I've a suspicion it's bubonic plague. Unless you prove otherwise, Mr. Sundra, I'll give myself a clean certificate by dropping Nana Sahib overboard."

The Hindu's lank figure grew stiff and immovable; the dark pupils of his eyes glowed with a savage iridiscence. It seemed as though his pent-up rage had transferred itself to the cat-like face behind the cage bars. It rose with a short, coughing snarl, and smote the iron gate with its terrible paw."

"Be still, thou—!" The Hindu snapped the words over his shoulder like one addressing an angry dog. At sound of his voice the brute half fawned as it padded up and down the greasy cage. A long-drawn whoof came from its throat.

Turning to Hayes, Ramidar Sundra spoke in an altered voice. "You have no right to put Nana overboard; no right, you onderstan'." He crouched beside the cage now, his left hand raised to the cross-bars.

"What are you fumbling with that lock for?" Hayes slipped forward as the gate-bolt shot back; the creaking of the door hinges was smothered by the hoarse belchings of the beast inside. "You infernal trickster!" Hayes sprang aside, seizing a belaying pin from its socket as he ran. The big striped head of the tiger appeared in the iron doorway; a sobbing roar ran along the deck as it bounded from the open cage to the hatch. The Hindu leaned against the gate and laughed wickedly at sight of Hawler racing up the bridge steps in front of Hayes.

"You have lost the point of view, my friends," shouted the master of Nana Sahib. "Why do you run away ? I will prove beyond doubt that Nana is not seek with plague."

The two white men glared from the bridge at the flat-eared tiger sniffing cat-like along the deck. Striding aft, it disappeared in a flash down the open stairs.

A sudden shout of dismay and horror came from below, drowned by a muffled roar and continuous bumping as though a body were being dragged across the floor. A fireman and two deck hands scampered for'rd towards the bridge, and scrambled, panting, over the rail beside Hawler and Hayes.

"That blamed tiger's got Morgan, the engineer!" gasped the fireman. "Dragged him from his bunk before he could shut the door."

The steamer rolled and throbbed through the almost motionless sea. A wisp of moon hung shell-like over the rim of the horizon. Occasionally the sea rose in velvet creases reflecting innumerable stars.

The mate, accompanied by a stoker, ran from the fo'c's'le and joined the others on the bridge. Hayes wiped his perspiring face and regarded the fear-stricken faces around him. " We're trapped, my lads, unless some one fetches my rifle from below."

"I'll go, cap'n." The fireman swung over the rail and dropped noiselessly to the deck. "Morgan was my mate. I shipped with him in the Emily Burnside from Plymouth."

A bitter silence hung over the steamer as the fireman raced for the stairhead.

From Morgan's cabin came a guttural purring noise, followed by savage growls.

An uneasy look crossed the Hindu's face. He seemed to understand the importance of the fireman's task. A bullet or two from Hayes's rifle would dispose of Nana Sahib, leaving him to face an angry captain and crew alone. With the tiger as an ally he could dictate terms to the whole ship. Kneeling on the deck he raised his voice to a savage shout of command. "Hi, yah, Nana! Soolya, jilda! Hi, yah!" His voice had the peculiar yapping note that is often heard among animal-tamers in big menageries. A sharp, bounding movement was heard below. Then came the fireman, with bulging eyes and terror-stricken face, racing towards the bridge. Behind him flashed a pair of eyeballs and crouching body.

"Help! Cap'n, help!" The fireman leaped forward blindly, clutching with despairing hands at the bridge steps. Hayes stooped and drew him up smartly, as the tiger turned with a heart-shaking roar across the deck. There were blood-drops on its chest and forepaws; it limped forward, its face upturned to the knot of men on the bridge,

"Nana!... Come thou!..." The Hindu raised his hand slightly, as though about to crack a whip. The tiger slunk to his side, licking its jaws. Turning again, it roared defiantly until the thunderous echoes sobbed from stern to bulkhead.

Ramidar Sundra stroked the animal's quivering body until it stretched itself beside hiin on the hatch. Lighting a cigarette he lay back, his head resting against the big white chest.

Hayes spoke to the man in the wheel-house calmly. "Keep to your course and don't get rattled, my lad. Old stick-in-the-mud is giving us a free circus."

The man on the bridge laughed uncertainly. From below came the clang of slice-bars, as one by one the fireman and stokers below ventured to peep from the engine-room.

"We'll have to get that rifle." Hayes spoke through his teeth as he watched the Hindu sprawl over the tiger's inert body. "He's got us dog-licked if we stay here, lads."

The mate and the fireman made no movement; the others regarded the captain dumbly. To venture along the deck now was almost certain death. The watchful beast on the hatchway seemed able to cross from fo'c's'le to stairhead at a bound.

It seemed as though Ramidar Sundra divined Hayes's thoughts. Rising grace fully, he slipped towards the companion and descended. A moment or two later he appeared with a rifle. Hayes swore softly as he sauntered back to the hatch, his white teeth showing in the darkness. "You people get wet up there by-an'-by," he said playfully. "How do you feel this time, eh?"

"Guess we're moist behind the ears already, Mr. Sundra. You played this kind of a game before at Cawnpore and Delhi, with the same kind of a Nana Sahib at your heels," answered Hayes.

Ramidar Sundra waved his cigarette jauntily, and in the blue darkness of the Indian night the smoke seemed to coil in silver wreaths about the tiger's head. "I'll play this game to the end, Capateen Hayes. You find me too much awake for you?"

"If I bounced this steamer on to a reef you'd feel as sick as your tiger," cried Hayes. "You keep me up here too long and I'll put the Havelock under water. Savvy?"

There was no answer.


THE long night came to an end. The men huddled on the bridge saw the sky-line whiten until the brown belts of the dawn flushed the east. The Havelock appeared to wade through the slow heaving sea. The firemen and sailors who had remained below called out from time to time, but no one among them cared to cross the deck while the flaming eyes kept ceaseless watch.

The faces of the men on the bridge grew weary in the morning light. Hayes was nonplussed. He watched, with dry lips and clenched fists, the figure of the Hindu, dozing occasionally, the loaded rifle between his knees.


Illustration

Hayes watched... the figure of the Hindu, dozing
occasionally, the loaded rifle between his knees.


"Some of you lads had better try a sleep," he whispered; "this is going to be a long-watch fight. The black man reckons we're his for keeps. The tiger's just a cheap assistant ready to spring out and save funeral expenses."

The Havelock seemed to swoon through the long, hot morning, and as the sun rose higher it beat with tropic fullness upon their unsheltered heads.

A fireman raised himself from the floor of the bridge and turned towards the water-cask at the head of the companion. "I want a 'drink," he said hoarsely. "D'ye hear?" He beckoned to the black shape reclining against Nana Sahib's breathing sides. "Just say if you're going to cut off the water?"

The dozing Hindu half-opened an eye and regarded the speaker dreamily. There followed a silence that fell sharp as a murder-threat upon the listening crew. The tiger yawned until the tight- drawn skin receded from the quivering red mouth. With a deep, coughing purr, it shifted, and lay with its head well in the shade of the fo'c's'le awning.

The fireman wiped his clammy face and grinned weakly. No one spoke. Hayes passed into the wheel-house and relieved the mate. The Havelock was held to her course.


TEN minutes later the Hindu rose and stalked aft towards the pantry, the rifle tucked leisurely under his left arm. Nana Sahib made no attempt to follow, but the ears grew flat, the jaws gaped, as one of the men leaned over the bridge rail to catch a glimpse of Sundra's movements. There was no hurry about his actions. He squatted outside the pantry eating what was nearest to hand. Holding both hands under the water-cask he drank greedily again and again. Then, filling the cook's bucket, he carried it to the waiting tiger.

The dry-throated men on the bridge watched the big red tongue lapping the cool water. The fireman wiped his parched lips, and leaned against the wheel-house.

Night brought small relief to the thirst-tormented watchers. Hayes grew restless and fidgety, but withal he saw a certain grim comedy in the situation. They were practically besieged and cut off from food supplies. Ramidar Sundra had not addressed them for hours. His head nodded as he sat cross-legged beside the sleeping tiger.


AT seven bells his head fell forward to his knees; his grasp on the rifle slackened perceptibly.

"Now's our time!" The captain's dry lips merely framed the words. "If one of you lads could slip along the counter under the port rail and gain the stairhead you'll find my revolver and cartridges in the locker beside my berth. Fetch it, and we'll end this blamed farce."

The mate responded alertly. Slipping over the steamer's side he crept along the counter until he stood opposite the companion. Vaulting the rail he vanished below.

Nana Sahib, with its head towards the steamer's stern, stretched its huge limbs lazily and lay down again. But Hayes noticed that the beast kept its eyes on the stairhead, the tip of the tail brushing the hatch with pendulum-like regularity.

A slice-bar rattled from a stoker's hand below: a pair of coal-blackened faces peeped from the engine-room anxiously. Hayes bid them, with savage gesture, to return to their work below. A moment later the sudden slamming of a cabin door seemed to shake the steamer: it was apparent that the mate, in his anxiety to reach the locker, had slipped and fallen. The slamming sound was intensified by the unutterable stillness of the night.

Ramidar Sundra raised his head and yawned drowsily. Then, as he glanced upwards, his bead-like eyes noted the altered positions of the bridge occupants. A familiar shape was missing. His lips moved as though he were counting them. In a fraction of time his attitude of dozing indifference changed to one of ferocious vigilance.

"Where ees the mate, Stonaway?" His voice trembled with ill-suppressed rage and vexation. "Where ees the mate?" he repeated.

"Guess he went over the side," drawled Hayes. "Put out to sea on the patent ice-chest. Said he couldn't stand the smell of your tiger."

The mate's head appeared above the stairway. With a sudden bound he reached the port side, ducking as he ran.

The Hindu leaned forward, resting on one knee. A blinding flash whipped the dark alley-way; the smoke drifted back in his face as he fired again. At the second flash the mate turned with both knees on the rail and pitched down into the darkness below.

Ramidar Sundra remained kneeling, the smoking rifle half lowered. At the first report the tiger bounded with a horrible roar across the deck, standing with its paws on the rail where the mate had vanished.

Hayes spoke to the men crouching about the wheel-house. "There's no more cartridges in the nigger's rifle. There's more below, but I guess he won't find 'em."

The Hindu glanced up at the wheel-house uncertainly. The empty rifle in his hand was now useless. He turned in the direction of the stairhead, as though contemplating another visit in quest of ammunition.

"Hi, yah, Nana! Hoop la!"

At sound of his barking voice the huge animal slunk across the deck as though it had been trained for years to obey instructions.

With the tiger at heel he passed swiftly under the bridge, and looked up at the line of staring faces above. Hayes's arm jolted downward, a belaying pin crashed on the Hindu's upturned brow. He fell without a cry, and rolled with knees up-drawn into the scuppers.

"Good as skittles when you're in practice," said Hayes. "We'll get that rifle in a jiffy, and liven things up."

The tiger prowled aft and sniffed suspiciously at the supine figure in the scuppers. With a long-drawn whoof it returned to the fo'c's'le head.

Hayes lowered himself from the bridge and crept along the port rail stealthily. At the stairhead he looked back sharply and bounded below. Five minutes later he returned to the deck. For a moment he halted, and measured the distance that separated him from the tiger in the fo'c's'le. Foot by foot he advanced, his pockets bulging with cartridges, until his hand gripped the rifle lying beside the Hindu.

A half-heard snarl reached him from the fo'c's'le head, then the heavy pad, pad of feet as the beast bounded from the hatch in his direction.

"Quick, for your life!" Hawler gesticulated frantically from above.

Hayes, with the cunning of a born sailor, reached for the bridge stanchion, and drew himself up. The huge, catlike body flashed after him, paw, chest, and head seeming to heap themselves over the rail.

Hayes had no time to turn; he fired into the hot, fetid breath, and again into the flaming eyes. The mountainous mass relaxed its hold convulsively, pitched overboard, and was gone. A stream of phosphorescent light trailed under the Havelock's keel.


Illustration

Hayes had no time to turn; he fired into the hot,
fetid breath, and again into the flaming eyes.


"Gone!" A look of disgust came into the jewel agent's eyes. "So much for the Red Star ruby!"

Captain Hayes made no reply. Later he wandered aft, wiping his brow.



Illustration

The Pall Mall Magazine, January 1908, with "The Man with the Tiger"


THE END


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