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ALBERT DORRINGTON

THE HOUSE OF THE EARTHQUAKE

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The Sydney Mail, Australia, 24 August 1927

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THE sun heat at Kapang Rabaul was reflected in the drooping tamarinds and in the white-shrouded figures huddled in the shade of old Jan Koomer's verandah. Under the slope of the trade-house stockade a stream, the colour of tobacco juice, flowed seaward. The stream smelt of sago swamps and decayed opium farms, for it drained the ancient jungle lands of Malwar Kote.

A fleet, of red-boomed sampans and schooners lay at the trade- house jetty. Cargoes of rice and coffee, manila hemp, and coral, were stacked inside the zinc godowns ready for shipment. Old Jan employed five Chinese clerks and a fat compradore from Surabaya to do his yelling. With the temperature at the grilling point, the yelling at Jan's was done in the best Chinese manner. But neither yells nor threats could galvanise the old Hollander's coolies from their midday torpor.

In his stuffy office overlooking the tobacco juice stream Jan fretted at the heat and the jellyfish habits of black and brown labour. And the white beachcombers who drifted up from the islands were no better. Given a pair of shoes and a new shirt, the beachcomber dedicated his morning hours to the sampling of native arrak and other poisonous drinks. At least, that was old Jan's experience.


BILLY CARDEW had come from Sydney, to Kapang Rabaul. For three nights he had slept on the beach, out of sight of Jan's trade- house. Billy had lost his job as first mate on board the island tramp Lucy Loo. His misfortune had arisen out of an argument with the red fisted Baltic skipper, Schultz. Cardew had been a cruiser-weight champion before he took to the sea. He had won more fights than he cared to remember. But accidents will happen, even at the best regulated sporting clubs, and in his memorable fight with the Pittsburg Terror Billy, in the thirteenth round, found himself with a dead man in his arms.

Cardew never quite recovered from the shock. It had been a fierce encounter. But the doctors agreed afterwards that the Pittsburg man had suffered from a chronic heart trouble, and that no blame could be attached to Cardew. Billy left the ring for good.

Sailoring was a man's work, he told himself. He had always liked the sea, and Schultz had found him a berth in his big, coral-hunting tramp that plied between the Arafura and China seas. Billy Cardew might have hunted coral cargoes till Doomsday if the red-fisted Schultz had not struck him one afternoon over a matter that concerned the thrashing of a native boy for tampering with a precious tin of biscuits.

Between one port and another Schultz kept himself fit hammering beachcombers and cargo thieves who ventured too near his shore lines. He beat native urchins on principle, and in eight years he had left a train of crippled youngsters in his wake that roused even the ire of the slow-witted Melanesian boat- steerers.

It was only natural, and in keeping with the laws of poetic justice, that Schultz of the gouging thumbs and iron-shod feet should finally hand one to Billy Cardew. It was a blind blow that fell like a spent bullet on Billy's left ear.

Cardew straightened, pushed his left hand into the bulge of the German's waistband, and then smashed gently with his right on the upturned nose. Stepping sorrowfully round the bull-bodied Teuton, he clouted him along the deck and into the cook-house. Here Cardew, with the memory of a dozen bruised and battered native boys to nerve him, jammed Schultz's head into a big iron pot that stood on the board. Billy was not aware that the iron pot contained a mass of warm beef and onion stew. He was sorry afterwards, but was forced to let it go at that. It was a sad and memorable day for that coral-hunting tramp schooner.

Of course, Billy had to leave. No German skipper thinks well of a first mate who puts pots of beef and onion stew before discipline.

Cardew got ashore at Kapang Rabaul, where the river smelt of dead mangoes and live leeches, and where the sheeted Arabs rose from Jan Koomer's verandah like spectres from a tomb. A good place to die, Billy thought bitterly as he chose a soft place on the beach to brood over the situation.

The situation was as old as the hills, if Cardew had only known it. He was young and fresh, but it soon dawned on him that even beef and onion stew did not bloom on Malayan beaches. He must find a job, or fight for one. Life in the East was a game of two-up, fists mostly, when it came to the deadly business of squeezing a regular income out of the tropical scenery.

Billy straightened his neckwear, glossed his tan shoes with a moist banana-skin, and stepped into the trade-house, where Jan Koomer was piling Dutch guilders into a rusty safe.

"I want a job, Mr. Koomer. A fellow's got to do something. You'll find me a regular glutton for heartbreak commissions. All I want is a start," Billy stated without a pause.

Old Jan locked his safe hurriedly, and then glanced round at the pair of long legs and tan shoes that had come into his life.

"You wants work?" he boomed softly, his white whiskers rippling from the effects of his laboured breathing. "Maybe you'll find a yob mit der police commandante. Beoples," he added, mopping his hot face, "tinks o' is office wass a home for stiffs and sand babies. Ja, you hunt a yob where der wass an ice chest, young mans."

Billy backed from Jan's office, and almost collided in the passage with a smartly-frocked young lady carrying a handful of typewritten sheets and correspondence. Her bright eyes took in Cardew's dejected bearing.

"You gave Pa the wrong story," she said cheerfully, with another bright glance at the sand in his hair. "Come again to- morrow," she advised in a swift underbreath. "There's plenty doing in Kapang when Pa is properly instructed."

Her parting smile proved that the hot weather had not melted all the dimples in Rabaul. She passed into Koomer's office, leaving Cardew stammering his thanks in the doorway.

Billy passed his fourth night on the beach. He breakfasted early, on the sunny side of an abandoned banana plantation. After a brush-up and a brisk shaking of sand from his hair and pockets he headed straight for Jan's trade-house.

"Morning, Mr. Koomer," he began pleasantly. "I want a job. A fellow's got to do something. You'll find me a regular glutton for heartbreak commissions. All I want is a start," Billy concluded without a pause. Jan was in a position similar to the one he had occupied the previous morning—he was shovelling Dutch guilders into the rusty safe.

He looked up at Billy's six feet of sun-tan and eagerness with the slow deliberation of one counting his past gains and losses. Again he locked the safe and mopped his hot face and whiskers "Maybe you'll find a yob mit der police commandante. Beoples tinks dis office wass a home for stiffs and sand babies. Beoples?"

"Hi, Pa, don't!" a girl's voice interrupted from an inner cubicle. "The young man wants work, and that big schooner Jade is eating her head off at the pier. Does nothing but miss the tide and pile up the overhead. About time we put a white skipper aboard. Our black crews have gone stale." Jan batted his eyes but did not swear.

"Joanna," he retorted sorrowfully, "how dares you come into my talk?"

"Three months ago," Joanna went on undisturbed from her cubicle, "one of our Arab gangs piled a hundred-ton schooner on the mud bank at the river mouth. Cargo took water—coffee, salt, fifty tierces of tobacco, and no end of silk trade. All because there's no one to speak about it. The truth is," Joanna concluded, peeping in at the office door, "Pa doesn't like those Arabs with the long knives. He doesn't like to tell them that they're a lot of tar-faced goofs, eating us into bankruptcy. He's like me," Joanna added with refreshing candour; "he'd rather walk round those long knives than go through them!"

Jan's face blew hurricane red as he stormed up and down the narrow office. In a singularly brief space he cooled down and turned to the grinning Cardew in the doorway.

"Joanna should mind her business," he confided weakly. "But it ees true about dose Arab stiffs. Dey put my schooner in der mud, where all der cargo is spilled."

Billy glanced slowly at the golden top of Joanna's head in the doorway of her cubicle. He caught a flash of her ice-blue eyes, the rapid instructions fluttering silently on her lips.

"Get on with it now. Bustle him hard for a command on the schooner Jade. I've done my best for you." And Joanna disappeared.

Billy Cardew drew a big breath as he faced the typhoon yellow in old Jan's shifting eyes.

"See here, Mr. Koomer, I've got a master's certificate. I'd like to handle your fleet so that the boats will bring you money instead of mud. My name's Cardew. I'll fight any six of these long knife men—and then I'll make 'em work In six months I'll make men out of those black lizards camped on your verandah. Give me a show!"


A HUNDRED dollars a month was all Jan Koomer gave him for running an Arab crew up and down the coast. Still, it was better than eating black bananas in a fly-infested plantation. He made two trips a month to Saigon and Cambodia. He doubled the Jade's earnings, and called the bluff on the first mutiny his Arab crew had planned. The Jade was loaded with rubber and oil for Singapore, and the tide was running over the bars at Rabaul. Billy had passed the word to haul in shore-lines and stand downstream. It was Billy's first trip. The six Arabs had lit their customary cigarettes. So if the Jade missed this tide there would be plenty of water in the river to-morrow. Allah be praised!

Cardew spoke again, but, his words fell dead on the ears of the easy-going six. They stared at him drowsily, resentfully. It was during the heat of noon, with the sun staring like the eye of a devil from the raw purple above. Billy stepped down from the poop.

"Keep Allah out of this," he snapped. "Lay to those shore- lines. Pait satoe. Do it lekasi na bisa!"

Billy was conscious of Joanna's eyes peering from the trade- house window. She had seen her father's schooners miss tide after tide. But for once she would see the Jade pull out on time. Billy had about five minutes to make good; after that he would be left on the mud bar for the night. Abdul Mehmet, a flat-footed mast hand, and the leading lazy man of the crew, struck at the oncoming Billy with an iron pin. It missed. Instantly the other five sought to gain the shelter of the forepart.

Running from Billy Cardew across ten feet of case-littered deck was difficult and fatal. The man who had sprinted round twenty-foot rings after middle-weight champions knew what to do with a low-browed, rice-fed Arab when he caught him between a pile of cases.

Billy did it scientifically, but he did it first to the thrower of the belaying-pin.

"Get those shorelines," he ordered, driving his fist into the scrunching jaw. "Get!"

Abdul raised himself from the deck, and with a trembling signal to the others crawled out to obey the order.

Joanna at the trade-house window heaved a sigh.

"Pa," she spoke to a hump of shadow near the iron safe. "Our fuzzies didn't pull any wool over Mr. Cardew. He handles them like beads on a string."

Jan shrugged gloomily. "Dose beads will be round Billy's neck when he gets to Samark! Dere is dat Jap man, Higo, who puts contraband into my schooners at Samark. I hopes Billy will meet Higo," he muttered fervently. "All my ships und crews have suffered from Higo's opium, Higo's arrak, Higo's shanghai blood- money. I wish dot big fat policeman Larry from Singapore would put de wool on Higo."

"Larry the Leech," Joanna sighed. "The detective that's always eating chocolates. Why, he's a joke. Higo has broken from every gaol in the Settlements—nothing holds the man. Anyhow I hope Larry gets Higo before Higo gets our Mr. Cardew."


ARRIVING at Samark, Billy dropped fifteen tons of cargo at the agent's wharf. The night was pitch black, with a single lantern blinking at the end of the crazy pier. Samark was a beach town with six hundred miles of back country and rubber lands to assist its growth. Cardew dozed in his hammock under the awning. It was his only chance to snatch an hour's rest between port and port.

The crew had slopped ashore for a spell. A slight change from the schooner's discipline worked wonders with these Arabs. In a little while, when he had worked them into a proper frame of mind, he would allow them plenty of leave. It was nearly midnight.

Billy sat up suddenly; the tide was rippling over the bars, and not one of the Arabs had returned! Without them he could not put to sea. Billy was not the man to grit his teeth and vow reprisals for breaches of discipline. He was the servant of the tides and the northern Chinese agents, the busy compradores screaming for deliveries. Also, Jan would do some screaming if the black six went missing. Joanna with the dimples and the ice-blue eyes would probably tell him he ought to run a hen farm and leave schooners alone.

Slipping down the gangway, Billy slopped past the agent's deserted office in the direction of the town. Lantern-lit puk- a-pu shops sprang into view as he forged along to where the crowds of Malays and Chinese thronged the smelly bazaars. Scores of black prahu men skulked within the passages of the samshu houses, where the heavy joss lanterns cast Dante-esque flares across the hot, sandy road. A friendly Dutch voice hailed Billy from the depths of a sour-smelling wine bar.

"Hi yah! You Sydney man! That black rat Abdul is over here in Higo's joint."

Billy nodded and crossed the road to where the Dutchman's finger had pointed. In his traffickings up and down the Settlements the fame of Higo the blood-master bad reached Cardew. The fellow was just a coolie ruffian from the slums of Hakodate, he told himself. His tricks never varied. Sailors who entered his house were drugged, robbed, and often thrown aboard the cinnabar boats and forgotten.

Cardew halted a moment in the lantern-hung doorway. The shanty was of bamboo and matchboard, a frail, jig-saw arrangement built on stilts over the yellow estuary that allowed small craft and sampans into the town. In the turn of an eye Billy saw his six Arabs seated at a table where a dice-box was being rattled. Behind the shelf-like bar stood Higo, his naked chest glistening, his face the colour of wet leather.

A pocket tiger of a man, Billy mused, a little blood-alley when the marbles were out. Higo glanced over Billy's straight white figure with the eye of a military governor. It was the look that one fighter gives another, up and down and through his man. It was an all-sufficient stare, and it was enough for Billy Cardew. He indicated the six Arabs genially.

"Those boys belong to my schooner; it's time they were aboard," he stated simply.

A clammy hush fell on the reeking horde of sampan men within the crimp-house. A sudden shuffling of feet came from the platform at the rear of the house. Three sing-song words in the vernacular seemed to come from the darkness of the river.

IN the passing of a breath the crimp-house was empty. The six Arabs had gone also. Billy turned to the swinging door leading to the road. Higo checked him with a gesture.

"When you want a crew you must come to me," he stated thickly. "I get you six boys, one hundred dollar a head, in two hours. Ole Koomer will have to pay if you sign contract," he suggested, a veiled menace in his slat eyes. "You tell Koomer your boys left at Samark. You savvy?"

Billy Cardew stared in amaze at Higo's bull-neck and the bare chest that shone like wet leather.

"See here, Higo," he protested good-humouredly, "I can't run a schooner on those lines. They belong to the bad old days. I have to keep my crews. Those six Arabs who have just bolted are signed up for this trip and many others. They've got pay in advance from Mr. Koomer. And they're going back to my schooner for the benefit of their health. Get that?"

Higo got it, and his slat eyes took on the gleam of a frozen snake. Cardew had seen a similar gleam in the eye of a red- handed, knife-wielding Malay. And just here the voice from the river sounded a second warning to the Jap behind the bar. It seemed to impress upon the little crimp-house keeper the necessity for instant action. At the moment Billy's hand went to the swinging doors a wet towel struck at the lantern over the bar counter.

The room was in darkness. Cardew never knew how he lost his exact bearings within that long, narrow bar of matchwood and bamboo. Deft fingers had closed the swinging doors while he searched up and down in the Stygian gloom for an exit. Then the folly of trying to get out by the doors occurred to him in a flash. He could smash through the crazy old walls and go his way!

His hand touched a heavy stool near the bar. With a laugh he swung it above his head and turned to the flimsy, patchwork walls. Just here a bamboo pole skated down from the ceiling and struck his shoulder lightly. Another and another came spearing down, followed by a shower of dust and sun-baked flower-pots.

Cardew swore softly under the rain of choking dust and debris. The sky showed suddenly through the torn slats above. He caught sight of arms and feet kicking and scattering the roof covering on to his head.

"Aloha haa!" a voice called down to him. "How you like it, eh? Plenty more coming, tuan. Plenty more, an' some rats."

There was no illusion about the army of squealing rodents, rooted from their nests under the thatch. They fell or scampered down the poles on Billy. He was caught in a network of sagging, twisting bamboos. A shower of dust, the refuse of the local bone and ivory mills, fell in choking clouds about him. A diabolical yell from the rafters gave the signal for fresh activities on the part of Higo's assistants. Without warning the floor of the shanty collapsed.

With a goat's instinct for maintaining his foothold, Billy's toes clung to a rib of bamboo jammed in the floor joists. It bent under his weight as he struggled to maintain his balance. A wet, dank mist struck up from the black void beneath him. It came from the soft, bottomless mud of the river below.

Like a cat on a pole, Cardew listened to a soft whooping noise above his head. A black fist, gripping a piece of lead pipe, was striking down in his direction. Nearer and nearer the lead pipe struck, cleaving through the tangles of cane with deadly precision. The bull-neck and bare knees of Higo were visible on a slanting cross-beam.

"A-h-h! A-h-h! You did not go down into the water, Beel?" he grunted cheerfully. "You are still there. Beel, still hangin' on to the ole house?"

Cardew saw the black, goblin figure above gather itself for a final assault with the lead pipe. Higo moistened his palms, licked his thick lips as he gauged the distance between the lead pipe and Billy's neck. Choked with dust, and the plague of rats scrambling over his half-recumbent body, Cardew rocked to and fro with twenty feet of swamp mud beneath him.

"Eh, Beel?" The lead pipe crashed and slogged through the fallen debris within a foot of the pugilist's shoulder.

"Eh, Beel, you do not answer me."

Illustration

This time the pipe cut like a sabre past Cardew's cheek, flattening the bamboo sticks to pulp. Higo balanced himself on the cross-beam and struck again. Cardew ducked and dropped down into the squelching darkness of the tidal estuary.

A world of soft, warm mud shot round Billy's legs and waist. It climbed to his shoulders and squealed with life every time his fists closed on it, living, squirming mud hot from the Malayan valleys and rice fields. For one dazed moment Billy wondered whether he was going down to the bottom of the river. Then his right hand touched a soft, warm face. Billy became suddenly conscious that the face was speaking words of sympathy and courage. The legs belonging to the face were astride an overturned canoe. An electric torch flashed over Cardew.

"Ye brought the rats with ye, Mr. Cardew," the voice behind the torch said easily as the wave of squealing rodents scurried by.

"I've been watching Higo swing the lead up there. Have a chocolate, Mr. Cardew?"

Billy spluttered and dragged himself to the overturned canoe, glad of refuge and companionship for the moment. Instinct warned him that he was in the presence of the notorious sleuth Larry the Leech. The blows from the lead pipe had ceased overhead. A strange silence fell on the ruins of the crimp-house. Yet Cardew's ear caught the faint pat-pat of naked feet as they left the rear of the house and ran in the direction of the schooner. Larry's voice snapped on his nerves.

"That's Higo running. He'll be aboard your vessel in two shakes. Have a chocolate, my son, and we'll catch up with him."

Cardew was in no mood for chocolates, or the society of fat detectives roosting on upturned boats. A number of loose planks were strewn under the house. In the turn of a foot Billy had wriggled from the canoe and had crawled over the fallen woodwork to the bank.

"See you later, Larry," he called out. "My job won't wait."

Cardew pelted down the byways, under the hot banyans, past the all-night gaming houses, until the pier was reached. The Jade still carried a rich cargo in her roomy fore-hold. In a flash he realised Higo's intentions. With the police on his heels the Jap could not stay in Samark. So Higo was going to do something extra in the way of schooner running. Once among the thousand islands of the archipelago the Jade could be retrimmed and rigged and sold for a fortune.

Through the darkness Billy made out the schooner's slender lines moving from the pier. He heard the laboured movements of hands at the heavy boom and foresail. The shore-lines had been cut. A huge pole was being used to shove clear of the jetty. Billy's leap landed him like a wet sack over the Jade's stern rail as she swung away. With the breath knocked from his body by the impact, Billy hung cat-like over the rail, fighting silently to regain his wind.

In the dull glow of the port binnacle light he made out the shapes of the six Arab boys hauling at the sails. Their voices were raised to a screaming crescendo as the schooner picked up the first slant of wind from the straits.

"Pull hard! By Allah, we are well out of it! The mud of Samark has choked better men than Beel. Allah watches over our good friend Higo." The crimp-house keeper shrugged deprecatingly. He was standing in the schooner's waist, his leathery chest gleaming from his hurried sprint to the schooner.

"In a little while we will have a look at the cargo." he intoned gruffly. "It was no easy thing to pull down my house. Yet it is the right way to bonnet policemen and troublesome schooner captains. Always there are few loose poles fixed under my houses. One or two shakes will bring down the ceiling. Hinges on floors are useful to bring up rum and let down policemen. Ho, it is a simple way out of difficulties when the house does not belong to you," he bragged cheerfully.


BILLY CARDEW crawled over the rail and rolled silently beneath some spare canvas piled under the anchor bitts in the stern. His hands went out instinctively and rested against a warm face, a face that smelt of chocolates and river mud.

"The devil!" Billy choked.

"I took a shorter cut than you, Mr. Cardew," the face explained. "I'm an even-timer on the hundred yards dash. And you think I'm fat! Wow! Have a chocolate, boy!"

The dawn showed in crystal streaks across the widening skyline. The Jade was now beating up against a south-east wind, with two of the Arab boys at the wheel. Higo dug into the sea with a rope and bucket, and was soon sluicing his face and chest with cool water. Shaking his head like a mastiff, he reached for a towel that hung from the galley door.

"How are we going to get him, Mr. Cardew?" Larry whispered, his automatic pistol clumped under his fat fist. "If I shoot him out of his trousers the Consuls will bleat for a year about the matter."

Higo dropped the towel with an oath, and whirled like a tiger at sight of the moving canvas in the stern. Billy Cardew was standing between the deckhouse and the stern rail. He was stripped to the waist, and the cold, clear tones of Larry under the canvas reminded him of the voice of a referee.

"He's a man-killer. Cardew! For God's sake don't close with him. He's wanted for killing two planters in Saigon. Look out!" For an instant every muscle and line in the Jap's body seemed to relax. Then he doubled across the deck with the spring of a cheetah and closed with Cardew. For a silent second or two they writhed and fought for grips. Again the voice of Larry came from the canvas bulge in the stern.

"You're crazy to tackle that fellow. I'm sorry. Cardew, but it's the end for you."

Billy went down with a crash against the deckhouse, as easily as a schoolboy is flung by a full-grown athlete. Higo danced backwards, crouched for a running kick at the white man's head.

In his many fights Cardew had been floored oftener than he could remember. This constant tumbling had taught him a number of things; he was on his feet smiling at the butting mass of muscle charging towards him. Higo pulled up with a jerk, feinted with his hands outspread. Cardew accepted the wide-armed gesture; his long left shot through like a piston jolt.

To the watching detective it was only a short push on the jaw Higo sagged and swayed across the deck. Billy stepped close in and flashed in his right with the ease of a matador. The crimp- house master dropped face down under the schooner's rail.

"Thank you, Mr. Cardew."

Larry the Leech emerged from the canvas and snapped a pair of handcuffs over Higo's wrists.

"I'll take you to a gaol that's built inside an old elephant yard," he told the slowly recovering Jap. "The walls are eight feet thick. If you can shake 'em down I'll hand you my six- cylinder car and a free pardon."

Higo smiled wanly as he stared at the handcuffs.

"My body is made of paper," he grunted. "Gi' me a chocolate, Larry. Higo is fed up with his luck."


CARDEW returned to Kapang Rabaul with a cargo of cotton goods for Jan Koomer. The trade-house was shut for the night, but Billy saw that the glass doors of the big dining-room were wide open. The voice of the old Dutch trader was audible inside.

"I worry about you, Joanna. I grow old, and my business will go to nothing if you are left alone here. Dose Malays watch me efery day now. Und der white mens are just as bad."

Cardew halted in the palm shadows and drew back. The settlement was full of these old traders, afraid almost to die and leave their womenfolk at the mercy of unscrupulous agents and natives.

Joanna's voice sounded unusually wistful as she crossed the room.

"But he is different, Pa. He's honest. Don't I know? Think of the white dudes and merchants' sons I've met. Shiploads! They know we are rich. Yet not one of them would take on Mr. Cardew's job. They'd like to sit here and handle your guilders, or loaf and tease the billiard balls at the Sampang Club. I've applied a very simple test to them all."

"What test, Joanna?"

Joanna's laugh seemed to tinkle on the hot night air.

"When these young fortune-hunters come here I offer them a bunch of forget-me-nots at parting. Of course, they swear by book and ring that only death will ever separate them from my little gift of flowers. I've seen those dear boys drop those flowers overboard the moment they got among the white frocks on the saloon deck of an outgoing steamer. Bless them!"

Old Jan stirred uneasily.

"Ja! Men tink of oder tings, Joanna. Who would keep flowers on a ship?"

A short silence followed, and Cardew in his nervous tension heard the palms whispering above Joanna's soft voice.

"Well, when Mr. Cardew left here two months ago, I gave him a few forget-me-nots. Maybe he threw them overboard like the others; maybe he didn't. These big, rough Australian boys are like children. They do sometimes remember a gift of flowers from a lady."

Billy Cardew heaved a deep breath as he back-stepped into the road. Soundless as a bird, he gained the schooner at the jetty end and almost leaped down the cabin stairs. Opening his locker, he took out a tiny hunch of forget-me-nots he had placed tenderly beside the photograph of his mother. Pinning them to his buttonhole, he hurried back to the trade-house, halted, and then coughed noisily as he stepped to the verandah.

Joanna's shadow seemed to leap across the lighted space at sound of the cough.

"Why, it's Mr. Cardew, Pa!" she announced in surprise.


Illustration

"Why, it's Mr. Cardew, Pa!"


Old Jan moved from his seat heavily.

"Good evening Cardew. I hear you haf had a good passage," he greeted hoarsely. "I hear, too, dot de boys are now behavin' demselves. Sit down und tell us how Higo was caught und shut in de elephant yard at last."

There was a beam in Joanna's eye as she looked up at Cardew in the full light of the house-lamp.


THE END


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