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   Chapter 5 OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE PHILISTINES

No Defense, Volume 3_ By Gilbert Parker Characters: 33097

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:02


That night the Maroons broke loose upon Jamaica, and began murder and depredation against which the governor's activities were no check. Estates were invaded, and men, women and children killed, or carried into the mountains and held as hostages. In the middle and western part of the island the ruinous movements went on without being stayed; planters and people generally railed at the governor, and said that through his neglect these dark things were happening. It was said he had failed to punish offences by the Maroons, and this had given them confidence, filling them with defiance. They had one advantage not possessed by the government troops and militia-they were masters of every square rod of land in the middle and west of the island. Their plan was to raid, to ambush, to kill and to excite the slaves to rebel.

The first assault and repulse took place not far from Enniskillen, Dyck Calhoun's plantation, and Michael Clones captured a Maroon who was slightly wounded.

Michael challenged him thus: "Come now, my blitherin' friend, tell us your trouble-why are you risin'? You don't do this without cause- what's the cause?"

The black man, naked except for a cloth about his loins, and with a small bag at his hip, slung from a cord over his shoulder, showed his teeth in a stark grimace.

"You're a newcomer here, massa, or you'd know we're treated bad," he answered. "We're robbed and trod on and there's no word kept with us. We asked the governor for more land and he moved us off. We warned him against having one of our head young men flogged by a slave in the presence of slaves-for we are free men, and he laughs. So, knowing a few strong men can bring many weak men to their knees, we rose. I say this-there's plenty weak men in Jamaica, men who don't know right when they see it. So we rose, massa, and we'll make Jamaica sick before we've done. They can't beat us, for we can ambush here, and shoot those that come after us. We hide, one behind this rock and one behind that, two or three together, and we're safe. But the white soldiers come all together and beat drums and blow horns, and we know where they are, and so we catch 'em and kill 'em. You'll see, we'll capture captains and generals, and we'll cut their heads off and bury them in their own guts."

He made an ugly grimace, and a loathsome gesture, and Michael Clones felt the man ought to die. He half drew his sword, but, thinking better of it, he took the Maroon to the Castle and locked him up in a slave's hut, having first bound him and put him in the charge of one he could trust. But as he put the man away, he said:

"You talk of your people hiding, and men not being able to find you; but did you never hear of bloodhounds, that can hunt you down, and chew you up? Did you never hear of them?"

The man's face wrinkled like a rag, for there is one thing the native fears more than all else, and that is the tooth of the hound. But he gathered courage, and said: "The governor has no hounds. There ain't none in Jamaica. We know dat-all of us know dat-all of us know dat, massa."

Michael Clones laughed, and it was not pleasant to hear. "It may be the governor has no bloodhounds, and would not permit their being brought into the island, but my master is bringing them in himself-a lot with their drivers from Cuba, and you Maroons will have all you can do to hide. Sure, d'ye think every wan in the island is as foolish as the governor? If you do, y'are mistaken, and that's all there is to say."

"The hounds not here-in de island, massa!" declared the Maroon questioningly.

"They'll be here within the next few hours, and then where will you and your pals be? You'll be caught between sharp teeth-nice, red, sharp, bloody teeth; and you'll make good steak-better than your best olio."

The native gave a moan-it was the lament of one whose crime was come tete-a-tete with its own punishment.

"That's the game to play," said Michael to himself as he fastened the door tight. "The hounds will settle this fool-rebellion quicker than aught else. Mr. Calhoun's a wise man, and he ought to be governor here. Criminal? As much as the angel Gabriel! He must put down this rebellion-no wan else can. They're stronger, the Maroons, than ever they've been. They've planned this with skill, and they'll need a lot of handlin'. We're safe enough here, but down there at Salem-well, they may be caught in the bloody net. Bedad, that's sure."

A few moments afterwards he met Dyck Calhoun. "Michael," said Dyck, "things are safe enough here, but we've prepared! The overseers, bookkeepers and drivers are loyal enough. But there are others not so safe. I'm going to Salem-riding as hard as I can, with six of our best men. They're not so daft at Salem as we are, Michael. They won't know how to act or what to do. Darius Boland is a good man, but he's only had Virginian experience, and this is different. A hundred Maroons are as good as a thousand white soldiers in the way the Maroons fight. There are a thousand of them, and they can lay waste this island, if they get going. So I shall stop them. The hounds are outside the harbour now, Michael. The ship Vincent, bringing them, was sighted by a sloop two days ago, making slowly for Kingston. She should be here before we've time to turn round. Michael, the game is in our hands, if we play it well. Do you go down to Kingston and-"

He detailed what Michael was to do on landing the hounds, and laid out plans for the immediate future. "They're in danger at Salem, Michael, so we must help them. The hounds will settle this whole wretched business."

Michael told him of his prisoner, and what effect the threat about the hounds had had. A look of purpose came into Dyck's face.

"A hound is as fair as a gun, and hounds shall be used here in Jamaica. The governor can't refuse their landing now. The people would kill him if he did. It was I proposed it all."

"Look, sir-who's that?" asked Michael, as they saw a figure riding under the palms not far away.

It was very early morning, and the light was dim yet, but there was sufficient to make even far sight easy. Dyck shaded his forehead with his hand.

"It's not one of our people, Michael. It's a stranger."

As the rider came on he was stopped by two of the drivers of the estate. Dyck and Michael saw him hold up a letter, and a moment later he was on his way to Dyck, galloping hard. Arrived, he dropped to the ground, and saluted Dyck.

"A letter from Salem, sir," he said, and handed it over to Dyck.

Dyck nodded, broke the seal of the letter and read it quickly. Then he nodded again and bade the man eat a hearty breakfast and return with him on one of the Enniskillen horses, as his own would be exhausted. "We'll help protect Salem, my man," said Dyck.

The man grinned. "That's good," he answered. "They knew naught of the rising when I left. But the governor was there yesterday, and he'd protect us."

"Nonsense, fellow, the governor would go straight to Spanish Town where he belongs, when there is trouble."

When the man had gone, Dyck turned to his servant. "Michael," he said, "the news in the letter came from Darius Boland. He says the governor told him he had orders from England to confine me here at Enniskillen, and he meant to do it. We'll see how he does it. If he sends his marshals, we'll make Gadarene swine of them."

There was a smile at his lips, and it was contemptuous, and the lines of his forehead told of resolve. "Michael," he added, "we'll hunt Lord Mallow with the hounds of our good fortune, for this war is our war. They can't win it without me, and they shan't. Without the hounds it may be a two years' war-with the hounds it can't go beyond a week or so."

"If the hounds get here, sir! But if they don't?"

Dyck laid his hand upon the sword at his side. "If they don't get here, Michael, still the war will be ours, for we understand fighting, and the governor does not. Confine me here, will he? If he does, he'll be a better man than I have ever known him, Michael. In a few hours I shall be at Salem, to do what he could not, and would not, do if he could. His love is as deep as water on a roof, no deeper. He'll think first of himself, and afterwards of the owner of Salem or any other. Let me show you what I mean to do once we've Salem free from danger. Come and have a look at my chart."

Some hours later Dyck Calhoun, with his six horsemen, was within a mile or so of Salem. They had ridden hard in the heat and were tired, but there was high spirit in the men, for they were behind a trusted leader -a man who ate little, but who did not disdain a bottle of Madeira or a glass of brandy, and who made good every step of the way he went- watchful, alert, careful, determined. They cared little what his past had been. Jamaica was not a heaven for the good, but it was a haven for many who had been ill-used elsewhere; where each man, as though he were really in a new world, was judged by his daily actions and not by any history of a hidden or an open past. As they came across country, Dyck always ahead, they saw how he responded to every sign of life in the bush, how he moved always with discretion where ambush seemed possible. They knew how on his own estate he never made mistakes of judgment; that he held the balance carefully, and that his violences, rare and tremendous, were not outbursts of an unregulated nature. "You can't fool Calhoun," was a common phrase in the language of Enniskillen, and there were few in the surrounding country who would not have upheld its truth.

Now, to-day, he was almost moodily silent, reserved and watchful. None knew the eddies of life which struggled for mastery in him, nor of his horrible disappointments. None knew of his love for Sheila. Yet all knew that he had killed-or was punished for killing-Erris Boyne. None of them had seen Sheila, but all had heard of her, and the governor's courtship of her, and all wondered why Dyck Calhoun should be doing what clearly the governor should do.

Somehow, in spite of the criminal record with which Calhoun's life was stained, they had a respect for him they did not have for Lord Mallow. Dyck's life in Jamaica was clean; and his progress as a planter had been free from black spots. He even kept no mistress, and none had ever known him to have to do with women, black, brown, or white. He had never gone a-Maying, as the saying was, and his only weakness or fault-if it was a fault-was a fondness for the bottle of good wine which was ever open on his table, and for tobacco in the smoking-leaf. To-day he smoked incessantly and carefully. He threw no loose ends of burning tobacco from cigar or pipe into the loose dry leaves and stiff-cut ground. Yet they knew the small clouds floating away from his head did not check his observation. That was proved beyond peradventure when they were within sight of the homestead of Salem on an upland well-wooded. It was in apparently happy circumstances, for they could see no commotion about the homestead; they saw men with muskets, evidently keeping guard-yet too openly keeping guard, and so some said to each other.

Presently Dyck reined his horse. Each man listened attentively, and eyed the wood ahead of them, for it was clear Dyck suspected danger there. For a moment there seemed doubt in Dyck's mind what to do, but presently he had decided.

"Ride slow for Salem," he said. "It's Maroons there in the bush. They are waiting for night. They won't attack us now. They're in ambush-of that I'm sure. If they want to capture Salem, they'll not give alarm by firing on us, so if we ride on they'll think we haven't sensed them. If they do attack us, we'll know they are in good numbers, for they'll be facing us as well as the garrison of Salem. But keep your muskets ready. Have a drink," he added, and handed his horn of liquor. "If they see us drink, and they will, they'll think we've only stopped to refresh, and we'll be safe. In any case, if they attack, fire your muskets at them and ride like the devil. Don't dismount and don't try to find them in the rocks. They'll catch us that way, as they've caught others. It's a poor game fighting hidden men. I want to get them into the open down below, and that's where they'll be before we're many hours older."

With this he rode on slightly ahead, and presently put his horse at a gentle canter which he did not increase as they neared the place where the black men ambushed. Every man of the group behaved well. None showed nervousness, even when one of the horses, conscious of hidden Maroons in the wood, gave a snort and made a sharp movement out of the track, in an attempt to get greater speed.

That was only for an instant, however. Yet every man's heart beat faster as they came to the place where the ambush was. Indeed, Dyck saw a bush move, and had a glimpse of a black, hideous face which quickly disappeared. Dyck's imperturbable coolness kept them steady. They even gossiped of idle things loud enough for the hidden Maroons to hear. No face showed suspicion or alarm, as they passed, while all felt the presence of many men in the underbrush. Only when they had passed the place, did they realize the fulness of the danger through which they had gone. Dyck talked to them presently without turning round, for that might have roused suspicion, and while they were out of danger now, there was the future and Dyck's plan which he now unfolded.

"They'll come down into the open before it's dark," he said quietly, "and when they do that, we'll have 'em. They've no chance to ambush in the cane-fields now. We'll get them in the open, and wipe them out. Don't look round. Keep steady, and we'll ride a little more quickly soon."

A little later they cantered to the front door of the Salem homestead.

The first face they saw there was that of Darius Boland. It had a look of trouble. Dyck explained. "We thought you might not have heard of the rise of the Maroons. We have no ladies at Enniskillen. We prepared, and we're safe enough there, as things are. Your ladies must go at once to Spanish Town, unless-"

"Unless they stay here! Well, they would not be unwise, for though the slaves under the old management might have joined the Maroons, they will not do so now. We have got them that far. But, Mr. Calhoun, the ladies aren't here. They rode away into the hills this morning, and they've not come back.

"I was just sending a search party for them. I did not know of the rise of the Maroons."

"In what direction did they go?" asked Dyck with anxiety, though his tone was even.

Darius Boland pointed. "They went slightly northwest, and if they go as

I think they meant to do, they would come back the way you came in."

"They were armed?" Dyck asked sharply.

"Yes, they were armed," was the reply. "Miss Llyn had a small pistol. She learned to carry one in Virginia, and she has done so ever since we came here."

"Listen, Boland," said Dyck with anxiety. "Up there in the hills by which we came are Maroons hidden, and they will invade this place to- night. We were ready to fight them, of course, as we came, but it's a risky business, and we wanted to get them all if possible. We couldn't if we had charged them there, for they were well-ambushed. My idea was to let them get into the open between there and here, and catch them as they came. It would save our own men, and it would probably do for them. If Mrs. and Miss Llyn come back that way, they will be in greater danger than were we, for the Maroons were coming here to capture the ladies and hold them as hostages; and they would not let them pass. In any case, the risk is immense. The ladies must be got to Spanish Town, for the Maroons are desperate. They know we have no ships of the navy here now, and they rely on their raiding powers and the governor's weakness. They have placed their men in every part of the middle and western country, and they came upon my place last evening and were defeated. Several were killed and one taken prisoner. They can't be marched upon like an army. Their powers of ambush are too great. They must be run down by bloodhounds. It's the only way."

"Bloodhounds-there are no bloodhounds here!" said Darius Boland. "And if there were, wouldn't pious England make a fuss?"

Dyck Calhoun was about to speak sharply, but he caught sarcasm in Darius Boland's face, and he said: "I have the bloodhounds. They're outside the harbour now, and I intend to use them

."

"If the governor allows you!" remarked Darius Boland ironically. "He does not like you or your bloodhounds. He has his orders, so he says."

Dyck made an impatient gesture. "I will not submit to his orders.

I have earned my place in this is land, and he shall not have his way.

The ladies must be brought to Spanish Town, and placed where the

governor's men can protect them."

"The governor's men! Indeed. They might as well stay here; we can surely protect them."

"Perhaps, for you have skill, Boland, and you are cautious, but is it fair for ladies to stay in this isolated spot with murderers about? When the ladies come back, they must be sent at once to Spanish Town. Can't you see?"

Darius Boland bowed. "What you say goes always," he remarked, "but tell me, sir, who will take the ladies to Spanish Town?"

Dyck Calhoun read the inner meaning of Darius Boland's words. They did not put him out of self-control. It was not a time to dwell on such things. It was his primary duty to save the ladies.

"Come, Boland," he said sharply, "I shall start now. We must find the ladies. What sort of a country is it through which they pass?" He pointed.

"Bad enough in some ways. There's an old monastery of the days of the Spaniards up there"-he pointed or the ruins of one, and it is a pleasant place to rest. I doubt not they rested there, if-"

"If they reached it!" remarked Dyck with crisp inflection. "Yes, they would rest there-and it would be a good place for ambush by the Maroons, eh?"

"Good enough from the standpoint of the Maroons," was the reply, the voice slightly choked.

"Then we must go there. It's a damnable predicament-no, you must not come with me! You must keep command here."

He hastily described the course to be followed by those of his own men who stayed to defend, and then said: "Our horses are fagged. If you loan us four I'll see they are well cared for, and returned in kind or cash. I'll take three of my men only, and loan you three of the best. We'll fill our knapsacks and get away, Boland."

A few moments later, Calhoun and his three men, with a guide added by Boland, had started away up the road which had been ridden by Mrs. Llyn and Sheila. One thing was clear, the Maroons on the hill did not know of the absence of Sheila and her mother, or they would not be waiting. He did not like the long absence of the ladies. It was ominous at such a time.

Dyck and his small escort got away by a road unseen from where the Maroons were, and when well away put their horses to a canter and got into the hills. Once in the woods, however, they rode alertly, and Dyck's eyes were everywhere. He was quick to see a bush move, to observe the flick of a branch, to catch the faintest sound of an animal origin. He was obsessed with anxiety, for he had a dark fear that some ill had happened to the two. His blood almost dried in his veins when he thought of the fate which had followed the capture of ladies in other islands like Haiti or Grenada.

It did not seem possible that these beautiful women should have fallen into the outrageous hands of savages. He knew the girl was armed, and that before harm might come to her she would end her own life and her mother's also; but if she was caught from behind, and the opportunity of suicide should not be hers-what then?

Yet he showed no agitation to his followers. His eyes were, however, intensely busy, and every nerve was keen to feel. Life in the open had developed in him the physical astuteness of the wild man, and he had all the gifts that make a supreme open-air fighter. He sensed things; but with him it was feeling, and not scent or hearing; his senses were such perfect listeners. He had the intense perception of a delicate plant, those wonderful warnings which only come to those who live close to nature, who study from feeling the thousand moods and tenses of living vegetables and animal life. He was a born hunter, and it was not easy to surprise him when every nerve was sharp with premonition. He saw the marks of the hoofs of Sheila's and her mother's horses in the road, knowing them by the freshness of the indentations. An hour, two hours passed, and they then approached the monasterial ruin of which Boland had spoken. Here, suddenly, Dyck dropped to the ground, for he saw unmistakable signs of fright or flurry in the hoofmarks.

He quickly made examination, and there were signs of women's feet and also a bare native foot, but no signs of struggle or disturbance. The footprints, both native and white, were firmly placed, but the horses' hoof-prints showed agitation. Presently the hoofmarks became more composed again. Suddenly one of Dyck's supporters exclaimed he had picked up a small piece of ribbon, evidently dropped to guide those who might come searching. Presently another token was found in a loose bit of buckle from a shoe. Then, suddenly, upon the middle of the road was a little pool of blood and signs that a body had lain in the dust.

"She shot a native here," said Dyck to his men coolly. "There are no signs of a struggle," remarked the most observant.

"We must go carefully here, for they may have been imprisoned in the ruin. You stay here, and I'll go forward," he added, with a hand on his sword. "I've an idea they're here. We have one chance, my lads, and let's keep our heads. If anything should happen to me, have a try yourselves, and see what you can do. The ladies must be freed, if they're there. There's not one of you that won't stand by to the last, but I want your oath upon it. By the heads or graves of your mothers, lads, you'll see it through? Up with your hands!"

Their hands went up. "By our mothers' heads or graves!" they said in low tones.

"Good!" he replied. "I'll go on ahead. If you hear a call, or a shot fired, forward swiftly."

An instant later he plunged into the woods to the right of the road, by which he would come upon the ruins from the rear. He held a pistol as he stole carefully yet quickly forward. He was anxious there should be no delay, but he must not be rash. Without meeting anyone he came near the ruins. They showed serene in the shade of the trees.

Then suddenly came from the ruin a Maroon of fierce, yet not cruel appearance, who laid a hand behind his ear, and looked steadfastly towards that part of the wood where Dyck was. It was clear he had heard something. Dyck did not know how many Maroons there might be in the ruins, or near it, and he did not attack. It was essential he should know the strength of his foe; and he remained quiet. Presently the native turned as though to go back into the ruins, but changed his mind, and began to tour the stony, ruined building. Dyck waited, and presently saw more natives come from the ruins, and after a moment another three. These last were having an argument of some stress, for they pulled at each other's arms and even caught at the long cloths of their headdresses.

"They've got the ladies there," thought Dyck, "but they've done them no harm yet." He waited moments longer to see if more natives were coming out, then said to himself: "I'll make a try for it now. It won't do to run the risk of going back to bring my fellows up. It's a fair risk, but it's worth taking."

With that he ran softly to the entrance from which he had seen the men emerge. Looking in he saw only darkness. Then suddenly he gave a soft call, the call of an Irish bird-note which all people in Ireland-in the west and south of Ireland-know. If Sheila was alive and in the place she would answer it, he was sure. He waited a moment, and there was no answer. Then he called again, and in an instant, as though from a great distance, there came the reply of the same note, clearer and more bell- like than his own.

"She's there!" he said, and boldly entered the place. It was dark and damp, but ahead was a break in the solid monotony of ruined wall, and he saw a clear stream of light beyond. He stole ahead, got over the stone obstructions, and came on to a biggish room which once had been a refectory. Looking round it he saw three doors-one evidently led into the kitchen, one into a pantry, and one into a hall. It was clear the women were alone, or some one would have come in answer to his call. Who could tell when they would come? There was no time to be lost. With an instinct, which proved correct, he opened the door leading into the old kitchen, and there, tied, and with pale faces, but in no other sense disordered, were Sheila and her mother. He put his fingers to his lips, then hastily cut them loose from the ropes of bamboo, and helped them to their feet.

"Can you walk?" he whispered to Mrs. Llyn. She nodded assent, and braced herself. "Then here," he said, "is a pistol. Come quickly. We may have to fight our way out. Don't be afraid to fire, but take good aim first. I have some men in the wood beyond where you shot the native," he added to Sheila. "They'll come at once if I call, or a shot is fired. Keep your heads, and we shall be all right. They're a dangerous crew, but we'll beat them this time. Come quickly."

Presently they were in the refectory, and a moment after that they were over the stones, and near the entrance, and then a native appeared, armed. Without an instant's hesitation Dyck ran forward, and as he entered, put his sword into the man's vitals, and he fell, calling out as he fell.

"The rest will be on us now," said Dyck, "and we must keep going."

Three more natives appeared, and he shot two.

Catching a pistol from Sheila he aimed at the third native and wounded him, but did not kill him. The man ran into the wood. Presently more Maroons came-a dozen or more, and rushed for the entrance. They were met by Dyck's fire, and now also Sheila fired and brought down her man. Dyck wounded another, and in great skill loaded again, but at that moment three of the Maroons rushed down into the ruins.

They were astonished to see Dyck there, and more astonished to receive- first one and then another-his iron in their bowels. The third man made a stroke at Dyck with his lance, and only gashed Dyck's left arm. Then he turned and fled out into the open, and was met by a half-dozen others. They all were about to rush the entrance when suddenly four shots behind them brought three of them down, and the rest fled into the wood shouting. In another moment Dyck and the ladies were in the open, and making for the woods, the women in front, the men behind, loading their muskets as they ran, and alive to the risks of the moment.

The dresses of the ladies were stained and soiled with dust and damp, but otherwise they seemed little the worse for the adventure, save that Mrs. Llyn was shaken, and her face was pale.

"How did you know where we were, and why did you come?" she said, after they had got under way, having secured the horses which Sheila and her mother had ridden.

Briefly Dyck explained how as soon as he had dealt with the revolt of the

Maroons at his own place he came straight to Salem.

"I knew you were unused to the ways of the country and to our sort of native here, and I felt sure you would not refuse to take help-even mine at a pinch. But what happened to you?" he added, turning to Sheila.

It was only yesterday Sheila had determined to cut him wholly out of her life by assenting to marry Lord Mallow. Yet here he was, and she could scarcely bear to look into his face. He was shut off from her by every fact of human reason. These were days when the traditions of family life were more intense than now; when to kill one's own father was not so bad as to embrace, as it were, him or her who had killed that father. Sheila felt if she were normal she ought to feel abhorrence against Dyck; yet she felt none at all, and his saving them had given a new colour to their relations. If he had killed her father, the traitor, he had saved themselves from death or freed them from a shameful captivity which might have ended in black disaster. She kept herself in hand, and did not show confusion.

"We had not heard of the rising of the Maroons," she said. "The governor was at Salem yesterday and a message came from his staff to say would he come at once. His staff were not at Salem, but at the next plantation nearer to Spanish Town. Lord Mallow went. If he suspected the real trouble he said naught, but was gone before you could realize it. The hours went by, night came and passed, then my mother and I, this morning, resolved to ride to the monastery, and then round by the road you travelled back to Salem."

"There are Maroons now on that hill above your place. They were in ambush when we passed, but we took no notice. It was not wise to invite trouble. Some of us would have been killed, but-"

He then told what had been in his mind, and what might be the outcome- the killing or capture of the whole group, and safety for all at Salem.

When he had finished, she continued her story. "We rode for an hour unchallenged, and then came the Maroons. At first I knew not what to do. We were surrounded before we could act. I had my pistol ready, and there was the chance of escape-the faint chance-if we drove our horses on; but there was also the danger of being fired at from behind! So we sat still on our horses, and I asked them how they dared attack white ladies. I asked them if they had never thought what vengeance the governor would take. They did not understand my words, but they grasped the meaning, and one of them, the leader, who understood English, was inclined to have reason. As it was, we stopped what might have been our murder by saying it would be wiser to hold us as hostages, and that we were Americans. That man was killed-by you. A shot from your pistol brought him down as he rushed forward to enter the ruins. But he took care of us as we went forward, and when I shot one of his followers for laying his hand upon me in the saddle-he caught me by the leg under my skirt-he would allow no retaliation. I knew boldness was the safe part to play.

"But in the end we were bound with ropes as you found us, while they waited for more of their people to come, those, no doubt, you found ambushed on the hill. As we lay, bound as you saw us, the leader said to us we should be safe if he could have his way, but there were bad elements among the Maroons, and he could not guarantee it. Yet he knew the government would pay for our release, would perhaps give the land for which they had asked with no avail. We must, therefore, remain prisoners. If we made no efforts to escape, it would be better in the end. "Keep your head steady, missy, try no tricks, and all may go well; but I have bad lot, and they may fly at you." That was the way he spoke. It made our blood run cold, for he was one man, with fair mind, and he had around him men, savage and irresponsible. Black and ruthless, they would stop at nothing except the sword at their throats or the teeth in their flesh."

"The teeth in their flesh!" said Dyck with a grim smile. "Yes, that is the only way with them. Naught can put the fear of God into them except bloodhounds, and that Lord Mallow will not have. He has been set against it until now. But this business will teach him. He may change his mind now, since what he cares for is in danger-his place and his ladies!"

Mrs. Llyn roused herself to say: "No, no, Mr. Calhoun, you must not say that of him. His place may be in danger, but not his ladies. He has no promise of that. . . . And see, Mr. Calhoun, I want to say that, in any case, you have paid your debt, if you owe one to us. For a life taken you have given two lives-to me and my girl. I speak as one who has a right to say it! Erris Boyne was naught to me at all, but he was my daughter's father, and that made everything difficult. I could make him cease to be my husband, and I did; but I could not make him cease to be her father."

"I had no love for Erris Boyne," said Sheila. Misery was heavy on her.

"None at all, but he was my father."

"See, all's well still at Salem," said Dyck waving a hand as though to change the talk. "All's as we left it."

There in the near distance lay Salem, serene. All tropical life about seemed throbbing with life and soaking with leisure.

"We were in time," he added. "The Maroons are still in ambush. The sun is beginning to set though, and the trouble may begin. We shall get there about sundown-safe, thank God!"

"Safe, thank God-and you," said Sheila's mother.

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