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   Chapter 9 — KING JULIUS.

The Belted Seas By Arthur Colton Characters: 37763

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


It was back in San Francisco and several years after, and I was master of the Good Sister still, but not feeling agreeable at the time, because Fu Shan and the agent at 'Frisco kept me sitting around collecting barnacles. They didn't seem to know what they wanted me to do with her. I guess the business of Sadler and Shan didn't prosper well for a while after Sadler left, on account of sportive Caucasians.

I was leaning over the rail one day, looking across the wharf, and I saw J. R. Craney come strolling down with one hand in his pocket and the other pulling a chin beard. He hadn't changed so much, except that he looked older and had a chin beard and wore a long black coat and plush vest. He looked at the Good Sister, and he looked at me, and neither of us said anything for a long time, and his business eye was absent-minded and calm, and the blind one pale and dead-looking. Then I says:

"Why don't you get a glass eye, Craney?" and he says, "I wished you'd call me J. R. Phipp. What you doing with that there ship?" which was a promising rhyme, but he didn't know he'd done it. I judged his family name had been collecting barnacles, till it wasn't worth cleaning maybe, or maybe he was a fugitive or exile from Corazon, or maybe he'd speculated in matrimony, and was fleeing from hot water, or maybe kettles, or maybe he'd assassinated his great aunt's second cousin's husband, which was no business of mine, any of it.

"Look here," I says, not feeling agreeable. "Here's my programme. You go up to 22 Market Street, and ask the agent. Then he'll say he don't know. Then you'll tell him he's a three-cornered idiot, because you'll admire the truth, and come back and we'll have a drink."

"All right," he says, absent-minded and calm, and went off up Market Street. By-and-by the agent came down with Craney floating behind.

"This is Mr. J. R. Phipp," says the agent, "who has chartered the Good Sister. Get her ready. Mr. Phipp will superintend cargo himself and sail with you."

That was the way it happened. Craney spent days going round the stores in the city and buying everything that took his eyes. He bought house-furnishings and pictures, toys, horns, drums, cases of tobacco and spirits, glass ornaments and plaster statues, crockery and cutlery, guns, clothes, neckties, and silk handkerchiefs, and cheap jewelry. He'd go in and ask for a drygoods box. Then he'd potter around the shop till the box was full. He'd buy out a show case of goods, and maybe he'd buy the show case. He bought barrels full of old magazines and books on theology and law, and a cord or two of ten-cent novels, and some poetry that was handy, and three encyclopaedias, and two or three kinds of dogs, and a basket phaeton with green wheels, and a printing press, and a stereopticon. The agent says to me:

"He has a scheme for trading in the South Pacific. He's a lunatic, and he's paid for six months. Send me news when you get a chance, and come back by Honolulu for directions. He's a lunatic," he says, "and you'd better lose him somewhere and get a commission on the time saved."

Then he hurried off the way you'd think he was a man with energy, instead of one that would sit still and let the weeds grow in his hair. But Craney went on buying chandeliers and chess-boards and clocks and women's things, such as dresses and ostrich-feathers hats, and baby carriages, and parasols, and an allotment of assorted dinner-bells, and one side of a drug store. I don't know all there was in his cases, only I judged there wasn't any monotony. I says:

"Maybe now you might be done."

He came aboard and looked thoughtful. Then he felt in his pocket and pulled out a bunch of knitting needles, and looked thoughtful.

"Well," he says. "I rather wanted to look up some front porches, ready made, with door-knockers, but I didn't get to it. It's just as well."

We dropped out of the Gate with the tide on a Saturday night, and stood away to the southwest.

Craney was always a talkative man, liking to open out his point of view. At first I thought he'd gone lunatic of late, and then again when he showed me his point of view, I found he hadn't changed so much, as got more so.

Many nights we sat on deck in the moonlight and with a light breeze pushing in the sails, for the weather in the main was steady, and he'd smoke a fat cigar, and look at the little shining clouds. He'd talk and speculate, sometimes shrewd, and then again it was like a matter of adding a shipload of pirates to the signs of the zodiac, and getting the New Jerusalem for a result. By-and-by, I felt that way myself, as if, supposing you kept on sailing long enough, you might run down an island full of mixed myths and happy angels. Sure he was romantic.

"I'm a romantic man, Tommy," he says. "That's my secret. Yes, sir, Romance, that's me! That's the centre of my circumference, that's the gravity of my orbit, that's the number of my combination. Visions, ideals! I'm a man to get up and look for the beyond. I want to expand! I want to permeate! I want the beyond! Here I am, fifty years old. I gets up and looks out on to the world. I says: 'J. R., this won't do. Is it for nothing that you're a man of romance? Is it for nothing that you long to permeate, to expand? The soul of man' I says, 'is airy; it's full of draughts. Your soul, J. R., flaps like a tent,' I says, 'in the breezes of dawn. The world is round. Time is fleeting. Is man an ox? No. Is he a patent inkstand? No. Was he created to occupy a house and fit his head to a hat? No. Then why delay? Why smother your longings?' I says; 'J. R., this won't do. This ain't your destiny. Rise! Be winged! Chase the ideal! Get on the vastness! Seek and find!' But what? I says, 'Fame, fortune, a vocation that's worthy of you.' Where? I says, 'In the beyond.' Then I took a map, Tommy, and looked over the world; I examined the globe; I took stock of the earth, and compared lands, seas, climates. The likeliest-looking place appeared to be the South Pacific Ocean. Why? It appeared to be, in general, beyond. It was the biggest thing on the map. It was tropical. Palm-trees, spicy odours, corals, pearls. 'All right,' I says: 'J. R., it wouldn't take much to be a millionaire in those unpolluted regions. You'd be a potentate. You'd wear picturesque clothes, and lie on poppies and lotuses. You'd be a Solomon to those guileless nations. You'd instruct their ignorance and preserve their morals. You'd lead their armies to victory on account of your natural gifts. You'd have your birthdays celebrated with torch-light processions. You'd be a luxurious patriot.' Now that's a pleasant way of looking at it. But it seemed to me the likeliest thing was to go out as a trader. Now as to trading. Sitting on a stool and figuring discounts is business, and trading cheese-cloth for parrots is business too. A horse is an animal, and so's a potato-bug. But I take it where society is loose and business isn't a system, there's always chance for a man with natural gifts. But you're going to ask me: What for is all this mixture I've got aboard? If some of it's tradable, you'd say, there must be a deal of it isn't. And I ask you back, Tommy: Take it in general, haven't I got a mixture that represents civilisation? Did you ever see a ship that had more commodious, miscellaneous, and sufficient civilisation in her than this? I'm taking out civilisation. Maybe I'm calculating on a boom. Now, the secret of a boom is to spread out as far as you can reach, and then flap. That's business. When you've got people's attention, you can settle down and make your bargains. Mind you," says Craney, turning on me an eye that was cold and calm-"mind you, I don't say that's what I'm going to do, nor I don't say what I'm calculating to trade for. Maybe I have an idea, and maybe I haven't."

I says, "Course you have."

"You think so?" he says. "It's no more than reasonable. But look at all this now"-with one thumb in the armhole of his vest and waving his cigar with the other hand toward the moon and sea-"look at this here hemisphere. It's big and still. The kinks and creases of me are smoothing out. I'm expanding, permeating. I look out. I see those there shining waves. I says to myself, 'J. R., as a romantic man, you may be said to be getting there.'"

He used to read some in the daytime, but mostly he'd smoke and meditate and pull his chin beard, sitting on deck in a red plush-covered easy-chair, with his feet on the rail. One time he had a volume of poetry in his hand, turning over the leaves.

"Some of it appears to be sawed down smooth one side," he says, "and left ragged on the other, and some of it's ragged both sides."

Then he read a bit of it aloud, but it didn't go right, for sometimes he'd trot, as you might say, when he ought to have galloped, and sometimes he'd gallop when he ought to have trotted, and sometimes he'd come along at a mixed gait. As a rule, he bumped.

He was no hand at poetry. Nor was he romantic to look at, but thin, and sinewy, and one-eyed, and some dried up, clean shaven except for a wisp of greyish whisker on his chin, and always neatly dressed now. When he'd laugh to himself, the wrinkles would spread around his eyes, one blind, and the other calm and calculating, and absent-minded. He'd sit with his cigar tilted up in one corner of his mouth, and his hat tilted forward, and whittle sticks. He'd talk with anybody, but mostly with me and Kamelillo, whom he appeared to be asking for information. Kamelillo knew island dialects about the same as he did English, but wasn't much for conversation. Craney came one day with a bundle of charts, and he collected me and Kamelillo in a corner and spread his charts on the deck. They were old charts.

"Now," he says, "here is the lines of trade."

He had the regular routes all marked on his charts.

"There appears to be some vacant spaces," he says. And there did. "And here's about the biggest!" And it was. "There don't seem to be any island there, but here's a name, 'Lua,' only you can't tell what it belongs to." No more you could. The name appeared to be dropped down there so that section of the Pacific wouldn't look so lonely. I brought out the ship's chart, but it didn't give any name, only two or three islands sorted around where Craney's chart said "Lua." It looked as if you might find one of them, and then again you might not.

"Ever been on any of 'em?" he asked. I hadn't and Kamelillo didn't know, but looked as if he might have swallowed one without remembering it.

"Nor I," says Craney, "but I know there's likely to be natives when the islands are sizable."

"These might be only coral circles," I says.

"Well, I guess we'll go and look at 'Lua,' anyway," he says. "A man don't put 'Lua' on a map without he's got some idea."

It was nearly two months from the day we left the coast of the States when we came to the edge of the letter "L," as according to Craney's chart, and we sailed along the bottom of it and around the curve of "U," and up the inside on the right, where the ship's chart had an island, but we missed it, if it was there. Then we came to the top of the right leg of "U," where there might be an island on Craney's chart, except that it looked more like part of the letter. Craney says:

"Try 'A.'"

We cut across into "A." It was in the curve of the twist at the end of the "A" that we sighted land at last. The ship's chart had an island in the neighbourhood, but somewhat to the north. Likely Craney's notion of coasting the edge of the letters was as good as any. I never claimed the ship's chart was a good one, for it wasn't. I only told him I'd rather sail by the advertisements in a newspaper than by his.

There was a reef at the north end of the island, and we ran south down the coast some miles to where it fell away to the southwest, and dropped anchor at night in a bay with a white beach and a long row of huts back from it under the trees. A bunch of natives ran down and stood looking at us. Some of them swam out a little, or paddled on a log, and then went back. There was a splashing and calling all night, and fires shining on the beach. Kamelillo thought he'd been there before, but he didn't remember when; but if he had, it stuck in his mind, there was some trouble connected with it, and with one he called a "bad-lot chief"; but I told Craney that Kamelillo had seen too many islands and too much strong drink in his career, and he might be thinking of something that happened in New Zealand.

In the morning Craney took Kamelillo and went ashore. I saw the natives gathered around him. They all went up the beach and disappeared, and the boat came back with word from Craney that he and Kamelillo were going inland and wouldn't be back before night. I didn't think he ought to go off careless like that; but they came back safely about seven o'clock, only Craney seemed to be thoughtful and not talkative. He said there was a business opening there, and he guessed he'd speculate; and he sat on deck in his red plush chair till past twelve, smoking fat cigars and staring at the shore. The next day he had up three or four cases from the hold. There was a crowd waiting for him on the beach, and I saw him tying the boxes on poles, and some of the barbarians shouldered the poles, and they all went off in procession. I didn't ask him when he'd come back, and he didn't come for near a week. Only every day there would be a native come down and dance around in the shallow to attract attention, or maybe swim out to the ship with a bit of paper in his mouth. And the paper would read: "O. K. Business progressing. Yours, J. R." or; "I'm permeating. Yours, Julius R." So I judged it was a peaceful island, and likely Craney had found something worth trading for. We went ashore every day, but not inland. We were satisfied to stay on the beach, and to watch the naked little children dive in the surf, and to play tag with the population.

But one day I followed a path a mile inland, and climbed a hill and saw an open valley to the south with several hundred palm-leaf huts, and farther up was more open country and some hills beyond thickly wooded. I judged the island was twenty miles north and south, but couldn't see how far it went westward, and coming back, found a note for me: "O. K. I never see folks so open to conviction. Yours, J. R."

It was Craney's business, and not mine. I thought to myself, sometimes these men you'd think lunatic weren't that way, only they had their point of view. Next day there was another note: "Two of 'em are dead. I guess it's a good thing. I bought it anyway. Julius R." And while I was thinking it over, and thinking sometimes these men that claimed they'd got a point of view were really lunatic, Craney came back. He must have had three hundred natives following him, and they camped on the beach and seemed to rejoice, for they danced and sang most of the night, while he and I sat on the deck and talked it over,

"This island," says Craney, "is full of politics. I'll tell you. They had a king lately, and, according to accounts, he was old and fat, and his morals were bad. But he died, and up came five candidates for the place, and their claims to it I didn't make out, but if it was a question of votes, I gathered the ballot was tolerable corrupt, and if it was inheritance, I took it the late royalty had so many heirs they were common like anybody else. But everybody was busy, and it looked as if business would be dull for me, and they told me it was no use trying to be neutral. I'd have to back one of 'em. Course, I didn't know. Each of the candidates occupied a corner of the island, and now and then they'd meet in the middle for slaughter. What could I do? Well, I tell you what I did. I hired five messengers and invited the candidates to a congress. I says:

"'Not more'n ten to each party.' And they came.

"Kamelillo's a good enough interpreter, only he's sort of condensed. If a man makes a speech of half an hour, Kamelillo gives a grunt to cover most of it, and then he states what he guesses is the point of the rest. But he did well enough.

"Then I got in the middle of 'em and I argued. I says:

"'Gentlemen, this is a peaceful interview. Pile your weapons.'

"I got 'em piled in a heap and I sat on 'em, and argued, and the candidates argued. They did pretty well, considering only one of 'em had a shirt. He was old, too, and had chicken bones in his hair, and, it was curious, but he knew considerable English, and could cuss skilful in it. The other four were younger, and they appeared a good deal surprised with the way I argued it. I says:

"'Gentlemen, there ain't room in this island for a Civil War. You see it for yourself. Now I'll show you. Each of you five take one spear and one shield, and get into the middle here and fight it out. The rest of us'll watch.'

"I appealed to the fifty followers, and they all agreed that was a good thing. The five candidates were doubtful. The old man said he wasn't any good at that. I says:

"'Venerable, what you want is comfort, not to say luxury, for your declining years. I'll guarantee you that. You stay quiet.' Then I knocked open a box and showed him assorted drygoods, and says, 'What do you say?'

"He thought it looked luxurious, and said he'd think it over. By this time the others were willing to fight, for their followers all agreed it was a good thing.

"I never saw the equal of it, Tom, never! I never saw a dog-fight come up to it for prompt execution. I won't harrow your feelings as mine were harrowed. I won't puncture you with thrills as I was punctured. We buried two of 'em decent. The other two were cut up and played out quite a little. I collected weapons, and I says:

"'Now there are two ways. Either you two can have it out, and when you're through, anything that's left can have it out with me, or I'll buy you as you stand.'

"They looked surprised to see it put that way. They were low in their spirits. They said they didn't want to fight any more that week. I knocked open the boxes and spread the goods, and then they acted avaricious, particularly the old man with the chicken bones. Burying two of 'em was economic. I says:

"'Gentlemen, what's the value you put on your claims? State 'em, and state 'em reasonable."

"I dribbled out gingham dresses, and hair-brushes, and pocket mirrors, and colored prints, and bottles of bay-rum. I never saw folks act happier. I bought up the claims. I scattered what was left of the goods among the crowd. I got on the empty boxes, and I says:

"'Here's your monarch. That's me, Julius the First, and only. If anybody else from now on claims he's a monarch in these regions, he shall be skinned and melted.' And they all cried: 'Hoi! Hoi!' or words to tha

t effect. They were unanimous. Kamelillo said they 'liked it good.'"

Craney was silent a while, and I didn't say much. I didn't know how to get along with monarchs, anyway. The men forward were working by lantern, hauling up stuff from the hold, and piling it on deck to start unloading in the morning.

"I'm going out of trade," he went on. "I'm going into royalty. That's my retinue on the beach. What's more, it's most of the male population, including nobility and masses. I'll show 'em. The old king was a bad lot. I'll be a benevolent monarch. I'll give 'em free schools and a constitution.

"Tommy," he says after a long silence, "you'll be going back to San Francisco, and maybe you'll see some folks that are looking for me, and maybe they'll be hostile. Very good. You come back with 'em and you watch me. You're an old friend of me, Tommy. You're a man capable of expanding. You can get on to large ideas. You can take in vastness. You come back, and I'll make you heir to the throne."

But I didn't hanker for Craney's throne. The last I saw of him for that time was bidding him good-bye on the beach. He appeared to have most of the public to carry up his cargo, and he appeared to be popular. Kamelillo stayed with him as interpreter.

At Honolulu there came two men aboard with a letter from the agent in San Francisco, which agent was irritating on account of slowness, and had weedy-looking hair. But the letter said:

"Put the Good Sister at service of bearers. They have a warrant for Phipp." I says:

"Warrant for Phipp! What for?"

One of them was a sheriff named Breen, a slow, temperate man, and the other a detective named Jessamine, a yellow-bearded one with light open eyes, who seemed a pleasant talker, but to the best of my recollection was one you might call obstinate. They showed me their papers, and these appeared to be correct. Jessamine's papers stated that he represented parties in St. Louis, whose names don't count.

"Warrant!" I says. "What for?"

"Why," says Jessamine, "Phipp isn't his name, as you will see by the warrant;" which was no particular news to me. But I didn't like the job of going back after Craney. I didn't seem to take much interest in parties in St. Louis, but it set me arguing again whether he was a lunatic, or had a point of view. And so, though I thought it might be they were going to be surprised when they came to Lua, I said nothing about that, but fitted up a bit in Honolulu, taking my time, and set sail once more for Lua. We came there in a high wind on a rainy morning, about six weeks since I'd left it.

No one was in sight on the beach at first, but the sky clearing, I went ashore with Breen and Jessamine, and several natives ran out of the huts and across the beach to meet us. I says, "Man, Ship," and pointed inland, at which they seemed to be pleased and set off; and we followed them by a long trail that came at last in the cleared valley, where were long-strung-out villages, leading inland to the open country this side of the wooded hills. By this time we were a procession. We knew when we had arrived, for there appeared a long range of roofs through the stems of a palm grove, and a broad path led to it through bushes covered with red thick-scented flowers. It was King Julius's palace. The front of it was all one piazza, maybe two-hundred feet long and forty deep, with slim bamboo pillars; and men seemed to be still shingling one end of it with layers of plantain leaves. But the king was out in a sort of square to one side, and had about fifty warriors with feathers in their hair, practising spears at a mark. Then he saw us, and then he said something sharp, and the fifty fell into line behind, with spears and shields in disciplined order. They marched very pretty, and came down on us in a way to make a man feel shy. I says, "Which of you is going to arrest him, and how's he going to do it?" Breen says, "You have me!" And Jessamine says: "Let's see."

Then the king halted his company and came on alone, looking calm, with the thumb of one hand in the armhole of his vest, and the other pulling his chin beard. And Jessamine stepped forward and says:

"J. R. Craney, I arrest you for embezzlement." And the king looked him over calm and benevolent. He says, "You don't mean it! Better be careful. Why, the trouble is, the army ain't really disciplined yet. They'd jab you full of holes, when I wasn't looking, if they caught your idea. Better come and have tea. I didn't expect you'd be along for two months yet."

It appeared he calculated on three or four months, and my meeting Jessamine at Honolulu had cut him short. But I didn't see but he held the cards. Jessamine might arrest till he was blown. The crew of the Good Sister hadn't shipped to be speared by a king's bodyguard, and I didn't care much for parties in St. Louis.

Soon we were eating comfortably, sitting on the big piazza around one of Craney's black walnut tables. The palace seemed to be fitted and furnished so far mainly from the cargo. Each of us had two or three waiters back of his chair, some men, some women. The warriors squatted in line out in front among the flowers. Whenever we were through with a dish, Craney would send the rest of it down to the warriors, and they'd gobble it, and watch for more, with their eyes shining, but very quiet. I recollect there was something that was like a duck, and some canned tomatoes, and a kind of fruit with a yellow rind.

"There's two hundred in my army," says Craney sociably, "in four divisions. This is a special one. Mighty fond of drilling they are. Fact, 'most everybody's in the army. They're softening under discipline, but some of 'em are bloodthirsty yet."

"J. R.," says Jessamine, "I hate to do it. It's a painful duty." Craney says: "Just so. Say no more. You couldn't be expected to know the law of this state touching the person of the king. Fact is, foreigners ain't allowed to arrest royalty here. Fact, it's a new law. I just passed it the other day. You didn't mean any harm. We'll say no more."

Jessamine looked hurt. "Come now, J. R., it's no use. You're not going to resist the law."

"I'm going to maintain it, Jessamine, maintain it."

"I say, I got the authority of the States of Missouri and California."

"I asks you, what authority they've got here? First place, you want extradition papers. You can't have 'em. I won't give 'em to you. Trouble with you, Jessamine, is you're narrow. You're small, there ain't any vastness about you, Jessamine."

"J. R.," says Jessamine, remonstrating, "this isn't right, and you know it."

"You don't expand, Jessamine," says Craney. "You don't permeate. You ain't got on to large ideas."

Craney here distributed cigars, lit a fat one himself, pushed back from the table, crossed his legs, stuck a thumb in the arm-hole of his plush vest, and went on unfolding his mind.

"It ain't the king's pleasure to leave this island, nor it ain't the ways of monarchs, as I take it, to apologise. But putting aside all that, and supposing you was expanded enough to take that in, I'm going on to state the way it appears. You says, 'J.R., how'd you come to take the cash of parties that trusted you?' I answers, 'It comes from being romantic.' You ain't romantic, Jessamine? That's too bad. You don't see it. You don't expand to my circumference. You don't permeate my orbit. You don't get on to me. It was this way. I got up and looked out on the world. I says: 'J. R., it's clear you haven't enough cash for your ambitions. But you've got a opportunity. Throw it in. Be bold. If your conscience squirms, let it squirm. If it wriggles, let it wriggle. Take the risk. Expand to large ideas.' I took it. Say, I made parties unwilling investors in me. Now, then, there they are, as delegated in you. Here's me, Julius R., monarch by purchase and election of the sovereign state of Lua. You asks, 'What next?' I says: 'This. I'll pay. I'll settle the claims with interest on investment' But I've got to have time. Pay with what? Now there's the point. I've been investigating the produce of this island, the pearl-fishing, the coral, the hardwood. The pearl-fishing is good. As a business man, I tell you it can be done."

Jessamine shook his head. "I haven't any authority to settle the case. I'm told to go and bring you. I've got to do it. It's a painful duty."

The king smoked a while silently, then said something to his warriors, who got up and marched away around the corner. "Mighty, Jessamine!" he says, "you're slow. Most mulish man I ever saw. Well, let it go. You can't do it. Recollect, attempting the person of the king is a capital crime. That's the law of this land. It's decided and it don't change. We'll drop it."

So nothing more was said of the matter, and we talked agreeably. Whether Craney's account of his motives was accurate I couldn't say. It didn't seem likely he ever expected to settle, when he started, or he took all the chances that he never would. Maybe he cooked up the theory to suit things as they stood. Maybe not. I don't defend him, and I'm not clear where he lied or where he fancied. But it seemed to me if he'd made a long calculation, his luck was standing by him at that point.

When the king left us we went for a walk through the village, talking it over. Breen said they'd better take the offer, and I thought they'd have to, but Jessamine wasn't satisfied. He says:

"We haven't the authority. How do you know we wouldn't get into trouble at home? We've got to take him back. But you see, that isn't the point. The point is, here's where we make a hit. It's professional with me. It's reputation. It's the chance of a lifetime."

I say: "But where's the chance?"

"We'll see. But J. R.'s been the one white man so far. Now we're three to one. If he can usurp a crown, I don't see but what we can get up an insurrection."

The village was a long row of huts built of bamboo and big brown leaves, and stretched up and down the valley. There was a large hut with two doors opposite us, and sitting on mats in front was a fat man with little bones stuck at angles in his grizzled hair. He wore a pink shirt with studs and a pair of carpet slippers, and around his neck a lot of glass pendants from a chandelier, and he looked surly and sleepy. I says:

"You can leave me out. I think you ought to take the offer. If you slip up, the king'll hang you for treason. If he's the government here, he's got a right to say what the law is. I'm going back to the ship. You needn't ask me for backing, for you won't get it."

We stopped beside the fat man, and I asked him if he hadn't been one of the rival candidates, thinking it might be the old one with the chicken bones that spoke English; and he set to work swearing, so I knew it was; and I judged from the style he swore in he'd been intimate one time with seamen, and I judged; too, he felt dissatisfied. He said he was rightly chief of the island, and that man, all of whose grandfathers were low and disgusting, meaning Julius R., was living in his house, and, moreover, had given him only three pink shirts. Jessamine sat down by him, and said nothing, but listened, and I went and found some of the beach natives, and came back with them to the Good Sister.

That night passed, and it came the morning of the next day, and I heard nothing from them. I went ashore, but found no one about the huts there but children and a few old women. The old women jabbered at us excitedly.

I took six of the men and started inland through the hot woods, where the green and red parrots screamed overhead. When we came out to look up the valley to the open country, we saw no signs of fighting, nor any one moving about. Through the valley, as we went up it, there was no smoke from the huts, no women bruising nuts and ground roots into meal, no fat man before the hut with two doors sitting on his mats, not a soul in the village.

But coming near the palace we could see all the red flower shrubs were trampled and smashed. Then we came on a dead body by the path; then more bodies, bloody and spitted with spears; and one man, who was wounded, lifted himself, and glared, and dropped again among the red flowers. Through the palm stems we saw the roofs of the palace, and the piazza with the bamboo pillars. The line of the bodyguard was squatted on the piazza, with their spears upright before them. Everything was still.

Then we heard a cry behind us, and looked, and saw Jessamine and Breen, but no others with them, running through the village towards us. They came up to us, and said they had been in the woods hunting for the villagers who had run away, but found none. We sat down not far from the wounded man. Jessamine had his arm in a sling, and he told what had happened, so far as he made it out.

"It was the way I fancied," he says; "J. R. wasn't so solid with his army as he thought, except the bodyguard, but I'd no idea they'd go off like a bunch of fireworks. The old fat one sent messengers around in the afternoon, and at night we went with him over back of that hill, and met a crowd who had a few torches, but it was pretty dark, and I couldn't see how many there were along the hillside. I made them a speech: how J. R. had run away from his land, and was ruling them here when he had no right, and they oughtn't to stand it; but I don't know that the fat one interpreted it. I guess he made a speech of his own. All I know is they went off like gunpowder. Whether all of them yelled for battle and rebellion I don't know; some of them might have been yelling against it. They all yelled, and pretty soon they started hot-foot across the country for the palace, fighting some with each other, so I gathered they disagreed. There are corpses all along between here and the hill, and it was there I caught a cut in the arm. Breen and I agreed to slide out of it. We went and sat on the hillside and watched. Maybe J. R. had word of what was coming. He seemed to be ready for them. I judged the bodyguard met them just above here, and there was a grand mix-up, but we couldn't see well at the distance. It was an awful noise. And suddenly it died out. Not a sound for a while. By-and-by a gang of forty or more ran by us a hundred yards away, and into the woods before we'd decided what to do; and later, after a long time, there was a sort of chanting like a ceremony over here at J. R.'s palace, and this came at intervals all night. This morning we came and found the village empty, and came up a little beyond here, till some one threw a spear past Breen's head, and we went away to look for the villagers. I don't know what J. R. is up to. He appears to be laying low with his wild-cats around him."

While we were speaking there came someone past the bodyguards, and down to meet us, and it was Kamelillo. Kamelillo didn't have much to say, except that the king wanted to see us, but he answered some questions. He thought that in the attack on the palace the other two candidates and the fat one fell to quarrelling, and their followers joined, and it might be the first two had been inclined to stand by the king, only they thought it was time to have some fighting. But they weren't going to put up with the fat one. Instead of having it out then, they had all gone off to different corners of the island, the same as they used to do, and that suddenly. Kamelillo didn't know how it came about, and doubted if the candidates knew either. He said they were a "fool lot," and the king could settle them, give him time to hang the fat one. But it was no use now-"Too damn quick," he said. The women and children had all run to the woods in the beginning. Being asked about King Julius, Kamelillo only grunted, and not having any expression of face, you couldn't gather much from that. But when we came to the piazza, where the bodyguard squatted, what was left of it, with reddened spears, ghastly to make you sick, Kamelillo grunted again and said, "He gone die," and passed in. The guard broke out wailing and chanting, and rocked to and fro, but only a moment, after which they held their spears up stiff, as the king had taught them, and sat still.

Now we followed Kamelillo to a great room, where it seemed the king held audiences and gave out laws and justice. The red plush chair was on a raised platform at the far end, and over and on three sides were heavy red curtains, and glass chandeliers hung from the rafters of the roof, and a row of mattresses covered with carpet was laid in front, maybe so that subjects could prostrate themselves comfortable. But the room was dusky, and still. It seemed to be empty. But we passed up it and stopped, for on the carpeted mattresses before the throne lay Craney, all alone.

His coat and vest were put back, his shirt torn open, and his breastbone split by a spear or hatchet, and it was clear he hadn't long to live.

A ribby chest he had, and a dry, leathery skin. The blood soaked out from under the cloth he held there against it, and ran down the little gullies between the ribs. Jessamine sat down and acted nervous. He says:

"I'm downright sorry for this, J. R.," but Craney didn't seem to hear, but motioned with his hand and says softly:

"You'd better clear out."

Jessamine says, "Now, we can't leave you this way."

But Craney didn't hear and says, "Call in the guard." The spearmen came filing in, barefooted, stepping like cats, and took position on each side, so that you could see it was according to discipline, and maybe they'd done it every day when he'd held a court or something. We slid back, feeling shy of the spears, and J. R. looked pleased, and he says:

"You're narrow, Jessamine. You don't permeate. You don't expand. You don't rise to large-Oh, Jessamine! I'm dying, and I'm sick of your face. Tommy,"-he says, speaking hoarse and low-"you'd better go." His eyes wandered absent-minded to the plush chair with the curtains and chandeliers and the spearmen standing around it, and down the long room, like he was taking his leave of things he'd thought of, and things he'd been fond of, and things he'd hoped for, and things he'd meant to do. He muttered and talked to himself: "I sat there," he said, "and I did the right thing by the people. Gentlemen, these black idjits are friends of mine. If you don't mind, I'd rather you'd go. But you can stay, Tommy, if you want to."

So I stayed until he was gone. When I came away I left the spearmen chanting over him.

That was Julius R. Craney. Why, I don't praise him, nor put blame on him. Kamelillo said he was "old boy all right," but Kamelillo's notions of what was virtuous weren't civilised notions. A man ought to be honest. I've known thieves that were singular human. He was mighty happy when he was a king, was Julius R.

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