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   Chapter 5 SEVEN

The Ivory Trail By Talbot Mundy Characters: 72219

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


THE DARKNESS COMPREHENDED IT NOT

When Kenia's peak glows gold and rose

A dawn breeze whispers to the plain

With breath cooled sweet by mountain snows-

"The darkness soon shall come again!"

Stirs then the sleepless, lean Masai

And stands o'er plain and peak at gaze

Resentful of the bright'ning sky,

Impatient of the white man's days.

Oh dark nights, when the charcoal glowed and falling hammers rang!

When fundis* forged the spear-blades, and the warriors danced and sang!

When the marriageable spearmen gathered, calling each to each

Telling over proverbs that the tribal wisemen teach,

Brother promising blood-brother partnership in weal and woe-

Nightlong stories of the runners come from spying on the foe-

Nights of boasting by the thorn-fire of the coming tale of slain-

Oh the times before the English! When will those times come again!

Oh the days and nights of raiding, when the feathered spearmen strode

With the hide shields on their forearms, and the wild Nyanza road

Grew blue with smoking villages, grew red with flaring roofs,

Grew noisy with the shouting and the thunder of the hoofs

As we drove the plundered cattle-when we burned the night with haste-

When we leapt at dawn from ambush-when we laid the shambas waste!

-------- *Fundis-skilled workman. --------

Oh the new spears dipped in life-blood as the women shrieked in vain!

Oh the days before the English! When will those days come again!

Oh the homeward road in triumph with the plunder borne along

On the heads of taken women! Oh the daughter and the song!

Oh the tusks of yellow ivory-the frasilas of beads-

And, best of all, the heifers that the marriageable needs!

The yells when village eyes at last our sky-line feathers see

And the maidens run to count how many marriages shall be-

Ten heifers to a maiden (and the chief's girl stands for twain)-

Oh the days before the English! When will those days come again!

Now the fat herds grow in number, and the old are rich in trade,

Now the grass grows green and heavy where the six-foot spears were made.

Now the young men walk to market, and the wives have beads and wire-

Brass and iron-glass and cowrie-past the limit of desire.

There is peace from lake to mountain, and the very zebra breed

Where a law says none may hurt them (and the wise are they who heed!)

Yea-the peace lies on the country as our herds oerspread the plain-

But the days before the English-when shall those days come again!

When Kenia's peak glows gold and rose

A dawn breeze whispers to the plain

With breath cooled sweet by mountain snows-

"The darkness soon shall come again!"

Stirs then the sleepless, lean Masai

And stands o'er plain and peak at gaze

Resentful of the bright'ning sky,

Impatient of the white man's days.

What first looked like a pleasant place dwindled into charmlessness and insignificance as we approached. There was neatness-of a kind. The round huts were confined to certain streets, and all inhabited by natives. Arabs, Swahili, Indians, Goanese, Syrians, Greeks and so on had to live in rectangular huts and keep to other streets. On one street, chiefly of stores, all the roofs were of corrugated iron. And all the streets were straight, with shade trees planted down both sides at exactly equal intervals.

But the German blight was there, instantly recognizable by any one not mentally perverted by German teaching. The place was governed-existed for and by leave of government. The inhabitants were there on suffrance, and aware of it-not in the very least degree enthusiastic over German rule, but awfully appreciative.

The first thing we met of interest on entering the township was a chain-gang, fifty long, marching at top speed in step, led by a Nubian soldier with a loaded rifle, flanked by two others, and pursued by a fourth armed only with the hippo-hide whip, called kiboko by the natives, that can cut and bruise at one stroke. He plied it liberally whenever the gang betrayed symptoms of intending to slow down.

Those Nubiains, we learned later, were deserters from British Sudanese regiments, and runaways from British jails, afraid to take the thousand-mile journey northward home again, scornful of all foreign black men, fanatic Muhammedans, and therefore fine tools in the German hand. They worked harder than the chain-gang, for they had to march with it step for step and into the bargain force it to do its appointed labor. The chain-gang kept the township clean-very clean indeed, as far as outward appearance went.

The boma, or fort, was down by the water-front and its high eastern wall, pierced by only one gate, formed one boundary of the drill-ground that was also township square. Facing the wall on the eastern side of the square was a row of Indian and Arab stores. At the north end was the market building-an enormous structure of round stucco pillars supporting a great grass roof; and facing that at the southern end were the court-house, the hospital, and a store owned by the Deutch Oest Africa Gesellschaft, known far and wide by its initials-a concern that owned the practical monopoly of wholesale import and export trade, and did a retail business, too.

We went first to the hospital. Fred and Will lifted me out of the hammock, for my wound had grown much worse during the last few days, and the door being shut they set me down on the step. Then we sent Kazimoto into the fort with a note to the senior officer informing him that a European waited at the hospital in need of prompt medical treatment.

The sentry admitted Kazimoto readily enough, but he did not come out again for half-an-hour, and then looked glum.

"Habanah!" he said simply, using the all-embracing native negative.

"Isn't any one in there?" we demanded all together.

"Surely."

"How many?"

"Very many."

"Officers?"

He nodded.

"Is a doctor there?"

He told us he had asked for the doctor. A soldier had pointed him out.

He had placed the note in the doctor's hand.

"Did he read it?" we asked.

"Surely. He read it, and then showed it to the other officers."

"What did they say?"

"They laughed and said nothing."

It seemed pretty obvious that Kazimoto had made a mistake in some way.

Perhaps he had visited the non-commissioned officers' mess.

"I'll go myself," announced Will. "I can sling the German language like a barkeep. Bet you I'm back here with a doctor inside of three minutes!"

He strode off like Sir Galahad in football shorts, and was passed through the gate by the sentry almost unchallenged. But he was gone more than fifteen minutes, and came back at last with his ears crimson. Nor would he answer our questions.

"Shall I go?" suggested Fred.

"Not unless you like insolence! We passed the camping-ground, it seems, on our way in. We've leave to pitch tents there. We'd better be moving."

So we trailed back the way we had come to a triangular sandy space enclosed by a cactus hedge at the junction of three roads. There were several small grass-roofed shelters with open sides in there, and two tents already pitched, but we were not sufficiently interested just then to see who owned the other tents. We pitched our own-stowed the loads in one of the shelters-gave our porters money for board and rations-and sent them to find quarters in the town. Another of the shelters we took over for a kitchen, and while our servants were cooking a meal we four gathered in Fred's tent and began to question Will again.

"They've got a fine place in there," he said. "Neat as a new pin.

Officers' mess. Non-commissioned officers' quarters. Stores.

Vegetable garden. Jail-looks like a fine jail-hold a couple of

hundred. Government offices. Two-story buildings. Everything fine.

The officers were all sitting smoking on a veranda.

"'Is one of you the doctor?' I asked in German, and a tall lean one with a mighty mean face turned his head to squint at me: but he didn't take his feet off the rail. He looked inquisitive, that's all.

"'Are you the doctor?' I asked him.

"'I am staff surgeon,' he answered. 'What do you want?'

"I told him about your wound, and how we'd marched about two hundred miles on purpose to get medical assistance. He listened without asking a question, and when I'd done he said curtly that the hospital opens for out-patients at eight in the morning.

"Well, I piled it on then. I told him your leg was so rotten that you might not be alive to-morrow morning. He didn't even look interested. I piled it on thicker and told him about the poisoned spear. He didn't bat an eyelid or make a move. So I started in to coax him.

"I did some coaxing. Believe me, I swallowed more pride in five minutes than I guessed I owned! A ward-heeler cadging votes for a Milwaukee alderman never wheedled more gingerly. I called him 'Herr Staff Surgeon' and mentioned the well-known skill of German medicos, and the keen sense of duty of the German army, and a whole lot of other stuff.

"'Tomorrow morning at eight!' was all the answer I got from him.

"I reckon it was somewhere about that time I began to get rattled. I pulled out money and showed it. He looked the other way, and when I went on talking he turned his back. I suspect he didn't dare keep on lookin' at money almost within reach. Anyhow, then I opened on him, firin' both bow guns. I dared him to sit there, with a patient in need of prompt attention less than two hundred yards away. I called him names. I guaranteed to write to the German government and the United States papers about him. I told him I'd have his job if it cost me all my money and a lifetime's trouble. He was just about ready to shoot-I'd just about got the red blood rising on his neck and ears-when along came the commandant-der Herr Capitain-the officer commanding Muanza-a swag-bellied ruffian with a beard and a beery look in his eye, but a voice like a man falling down three stories with all the fire-irons.

"'What do you want?' he demanded in English, and I thanked him first for not having mistaken me for one of his own countrymen. Then I told him what I'd come for.

"'To-morrow at eight o'clock!' he snapped, after he'd had a word with the medico. 'Meanwhile, make yourself scarce out of here! There is a camping-ground for the use of foreigners. You and your party go to it! If you do any damage there you will hear from me later!'

"I didn't come as easy as all that. I stood there telling him things about Germany and Germans, and what I'd do to help his personal reputation with the home folks, until I guessed he had his craw as near full as he could stand it without having me arrested. Then I did come-whistling Yankee-doodle. And say-Fred! Where's that concertina of yours?"

Fred patted it. His beloved instrument was never far from hand.

"Why don't you play all the American and English tunes you know to-night? Play and sing 'em, Britannia Rule the Waves-Marching Through Georgia-My Country 'tis of Thee-The Marseillaise-The Battle Hymn of the Republic-and anything and everything you know that Squareheads won't like. Let's make this camp a reg'lar-hello-see who's here!"

Fred had begun fingering the keys already and the first strains of Marching Through Georgia began to awake the neighborhood to recognition of the fact that foreigners were present who held no especial brief for German rule. The tent-door darkened. Brown leapt to his feet and swore.

"Gassharamminy!" said a voice we all recognized instantly. "That tune sounds good! I've lived in the States! I'm a United States citizen! A man can't forget his own country's tunes so easily!"

Cool and impudent, Georges Coutlass entered and, without waiting for an invitation, took a seat on a load of canned food. Brown grabbed the nearest rifle (it happened to be Fred's)-snapped open the breach-discovered it was loaded-and took aim. Coutlass did not even blink. He was either sure Fred and Will would interfere, or else at the end of his tether and indifferent to death.

"Don't be an ass, Brown!"

Fred knocked the rifle up. Will took it away and returned it to the corner.

"All very easy for you men to take high moral ground and all that sort of rot," Brown grumbled. "It's my cattle he took! It's me be's ruined! What do I care if the Germans hang me? Let me have a crack at him-just one!"

"Use your fists all you care to!" grinned Will.

But Brown was no match for the Greek without weapons-very likely no match for him with them. Coutlass sat still and grinned, while Brown remained in the back of the tent, glaring.

"Bah!" sneered Coutlass. "Of what use is being sulky? I found cattle in a village. How should I know whose cattle they were? Why blame me? The Masai got the cattle, not I! They took them from me, and they'd have taken them from you just the same! You lost nothing by my lifting them first! Gassharamminy! By blazes! We're all in the same boat! Let's be friendly, and treat one another like gentlemen! We're all in the power of the Germans, unless we can think of a way to escape! I and my party are under arrest. So will you be by to-morrow! I shall tell a tale to-morrow that will keep you by the heels for a month at least while they investigate! Wait and see!"

"Get out of this tent!" growled Fred in the dead-level voice he uses when he means to brook no refusal.

"Presently!"

Fred made a spring at him, but Coutlass was on his feet with the speed of a cat, and just outside the tent in time to avoid the swing of Fred's fist. He withdrew about two yards and stood there grinning maliciously.

"You'll be glad to make terms with me by this time to-morrow!" he boasted. "By James, you'll be glad to have me for a friend! Listen, you fools! Make terms with me now; let us all go together and unearth that Tippoo Tib ivory, and I can arrange with these Germans to let us go away! Otherwise, you shall see how long you stop here! By the Twelve Apostles! You shall rot in a German jail until your joints creak!"

His Greek friend and the Goanese, supposing him in trouble perhaps, came and stood in line with him. Very comfortless they looked, and of the three only Coutlass had courage of a kind.

"They stole the cattle on the British side of the border," Will said sotto voice. "No earthly use threatening them with German law."

"Keep away from our camp," Fred Ordered them, "or take the consequences! Mr. Brown here is in no mood for pleasantries!"

"That drunkard Brown?" roared Coutlass. "He is in no mood for-oh, haw-hah-hee-ho-ha-ha-ha-ha! Drunkard Brown of Lumbwa wants to avenge himself, and his friends won't let him! Oh, isn't that a joke! Oh, ha-ha-ha-hee-hee-ha-ho-ho!"

His two companions made a trio of it, yelling with stage laughter like disgusting animals. Fred took a short quick step forward. Will followed, and Brown reached for the rifle again. But I stopped all three of them.

"Come back! Don't let's be fools!" I insisted. "I never saw a more obvious effort to start trouble in my life! It's a trap! Keep out of it!"

"Sure enough," Will admitted. "You're right!"

He returned into the tent and the Greeks, perhaps supposing he went for weapons, retreated, continuing to shout abuse at Brown who, between a yearning to get drunk and sorrow for his stolen cattle, was growing tearful.

"They got here first," I argued. "They've had time to tell their own story. That may account for our cold reception by the Germans. He says they're under arrest. That may be true, or it may be a trick. It's perfectly obvious Coutlass wanted to start a fight, and I'm dead sure he wasn't taking such a chance as it seemed. Who wants to look behind the cactus hedge and see whether he has friends in ambush?"

"Drunkard Brown is on the town-on the town-on the town!" roared

Coutlass and his friends from not very far away.

"Oh, let me go and have a crack at 'em!" begged Brown. "I tell you I don't care about jail! I don't care if I do get killed!"

Fred kept a restraining hand on him. Will left the tent and walked straight for the gap in the cactus hedge by which we had entered the enclosure. It was only twenty yards away.

Once through the gap he glanced swiftly to right and left-laughed-and came back again.

"Only six of 'em!" he grinned. "Six full-sized Nubians in uniform, with army boots on, no bayonets or rifles, but good big sticks and handcuffs! If we'd touched those Greeks they'd have jumped the fence and stretched us out! What the devil d'you suppose they want us in jail for?"

"D'you suppose they think," I said, "that if they had us in jail in this God-forsaken place we'd divulge the secret of Tippoo's ivory?"

"Why don't we tell 'em the secret!" suggested Will, and that seemed such a good idea that we laughed ourselves back into good temper-even Brown, who had no notion whether we knew the secret, being perfectly sure we would not be such fools as to tell the true whereabouts of the hoard in any case.

"I want to get even with all Africa!" he grumbled. "I want to make trouble that'll last! I'd start a war this minute if I knew how! If it weren't for those bloody Greeks laughing at me I'd get more drunk to-night than any ten men in the world ever were before in history! Yes, sir! And my name's Brown of Lumbwa to prove I mean what I say!"

After a while, seeing that no trouble was likely, the Nubian soldiers came out of ambush and marched away. We ate supper. The Greeks and the Goanese subsided into temporary quiet, and our own boys, squatting by a fire they had placed so that they could watch the Greeks' encampment, began humming a native song. Their song reminded Fred of Will's earlier suggestion, and he unclasped the concertina.

Then for three-quarters of an hour he played, and we sang all the tunes we knew least likely to make Germans happy, repeating The Marseillaise and Rule Britannia again and again in pious hope that at least a few bars might reach to the commandant's house on the hill.

Whether they did or not-whether the commandant writhed as we hoped in the torture of supreme insult, or slept as was likely from the after-effect of too much bottled beer with dinner-there were others who certainly did hear, and made no secret of it.

To begin with, the part of the township nearest us was the quarter of round grass roofs, where the aborigines lived; and the Bantu heart responds to tuneful noise, as readily as powder to the match. All that section of Muanza, man, woman and child, came and squatted outside the cactus hedge. (It was streng politzeilich verboten for natives to enter the European camping-ground, so that except when they wanted to steal they absolutely never trespassed past the hedge.)

Enraptured by the unaccustomed strains they sat quite still until some Swahili and Arabs came and beat them to make room. When the struggle and hot argument that followed that had died down, Indians began coming, and other Greeks, until most of the inhabitants of the eastern side of town were either squatting or standing or pacing to and fro outside the camping-ground.

At last rumor of what was happening reached the D.O.A.G.-the store at the corner of the drill-ground, where it seemed the non-commissioned officers took their pleasure of an evening. Pleasure, except as laid down in regulations, is not permitted in German colonies to any except white folk. No less than eight German sergeants and a sergeant-major, all the worse for liquor, turned out as if to a fire and came down street at a double.

They had kibokos in their hands. The first we heard of their approach was the crack-crack-crack of the black whips falling on naked or thin-cotton-clad backs and shoulders. There was no yelling (it was not allowed after dark on German soil, at least by natives) but a sudden pattering in the dust as a thousand feet hurried away. Then, in the glow of our lamplight, came the sergeant-major standing spraddle-legged in front of us.

He was a man of medium height, in clean white uniform. The first thing I noticed about him was the high cheek-bones and murderous blue eyes, like a pig's. His general build was heavy. The fair mustache made no attempt to conceal fat lips that curled cruelly. His general air was that most offensive one to decent folk, of the bully who would ingratiate by seeming a good fellow.

"'nabnd, meine Herren!" he said aggressively, with a smile more than half made up of contempt for courtesy. "Ich heiess Schubert-Feldwebel Hans Schubert."

"Wass wollen Sie?" Will asked. He was the only one of us who knew

German well.

But Schubert, it seemed, knew English and was glad to show it off.

"You make fine music! Ach! Up at the D.O.A.G. very near here we Unteroffitzieren spend the evening, all very fond of singing, yet without music at all. Will you not come and play with us?"

"I only know French and English tunes!" lied Fred.

"Ach! I do not believe it! Kommen Sie! There is beer at the

D.O.A.G.-champagne-brandy-whisky-rum-?"

"I'm going, then, for one!" announced Brown, getting up immediately.

"Cigars-cigarettes-tobacco," the sergeant-major continued. "There is no closing time." He saw that the line of argument was not tempting, and changed his tactics. "Listen! You gentlemen have not too many friends in Muanza! I speak in friendship. I invite you on behalf of myself and other Unteroffitzieren to spend gemuthlich evening with us. That can do you no harm! In the course of friendly conversation much can be learned that official lips would not tell!

"Kommen Sie nun!"

"Let's go!" I said. "My leg hurts like hell. If I stay here I can't sleep. Anything to keep from thinking about it! Besides, some one must go and look after Brown!"

"Who'll watch those Greeks?" Fred demanded. "They'd as soon steal as eat!"

"We'd better all stay here together," said Will, "and take turns keeping watch till morning." He said it with a straight face, but I did not think he was in earnest.

"Ach!" exclaimed Schubert. "That is all ganz einfach! You shall have askaris!"

He turned and shouted an order. A non-commissioned officer went running back up-street.

"You shall have three askaris to guard your camp. So nothing whatever shall be stolen! Then come along and make music-seien Sie gemuthlich! Yah?"

Brown had already gone, jingling money in his pocket. We waited until the Nubian soldiers came-saw them posted-and then walked up-street behind the sergeants, Schubert leading us all, and I limping between Fred and Will. They as good as carried me the last half of the way.

The sergeants marched with the air peculiar to military Germans, of men who are going to be amused. They said nothing-did not smile-but strode straight forward, three abreast, swinging their kibokos with a sort of elephantine sporty air. They were men of all heights and thicknesses, but each alike impressed me with the Prussian military mold that leaves a man no imagination of his own, and no virtue, but only an animal respect for whatever can make to suffer, or appease an appetite.

The D.O.A.G. proved a mournful enough lounging place in which to spend convivial evenings. However, it seemed that when the sergeant-major had decreed amusement the non-commissioned officers' mess overlooked all trifles in brave determination to obey. They marched in, humming tunes (each a different one, and nearly all high tenor) and took seats in a room at the rear of the building with their backs against a mud-brick wall that was shiny from much rubbing by drill tunics.

Down the center was a narrow table, loaded with drinks of all sorts. A case of bottled beer occupied the place of pride at one end; as Schubert had boasted, nothing was lacking that East Africa could show in the way of imported alcohol. Under the table was an unopened case of sweet German champagne, and on a little table against one wall were such things as absinth, chartreuse, peppermint, and benedictine. Soda-water was slung outside the window in a basket full of wet grass where the evening breeze would keep it cool.

"Now for Gesang!" shouted Schubert, knocking the neck off a bottle of beer, and beginning to sing like a drunken pirate.

A man whom he introduced as "a genuine Jew from Jerusalem" came out from a gloomy recess filled with tusks and sacks of dried red pepper, and watched everything from now on with an eye like a gimlet, writing down in a book against each sergeant's name whatever he took to drink. They appeared to have no check on him. Nobody signed anything. Nobody as much as glanced at his account.

"What is the use?" said Schubert, noticing my glance and interpreting the unspoken question. "There is just so much drink in the whole place. We shall drink every drop of it! All that matters is, who is to pay for the champagne? That stuff is costly."

They all took beer to begin with, knocking the necks from the bottles as if that act alone lent the necessary air of deviltry to the whole proceedings. A small, very black Nyamwesi came with brush and pan and groped on the floor all night for the splinters of glass, sleeping between times in a corner until a fresh volley of breaking bottle necks awoke him to work again.

"Die Wacht am Rhein!" yelled Schubert. "Start it up! Sing that first!" He began to sing it himself, all out of tune.

Fred cut the noise short by standing up to play something nobody could sing to a jangling clamor of chords and runs on which he prides himself, that he swears is classical, but of which neither he nor anybody knows the name. Then he drank some beer and sang a comic song or two in English, we joining in the choruses.

Meanwhile, Brown was soaking away steadily, taking whatever drink came first to hand, and having no interest whatever in anything but the task of assuaging the thirst he had accumulated in the course of all that long marching since he left home. He had forgotten his cattle already-the Greeks who stole them-the Masai who stole from the Greeks. He paid for all he took, to the Jew's extreme surprise and satisfaction, and grumbled at the price of everything, to the Jew's supremest unconcern.

"An' my name's Brown o' Lumbwa, just in proof of all I say!" he informed the room at large at intervals.

When Will had exhausted all the American songs he knew, and Fred had run through his own long list there was nothing left for it but to make up accompaniments to the songs the sergeants had been raised on. Fred made the happy discovery that none of them knew The Marseillaise, so he played that as an antidote each time after they had made the hard-wood rafters ring and the smoke-filled air vibrate with Teutonic jingoism. The Jew, who probably knew more than he cared to admit, grew more and more beady-eyed each time The Marseillaise was played.

There was a pause in the proceedings at about ten o'clock, by which time all the sergeants except Schubert were sufficiently drunk to feel thoroughly at ease. Schubert was cold-eyed sober, although scarcely any longer thirsty.

A native was brought in by two askaris and charged before Schubert with hanging about the boma gate after dark. He was asked the reason. The Jew, sitting beside me with his book of names and charges, poured cool water over my bandages and translated to me what they all said. He spoke English very well indeed, but in such low tones that I could scarcely catch the words, drawing in his breath and not moving his lips at all.

The native explained that he had waited to see the bwana makubwa-the commandant. He had nowhere to go and no money with which to pay for lodging, so he proposed to wait outside the gate and watch for the coming of the commandant next morning. He would intercept him on his way down from the white house on the hill.

He was asked why. To beg a favor. What favor? Satisfaction. For what? For his daughter. He was the father of the girl whom the commandant had favored with attentions. She had been a virgin. Now she was to have a child. It would be a half-black, half-white child. Who would now marry a woman with such a child as that? Yet nothing bad been given her. She had been simply sent back home to be a charge on her parents and an already poverty-stricken village. Therefore he had come to ask that justice be done, and the girl be given at least a present of money.

The sergeants roared with laughter, all except Schubert, who seemed only appalled by the impudence of the request. He sat back and ordered the story repeated.

"And you dare ask for money from the bwana makubwa!" he demanded. "You dog of a Nyamwesi! Is the honor not sufficient that your black brute of a daughter should have a baby by such a great person? You cattle have no sense of honor! You must learn! Put him down! Beat him till I say stop!"

There was no need to put him down, however. The motion of the hand, voice inflection, order were all too well understood. The man lay face-downward on the floor without so much as a murmur of objection, and buried his face in both hands. The askaris promptly stripped him of the thin cotton loin-cloth that constituted his only garment, tearing it in pieces as they dragged it from him.

"Go on!" ordered Schubert. "Beat him!"

Both the askaris had kibokos. The longest of the two was split at the nether end into four fingers. The shortest was more than a yard long, tapering from an inch and a half where the man's fist gripped it to half an inch thick at the tip. They stood one each side of their victim and brought the whips down on his naked skin alternately.

"Slowly!" ordered Schubert. "Slowly, and with all your strength! The brute doesn't feel it when you beat so fast! Let him wait for the blow! Don't let him know when it's coming! So-so is better!"

Not every blow drew blood, for a native's skin is thick and tough, especially where he sits. But the blows that fell on the back and thighs all cut the skin, and within two minutes the native's back was a bloody mass, and there was blood running on the floor, and splashes of blood on the whitewashed wall cast by the whips as they ascended.

I made up my mind the man was going to be killed, for Schubert gave no order and the askaris did not dare stop without one. The victim writhed, but did not cry out, and the writhing grew less. Even Brown sobered up for a time at the sight of it. He came and sat between me and the Jew.

"It's a shame!" he grumbled. "Up in our country twenty-five lashes is the masshimum, an' only to be laid on in the presence of a massishtrate. You beat a black man an' they'll fine you first offense, jail you second offense, an' third offense God knows what they'll do! Poor ole Brown o' Lumbwa! They fined me once a'ready. Nessht time they'll put me in jail! Better get quite drunk an' be blowed to it!"

He staggered back to his chair by the farther wall, leering at Schubert as he passed.

"You're no gentleman!" he asserted aggressively. "You're no better 'n a black man yourself! You ought-to-be-on-floor 'stead o' him! Dunno-how-behave-yourself! Take your coat off, an' come outside, an' fight like a man!"

Schubert gave the order to stop at last. The askaris stood aside, panting from the effort.

"Get up!" ordered Schubert.

The miserable Nyamwesi struggled to his feet and stood limply before

Schubert, his back running blood and his face drawn with torture.

"Don't you know how to behave!" demanded Schubert.

The native made no answer.

"If you don't salute properly I'll order you thrown down and thrashed again!"

The native saluted in a sort of imitation of the German military manner.

"Now, will you lie in wait for the bwana makubwa to trouble him with your pig's affairs again?"

"No."

"Will you go back home?"

"Yes."

"You've learned a lesson, eh?"

"Yes.

"Then say thank you!"

"Thank you!"

"Rrruksa!"* [*Ruksa, you have leave to go.]

The poor wretch turned and went, staggering rather than walking, to the door and disappearing into outer darkness without a backward glance.

"Now for some more songs and a round of drinks!" Schubert shouted.

But Fred was no longer in mood to make music, or even to be civil. He shut the concertina up, and asked the Jew how much he owed. The sergeants went on singing without music, and while we waited for the Jew to reckon up Fred's score Schubert came over to us, sat down between me and Fred, and proceeded to deal with the new situation in proper German military manner, by direct assault.

"Always you English criticize!" he began. "Can you never travel without applying your cursed standards to everything you behold? I tell you, we Germans know how to rule these black people! We understand! We employ no sickly sentiment! We give orders-they obey, or else suffer terribly and swiftly! In that manner we arrive at knowing where we are!"

"Are you well loved by the people?" Fred asked him politely.

"Bah! Sie wollen wohl beliebt werden!* Not I! Not we! Of what value is the love of such people? Their fear is what we cultivate! Having made them afraid of us, we successfully make them work our will! But why should I trouble to explain? In a few years there will only be one government of Africa! One, I tell you, and that German! You English are not fit to govern colonies! You are mawkishly sentimental! You think more of the feelings of a black man and of the rights of his women than of progress-advancement-kultur! Bah! I tell you they have no feelings a real man need consider! They are only fit for furthering the aims of us Germans! And their women have no rights! None whatever! You know, I suppose, that it is the policy of the German government to encourage the spread of Muhammedanism in Africa? Well, under the Muhammedan law as given in the Koran women have no souls! That is good! That is as it should be! No women have souls!"

------ *You want to be popular, don't you! ------

"How about your own mother?" Fred suggested.

"She was a good Prussian! She was a super-woman! Not to be mentioned in the same breath with women of any other race! Yet even she-the good Prussian mother-could not hold a candle to a man! Her business was to raise sons for Prussia, and she did it! I have eight brothers, all in the army, and only one sister; she has four sons already!"

"Strange that your nation should breed like that!" said Fred.

"Not strange at all!" answered Schubert. "We are needed to conquer the world! Think, for instance, when we have conquered the Congo Free State, and taken away East and South Africa from England-to say nothing of Egypt and India!-how many Prussian sergeant-majors we shall want! Donnerwetter! Do you think we Germans will long be satisfied with this miserable section of East Africa that was all the English left to us on this coast? We use this for a foothold, that is all! We use this to gain time and get ready! You think perhaps I do not know, eh? I am only feldwebel-non-commissioned officer, you call it. Well and good. I tell you our officers talk all the time of nothing else! And they don't care who hears them!"

The Jew gave Fred his bill, scrawled on a piece of wrapping paper.

Schubert snatched it away and crumpled it into a ball.

"Kreutzblitzen! You are my guests to-night! I invited you!"

"Thanks" Fred answered, "but we don't care to be your guests. Here," he said, turning to the Jew, "take your money!"

Schubert said nothing, but eyed the Jew with a perfectly blank face, as if he watched to see whether the man would damn himself or not.

"Take your money!" repeated Fred. But the Jew turned his back and busied himself with bottles at the side-table.

"He knows better!" Schubert laughed. "He understands by this time our

German hospitality!"

"All right," answered Fred. "We'll go out without paying!"

"Not at all," retorted Schubert. "The mess shall pay bill in full! You stay here until I have said what I have to say to you! The rest of you

r party may go, but you stay! You can explain to the others afterward."

He leaned forward, reached a bottle of beer off the table, knocked off the neck, and emptied the contents down his throat at a draught. Behind his back we exchanged glances.

"I'll listen," said Fred.

"You alone?"

"No, we all stay. All or none!"

Schubert made a contemptuous gesture with his thumb toward Brown, who had fallen dead drunk on the floor.

"Will that one stay, too?"

"He is not of our party really," Fred answered. "He knows nothing of our affairs."

"You men are in trouble-worse trouble than you guess!"

Schubert looked with his cruel blue eyes into each of ours in turn, then stared straight in front of him and waited.

"I don't believe it," Fred answered. "We have done nothing to merit trouble."

"Merit in this world is another name for chance!" said Schubert.

"What are we supposed to have done?" demanded Fred.

Schubert at once assumed what was intended to be a sly look, of uncommunicable knowledge.

"None of my business to tell what my officers know," he answered. "As for that, time will no doubt disclose much. The point is-trouble can be forestalled."

"Aw-show your hand!" cut in Will, leaning in front of Fred. "I've seen you Heinies fishing for graft too often in the States not to recognize symptoms! Spill the bait can! There's no other way to tell if we'll bite! Tell us what you're driving at!"

"Ivory!" said Schubert savagely and simply, shutting his jaws after the word like a snap with a steel spring. It would have broken the teeth of an ordinary human.

"What ivory?"

We all did our best to look blank.

"You know! Tippoo Tib's ivory! It belongs to the German government! Emin Pasha, whom that adventurer Stanley rescued against his will, agreed to sell the secret to us, but we never agreed on a price and he died without telling. Gott! He would have told had I had the interviewing of him! It was known in Zanzibar that you and a certain English lord shared the secret. You have been watched. You are known to be in search of the stuff."

"The deuce you say!" Fred murmured, with a glance to left and right at us.

"If you were to go to the office to-morrow, and tell our commandant what you know," said Schubert, "you might be suitably compensated. You would certainly be given facilities for leaving the country in comfort at your leisure."

"Who told you to promise us that?" Fred demanded, turning on him.

The feldwebel did not answer, but sat with his legs straight out in front of him, his heels together, and the palms of his hands touching between his knees. The sergeants were all singing, smoking and drinking. The Jew was back at his old post, watching every one with gimlet eyes.

"Think it over!" said Schubert, getting up. "There is time until morning. There is time until you leave this building. After that-" He shrugged his square shoulders brutally.

There was no sense in going out at once, as we had intended, with that combination of threat and promise hanging over us.

"Why not do what we said-admit that we know what we don't know-and put 'em on the wrong scent?" Will whispered.

"I wish to God Monty were here!" groaned Fred.

"Rot!" Will answered. "Monty is all you ever said of him and then some; but we're able to handle this ourselves all right without him. Tell 'em a bull yarn, I say!"

Fred relapsed into a sort of black gloom intended to attract the Muse of Strategy. He was always better at swift action in the open and optimism in the face of visible danger, than at matching wits against something he could not see beginning or end of.

"Tell 'em it's in German East!" urged Will. "Offer to lead them to it on certain conditions. Think up controversial proposals! Play for time!"

Fred shook his head.

"What if it turns out true? Monty's in Europe. Suppose he should learn while he's there that the stuff is really in German East-we'd have spoiled his game!"

"If the stuff should really be in German East," Will argued, "we've no chance in the world of getting even a broker's share of it, Monty or no Monty! Take my advice and tell 'em what they want to know!"

Meanwhile an argument of another kind had started across the room. Schubert had related with grim amusement to Sergeant Sachse, who was sitting next him, our disapproval of the flogging of the father of the commandant's abandoned woman.

"At what were they shocked?" wondered Sachse. "At the flogging, or the intercourse, or because he sent the female packing when she proposed to have a child? Do they not know that to have children about the premises would be subversive of military excellence?"

"They were shocked at all three things," grinned Schubert, "but chiefly, I think, at the flogging."

"Bah! Such a tickling of a native's hide doesn't hurt him to speak of!

Wait until they see our court in the morning!"

It was that that raised the clamor. Even Schubert, who might be supposed to have won promotion because he could stay sober longer than the others, was beginning to grow noisy in his speech and to laugh without apparent reason. The rest were all already frankly drunk, and any excuse for dispute was a good one. They one and all, including Schubert, denied Sachse's contention that a flogging did not hurt enough to matter.

"I bet I could take one without winking!" Sachse announced.

Schubert's little bright pig-eyes gleamed through the smoke at that.

"Kurtz und gut!" he laughed. "There is a case of champagne unopened. I bet you that case of champagne that you lie! That you can not take a flogging!"

There was an united yelp of delight. The sergeants rose and gathered round Sachse. Schubert cursed them and drove them to the chairs again.

"Open that case of champagne!" he roared, and the Jew obeyed, setting the bottles on the table in two rows.

"I bet you those twelve bottles you dare not take a regular flogging, and that you can not endure it if you dare try!"

"I can stand as much as you!" hedged Sachse.

"Good! We will see! We will both take a flogging-stroke for stroke!

Whoever squeals first shall pay for the champagne!"

Sachse could not back out. His cheeks grew whiter, but he staggered to his feet, swearing.

"I will show you of what material a German sergeant is made!" he boasted. "It is not only Prussians who are men of metal! How shall it be arranged?"

The arrangement was easy enough. Schubert shouted for an askari, and the corporal who was doing police duty outside in the street came running. He had a kiboko in his hand almost a yard and a half long, and Schubert examined it with approval.

"How would you like to flog white men?" he demanded.

"I would not dare!" grinned the corporal.

"Not dare, eh? Would you not obey an order?"

"Always I obey!" the man answered, saluting.

"Good. I shall lie here. This other bwana shall lie there beside me. You shall stand between. First you shall strike one, then the other-turn and turn about until I give the order to cease! And listen! If you fail once-just one little time!-to flog with all your might, you shall have two hundred lashes yourself; and they shall be good ones, because I will lay them on! Is it understood?"

"Yes," said the corporal, the whites of his eyes betraying doubt, fear and wonder. But he grinned with his lips, lest the feldwebel should suspect him of unwillingness.

"Are the terms understood?" demanded Schubert, and the sergeants yelped in the affirmative.

"Then choose a referee!"

One of the sergeants volunteered for the post. Schubert lay down on the floor, and Sachse beside him about four feet away. The corporal took his stand between. He was an enormous Nubian, broad of chest, with the big sloping shoulder muscles that betray double the strength that tailors try to suggest with jackets padded to look square.

"Nun-recht feste schlagen!"* ordered Schubert. Then he took the sleeve of his tunic between his teeth and hid his face. [*Now, hit good and hard!]

"One!" said the referee. Down came the heavy black whip with a crack like a gun going off. Schubert neither winced nor murmured, but the blood welled into the seat of his pants and spread like red ink on blotting-paper.

"'One!" said the referee again. The corporal faced about, and raised his weapon, standing on tiptoe to get more swing. Sachse flinched at the sound of the whip going up, and the other sergeants roared delight. But he was still when it descended, and the crack of the blow drew neither murmur nor movement from him either. Like the feldwebel, he had his sleeve between his teeth.

"Two!" said the referee, and the black whip rose again. It descended with a crack and a splash on the very spot whence the blood flowed, this time cutting the pants open, but Schubert took no more notice of it than if a fly had settled on him. There was a chorus of applause.

"Two!" said the referee. Again the corporal faced about and balanced himself on tiptoe. Sachse was much the more nervous of the two. He flinched again while waiting for the blow, but met it when it did come without a tremor of any kind. He was much the softer. Blood flowed from him more freely, but his pants seemed to be of sterner stuff, for they did not split until the eight-and-twentieth lash, or thereabouts.

From first to last, although the raw flesh lay open to the lash, and the corporal, urged to it by the united threats and praise of all the other sergeants, wrought his utmost, Schubert lay like a man asleep. He might have been dead, except for the even rise and fall of his breathing, that never checked or quickened once. Nine-and-forty strokes he took without a sign of yielding. At the eight-and-fortieth Sachse moaned a little, and the referee gave the match against him. Schubert rose to his feet unaided, grinning, red in the face, but without any tortured look.

"Now you can say forever that you have flogged two white men!" he told the askari.

"Who will believe me?" the man answered.

Sachse had to be helped to his feet. He was pale and demanded brandy.

"What did I tell you?" laughed Schubert. "A Prussian is better than any man! Look at him, and then at me!"

He shouted for his servant, who had to be fetched from the boma-a smug-faced little rascal, obviously in love with the glory reflected on the sergeant-major's servant. He was made to produce a basin and cold water-he discovered them somewhere in the dim recesses of the store-and sponge his master's raw posterior before us all. Then he was sent for clean white pants and presently Schubert, only refusing to sit down, was quite himself again.

Sachse on the other hand refused the ministrations of the boy-was annoyed by the chaff of the other sergeants-refused to drink any of the sweet champagne he would now have to pay for-and went away in great dudgeon, murmuring about the madness that takes hold of men in Africa.

Meanwhile, while Schubert strutted and swaggered, making jokes more raw and beastly than his own flogged hide, the Jew came and poured more cool water on my hot bandages, touching them with deft fingers that looked like the hairy legs of a huge spider-his touch more gentle-more fugitive than any woman's.

"You should not tell zat dam feldwebel nozink!" he advised in nasal English. "Nefer mind vat you tell heem he is all ze same not your frien. He only obey hees officers. Zey say to cut your troat-he cut it! Zey say to tell you a lot o' lies-he tell! He iss not a t'inker, but a doer: and hees faforite spectacle iss ze blood of innocence! Do not effer say I did not tell you! On ze ozzer hand, tell no one zat I did tell! Zese are dangerous people!"

He resumed business with his account book, and I whispered to Fred and Will what advice he had given. Seeing us with our heads together, Schubert crossed the room, beginning to get very drunk now that the shock of the flogging had had time to reinforce the alcohol. (The blows had sobered him at first.)

"What have you decided?" he asked, standing before us with his legs apart and his hands behind him in his favorite attitude-swaying gently back and forward because of the drink, and showing all his teeth in a grin.

"Nothing," Fred answered. "We'll think it over."

"Too late in the morning!" he answered, continuing to sway. "I can do nothing for you in the morning."

"What can you do to-night?" Fred asked.

He shrugged his shoulders. "I can report. The report will go in at dawn."

"You may tell your superiors," Fred answered, rising, "that if they care to make us a reasonable offer, I don't say we won't do business!"

Schubert leered.

"To-morrow will be too late!" he repeated.

It was Fred's turn to shrug shoulders, and he did it inimitably, turning his back on Schubert and helping Will support me to the door. The feldwebel stood grinning while I held to the doorpost and they dragged Brown to his feet. He made no offer to help us in any way at all, nor did any of the sergeants.

There was no getting action from Brown. He was as dead to the world as a piece of wood, and there being no other obvious solution of the problem, Will hoisted him upon his back and carried him, he snoring, all the way home to camp. Fred hoisted and carried me, for the pain of my wound when I tried to walk was unbearable.

We reached camp abreast and were challenged by the sentries, who made a great show of standing guard. They took Brown and threw him on the bed in his own tent-accepted Fred's offer of silver money-and departed, marching up-street in their heavy, iron-bound military boots with the swing and swagger only the Nubian in all the world knows just how to get away with.

I lay on the bed in Fred's tent, and then Kazimoto came to us, hugely troubled about something, stirring the embers of the fire before the tent and arranging the lantern so that its rays would betray any eavesdropper. He searched all the shadows thoroughly, prodding into them with a stick, before he unburdened his mind.

"Those askaris were not put here to guard our tents," he told us. (The really good native servant when speaking of his master's property always says our, and never your.) "As soon as you were gone the Greeks and the Goa came. They and the askaris questioned me. It was a trick! You were drawn away on purpose! One by one-two by two-they questioned us all, but particularly me."

"What about?" Fred demanded.

"About our business. Why are we here. What will we do. What do we know. What do I know about you. What do you know about me. Why do I serve you. How did I come to take service with you. To what place will we travel next, and when. How much money have we with us. Have we friends or acquaintances in Muanza. Do you, bwana, carry any letters in your pockets. Of what do you speak when you suppose no man is listening. Bwana, my heart is very sad in me! Those Greeks tell lies, and the Germans stir trouble in a big pot like the witches! I know the Germans! I am Nyamwezi. I was born not far from here, and ran away as soon as I was old enough because the Germans shot my father and let my mother and brothers starve to death. I did not starve, because one of them took me for a servant; but I ran away from him. My heart is very sad to be in this place! They ask what of a hoard of ivory. I tell them I do not know, and they threaten to beat me! This place is bad! Let us go away to-night!"

There was no sleep that night for any of us. My wound hurt too much.

The others were too worried. By the light of the lantern in Fred's

tent we cooked up a story to tell that we hoped would induce the

Germans to let us wander where we chose.

"Sure, they'll watch us!" Will admitted. "But as our only real reason for coming down here-leaving Brown's cattle out of the reckoning-was to throw people off the scent, in what way are we worse off? The lake is big enough to lose ourselves in! What is it-two hundred and fifty miles long by as many broad? D'you mean we can't give their sleuths the slip? We can't beat that for a plan: let 'em keep on thinking we know where Tippoo hid the stuff. If we succeed in losing 'em they'll think we're at large in German East and keep on hunting for us-whereas we'll really be up in British East. Let's send a telegram in code to Monty!"

Then Fred thought of an idea that in the end solved our biggest problem, although we did not think much of it at the time.

"They may refuse to take a telegram in code," he said. "It's likely they'll open letters. (We can try the code, of course. They'll probably take our money, and put their experts on deciphering the message. They'll say it was lost if there are any inquiries afterward.) I propose we send a straight-out cablegram advising Monty of our whereabouts (they'll let that go through) and warning him to ask for letters at the Bank in Mombasa before he does anything else."

"Yes, but-" Will objected.

"Wait!" said Fred. "I haven't finished. Then write two letters: one full of any old nonsense, to be sent in the regular way by mail. They'll open that. The other to go by runner. Kazimoto can find us a runner. He knows these Wan-yamwezi. He can pick a man who'll get through without fail."

We could think of nothing to say against the plan. The argument that the German government would scarcely stoop to opening private mail did not seem to hold water when we examined it, so we wrote as Fred suggested-one letter telling Monty that we hoped to make some arrangement with the Germans, and at all events to wait in German East until he could join us-and the other telling him the real facts at great length, laboriously set out in the code we had agreed upon.

We sealed the second letter in several wrappers, and sewed it up finally in a piece of waterproof silk. Then we sent for Kazimoto and ordered him to find the sort of messenger we needed.

"Send me!" he urged. "I will start now, before it is light! I will hide by day and travel by night until I reach the British border! Give me only enough cooked food and my pay and I will take the letter without fail!"

We refused, for he was too useful to us. He begged again and again to be sent with the letter, promising faithfully to wait for us afterward on the British side of the border at any place we should name. But we upbraided him for cowardice, ordered him to find another messenger, and promised him he need have no fear of Germans as long as he remained our servant.

Before high noon we would each have given many years of Kazimoto's pay if only we could have recalled that decision and have known that he was speeding away from Muanza toward a border where white men knew the use of mercy.

Just as the first peep of dawn began to color the sky Schubert came swaggering down-street to us, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"How have you slept?" he asked us, laughing.

We answered something or other.

"I did not trouble to sleep! I stayed and finished the drinks. I have just swallowed the last of the beer! Whoever wants a morning drink must wait for it now until the overland safari comes!"

We displayed no interest. Brown, the only one likely to yearn for alcohol before breakfast, snored in his still.

"What of it now? I go drill my troops. Parade is sharp! There remain twenty minutes. Come with me tell your secret at the boma now, before it is too late!"

"Explain why it would be too late after breakfast!" demanded Fred.

"All right," said Schubert. "I will tell you this much. There will come a launch this morning from Kisumu in British East. There will be people on that launch, one of whom has authority that overrides that of the commandant of this place. The commandant desires to know your information-and get the credit for it-before that individual, whose authority is higher, comes. Is that clear?"

"Perfectly," Fred answered.

"See if this is clear, too!" cut in Will. "You go and ask your commandant what price he offers for the secret! Nothing for nothing! Tell him we're not afraid of him!"

"It is none of my business to tell him anything," sneered Schubert, spitting and turning on his heel. He swaggered out of the camping-ground and up-street again, leaving the clear impression behind him that he washed his hands of us for good and all.

"Let's watch him drill his men," said I. "I'll wait on the hospital steps until they open the place."

So we ate a scratch breakfast and Fred and Will helped me up-street, past where the Jew stood blinking in the morning sun on the steps of the D.O.A.G. He seemed to be saying prayers, but beckoned to us.

"Trouble!" he said. "Trouble! If you have any frien's fetch them-send for them!"

"Can yon send a letter for us to British East?" Fred asked him.

"God forbid!" He jumped at the very thought, and shrugged himself like a man standing under a water-spout. "What would they do to me if I were found out?"

"What is the nature of the trouble?" Fred asked him.

"Ali, who should tell! Trouble, I tell you, trouble! Zat cursed

Schubert sat here drinking until dawn. I heard heem say many t'ings!

Send for your friens!"

He turned his back on us and ran in. There was a lieutenant arrayed in spotless white with a saber in glittering scabbard watching us all from the boma gate. A little later that morning we knew better why the Jew fled indoors at sight of him.

Schubert was standing in mid-square with a hundred askaris lined up two-deep in front of him. There were no other Germans on parade. The corporals were Nubians, and the rest of the rank and file either Nubian or some sort of Sudanese. He was haranguing them in a bastard mixture of Swahili, Arabic, and German, they standing rigidly at attention, their rifles at the present.

Not content with the effect of his words, he strode up presently to a front-rank man and hit him in the face with clenched fist. In the effort to recover his balance the man let his rifle get out of alignment. Schubert wrenched it from him. It fell to the ground. He struck the man, and when he stooped to pick the rifle up kicked him in the face. Then he strode down the line and beat two other men for grinning. All this the lieutenant watched without a sign of disapproval, or even much interest.

Meanwhile the chain-gang emerged from the boma gate, going full-pelt, fastened neck to neck, the chain taut and each man carrying a water-jar. The minute they had crossed the square Schubert commenced with company drill, and for two hours after that, with but one interval of less than five minutes for rest, he kept them pounding the gravel in evolution after evolution-manual exercise at the double-skirmishing exercise-setting up drill-goose-step, and all the mechanical, merciless precision drill with which the Germans make machines of men.

His debauch did not seem in the least to have affected him, unless to make his temper more violently critical. By seven o'clock the sun was beating down on him and dazzling his eyes from over the boma wall. The dust rose off the square. The words of command came bellowing in swift succession from a throat that ought to have been hard put to it to whisper. If anything, he grew more active and exacting as the askaris wearied, and by the time the two hours were up they were ready to a man to drop.

But not so he. He dismissed them, and swaggered over to the marketplace to hector and bully the natives who were piling their wares in the shade of the great grass roof. Then he went into the boma to breakfast just as a sergeant in khaki came over and unlocked the hospital door. I followed the sergeant in, but he ordered me out again.

"I have come to see the doctor," I said. "I need attention."

He was not one of the sergeants who had been drunk in the D.O.A.G. the night before, but a man of a higher mental type, although no less surly.

"It will be for the doctor to say what you need when he has seen you!" he answered, turning his back and busying himself about the room. Will translated, and I limped out again.

By and by the doctor came, and passed me sitting on the steps amid a throng of natives who seemed to have all the imaginable kinds of sores. He took no notice of me, but sent out the sergeant to inquire why I had not stood up as he passed. I did not answer, and the sergeant went in again.

Fred by that time was simply blasphemous, alternately threatening to go in and kick the doctor, and condemning Will's determination to do the same thing. Finally we decided to see the matter through patiently, and all sat together on the steps watching the activity of the square. There was a lot going on-bartering of skins and hides-counting of crocodile eggs, brought in by natives for sake of the bounty of a few copper coins the hundred-a cock-fight in one corner-the carrying to and fro of bunches of bananas, meat, and grain in baskets; and in and out among it all full pelt in the hot sun marched the chain-gang, doing the township dirty work.

By and by Schubert emerged from the boma gate followed by natives carrying a table and a soap-box. He set these under a limb of the great baobab that faced the boma gate not far from the middle of the square. I noticed then for the first time that a short hempen rope hung suspended from the largest branch, with a noose in the end. The noose was not more than two feet below the branch.

Schubert's consideration of the table's exact position, and the placing of the soap-box on the table, was interrupted by the arrival of Coutlass, his Greek companion and the Goanese arm in arm, followed closely by two askaris who shouted angrily and made a great show of trying to prevent them. One of the askaris aimed his rifle absurdly at Coutlass, both Greeks and the Goanese daring him gleefully to pull the trigger.

They purposely came close to us, not that we showed signs of meaning to befriend them. They were simply unable to understand that there are degrees of disgrace. To Coutlass all victims of government outrage ought surely to be more than friendly with any one in conflict with the law. Personal quarrels should go for nothing in face of the common wrong.

"There is going to be a hanging!" Coutlass shouted to us. "They thought we would remain quietly in camp with that going on! Give us chairs!" he called to Schubert. "Provide us a place in the front row where we may see!"

Schubert grinned. He returned to the boma yard and presumably conferred with an officer, for presently he came out again and gave the Greeks leave to stand under the tree, provided they would return to camp afterward. Later yet, Brown came along and joined us on the steps, looking red-eyed and ridiculous.

"Goin' to be a hangin," he announced. "I been askin' natives about it. Black man stole the condemned man's daughter an' refused to pay cows for her accordin' to custom or anythin'-said he could do what the white men did an' help himself. Father of the girl took a spear and settled the thief's hash with it-ran him through-did a clean job. Serve him right-eh-what? Germans went an' nabbed him, though-tried him in open court-goin' to hang him this mornin' for murder! How does it strike you?"

We were not exactly in mood to talk to Brown-in fact, we wished him anywhere but with us, but he thought self perfectly welcome, and rambled on:

"Up in British East we don't hang black men for murder unless it's what they call an aggravated case-murder an' robbery-murder an' arson-murder an' rape. Hang a white man for murderin' a black sure as you're sitting here, an' shoot a black man for murderin' a white; but the blacks don't understand, so when they kill one another in such a case this, why we give 'em a short jail sentence an' a good lo lecture, an' let 'em go again. These folks have it t'other way round. They never hang a German, whether he's guilty or not, but hang a poor black man, what doesn't understand, for half o' nothin'!"

A great crowd began gathering about the tree, and was presently driven by askaris with whips into a mass on the far side of the tree from us. Whether purposely or not, they left a clear view from the hospital steps of all that should happen. Evidently warning had been sent out broadcast, for the inhabitants of village after village came trooping into town to watch, each lot led by its sultani in filthy rags and the foolish imitation crown his conquerors had supplied him at several times its proper price. The square was a dense sea of people before nine o'clock, and the askaris made the front few hundreds lie, and the next rows squat, in order that the men and women behind might see.

Then at last out came the victim with his hands tied behind him and a bright red blanket on his loins. He was a proud-looking fellow. He halted a moment between his guard of German sergeants and eyed the crowd, and us, and the tree, and the noose. Then he looked down on the ground and appeared to take no further interest.

The sergeants took him by the arms and led him along to the table between them. Out came the commandant then, in snow-white uniform, with his saber polished until it shone-all spruced up for the occasion, and followed by a guard of honor consisting of lieutenant, two sergeants, and six black askaris.

There was a chair by the table. At sight of the commandant the sergeants made their victim use that as a step by which to mount the table and soap-box, and there he stood eying his oppressors as calmly as if he were witnessing a play. A murmur arose among the crowd. A number of natives called to him by name, but he took no notice after that one first steady gaze.

"They're sayin' good-by to him," said Brown, breathing in my ear.

"They're telling him they won't forget him!"

The crack of askaris' whips falling on head and naked shoulders swiftly reduced the crowd to silence. Then the commandant faced them all, and made a speech with that ash-can voice of his-first in German, then in the Nyamwezi tongue. Will translated to us sentence by sentence, the doctor standing on the top step behind us smiling approval. He seemed to think we would be benefited by the lecture just as much as the natives.

It was awful humbug that the commandant reeled off to his silent audience-hypocrisy garbed in paternal phrases, and interlarded with buncombe about Germany's mission to bring happiness to subject peoples.

"Above all," he repeated again and again, "the law must be enforced impartially-the good, sound, German law that knows no fear or favor, but governs all alike!"

When he had finished he turned to the culprit.

"Now," he demanded, "do you know why you are to be hanged?"

There was a moment's utter silence. The crowd drew in its breath, seeming to know in advance that some brave answer was forthcoming. The man on the table with his hands behind him surveyed the crowd again with the gaze of simple dignity, looked down on the commandant, and raised his voice. It was an unexpected, high, almost falsetto note, that in the silence carried all across the square.

"I am to die," he said, "because I did right! My enemy did what German officers do. He stole my young girl. I killed him, as I hope all you Germans may be killed! But hope no longer gathers fruit in this land!"

"Ah-h-h-h!" the crowd sighed in unison.

"Good man!" exploded Fred, and the doctor tried to kick him from behind-not hard, but enough to call his attention to the proprieties. His toe struck me instead, and when I looked up angrily he tried to pretend he was not aware of what he had done.

Under the trees the commandant flew into a rage such I have seldom seen. Each land has a temper of its own, and the white man's anger varies in inverse ratio with his nearness to the equator. But furor teutonicus transplanted is the least controllable, least dignified, least admirable that there is. And that man's passion was the apex of its kind.

His beard spread, as a peacock spreads its tail. His eyes blazed. His eyebrows disappeared under the brim of his white helmet, and his clenched fists burst the white cotton gloves. He half-drew his saber-thought better of that, and returned it. There was an askari standing near with kiboko in hand to drive back the crowd should any press too closely. He snatched the whip and struck the condemned man with it, as high up as he could reach, making a great welt across his bare stomach. The man neither winced nor complained.

"For those words," the commandant screamed at him in German, "you shall not die in comfort! For that insolence, mere hanging is too good!"

Then he calmed himself a little, and repeated the words in the native tongue, explaining to the crowd that German dignity should be upheld at all costs.

"Fetch him down from there," he ordered.

Schubert sprang on the table and knocked the condemned man off it with a blow of his fist. With hands bound behind him the poor fellow had no power of balance, and though he jumped clear he fell face-downward, skinning his cheek on the gravel. The commandant promptly put a foot on his neck and pinned him down.

"Flog him!" he ordered. "Two hundred lashes!"

It was done in silence, except for the corporal's labored breathing and the commandant's incessant sharp commands to beat harder-harder-harder. A sergeant stood by counting. The crack of the whip divided up the silence into periods of agony.

When the count was done the victim was still conscious. Schubert and a sergeant dragged him to his feet, and hauled him to the table. Four other men-two sergeants and two natives-passed a rope round the table legs. Schubert lifted the victim by the elbows so that his head could pass through the noose, and when that was accomplished the man had to stand on tiptoe on the soap-box in order to breathe at all.

"All ready!" announced Schubert, and jumped off with a laugh, his white tunic bloody from contact with the victim's tortured back.

"Los!" roared the commandant

The men hauled on the rope. Table and soap-box came tumbling away, and the victim spun in the air on nothing, spinning round, and round, and round-slower and slower and slower-then back the other way round faster and faster.

They say hanging is a merciful death-that the pressure of rope on two arteries produces anesthesia, but few are reported to have come back to tell of the experience. At any rate, as is not the case with shooting, it is easy to know when the victim is really dead.

For seconds that seemed minutes-for minutes that seemed hours the poor wretch spun, his elbows out, his knees up, his tongue out, his face wrinkled into tortured shapes, and his toes pointed upward so sharply that they almost touched his shins. Then suddenly the toes turned downward and the knees relapsed. The corpse hung limp, and the crowd sighed miserably, to the last man, woman and child, turning its back on what to them must have symbolized German rule.

They left the corpse hanging there. It was to be there until evening, some one said, for an example to frequenters of the market-place. The crowd trailed away, none glancing back. The pattering of feet ceased. The market-place across the square resumed its hum and activity. Then a native orderly came down the steps and touched me on the elbow. I struggled to my feet and limped after him up the steps.

Practically at the mercy of the doctor, I made up my mind to be civil to him whether that suited me or not. I rather expected he would come to meet me, perhaps help me to chair, and I wondered how, in my ignorance of German, I should contrive to answer his questions.

But I need not have worried. I did not even see him. He had left by the back door, and the orderly washed the wound and changed my bandages. That was all. There was no charge for the bandages, and the orderly was gentle now that his master's back was turned.

"Didn't he leave word when he would see me?" I asked.

"Habandh!" he answered-meaning, "He did not-there is not-there is nothing doing!"

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