His Native Wife
by Louis Becke
"Neither do men put new wine into old bottles; else the bottles break and the wine runneth out and the bottles
Chapter I: Captain Amos Bennett Seeks A New Second Mate
THE Kellet Passmore, of New Bedford, had just dropped anchor in the Bay of
Islands, and Captain Amos Bennett came ashore to look for some new hands. But
the skipper was pretty well known, and although there were plenty of men, both
whites and natives, to be had by any other whale-ship captain, there was none
anxious to try his luck in the Kellet Passmore. It was far better, they argued, for
them to do another month or two of solid loafing ashore, where there was plenty
of cheap grog, and where the charms of very unconventional Maori female society
were so easily available, and wait for another whale-ship to come along, than to
ship in this particular barque. For every "blubber hunter," from Talcahuana on the
coast of South America to Kororareka in the Bay of Islands on the coast of New
Zealand, knew that Captain Bennett was not a nice man to sail with, and
those who did sail with him, whether the old barque met with bad luck or "greasy"
luck, generally left her at the first port she touched at after a cruise, with broken
noses, smashed jaws, or fractured ribs, superinduced by knuckle-dusters,
belaying-pins, and other cheerless incentives to industry wielded by the unsparing
hands of Captain Amos Bennett and the afterguard of his ship.
Smoking an extremely long and very strong cigar, Captain Bennett slouched into
the leading combined store and grog shanty, which in those days was the
rendezvous of every one living in the Bay, and in amiable tones invited every one
present to "come and hev suthin'."
Some twelve or fifteen men, whites, Kanakas, and Maoris, who were loafing about
the store in expectation of the captain's visit, accepted his invitation with sundry
nods, pushes, and winks among themselves, and after drinking a stiff tot of what
was known locally as "hell biled down to a small half pint," Mauta, a Tongan
half-caste boat-steerer, respectfully asked the captain if he had had much luck on
his present cruise.
This was Captain Bennett's opportunity, and for the following ten minutes he lied
rapidly and artistically about the Kellet Passmore's wonderful luck in past
cruises, but admitted that, on the present one, since he had left New Bedford five
months before, he had taken but three whales, "princerpully," he said, "on
accaount of some passengers I hev aboard who are in a h---- of a hurry ter
get up ter Ponape, in the Caroline group."
"Traders, Captain Bennett?" asked the store-keeper.
"No," replied the American, drawing up one of his long legs, clasping his lengthy
arms around his knee, and shutting his left eye, "mission'ries from Bosting, agoin'
daown tew the Carolines tew save the ragin' heathen in his blindness from bowin'
daown tew wood an' stone, and tew teach them tew charge a dollar each for a
chicken tew the ungodly and Gentile sailor man."
The men laughed, and Captain Bennett, without moving a muscle of his long,
solemn visage, nodded to the store-keeper to fill the glasses again.
"No wonder you losa the whala, captain," said a short, muscular Portuguese, who
wanted a ship, but had no intention of trying the Kellet Passmore with her
present commander, "de dam missionara he bringa you bada lucka, eh?"
"Waal," said Bennett, eyeing the speaker keenly through his half-closed eyes, "I
won't say that, because it's jest my own fault. Yew see, boys, it's jest this way.
these here people -- a man and two females -- are darned anxious tew get daown
tew the Carolines, and the Bosting Board of Missions paid me five hundred dollars
each for 'em, to give 'em a passage in my ship. Consikently, although we saw
whales often enough, I only lowered after 'em three times, when they was close to.
Yew see, these here people heving paid a big passage-money, air entitled to
get there ez quick ez I can take em."
An incredulous grin went round among the men, which Bennett affected not to
notice, then he resumed by remarking, that as he always liked to do the square
thing he was going to count the fifteen hundred dollars' passage-money as part of
the ship's take.
"That sounds square," whispered a white sailor to a young, seaman-like man who
sat upon a case at the further end of the store. "He can't be a bad sort. I'm for
one if he wants men."
"Lies," said the young fellow; "but don't let me stop you. I can tell you all about
him though. He's the two ends and bight of a lying swab."
Having given those present two drinks each, Captain Bennett got to business, and
lighting another cigar, asked them if any of them wanted to try their luck in the
But although they drank his rum cheerfully, and were willing to drink more, and
listened with stolid complacency to his alluring inducements about a full ship in
twelve months, he talked in vain.
Then the deep fountains of Captain Amos Bennett's nautical blasphemy were
broken up, and having violently cursed each man separately and the lot
collectively, and insinuated that they were not fit to tend cows, let alone kill
whales, he withdrew to look for men elsewhere.
An hour or two later he strode down towards his boat with five Maori hands
in tow. When close to the beach some one hailed him from the rear, and the
leathern-visaged Yankee, chawing fiercely at his Manilla, slewed round on his heel
and, with needless profanity, asked the speaker what the ---- he wanted.
"I believe you want men, sir."
"Not the kinder men bummin' around here, anyway," snarled Bennett, recognising
in the man who spoke to him the young fellow who had sat upon the box in the
corner of the store; and then looking at the bronzed face and muscular figure of
his questioner, he asked:
"Air yew one of them Yahoos I was talkin' to while back?"
"I was there," replied the young man quietly, "but," and he stepped directly in
front of the American, "if you call me a Yahoo you'll lose a good man for the
Kellet Passmore, and get a hell of a bashing into the bargain."
The skipper of the whale-ship was no coward, but he knew he would stand a poor
show with the man before him, and he wanted men badly. His thin face underwent
some hideous squirmings and contortions intended for an amused smile.
"Young feller, yew hev some spirit; I kin see that right away. Naow, I do want men,
and yew want a ship, and the Kellet Passmore is jest ----"
"Stow all that," said the man coolly. "I know all about the Kellet Passmore and all
about you, too. I'm willing to go in her for part of the cruise. But it'll take a
smarter man than you to haze me, so don't try it on."
The audacity of this speech seemed to stagger the American considerably, but he
soon recovered himself. "Yew air mighty smart, young feller," he said presently, in
a low, rasping voice, and his thin lips parted and showed his yellow teeth; "and
what sorter persition aboard of my ship may I hev the honour ev asking yew to
"Any d----d thing you like. I hear you've got a lot of cripples for boat-steerers, and
you can't get a better man than me."
"Do tell?" and Bennett grinned sarcastically, "then you'll be a darned different
sort from any other Britisher that ever went whalin'. Been in the business long,
"Ten years or so, off and on," was the impatient reply.
The skipper beckoned to his boat's crew, who lay upon their oars waiting for him,
to back on to the beach, then with a quick glance at the other man, he said:
"Yes, come aboard, young feller; I guess we'll pull together. Seems to me your
face is kinder familiar like tew me. What was your last ship?"
"The Wanderer, of Sydney."
"No, not in the Wanderer. I was boat-steerer six years ago in the Prudence
Hopkins, of New Bedford; I was mate of the Wanderer. Got any more
Another attempt at a pleasant smile distorted Captain Bennett's features. "Waal,
naow, see here; this is surprisin'! Why, I cert'nly thought I reckernised yew. Yew
was in the Wanderer in Vavau, daown in the Friendly Islands, 'bout a year ago.
Why, I remember comin' aboard ev that thar ship one day."
"So do I," nonchalantly replied the young man; "a couple of your hands -- Kanakas
-- swam off to our ship from yours, and you wanted to get them back."
"That's so, mister. I remember the circumstances exactly. Darned lazy cusses
they were, too."
"Think so? I don't. We had them with us on the Wanderer for ten months; better
men never struck a fish. You couldn't get anything out of them, though."
"Mister, I could not. They belonged to the Matelotas Islands, in the Carolines, and
when my second mate started to rouse 'em around and knock some of their
darned Kanaka laziness outer them, they actooaly driv a knife inter him, and
darned near killed him."
"Served him d----d well right," was the curt response.
The American captain kept silence for a while, and nought broke the silence save
the sound of the oars as the boat swept quickly toward the barque.
Chapter II: On Board The Kellet Passmore
IN a few minutes the boat ranged alongside; the five new Maori hands, preceded by
Captain Bennett and the other white man, clambered up on deck, and the boat was
about to be passed astern, when the skipper called to the mate:
"Mr Herrera, I reckon yew kin keep the boat alongside. Thar's goin' ter be some
changes aboard this ship in a few minutes, and thet boat's goin' ashore agin."
The mate, a dark-browed, black-whiskered man of thirty-five or so, whose regular
features and olive complexion showed him to be either a Spaniard or a Portuguese,
answered the rasping accents of the Yankee skipper with a soft, modulated "Ay,
ay, sir," and nodding a "Good-day, sir," to the stranger, whom he could see was,
by his dress and demeanour, no common seaman, turned away to execute his
"Come below, mister," said Bennett, leading the way down below.
There was no one in the cabin but the mulatto steward, who was laying the table,
and the captain, taking a seat, motioned his visitor to another.
"Yew was sayin', Mr ----; I disremember naow ef yew told me your name?"
"Barrington -- John Barrington," said the other, looking directly into
Bennett's eyes and stroking his well-trimmed pointed beard.
"Waal, Mr Barrington, I ain't agoin' tew jaw long over this business. I want men --
that's what I came in here to this rotten hole fur. Waal, I've got five Maoris, and I
reckon that's all I can get. But I want a second mate."
Barrington nodded, and, still stroking his beard, waited for more.
"Waal, look here. I rather think you'll suit me, although," and here the skipper
scratched a bony cheek meditatively and squinted atrociously, "although yew air a
Britisher, and ----"
"And you're a Down East Yank, used to Down East mates, and Dago second mates,
and mangy greasers of all sorts. I'm a Britisher, as you say; but if you don't want
me, why the blazes did you bring me aboard? This rotten old crate of yours isn't
the only whale-ship in the Pacific!" and Barrington took up his hat.
"Sit daown, mister, sit daown, and don't yew use sich vi'lent language," and
Bennett indicated by a backward jerk of his dirty thumb and another villainous
squint, a half-opened cabin door at his back, "thar's females in thar, mister --
females from Bosting!" and he grinned.
Barrington muttered an apology, not to the captain, but to the soft murmur of
women's voices that he now heard for the first time.
The hatchet-faced skipper pondered a moment, and then said briskly:
"Look here, naow, it's no use either you or me backin' and fillin' in this
ridiklous sorter way. My second mate wants to leave, an' I ain't too dreadful
anxious to stop him -- he don't suit me by no means -- naow, yew want a ship an' I
want an officer. I ain't got but two boat-headers in the ship worth a cuss; so ef
yew are willin', waal, I'm willin'."
"I don't want to make the whole cruise with you, I only want to get up to the
Carolines. If you like to put me ashore anywhere near Ponape, or Truk, or a little
island called L&ocaron;sap, I'm willing to do second mate's duty aboard. I don't
want a 'cut in', if we kill any whales between here and there -- all I want is a
passage to any one of the places I've named."
"Young man, ef yew want a free passage in this ship I recken yew hev got to pay
"Just as you like; I'm able and willing to pay. But then, mind, I don't do a hand's
turn aboard this ship if I pay my passage."
"What might be your objek, mister, in going daown thar at all, ef yew don't mind
An angry reply was on the young man's lips, but he stopped it.
"I don't see how the devil it concerns you -- if I go as a passenger -- but I will tell
you. I was trading down on Ponape a little over two years ago, and got tired of it. I
ran out of trade goods, and had no money to buy any. So I shipped again in
the Wanderer, and the skipper landed my native wife at L&ocaron;sap, where her
mother's people belong. She's to wait there till I return. Then I'm going back to
Ponape, or Yap, or any other place where there's money to be made. I've got no
trade goods, but have money enough to buy some from the first ship that comes
Bennett considered a moment or two, and then said: "Waal, young fellow, I recken
we can make a deal -- whar do yew say yew want to go ashore?"
"L&ocaron;sap, if you can manage it. That's where my wife is living; if not, Truk,
or one of the islands thereabouts will do me. I'm bound to get a passage to
L&ocaron;sap from Truk in one of the big canoes that go there once a year."
"It's a deal, mister. I'll send my second mate ashore here, and be darned to him,
and yew can take his place. Ef we don't get set too fur to the eastward by the
current -- there's nothin' but ragin' calms and blarsted hurricanes up about there
this time of the year -- I'll land yew on L&ocaron;sap."
"Right," said Barrington, "when you send the boat ashore here with your second
mate let your men get my chest from the store. It's all ready packed, and nothing
to pay on it."
"Naow, thet's business. I kin see that yew an' me'll git along bully. Here, steward,
bring us suthin' to drink, and then tell Mr Duggan I want him."
Having secured a man whom he was sure would prove a good officer,
Captain Amos Bennett was now in a good temper, and in a few minutes after he
had settled with Barrington he had told him all about the voyage of the Kellet
Passmore since she had left New Bedford, and the shortcomings of his crew.
Then his natural inborn curiosity asserted itself again, and he began to question
Barrington as to his reasons for leaving the Wanderer, "which, fer a colonial
whaler, was most extr'or'nary lucky!"
Drinking off his grog, the young man put his hand inside his coat, drew out some
papers, and laid them on the table. There was an angry light in his eye, which the
inquisitive American was not slow to perceive, and he began:
"Waal, I don't want to pester yew onnesscessarily like, but I thought----"
Barrington interrupted him.
"That's all right. I left the Wanderer in Sydney two months ago, and came over
here to look out for another ship. Why I left her doesn't concern you. I was not
asked to leave her, as that will show you, Captain Bermett," and he handed him a
letter. "Do you know Captain Codrington? He's a countryman of yours."
"Rather think I did. He's from daown my way -- Martha's Vineyard -- an' a real
smart man, although he did take to whalin' under the British flag," and Captain
Bennett gave an amicable snort, and took the paper offered him.
It contained but a few lines, saying that the writer, William Codrington,
regretted that Barrington had decided to leave the Wanderer, and urging him to
reconsider the matter.
Just then the steward came in, and Bennett, handing the letter back, said:
"Whar's Mr Duggan, steward?"
"On deck, sir," answered Herrera the mate, who just then came in the cabin.
"Send him down, then," and an unpleasant look came over Bennett's face.
The mate, as he turned to go, passed the half-opened cabin door on the starboard
side. He pulled it to gently, and with something like a smile on his face, went on
deck and called out:
"Mr Duggan, come below, please."
In a few seconds a short, stout man tramped down the companion-way and stood
in front of the captain.
"Mr Duggan, yew don't suit me, and I'm quite willin' fur yew tew go ashore----"
"And I'm d----d glad to get clear of you and this rotten old hooker of a barque.
You're a lyin' bully, and this ship ain't fit for a white man to sail in."
"Not fur a white-livered sort like yew, Duggan," snarled back Bennett. "Why, yew
ain't fit fur anything better'n cod-fishin'."
"He is too good and honest a man to remain on board this ship, Captain Bennett,"
said a soft voice, and a young woman opened the cabin door that the mate
had closed, and stepped into the main cabin.
Bennett dropped his eyes and made no answer.
"And so you are going, Mr Duggan," she said, "my sister and I shall miss you very
much. Good-bye," and she put her white hand into Duggan's huge paw.
"Good-bye, Miss Trenton, and God bless you, miss, and bring you safe home again!"
Almost ere Barrington could get more than a glance at the girl's pale face and
deep hazel eyes she had entered her cabin again and closed the door, and the
second mate was addressing his farewell remarks to the captain, the which, once
he was assured that the young lady was out of hearing, he concluded by consigning
Bennett to eternal flames and perdition in a vigorous and lucid manner. Then he
tramped off on deck again, where the mate was awaiting him.
"Good-bye, Duggan," said Herrera, holding out his hand, "I am sorry you and the
old man can't agree; but you and I part friends, don't we?"
"Oh yes -- yes. I've got nothing against you. You only knock the men about from
force of habit; Bennett does it from pure natural cussedness. Well, anyway, I wish
the ship luck."
"Thanks. I don't like Bennett much myself, but I like the old Passmore."
"Especially when there's a pretty girl like Kate Trenton aboard. Look here,
Herrera, just you, mind your bearings. You ain't a fit man for a girl like
The dark, handsome face flushed, and with a curt "good-bye" the mate walked
away, and Duggan went down over the side into the boat and was pulled ashore.
By sunset the Kellet Passmore was under weigh again, heading for Tongatabu, in
the Friendly Islands, where Bennett intended cruising for a few weeks before going
to the northward.
Just before supper that evening Barrington went below to get a pipe of tobacco.
The lamp had not yet been lit, and the spacious cabin of the old barque was in
He was turning to go on deck again when Captain Bennett, who was standing
talking to some one, called him over and introduced him to the Reverend Hosea
"By God!" muttered Barrington under his breath, "it's that meddlesome Yankee
Baptist parson who was always worrying Nadee about her soul;" but he put out his
"How are you, Mr Barrington? Is it well with you?" said the missionary, who always
affected a Scriptural style of address. "'Tis indeed strange we meet again?"
"I'm all right, thank you," said Barrington quietly, and then he added, "I did not
imagine that you and Mrs Parker were on board. I trust she is well?"
"Well, I thank the Lord! Mr Barrington; she will be here presently. And how
comes it, Mr Barrington, that we meet you here?"
"Oh, I'm getting back again. And may I ask the same question of you, Mr Parker?
How comes it that you are so far away from Ponape?"
"It pleased Providence that the Morning Star, our missionary ship, should be cast
away on Strong's Island a year back. My wife and I, who were then in America, thus
had no means of returning to the Vineyard, save by a whale-ship."
"Ah! I see," and Barrington, who had no wish to hear any more, went on deck.
"Sez it was Providence ez wrecked that thar brig, does he?" said Captain Bennett
to his new second mate, as he followed him on deck. "Waal, ef that ain't rich!
Providence, hey? It was just because the darned wooden-headed galoot of a
captain hedn't got sense enough tew try and tow her off when the current swep'
her again' the rocks; instead of doin' which he let go his anchor in 'bout a mile deep
of water, right 'long-side the reef, and trusted to Providence. Consikently, when
she swung round she bashed her starn inter pulp on the reef. I hain't got no
patience with creatures that get inter a hell of a mess and then start yowlin' 'bout
the will of Providence and sich. It's jes' sickenin'!"
Half an hour afterwards, when Barrington came down to supper, Helen
Parker rose to meet him with extended hand. Her face was deadly pale, but the
quick eye of Jose Herrera saw that her hand trembled and a deep rose colour
momentarily flooded her face from brow to chin.
Some mere common-place escaped her as Barrington took her hand, and she said:
"This is my sister, Mr Barrington. I have just been telling her that you and I were
The hazel-eyed, curly-haired girl who sat by her rose and shook hands with the new
officer, and said, with a straight look at the tan-hided countenance of Amos
"How do you do, Mr Barrington? I am sorry Mr Duggan has gone; but I hope I shall
like you as much as I did him."
The new second mate laughed, and even Bennett gave his cachinnatory snuffle;
but Mrs Parker kept her pale face bent over her plate, and did not raise it again till
supper was over.
"I suppose," said Barrington that night to Herrera, as the two sat smoking in the
latter's cabin for a few minutes, "that that pretty girl is going down to the
Carolines to marry some pasty-faced Yankee missionary like the Reverend Hosea
Herrera, who lay out at full length in his bunk smoking a Manilla, raised himself on
one elbow and looked searchingly at his fellow-officer, his black eyes shining and
sparkling in the darkness.
"Not if I can help it, Mr Barrington," he said.
Barrington was startled, but said nothing; and then, Herrera, still leaning his
black-bearded chin upon his hand, spoke again in his soft, finely-modulated voice.
"Which, Mr Barrington, think you, is the most beautiful of the two?"
"I don't know, I'm sure," replied Barrington carelessly; "both are good-looking."
"Good-looking! Mother of God! Both are lovely -- and, Mr Barrington, the wife of
that ugly devil of a padre looked at you in a way that I would give five years of my
life for her sister to so look at me. My friend, that woman is in love with you!"
"You are mistaken, Mr Herrera," said Barrington coldly, "and I may as well tell you
that I've got a wife -- as good a girl as ever I want -- and it's not in my nature to
run after any one else's wife; and I'm going back to her now, poor little devil!"
The dark-faced mate lay back again and smiled softly to himself.
Presently he resumed: "I do not want to ask impertinent questions of you, but is
your wife young and beautiful?"
"Ah! Then you have no eyes for another woman. But, tell me, is it not a very
wonderful thing that such a beautiful woman as the padre's -- parson, as you call
him -- this padre's wife, should marry such a man? Dios! he is as ugly as a
sun-fish, and with no more brains."
"I daresay he's a good enough man in his way," replied Barrington; "but, as you
say, he's got no brains."
The mate laughed. "And she cares no more for him than she does for black
Manuel, the ship's cook! Truly, it is wonderful that so sweet a woman should marry
a miserable little priest."
Chapter III. The Wife Of The Reverend Hosea Parker
CERTAINLY there was something to wonder about, for the Reverend Hosea Parker
was about the last man in the world one would expect to see a lively and intelligent
woman marry, for, while possessing features as homely as a stone jug, they were
not nearly so expressive. Like a great many of his colleagues, however, he was not
as bad as he looked, and honestly believed that Providence intended him for a
great mission -- i.e. to convert the heathen from his blindness. Until the age of
thirty or so he had, to use his own words, been "in the world, a wordly man,"
earning a living as a compositor on a Boston religious newspaper largely
devoted to alarmist statements about the vast numbers of South Sea Islanders
who were hurrying to perdition for want of missionary effort. The confined nature
of his occupation, and a course of attendances at revival meetings, at one of
which he fell down in a fit, had led to a serious illness, from which he recovered a
"concerned" man. Six months afterwards he was accepted as a "labourer" in the
mission field; and a natural, rough eloquence he possessed so worked upon the
feelings of Helen Trenton, one of the young members of a Boston church in which
he was preaching one Sunday, that she -- in her turn -- went into hysterics. On
being brought to she found the Reverend Hosea Parker and her mother by her side
in her parents' house, and the latter, being very wealthy but pious people,
requested the rugged-faced preacher to question her as to whether she was
feeling "concerned." The result was that -- while under a sort of mild religious
mania -- twelve months later she became Mrs Hosea Parker, and went out with
her husband to the Caroline Islands. Six years' residence among the unconventional
people of those parts convinced her that if her husband was intended for a saver
of souls she was not, and that Providence, or the tropical climate, had dealt very
hardly with her in the matter of her complexion. After a short visit to her native
city she was now returning with her husband with a despairing feeling in her heart
that she wasn't so good a woman as her Boston friends supposed her to
be, and that the advent of a young English trader to Ponape, where she was
engaged in hopelessly "labouring" to instruct the native girls in orthodox morality,
had a good deal to do with it.
But that was three or four years ago, and the English trader had gone away out of
her life altogether, when one day a whale-ship called in to buy turtle and poultry
and let the crew indulge in the usual amusements common to whalers' crews in the
North Pacific Islands.
That evening the Reverend Hosea Parker had told her in his solemn,
wooden-headed manner that the captain of the whaler had informed him that he
had lost one of his officers during the voyage, and had shipped Barrington in his
"And I really must say, Helen, that I am not sorry to see that young man go away
from here. His manner of life here is a standing reproach to us both, and I have
wrestled hard with him, but without avail."
"He is no worse than most of the white men in these islands, Hosea," she had said
timidly. "You must remember that by the native custom Nadee is his wife -- just
as much as I am yours. I am afraid, Hosea, that you and I are a little bit prejudiced
against John Barrington."
Poor little woman! She wasn't prejudiced against the good-looking, devil-may-care
English, trader, but she included herself -- merely as a salve to her wifely
The Reverend Hosea sat down, and, placing his hands upon his knees, looked into
his wife's face with the same expression he was wont to employ when
reprimanding one of his native girl-pupils for indulging in the forbidden pleasures of
a heathen dance on the beach by moonlight.
"Have you possibly forgotten what that young man said to me when I spoke to him
with reference to the deplorable and wicked life he is leading?"
Mrs Hosea had not forgotten. Indeed, she had been present and well within hearing
on the occasion, and was not likely to forget the incident. However, being a wise
woman, she said nothing, and when that evening Mr John Barrington strolled
nonchalantly up to the mission-house to say good-bye to the Reverend Hosea, to
whom, although he had always been at loggerheads with him, the trader bore no
malice, pretty Mrs Parker stifled her desire to cry, and said good-bye bravely
enough. Then, when from the mission-house verandah she saw the Tuscana slowly
sail out of Jakoits Harbour, she went back into the sitting-room, and, sobbing
softly to herself, wondered what would have happened if she had met handsome
Jack Barrington before the Reverend Hosea Parker had convinced her that she
was a fitting colleague for him to help to save the souls of the "perishing"
heathen in the Caroline Islands. And so, as she thought, the one man who
could have been anything to her passed away out of her life, and his absence
seemed to accentuate the personal homeliness of feature of the Reverend Hosea
more and more to her, so much so that one day during the voyage back she told
her sister Kate, who was coming out to the islands with her to stay, that she
didn't care a straw about either the dull-minded man she had married or the
heathen in whom he took such a useless interest.
The big hazel eyes of Kate Trenton opened in shocked surprise. The day had been
close and sultry, and the Kellet Passmore was lying becalmed with the pitch
bubbling up between her. deck planking, and the two women felt half stifled.
"Poor Helen!" said the girl, stroking her sister's face, "the weather has upset you.
I know I feel it myself. Even Mr Herrera is going about wearing a wide straw hat
instead of his usual cap."
"Kate," and Mrs Parker sat up on the lounge where she had been lying down
endeavouring to read, "Kate, do you know that Mr Herrera seems to take
altogether too much interest in you. You surely would not be foolish enough to let
yourself care for him?"
Kate Trenton turned her face away for a moment or two from her sister's eyes
and made no answer, but her cheek reddened visibly.
Then Helen drew the girl down beside her.
"What a hypocrite I am, Kate, to talk like this to you. Of course I know you
love him, and he loves you, and ----"
The girl put her hand over her sister's mouth.
"Hush! Helen, don't say that."
"But I do say it, dear. Why shouldn't I? Don't make the horrible mistake that I have
made -- marry a man to please your parents and then meet some one that you
"Helen!" and Kate put her arms lovingly around her, alarmed at something that
sounded dangerously like the first break of a sob in her voice, "surely, dear, you
have never met any one whom you have cared for in that manner but Hosea?"
The mention of Hosea's name broke up Mrs Parker's resolution never to tell Kate
anything about the matter.
"Yes, I did," she whimpered, "and the horrible part of it was that he lived quite
close to us, and although he and I met very often I don't believe he ever gave me a
thought, and when he went away the cruel wretch asked me if I would mind letting
(sob) his wife stay with me (sob) until he came (sob) back for her."
"Helen, what dreadful things you are telling me! What does it all mean? Who was
"I might as well tell you all about it, Kate," she said wearily. "I don't suppose I shall
ever see him again, and I want you to see what a silly fool I have been about a man
that I suppose would have made game about the 'sky-pilot's wife' among his
rough associates had he known that I cared for him."
"Poor Helen!" and Kate Trenton's hand stole into hers.
Chapter IV: "We Cannot Put New Wine Into Old Bottles"
"HE was, or rather had been, a mate on a Sydney whale-ship, but quarrelled with
his captain" -- her face flushed scarlet -- "quarrelled over a native girl, and
Barrington -- that was his name -- broke the captain's jaw with a blow of his fist
and then deserted. All this took place at an island hundreds of miles away from
Ponape. The ship sailed without him, and a few months afterwards he turned up at
a native village about four miles from the mission; he brought with him a young girl
and an old hag. The natives took a great liking to him, and he lived with them for a
month or so until a trading-ship called. The captain sold him some trade goods, and
the next thing we heard was that the chief had built him a house -- for himself
and Nadee, his native wife."
"Helen! Surely you could never have cared for a man who would disgrace himself in
that way, even had you been a free woman!"
Mrs Parker laughed sarcastically.
"My dear Kate, when you have lived a few years in the Islands you will hold
different opinions about a man 'disgracing himself'"
"It is a disgrace, Helen," said the girl hotly. "Supposing one of our brothers
married a coloured woman, what would you and I -- what would the world think?"
"In America or Europe, that he had shocking bad taste -- in the South Sea Islands,
that he meant to settle down and live decently."
"Helen! How can you, a missionary's wife, say such things? What would your
"My husband, Kate, is only a unit in a vast crowd of silly people who throw away
millions of dollars every year in sending out people sillier than themselves to worry
heathen people about their souls."
"O Helen, Helen! is this the end of your once great hope? I remember how fervent
you once were about coming out with Hosea."
"Oh yes, so do I, Kate," she answered desperately, pushing back her hair wearily
from her temples, "but I know better now. I wish mother and father hadn't been
quite so pious. Then I would never have met and married that estimable blockhead,
the Reverend Hosea Parker."
"For shame, Helen!"
"I'm sick and tired of it all, Kate. If you were not with me I would jump overboard.
Perhaps, if I hadn't met that wretched man I would have gone on all right to
the end in the laudable effort to put new wine into old bottles, meaning thereby
cramming simple native minds with Boston-made theology."
"Helen," and Kate Trenton wound her arms round her sister's waist, "I'm so sorry,
dear. Try and put this man out of your mind."
"Don't be such a little fool. Of course it's all finished long ago; but oh, Kit, I was
sorry to see him go. He was so different from every other man I have ever met.
Hosea disliked him intensely."
"Quite right, too," said Kate stoutly; "how dared any man make love to you?"
"That is just what he did not do. He only came to the mission-house occasionally,
and Hosea talked such dreadful twaddle to him in that hideously stupid, dull voice
of his that he was glad to get away."
"What could such a man as he, Helen, have to talk about in common with your
"A good deal, Kit. He had a great influence over the natives, and Hosea was
jealous, and made no secret of it. Sometimes there would nearly be a quarrel," and
here she laughed, "and I would enjoy it -- anything was better than listening to
Hosea's monotonous droning about the perversity of some chief or other who
didn't want Christianity, but did want square gin, and axes, and knives, and
muskets, and refused to cut down his harem to one. There, don't be shocked,
dear, but just sit quietly and listen. It's such a relief for me to break out at
last and let you see what a scandalous creature I am. But, oh, Kit, dear, just
imagine what I have gone through for nearly six years. Night after night to sit in
the front room of the mission-house and listen to Hosea droning out his
translations of the Scriptures to our sleepy native servants; then to go to bed
and awake suddenly in the silence of the night and hear the droning of the surf --
which was almost as bad as Hosea's -- on the reef miles away. Sometimes I would
get up and have a good cry and wish that I were dead. Perhaps if I had had a child
to love the life I lived would have been less horrible."
"Were there no other white men near you but that -- that man?"
"Oh yes, several. But none like him. There were three or four traders on the
island, ignorant, rough men, but they never came near the mission, except on one
occasion when one of them, named Paddy Kerr, called on behalf of his colleagues
to tell Hosea that he was a meddlesome fool, and that if he, or any of his native
teachers, 'came foolin' around their way teachin' natives that all white men, excep'
those that come in the Morning Star missionary ship, was rogues,' they (the
traders) would duck him in the lagoon."
"The brutes!" said Kate Trenton indignantly.
"Not a bit of it, my dear. There is a great deal to be said on both sides. We
missionaries are a meddlesome lot, Kitty, and these English and American
traders are men -- dreadful scamps, no doubt, many of them, but then they came
here long before we did, and I don't think it right for us to prejudice the natives
"Helen! How can you? I am afraid that this trader friend of yours has done you no
Mrs Parker laughed contemptuously.
"He has done me good, Kit -- he and the rougher men he was associated with. I
went to the islands a religious pedant, and my narrow-mindedness and silly bigotry
received some severe shocks. There, dear, I won't horrify you any more. Did you
hear what Captain Bennett said to Hosea last night at supper about baptism by
total immersion?" and her eyes sparkled mischievously.
"No, Helen, I hate the man, and always get away from the table as quickly as
"You shouldn't. He's very amusing. Hosea believes that total immersion is an
all-important preliminary to future salvation, and asked Mr Herrera -- a Catholic, I
suppose -- what his opinion was?"
"What did Mr Herrera say?" asked Kate, showing interest enough now.
"Oh, nothing, merely bowed, said he didn't know, and asked Bennett if he intended
bending on a new fore-topmast staysail. I suppose he wanted to get on deck after
"Never mind, dear. Well, then Hosea asked Mr Duggan, who only shook his head in
agony and nearly choked himself with a piece of meat; then he asked
Captain Bennett. 'Waal, sir,' said Bennett, 'maybe yew air right and maybe yew air
wrong. Ez fur me, I was jest sprinkled in the or'nary way by old Parson Wicks, of
Marblehead, an' I reckon my old mother thought I had jest ez much chance of
salvation ez if I'd hev been anchored by the neck in the Mississippi fur month.'"
The younger woman smiled, but then looked at her sister in surprise. She had
never heard her talk like this before, and never knew that her life had not been a
"Come on deck, Helen," she said presently, "I hear the sailors hauling the yards
round and can feel the ship moving again. I am so glad. The language that man
Bennett uses to the crew terrifies me, and I shall be glad when the voyage is
They went on deck, and as the Kellet Passmore heeled slightly to the breeze that
came rippling over the water, the mate came up to them, and, though he spoke to
both, his eyes were for sweet-faced Kate Trenton alone.
"We have the breeze at last, ladies; by to-morrow morning we shall be in the Bay
of Islands. Captain Bennett and Mr Duggan have quarrelled again, and we are going
in there to try and get another officer in his place and some more men as well."
Chapter V: The First And Second Mates
THREE months had passed, and the Kellet Passmore had crawled lazily along from
the coast of New Zealand to the Friendly Islands, and then from the Friendlies
northwards and westward towards the Carolines, till one morning she lay in sight
of the little island group of L&ocaron;sap.
The wind was light, so light that the old barque could scarce feel her helm as she
rose and fell to the gentle ocean swell. The islands lay about three miles to
windward -- four small green spots of thickly-clustering palms, encircled by a wide
sweep of reef some ten or fifteen miles in circumference. On the north-east horn
of the reef was the main island of the four, a thick mass of coconut trees and
pandanus palms; and five miles away, at the extreme southern end, were the
three smaller islets. These, too, were covered with vegetation -- a dense and
tangled fringe of low, light-green scrub, growing down to the beach; in the centre a
few scattered clumps of coconuts, growing in twos and threes, lifted their stately
plumes high above.
Presently John Barrington, who knew the place well, came aft, and after a turn or
two along the deck, stopped and looked over toward the land.
"Lovely little spot, isn't it?" he said, turning to Mrs Parker and her sister, who
were sitting close together in two deck-chairs.
Kate Trenton smiled and nodded. She had grown to like Barrington; but her sister,
save for a faint pink flush that came and vanished quickly, took no notice of his
remark, and bent her face down over her book.
Six weeks before, when she had met him first at the cabin table, her heart had
leaped at the sight of him, only to die away within her when she found that, either
designedly or from utter indifference, he scarcely spoke to her beyond the
requirements of common courtesy. And from that evening to the present time he
had seldom spoken to her directly. But that "the little she-missionary," as he used
mentally to call her, had ever -- at any time -- given him a thought, John
Barrington never suspected, and while on the island in the olden days, he had never
been nervous or embarrassed in her presence, he was so now, simply because he
felt that both she and her sister were beings so immeasurably above him in their
thoughts and life, that they could not but regard him with that feeling of
antagonism natural to educated and refined women who come in contact with men
of loose habits and South Sea morals generally, like himself. And no one knew
better than he did his own failings. Had she come to him in his island home
and preached to him on the evil of his ways, he would have given her a very sharp
answer; but here, on board ship, it was a very different matter, and had she
reproached him now about his past existence, when he had lived near her and her
husband at the mission station, he felt he would be utterly incapable of making any
defence. Not that Mr John Barrington was in the slightest degree ashamed of his
manner of life as an island trader, and, indeed, he had expressed himself in very
vigorous terms to the Reverend Hosea when that gentleman had made any allusion
to the wickedness of white traders; but at the same time he was conscious that
he could not use the same arguments to a young and pretty white woman as he
could to her husband.
"Are we going to send a boat ashore here, Mr Barrington?" asked Kate Trenton
"I think so, Miss Trenton," he replied, and then, as the girl came over near him,
and placed her hand on the rail while she looked at the nearing land, he added in a
lower voice, and with a slight smile --
"Mr Parker wants Captain Bennett to let him go ashore and ascertain if the native
chief will consent to a teacher landing here the next time the Morning Star
missionary brig calls here."
"Why do you laugh, Mr Barrington? Is not my brother-in-law doing his duty to his
conscience? I know you don't like him -- neither does Mr Herrera; but I am
sure you must feel he is a good man."
Barrington was silent. He detested the jug-faced missionary most cordially, but
could not say so to the girl.
"I was not laughing at his desire to go ashore, Miss Trenton; but because of
Captain Bennett's remark when Mr Parker asked him to lower a boat."
"What was it?" said the girl with a bright smile,looking up into his face. "He's a
horrible creature, but does say such amusing things. What did he say?"
Barrington, shutting his left eye and scratching his cheek, imitated the captain's
"Down East" drawl to perfection.
"'Want to go ashore, hey? Waal, I don't mind,' then, calling to the mate, 'Mr
Herrera, tell the third mate to get his boat ready. Mr Parker wants to go ashore
to indooce the natives to accep' the Gawspil, and I want to buy some hogs.'"
Kate smothered a laugh and turned away, and just then Captain Bennett slouched
up on deck, smoking, or rather chewing, his inevitable cigar.
"Howdy, ladies. Nice day, ain't it? Mr Barrington, I'm sendin' two boats away -- the
first mate's and yours; and ez yew intend to stay here, I'll feel obliged if yew'll help
Mr Herrera tew buy some hogs for the ship, while Mr Parker is interdoocin' the
Helen Parker raised her face, and Kate saw that she was deathly pale.
Neither of them knew that Barrington intended leaving the ship so soon.
"Aye, aye, sir. I think I can do that. I know the people pretty well. They are a rough
lot, but I understand their ways."
"He-he-he," sniggered Bennett, who was disposed to make himself pleasant to his
officer, who only a week before had made fast to and killed the largest whale the
ship had yet taken. "He-he-he; so this is the island whar that nice young wife of
yours ez livin'."
A quick glance at Kate Trenton and her sister showed Barrington that they had
heard; they were both looking straight at him, wondering what his answer would
The answer he made Bennett was given in such a low tone that neither of them
caught more than the last words, which were "and you mind your own damned
Then, with a black look on his face, Barrington went on the main deck to see to his
"Thet's a most ontractable young man," said Bennett to Hosea Parker, who had
now come up on deck in readiness to go ashore; "he's mighty tetchy about nothin'.
Why, most everybody daown in these parts marries native women. He ain't got no
call to get so mad ----"
"He will be called to account for it some day, my friend. It is terrible to think that
men like him, engaged in such a dangerous avocation, and who may be cut
off by the hand of Provi----"
"Land alive, parson, yew do skeer me! I hope Providence ain't a-goin' to cut off any
of my young men -- an' me with only two hundred and seventeen barrels of ile in
the ship! Sech a possibility as thet jest gives me a cold chill daown the back," and
the skipper of the Passmore, with a grin on his face, shambled away below again
to get some trade goods together with which to buy the provisions he wanted.
The original crew of the crazy old barque, who had sailed with her from New
Bedford, had run away from her, either one by one or in batches, at the various
South American ports at which she had touched, and when Captain Bennett had
put into the Bay of Islands, there was scarecly one of them remaining on board.
Those who had been shipped in their places were either Chilenos, Brazilians, or
Western Islands Portuguese -- men whom it would not have been safe for Bennett
to have knocked about as he did those who had run away. The use of foul language
and reflections upon their parentage they accepted as a matter of course from
such a notorious bully as the captain -- especially if a whale was lost or a boat
stove in -- but a blow was quite another matter; and Bennett knew that as well as
any one on board, and regulated his conduct to them accordingly. And then, in the
soft-tongued first mate, Joseph Herrera, many of them had, if not a
countryman, one whom they regarded as such; and Amos Bennett knew, too, that
under that smooth-featured, effeminate-looking face there lurked the spirit of a
tiger, and that although the mate was quick to come to his aid and uphold his
authority when there was any trouble with the crew, he was a dangerous man to
insult or cross. Besides this, he was a good seaman, a splendid officer, and an able
navigator -- which latter Bennett was not. Therefore he valued him, but, at the
same time, secretly despised him as a "Dago," and took a malignant pleasure in
always letting Hosea Parker know that Kate Trenton was on deck "a-talking to
that mate of mine," with the result that the pious Hosea would beckon her away,
and reprove her for wasting the officer's time.
Chapter VI: Kate Trenton
AND Herrera -- although he did his duty with a smiling face, and apparently took
no notice of the daily mutterings of the crew about the bad food and the
brutalities of the captain and the third and fourth mates -- only bided his time. He
had, from the very day that Kate Trenton had come on board, fallen violently in
love with her pink and white beauty, and as the voyage wore on plenty of
opportunities of seeing her and talking to her alone. Long before the barque had
let go the anchor in the Bay of Islands, Amos Bennett noticed that a curious
change had come over his chief mate, who, always a reserved man, now seemed
quieter than ever, and treated the pottery-faced Hosea Parker with such an
affectation of respect that, while it did not deceive Bennett, convinced the
missionary that Joseph Herrera, whom he at first considered a lost man -- being a
Papist -- was about to be saved through his (Hosea's) instrumentality. And it
suited the wily, handsome Bonin Island Portuguese to let him think so, for it gave
him further chances to talk to the girl, and deepen in her the feeling of interest
that he had aroused by his stories of the wild scenes and strange adventures he
had passed through in his wanderings of twenty years in South Sea whalers.
So it was no wonder that one evening, as the old barque slid softly along under her
shortened canvas, and the watch on deck lay about, looking up at the
star-spangled heavens, and the warm breath of the trade wind fanned Kate
Trenton's cheek, that Herrera's chance came.
She was just about to go below, and stopping for a moment at the companion-way,
held out her hand to the mate.
"Good-night, Mr Herrera. I wish I could stay on deck. It is such a lovely night."
His brown, sinewy, but shapely hand closed over hers, and his black eyes
glowed and shone with passionate ardour.
"Good-night," he said, speaking in a voice scarce above a whisper, but still holding
the girl's hand; and then he drew her unresistingly to him and kissed her on the
In another moment she had fled below, and Jose Herrera, with flashing eyes and
his white teeth showing in a triumphant smile, paced the deck and talked to
"Holy Saints above! She is mine now. And to get her I am ready for anything --
even to cutting the throat of the flat-faced Padre Parker."
And then, as the ship rippled along over the starlit sea, he made up his plan of
action. She did not intend to leave her sister, at least not for a couple of years,
and in a couple of years a great deal might happen -- she might meet another
man. From that evening Jose Herrera began to ingratiate himself with some of the
crew. He did not mean to resort to violence to attain the object he had in view, if
it could be managed quietly; if it could not -- well, so much the worse for those
who might oppose him. He simply meant to run away from the ship in one of her
boats, and take Kate Trenton with him to his native land, the Bonin Islands. But to
do this he would need the assistance of some of the crew. In a day or so more the
Kellet Passmore would be at an island where he hoped to put his plan into
execution. And so, never doubting for a moment his power over Kate
Trenton, he went about his work quite satisfied that the girl would come away with
him when the time came.
"We are sure to call off Truk," he thought, "and it will be easy enough to get away
in my boat to one of the islands in Truk Lagoon, and hide there till the ship goes
off without us. I don't think Amos Bennett would care to come and look for me and
four other armed men, all of whom would willingly cut his lean throat rather than
be taken back to the ship."
Just as Amos Bennett went into his cabin to pick out the trade goods to send
ashore in the boats, Mrs Parker opened her cabin door and came out, followed by
Kate Trenton and the Reverend Hosea.
"Captain Bennett, my sister and I would like to go ashore with Mr Parker."
"Waal, ladies, ef I was yew, I wouldn't," said the captain, who was busily engaged in
digging out cakes of tobacco from a small case with his pocket-knife; "these here
Loosap natives don't cotton much to strangers, and ef anything onpleasant
occurred, why, I should feel myself to blame fur lettin' yew go in the boats. Yew
see, ladies, these Loosap people air a very excitable lot, an' the least thing might
make an onpleasantness between them and my boats' crews."
"Oh, Hosea, don't go," said Kate Trenton. "Mr Barrington, too, was telling me this
morning that, unlike most of the Caroline Islanders, these natives do not
care for visits from strangers, and that when he lived here some years ago, the
whale-ships that called for fresh provisions had great trouble in inducing the
natives to sell them anything."
The Reverend Hosea, however, was not alarmed. Already he could see in the
Society's magazine an account stating how "the Reverend Hosea Parker, the
earnest and intrepid missionary, had planted the Seed at L&ocaron;sap," and,
indeed, the honest man had any amount of a stupid, tactless courage.
"It is my duty, Kate, and, besides that, I have long wished to see these people and
give them the Light. This is the island, too, that that unfortunate girl Nadee
belongs to; perchance she may be here now, and----"
Mrs Parker's mouth hardened suddenly at the mention of the name of Barrington's
native wife, and she interrupted her husband.
"I am determined to go ashore. Both Kate and I would go mad, cooped up on board.
If it is only to put my foot on the beach for a moment, and then be capsized in the
boat coming out, I would go."
"Waal, jest as yew please, ladies. If Mr Parker is willin', I don't object. Oh, is that
you, Mr Barrington? Here's the terbacker and other things. These here ladies are
a-goin' ashore with you an' Parson Parker."
Barrington's face showed annoyance.
"It is a bad landing-place, Mrs Parker," he said. "What the devil did the
women want to come for?" he thought.
"Is it?" she answered coolly. "Well, I'll take all risks. You don't look very pleased,
Mr Barrington, at having our company."
There was a sarcastic ring in the laugh that ended her speech, and Barrington was
nettled, and showed it. He was not pleased at the prospect, for two reasons: the
first was that the women might get drenched going over the reef; the second was
that he did not want them to witness his meeting with his wife.
"Just as you please, Mrs Parker; but in addition to the chances of us getting a
wetting in going ashore, and in coming out loaded up with turtle and pigs, I don't
think you will like the people; they are very reserved and suspicious of strangers,
and the women always retire till they are gone."
"Oh, what a shame!" said Miss Trenton, puckering up her dark eyebrows; "and I so
wanted to see them. I am told that they are very handsome. Are they, Mr
Barrington felt somewhat ashamed. Kate Trenton's innocent eyes, the reflex of
her pure and innocent mind, always did make him feel ashamed when by any chance
the talk turned upon native women. He thought that her sister disliked him
strongly, and had given her a pretty bad account of him; else why did Mrs Parker
so pointedly avoid speaking to him when they met on deck? So, with
something like a woman's blush, he answered----
"Some of them are very handsome, Miss Trenton."
"But few so handsome as Nadee?"
The second mate turned sharply and looked at the missionary's wife. She was
sitting in the captain's chair, leaning her cheek upon one hand. There was a
curious, defiant glitter in her eyes as she met his glance.
"D----n her!" he said, under his breath. "She wants to show me up again before her
sister. Why the ---- can't she leave me alone!" Then a quick feeling of anger came
"As you say, Mrs Parker, few are so handsome as Nadee -- and few or none are
The colour died away on Mrs Parker's face, and then, with a little sneering laugh,
she rose and went into her cabin.
Something made Kate Trenton lift her honest brown eyes to Barrington's, and
then she impulsively held out her hand to him. He took it quickly, pressed it, and
then raising his hat to her, went up on deck.
"Dear little woman," he said to himself. "I do believe she'd meet Nadee and not
think she was such a terribly bad lot after all. By God! if I thought Herrera meant
to harm Kate Trenton, I'd spoil his beauty!"
In the Reverend Hosea's cabin his wife was savagely drying her eyes with
her handkerchief when Kate entered.
"Are you ready, Helen?" she began; and then she stopped, and tears of sympathy
filled her eyes.
"Helen, dear, we will not go. You look quite ill. What is the matter?"
"Nothing," she answered brusquely; "only that I'm a fool, and only knew it
thoroughly just now. Let us go by all means. I don't care a fig about the heathen,
but I do want to go ashore, out of this miserable, stuffy cabin, and get a walk on
The black beard and dark, handsome face of the mate appeared over the skylight.
"The boats are ready, ladies; Mr Parker is getting quite impatient."
"Come, Helen," her sister said in a whisper; "you will feel better soon."
Chapter VII: Nadee
"'Tis a whale-ship, my mother, for when she lifts to the swell of the ocean I can
see her many boats hoisted high up over the side."
Nadee, standing out in front of the russet-thatched high-peaked house in the
native village, leant her lithe young figure against the bole of a coconut
tree, and shading her eyes against the glare of the morning sun with her little
brown hands, looked steadily once more out eastward over the sea towards the
"Come thou inside, child," answered a voice, tremulous with age. "Who but thee, O
one with little thought, would stand out there in the blazing sun to look at a ship?
What hath the ship to do with thee?"
The girl laughed joyously at the question of old Tariva, whom she called mother,
but who was really her grandmother, and the only one of her blood alive; then she
answered, still shading her eyes as she watched the ship:
"It may be, mother, that my husband cometh. Who can tell? And twenty and five
months have come and gone since he left us, and he said that he would come again
"Foolish child! And does it take thee five moons to learn that he is a liar and thou a
The girl's head drooped, her cloud of wavy hair fell around her face, and she
worked one of her bared feet slowly to and fro in the heated sand and broken
coral pebble on which she stood. For a minute or so she made no answer, and then
slowly walked towards the house, passed the opened door of thatch, and
Within, an old woman with wrinkled face and snow-white hair falling in ragged tails
down her brown and naked back, was seated cross-legged before a tiny fire
of charcoal. With one hand she fanned the coals, and with the other stirred some
liquid that bubbled and frothed in a halved coconut shell set in among the embers.
Softly but steadily the old grandam flapped the broad fan she held in her hand, and
peered anxiously into the shell, and as she fanned she muttered and crooned to
"Did I not tell her so . . . Jaki is but as other white men. And the twenty months
have passed and gone, and five more . . . Guk! the girl is a fool. He hath wearied of
her and will return not."
She lifted out the shell and set it beside her, for the heat had now began to crack
and warp it; then taking up another one from a number that lay beside her, she
set it among the coals, and poured back into it the liquid from the charred shell.
"Aye, they be all alike those white men Ah, it boileth again . . . Nadee, come thou
and see to it. Thy eyes are better than mine."
No answer came from the girl, who, though the old dame knew it not, was seated
with her back to the cane-latticed side of the house, not ten feet away, crying
softly to herself.
"Nadee," again called old Tariva querulously, "hast not yet tired of baking thyself
in the fierce sun, looking at the ship. Come, child, and see the oil I have
made, scented with nudu flowers and sandalwood. Dost think 'tis for my old white
locks I make it, thou lazy Nadee?"
A sob answered her. "Nay, mother. But set it aside for a little time; for my eyes
are dimmed with the glare of the sun, and I fear the smoke of thy fire. And here,
in the shade, it is cool for me to sit awhile."
The old woman's lined and wrinkled face softened, and she glanced towards the
side of the house from whence Nadee spoke.
"Thou liest, child. 'Tis not the sun that hath hurt thy eyes; 'tis the foolish tears
for the man who hath cast thee off."
"Say not that, my mother," and the girl's voice, soft and low as it sounded,
trembled as she caught her breath, "for though 'tis so long since, not one ship
have we seen at L&ocaron;sap since he sailed. And it may be this one . . . for why
should he cast me off, as thou sayest?"
"Why?" The old woman laughed scornfully. "Because of the wife of the Christ-man
at Ponape -- the woman with the hair like the yellow of the setting sun. Dost think
thy beauty can compare with that of the Christ-woman?"
The girl sprang to her feet, and in another moment she stood in the doorway with
her hands clenched.
"'Tis a lie, old Tariva! Thou art old and foolish. The wife of the Christ-man was
nought to my white man."
The old woman's thin lips parted in a contemptuous smile, and her white
teeth showed. Still fanning the embers with one hand, she looked keenly at Nadce's
"Why was it, then, that after the Christ-man and his wife came to Ponape, that he
went away from thee?"
The girl's hands unclenched, and a troubled look came into her face.
"He was wearied, he said, of the dull days, and longed to go out upon the ocean
again in one of the ships that seek for whales. For that is the work that he hath
done from his boyhood. And how could he take me with him?"
"Tah! lies, lies, all lies. Are there not many white men in these islands whose wives
voyage to and fro with them in ships? Did not Siria, the daughter of Larik, and Nili,
mine own sister's child -- she who is now dead -- sail with their white husbands to
the far off islands of the South?"
"True, mother," said Nadee steadfastly, "but, see, those were trading ships. But
never a woman goeth away beyond the sea-rim in a whale-ship. And did my husband
ever tell thee lies?"
"Oh, foolish child, to so believe in one of strange blood. If he so cared for thee,
why did he weary of thee so soon? I tell thee it was because of the Christ-woman."
"Not so. It was because that he was poor and had but little goods wherewith to
buy oil and pearl shell and tortoise shell, as did the other white men on
Ponape. And so, because that the days were dull to him he told me he desired to
sail for two years in a whale-ship, so that he would get money in plenty; and then
would he return with all the things he desired, and live with me always. But the
beautiful Christ-woman had naught to do with his going."
The old woman lifted the shell she was tending from off the fire, and brushing off
the dust from the mat on which she sat, motioned to the girl to sit beside her.
"Come hither, little one, and sit by old Tariva -- thy mother's mother, the only one
that is left to thee of all thy people."
Still with the troubled look in her lustrous eyes, Nadee, with another glance
seaward at the white sails of the ship, stepped inside, and sat down beside the old
woman, who, drawing the girlish figure to her wrinkled old bosom, pressed her lips
to her's in a silent, loving embrace.
"Only thou art left to me, little one -- thou of all that were once so many; and
because that I am so old, and will soon be with the silent ones, and thou wilt be
alone, do I wish to tell thee of some things."
The girl's rounded arm encircled the old dame's skinny neck, and her little hand
stroked her white locks, the while she laid her cheek, so young and full and tender,
against her grandam's lined and furrowed brow.
Chapter VIII: One Of The Old Bottles
THERE was none to hear them talk. Save the old woman and the girl, the rest of
the few people in the little village were away at work in their plantations or out
fishing in the lagoon. Outside, the quiet of the palm grove was scarce broken even
by the rustling of the breeze that swayed their branches to and fro. Sometimes,
on the white blaze of shimmering beach that came to within a few fathoms of the
open door of old Tariva's house, a swift black shadow would sweep by as a frigate
bird skimmed past, flying low down over the beach ere he took his mounting flight
seaward to plunge with deadly aim and cruel beak into the blue waters beyond the
So, in silence, and still caressing the aged face, Nadee waited till the time-worn old
Tariva chose to speak; but, even as she waited her eyes wandered out seawards
again and again.
"Turn thy back to the sea, little one. Let not the ship trouble thy mind yet awhile.
When I have said all that which is within me, then, if thou carest to still look
across the sea-rim for him who will never come, so be it, and I will have nought
more to say."
The girl faced round with a strange, wondering look in the depths of her
great soft eyes. What was it old Tariva had to say? Thrice since the day that they
had returned to L&ocaron;sap to await the coming back of her white husband, had
her grandam spoken to her of Railik, the son of the chief of L&ocaron;sap, who
desired her for his wife, and each time had Nadee, covering her face with her
hands, shaken her head and said: "I will wait. The twenty months must first be
passed and gone ere I will talk of such things."
And although old Tariva had given her some bitter words for her folly, yet she had
not sought to force the girl's choice. Railik, fierce and turbulent as he was, dared
not seize her and carry her off; for old Tariva was ejon, a strong witch, and had
power to cause his limbs to wither and perish, so that the skin would cleave to the
bone and make him ugly to look upon in the eyes of all men, if he tried to win the
girl by force against her grandam's wish.
But yet -- and Nadee, the white man's wife, knew it well -- old Tariva favoured his
suit, and though since that third time she spoke not again of the lying, faithless
white men to her, she was for ever talking of the skill and cleverness in all things
of Railik, he whom of all the young men on L&ocaron;sap was worthy by his
father's name to have a wife in whose veins ran blood as good as his own.
A minute had passed, and yet the old woman had not spoken. She had
placed her bony, claw-like hands upon the girl's smooth and rounded shoulders, and
her keen old eyes were bent upon Nadee's in a strange, wild look that filled her
young heart with fear.
Presently there came to them a sound, as of the strong voices of men, made
faint by distance.
"Heed it not, my Nadee," said old Tariva, in a low, mechanical voice, her eyes still
fixed upon the girl's face; "'tis but the men of L&ocaron;sap who only now see the
sails of the ship."
Breathing so that her bared bosom rose and fell in quick, panting strokes, and with
eyes filled with terror, Nadee spoke in a voice like a whisper.
"What is it, O my mother, that maketh thee look so strangely upon me. Thy eyes
are as two moons shining through the blackness of the darkest night, and fill me
with fear. Have I done aught wrong, and art thou about to cast ejon over me?"
As she faintly whispered the last words her eyes grew dim, misty, and
"Nadee!" and the quavering tones of Tariva's voice became strong and harsh as
the call of the frigate-bird, "wake, child! There, see, my beloved -- look now into
old Tariva's eyes; only do I cast ejon on those whom I hate," and she took her
hands from Nadee's trembling shoulders.
"But listen well to me."
"Aye, my mother; but look not again with thy eyes into mine, for then my soul
goeth out into darkness, and though I hear thy voice my heart and tongue
A faint smile crossed the thin, old lips, and patting the girl's knee, she said in soft,
"Fear not, my little bird. Strong am I to cast spells for good and evil over men and
women -- only against the rebelli (white people) am I powerless. And it is because
that my ejon is of no avail against the white man that I now sit here and plead for
thee to lay well to thy mind that which thou must know."
"Mother," and Nadee bent her head low down upon the old dame's lap, "would'st
thou harm my white husband?"
"Nay, child. For though I hate the rebelli, whether they be ship-men or Christ-men,
yet would I bring thy husband back to thee, child of my child, and last of my race,
ere I go out to the spirit land."
"Why hate ye the white men, mother?"
A savage light leapt into the old woman's eyes, and her white, even teeth snapped
together like the jaws of a shark.
"Hate them! Aye, that do I. Would that I could live to see them wither and perish,
and be swept away as we of the sea-girt lands have withered and perished before
them! Long, long ago, when my hair was as black, and my bosom as full and round
as thine, my people were a great people, for, as thou knowest, my father
was a great man on Ponape, and the land he ruled stretched from Jakoits on the
north to Metalanien, near unto the strange stone houses that were built by the
Unknown Men. He it was who sailed in two great canoes to this little island of
L&ocaron;sap, a twenty days' journey, and slew half the men, and would have slain
all; but that his eyes were taken with the beauty of my mother, who, as she fled
along this beach now before us, fell, and would have been thrust through, only that
my father beat back the bloodied hands of those who pursued her. And so,
because she pleased him, he spared the lives of all those men of L&ocaron;sap
who still lived, and took her to wife. Ah! those were the days when we were
"Tell me more, my mother."
"Aye, child," answered Tariva, who was speaking of those olden days with a set
purpose, and noting how eagerly Nadee listened; "those were days when the quick,
hot blood of youth ran lusty and strong in my father's veins, and save for the two
or three white sailors who dwelt under the protection of T'Nanakin, the king of
Jakoits, we of Ponape knew naught of the rebelli. Brave men, though, were those
white men, for sometimes when a ship lay becalmed, they led our people out in the
dead of night and slew all on board, and returned to the shore laden with riches."
The girl shuddered as she caught the fiery gleam and sparkle in old
Tariva'ssunken eyes, but yet listened intently, leaning her chin upon the palm of
"And then the days and months and years went by, till there came to Metalanien
the first of the Christ-men, in a white-painted ship. Well would it have been had my
father and T'Nanakin, the king of Jakoits, done unto this ship as they had done
unto others, but the ejon of the Christ-man was too strong, and he fooled my
father and T'Nanakin both with his cunning words."
"How so, my mother?"
"In this way, child. All men love to hear of that which is strange and new; and this
Christ-man told my father cunning lies of a man-god who was greater than all the
gods of Ponape, and who had sent him, the cunning Christ-man, to Ponape, to tell
my father to forswear the old gods and follow the god of the Christ-man."
"Aye, mother, my husband hath spoken to me of this Christ-God."
"What said he, Nadee?"
"But little, mother. 'Twas long ago, when the beautiful Christ-woman -- the wife of
the Christ-man, whom my husband called a meddling fool -- came to our house
with her husband and talked with mine. Something they said to him of myself and
the wrath of the Christ-God it was that angered him, and though he spoke softly
because of the yellow-haired woman, who sat by me with her hand clasped
around mine, yet he was hot with anger against the mean-looking man who said the
Christ had sent him to save me from perishing.
"'Go,' he said, speaking in the tongue of the white man, 'thou to thy trade, and
leave me to mine. Come not here to me in mine own house and seek to poison the
heart of my wife against me. She is to me my wife by the custom of the land, and
I want no man such as thee to come between us.' And then the woman rose and
bade me farewell, and said to the Christ-man, her husband: 'Leave them. Why
should we seek to make trouble between them?' So, though they came again to my
husband's house, the woman's husband spoke no more to mine of the Christ-God
and the lake of fire into which He casts His enemies."
"Ahe!" resumed the old woman, "'Twas that, the great sea of fire which is in the
bowels of the earth, that made the heart of T'Nanakin turn white, and he became
eaten up with the fear of the Christ-God. And day by day the power of the head
Christ-man on the Christ-ship grew stronger and stronger. One day it came about
that T'Nanakin and my father and other chiefs went to visit the ship, and the next
day two of them were seized with an illness from which many of the ship-men had
died. T'Nanakin, who loved these men, went to the Christ-wizard and besought him
to save his men. And see, my child, how silly are some men and how clever others:
for this wizard soon put terror in the heart of T'Nanakin, and said --
"'If these men die it is the will of the great Christ-God, who hath sent me
to tell thee to cast away thy gods of wood and worship Him. Beware, O chief, and
delay not, lest something terrible befall thee, and the lake of fire swallow up thee
and thy people.'
"The two men died, and then in every house in every village some one was seized
by the strange illness from the Christ-ship, and many hundreds died. And then
T'Nanakin with his chief humbled himself to the Christ-wizard, and said: 'Thy gods
are greater than mine. Let this sickness go away from my people, and I will do as
thou wishest -- I will be a Christ-man.' Then the white wizard and three other
wizards who were with him rejoiced greatly, and made much of T'Nanakin, and gave
him many presents, and clothed him with new black garments, and a high black
covering for his head, such as is worn by these Christ-men in their own country. In
two days all of his people swore faith to the Christ-God; but my father and his
people did not, for they had heard of the sickness, and no one of them would go
near the white men. Then T'Nanakin, who had cast away his father's gods for the
new faith, sent word down saying: 'Come up and be a Christ-man, lest thou and thy
people be seized with a deadly illness and die, and be cast into a lake of red fire,
where they shall yet live again for ever.' But my father would not go.
"So T'Nanakin and my father quarrelled, and one night, when all in our village lay
asleep, the canoes of T'Nanakin crept down and killed all that would not be
slaves to him and the white wizard, and then, we who were conquered knew that
the white man's God was greater than ours.
"For two moons T'Nanakin's men sought out and slew all those opposed to the new
faith, and no smoke arose in our country save that which came from the burning
houses of my father's people; for we fled to the woods -- all that were left of us
-- and lived in hiding. Then came the time when many died of hunger, and Kanka,
my father, and all the men who were with him died under the knives of T'Nanakin's
men, who had found out our refuge. And then my mother, taking me with her, fled
with some few other women and children, to the little island called Pakin, close to
the mainland; and there we lived till I was taken to wife by a man of Pakin, and
there thy mother was born to me. She, too, like myself, was taken to wife by a
man of Pakin. At thy birth she died, and with her last words besought me to take
thee to this land of L&ocaron;sap, where we would be well cared for by those of
our blood. But I lived on at Pakin, till both my husband and thy father were dead,
and thou wert a grown girl. Then came this Jaki of thine, who took us to live with
him at Ponape. And I know he will never come back to thee; so wait no longer, my
child, but take Railik for thy husband. He is a clever man, and hates the white men
as much as I hate them."
The girl covered her eyes with her hands, but said not a word.
"See, child, there is yet another thing. Thou sayest that the fair-faced white
woman, the wife of the dog-faced Christ-man, is nought to thy husband. Now I,
because I am very old, know many things, and I tell thee, foolish one, that if she be
nought to him, he was much to her. And it was because she looked at him with her
eyes like the blue sea, and made him ashamed of thee, that he wearied of thee and
Nadee bent her head still lower, and then wept silently.
"Nay, weep not, little one," went on old Tariva mercilessly; "what does it matter?
Thou hast no child for men to point at and jeer and say: "See the child of the white
man who fooled its mother.' And yet it is hard for one so young and handsome as
thee to be cast aside for another."
"Nay, mother. He may not come back to me; but not because of another woman.
He may be dead."
"Thou fool! Didst thou not see that in less than a year after he had gone, that the
white woman sickened and pined for him, and then followed him to his own country
in the white-painted ship? Is it not true?"
"Mother," said Nadee, in a whisper, "her husband went with her."
Old Tariva laughed contemptuously. "'Twas but a trick. She cares not for her
husband, and I have seen her turn her face from him when he spoke to her.
'Tis thy white man she loves. Now listen, child, to me. I tell thee that by this time
she hath killed the dull-faced Christ-wizard, and is wife to thy white man in her
own land. He did but fool thee when he spoke of coming back."
She ceased and looked at the bowed figure of Nadee, who had buried her face in
the old dame's lap, and was sobbing convulsively.
Tariva, muttering to herself, stroked the black waves of hair tenderly, and waited.
She had won, and Nadee, the child of her heart, would forget this false white man
and marry Railik, and then she, old Tariva, would have given to her all that land on
L&ocaron;sap, which was hers of right, for had it not belonged to her mother in
the olden days? Suddenly the sobs ceased, and Nadee rose to her feet and went to
the door. For a moment or two she looked out over the blue expanse of ocean that
lay before her tear-dimmed eyes; but the ship had gone; she had passed round the
south horn of the reef, and was hidden from view for the time. Then, with a smile
struggling through her tears, Nadee turned and spoke.
"It shall be as thou desirest, my mother. I am indeed a fool. When it pleases thee,
take me to Railik's house."
Then she stepped out, and with a choking sob threw herself down on the grassy
plot at the back of old Tariva's house, and lay there silent with her face in her
Chapter IX: In The Boil Of The Surf
WHEN within a mile or so of the principal village of the main island, the Kellet
Passmore backed her main-yard, and the two boats pushed off from her side, the
lantern-jawed skipper calling out to Herrera to get back as quickly as possible, as
the winds showed signs of dying away, and he was suspicious of an easterly gale
coming down and catching him in such an awkward place.
"There's a darned big swell rollin' in too, naow," he added; "an' I ain't too dreadful
anxious to keep foolin' around here with sich a current settin' us inshore."
In Herrera's boat were the two ladies, the Reverend Hosea, and the usual crew; in
Barrington's, himself and the crew only, and a box containing the trade goods for
barter with the natives.
For some ten or twenty minutes the boats pulled side by side, until they were
within a few hundred yards of the reef, then Barrington's drew ahead. There was
not much of a sea on, but the passage through the break in the reef was very
narrow, and as Barrington knew the place well, his boat was to go first.
"Look, Miss Trenton," said the mate, pointing to the white line of beach in front of
them, "take your first view of a South Sea Island village, and see the
natives swarming down to the beach to meet us."
Kate, with her eyes dancing with excitement, answered him with a bright smile,
and then gave a little scream.
"Oh, Helen, look at Mr Barrington's boat!" The second mate's boat had just swept
over the reef, bow down in front of a roller, and in the midst of a seeth of white
foam and wild cries from the swarm of natives on the beach, she landed right in
their midst. Herrera, with a quick look astern, waited for another sea to come,
determined to go in on top of it, instead of waiting for a lull, and pulling in quietly.
He saw that there was a clean run in once he got over the edge of the reef, and he
wanted to show Kate Trenton that Barrington was not the only man who could
take a boat in over the reef on top of a sea.
At a sign from Herrera the crew shipped the oars and took out broad-bladed
native paddles -- Barrington's boat had gone in with oars apeak -- and waited for
"Give it to her, boys!"
The five paddles struck into the water, and the light boat sprang forward in front
of the advancing sea. In another ten seconds, with the two women and Hosea
holding tightly to each other in terrified silence, and Herrera straining at the
steer-oar, she was darting like an arrow through the water, in front of the boiling,
Suddenly, amidst the wild rush and bubble of the snow-white spume that
frothed past the gun-wales with lightning speed, Herrera uttered a savage oath;
right ahead of him lay a round knob of coral, just showing its pink and blue top
above the surface of the water. With a fierce strain at the steer-oar, he just
shaved past it, but in another moment the boat broached to, rolled over, and
filled. Before a canoe could be launched, Barrington, with a curse upon the mate's
folly, had sprung back into his boat, and was pulling out to save them. Already,
though, the sweeping backwash had carried Herrera's boat and people out towards
the edge of the reef again.
"Pull, you sons of devils, pull!" said Barrington to his crew, as another sea came
hurtling in with curling top; "the women will be drowned!"
But that sea nearly half-filled his boat, and by the time the crew had way on her
again the capsized boat had been swept down by the current right into the
thundering surf that broke on the reef on each side of the narrow passage. Fifty
yards away he saw two of Herrera's crew and the Reverend Hosea, who was
supported by them, swimming down with the current towards shallower water, and
further out in the rollers he saw the black head of Herrera, keeping himself afloat,
and holding up Kate Trenton. Then, almost at the same moment he caught sight of
the white face of the missionary's wife. She was clinging despairingly to a jagged
mass of coral, not five fathoms away; then another roaring sea leapt down
upon his half-filled boat, and fairly smothered her.
"Two of you go to the mate, boys," he called to the Maori crew, "the rest of you
stick to the boat," and then he struck out towards the drowning woman, who, with
the strength of despair, still clung to the coral boulder, which was about two or
three feet out of the water, and so saved her from being smothered by the seas
which rolled by on either side. Just as he reached her a roller, higher and swifter
than the others, tore away her weakening grasp, and holding her in his arms, they
were buried beneath; when they came to the surface he saw that she was still
alive, but nearly unconscious.
For nearly five minutes Barrington, with the blood welling from a fearful cut on his
head, drifted seaward with the woman. He knew the canoes would be along
presently, for already, although strange noises filled his brain from the blow he
had received, and the blood blinded his eyesight, he could hear the cries of the
natives close by.
He had twined his left hand into the woman's hair, and held her in front of him as
he struck out with his right. Then, as he still partly drifted, partly swam seaward,
away out from the sweep of the seas -- for they were now beyond the reef --
with dulled brain and blood-filled eyes, a thought ran through him that smote his
heart with a deadly chill. He knew he was bleeding badly, and that the sharks are
quick to answer to the smell of blood.
"God help us!" he muttered thickly; "what can I do?" Then his senses left
Away out on the Kellet Passmore, Captain Amos Bennett, from the fore-topsail
yard, had seen Herrera's boat broach to and fill, had seen Barrington's meet with a
like fate, and had cursed all missionaries unto the tenth generation.
"Waal, I'll be goldarned! Two boats capsized and ez like ez not stove in," and he
threw his cigar down on to the deck for'ard with another curse after it; "and
perhaps some of my men injoored."
"Hope the women and the parson ain't hurt," said the fourth mate, who had just
come up aloft, and stood beside him.
"Darned ef I care! their passages are paid," was the snorting reply; for the worthy
Bennett -- although he didn't mean what he said -- was in a very bad temper.
And, just then, as he gave orders for another boat to be lowered, the breeze died
away so suddenly and suspiciously that he hurried down below to look at the glass.
He was back on deck in a minute.
"Never mind the boat, Mr Briggs. There's plenty of canoes to pick up the darned
fools, and there's going to be h--l to pay in another five minutes here. Stand by
the braces, and look spry we don't get caught aback. Darn all parsons, I say!"
In another ten minutes the first puffs of the coming easterly struck the
old barque. She heeled over; and then as the first whistle of it passed away, stood
up again on an even keel; but only for a few seconds, for the short, savage puffs
changed into the piping note of a heavy gale.
Two hours later, under close reefed fore and main-topsails, she was running
before the storm, with a sea like mountains chasing her and banging against her
old, square stern and wall-sides.
"Guess we won't heave her to among these reefs between Loosap and D'Urville's
Island, Mr Briggs. Let her go as she is, an' we'll get under the lee of Truk until this
darned easterly blows its guts out. Then I reckon we'll hev to come back and pick
up Mr Herrera an' Mr Barrington and them Gawspil folks."
And so, with the drone of the easterly singing through her cordage, and the swash
of the mountain seas swirling up against her weather-beaten sides, the old whaler
plunges and splashes westward, running dead before it, and is lost to sight, and no
more heard of in this story.
Chapter X: Under The Palms
A SWARM of brown, half-naked men and women rushed to the beach to meet the
rescuing canoes, and as they stood and waited, a savage, roaring gust swept
through the dense palm-grove at their backs, and whipped up great clouds of the
white, clinging sand, and carried it far out seawards. "Haste, haste, my children!"
and Sru, the chief of L&ocaron;sap, a great, broad-shouldered native, naked save
for his thick girdle of banana fibre, sprang into the water and looked anxiously at
the three canoes, as they sped shoreward in face of the rising storm.
A wild cry went up from the assembled people as the first canoe swept in through
the boiling surf and ran her sharp bows upon the beach, and the wet and naked
rowers sprang out; and Herrera, holding Kate Trenton in his arms, was seen
seated amidships with two of Barrington's boat's crew.
Too exhausted to speak, he motioned to the women to take her; and then,
staggering on his feet like a drunken man, he sought to discover something of
Barrington and the others; but a blinding stinging rain-squall had obscured the two
other canoes from view, and then he was half carried away by some natives to the
shelter of the chief's house, where the women had already taken Kate
Trenton, and with kindly hands and pitying words, were bringing her back to life
In the second canoe were two of Herrera's men, for their boat had been hopelessly
stove in, and after them came Barrington's boat, "swum in" by natives and the
rest of his crew; the third canoe was yet out amid the tumbling breakers a
quarter of a mile away, but showing up now and then a black spot amid the white
seeth of swirling foam.
"Ha!" cried Sru, "Railik, my son, hath cause to be last; for, see, there are yet
three more of the rebelli swimming in the shallow water near to his canoe -- the
current hath swept them far down. Even now do I see the three heads above the
And away out in the canoe, Railik, with his long black hair streaming out to the
gale, saw them, too, and urged his men to paddle hard. Ten minutes before he had
picked up Barrington and the missionary's wife; and as a whiff of spray smote him
fiercely in the face, he shook the water from his eyes and glanced down to see if
the woman was yet alive, as she lay in the bottom of the canoe with her head
supported by a native boy. Up for'ard, lying on his back with blood still flowing
from his head, was Barrington. Presently he sought to rise, and placed one hand
on the gun-wale of the canoe.
"Nay, stay thou quiet, Jaki," said the native who paddled on the bow
thwart, and whose feet were placed one on each side of the white man's body;
"try not to rise, for should I miss but one stroke of my paddle, then does the
canoe fill, and thou and the white woman be drowned."
Another sea swept by them with an angry hiss, and the canoe buried her outrigger
deep down, and Railik, with his left hand grasping the steering-paddle, bent down
and scooped out the water with a half-dozen quick strokes of the wooden baler.
Then in another minute the canoe shot alongside the three struggling men -- two
of Barrington's crew and the missionary, and Railik sprang overboard to the aid of
Hosea Parker, who was sinking. The missionary seemed to struggle with his
rescuer, who soon reappeared without the white man. Then the canoe headed for
A swarm of natives -- men, women, and children -- crowded round as Railik,
panting hotly for his breath, stood up, and cast his paddle on the sand.
"How many hast thou saved?" said Sru.
"Four, O father Sru -- three men and one woman. And see, he there who hath the
bloodied face is Jaki -- the woman is his wife!"
A sudden silence fell upon the crowd of natives, and Sru looked fiercely at, the
prostrate figure of Barrington.
Then, muttering something in a savage undertone to his crew, the chiefs son,
without another glance at the people he had saved from death, strode
away towards the village, and his father told those about him to carry Barrington
and the white woman to his house.
"Tend them well," he said, "for when the storm is ceased the ship will come back
for them. So give them all to eat and drink, and then in a little while, when their
strength has come back, will I ask of this dog, Jaki, how it is he bringeth back a
Held in the arms of a tall, slender, native girl, who looked pityingly down upon her
trembling figure, Helen Parker opened her lips and spoke.
"Where is Jaki?" she said.
A woman who stood close by pointed to a number of men who were helping
Barrington up over the brow of the beach.
"Thy husband is there. He is badly hurt and like to die. Who art thou that speaks
"I am the Christ-woman from Ponape. Take me to my husband."
And leading her by the hands, the girl and woman walked with her to the chief's
house, and pointed to the figure of Jack Barrington, who lay upon a mat, with
some native women bandaging his head.
She stood over him for a moment trying to speak, but her voice failed her. At last
"Thank God, Mr Barrington, you are alive! The natives tell me that my
husband is badly hurt. Where is he? And where is my sister and Mr Herrera?"
No answer came, and then looking into the ghastly, pallid face of the man she
loved, she forgot all, and, kneeling beside him, she kissed him again and again.
Railik, speeding along through the groves of coconut and bananas, towards the
dwelling of old Tariva, took no heed of the crash and roar of the storm that now
seemed to shake the island to its foundations. He knew that even if the few people
who lived in the village on the little island with Nadee and the old woman had left it
with the intention of seeing the boats land from the ship, they would have
returned to their houses again in the face of such a wild sea as was now breaking
over the connecting reef that lay between their village and the main island. No
canoe could cross the lagoon now, and to walk round by way of the beach on the
lee side would take them many hours. So on he pushed, through the fast-gathering
darkness and the clashing and tearing of the countless palm tops above him, the
frightened shrieks of the sea birds, and the growling thunder of the mighty seas,
as they dashed against the barrier wall of coral rock to pour like cataracts along
its level top into the shallow waters of the lagoon.
Then, when he came within sight of the tiny village of four houses, he lay down in
the darkness and waited. He wanted to see Tariva alone, and would watch
One by one the fires were lighted in the houses, and then he caught a glimpse of
Nadee as she passed out of Tariva's house to one that stood about fifty yards
Springing to his feet, he glided through the swaying, wind-tossed palms, till he
reached the back of the old woman's house, and looked through the cane
lattice-work of its walls.
"Tariva," he called, "'tis I, Railik. Come thou outside, so that we may talk, for I be
In a few seconds he saw her figure coming towards him, her white hair blowing and
whipping about her face as she peered out into the darkness.
"Here, mother," and he put out his hand.
She took it in silence, and then they walked together till they reached a great
nudu tree, behind the buttressed trunk of which they stood for shelter.
"Now is the time come for thee, Tariva, to prove thy friendship to me, and give
"That would I have done long since, but the girl waited for her white husband; but,
see, here do I show my friendship for thee! Only but a little time since we talked
together, and to-morrow did I mean to bring her to thee, for now she believeth
that her husband will come not back."
Railik laughed. "Mother, he hath come back."
"Then why, O Railik, dost thou come here to fool me? How can I give her to thee if
Jaki hath come? Dost, think thou canst force her now?"
"Mother, listen. But little time have I to talk, even of such a matter as
this, for I must haste back. See, now, and then tell me if I am not wise. Two boats
came from the ship, and both were overpowered by the seas and the people in
them cast out."
"Good!" answered the old dame. "Would they were all eaten by the sharks."
"Then I and four others in my canoe, and Sirra and Tasa in their canoes, went out
to them; and it came about that I saw that two of the rebelli were washed outside
the reef apart from the others, and lo, they were a man and a woman -- and the
man was Jaki. Just was he, and the woman with him, about to sink, when we
dragged them in; for he had a great wound in his head."
"Ahe, and the woman?"
"She was as one dead. And I, mother, when I saw the face of the white man, would
have let him drown, but those with me said: 'Nay, hurt him not. Dost thou not see
'tis the husband of Nadee?' So, though I would have struck my paddle into his
brain, I feared to do so. But, tell me, hath not the Christ-woman I have heard thee
speak of hair like the yellow of the sun?"
"Aye," said the old woman quickly, clutching his wrist; "and was it she who was
"And was not the man -- her husband, the Christ-wizard -- little and dark, with a
face ugly to look upon?"
"Aye, little and dark, with hair black as night."
Railik laughed. "See how I remember these things that thou hast told me.
Now, as Jaki and the woman lay in the canoe I knew she was the Christ-woman thou
hast so often told me of, and then I had no wish to do him harm, for I knew that
she was wife to him, even as thou hast told Nadee she would be."
"Ah," and the old woman ground her teeth, "the lying white man! Why didst thou
not cast them over again?"
"So we turned shoreward," went on Railik, "and as we rose to the sea I saw Sirra
and his men take up another woman and a man from the sea, even as I had done;
and as we crossed over the reef we saw three more white men struggling in the
shallow water between the reef and the shore. And when we came to them I saw
that two were ship-men, and the other a little dark man with a smooth face."
"Aye, the Christ-man. And then I knew that the woman who lay in the canoe was
not wife to Jaki, and while the thought of Nadee was hot within me, and my men
helped in the two ship-men, I sprang into the sea as if to save the Christ-man, and
"Ah!" and the old woman's eyes glistened.
"----And took him by the hair and dived with him, and struck his head against a
rock beneath, so that he died quickly. This did I because I told those with me that
Jaki had now a new wife."
"Thou art both brave and wise, my son. I can see what was in thy mind."
"That to-morrow thou shalt bring Nadee and show her the white woman and Jaki
sitting together in my father's house, and say: 'See, thy white man with his new
wife -- the Christ-woman from Ponape.'"
"Good!" said the old dame, pulling his face down to hers and embracing him. "Now
go, and leave what else is to be done to me."
Chapter XI: A Convert Through Love
THE storm had nearly ceased, and although the wind was yet high and the
branches of a hundred thousand graceful palms thrashed and bent and swayed to
its still whistling note, overhead the blue sky was unspecked by a single cloud.
Kate Trenton awoke as she lay upon her couch of mats in the house of Sru, the
chief, and looking out through the opened window, up into the star-spangled
heavens, thanked God that her life had been spared, and that He had spared Jose's
She rose softly and looked at the three sleeping figures that lay near her. That
which was nearest was her sister, and Kate, taking a rude oil lamp in her
hand, sank on her knees beside her, and with tears welling fast to her eyes
scanned the pale face of the sleeping woman, and then touched lovingly the bright
hair that clustered about her temples.
"Sleep, sleep, dear Helen," she murmured, and then she moved silently away again
to the little window, and gazed out past the wildly tossing plumes of the coconut
grove that encompassed the house, and at the rearing, leaping billows that
thundered with a dull and savage symphony upon the black line of reef half a mile
"Poor Hosea," she said, and then her tears fell fast. "He had so often said that he
would be proud and willing to give his life, if need be, for his work." And she turned
away from the window with a sob, and covered her face with her hands.
For nearly an hour the girl lay upon her couch of mats till the light of the lamp
paled in the silent house, and the grey light of the coming tropic dawn stole
through the serried boles and plumed crowns of the countless coco-palms.
Drawing over her shoulders, with a strange, happy feeling in her heart, a seaman's
heavy pea-jacket, which she had found placed beside her couch, and knew was
Herrera's, she walked noiselessly over to the wicker door, stepped outside, and
sat down upon a great flat slab of coral.
"He loves me! he loves me!" she kept saying to herself, with a whispering, joyous
laugh, "and I love him. How can I help loving him; he is so good and brave."
A step on the gravel made her look up, and the man who was in her heart stood
beside her, with his black passionate eyes looking into hers.
"It is very cold, Mr Herrera," she murmured, "and I have your coat. But I am going
in again now. I only came out because I could not sleep with the dreadful sound of
the surf, and ----"
She stopped, and then as she was about to rise he sank at her feet, and seizing
her hands in his, covered them with kisses.
"Kate, Kate! Do not go just yet. I love you. See, sweet one, there is no one here to
hear us. Do you think that I have been sleeping? No! I have been lying there beside
Barrington watching you, and waiting for the moment when I could come to you and
tell you that I love you. Love you, Kate! Holy Saints forgive me! but yesterday I
cursed the poor padre -- I thought he would come between us. And I, because you
are all the world to me, was ready to run the ship ashore rather than run the risk
of losing you!"
Trembling, partly with joy and partly with fear at his passionate words, Kate
Trenton let him draw her to him, and then he kissed her again and again.
"See, Kate," and the mate's voice shook as he turned her face to him and looked
into her honest eyes, "I, Jose Herrera, swear to you by the soul of my
mother, and my belief in Heaven and Hell, that if you will marry me, I, too, will
become one of your faith -- that would I do if my mother rose from her grave and
"Jose," and there was a happy trill in her voice, "I am so glad . . . because I love
Then, as the sound of footsteps sounded near them on the pebbly path, she glided
away from him inside the house, and the first mate of the Kellet Passmore,
picking up the jacket she had dropped, walked round to the little window, and
tapping softly on the canework side, held it up.
A white hand and arm came out of the gloom of the still darkened room, and Kate
Trenton's fingers touched his bearded face.
"Good night," she whispered.
"Good night," he said in a low voice. "I shall see you again soon, sweet Kate."
Then he walked quickly away to the beach.
Forty-eight hours before Jose Herrera had talked with his boat's crew on board
the barque, and had promised each man a hundred dollars the day they landed him
and Kate Trenton at Guam.
"God is good to me," he said, piously crossing himself. "Two days ago I was ready
to kill the poor padre, and run the lives of five men into danger on a long boat
voyage. And now the poor padre is dead, and there is no need for me to commit a
Then, as he had no tobacco to smoke, he sat down on the cool sand
watching the paling stars, and wondering when the Kellet Passmore would turn up
"Dios!" he said, clasping his small, sinewy brown hands around his knees, "Kate
and I may be married in a month from now if we touch at Guam -- and touch there
we shall, if I do have to run the ship ashore in the night."
Chapter XII: The Native Wife
WITH the first red streaks of sunrise through the palm-grove came the murmur
of voices and the tramp of naked feet about the pebbled path that led to the
chief's house, and Helen Parker awoke to her sister's kiss.
"Kate," and the pale face lightened up as she drew the girl to her bosom, "I have
had such a long sleep, and feel so well and strong," and then her eyes wandered
over to where Barrington lay, with Jose Herrera sitting by his side.
"Do you think he will die?" she whispered.
"How horribly white his face is?"
"Die? Silly Helen! No, dear; but Mr Herrera says that the cut in his head is
something terrible, and that he will be very weak for a long time from loss of
blood," and then Kate laid her cheek to Helen's; "but we will nurse him in
turns, dear. I would be so miserable if he died, Helen, for Jose -- I mean Mr
Herrera -- told me that not only did he save your life, but his and mine, too, for
before swimming out to you, he told two of his men to go to our aid."
Helen pressed her hand, and again she glanced at the pallid features of the
sleeping man, and Jose Herrera nodded and smiled reassuringly.
"Helen," and Kate's arm stole round her waist, "don't weep, dear. It was Hosea's
wish to die at his post. It is such men as he who win the crown of glory for the
cause of Christ."
Helen Parker shuddered, and then a hot flush dyed her face; she had not been
thinking of her dead husband as Kate imagined, but of the man who had all but
given his life for hers.
The tramping sound of naked feet on the paths around the house increased, and
Herrera rose and came over to them.
"The native women are bringing baskets of food and placing them outside," he said
to Kate; "they are very anxious to come inside and talk to you both, but Sru, the
chief, has forbidden them to make any noise. He thinks you are still asleep. Would
you like to come outside for a little? They are getting us something to eat again, I
Moving very quietly so as not to awaken Barrington, Herrera opened the door, and
Helen and Kate followed him outside, and faced the crowd of natives who
sat awaiting them. A little apart from the rest, seated on a mat fringed with
scarlet parrots' feathers, was Sru, the chief; behind him his wife, and Railik his
A murmur of approval broke from the people as Helen stepped across to the
chief, and spoke to him.
"We thank thee, Sru of L&ocaron;sap, that thou and thy people have saved us
"Sit thou there, Christ-woman, thou and the other woman, and the dark-faced
ship-man," and the chief pointed to where, among the rest of the whaling gear
saved from the boats, the four line tubs were placed side by side; "sit thou there,
and while my women get ready food for thee to eat, let us talk."
They sat down and waited for him to speak, and Herrera, who, although he could
not speak the language, knew by the chief's manner that something was wrong,
looked anxiously around for his and Barrington's boats' crews. Not one of the men
was to be seen.
Suddenly, with a fierce scowl at Helen, the chief raised his huge, brawny arm, and
with his open palm struck the mat upon which he sat.
"Christ-woman, why came ye here?"
The rude, rough words, so different from what she expected, startled and
"Why such angry words to those who have been cast upon the beach by the
waves, O Sru."
"'Tis to thee alone I speak, thou stealer of women's husbands. See," and he
sprang to his feet, and pointed to the oars, lances, and harpoons that lay piled
together by the tubs, "there be all the things that were taken from the boats.
Now listen, and make the dark-faced ship-man by thy side understand my words.
Presently, when ye have eaten and drank, shall my people fill the one boat that is
unbroken with food and water, and then shall ye all get to the boat, and go away
from my land, and seek the ship again. But the white man Jaki shall stay."
Utterly at a loss to account for the chief's angry words and inhospitable manner,
Helen answered him -- "Why to me alone, O Sru of L&ocaron;sap, is thy anger
turned? And how am I a stealer of women's husbands?"
"Is not Jaki the husband of Nadee?"
An agony of shame for the moment overcame her. She knew how prone the native
mind was to suspicion, and hastened to explain.
"He is not my husband. My husband is dead but yesterday."
And then, in as few words as possible, she told how it was that she and her
husband came to take a passage in the whaler, and then asked the chief if he did
not know that her husband was dead. He listened to the end, and then answered
"What lies are these? Are we fools? Is not every one that was in the boats alive
and well but Jaki? Thou dost but say this for fear of thy life, thou cunning
Christ-woman. Old Tariva knoweth of thy love for the husband of Nadee, and hath
For a minute she was too dazed to speak, and then a young girl who sat directly in
front of her took up a small piece of broken coral, and tossed it at her feet
"Thou stealer of women's husbands!" she said with a mocking laugh, and then
came a chorus of gibes and jeers.
Herrera, with a red gleam in his eyes, sprang up, and in another moment Helen had
fainted in her sister's arms.
Lifting her up, Herrera carried her back to the house and laid her down.
Kate followed him in, and splashing her face with water, she soon revived.
"What is wrong, Helen? Why is that dreadful-looking man so angry?"
"For God's sake, don't ask me now, Kate! Mr Herrera, we must leave the island at
once; our lives are in peril else. The chief says that as soon as we have eaten
something we must go away, and that he will provision the boat."
"Dios! Is the man mad?"
"No, no," said Helen hurriedly. "I know the cause of it all. A fierce old woman
named Tariva, who was once at Ponape, and hates the missionaries bitterly, has
poisoned his mind against us -- me in particular. We must go, Mr Herrera. I
know our danger. She is a terrible woman, and would have great influence over
these L&ocaron;sap natives." And then she added in calmer tones: "Leave me
here, please. I cannot face those women again, but they will offer no harm to
either Kate or you. Go, Mr Herrera, I beg of you, and see to the boat."
The mate, with a sympathetic grasp of her hand, turned to go. "Do not fear, Mrs
Parker. We will be safe enough in the boat, and even if we miss the ship we can run
down to Truk, with this wind, in thirty hours."
The moment Herrera stood outside, two of his boat's crew met him, and he
learned that the four Maoris had told them that they had been asked by the
natives to remain on the island; but that all the others, except Barrington, were to
go, or they would be killed.
"All right, boys, let the Maoris stay -- we don't want them. Where are Pedro and
Tom, and the boat-steerer?"
"Down at the boat stowing her with baskets of food. She's about a mile farther
down on the beach."
"Very well, go down and lend them a hand. Here, take the oars down to the boat,
and pull up here as quick as you can. I will stay with the ladies."
Picking up the oars the men walked quickly away along the beach, and Herrera saw
with astonishment that there was not a native about. They had all gone
into their houses, and seemed to show the most utter indifference to the
movements of the white people.
He sat down on one of the line tubs, and presently Kate Trenton, her face pale
with excitement, joined him.
"Helen is coming presently," she said, and she sat beside him and placed her
trembling hand in his.
Slowly Barrington opened his eyes and gazed stupidly around him. A raging thirst
and a sound of some one sobbing had roused him from his death-like sleep, and in a
faint voice he called for water.
"Thank God!" murmured Helen, and raising his head on her arm, she placed a young
coconut to his lips.
He drank, and then with a heavy sigh sank back on the rolled up mat that formed
his pillow, and closed his eyes again.
She knelt beside him for a few moments with her hands clasped tightly together,
and then bent down and kissed him -- for the last time.
Then came the sound of the crunching gravel outside, and the doorway of the
house was darkened by two figures, but she heard nor saw them not, as she
sobbed out her heart over the unconscious man.
"See, Nadee, see thy white husband and the Christ-woman for whom he
hath cast thee off!" and then old Tariva slipped a knife into the girl's hand. As
Nadee sprang forward Helen raised her face; and then the knife sank deep down
into her heart, and stilled it for ever.
A wild, shrieking laugh made Kate Trenton and Jose Herrera spring to their feet,
to see a hideous old woman with long, snow-white hair, standing at the door of the
chiefs house, and the next moment a young girl, as fair-skinned almost as Kate
herself, stepped outside.
Again that awful screeching laugh rang out, and the hag took Nadee by the hand
and led her out in full view of the village. Then she spoke:
"See, O men of L&ocaron;sap, see the red hand of Nadee! Hold thou it up, my
grandchild, my wood-dove, and let them see the blood of the Christ-woman who
stole thy lover from thee with her strong witchcraft."
And Nadee, with blazing eyes and panting bosom, held up the bloodied knife.
At sunset the whale-boat, with Kate's head pillowed against her lover's bosom, was
fifty miles away; and Barrington awoke -- to find bending over him the calm face
of his native wife.