OTHER SOUTH SEA FOLK
[See page 15
HANDS OFF!" CRIED CUMNER'S SON
OTHER SOUTH SEA FOLK
"The Right of Way," "The Seats of the Mighty,"
THE COPP, CLARK COMPANY, LIMITED
Copyright, Canada, 1910, by GILBERT PARKR, London, England.
First impression, September, 1910.
CUMNER'S SON i
THE HIGH COURT OF BUDGERY-GAR 74
AN EPIC IN YELLOW 82
DIBBS, R.N 90
A LITTLE MASQUERADE 100
OLD ROSES 117
MY WIFE'S LOVERS 128
THE STRANGERS' HUT 137
THE PLANTER'S WIFE 144
BARBARA GOLDING 163
THE LONE CORVETTE 191
A SABLE SPARTAN 304
A VULGAR FRACTION 210
How PANGO WANGO WAS ANNEXED 217
AN AMIABLE REVENGE 226
THE BLIND BEGGAR AND THE LITTLE RED PEG . . 232
A FRIEND OF THE COMMUNE 245
A PAGAN OF THE SOUTH 281
THE CHOOSING OF THE MESSENGER
THERE was trouble at Mandakan. You could
not have guessed it from anything the eye could
see. In front of the Residency two soldiers march-
ed up and down sleepily, mechanically, between
two ten-pounders marking the limit of their
patrol ; and an orderly stood at an open door, lazily
shifting his eyes from the sentinels to the black
guns, which gave out soft, quivering waves of
heat, as a wheel, spinning, throws off delicate
spray. A hundred yards away the sea spread
out, languid and huge. It was under-tinged with
all the colors of a morning sunrise over Mount
Bobar, not far beyond, lifting up its somnolent
and massive head into the eastern sky. "League-
long rollers" came in as steady as columns of
infantry, with white streamers flying along the
line, and, hovering a moment, split, and ran on
the shore in a crumbling foam, like myriads of
white mice hurrying up the sand.
A little cloud of tobacco smoke came curling
out of a window of the Residency. It was sniffed
up by the orderly, whose pipe was in barracks,
and must lie there untouched until evening at
least; for he had stood at this door since seven
that morning, waiting orders ; and he knew by the
look on Colonei Cumner's face that he might be
there till to-morrow.
But the ordinary spectator could not have
noticed any difference in the general look of things.
All was quiet, too, in the big native city. At the
doorways the worker in brass and silver ham-
mered away at his metal, a sleepy, musical as-
sonance. The naked seller of sweetmeats went
by calling his wares in a gentle, unassertive voice ;
in dark doorways worn-eyed women and men
gossiped in voices scarce above a whisper; and
brown children fondled each other, laughing noise-
lessly, or lay asleep on rugs that would be costly
elsewhere. In the bazaars nothing was selling,
and no man did anything but mumble or eat, save
the few scholars who, cross-legged on their mats,
read and labored toward Nirvana. Priests in their
yellow robes and with bare shoulders went by
oblivious of all things.
Yet, too, the keen observer could have seen,
gathered into shaded corners here and there, a
few sombre, low-voiced men talking covertly to
each other. They were not the ordinary gossipers ;
in the faces of some were the marks of furtive
design, of sinister suggestion. But it was all so
The gayest, cheeriest person in Mandakan was
Colonel Cumner's son. Down at the opal beach,
under a palm-tree, he sat, telling stories of his
pranks at college to Boonda Broke, the half-breed
son of a former Dakoon who had ruled the State
of Mandakan when first the English came. The
saddest person in Mandakan was the present
Dakoon, in hie palace by the fountain of the Sweet
Waters, which was guarded by four sacred war-
riors in stone and four brown men armed with the
The Dakoon was dying, though not a score
of people in the city knew it. He had drunk of
the Fountain of Sweet Waters, also of the well that
is by Bakbar; he had eaten of the sweetmeat
called the Flower of Bambaba, his chosen priests
had prayed, and his favorite wife had lain all day
and all night at the door of his room, pouring out
her soul ; but nothing came of it.
And elsewhere Boonda Broke was showing Cum-
ner's Son how to throw a kris toward one object
and make it hit another. He gave an illustration
by aiming at a palm-tree and sticking a passing
dog behind the shoulder. The dog belonged to
Cumner's Son, and the lad's face suddenly blazed
with anger. He ran to the dog, which had silently
collapsed like a punctured bag of silk, drew out the
kris, then swung toward Boonda Broke, whose
cool, placid eyes met his without emotion.
"You knew that was my dog," he said, quickly,
in English, "and and I tell you what, sir, I've
had enough of you. A man that 'd hit a dog like
that would hit a man the same way."
He was standing with the crimson kris in his
hand above the dog. His passion was frank,
vigorous, and natural.
Boonda Broke smiled passively.
"You mean, could hit a man the same way,
"I mean what I said," answered the lad, and he
turned on his heel; but presently he faced about
again as though with a wish to give his foe the
benefit of any doubt. Though Boonda Broke was
smiling, the lad's face flushed again with anger,
for the man's real character had been revealed to
him on the instant, and he was yet in the indignant
warmth of the new experience. If he had known
that Boonda Broke had cultivated his friendship
for months to worm out of him all the secrets of
the Residency, there might have been a violent
and immediate conclusion to the incident, for the
lad was fiery, and he had no fear in his heart;
he was combative, high-tempered, and daring.
Boonda Broke had learned no secrets from him,
had been met by an unconscious but steady resist-
ance, and at length his patience had given way
in spite of himself. He had white blood in his
veins fighting Irish blood which sometimes
overcame his smooth, Oriental secretiveness and
cautious duplicity; and this was one of those
occasions. He had flung the knife at the dog with
a wish in his heart that it was Cumner's Son in-
stead. As he stood looking after the English lad,
he said between his teeth with a great hatred,
though his face showed no change:
"English dog, thou shalt be dead like thy
brother there when I am Dakoon of Mandakan."
At this moment he saw hurrying toward him
one of those natives who, a little while before, had
been in close and furtive talk in the Bazaar.
Meanwhile the little cloud of smoke kept curling
out of the Governor's door, and the orderly could
catch the fitful murmur of talk that followed it.
Presently rifle-shots rang out somewhere. Instant-
ly a tall, broad-shouldered figure, in white undress
uniform, appeared in the doorway and spoke
quickly to the orderly. In a moment two troopers
were galloping out of the Residency Square and
into the city. Before two minutes had passed one
had ridden back to the orderly, who reported to
the Colonel that the Dakoon had commanded the
shooting of five men of the tribe of the outlaw hill-
chief, Pango Dooni, against the rear wall of the
Palace, where the Dakoon might look from his
window and see the dead.
The Colonel sat up eagerly in his chair, then
brought his knuckles down smartly on the table.
He looked sharply at the three men who sat with
"That : clinches it," said he. "One of those
fellows was Pango Dooni 's. nephew, another was
his wife's brother. It's the only thing to do
some one must go to Pango Dooni, tell him the
truth, ask him to come down and save the place,
and sit up there in the Dakoon's place. He'll
stand by us, and by England."
No one answered at first. Every face was
gloomy. At last a gray-haired captain of artillery
spoke his mind in broken sentences :
"Never do have to ride through a half-dozen
sneaking tribes Pango Dooni, rank robber steal
like a barrack cat besides, no man could get there.
Better stay where we are and fight it out till help
"Help!" said Cumner, bitterly. "We might
wait six months before a man-of-war put in. The
danger is a matter of hours. A hundred men and
a score of niggers what would that be against
thirty thousand natives?"
"Pango Dooni is as likely to butcher us as the
Dakoon!" said McDermot, the captain of artillery.
Every man in the garrison had killed at least one
of Pango Dooni's men, and every man of them
was known from the Kimar Gate to the Neck
of Baroob, where Pango Dooni lived and
The Colonel was not to be moved. "I'd ride the
ninety miles myself, if my place weren't here no,
don't think I doubt you, for I know you all! But
consider the nest of murderers that '11 be let loose
here when the Dakoon dies. Better a strong
robber with a strong robber's honor to perch there
in the Palace, than Boonda Broke and his cut-
"Honor honor? Pango Dooni!" broke out
McDermot the gunner, scornfully.
"I know the man," said the Governor, gruffly;
"I know the man, I tell you, and I'd take his word
for a thousand pounds or a thousand head of
cattle. Is there any of you will ride to the Neck
of Baroob for me? For one it must be, and no
more we can spare scarce that, God knows!"
he added, sadly. "The women and children "
"I will go," said a voice behind them all; and
Cumner's Son stepped forward. "I will go, if I
may ride the big sorrel from the Dakoon's stud."
The Colonel swung round in his chair and stared
mutely at the lad. He was only eighteen years
old, but of good stature, well-knit, and straight
as a sapling.
Seeing that no one answered him, but sat and
stared incredulously, he laughed a little, frankly
"The kris of Boonda Broke is for the hearts of
every one of us, ' ' said he. "He may throw it soon
to-night, to-morrow. No man can leave here
all are needed ; but a boy can ride ; he is light in the
saddle, and he may pass where a man would be
caught in a rain of bullets. I have ridden the
sorrel of the Dakoon often; he has pressed it on
me; I will go to the master of his stud, and I will
ride to the Neck of Baroob."-
"No, no," said one after the other, getting to his
feet, "I will go."
The Governor waved them down. "The lad is
right," said he, and he looked him closely and
proudly in the eyes. "By the mercy of God,
you shall ride the ride," said he. "Once when
Pango Dooni was in the city, in disguise, aye, even
in the Garden of the Dakoon, the night of the
Dance of the Yellow Fire, I myself helped him to
escape, for I stand for a fearless robber before a
cowardly saint." His gray mustache and eye-
brows bristled with energy as he added: "The lad
shall go. He shall carry in his breast the bracelet
with the red stone that Pango Dooni gave me.
On the stone is written the countersign that all
hillsmen heed, and the tribe-call I know also."
"The danger the danger! and the lad so
young!" said McDermot; but yet his eyes rested
lovingly on the boy.
The Colonel threw up his head in anger. "If I,
his father, can let him go, why should you prate
like women? The lad is my son, and he shall
win his spurs and more, and more, maybe," he
He took from his pocket Pango Dooni 's gift and
gave it to the lad, and three times he whispered in
his ear the tribe-call and the countersign that he
might know them. The lad repeated them three
times, and, with his finger, traced the countersign
upon the stone.
That night he rode silently out of the Dakoon 's
Palace yard by a quiet gateway, and came, by a
roundabout, to a point near the Residency.
He halted under a flame-tree, and a man came
out of the darkness and laid a hand upon his
"Ride straight and swift from the Kimar Gate.
Pause by the Koongat Bridge an hour, rest three
hours at the bar of Balmud, then pause again where
the roof of the Brown Hermit drums on the sorrel's
hoofs. Ride for the sake of the women and chil-
dren and for your own honor. Ride like a Cum-
The last sound of the sorrel's hoofs upon the red
dust beat in the Colonel's ears all night long, as he
sat waiting for news from the Palace, the sentinels
walking up and down, the orderly at the door, and
Boonda Broke plotting in the town.
"REST AT THE KOONGAT BRIDGE AN HOUR"
THERE was no moon, and but few stars were
shining. When Cumner's Son first set out from
Mandakan he could scarcely see at all, and he kept
his way through the native villages more by
instinct than by sight. As time passed he saw
more clearly; he could make out the figures of
natives lying under trees or rising from their mats
to note the flying horseman. Lights flickered here
and there in the houses and by the roadside. A
late traveller turned a cake in the ashes or stirred
some rice in a calabash; an anxious mother put
some sandal wood on the coals and added incense,
that the gods might be good to her ailing child on
the mat; and thrice, at forges in the village, he
saw the smith languidly beating iron into shape,
while dark figures sat on the floor near by, and
smoked and murmured to each other.
These last showed alertness at the sound of the
flying sorrel's hoofs, and all at once a tall, keen-
eyed horseman sprang to the broad doorway and
strained his eyes into the night after Cumner's Son.
He waited a few moments; then, as if with a
sudden thought, he ran to a horse tethered near
by and vaulted into the saddle. At a word his
chesnut mare got away with telling stride in
pursuit of the unknown rider, passing up the Gap
of Mandakan like a ghost.
Cumner's Son had a start by about half a mile,
but Tang-a-Dahit rode a mare that had once
belonged to Pango Dooni, and Pango Dooni had
got her from Colonel Cumner the night he escaped
from Mandakan. For this mare the hill-chief had
returned no gift save the gold bracelet which
Cumner's Son now carried in his belt.
The mare leaned low on her bit, and travelled like
a thirsty hound to water, the sorrel tugged at the
snaffle, and went like a bull moose hurrying to
" That long low gallop that can tire
The hounds' deep hate or hunter's fire."
The pace was with the sorrel. Cumner's Son
had not looked behind after the first few miles,
for then he had given up thought that he might
be followed. He sat in his saddle like a plainsman ;
he listened like a hillsman; he endured like an
Arab water-carrier. There was not an ounce of
useless flesh on his body, and every limb, bone,
and sinew had been stretched and hardened by
riding with the Dakoon's horsemen, by travelling
through the jungle for the tiger and the panther,
by throwing the kris with Boonda Broke, fencing
with McDermot, and by sabre practice with red-
headed Sergeant Doolan in the barracks by the
Residency Square. After twenty miles' ride he
was dry as a bone, after thirty his skin was moist
but not damp, and there was not a drop of sweat
on the skin-leather of his fatigue cap. When he
got to Koongat Bridge he was like a racer after
practice, ready for a fight from start to finish.
Yet he was not foolhardy. He knew the danger
that beset him, for he could not tell, in the crisis
come to Mandakan, what designs might be abroad.
He now saw through Boonda Broke's friendship for
him, and he only found peace for his mind upon
the point by remembering that he had told no
secrets, had given no information of any use to
the foes of the Dakoon or the haters of the English.
On this hot, long, silent ride he looked back
carefully, but he could not see where he had been
to blame; and, if he were, he hoped to strike a
balance with his own conscience for having been
friendly with Boonda Broke, and to justify him-
self in his father's eyes. If he came through all
right, then "the Governor" as he called his
father, with the friendly affection of a good com-
rade, and as all others in Mandakan called him
because of his position the Governor then would
say that whatever harm he had done indirectly
was now undone.
He got down at the Koongat Bridge, and his
fingers were still in the sorrel's mane when he
heard the call of a bittern from the river-bank.
He did not loose his fingers, but stood still and
listened intently, for there was scarcely a sound
of the plain, the river, the jungle he did not know,
and his ear was keen to balance 'twixt the false
note and the true. He waited for the sound
again. From that first call he could not be sure
which had startled him, the night was so still
the voice of a bird or the call between men lying
in ambush. He tried the trigger of his pistol
softly, and prepared to mount. As he did so the
call rang out across the water again a little
louder, a little longer.
Now he was sure. It was not from a bittern;
it was a human voice, of whose tribe he knew not
Pango Dooni's, Boonda Broke's, the Dakoon's, or
the segments of peoples that belonged to none of
these highway robbers, cattle-stealers, or the
men of the jungle, those creatures as wild and
secret as the beasts of the bush, and more cruel
and more furtive.
The fear of the ambushed thing is the worst
fear of this world the sword or the rifle-barrel
you cannot see and the poisoned wooden spear
which the men of the jungle throw gives a man
ten deaths instead of one.
Cumner's Son mounted quickly, straining his
eyes to see and keeping his pistol cocked. When
he heard the call a second time he had for a
moment a thrill of fear, not in his body, but in his
brain. He had that fatal gift, imagination, which
is more alive than flesh and bone, stronger than
iron and steel. In his mind he saw a hundred
men rise up from ambush, surround him, and cut
him down. He saw himself firing a half-dozen
shots, then drawing his sword and fighting till r;e
fell; but he did fall in the end, and there was an
end of it. It seemed like years while these visions
passed through his mind, but it was no longer than
it took to gather the snaffle-rein close to the sorrel's
neck, draw his sword, clinch it in his left hand
with the rein, and gather the pistol snugly in his
right. He listened again. As he touched the sorrel
with his knee he thought he heard a sound ahead.
The sorrel sprang forward, sniffed the air, and
threw up his head. His feet struck the resounding
timbers of the bridge, and, as they did so, he
shied; but Cumner's Son, looking down sharply,
could see nothing to either the right or left no
movement anywhere save the dim trees on the
banks waving in the light wind which had risen.
A crocodile slipped off a log into the water he
knew that sound; a rank odor came from the
river-bank he knew the smell of the hippopot-
These very things gave him new courage. Since
he came from Eton to Mandakan he had hunted
often and well, and once he had helped to quarry
the Little Men of the Jungle when thfey carried off
the wife and daughter of a soldier of the Dakoon.
The smell and the sound of wild life roused all the
hunter in him. He had fear no longer; the
primitive emotion of fighting or self-defence was
alive in him.
He had left the bridge behind by twice the
horse's length, when, all at once, the call of the
red bittern rang out the third time louder than
before; then again; and then the cry of a gray
wolf came in response.
His peril was upon him. He put spurs to the
sorrel. As he did so, dark figures sprang up on all
sides of him. Without a word he drove the
excited horse at his assailants. Three caught his
bridle-rein, and others snatched at him to draw
him from his horse.
"Hands off!" he cried, in the language of Man-
dakan, and levelled his pistol.
"He is English!" said a voice. "Cut him
"I am the Governor's son," said the lad. "Let
"Cut him down!" snarled the voice again.
He fired twice quickly.
Then he remembered the tribe-call given his
father by Pango Dooni. Rising in his saddle
and firing again, he called it out in a loud voice.
His plunging horse had broken away from two
of the murderers; but one still held on, and he
slashed the hand free with his sword.
The natives were made furious by the call, and
came on again, striking at him with their krises.
He shouted the tribe-call once more, but this time
it was done involuntarily. There was no response
in front of him, but one came from behind.
There was clattering of hoofs on Koongat Bridge.
and the password of the clan came back to the
lad, even as a kris struck him in the leg and drew
out again. Once again he called, and suddenly
a horseman appeared beside him, who clove
through a native's head with a broadsword, and
with a pistol fired at the fleeing figures; for
Boonda Broke's men, who were thus investing the
highway up to Koongat Bridge, and even beyond,
up to the Bar of Balmud, hearing the new-comer
shout the dreaded name of Pango Dooni, scattered
for their lives, though they were yet twenty to
two. One stood his ground, and it would have
gone ill for Cumner's Son, for this thief had him at
fatal advantage, had it not been for the horseman
who had followed the lad from the forge-fire to
Koongat Bridge. He stood up in his stirrups
and cut down with his broadsword, so that the
blade was driven through the head and shoulders
of his foe as a woodsman splits a log half through,
and grunts with the power of his stroke.
Then he turned to the lad.
"What stranger calls by the word of our tribe ?"
"I am Cumner's Son," was the answer, "and
my father is brother-in-blood with Pango Dooni.
I ride to Pango Dooni for the women and children's
"Proof! Proof! If you be Cumner's Son,
another word should be yours."
The Colonel's Son took out the bracelet from
his breast. "It is safe hid here," said he, "and
hid also under my tongue. If you be from the
Neck of Baroob you will know it when I speak it,"
and he spoke reverently the sacred countersign.
By a little fire kindled in the road, the bodies
of their foes beside them, they vowed to each
other, mingling their blood from dagger - pricks
in the arm. Then they mounted again, and rode
toward the Neck of Baroob.
In silence they rode awhile, and at last the hills-
man said: "If fathers be brothers-in-blood, behold
it is good that sons be also."
By this the lad knew that he was now brother-
in-blood to the son of Pango Dooni.
THE CODE OF THE HILLS
"You travel near to Mandakan!" said the lad.
"Do you ride with a thousand men?"
"For a thousand men there are ten thousand
eyes to see; I travel alone and safe," answered
"To thrust your head in the tiger's jaw," said
Cumner's Son. "Did you ride to be in at the
death of the men of your clan?"
"A man will ride for a face that he loves, even
to the Dreadful Gates," answered Tang-a-Dahit.
"But what is this of the men of my clan ?"
Then the lad told him of those whose heads hung
on the rear Palace wall, where the Dakoon lay
dying, and why he rode to Pango Dooni.
" It is fighting and fighting, naught but fighting, ' '
said Tang-a-Dahit, after a pause; "and there is no
peace. It is fighting and fighting, for honor and
glory, and houses and cattle, but naught for love,
and naught that there may be peace."
Cumner's Son turned round in his saddle as if to
read the face of the man, but it was too dark.
' ' And naught that there may be peace. ' ' Those
were the words of a hillsman who had followed
him furiously in the night ready to kill, who had
cloved the head of a man like a piece of soap, and
had been riding even unto Mandakan, where a
price was set on his head.
For long they rode silently, and in that time
Cumner's Son found new thoughts; and these
thoughts made him love the brown hillsman as
he had never loved any save his own father.
"When there is peace in Mandakan," said he,
at last, "when Boonda Broke is snapped in two
like a pencil, when Pango Dooni sits as Dakoon in
the Palace of Mandakan "
"There is a maid in Mandakan," interrupted
Tang-a-Dahit, "and these two years she has lain
upon her bed, and she may not be moved, for the
bones of her body are as the soft stems of the lily,
but her face is a perfect face, and her tongue has
the wisdom of God."
"You ride to her through the teeth of danger?"
"She may not come to me, and I must go to
her," answered the hillsman.
There was silence again for a long time, for
Cumner's Son was turning things over in his mind ;
and all at once he felt that each man's acts must