being crushed in by too sudden contact with a rock.
Safety demanded that the craft should be loaded
with care, for a pitpan has an awkward fashion of
turning bottom up at the slightest provocation, and
Tongla attended to this matter with as much de-
liberation as if they had plenty of time at their dis-
" Hurry !" Dean said, impatiently. " At this rate
the entire Tillage will be sober before we start,"
186 THE TREASURE-FINDERS.
" It is better to spend a few moments now than
run the risk of being capsized just when the slightest
accident would be fatal ;" and Tongla continued his
work until the little craft was properly trimmed.
Not before this had been done did he show any
sign of being pressed for time. He directed Eoy to
sit in the bow, stationed Dean amidships, and then
running to the boat-keeper's hut returned with four
" We will take an extra one in case of accident,"
the boy said, in reply to Roy's look of inquiry, as he
seated himself in the stern and with one vigorous
push sent her toward the channel. "We are to
paddle for life, and the labor must not cease until
we have passed the next village."
The boys obeyed with a will, and the light craft
glided over the waters at a rate that promised to
Night had come ; but the light of the new moon
enabled them to see the water-way sufficiently to
avoid any obstacles, and no one spoke until fully
half an hour after the voyage was begun.
" If they don't start in pursuit of us before morn-
ing, we stand a pretty good chance of getting away,"
Dean said, with a long-drawn breath of relief.
" The current must be running at the rate of three
miles an hour, and if the next village is only twenty
miles away we should pass it a little before mid-
night ; but until that has been done we are not safe,"
Tongla replied, as he used the paddle yet more
vigorously. "There must be no thought of rest
until the pitpan is well down the river,"
THE TREASURE-FINDERS. 187
"You needn't fear our wanting to let up," Koy
said, with a smile. " Dean and I are too eager to
reach the coast to waste any time except when it
can't be helped. I wonder if our friends at the vil-
lage are still carousing ?"
" Most likely all are as when we left them ; but
even if two or three should awaken, they will not be
in condition to know whether we are there or not."
Then came another long interval of silence during
which the paddles were plied incessantly, Tongla
steering from his seat in the stern, and all keeping a
sharp lookout for the town where there was rather
more than a possibility they might be halted.
" We didn't bring any water," Dean suddenly ex-
claimed, in a tone of dismay.
" Why should we, when it is only necessary to
reach over the side in order to get a drink. The
water of the river will be fresh until we are where
the tide enters."
"I didn't think of that," and Dean spoke as if
ashamed of having forgotten that they must be
many days where the supply of liquids would be
more than abundant.
As nearly as could he judged, five hours had
elapsed, when Tongla uttered a warning hiss as he
silently pointed ahead ; but strain their eyes as they
might, the boys could see nothing. The moon had
long since passed out of sight, and the darkness was
" It is the village," Tongla whispered. " Take in
your paddles, and do not so much as move, no mat-
ter what happens.."
188 TEE TREASURE-FINDERS.
"If you can see anything resembling a building
ahead, your eyes must be like an owl's," Koy re-
plied, as he obeyed the command and peered into the
At the stern Tongla dipped his paddle only now
and then, when it was necessary to force the light
craft to one side or the other, that she might feel
the full force of the current, and before many mo-
ments passed both Roy and Dean could see a faint
gleam of light on the left bank, which betokened a
THE TREASURE-FINDERS. 189
SO FAR as could be told in the darkness, this
town boasted only of a single building, like
the one just left, and the outlines of the house might
be fairly discerned by the faint light which came
from the smoldering embers of half a dozen fires.
It appeared to be very much larger than the other,
therefore it was reasonable to suppose the number
of inhabitants was greater.
Tongla managed the canoe skillfully. When they
were directly opposite the village he had forced her
toward the right bank, where the shadows cast by
the foliage would prevent her from showing as a
dark mass against the lighter water, and under
cover of this friendly gloom he gently urged her
forward until at least two miles separated them
from the town.
" Now paddle," he said in a low tone to his com-
panions. " It will soon be morning, and we must
not halt within ten miles."
" Why do you stop at all ?" Roy asked, in sur-
prise. "We can hold out for twenty-four hours,
knowing how much depends upon it."
" It is not safe to sail during the day. We do not
know where the next village is located, and it would
be as dangerous to be seen while passing as to meet
190 THE TREASURE-FINDERS.
any canoes coming up the river. We must remain
in the forest except during the hours of darkness."
"But those who will start in pursuit of us can
easily paddle further in one day than we shall be
able to during the night."
" If they should pass, we must remain hidden un-
til the canoes have come back," Tongla replied, in a
tone which admitted of no argument.
When they had taken time to think of the matter
the boys understood that their companion's plan was
a wise one, and they exerted every effort to send
the canoe ahead more swiftly, until the pale gray
streaks in the sky told that the sun was about to
show his face once more.
Not until the day had fully dawned did Tongla
turn the pitpan's bow toward the shore ; and then
he said, guiding her among a mass of overhanging
" There can be no danger in stopping here. I will
see if it is possible to take the canoe out of the
He leaped ashore, was lost to view a moment, and
then returned with the cheering intelligence that no
better spot for a temporary camp could have been
" Pass me the packs, and then we can manage to
lift thu pit pan without leaving any traces, by pull-
ing her over the branch of this tree."
Ten minutes later the boys were lying in what ap-
peared like a natural camp. Five gigantic log wood -
trees stood in a circle, their limbs draped with trail-
ing vines, and in the very midst of these was a
THE TREASURE-FINDERS. 191
cleared space about ten feet in diameter. Here the
pitpan lay, with the provisions stowed under her,
and by a few skillful strokes with his machete Ton-
gla had made an aperture in the foliage sufficient to
admit of their looking out upon the river.
It was about as snug a place as a party of fugi-
tives could have desired, and for the first time since
leaving the intoxicated villagers did the boys feel as
if they were really free.
" If it wasn't for the great desire to get home as
soon as possible, I could content myself here a
week," Roy said in delight.
" It is a pleasant resting-place ; but after one day
you would wish to leave," Tongla replied, as he un-
packed the sacks in order to lay out the food for
breakfast. " A little rain, and all the beauty would
be gone. Let us eat, and then each take his turn
watching while the others sleep, for we must be in
condition to do a hard night's work."
The boys were very hungry, therefore Tongla was
not obliged to urge them, and all ate heartily of the
generous store with which they were provided.
This very pleasing duty ended, Dean took his first
trick at watching, with the understanding that he
was to keep his eyes upon the river, regardless of
the attacks of mosquitoes and other winged pests,
for one hour, when his brother would relieve him.
Then Roy and Tongla laid down in the hammocks
which had been stretched from one tree to another,
and the sentinel could soon hear their very loud
breathing, telling that the summons for sleep had
been answered quickly.
192 THE TREASURE-FINDERS.
When half an hour passed Dean saw two Indians
paddling up stream in a canoe, and he realized that
but for Tongla's forethought they would have been
seen by these fellows, and perhaps chased to the
next village below, from whence escape might not
This one craft was the only sign of human life he
saw, and when his time as sentinel expired he called
The latter's watch had but just begun, and Dean
was not yet asleep, when the heavens were shrouded
with dark clouds as if in a twinkling, and Roy had
barely time to cry warningly to his companions,
when a thunder-clap which seemed to shake the very
earth crashed out the Storm King's defiance. The
trees were shaken by the hot puffs of wind which
came up the river, and the air suddenly became
heated as if from an oven.
Then a flash of lightning which was almost blind-
ing, another terrific peal of thunder, and the rain de-
scended in torrents, drenching the boys thoroughly
in an instant, despite the partial protection of the
foliage. From that moment the crashing of thun-
der and the electric glare seemed incessant. It was
as if the entire heavens had been rift asunder, and
to avoid the painful light Tongla threw himself face
downward on the earth.
The boys had heard of the violence of a tropical
storm, but until this moment the descriptions they
had read seemed overwrought and unreal.
This conflict among the clouds continued for two
hours 5 but the sun's rays could not be seen when it
THE TREASURE-FINDERS. 193
was ended. The atmosphere appeared to be more
sultry than before, and both Eoy and Dean began
to suffer from raging headaches.
" It is well we found this place, for we are to
have a temporal, and here we may be able to rig up
some kind of a shelter."
"What is a temporal?" Koy asked, with a look
" It is what my people call a long time of rain.
It may be a week before the sun shows his face
again, and we must remain here 'until it is ended."
"Wet as we are now, it can't make much differ-
ence if we keep on," Dean said, with a grimace. " I
think paddling the boat would be a relief rather
" It is not the rain we must avoid, but the wind,
which shifts suddenly, and the pitpan would soon be
The boys had already learned that when Tongla
made a positive statement there could be little doubt
as to its correctness, and, disheartened at the pros-
pect of remaining an indefinite time so near those
who had held them prisoners, they set about mak-
ing such preparations against the storm as were
" The place don't look nearly as inviting as it did
when I turned in," Koy said, grimly, " and I'll take
back the statement that I'd be willing to stay a
week, although we may be obliged to do so. In that
time the Wool was can do about as they please with
" If any have started from the village they will
194 THE TREASURE-FINDERS.
return at once," Tongla replied. " Those who know
the river do not care to trust it during a temporal."
" Then the storm will be a sort of blessing in
disguise, eh ?"
" It aids in our escape," the Indian boy said,
gravely ; and then he pushed his way among the wet
foliage in search of plantain-leaves with which to
build a shelter.
It was not a difficult task to find that for which
he sought, and in half an hour before the rain be-
gan to fall again a huge pile had been brought
into the clearing. Now Tongla did not appear to
think that silence was necessary ; he used his ma-
chete as a hatchet in felling half a dozen small trees
to serve as posts upon which to raise the boat, and
afterward chopped into pieces, convenient for carry-
ing, a well-seasoned log.
The pitpan, turned bottom up, was raised about
three feet from the ground, the timber set in apeak,
and at the back Tongla fastened, by means of vines
and brushwood, the broad leaves, something after
the fashion of shingles on a roof.
It was a poor shelter in which to remain several
days ; but, as Dean said, " It went a long way
ahead of nothing." If the ground had not already
been well soaked with water there would be a pos-
sibility of keeping almost dry ; but as it was, a wet
sponge represents very fairly the floor of the hastily
constructed camp. To improve this in some slight
degree plantain-leaves were spread down until the
whole was covered reasonably well, when Tongla
built a fire.
THE TREASVRE-FItfl)ER 195
" Ain't you afraid the smoke will be seen ?" Roy
asked, in surprise.
" There will be no one here. In a temporal the
Indian prefers to remain at home, for the river is
treacherous. Can you find something with which
to wrap the guns ? They will grow rusty if it is
Another plantain-leaf was the only thing avail-
able, and with both weapons in a green covering
they were hung inside the pitpan, the three gods
being suspended in the same place by a piece of mo-
hoe-bark torn from the sacks.
Before Roy and Dean finished their work in the
camp a cheery fire was burning, and just as Tongla
crawled under the not very well constructed hut
the rain began to fall not moderately, as one might
expect in the case of a storm which has come for a
long stay, but in torrents, like a summer shower.
The fugitives were fully protected from the wind
by the gigantic- trees inclosing their camping-place,
but the swaying of the stout branches told of the
gale which might wreck any craft exposed to its
" We shan't have this fire a great while," Roy
said, as the rain-drops beat the flames down now and
then. "It won't take many hours to soak every-
thing, and there'll be no fuel."
" I only hoped to dry the inside. After to-night
we must do without such a luxury ; but it will not
There was no longer any necessity of keeping
watch, and during the earlier portion of the day all
196 THE TREAStrnfi-FINi>fi&
hands indulged in the much-needed slumber ; but on
awakening to find the fire extinguished and the rain
still descending in torrents, a sense of general dis-
comfort took possession of the party. Tongla tried
to make them more cheerful by recalling to mind
the pleasing fact that they were not only free, but
so far down the river that the villagers would
hardly come in pursuit. There was very much to be
thankful for ; but the disagreeable condition of
affairs remained unchanged, and no one could even
put on the semblance of comfort.
At nightfall they ate a hearty supper, and from
that time until sunrise tried to sleep, but without
Next morning the storm raged with the same
fury as when it commenced ; but before the sun set
again there was sufficient to cause the gravest
anxiety. The river had begun to rise, and as their
camp was situated hardly more than six feet above
its natural level, there was every prospect they
might be forced to seek shelter in the trees.
To cross where the land was much higher would
have been in the highest degree foolhardy ; the cur-
rent was running like a mill-race, bearing in its
course huge trees, logs, and even large, half-stove
boats, to meet which would have crushed the little
pitpan like an egg-shell.
The second morning found the water within ten
inches of the edge of the bank, and yet the river was
rising. There appeared to be no indications that
the storm would cease on this day, and Tongla did
not think it prudent to delay any longer in making
THE TREASURE-FINDERS. 197
provisions against the time when the shore should
Taking off the loose trousers and blouse which he
wore, thus exposing his naked body to the storm, he
ascended one of the logwood-trees to learn what
might be done.
"We can build a platform among these large
branches," he shouted, after a long survey of the
surroundings, " and it must be accomplished before
many hours have passed, or we shall be drowned
" That means we've got to strip and go at it," Roy
said, with a laugh. " After being cooped in here so
long, a little exercise won't hurt either of us."
The boys were not many moments in preparing
to venture out. The fact that there would be no
dry clothes to put on necessitated their undressing,
as Tongla had done, save that they did not remove
their boots, and, with the machetes, both began
hewing such small trees as would serve to. make a
During two hours they worked with a will, and
then, carrying plenty of vines to serve as ropes,
Tongla climbed up to the place where the new hut
was to be built, the others passing to him the fruits
of their labor as wood-choppers. It was late in the
afternoon before the task was accomplished, and
then the river had begun to encroach upon their
A reasonably stout platform had been laid from
one branch to another, and above it was a roof which
would keep off a portion of the rain.
198 THE TREASURE FINDERS.
After the goods not forgetting the golden idols-
were passed up, the canoe was stood on end against
the trunk of the tree and bound securely with vines,
so there could be no possibility of her being swept
Then, when the water was nearly to their knees,
the boys clambered into the tree, with but little
prospect before them of continuing their journey for
THE TREASURE-FINDERS. 199
WHEN the boys were finally in the lofty camp,
with a plentiful supply of plantain-leaves at
hand to repair whatever damage the wind might do,
Tongla insisted that each should rub the other until
the proper circulation of blood was restored.
For this purpose he twisted the hammocks into
the smallest possible compass, and with these towels
of cord, which were quite the reverse of soft, the
fugitives scrubbed each other until every fellow was
in a perfect glow. The partially dry clothes were
then put on, and the boys cowered in one corner
of the poor shelter to pass the night as best they
It was already dark. The wind howled and
shrieked among the trees, threatening each moment
to blow from its fastenings the frail roof, and below,
the water could be heard dashing against the trunk
of the tree. The river was no longer confined within
its banks, but had overrun the lower portion of the
country, converting it into an inland sea.
" If any heavy objects drift this way the canoe
will soon be crushed," Dean said in a loud tone,
that his voice might be heard above the roar of the
200 THE TREASURE-FINDERS.
" The other trees will prevent any accident of that
sort," Roy replied. " These logwoods form a natu-
ral breakwater, and from danger of that kind we are
safe. My fear is that we may be driven out of this
place of refuge."
" It is not impossible," Tongla said, gravely ; and
then he let himself carefully down from one of the
branches to learn the condition of affairs.
The flood already covered the spot upon which
they had been encamped to the depth of three or
four feet, and the rain was still falling furiously.
He returned to the shelter without speaking, and
understanding that there was no cheering informa-
tion to be imparted, his companions refrained from
asking any questions. They feared to know the
The continued moisture had affected all the food
save the bisbire. The fish and waree meat was
spoiled to such an extent that they did not take
either with them into the tree, and the tortillas had
been converted into a sort of paste, which was far
from pleasing to the taste. If the temporal con-
tinued two days more they would be without food,
and while the surrounding country was flooded no
more could be obtained.
Until midnight the boys were in a most wretched
condition both mentally and bodily, and then to
their inexpressible delight the rain ceased to fall.
One by one the dark clouds floated off into the east,
and the stars shone out as if with increased brillian
cy because of having been screened from view so
THE TREASURE-FINDERS. 201
"The storm is over!" Tongla cried in delight.
u To-morrow the sun will show his face once more,
and by steering with great care to avoid floating ob-
stacles, we can resume our journey as soon as it is
" I thought you were afraid to travel in the day-
time ?" Roy said, in surprise.
" That was before this flood came. Now the peo-
ple living near the river will have plenty to do try-
ing to save their property and we need not fear."
"What about the danger of being swamped ?"
" Listen ! Can you not tell that the wind is being
hushed to rest? By morning the only thing to fear
will be such objects as the waters have swept away,
and skill with the paddle is needed. The river runs
much swifter than before, but the waves are sub-
Any change must be for the better, and the
knowledge that they would be on their way to the
coast in a few hours caused the boys to forget, or let
pass unheeded, present discomforts.
Slowly the hours went by until the gray light of
day appeared in the eastern sky ; but it was not un-
til the sun had risen that they could distinguish sur-
rounding objects, because of the dense foliage which
When it was possible to see, the prospect was far
from cheering. The entire forest appeared to be
submerged, and fully one-half of the canoe was
Once more Tongla threw off his clothes, and, ma-
chete in hand, leaped down from the tree to cut the
202 THE TREASURE-FINDERS.
boat adrift. In a very few moments this task was
accomplished ; and then he righted her, bailing out
the water with his hat.
The day gave promise of being excessively warm.
Already the heat was so great as to be uncomfort-
able, and the slightest exertion caused the perspira-
tion to flow profusely. The fugitives' clothing was
dried on their bodies as quickly as if subjected to
the heat of an oven, and the hut among the branches
looked really inviting, now that they were on the
point of leaving it.
The guns were in a sorry condition ; thickly coat-
ed with rust, one might well have believed they had
lain at the bottom of the river for a month, and,
with nothing in the shape of oil, it was well-nigh
impossible to clean them.
" They are of no more use than a club," Eoy said,
as he took them from the plantain-leaves. " It would
be a good deal like committing suicide to discharge
one ; and what makes the matter worse, I don't see
how it will be possible to get them in working-order
" When the river returns to its proper level we
can shoot some animal with arrows, and the fat thus
obtained will take away the rust."
" I guess that's about the best that can be done ;
but it'll be rather tough on us if we need them be-
fore any hunting can take place."
It was of no use to mourn over the fact, however,
and Eoy laid them in the stern of the boat, while
Dean lowered down the now scanty stock of pro-
THE TREASURE-FINDERS. 203
The day was hardly more than an hour old when
everything had been made ready for departure.
Tongla took his old seat in the stern, the others
were stationed as before, and all hands pulled at the
branches or pushed with the paddles until the little
craft was out of the forest.
Once where the influence of the current could be
felt the pitpan was whirled down stream with great
rapidity, turned first in one direction and then an-
other by the eddies, until it seemed certain she
would be capsized before the voyage was well be
gun. Tongla's skill as a helmsman served them in
good stead, and after some sharp work he succeeded
in heading her properly.
" We must paddle now," he said, "for unless the
pitpan is forced on faster than the current she can-
not be guided."
Koy and Dean worked manfully, while the Indian
boy had quite as much as he could do to steer, and
the canoe raced toward the coast at the rate of not
less than six miles an hour.
That the- navigation was decidedly dangerous,
and the slightest inattention on the part of the
helmsman would result in shipwreck, could be told
by the floating objects everywhere around. Here
an entire tree, whose submerged roots or branches
threatened to overturn the frail craft, was avoided
only after the most violent exertions on Tongla's
part. There a half-sunken log, drifting sidewise,
showed itself directly ahead, and every swirling
eddy threw some obstruction in the fugitives'
204 THE TREASURE-FINDERS.
" There'll be no more night-work until the flood