Read CHAPTER ELEVEN of Ned Garth, free online book, by W. H. G. Kingston, on ReadCentral.com.

Again the caravan was on the move.  For many days they marched on with varied fortunes, sometimes meeting a friendly reception at the villages they passed, but more frequently being refused admittance, and having to purchase provisions at a high cost, or to pay tribute to the petty chiefs, many of whom, possessing fire-arms, were too formidable to offend.  Abdullah declared that they had had enough of fighting, and could not afford to lose more men in unnecessary battles.  Hitherto but a small quantity of ivory had been procured, the villagers having disposed of all they possessed to other traders.  At this the chiefs were evidently greatly disappointed, and frequent consultations were held among them.

Sayd did not tell Ned the result, but he seemed dissatisfied, and more than once expressed a wish that he had not undertaken the expedition.  “But then you would not have found me, and I should not have discovered Chando, so that I am very thankful you came,” answered Ned.

Some days after this he observed that they advanced with even more caution than before.  Scouts were sent out, who from time to time brought back the intelligence they had obtained.

At length one evening the caravan halted on the confines of a wood through which they had passed.  As Ned looked ahead he could distinguish, as the sun set, a large scattered village below them, surrounded by fields and fruit-bearing trees, situated on the borders of a shining lake, a picturesque circle of hills beyond.  It was a smiling scene, and spoke of abundance and contentment.  Sayd appeared more unhappy than before.  Ned again asked him what was about to be done.

“You will see before the night is over,” he replied.  “My companions have departed from the original intention of our expedition, and I feel much disposed to separate from them, but yet if I do I shall gain no profits, and my friends will have cause to complain.”

“Is Abdullah going to trade with the inhabitants of yonder village?” asked Ned.

“No,” answered Sayd; “he and the other leaders have devised a plan for acquiring not only all the wealth it contains, but at the same time bearers to convey it to the coast.  We have already lost so many pagazis that we shall be unable to transport more than a small portion of what we may purchase.”

“Do they, then, intend to attack the village and make slaves of the unfortunate people?” asked Ned.

“It is that they propose to do.  It is bad, very bad,” answered Sayd.

“Then let me urge you to take no part in the proceeding,” said Ned.  “If you cannot prevent them from committing the crime they contemplate, separate yourself at once from the caravan, take a different route, and endeavour to obtain the friendship of the natives.  I have heard that they look with respect on Englishmen, who always treat them justly.  I may, therefore, be of some use to you, as, when they see an Englishman, they will know that we wish to be at peace, and desire to deal fairly with them.”

“You are right,” observed the Arab; “I will order my people to be prepared for marching in the direction I may determine on.”

Ned was satisfied as far as Sayd was concerned.  He desired also, however, if possible, to prevent Abdullah from carrying out his infamous project, but how to do so was the question.  An attempt to warn the villagers of Abdullah’s designs would be very difficult.  He could not speak to the Arab leader himself, and Sayd declared that he had already said all he could to dissuade him.  He had, therefore, to wait the course of events.  The caravan remained concealed in the wood, watching the village, until all the lights were extinguished and it was supposed that the inhabitants had gone to rest.  In perfect silence the Arabs marshalled their forces, several of the pagazis being also armed, while the remainder, with a small guard over them, were left in the wood with the goods and provisions.

Sayd, on seeing this, true to his word, drew off his own men, greatly to the anger of Abdullah and the other chiefs.  Ned accompanied him, but Chando was obliged to remain in the camp.  It was better than being employed in attacking the villagers.  Ned was much concerned at having to separate from him.  Again he implored Sayd to try by some means or other to obtain Chando’s liberty; he received the same answer, “It is impossible.”

“Tell him then from me that he must try and join us.  He would be perfectly justified in running away if he has the opportunity, and that may occur.”

Sayd did as Ned begged him, and then drawing off his men formed a separate camp at a distance from that of Abdullah.

In the meantime the main body of the Arabs, with their armed followers, were creeping down towards the village, keeping concealed among the rocks and shrubs so that they might not be discovered until they were close up to it.

Some time elapsed, when the stillness of night was broken by the rattle of musketry, followed by the shrieks and cries of the Arabs.  The flashes appeared on all sides except that of the lake, showing that the Arabs had almost surrounded the place.  Ned could only picture in imagination the cruel deed taking place below him.  Presently flames burst forth, now from one part of the village, now from another, until in a short time the whole was in a blaze, while by the ruddy light he could see the dark figures of the inhabitants endeavouring to escape by flight, pursued by their relentless invaders.  Still the firing continued, showing that the work of death was going on.  At length it ceased.  After some time a large mass of people could be seen by the light of the flames, while the Arabs were distinguished rushing here and there, lance in hand, driving their frightened prisoners before them.  The cruel act had been accomplished; upwards of a hundred of the villagers had been captured, and the Arabs, exulting in their victory, returned to their camp.  Ned accompanied Sayd, who desired to have a parting interview with Abdullah.  As they approached the camp they saw the prisoners, men, women, and children, sitting on the ground, the armed guards standing round them, while the remainder of the Arabs’ followers were employed in forming forked poles to place on the necks of the refractory, and in preparing the ropes by which the others were to be bound together.

The meeting between Sayd and his former leader was more stormy than might have been supposed, the latter abusing him in no measured terms for his desertion, and threatened his destruction and that of his followers should he try to proceed through the country.  To attempt to obtain Chando’s liberty under these circumstances would have been useless.  Sayd and Ned therefore returned to their own camp.  Ned did his utmost to keep up Sayd’s spirits, pointing out to him that he had acted rightly and would have no cause to repent his decision, though he himself was bitterly disappointed at having to leave Chando, whom he had hoped some day to restore to his father.

“In what direction do you propose to proceed?” he inquired of Sayd.

Having consulted Sambroko:  “I intend to march northward and then to turn to the east.  He tells me that we pass near many villages inhabited by elephant hunters, who are sure to have a good supply of ivory; and as the Arabs have not gone through that part of the country for a long time, we shall obtain it at a moderate price, besides which, the people are likely to prove friendly.”

At daybreak Sayd’s small caravan commenced its march, Sambroko uttering a farewell shout to their fate companions, who replied by derisive cries.  “They may shriek as they like,” he observed, “but they will before long change their tone.  They will either have to recross the desert, or will have to go a long way round to avoid it, when they will find enemies in all directions through whom they will have to fight their way.”

Ned would have rejoiced at getting free of Abdullah had Chando been with him, though he did not despair of recovering the young slave on his return to Zanzibar.  Still he knew that many circumstances might prevent this.  Chando might succumb to the fatigues of the journey, as many others had done, or might be killed should the caravan be attacked by hostile natives, or Abdullah might ship him off with other slaves on board a dhow, should they reach the coast.  All Ned could do, therefore, was to hope that none of these events would occur.

There was but little time for thought.  Sayd was anxious, by forced marches, to get away from the neighbourhood of the village which had been so treacherously treated, lest the inhabitants of other villages supposing that he and his followers had been engaged in the proceeding should attack them and revenge themselves on his head.  They marched on therefore all day, with only a short halt to take some food, water being abundant and the tall trees protecting them from the hot sun.  At night they encamped under a gigantic sycamore, the boughs of which would have shaded twice their number from the rays of the sun.  Near it was a stream from which fresh water could be procured, and Sayd would gladly have halted here some days had not Sambroko advised that they should push on.

At daybreak they were again on the march.  They had, however, to supply themselves with food, but so plentiful was the game that the hunters had not to go far out of their way to obtain it.  Sambroko, who was their chief hunter, succeeded in killing a zebra, which afforded meat to the whole party, and the next day, whilst stalking at the head of the party, he brought down a magnificent giraffe, which he managed to surprise before the animal had taken alarm.  It was of the greatest importance to reach a village, which Sambroko said must be passed before the news of the Arab raid could get there, and at length it came in sight, standing on a knoll surrounded by palisades, above which the roofs of the houses could be seen.

As they approached, Sambroko set up a cheerful song announcing that friends were drawing near and desired peace.  The result was anxiously watched for.  Should the gates remain closed, the caravan would have to pass by as far as possible from the village with the prospect of being attacked in the rear.  Greatly to their satisfaction, however, Sambroko’s song produced a favourable effect, and the villagers came out shouting a welcome.

Sayd thought it wise, however, not to enter, but gave notice that he had brought goods with which to purchase ivory and provisions.  An active barter was soon going forward.  Eight tusks were procured and an ample supply of provisions.  Sayd also obtained information from the natives that several villages were situated in the direction he wished to go, the inhabitants of which were likely to prove hostile.  They offered to furnish guides who would conduct his party through the jungle to a distance from them.  This offer he gladly accepted, confident that no treachery was intended.  After a short rest the caravan again moved forward.  The carriers marched in single file, the path not allowing two to walk abreast.

Sayd and Ned, accompanied by Hassan, led, Sambroko bringing up the rear, the other armed men being equally distributed in the line, while the two guides kept ahead.  The party were soon buried in the depths of the forest.  Perfect silence was preserved.  Now they emerged into a more open country and pushed forward with rapid steps.  As darkness was coming on, there was little risk of being seen from a distance.  Led by their guides they continued through the early part of the night until another forest was reached, where they lay down to rest, no fires being lighted, no sounds being uttered.  The guards kept a strict watch lest a lion might spring out on the slumbering party.  Before dawn they were again on foot and moving forward as on the previous evening.  For three days they thus advanced, until the guides assured them that they might continue to the eastward without fear of molestation until they reached the village of Kamwawi.

“You must be cautious how you approach it,” they observed; “the people are brave and warlike, and if they think you come as enemies they will be sore to attack you, but if they consider you are friends they will treat you with kindness and hospitality.”

“Kamwawi!” exclaimed Ned, when he heard the name; “that surely is the village to which Chando told us he belonged?”

“Yes, but there are others with similar names, so that we can never be certain,” answered Sayd.  “I find that the one spoken of is four days’ journey from hence, and as we must camp to procure food it may be longer than that before we reach it.”

The provisions held out another day after they had parted from their friendly guides, and they had now only their own judgment to depend upon.  Once more they were encamped.  No human habitations were visible, no signs of cultivation.  The country around appeared to be deserted.  They would have, however, in consequence a better chance of meeting with game, and Sambroko promised that he would bring enough food to feed the whole party for several days.  Ned offered to accompany him, but Sayd was too tired after his morning march to leave the camp.  Hassan and another freed man followed, carrying spare guns.  It was difficult to say beforehand what game might be met with, whether elephants, or buffaloes, or giraffes, or zebras, or deer, but the hunters were prepared for any one of them.  Sambroko declared that all game were alike to him, that he knew their ways and habits.  Ned, however, was the first to shoot a deer, which they came upon suddenly before the animal had time to fly.  While the blacks were employed in cutting it up, Ned walked on ahead in the hopes of finding some large game.  Feeling confident that he might easily make his way back to the camp again he crept cautiously on, looking to the right hand and to the left, and endeavouring to peer over the bushes in front.  At length he saw some dark objects moving up and down above the tops of the branches directly in front of him.  He crept on and on; getting a little closer he saw that they were elephant’s ears.  Ambitious of shooting the true monarch of the wilds, Ned, regardless of the danger he was running, crept on, hoping to plant a bullet in a vital part of the animal before he was discovered.  He had got within twenty yards of the huge creature, when he stepped on a rotten branch, which broke beneath his foot.  The noise warned the elephant that an enemy was near.  Up went its trunk.  It began breaking through the intervening brushwood.  Ned, retaining his presence of mind, stood watching until he could get a fair shot, intending then to follow the advice which Sayd had before given.  The head and shoulders of the animal came in sight.  Now was the moment to fire; he pulled the trigger.  Without waiting even to see the effect of his shot, for had he remained where he was he would the next instant, should it have failed to take effect, have been crushed to death, springing on one side he ran for shelter behind a tree which he had just before noted.  The elephant, with trunk uplifted, broke through the brushwood, trumpeting loudly in its rage.  Looking about and not seeing its enemy it stopped short.  Ned in the meantime reloaded as fast as he could, and stepped out to fire again.  The quick eye of the elephant detected him.  To fly was now impossible; he must bring down the creature, or run a fearful risk of being caught.  He fired, when the elephant rushed towards him with extended trunk.  Ned saw that the branch of a tree hung just within reach above his head.  By a desperate effort, which under other circumstances he could scarcely have made, he swung himself up on to the bough, and ran, as a sailor alone can run, along it until he reached the stem, up which he began to climb with the rapidity of a squirrel.  The elephant had, however, seen him; even now he was scarcely beyond the reach of its trunk, which, looking down, he saw extended towards his feet.  In vain he tried to spring up to the nearest branch.  He felt the end of the creature’s trunk touching his legs; should they once be encircled he would be drawn hopelessly down.  He involuntarily uttered a loud shriek, and endeavoured to draw up his feet.  It was answered by a shout from Sambroko and the other blacks; at the same instant he heard a shot.  The elephant’s trunk was no longer touching him, but the exertion he had made was beyond his strength; his hands relaxed their hold, he felt himself falling.  Consciousness, however, did not desert him.  He expected in another instant to be crushed to death by the creature’s feet, or to be dashed by its trunk against a tree.  He fell heavily to the ground.  All he could see for a moment was a dark form above him.  He made a desperate effort to struggle out of its way, but his limbs refused to aid him.  He closed his eyes, resigned to his fate.  But the death he expected did not come.  A shout sounded on his ear.  Looking up he saw the black stooping over him, while a few paces off, lay the elephant which Sambroko’s shot had brought to the ground.

“Well done, young master, well done!” cried the black.  “You are not much hurt.  We will carry you to the camp, and send the people to bring in the meat and tusks.  We shall have fine feasting, and all will be grateful to you for having supplied us with meat.”  Such was what Ned understood the black to say.

He was very thankful to find himself placed on a litter, composed of a couple of poles and some cross pieces cut down from the neighbouring trees, when his bearers immediately set off towards the camp.  The men, on hearing of their success, uttered shouts of joy, while half their number set off to bring in the tusks and elephant meat and venison.  Sayd attended to Ned’s hurts.  One of his ankles was severely injured by his fall, and his shoulder was also sprained.  It was evident that he would be unable to march for several days.

“You must remain here until you have recovered your strength,” said Sayd.  “The people will be in no hurry to move while they have such an abundance of meat.  If you cannot walk after a few days, they must carry you, and they will be ready to do so, as they owe their feasting to you.  Sambroko tells me that one, if not both, of your shots mortally wounded the elephant, though it was his which saved your life, for had he not fired the moment he did you would probably have been destroyed by the beast.”

“I am very thankful to him, at all events,” said Ned; “but I am very sorry to detain you when it is so important to push forward.”

“Allah wills it, we must not repine,” answered Sayd; “and as we have to remain, we must lose no time in fortifying our camp to protect ourselves against wild beasts as well as human foes.”

In accordance with this intention he ordered his men to cut down stakes and to collect a large quantity of prickly pear-bushes which grew in the neighbourhood.  A square fence was then formed with stakes, the interstices being filled up by masses of bushes, making it perfectly impervious, so that even elephants would hesitate before attempting to break through it.  Within the circle rude huts were built for the accommodation of the garrison, one of which, of rather better construction, was devoted to Ned’s use.  He had hardly taken possession of it when he felt a painful sensation come over him, and he was conscious that he was attacked by fever.  Fearful fancies filled his brain, hideous forms were constantly flitting before him, while during his lucid moments he endured the greatest depression of spirits.  He gave up all hope of ever again seeing those he loved or his native land.  Hour after hour he lay racked with pain.  Sayd sat up by his side, continuing to assert that he would recover.  Still not only hours but days and weeks went by, and he heard Sayd acknowledge to Sambroko that he feared the young master would die after all.  The very next day, however, Ned felt himself better, though too weak to walk.  Sayd had hitherto borne the delay patiently, but he now again became anxious to proceed.  Sambroko, though at first successful, had of late shot but a small quantity of game.

At length Sayd ordered a litter to be formed, and directed four of the pagazis to carry Ned, giving their packs to others, who grumbled greatly at the increased weight of their loads.  Sambroko having fortunately killed an eland, the people were restored to good-humour, and consented the next morning to commence the march.

Again the little caravan moved on, and as the men had been well fed they made good progress.  About an hour before sunset they once more prepared to camp, a spot near a thick wood having been selected, with a stream flowing at no great distance.  Ned had been placed on the ground, and the people were scattered about collecting branches for huts and fuel for their fires, when suddenly loud cries burst from the forest, and a band of fierce-looking savages, armed with spears and javelins, burst out from among the trees.  The men had left their arms in the centre of the spot chosen for their camp; near them lay Ned on his litter, with Sayd seated by his side.  The young Arab immediately rose, and lifting his rifle, pointed it at the foremost of the savages.  A fight appeared imminent.  Should Sayd or Sambroko fire, the next instant the blacks would be upon them, and the rest of the party, having only their axes or knives, could offer but a feeble resistance.  The intruders held their ground in spite of the warning shouts of Sayd and Sambroko.  Ned, unwilling to die without attempting to strike a blow, was crawling towards the arms to possess himself of a musket, when one of the savages raised his spear to dart at him.  At that instant a shout was heard proceeding from the forest, out of which Ned saw a person rushing without weapons in his hands.  The black who was about to hurl the spear hesitated, and the next instant Ned recognised Chando, who, coming forward, turned round and addressed his countrymen, for they were of his tribe, signing also to Sayd and Sambroko to lower their weapons.  The savages, who just before appeared bent on the destruction of the travellers, now advanced, uttering expressions of good-will and welcome.  Seeing peace established, Chando knelt down by Ned’s side, pouring out expressions of joy at having found him, and inquiring anxiously the cause of his being unable to walk.  Sayd replied, and then eagerly asked how he himself happened to arrive at so fortunate a moment.  As Sayd listened to the account Chando was giving him his countenance expressed deep concern.

“What has happened?” asked Ned, when the black at length ceased.

“What I am not surprised to hear,” answered Sayd.  “Abdullah had proceeded but three days’ journey with his newly-captured slaves, and some sixty tusks or more which he had obtained, when a large force of negroes, who were lying in ambush, burst out on the caravan.  The Arabs and some of their followers fought bravely, and, with a portion of their slaves and pagazis, escaped to a height where their enemies dared not follow them; but the remainder of the carriers threw down their loads and tried to escape through the forest.  Some were killed, but Chando, with a few others, got free, and came on in this direction, till they fell in with a hunting-party of his own tribe, from whom he learned that an attack was to be made on a small caravan, which he at once conjectured was ours.  Hastening on, he arrived just in time to prevent a fight, which would probably have ended in our destruction.”

Chando nodded his head and smiled as Sayd was speaking.  He appeared to have another matter, to speak about which he evidently considered of the greatest importance.  He at once communicated it to Sayd.

“What does he say?” asked Ned.

“That his mother is alive and one of the most important people in Kamwawi.  That her brother is the chief, which is a fortunate circumstance, as he undertakes that we shall be received in a friendly way and escorted by his people as far as the influence of their tribe extends.”

The two parties encamped together, the hunters bringing in an ample supply of venison and elephant flesh.  The next morning they proceeded towards Kamwawi.  Ned had now no longer any difficulty in obtaining pagazis, each of Chando’s friends wishing to have the honour of carrying him.  In two days they reached Kamwawi.  Messengers having gone ahead to announce their coming, the gates were thrown open, and the villagers streamed forth to welcome them, headed by their chief; near him walked a woman, superior in appearance to the other females of the party.  No sooner did Chando see her than he rushed forward and threw himself at her feet.  She lifted him up, embraced him, bursting into tears.  She was his mother Masika.  At length, when released from her arms, the chief welcomed him in almost as affectionate a manner.

The whole party were then received in the usual native fashion, and Sayd, without hesitation, accepted the chief’s invitation to remain at the village as long as he might desire.

Great was Masika’s astonishment at hearing that her husband was alive, though she hesitated about accepting Ned’s offer to take her and Chando to England.  She bestowed, however, every care on her white guest, and contributed much by her skill to restore him to health.

Whenever she and her son could get Sayd to interpret for them, they would come and sit by Ned’s couch, listening eagerly to the accounts he gave them of Baraka, as well as to the adventures he himself had met with.

“Wonderful, wonderful!” exclaimed Masika.  “Chando says he must accompany the young master, and I will go also.  I will find my husband and bring him back; he will be a great man here.  He has become so wise, so good!”

Masika at last made up her mind to undertake the expedition, and occupied herself in making such preparations as she considered necessary.  It was some time, however, before Ned recovered the use of his feet, and could walk about without pain.  The fever, too, had left him very weak.  He was thankful for the rest he obtained.  Sayd now became anxious to proceed, though his followers were in no hurry to leave their present quarters.  He had purchased a large number of tusks from the villagers, and had engaged a dozen of them to assist in conveying his property to the coast.  He had, indeed, by honest commerce made a far more profitable expedition than, in all probability, had Abdullah, even though he should succeed in reaching the coast with his captured slaves.

During the stay of the caravan at Kamwawi, Chando and a number of people, excited by the prospect of selling their ivory at a good price, several times went out hunting and succeeded in bringing in six elephant tusks, and four from the jaws of hippopotami, which they had slain.

After a stay of several weeks, the caravan, considerably increased in size, marched forth from the gates of the village with colours flying, drums beating, horns sounding, and people shouting their farewells and good wishes.  Ned felt in better spirits than he had done for a long time, as he was once more able to march alongside Sayd, Chando, who was now not only a freed man, but was looked upon as a person of considerable consequence, being generally in their company.  Masika, carried in a sort of litter by four bearers, followed close behind them.

They had a long journey before them, and many dangers and difficulties to encounter.  Sayd confessed to Ned that his stock of ammunition had run very low, and that should they encounter an enemy they might be unable to defend themselves.  They hoped, however, to find the natives friendly, and that they should march forward without interruption.

He had still retained a sufficient amount of goods to purchase provisions and to pay the usual tribute to the chiefs through whose territory they would have to pass.  Sayd issued strict orders to his people to expend none of their powder and shot unless in a case of absolute necessity.

Day after day they marched on, sometimes being received as friends, at others finding the gates of the villages closed against them, especially when they reached the districts through which the Arab caravans had passed.  Still, they were two hundred miles or more from the coast.  Fifteen miles was the very utmost length they could perform in one day’s journey, and generally they did not get through more than ten miles.  Thus, with the necessary halts for hunting or purchasing provisions, and the detention they might meet with from chiefs, it would still take them three weeks before they could reach the coast.

Three weeks, after so many months spent in the interior, seemed nothing to Ned, and he would not allow himself to think of the many other delays which might occur.  They had rivers to ford, swamps to cross, dense forests to penetrate, and occasionally a desert region to get over, on which occasions, in spite of the heat of the sun beating down on their heads, they pushed forward as fast as they could move.  Once they ran short of provisions, but a successful hunt the following day restored the spirits of the party.  When game could not be procured they obtained supplies of honey from the wild bees in the forests, as well as fruits of various descriptions, including an abundance of grapes from the vines, which grew in unrestrained luxuriance along the borders of the forest, forming graceful festoons on the projecting branches of the trees.

From the character they had received of the natives they had reason to expect an unfriendly reception from the inhabitants.  They did their best to avoid these villages; or, when compelled to pass near, Sayd, without hesitation, paid the “honga,” or tribute demanded.  The people, however, generally treated them in a friendly way on observing that they had no slaves, no chains, or men with forked sticks to their necks, and Sayd explained that their mission was peaceable, their object being to carry on a fair trade.  There appeared, indeed, every prospect of a satisfactory termination of their journey.

They had encamped earlier than usual one day in order to allow Sambroko, Chando, and the other hunters to go out in search of game.  In the meantime huts were built, wood collected, and fires were lighted to be ready for cooking it.  They were expecting the return of the hunters, when Sambroko and Chando were seen rushing at headlong speed towards the camp, where they arrived almost breathless, exclaiming

“To arms! to arms!  The enemy are upon us.  No time to lose; before many minutes they will be here.  We saw them coming in this direction.”

Sayd, on further questioning the two hunters, was convinced that their report was true.  To encounter a horde of savages on the open ground on which they were encamped would be dangerous; but near at hand was a knoll with trees on its summit, which Ned had observed.  He advised Sayd to retreat to this spot, as they might there, should they be attacked, defend themselves with greater hope of success.  The pagazis shouldering their loads, the cooks snatching up their pots and pans, and the armed men their runs, the caravan beat a hurried retreat and quickly ascended to the top of the knoll.  Ned, on surveying it, advised that a breastwork should be thrown up with such trees and bushes as could be quickly cut down, and which would enable them to defend themselves against any enemies destitute of fire-arms.  Every man, therefore, capable of using an axe was set to work, and several tall trees being brought down were piled one above another on the most accessible side of the knoll.  Where the ground was soft stakes were driven in, and in other places thick branches were heaped up, so that in a short time a breastwork was formed calculated greatly to strengthen their position.  The people were still labouring at it, when from out of the forest to the north issued a band of warriors with long spears in their right hands and shields on their arms, their heads bedecked with zebra manes, above which waved plumes of ostrich or eagle feathers, while their robes of skin, as they rushed on, streamed behind them.  Rings were round their legs, to which bells were suspended as they ran.  On either side of the main body were skirmishers.  They shouted and shrieked vehemently, and flourished their weapons as if to inspire terror in the hearts of those they were about to attack.  On they came, fresh bodies appearing until they might have been counted by hundreds.  Ned watched them with no small anxiety.

If determined to conquer at the sacrifice of life, they could not fail to succeed; but he had seen enough of black warriors to know that when met with determination they were not likely to persevere.  Sayd seemed to be of the same opinion.  He spoke to his people, and urged them to fight to the last.  Masika also addressed her followers, reminding them of their character for courage, and urging them to fight bravely in defence of their white friends, and of her and her son.  The men responded with loud cheers, which were heard by their advancing foes.  It had the effect of making the latter halt just as they came within gun-shot, when the chiefs, who were known by their tall plumes and the leopard skins round their waists, were seen speaking to their followers, apparently urging them to the attack.

“Would that we had the means of letting them understand that we have no wish to injure them, and desire only peaceably to pass through their country,” observed Sayd.

“Haven’t we got something to serve as a flag of truce?” asked Ned.  “A piece of white calico at the end of a spear would answer the purpose.”

“They would not understand it,” answered the Arab.

“I should like to try,” said Ned.

“You would probably be speared as soon as you approached.”

Scarcely had he spoken when once more, with loud shrieks and cries, the warriors came on.

“Fire, my brave men!” cried Sayd, and every gun was discharged, Sambroko picking out one of the chiefs, who fell wounded, as did several more, though none were killed.  Still other chiefs led the way; undaunted they advanced in spite of another volley, the defenders of the knoll loading and discharging their muskets as fast as they could.  In vain Ned set them the example, and Sayd urged them to take better aim.  Except Sambroko and a few of the more disciplined men, they fired at random.

Their assailants had almost reached the foot of the knoll when some of Sayd’s men cried out that their ammunition was expended and asked for more.  In vain Hassan was sent to look for it.  Package after package was turned over, but none was to be found.  Three or four rounds at the utmost remained in the pouches of any of the party; when they were expended there would be nothing but the breastwork to stop the progress of their foes.  Sayd entreated those who had cartridges not to throw a shot away.  On the enemy pressed; they had begun to climb the side of the knoll, hurling their javelins at its defenders.  Sayd, in spite of the desperate state of affairs, exhibited the coolest courage, his fire checking several times the advance of the foe; but he and Ned had both discharged their last round.  The chief leading the way had almost gained the breastwork, when Sambroko, leaping over it, dealt him a blow on the head with his clubbed musket, which sent him falling back among his followers.  Others, however, were rushing on to avenge his death.

In another instant they would have been up to the breastwork, when a loud shout was heard and a body of men, bearing an English ensign in their midst, was seen emerging from the wood to the south-east.  As they advanced a British cheer was heard, which was replied to by Ned, and echoed, though in a somewhat strange fashion, by his companions, who, picking up the javelins aimed at them, hurled them back on their foes.  The latter seeing a fresh body approaching to the assistance of those they were attacking, and dismayed by the fall of their chief, retreated hastily down the knoll, and on reaching level ground took to flight to avoid a volley fired at them by the new-comers.  On came the British party.  Ned, with his heart leaping into his mouth, rushed down the hill to meet them.  In another instant his hand was being grasped by Lieutenant Hanson and his old messmate Charley Meadows, while Tom Baraka, springing forward, clasped him in his arms, exclaiming

“O Massa Ned, we find you at last!  I always said dat you ’live.  Hurrah! hurrah!  Now him tink him die happy.”

“Don’t talk about dying,” said Ned, “for I have found some one else whom you will rejoice to see, and I will tell you all about it presently; but I want to know first about my uncle and Aunt Sally and Mary?”

“Dey all well, an’ de lieutenant he off dis berry coast in fine schooner which bring us here.”

Lieutenant Hanson and Charley then explained more fully what had occurred.  How they had come out in the “Hope,” and how they had heard from an Arab, one of the few belonging to Abdullah’s caravan who had escaped, that a young Englishman answering Ned’s description was up the country, and was very unlikely ever to find his way down to the coast.  They had accordingly hired the most trustworthy men they could obtain, and set off without delay to his rescue.

“And very thankful we are to find you,” exclaimed Mr Hanson.

“You could not have arrived more opportunely, for never since I have been in Africa have I been in so great a danger of losing my life; and now I want to break the news I have to communicate to my faithful friend Tom Baraka,” said Ned.

In the meantime Chando, prompted by curiosity to look at the white men, had descended the hill.  Ned seeing him, took his hand and led him up to Baraka.

“Tom,” he said, “I promised to find your son if I could.  What do you think of this young man?  Are you ready to acknowledge him as your little boy Chando?”

Tom gazed into Chando’s face for a few seconds, then grasping his hands, he rapidly uttered a few words which Ned could not understand.  The young black replied, and the next instant they were clasped in an affectionate embrace.  Tom’s paternal feelings assured him that he had found his long-lost boy, but a still greater surprise was in store for him.  In another minute he and Chando were rushing up the hill together.  Ned and his friends followed, and were just in time to see the meeting between Tom and his wife.  Though so many years had passed away since he had parted from her, he appeared to know her immediately, and if he exhibited his feelings in a more exuberant manner than a white man might have done, they were not the less affectionate and genuine.

Ned introduced Sayd, expressing his gratitude for the protection he had received.  Mr Hanson and Charley at once recognised him as the young Arab who had been saved from the sinking dhow.  It was necessary now to arrange what was to be done next.  The two parties agreed to camp together on the knoll, and resolved to proceed to the coast by the route Mr Hanson and his people had followed, thus avoiding the savage warriors who had just been defeated, and who would undoubtedly seek for an opportunity of revenging themselves.  An important point, however, had to be settled.  Would Tom return with his son to Kamwawi, or would they accompany the English back to the coast?

“Me lub him wife, him son too; but him lub Massa Pack, an’ Baraka’s heart break if he not say good-bye.  And Missie Sally an’ Missie Mary!  Oh! what shall him do, what shall him do?”

Tom had some difficulty, it appeared, in persuading his wife and Chando to proceed to the coast, but the descriptions he gave of the wonders they would see overcame their objections.  Still, Chando expressed the not unreasonable fear that he might be seized by Abdullah and carried off again into slavery, and very nearly turned the scale the other way.  Mr Hanson, however, through Sayd, promised him protection, and his mother’s fears on that score were quieted.

The two parties now united forming a strong body, marched through the country without opposition, except from the natural difficulties which presented themselves.

The “Hope” was found at anchor in the harbour, where Lieutenant Pack had promised to wait for the expedition, having returned there the previous day.

His joy at recovering his nephew may be supposed.  Sayd, who had expected to be obliged to carry his ivory to Zanzibar, was delighted to find that Mr Pack was ready to purchase the whole of it at a far higher price than he could have expected to have obtained at that market.  Leaving his people encamped under the command of Sambroko and Hassan, he accepted an invitation to return on board the “Hope” to Zanzibar to purchase fresh stores for another expedition, and he promised Ned that he would not only never again have anything to do with slave-trading, but, after the experience he had gained, would keep aloof from all those who engaged in that barbarous traffic.  Tom Baraka, his wife, and Chando also came on board, Tom having inspired Masika with a curiosity to see the wonders of the island, as Zanzibar is called.  The great desire of his heart was accomplished.  From the commencement of the journey he had instructed her in that faith which had afforded him support and comfort during his long exile from the home he had expected never again to see.  Though she did not at first understand all Tom said, her mind, as well as that of her son, became gradually enlightened, and he had the happiness of seeing them both baptised before they left Zanzibar under the escort of Sayd, who undertook to protect them and to restore them safely to their native village.  It cost Tom, however, much to part from his old master and Ned, though he was reconciled to the separation by the belief which they had taken care to instil into him, that he might prove an unspeakable blessing to his countrymen by imparting to them the truths of the Gospel and instructing them in the arts of civilisation.  He and Sayd were the last persons to quit the “Hope,” as, with a full cargo of ivory and other African produce, she sailed for England.

Though the voyage was long, Ned had scarcely finished the account of his adventures when the schooner reached the Thames, and the two lieutenants, richer men than they had ever before been in their lives, accompanied by Ned and Charley, set off to report to Mr Farrance the success of their undertaking.  On reaching the house they were greatly surprised at hearing that he, with his brother, had a few days before started for Triton Cottage.

On this Lieutenant Pack, bidding farewell to Mr Hanson, accompanied by Ned and Charley, immediately set off for home.  As they approached, Ned, looking out of the carriage window, saw a young lady leaning on the arm of a gentleman who bore a strong resemblance to Mr Farrance.  It needed not a second glance to convince him that the young lady, though much taller than the Mary he remembered, was Mary herself, and calling the post-boy to stop, in a moment he was out of the chaise and running towards them.

“It is it is Ned!” cried Mary, and forgetting her advanced age, and many other things besides, she threw her arms round his neck and burst into tears; but as she looked up directly afterwards and saw Lieutenant Pack coming stumping eagerly towards them, the bright smile which overspread her countenance showed that they were tears of joy.  The lieutenant took her in his arms and kissed her cheek again and again.

“How is sister Sally all right I hope?”

“She is at home with Uncle Farrance; and here is my papa,” she added, pointing to a gentleman standing near her.

“Your papa, Mary?” exclaimed the lieutenant putting out his hand.  “I am happy to see you, sir, whatever claim you have to that relationship, although you shall not carry off our Mary if I can help it.”

The gentleman smiled faintly.  “You certainly, sir, have a superior, if not a prior claim, from all the loving-kindness which you and your sister have shown her, and I should indeed be ungrateful were I to act contrary to your wishes,” answered the stranger.

“Well, well, come along, we will settle that by-and-by,” said the lieutenant, as he walked hurriedly on.  “I want to see my good sister Sally and assure her that I am as sound in health and limb as when I went away.”  He had let go Mary’s hand, and she and Ned now followed, Charley having got out some time before to take a shorter cut to the coast-guard station, where he expected to find his father.

Miss Sally did not go into hysterics, as Mary had so nearly done, on seeing the lieutenant and her nephew, but received them both as her affectionate nature prompted, though as she looked up into Ned’s face she declared that, had not he come back with his uncle, she would have had some doubts as to his identity.

Mr Farrance now came forward and more formally introduced his brother, assuring the lieutenant of the proofs he had obtained to his entire satisfaction that he was Mary’s father, “though,” he added, as he took him aside, “I fear, from the trials and sufferings he has endured, his days on earth are destined to be few.”

This, indeed, when the lieutenant had an opportunity of observing the elder Mr Farrance, he thought likely to be the case.  The lieutenant and Ned were too much engaged the one in describing his voyage, and the other his adventures in Africa to inquire after any of their neighbours, though it was very evident that Miss Sally had a matter of importance which she wished to communicate.

“Come, Sally, what is it?” exclaimed the lieutenant.  “Has Mrs Jones got twins? or is Miss Simpkins married? or is poor old Shank dead and not left enough to bury him, as I always said would be the case?”

“Hush, hush,” said Miss Sally, looking towards Mary and her father, who, with Ned, were seated at the window.  “It is about Mr Shank I wish to tell you.  The old man is dead, and it was partly about his affairs that Mr Farrance came down here, or they would have sent for Mary and me to London.  It is a very extraordinary story.  He was once a miser, and although suffering apparently from poverty, had no less than thirty thousand pounds, which he has left to our dear Mary.  He did so before he knew he was her grandfather, which he turns out without doubt to have been.  His only daughter married Mr Farrance, and was lost in the Indian seas on board the ship from which you saved Mary and Tom.  Mary was with the old man until his death, and was a great comfort to him, but she had not the slightest suspicion that he intended to leave her a sixpence.  From what our friend Mr Thorpe had said, however, I was not so much surprised as I might otherwise have been.  Mary had so interested him in the sufferings of the Africans, caused by the slave trade, that he left a note expressing his hope that she would employ such means as she might have at her disposal to better their condition, especially by the establishment of missions, which he expressed his belief would prove the best way for accomplishing that end.”

No one would have supposed from Mary’s manner that she had suddenly become an heiress.  Indeed no one was more astonished than Ned when he heard the account Miss Sally had given his uncle.  It seemed, indeed, to afford him much less satisfaction than might have been supposed.  Her wealth, however, was not increased by her father’s death, which occurred a short time afterwards.

Several years passed away; by that time Africa had been explored by the many energetic travellers who have so greatly benefited its people by acting as pioneers to the missionaries who have since gone forth to carry to them the blessings of the Gospel.

Mary had to wait until she was of age before she inherited her grandfather’s property, when she became the wife of honest Ned Garth, then a commander, and who, greatly to his surprise, found that Mr Farrance had settled on him a sum equal to her fortune.

Mary did not forget Mr Shank’s wishes, nor did Ned the scenes he had witnessed in Africa, both ever showing a warm interest in its dark-skinned races by contributing liberally towards the support of every enterprise for their benefit.