Page images

all is," he said happily; "it not altogether forgotten the beats Messpot all to pieces. episode. I mean, you seldom see the “Will your anarchist pals be stinkin' Turk within half a decently armed ?" went on the mile of you; but this sorap importunate Hun · Child, as of yours ought to be a heart- anabashed he watched his to-heart sort of show-like friend's directions to the now & footer sorum." His friend frankly terrified helmsman. smiled dryly as he eyed the The tone in which his inquiry swollen river abead with dig. was made implied that he hoped passionate gaze. “At this that they would be. rate," he remarked unsym- “You needn't worry,” replied pathetically, after giving a his friend laconically. “Any. sudden sharp oommand to the how, they'll not be worse armed helmsman, “it's much more than the Government Police. likely to resemble a burial at My constables," he explained 808. . . . Shall we dodge that rather bitterly, "are only next great lump of muok all trusted with obsolete army right, I wonder ”-he added carbines.” fatalistioally-"or not?That At that moment the look-out “next great lump of muok” serang gave a long-drawn nasal was one of many apparent ory in some unknown language. floating islands which were However, the Assistant Superoontinually tearing past them intendent of Police seemed to in the moonlight on either grasp its import, for shading beam. Such driftsdam was his eyes for a minute against for the most part composed the tropio moon glare, he diof mighty groves of heavy- reoted the Subaltern's attention trunked trees, uprooted whole- to a small black bobbing spook sale by the flood, and which, that stained the brilliance of with their greenery still flaunt- the silvery water a fow miles ing above the surface, were ahead. “There they are,” he being whirled rapidly 802- said briefly. “Five to one wards.

those are the chaps we want. A collision-or even a graze Before their time though by - with the least among such my calculations. Still, as they formidable collections of de- haven't made the Bandamukhi reliot timber would have it doesn't much matter.” sunk the Vampire in thirty The Hun-Child danoed about seconds, as the cool boy the bridge like an agitated fox. now driving his gimoraok terrier, and then rushed below vessel between their angry to retrieve a sporting rifle. eddies knew only too well. . . . . . . Just a year previously he had the nature of the anarobists' experienoed one such violent escape from the toils of the law encounter afloat, and since he up-stream had been as follow.po and two serangs had been The Superintondent of Pr to the only survivors out of a -already referred to by the the orew of fiftoon souls, he had sistant Superintendent) anar“boss "-becoming aware that haste at his English superior's a certain township on the river quarters with the welcome in. was affording a field of aotivity formation that the oonspirators for some politioal maloontents, were shortly expected to ashad detailed a native inspeotor semble at a certain little house of the Criminal Investigation overlooking the river. Already Department to shadow their his C.I.D. constables—in dismovements, and further to as- guise — were unostentatiously certain whether they were in watching this quarter of the the habit of meeting olandes- bazar, and at a word from them tinely for purposes of 00- the regular armed police could operation.

rapidly surround the building. Warrants of arrest were al. The whole of Jyotish's bandoready in existence for the more bust was excellent, with the notorious among them, but to single exception that he omitted take isolated action against to send for a police-boat to this or that individual meant pioket the river itself. To do soaring the rest of the covey him justice, time was short away, and this was obviously and the police - boat at the impolitic if by the exeroise other end of the town; and of a little patience the whole further, under ordinary oirband could be rounded up oumstances no shipping ever at some rendezvous. The anchored in the vicinity of the native detective had carried suspected house, and the river, out his duties most effi- of course, was far too swollen ciently. So discreetly had he at this time of year for a man performed the task allotted to think of escape by swimming. him that the malcontents, al. However, this tactical omission though always on the look-out on the Inspeotor's part was to for police surveillance, had undo the hard work of a fortnotiood none, and in oonse- night, because the anarobists quenoe were under no appre- —who never took any chanoes hensions concerning their im- —had arranged a line of remediate safety. This being treat by way of the river, the case, they soon grow bold engaging for this purpose a enough to meet together at ir native boatman, who had orders regular intervals and at differ- to lie up under the bank some ent rendezvous. So oautiously fifty yards away from their were the arrangements for such meeting-place. No sooner did reunions conduoted that it was the Superintendent of Police not until they had already for- and his armed constables appear gathered three or four times at the head of the street that that Inspector Jyotish Sen- led to the river bank, than the himself a loyal Bengali-was seditionists dashed through the in a position to anticipate their garden behind the house, and movements and forestall their shooting down the two plainintentions. However, his op- olothes polioemen who were portality came at last, and stationed there, leaped into one evening he arrived post- their boat and were borne rapidly down - stream. The "Fool!” soreamed the anarevening mist was rising off the chist passionately, as they water at the time, and this swept nearer the police-boat, enveloping them they were “do something or I will kill speedily out of sight. The thee !” and he thrust his autobirds flown, all that remained matio pistol into the trembling to be done was to telegraph man's face. This proved the their movements lower down last straw to the boatman's the river. As the young nerves, for, dropping his steerPoliceman down - stream had ing-oar overboard in a panio, antioipated, their immediate he flung himself prostrate at intention had been to make the the bottom of the dug-out and mouth of the Brahma Banda- oried for meroy. A second mukhi. That they had missed later some freak of the ourit was only due to the same rent bad seized the rudderless fog which had in the first barque in its grasp, and had instance assisted their escape; driven it at full speed upon a and, on running into clear partially submerged mud-flat, water again, the first thing which at normal times probthat they saw was the Vampire. ably formed part of the now

“Steer past that ship at as flooded and almost invisible great a distance as is possible,” river bank. The boat having oommanded their leader, ad. plenty of way on, was carried dressing the native boatman, well home into the middle of who sat orouohod in the stern the yielding ooze, where it of the dug-out grasping the stuok fast but did not capsize. steering-paddle, which took the All this happened-far more place of a rudder.

swiftly than it takes a pen to “Very good, babu-gee,” the describe it-within a quarter man replied doubtfully; “but of a mile of the Vampire, to they have only to turn, over- whose crew the fate of the haul, and run us down at their dug-out was plainly visible in pleasure."

the moonlight. The Policeman “Cannot you lead them upon paused irresolutely for a second, some shoal or sand-bank ?" in- for the immediate taotioal situquired the Bengali, his shrewd ation seemed rather baffling. brain quiokly adapting itself “How in the name of everyto conditions that were utterly thing riparian am I to get foreign to it. "See, your boat close up to them across all that draws but & few inches of mud ?” he refleoted. “I can't water, and the steamer must open fire on them until I've draw many feet.”

made certain they're the ohaps "God knows, I dare not trifle we want, and not then until with the police," whined the I've given 'om a chance of surfisherman, rapidly becoming rendering.” He despatched a terror-striokon at the prospeot serang to fetoh him the ship's of an undesired conflict with megaphone with a view to the Law, to which he now hailing them, but before the seemed committed.

man could return the anarohists disclosed their identity shaped sweep of land where with a burst of fire from their the bank was softest, and this automatio pistols. The Vam had automatically resulted in pire was now almost opposite the formation of a kind of the stranded dog - out, and promontory, where the firmer about one hundred and fifty ground up-stream still stood yards away from it, the river fast. The Policeman's disrushing, rough, hissing, and criminating eye now rapidly foam-fleoked, between them. took in the possibilities of this The anarchists' fire was oonoen. topographic situation, and trated on the launch's bridge, steering the Vampire into the and as the result of a luoky comparatively slack water beshot the serang at the wheel low this newly - formed and rolled quietly under his steer. natural breakwater, he cast ing apparatus. Unoontrolled, anohor there, and waited to the Vampire swung off her see how she took the strain. course at once, and again bade Thrice they were obliged to fair to beoome the toy of the pay out more cable, but at elements. The Subaltern, how- length the launch oeased drag. ever, seized the abandoned ging down-stream, and came to wheel and drove her bows into a fairly firm anchorage. “I'm the current anew. At this pushing off in the dingey," fresh strain upon them, her explained the Policeman hurindignant engines banged and riedly as he strapped his rerattled as though they were volver to his belt; "if we hug going to fall through her what's left of the bank we bottom.

ought to be able to drift “Wait till I get a chance of straight down on the top of & shot back at the swine!” those ohaps. You might stop raged the Hun-Child, soarlet on board and look after things in the face between his fury while I'm away." and his unaccustomed labourg. “Be d- d if I do!” re“ Thank God, here's another plied his frankly insubordinate lascar. ... Here ... take hold special constable, and a minute you ..." and handing over later both of them fell pell. the wheel to a native sailor, he mell among the serangs and ran to join the Assistant police sepoys in the rooking Superintendent, who was mus. rowboat below. tering his half-dozen oonstables Although the water under amidships.

the bank had been slack By this time—as a result of enough to admit of the steamthe Subaltern's saving of the launch anchoring there, it was situation - the steam - launch -as the Hun-Child remarked had orawled several hundred tersely-"no immoral joy.ride" yards above the stranded dug. in the open dingey. The moout, and here Fortune began ment they cast off from the to favour the representatives launch a hissing swirl carried of the Law. The flood had them over the top of the 80ooped out a great crescent. flooded bank, and bore them

apparent. so maffect that plat, were usinghe police, hondered

nearly & quarter of a mile struggle which took place by inland. Here, however, the moonlight in three or four feet ourrent beooming weaker and of mud and water between the more erratio, the serangs were late oooupants of two capable to row an indireot course, sized boats is obviously no easy whioh took them appreciably task. Suffice to say that the nearer the anarohists, who still Subaltern more than once reallay below them down-stream. ised his ambition of a “heartThese latter could be seen to-heart talk” with his foes. making desperate efforts to Firearms — 88 such — played refloat the dug-out, but it ap- little part in the mêlée, because peared to be irrevooably fixed nearly all of them were jammed where it had first grounded. with mud and thus rendered At intervals both sides sniped useless. The police, however, each other in the moonlight, were using the butt in such but with no effect that was cases as the collision had not apparent. Meanwhile the parted them from their cardingoy was rowed back to a bines. Where they had lost strategio point from which it these weapons they drow their seemed probable - after ob- bayonets from their belts and serving the course of minor stabbed; the anarohists struok flotsam as it passed—that the baok with pistol - butt, oarourrent would eventually carry blade, and in two cases with them straight down upon their Russian sword walking-stioks. proy. Bidding the serang8 The Hun - Child was being ship their oars and draw their rather badly punished by two knives, the Policeman steered heavily-built men, who had the little boat into the very collared him low and dragged heart of the next eddy, simul. him down. With great promptaneously announcing his in- titudo he had kioked the first tention of “letting her rip.” in the stomach when attaoked,

He let her rip, with the most and blaoked the second's eye; astonishing results for all con- but having lost his rifle he cerned. The dingey slipping was unable to inflict mortal into the eddy sprung round injury apon his assailants. twice like a teototum, and then they for their part were atin a flash before either friend tempting to use their superior foo know exaotly what had ority in weight and numbers happened, she had charged the to thrust his head under the dug-out broadside on, with all mud with the object of smoththe socuracy and velocity of sering him. At one time it well - direotod torpedo. After looked as though their efforts that, as the Han - Child said might be crowned with success, -borrowing metaphor from for the Subaltern was built on · Alice in Wonderland'-"most the lines of a light-weight

'obase rider rather than & To describe with any degree wrestler, whereas both the of lucidity the varying for- Bengalis turned the soale at tunes of a life - and - death twelve or thirteen stone. For

Ho let her lotting her rip..ja- titudo her. With great dragged

"most for the submit

Todtwinkled." and

« PreviousContinue »