Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chinese Command Betrayed

Frobisher scrutinised the Korean's face closely, but there was no shadow of change in its Oriental impassivity. For all that the man's bearing betrayed, he might never have moved from his post since the camp had been pitched; yet the young Englishman could not rid himself of the suspicion that Ling was not exactly what he appeared to be. Moreover, now that the man was standing inside the tent, Frobisher again became conscious of a faint suggestion of the odour of sandal-wood oil. However, it would not in any way suit his plans to betray his suspicions of the Korean at present, therefore he merely contented himself with remarking quietly:
"Very well, Ling. You had better get to sleep, so as to be rested by the morning; and I'll wake you as soon as it is time to break camp and be stirring. By the way, I fancied I heard someone prowling about my tent half an hour ago. I suppose you did not notice anything out of the common, or you would have reported it to me at once, eh?"
"Me no undelstand `anything outel le common', mastel; what mastel mean?" enquired Ling, his almond-shaped eyes opening in apparent puzzlement.
"I mean," replied Frobisher, rather testily--for he now felt almost convinced that the fellow was trying to hoodwink him--"that I suppose you are quite sure that no spy, no one belonging to the enemy, in fact, approached or entered the camp while I was asleep and you were on guard?"
"Oh!" exclaimed Ling, his face breaking out into a smile, "I undelstand now. No, mastel; nobody not come neal camp. If anyone had come he would be dead by now; me shoot any stlangel quick, without ask any questions."
"All right!" answered Frobisher, permitting himself to be almost persuaded against his better judgment that the man was honest, so absolutely child-like and bland was his manner; "get away to your own quarters and secure as much sleep as you possibly can, for we have a long march before us to-morrow." And he turned away, to show Ling that his presence was no longer required.
But at the moment of turning he could almost have sworn that he caught sight of Ling's lips parted in a sardonic smile. Frobisher wheeled again immediately, but when he once more looked at the man, the Korean's face was as indifferently emotionless as though carved from stone, and Murray was compelled to acknowledge that the expression which he thought he had noticed must have been due to the flickering shadows cast by the lantern that he carried in his hand.
Thus dismissed, Ling trotted off and threw himself down beside the inner wheels of one of the carts, covered his face with a fold of his ample cloak, and was, to all outward appearance, fast asleep on the instant. Frobisher, after regarding the recumbent form for a long minute or more, silently tiptoed away to his post of observation, having reached which, he extinguished the lantern, making sure, first of all, that his matches were ready to hand in his pocket, so that the light might not prove a convenient target for any prowling sharpshooter of the enemy.
He remained motionless in the one position for at least half an hour, and then, beginning to feel a trifle cramped from his spell of inactivity, made up his mind to traverse the sleeping camp, in order to assure himself fully that all was as it should be. Leaving the lantern behind him, he made his way slowly and silently, by the dim light of the stars, round the sleeping bivouac. And it was not until he had completed the entire circumference of the circle and was back again at his starting-point, that it occurred to him that he had not particularly noticed Ling, who, of course, ought to have been lying asleep where Frobisher had left him.
At once the Englishman's dormant suspicions again awoke into full activity, and, lighting the lantern, he proceeded to repeat his investigation, going his rounds in the opposite direction this time; and, sure enough, when he came to the place where he had left Ling lying, the spot was vacant--Ling had disappeared.
"Now what in the world is the explanation of this?" Frobisher asked himself testily. "I'm certain there is something fishy about the fellow, and I would give a trifle to be able to discover what game it is that he's playing. Where, in the name of Fortune, has he got to now, I wonder?"
As the thought passed through his mind he heard a sudden, suspicious sound right on the other side of the camp. The idea it conveyed to him was that a man had tripped or fallen over something; and this suggestion was strengthened when, immediately afterward, certain low muttered words in the Korean tongue, which sounded remarkably like a string of hearty expletives, issued from the same quarter. And the voice was undoubtedly that of Ling.
Frobisher whipped the revolver out of his pocket and leapt like a deer in the direction of the sound, arriving on the spot just in time to discover Ling sitting upright on the dewy grass, alternately rubbing his head and his shins. The Englishman stood looking down at the other for a few moments, and in that brief interval found time to notice that his feet were soiled and plastered with fresh clay, which had certainly not been on them when Frobisher had left him half an hour previously. It was also certain that he could not have accumulated that clay within the confines of the camp, for the space where the wagons had been drawn up was carpeted entirely with grass, and there was no vestige of clay anywhere within the circle. Frobisher therefore felt more convinced than ever that Ling was something very different from what he represented himself to be.
"Well, Ling," he remarked sternly, after a pause, during which the Korean had been vigorously rubbing himself, "what's happened to you? Where have you been; what have you been doing?" And as he spoke he brought his right hand slightly forward, so that the rays of light from the lantern which he carried fell upon the gleaming barrel of his revolver.
Ling observed the motion, and shrank back guiltily. "Oh, mastel," he quavered, "me thinkee me heal a sound ovel hele--fol me too flightened to sleep--and me come hele to see what the mattel."
"What kind of sound did you think you heard?" queried Frobisher, looking the man square in the eyes.
Ling tried to return the gaze, but failed. His almond-shaped eyes met the other's for a few seconds, and then turned ground-ward.
"Me believe me heal someone moving ovel hele," he replied, "and so me came see if anybody tly to get in."
"Then what did you fall over?" asked Frobisher.
"Me go look see if anybody hiding outside camp," explained Ling glibly, "and me fall ovel shafts of calt coming back. Me no see clealy without lanteln," he continued, volubly.
"If you believed you heard a movement," said Frobisher, "why didn't you come and tell me, instead of going yourself? Besides, it seems strange that you, who ought to have been sleepy after your spell of duty, should have noticed those suspicious sounds, while I, who was wideawake, heard nothing."
"No undelstand, mastel," said Ling, regarding Frobisher with a blank stare.
"No, you scoundrel!" retorted Frobisher angrily; "you only understand just what suits you, don't you? However, understand this, my fine fellow," he went on, bringing the revolver into full view, and shaking it in front of the now thoroughly frightened Korean; "if I find that you've been up to any tricks, I'll shoot you, as sure as my name's what it is, so you had better be very careful. Do you understand that? Very well, then; get over to your place and lie down; and mark this--don't let me catch you slinking about this camp any more to-night. Savvee?"
"Me savvee plenty, mastel," replied Ling, gathering himself up and hobbling away. He added some other words in his own language, in a tone that sounded anything but reassuring; but as Frobisher was totally unfamiliar with the Korean tongue, he was compelled to let the matter pass unnoticed.
The remainder of the night slipped away without interruption. But shortly after the incident above referred to, Frobisher noticed that the stars were becoming obscured, and about two o'clock in the morning rain began to fall, softly at first, then increasing in volume until, in half an hour after the beginning, it seemed as though the very bottom had fallen out of the heavens, and thus allowed the water pent up there to fall upon the earth in an overwhelming cataract.
One by one, as they became chilled by the wet, the sleepers awoke, and crawled drowsily either into or beneath the carts; and soon Frobisher was the only human being in sight anywhere in camp. He was quickly drenched to the skin, but realising how excellent a screen for rushing the camp this downpour would make, he remained at his post, shivering with cold, for the rest of the night; and by the time that morning dawned, was feeling weary and wretched.
As soon, however, as the first hint of dawn paled the eastern sky, the rain ceased as suddenly as it had begun, and Frobisher aroused Ling and gave him orders to call the men to their breakfast, so that an early start might be made.
When Frobisher poked his head under the hood of the cart where the Korean had taken refuge from the rain, he somehow very strongly suspected that that individual had been awake and sitting up at the moment of his approach; yet he was obliged to shake the man vigorously for a full minute before he could be made to comprehend that it was time to bestir himself.
As soon as Ling permitted himself to realise this fact, however, he sprang from the cart with an admirable assumption of briskness, and soon had the mule-drivers at work preparing breakfast and inspanning the wet and wretched-looking mules. He even took the trouble to light a fire himself and prepare a cup of hot tea for the "mastel", for which the drenched and shivering young Englishman felt sincerely grateful.
The young man had taken only a single sip, however, when he detected a very peculiar taste in the liquid, and spat the mouthful out on to the ground, with an exclamation of disgust. Happening to glance upward at the moment, he caught sight of Ling regarding him with a peculiar expression, in which hate, cunning, and satisfaction were curiously mingled; and Frobisher could scarcely repress his anger as he realised the meaning of that malignant glare. Not content with having attempted to murder him by means of the knife during the night, the scoundrel was now trying to put an end to him by means of poison; a powerful and very painful poison, too, surmised Frobisher, if he might judge by the burning, biting sensation that tingled on his throat, lips, and tongue.
It was not Frobisher's policy, however, to let Ling see that he was suspected, otherwise the man might become desperate and adopt some still more strenuous measure, which it might be difficult if not impossible to frustrate. Therefore, forcing back the words of indignation and accusation that leapt to his lips, and making a strong effort to command his voice so that it might not quiver, he remarked quietly: "Hi, Ling! This tea is very strong. You've forgotten to put in any sugar. I suppose there is some, isn't there?"
Ling repressed a smile, dived under one of the cart hoods, and presently reappeared with a few lumps of the required sweetening, which Frobisher calmly dropped into his cup, stirring them round so as to dissolve them completely. He then set the cup down beside him, as though to let the liquid cool, and watched Ling keenly until that wily Oriental was looking another way, when he quickly capsized the contents of the cup on to the grass, where the liquid was immediately absorbed by the damp earth.
When Ling returned for the cup Frobisher observed him closely, and could not avoid noticing the expression of satisfaction which even the man's usual impassivity failed to suppress completely. Frobisher was by this time quite convinced that Ling was a traitor, either belonging to, or in the pay of, the Government party; and he began to wonder whether, after all, the man had spoken the truth when he had affirmed that Korean troops were approaching to capture the caravan along the Yong-wol road. Might not the very reverse be the fact, and the troops be hiding in ambush along the very road that they were about to traverse? Frobisher was almost inclined to take the risk of altering the course of the caravan in order to regain the main road; but a few seconds' consideration caused him to abandon that idea. There were no less than four roads to Yong-wol, including the customary route, and the Englishman had only selected the one they were on at the last moment before starting--after the arrival of Ling from the ship, in fact; so that, unless Ling had arranged to have messengers waiting for him ashore, and had found means to communicate with them--which Frobisher could scarcely believe possible--the route they were taking could hardly have leaked out. He therefore made up his mind to stand by his original plan; and, the men having finished their meal, he gave orders for the caravan to proceed, himself leading the way and keeping a sharp look-out for any sign of treachery on the part of the Korean.
It was but a short distance to the banks of the stream, previously mentioned, which crossed the route of the caravan, but when they arrived there a disagreeable surprise was in store for the leader. The heavy rain of the previous night had swollen the river to such an extent that, instead of a placid, shallow stream, little exceeding in size a mere brook, it was now a roaring, foaming torrent, rising higher and higher every minute; and there was no knowing how long it might be before the water would subside to its normal level. Frobisher consequently realised with dismay that he might be compelled to stay where he was for several days, allowing the enemy ample time to arrive on the spot and capture the caravan.
Evidently, he told himself, it would never do to be delayed by this obstacle; but how was he to overcome it? that was the question.
"Ling," he demanded, "how long will it be before this water will go low enough to allow us to cross?"
The Korean shrugged his shoulders. "Me no know, mastel," he said. "Pelhaps by to-night; pelhaps not fol week. No can do nothing, can only stop hele."
"Don't you believe that for a minute, my man," retorted Frobisher tartly, for it annoyed him to observe the calm satisfaction with which the Korean regarded the situation. "We've got to get across, do you hear? And we are going to do it; so make up your mind to that. If I have to drown every man of the caravan, and you too," he added, "I'm going to manage it somehow, so you understand. And now that I've told you this, tell me in return whether there is any other place beside this where we can cross?"
"No, mastel," said Ling, "no othel place. This only place anywhele. And no can closs hele, mastel can see fol himselluf."
"Well," said Frobisher determinedly, "if this is the only place, this is where we cross. The river is rising very rapidly, and the longer we delay the worse it will be; you see, therefore, that there's no time to waste. I'm going to ride in to find how deep the water is, and, what's more, my friend, you are coming with me." As he spoke, the young sailor grasped the bridle of Ling's mule, dug his heels into his own animal's sides, and together the Englishman and the now thoroughly frightened Korean descended the steep bank and plunged into the river.
Not until he was actually in the water did Frobisher realise how deep and how swift was the current; yet his horse seemed to betray no uneasiness, and the river deepened only very slightly as they pushed forward. He therefore grasped the Korean's bridle more firmly, took his own bridle between his teeth, so as to have one hand free, drew his feet out of the stirrups in order to get clear of the horse if the animal were washed off its feet, and brought his open hand down with a resounding smack upon the brute's hind-quarters.
With a snort, the beast plunged forward with a rush, the mule following reluctantly after, with Ling clinging desperately to its neck. Fortunately the water remained shallow, and the adventurous Englishman was just congratulating himself on getting safely across without mishap when there came a despairing shriek from Ling, the bridle was wrenched from Frobisher's hand, and he wheeled in the saddle in the nick of time to see Ling's mule lose its footing and sink back into the swirling torrent, flinging the shrieking Korean off its back into the water. The man immediately disappeared from view, all that was visible of him being a hand and an arm, waving frantically to and fro and clutching helplessly at the empty air. Evidently the mule had planted its foot in a hole, stumbled, and been swept off the narrow ford into deep water; and, unless something were done quickly, it looked as though Ling were in danger of being drowned.
The Korean had twice attempted to take Frobisher's life, and it would have been far more convenient and safer, as regarded himself, for the leader of the expedition to have let the man drown; but that leader was an Englishman, with all an Englishman's traditions behind him, and he could not stand idly by and see a fellow creature perish, however well-deserving of such a fate the man might be. So, without a moment's hesitation, Frobisher dragged his horse's head round by main force, and urged him, by voice, heel, and hand, off the causeway into the flood, and headed downstream after Ling, who had by this time risen to the surface and was yelling madly for mercy and help. But the sailor soon perceived that if he pursued his present tactics the Korean would be swept away and drowned before being overtaken; so, casting his eyes keenly about him, Frobisher picked out a spot a little distance lower down, where the banks appeared slightly less steep than elsewhere, and urged his animal in that direction.
Presently he was fortunate enough to feel solid ground under his horse's feet, and a few moments later was safely ashore and riding hard along the bank, parallel with the stream. By this time Ling had swallowed a considerable quantity of water, and his lungs were already half-full; it was evident, therefore, that in a few minutes the fellow would sink for the last time. But Frobisher was now abreast of him, and a few seconds later he sighted another low place in the bank where he could re-enter the stream. Urging his animal to top speed, in another moment he was plunging down the bank into the water. The plunge submerged both horse and rider for the moment, and when Frobisher's head again appeared he saw Ling's body swirling past him in the strongest part of the current. Another moment and Frobisher had drawn the man to him, hoisting his head clear of the water on to the peak of the saddle in front of him. He then steered the horse to the bank, and was fortunate enough to be able to regain solid ground without further mishap. He lowered Ling carefully to the ground, dismounted himself, and, after securing his horse by the bridle to a convenient tree, set about the task of restoring the half-drowned Korean to consciousness.
Frobisher had had a good deal of "first-aid" experience during the period of his service in the Navy, and he therefore knew exactly what to do. Laying the Korean flat on his back, he knelt on the ground astride of the body, seized both Ling's wrists in his hands, and then proceeded to move the man's arms slowly backward and forward from a position right above his head forward to the sides of his body, and then back again, thus actually pumping air forcibly into the lungs.
After a few minutes of this treatment Ling began to show signs of returning life, and before long he opened his eyes, coughed chokingly, and then rolled over on his side, vomiting up the water he had swallowed and coughing it out of his lungs as well. Then Frobisher completed his work of restoration by administering a sip or two of brandy from the cup belonging to his emergency flask, and a few more moments later Ling was able to stagger to his feet.
Then, and not until then, did the Korean appear to recover his full faculties and recognise who it was that had saved him from a watery grave.
The Korean licked his dry lips and, carefully avoiding looking his rescuer in the face, stammered out some kind of thanks to his master for saving his life; and Frobisher observing the man's manner, became more than ever convinced that there was treachery in the wind, and determined to be thoroughly on his guard, day and night.
But there was no time to think about such matters just now; the river was rising higher every moment, and if the carts were to be got safely across without the loss of men, mules, or cargo, it was necessary to set things in motion immediately. On the opposite bank of the stream were now collected some of the Sam-riek drivers who had run along so as to be "in at the death" as they fully expected, and Frobisher sharply ordered them back to their posts, telling them to get the caravan in motion and prepare to cross.
The men had seen their leader negotiate the ford in safety, so they were not quite so timid as might have been expected, and as the heavily-laden carts formed a kind of anchorage and support to both mules and drivers, the young man soon had the satisfaction of seeing the entire caravan safely on the desired side without loss, when he immediately got the procession once more in motion toward Yong-wol.
During the whole of that day they travelled along the jungle road, with the thick, solid greenery hemming them in on each side, and the sun pouring down upon them like a flame. Ling marched along, silent and morose, never speaking a word unless Frobisher actually addressed him or ordered him to translate some command to the men; and it was with unfeigned thankfulness that, just as the sun was about to set, the young man saw, not far ahead of him, a small clearing somewhat similar to the one where they had camped on the previous evening, and determined to spend the night there.
The carts were drawn up in precisely similar formation, and supper was cooked; and by the time that this was disposed of, all hands were more than ready to seek their couches. Frobisher had already pitched his tent, and had just entered it to get his cutlass and second revolver when Ling came up to him.
"Me keep filst watch, mastel, same as last night," he remarked ingratiatingly.
Frobisher looked fixedly at him for a few moments, and Ling lowered his eyes.
"No, my man," answered the Englishman; "I keep first watch to-night. You kept it yesterday, I keep it to-day. Now run away and get your rest, Ling. I expect you need it after your experience this morning."
Ling gritted his teeth under his long, scanty moustache. This arrangement would not suit his plans at all. Why could not these eccentric westerners be consistent? he wondered. The Englishman kept second watch yesterday, and Ling had fully expected that he would do the same again; while now--
"Me lathel watch filst, mastel," he pleaded; "me no sleepy. You sleep now, mastel; me look out."
"Look here, my man," exclaimed Frobisher, wrathfully, "who's master here, you or I? Just understand this, as it will save trouble in the future. When I tell you to do a thing, just remember that you've got to do it, and do it at once. Now, get away to wherever you're going to lie down, and I'll call you when it's time for you to go on duty. No, not another word; off you go, without any more palaver."
For a moment it seemed as though Ling intended to disobey. Then the Englishman's great stature and commanding presence had their effect, and he slunk off and lay down under one of the wagons, but not to sleep. He simply lay there leaning on his elbow, regarding Frobisher with a malignant expression. About a couple of hours later, after darkness had fallen upon the camp for some considerable time, and the rest of the men were asleep, he began to listen for something; and Frobisher would have been intensely interested could he but have glanced into Ling's mind and read what was working there.
About ten o'clock Frobisher began to feel so drowsy, that although he had made the rounds only half an hour previously he determined to repeat them, in order to avoid falling asleep at his post; so, taking up the lantern and cautiously feeling his way, to avoid stepping on the slumbering forms of any of the men, he began again to make the circuit of the camp.
Ling had been in his place, apparently sound asleep, when Frobisher had passed half an hour previously, but when the young man now directed the light of his lantern under Ling's cart he saw that the fellow was no longer there; and a hurried survey of the camp soon convinced him that the Korean was nowhere within the circle of the carts. He must therefore be outside, Frobisher argued; and, if outside, where, and what doing?
There could be but one answer to that question, so, without a moment's hesitation, Frobisher set to work to arouse the slumbering Koreans, afterwards herding them in front of him until he had them all collected together in a little knot in the centre of the camp.
He next endeavoured, in "pidgin" English, to make them comprehend the situation as it presented itself to him; but, unfortunately, they were men who had seldom or never come in contact with white people, and he soon saw that they did not understand a word he was saying. He was compelled, therefore, to fall back upon signs; and after a time they began to comprehend dimly what it was that their leader was trying to tell them.
When at length he had succeeded in impressing upon them the fact that the camp was in imminent danger, he took four of their number to one of the carts, unloaded one of the chests of rifles and one of ammunition, broke both open, and distributed the weapons and a quantity of ammunition to each Korean, at the same time carefully instructing them by repeated action how to load and fire the rifles. Luckily, the men were quick to learn, and appeared delighted with the weapons, which they seemed to look upon as presents; but Frobisher fully realised that, however willing they might be, they would scarcely be able to hold out long against regular troops, even though the latter were poorly trained--especially if those troops should appear, as might be fully expected, in overwhelming numbers.
It was his duty, however, to protect the property committed to his charge as long as he could; and there was always the possibility that the rebels at Yong-wol might come part of the way to meet him, and that the sound of firing might bring them to his assistance. He therefore selected a rifle for himself, stuffed a quantity of ammunition into his breeches pockets--the pockets of his coat being full of revolver cartridges--and then went round, placing his small force of some twenty men in the most sheltered and advantageous positions he could arrange. After this there was nothing to be done but to keep a sharp look-out and await developments.
These were not long in coming. Frobisher had barely found time to get his men to their places, and to arm himself--having previously enjoined strict silence, by signs again, of course--when his straining ears caught slight, rustling sounds in the jungle close at hand. They were the sounds of bush, fern, and shrub being cautiously pushed aside--the sounds of the stealthy approach of a considerable body of men; and it soon became abundantly evident that the camp was entirely surrounded, and that it was to be attacked from all sides at once.
Frobisher flitted hither and thither silently, peering into the jungle from between the carts and underneath the wheels; and he was presently able, by the dim light of the stars, to distinguish that the whole bush was in barely perceptible motion. The attackers were at the very edge of it, evidently only waiting for the command to commence operations; the Englishman, therefore, determined, by being first, to secure the advantage of surprise himself. At his shouted word the Koreans discharged their rifles into the jungle at point-blank range, reloading on the instant; while Frobisher heightened the effect by selecting a spot where he could already see the glint of rifle barrels in the starlight and discharging all six chambers of both his revolvers in that direction.
The effect upon the attackers must have been considerable, for immediately following the discharge there arose a tremendous outburst of shrieks, yells, and groans, shouted orders, and cries of encouragement; and Frobisher saw several forms leap out of the bush and go crashing to earth in the clearing.
He had just time to re-load his revolvers before the surrounding bush burst into a perfect tempest of flame and lead, indicating that the Government troops must be present in force. One of the Sam-riek men, right at his elbow, uttered a pitiful cry, clutched frenziedly at his breast, from which the blood was spouting, and dropped to the ground, his chest torn to pieces by five charges of pot-leg, or stout nails, which had struck him at the same moment; while groans and screams from various parts of the enclosure showed that the little force had suffered pretty severely.
The men were now, however, re-loading and firing as rapidly as they could, each independently of the other, and Frobisher, not knowing their language, found it impossible to control them sufficiently to make them fire only at the word of command. He realised that, at the rate at which they were firing, an enormous wastage was taking place, but he was powerless, and could only hope that the result would justify the expenditure.
The attackers presently lighted a large fire at the edge of the clearing, that they might have light to fight by; and what with the ruddy flickering of the flames and the incessant flashing of the rifles, the running crouching forms of the troops, and the desperate energy with which the defenders fought, the scene was a fit subject for the brush of a Wiertz or a Verestchagin. Men on both sides were falling fast, and Frobisher himself was half-blinded by the blood from a wound in his forehead inflicted by a ricochetting slug or bullet. And presently he began to realise that, despite the stubborn resistance of his men, the Government troops were slowly but surely closing in on him, and that the end could not be very long delayed.
He himself fought as Englishmen fight, doing as much execution as any four of his men; but he could not be everywhere at once, although he rushed here and there, encouraging and urging the defenders to fresh effort. Grimy, bleeding, and powder-stained, they did their best to obey; but the pelting rain of lead was rapidly reducing their numbers, and as their fire slackened for want of men, the troops edged in ever closer and closer until, at a sudden shouted word of command, they surged forward and stormed the enclosure, carrying it by sheer weight of numbers.
The Sam-riek men were slaughtered like sheep, and Frobisher found himself surrounded by at least a dozen men, shooting and stabbing at him until it seemed miraculous that he still survived. He laid about him desperately, and many a man of the enemy went down under the terrific sweep of his cutlass--his revolvers he had emptied long ago, save for a single shot which he was hoarding against some special emergency.
But the fight could not last much longer; his foes pressed so closely about him that Frobisher could no longer freely swing his cutlass, while the blood running down into his eyes half-blinded him. Out of the corner of one eye, however, he suddenly caught sight of a heap of cartridges that he had emptied on the ground for his men to help themselves from. His foes had driven him almost on the top of the pile, and, seeing that there was no possible escape, the young Englishman determined to sell his life dearly.
With his cutlass hand he warded off the blows that were raining upon his head, and with the other he fired the last chamber of his revolver right into the middle of the heap of ammunition. The next instant there shot forth a dazzling burst of flame accompanied by a crackling report, and for a brief instant Frobisher had a confused vision of torn and writhing limbs and bodies. Then something struck him sharply; there was a sound as of roaring, tumbling, thundering waters in his ears; and he knew no more.

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