Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Introduces the chief actors and...
 Harks back a little
 Describes the deed of an amateur...
 The doctor finds unexpected work...
 The outlaw's friends
 The guide becomes communicative,...
 Describes a meek mother and...
 A friend appears unexpectedly,...
 A jovial chief, and new experiences...
 Tells of a grand hunt and other...
 An uninvited guest appears with...
 A narrow escape and threatening...
 Arrival at the capital
 The Prime Minister lays deep...
 The spies and the secret meeti...
 In prison
 Mamba is succoured by one of the...
 Unexpected deliverance and several...
 A Malagasy garden party
 A great Kabary is held, followed...
 Mamba, subjected to the ordeal...
 The court physician prescribes...
 In which Mark carries out his plans...
 Flight and pursuit of Ravonino...
 The forest refuge
 Dr. Breezy prescribes for the Queen,...
 In which a happy change for the...
 In which terrible but true martyrdoms...
 Threatened death averted
 The last
 Back Cover

Group Title: Fugitives or, The tyrant queen of Madagascar
Title: The fugitives or, The tyrant queen of Madagascar
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086088/00001
 Material Information
Title: The fugitives or, The tyrant queen of Madagascar
Alternate Title: Tyrant qeen of Madagascar
Physical Description: vii, 1, 24, 431 p., 5 leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ballantyne, R. M ( Robert Michael ), 1825-1894
James Nisbet and Co. (London, England) ( Publisher )
Edinburgh University Press ( Printer )
T. and A. Constable ( Printer )
Publisher: James Nisbet & Co.
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: T. and A. Constable ; Edinburgh University Press
Publication Date: [1887]
Subject: Queens -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fugitives from justice -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Determination (Personality trait) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Courage -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- Madagascar   ( lcsh )
Politics and government -- Juvenile fiction -- Madagascar   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1897   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature -- 1897   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1897
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Statement of Responsibility: by R.M. Ballantyne ; with illustrations.
General Note: "Eight thousand"
General Note: Date of publication based on inscription.
General Note: Pictorial front cover and spine, and frontispiece and added engraved title page.
General Note: Frontispiece and added engraved title page.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086088
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002373958
notis - ALX8655
oclc - 00849735

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Half Title
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    List of Illustrations
        Page viii
    Introduces the chief actors and a few mysteries
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Harks back a little
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Describes the deed of an amateur matador and the work of a rough-and-ready shoemaker
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 34a
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    The doctor finds unexpected work in the wilderness, and a mysterious stranger is introduced
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    The outlaw's friends
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    The guide becomes communicative, and tells of terrible doings
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
    Describes a meek mother and crocodile-son
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    A friend appears unexpectedly, and our travellers spend a disturbed night
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 106a
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
    A jovial chief, and new experiences of various kinds
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
    Tells of a grand hunt and other things
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
    An uninvited guest appears with news that demands instant action
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
    A narrow escape and threatening clouds
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
    Arrival at the capital
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
    The Prime Minister lays deep plans
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
    The spies and the secret meeting
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 210a
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
    In prison
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
    Mamba is succoured by one of the "ancient soot," and fulfils his mysterious mission
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
    Unexpected deliverance and several surprises
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
    A Malagasy garden party
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
    A great Kabary is held, followed by dreadful martyrdoms
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
    Mamba, subjected to the ordeal of the "Tangena," escapes, but afterwards accuses himself and is condemned
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
    The court physician prescribes for the queen
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
    In which Mark carries out his plans successfully, and powerfully astonishes himself as well as every one else
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
    Flight and pursuit of Ravonino and Rafaravavy
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 344a
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
    The forest refuge
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
    Dr. Breezy prescribes for the Queen, and attains to temporary and "perfik f'licity"
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
        Page 372
        Page 373
    In which a happy change for the better is disastrously interrupted
        Page 374
        Page 375
        Page 376
        Page 377
        Page 378
        Page 379
        Page 380
        Page 381
        Page 382
        Page 383
        Page 384
        Page 385
        Page 386
    In which terrible but true martyrdoms are described
        Page 387
        Page 388
        Page 389
        Page 390
        Page 391
        Page 392
        Page 393
        Page 394
        Page 395
        Page 396
        Page 397
        Page 398
        Page 399
        Page 400
        Page 401
        Page 402
        Page 403
    Threatened death averted
        Page 404
        Page 405
        Page 406
        Page 407
        Page 408
        Page 409
        Page 410
        Page 411
        Page 412
        Page 413
        Page 414
        Page 415
        Page 416
        Page 417
        Page 418
        Page 419
    The last
        Page 420
        Page 421
        Page 422
        Page 423
        Page 424
        Page 425
        Page 426
        Page 427
        Page 428
        Page 429
        Page 430
        Page 431
        Page 432
        Page 433
        Page 434
        Page 435
        Page 436
        Page 437
        Page 438
        Page 439
        Page 440
        Page 441
        Page 442
        Page 443
        Page 444
        Page 445
        Page 446
        Page 447
        Page 448
        Page 449
        Page 450
        Page 451
        Page 452
        Page 453
        Page 454
        Page 455
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text


The Baldwm LibraT


I- *

g4'61---:= ----'7~?~q~q:- _rrC:----




0 Al I
A SRABL FO LFE EiG 5 (ronisiee.

* I:

;,j ~2







ith 3UElntstrations.




[All rights reserved.]


IT is almost allowable, I think, to say that this
is a true story, for fiction has only been introduced
for the purpose of piecing together and making a
symmetrical whole of a number of most interest-
ing facts in regard to Madagascar and the terrible
persecutions that took place there in the early part
and middle of the present century.
I have ventured to modify time and place some-
what, as well as to mix my characters and their
deeds a little, in order to suit the conditions of
my tale; but in doing so I have striven to avoid
exaggeration and to produce a true picture of the
state of affairs, at the period treated of, in what
may be styled one of the most interesting and
progressive islands of the world.
I take this opportunity of thanking the Rev.
George Cousins, of the London Missionary Society,


and formerly of Madagascar, for kindly supplying

me with much valuable information, and of acknow-

ledging myself indebted, among others, to the works

of Messrs. Sibree, Ellis, and Shaw.













KINDS, .. .114















VAVY, .336







XXX.--THE LAST, .420








. Frontispiece

facing page 35









INTENSE action is at all times an interesting
object of contemplation to mankind. We therefore
make no apology to the reader for dragging him un-
ceremoniously into the middle of a grand primeval
forest, and presenting to his view the curious and
stirring spectacle of two white men and a negro
running at their utmost possible speed, with flashing
eyes and labouring chests-evidently running for
their lives.
Though very different in aspect and condition,
those men were pretty equally matched as runners,
for there was no apparent difference in the vigour
with which they maintained the pace.
The track or footpath along which they ran was
so narrow as to compel them to advance in single
file. He who led was a tall agile youth of nineteen


or thereabouts, in knickerbocker shooting-garb, with
short curly black hair, pleasantly expressive features,
and sinewy frame. The second was obviously a
true-blue tar-a regular sea-dog-about thirty years
of age, of Samsonian mould, and, albeit running for
very life, with grand indignation gleaming in his
eyes. He wore a blue shirt on his broad back,
white ducks on his active legs, and a straw hat on
his head, besides a mass of shaggy hair, which,
apparently, not finding enough of room on his
cranium, overflowed in two brown cataracts down
his cheeks, and terminated in a voluminous
The third fugitive was also a young man, and a
negro, short, thickset, square, tough as india-rubber,
and black as the Emperor of Zahara. Good-humour
wrinkled the corners of his eyes, the milk of human
kindness played on his thick lips and rippled his
sable brow, and intense sincerity, like a sunbeam,
suffused his entire visage.
James Ginger-for that was his name, though
his friends preferred to call him Ebony-scorned a
hat of any kind; his simple costume consisting
merely of two garments-canvas trousers and a
guernsey shirt.
The sailor wore a cutlass in his belt. Ebony was
unarmed. The youthful leader carried a short fowl.


A yell in, the far distance, as if from a hundred
fiends, told that the pursuers had discovered the
trail of the fugitives, and were gaining on them.
"We 'll have to fight for it, doctor," growled the
sailor in a savage tone, "better stop while we've
got some wind left."
"The wood seems more open ahead," replied the
youth, "let's push on a bit further."
Hi!" exclaimed the negro in surprise, not un-
mingled with alarm, as they suddenly emerged on
an open space and found themselves on the edge of
a stupendous precipice.
The formation of the region was curious. There
was a drop in the land, as it were, to a lower
level. From their elevated position the three men
could see a turbulent river rushing far below, at the
base of the cliffs on the edge of which they stood.
Beyond lay a magnificent and varied stretch of
forest scenery, extending away to the horizon, where
the prospect terminated in a blue range of hills.
No path was at first visible by which the fugitives
could reach the plain below. The precipice was
almost perpendicular. They were about to leap
recklessly over, and trust to descending by means
of an occasional bush or shrub which grew on the
rocky face, when the negro uttered one of his.
falsetto exclamations.
"Hi! here am a track."


He dashed aside the branches of an overhanging
bush, and ran along a narrow path, or ledge, which
sloped gently downwards. It was a fearfully giddy
position, but this in the circumstances, and to men
accustomed to mast-heads and yard-arms, was of
small moment. On they ran, at a more cautious
pace indeed, but still with anxious haste, until about
a quarter of the distance down the face of the preci-
pice, when, to their horror, they came to a turn in
the path where it suddenly ended. A mass of rock,
apparently detached from the cliff by recent rains,
had fallen from above, and in its thundering descent
had carried away fully ten yards of the path into the
stream below, where they could see its shattered
fragments in the rushing river. The gap in front
of them was absolutely impassable. On the right,
the cliff rose sheer upwards. On the left, it went
sheer down.
A sort of groan escaped from the doctor.
"What's to be done now, Hockins ?" he asked
sharply, turning to the sailor.
"Die!" replied Hockins, in a tone of savage
"Stuff an' nonsense! we no' die yit," said the
negro, pointing to the snake-like branches of a climb-
ing plant which, spreading over the naked face of
the cliff, turned into a crevice and disappeared round
a jutting point.


""Will it bear our weight, lad?" asked the
sailor doubtfully.
"It leads to nothing that I can see," said the
young doctor, "and would only ensure our being
dashed to pieces instead of speared."
Nebber fear, massa Breezy. Dis not de fus'
time I's goed troo de forests. If you stop here you
die. James Gingah he go on an' lib."
"Go on then, Ebony; we will follow," returned
Breezy, slinging his gun on his shoulder so as to
leave his hands free.
A yell of disappointment on the cliffs above
accelerated their movements. It was evident that
the pursuers had come out on the open plateau, but
had not observed the path by which they descended.
As it was certain, however, that they would find it
in a few minutes, Ebony sprang upon the creeping
plant and clambered along its tortuous limbs like
a monkey. Young Breezy followed, and Hockins
came last.
The plant was tough. It stood the strain well.
If it had given way, death on the jagged rocks below
would have been the result. But death by savage
spears was behind them, so they did not hesitate.
A few seconds and all three had passed round the
jutting rock and into the crevice, where they were
completely hidden from the view of any one standing
on the path they had just left.


In the crevice they found a ledge or platform
sufficiently large to admit of their standing together.
They had scarcely obtained a footing on it when
another shout announced that the pursuer had
traced their trail to the head of the track.
We know not, reader, whether you have ever
experienced that heart-melting qualm which comes
over one at the sudden and unexpected approach of
what, at least, appears to be death. If you have,
you will be able to understand the intense relief
and thankfulness felt by the fugitives when, safe
from immediate danger, they listened to their
pursuers as they held excited conversation at the
end of the broken track. Not knowing the language
they could not, of course, understand what was said,
and being just beyond the range of vision-owing to
the jutting cliff that concealed them-they could not
see what their pursuers were doing, but they heard
a suggestive crash and a sharp exclamation.
Had they been able to see, they would have
understood the situation well enough without the
aid of language.
Two of the natives, who were dark-skinned and
almost naked savages, had come to the place where
the 'track had been broken away. They gazed at
the profound depths on the left and the inaccessible
cliffs on the right, and then glanced at each other in
solemn surprise.


No doubt the creeping plant would in a few
seconds have attracted special attention, had not an
incident turned their minds in another direction.
While the foremost savage was craning his neck so
as to see as far round the projecting cliff as possible,
the piece of rock on which his advanced foot rested
was dislodged, and he had the narrowest possible
escape from plunging headlong after the rock, which
went bounding and crashing into the gulf below.
Instantly the faces of the two men gleamed with
intelligence; they nodded with energy, grinned with
satisfaction, and pointed to the abyss in front of
them with the air of men who had no doubt that
their enemies were lying down there in quivering
Something of this James Ginger did indeed
manage to see. Curiosity was so powerfully devel-
oped in that sable spirit, that, at the imminent risk
of his life, he reached out by means of a branch, and
so elongated his black neck that he got one of his
brilliant eyes to bear for a moment upon his foes.
He appreciated the situation instantly, and drew
back to indulge in a smothered laugh which shut up
both his eyes and appeared to gash his face from
ear to ear.
"What's wrong with you, Ebony?" whispered
Mark Breezy, who was in anything but a laughing
mood just then.


Oh! nuffin, nuffin, massa; only dem brown
niggers are sitch asses dat dey believe a'most any-
ting. Black niggers aint so easy putt off de scent.
Dey tinks we's tumble ober de precipis an' busted
"Lucky for us that they think so," said Hockins,
in a soft tone of satisfaction. "But now, what are
we to do? It was bad enough clamberin' up here
in blazin' excitement to save our lives, but it will
be ten times worse getting' down again in cold blood
when they're gone."
"Time enough to consider that when they are
gone," muttered Breezy. "Hush! Listen !"
The sounds that reached their place of conceal-
ment told clearly enough that a number of the
savages had descended the cliffs, presumably to look
at the place over which the white men had fallen.
Then there was much eager conversation in an
unknown tongue, mingled with occasional bursts of
laughter-on hearing which latter the huge mouth
of our negro enlarged in silent sympathy. After a
while the voices were heard to retire up the narrow
track and become fainter until they died away
altogether, leaving no sound save the murmur of
the rushing river to fill the ears of the anxious
listeners who stood like three statues in a niche on
the face of that mighty precipice.
"Now, you know," said Breezy, with a sigh of


relief, "this is very satisfactory as far as it goes,
and we have reason to be thankful that we are
neither speared nor dashed to pieces; nevertheless,
we are in an uncomfortable fix here, for night is
approaching, and we must retrace our steps somehow
or other, unless we make up our minds to sleep
That's so, doctor. There's not room to lie down
here," assented the sailor, glancing slowly round;
"an', to tell ee the plain truth, I feel as funky
about, trustin' myself again to that serpent-like
creeper as I felt the first time I went up through
the lubber-hole the year I went to sea."
"What you's 'fraid ob, Mr. 'Ockins?" asked
"Afraid o' the nasty thing givin' way under my
weight. If it was a good stout rope, now, I wouldn't
mind, but every crack it gave when I was coming'
aloft made my heart jump a'most out o' my mouth."
"What have ee found there, doctor?" asked the
seaman, on observing that his companion was grop-
ing behind a mass of herbage at the back part of
the niche in which they stood.
"There's a big hole here, Hockins. Perhaps we
may find room to stay where we are, after all, till
morning. Come here, Ebony, you've got some-
thing of the eel about you. Try if you can wriggle


The negro at once thrust his head and shoulders
into the hole, but could not advance.
"Bery strange!" he said, drawing out his head,
and snorting once or twice like a dog that has half-
choked himself in a rabbit-hole. "Seems to me
dere's a big block o' wood dere stopping' de way."
"Strange indeed, Ebony. A block of wood could
not have grown there. Are you sure it is not a big
"Sartin' sure, massa. I hab studied roots since I
was a babby. Hold on, I try again."
The negro tried again, and with such vigour that
he not only displaced the block of wood, but burst in
several planks which concealed the entrance to a
cavern. They fell on the stone floor with a crash
that aroused a multitude of echoes in the dark
interior. At the same moment something like a
faint shriek or wail was heard within, causing the
hearts of the three listeners to beat faster.
"Did you hear that, Hockins ? "
Ay, I heard it sure enough. What is it, think
ee, lad ?" said the seaman to the negro.
Ebony, who was gazing into the dark cavern with
glaring eyeballs and distended nostrils, replied-
"My 'vice to you is let's go back de way we
come. Dis no place for 'spectable Christians."
"Do you fear ghosts?" asked Mark, smiling,
yet at the same time bringing his gun into a


convenient position, with his finger ready on the
"I fears nuffin," returned the negro with a proud
look, while beads of perspiration stood on his brow.
"Then ye're a braver man than I am, Ebony, for
I fear that climbin' plant worse than a ghost; so
here goes to find out what it is."
Although the sailor spoke thus boldly, and tried
to look cool, it is certain that he also was afflicted
with sensations of an unusual description, which, of
course, he would have scorned to admit were the
result of fear! His power of will, however, was
stronger than his fears. Drawing his cutlass, he was
about to enter the cavern, when Mark laid a hand
on his shoulder.
"Come, Hockins, you have accepted my lead
hitherto. It is not fair to take it out of my hands
at this critical point."
So saying he glided past his comrade, and was
almost lost to sight immediately in the deep gloom.
"Softly, softly, doctor," whispered the seaman, as
he followed, there may be holes or pits within-"
All right; I'm feeling my way carefully. Keep
As he spoke a slight, indescribable sound was
heard-almost like a sigh.
Hist! Did ee hear that ?" said Hockins in the
lowest possible whisper.


"Oh! massa, let's go back de way we come,"
urged Ebony, in the same low but earnest tone.
Mark Breezy did not reply, but the click of his
gun as he cocked it showed that he was on the
For nearly a minute the three men stood in
absolute silence, listening for a repetition of the
mysterious sound, and, though it did not recur, there
was an indescribable feeling in the heart of each
that they were not alone in that cavern.
"Have you not flint and steel ?" asked Mark.
"Yes; but to strike a light would only show our
whereabouts if there is any one here."
The seaman accidentally touched Ebony on the
elbow as he spoke, and sent that worthy's heart, or
something like it, into his throat with such violence
as nearly to choke him.
"Git along, massa," he said in a gaspy whisper,
when able to articulate, "we's got to go troo wid it
Acting on this advice the young man continued
to advance cautiously, feeling his way step by step
and fully expecting every moment to reach the
inner wall of the cavern.
Presently the explorers were again brought to a
stand by the sudden appearance of a light in the far
distance. As, however, it did not move, they con-
tinued to advance, and soon were convinced that it


was daylight shining through an opening in that
direction. Every step convinced them more and
more that they were right, and their spirits rose
with the hope of escaping, though the light made
no appreciable difference as yet in the darkness
that surrounded them.
Suddenly a sharp, loud, short cry filled the cavern
for an instant, and almost froze their blood The
loudness and abrupt stoppage of the cry left the
impression that the creature which uttered it had
been suddenly and effectively killed, for it ended in
a sharp gasp or gurgle, and then all was still,-but
only for a moment, for the shock to Mark's nerves
was such that his finger inadvertently pressed the
trigger of his gun, which exploded with a deafening
crash, and awoke shrieks and cries that were not to
be accounted for by mere echoes.
This was too much for ordinary human beings.
Fabled knights of old in armour of proof might
have stood it, but the two white men and the black,
being ordinary heroes, regardless of pride and honour,
went in for a regular stampede, and it is but simple
justice to say that Ebony won, for he reached the
outlet of the cavern first, and sprang through it into
daylight like a black thunderbolt. It is also due to
his comrades to add that they were not far behind
Their courage, however, was soon restored. Day.


light has a celebrated power of restoring courage.
On clearing the bushes which concealed the entrance
to the cave they simultaneously stopped, turned
round, and resolutely faced their foe!
But no foe was to be seen! Once again all was
still as death. After glaring for a few seconds at
the spot whence the expected enemy should have
issued, the three fugitives relaxed their frowning
brows and turned inquiring eyes on each other.
"Dis beats cockfightin' almost," said Ebony, with
a sigh of intense relief.
Ay, an' every other sort o' fighting' as I ever
heard on," responded Hockins.
"Come, friends," said their young leader, "what-
ever it may have been, it behoves us to get as
far away from this spot as possible, and that as
fast as we can."




THE spot where our adventurers found themselves
on issuing from the mysterious cave was a peculiarly
rugged one. It formed a sort of hollow or depres-
sion in the forest-land in which we introduced the
three men as fugitives. From this hollow there
descended a narrow track or pathway to the exten-
sive valley which had been seen from the summit
of the precipice that barred their flight, and had so
nearly proved fatal.
So confused was the nature of the ground here,
and so intricate were the tracks-originally formed
no doubt by wild animals, though made use of by
wandering men-that it became impossible for Mark
Breezy to know in what direction he was leading his
comrades as he wound in and out among large rocks
and fallen trees. In fact it was more by chance
than guidance that they ultimately hit upon the
path which finally led them to the lower region or
plateau of forest-land; and it is certain that they


would have found it impossible to find their way
back to the cave, even had they desired to do so.
Their chief object, however, was to put as much
space as possible between themselves and their late
pursuers, and to this end they pushed forward at
their best speed, until they reached a small river
which appeared to be a tributary to, or a branch of,
that which they had seen from the heights earlier
in the day.
"' Come to a ribber-couldn't git across,
Gib a couple o' dollars for an' old blind hoss,"
murmured Ebony, quoting an ancient ditty.
"We shall have to swim it, I fear," remarked
Breezy, for there is no horse here, blind or other-
wise. Perhaps that fallen tree may prove strong
enough to serve as a bridge."
He pointed to a slender tree which had evidently
been placed there, with several others, for the purpose
of forming a rough and ready bridge; but its com-
panions had been removed by floods, for they lay
tossed on the bank further down among other
It '11 be something' like tight-rope dancin'," said
the sailor. "We'11 have to repair the bridge."
"l uffin ob de sort! Look here."
Ebony ran to the tree referred to, and skipped
over with admirable agility, though it bent under
him not unlike a tight-rope.


But I can't do that," said Hockins, not bein' a
black monkey, d'ee see ?"
With a sudden expression of intense pity the
negro exclaimed-" Oh! I beg pardin'. Didn't I
forgot; you's on'y a white man. But stop; I come
ober agin an' took you on my back."
He pretended to be on the point of recrossing, but
the sailor had already got upon the bridge, and,
with much balancing and waving of his long arms,
passed over in safety. Mark was about to follow,
when Hockins called out, "Better pitch over the
powder-flask in case you fall in."
"That's true, for I mayn't be as good as you or
Ebony on the tight-rope. Look out!"
He pulled the powder-flask out of his pocket and
threw it towards his comrades. Unfortunately the
branch of an overhanging bush had touched his
hand. The touch was slight, but it sufficed to divert
the flask from its proper course, and sent it into the
middle of the stream.
Ebony followed it head first like an otter, but
soon reappeared, gasping and unsuccessful. Again
and again he dived, but failed to find the flask,
without which, of course, their gun was useless,
and at last they were obliged to continue their
flight without it.
This was a very serious loss, for they had not an
ounce of provisions with them, and were in a land


the character and resources of which were utterly
unknown at least to two of them, while the youth
who had become their leader knew very little more
than the fact that it was the island of Madagascar,
that it lay about 300 miles off the eastern shores of
Africa, and that the tribes by whom they were sur-
rounded were little if at all better than savages.
That day they wandered far into the depths of a
dark and tangled forest, intentionally seeking its
gloomiest recesses in order to avoid the natives, and
at night went supperless to rest among the branches
of an umbrageous tree, not knowing what danger
from man or beast might assail them if they should
venture to sleep on the ground.
Although -possessed of flint and steel, as well as
tinder, they did not use them for fear of attracting
attention. As they had nothing to cook, the depriva-
tion was not great. Fortunately the weather at the
time was pleasantly warm, so that beyond the discom-
fort of not being able to stretch out at full length, the
occasional poking of awkward knots and branches
into their ribs, and the constant necessity of holding
on lest they should fall off, their circumstances were
not insufferable, and might have been worse.
While they are enjoying their repose, we will tell
in a few sentences who they were and how they got
When Mark Breezy, in the closing years of his


medical-student career, got leave to go on a voyage
to China in one of his father's ships, the Eastern
Star, for the benefit of his health and the enlarge-
ment of his understanding, he had no more idea that
that voyage would culminate in a bed up a tree in
the forests of Madagascar than you, reader, have
that you will ultimately become an inhabitant of
the moon! The same remark may with equal truth
be made of John Hockins when he joined the
Eastern Star as an able seaman, and of James
Ginger-alias Ebony-when he shipped as cook.
If the captain of the Eastern Star had introduced
those three,-who had never seen each other before
-and told them that they would spend many
months together among savages in the midst of
terrestrial beauty, surrounded by mingled human
depravity and goodness, self-denial and cruelty, fun
and tragedy such as few men are fated to experience,
they would have smiled at each other with good-
natured scepticism and regarded their captain as a
facetious lunatic.
Yet so it turned out, though the captain prophesied
it not-and this was the way of it.
Becalmed off the coast of Madagascar, and
having, through leakage in one of the tanks, run
short of water, the captain ordered a boat with
casks to be got ready to go ashore for water. The
young doctor got leave to land and take his gun


for the purpose of procuring specimens-for he was
something of a naturalist-and having a ramble.
"Don't get out of hail, Doctor," said the captain,
as the boat shoved off.
"All right, sir, I won't."
"An' take a couple o' the men into the bush
with you in case of accidents."
"Ay ay, sir," responded Mark, waving his hand
in acknowledgment.
And that was the last that Mark Breezy and the
captain of the Eastern Star saw of each other for
many a day.
"Who will go with me ?" asked Mark, when the
boat touched the shore.
"Me, massa," eagerly answered the negro cook,
who had gone ashore in the hope of being able to
get some fresh vegetables from the natives if any
were to be found living there. "Seems to me dere's
no black mans here, so may's well try de woods for
wild wegibles."
"No no, Ebony," said the first mate, who had
charge of the boat, "you'll be sure to desert if we
let you go-unless we send Hockins to look after
you. He's the only man that can keep you in
Well, I'll take Hockins also," said Mark, "you
heard the captain say I was to have two men.
Will you go, Hockins ?"


"Ay ay, sir," answered the seaman, sedately,
but with a wrinkle or two on his visage which
proved that the proposal was quite to his taste.
All the men of the boat's crew were armed either
with cutlass or carbine-in some cases with both;
for although the natives were understood to be
friendly at that part of the coast it was deemed
prudent to be prepared for the reverse. Thus John
Hockins carried a cutlass in his belt, but no fire-arm,
and the young doctor had his double-barrelled
gun, with powder-flask and shot-belt, but Ebony-
being a free-and-easy, jovial sort of nigger-went
unarmed, saying he "didn't want to carry no
harms, seeing' he would need all de harms he had
to carry back de fresh wegibles wid."
Thus those three went into the bush, promising
to keep well within ear-shot, and to return instantly
at the first summons.
That summons came-not as a shout, as had been
expected, but as a shot-about an hour after the
landing. Our explorers ran to the top of a
neighboring mound in some surprise, not unmixed
with anxiety. Before they reached the summit a
volley from the direction of the sea, followed by
fierce yells, told that some sort of evil was going
on. Another moment, and they reached the
eminence just in time to behold their boat's crew
pulling off shore while a band of at least a hundred


savages attacked them-some rushing into the
water chest-deep in order to seize the boat. Cut-
lass and carbine, however, proved more than a
match for stone and spear.
The fight had scarce lasted a minute, and our
trio were on the point of rushing down to the
rescue, when a white cloud burst from the side of
the Eastern Star, the woods and cliffs echoed with
the roar of a big gun, and a shot, plunging into the
crowd of natives, cut down many of them and went
crashing into the bushes.
It was enough. The natives turned and fled
while the boat pulled to the ship.
Uncertainty as to what should be done kept
Mark Breezy and his companions rooted for a few
seconds to the spot. Indecision was banished,
however, when they suddenly perceived a band of
thirty or forty natives moving stealthily towards
them by a circuitous route, evidently with the
intention of taking them in rear and preventing
them from finding shelter in the woods.
It was the first time that the young student's
manhood had been put severely to the test. There
was a rush of hot blood to his forehead, and his
heart beat powerfully as he saw and realized the
hopelessness of their case with such tremendous
odds against them.
We can die but once," he said with forced calm-


ness, as he cocked his gun and prepared to defend
"I's not a-goin' to die at all," said the negro,
hastily tightening his belt, "I's a-goin' to squatilate,"
"And you ?" said Mark, turning to the seaman.
"Run, says I, of coorse," replied Hockins, with
something between a grin and a scowl; "ye know
the old song-him wot fights an' runs away may
live to fight another day !"
Come along, then!" cried Mark, who felt that
whether they fought or ran he was bound to
retain the leadership of his little party.
As we have seen, they ran to some purpose. No
doubt if they had started on equal terms, the lithe,
hardy, and almost naked savages would have soon
overtaken them, but fortunately a deep gully lay
between them and the party of natives who had
first observed them. Before this was crossed the
fugitives were over the second ridge of rolling land
that lay between the thick woods and the sea, and
when the savages at last got upon their track and
began steadily to overhaul them, the white men had
got fairly into the forest.
Still there would have been no chance of ultimate
escape if they had not come upon the footpath down
the precipice which we have described as having
been partly carried away by falling rocks, thus
enabling Hockins and his companions to make a


scramble for life which no one but a sailor, a
monkey, or a hero, would have dared, and the
impossibility of even attempting which never
occurred to the pursuers, who concluded, as we have
seen, that the white men had been dashed to
pieces on the rocks far below.
Whether they afterwards found out their mistake
or not we cannot tell.
The reason-long afterwards ascertained-of this
unprovoked attack on the boat's crew, was the old
story. A party of godless white men had previous-
ly visited that part of the coast and treated the
poor natives with great barbarity, thus stirring up
feelings of hatred and revenge against all white men
-at least for the time being. In this way the
innocent are too often made to suffer for the guilty.
We will now return to our friends in the tree.




WHEN the day began to break Hockins awoke,
and his first impulse was to shout "hold on!"
Ebony's first action was to let go, thereby bringing
himself to the ground with an awful thud, which
would have told severely on any one less akin to
For a few minutes Mark Breezy, holding tight to
his particular branch, looked down at his companions,
yawned heavily, and smiled a little. Then a sudden
impulse of memory caused him to look grave.
Come," he said, dropping lightly from his perch,
"these natives may have been searching for us all
night, and are perhaps nearer than we suppose. I
vote that we push on at once."
"Agreed," said Hockins, stretching himself.
"No fear, Massa," remarked the negro. "If it
wur moonlight dey might 'ave search, but whar de
nights am dark dey knows better. De niggahs in
dis yer island hab got skins an' eyes an' noses. If


dey was to go troo such woods in de dark, dey hab
no skins or eyes or noses in de mornin-leas'wise
nuffin wuth mentionin'. Cause why ? Dey'd all
git knocked into a sorter mush. Plenty ob time for
breakfast 'fore we start."
"That's true, boy," said Hockins, "but where's
the breakfast to come from?"
"What you no bringed nuffin in your pockits ?"
asked the negro with a look of visible anxiety on his
expressive face.
Hockins turned his various pockets inside out by
way of reply.
"I am equally destitute," said Mark.
The negro groaned as he slowly drew from his
breeches pockets two sea-biscuits and a cold sausage.
"I meant dat," he said, as a light lunch for one
It'll have to do dooty, then, as a heavy break.
fast for three this morning, Ebony. Come, divide,
and let's have fair play."
"Here, massa," said Ebony, handing the food to
Mark, "you divide, I ain't got de moral courage to
do it fair. Number one is too strong in me when
I's hungry !"
With a laugh at this candid admission the youth
did his best at a fair division. In a few minutes the
scanty meal was finished, and the fugitives proceeded
straight into the interior of the country at the ut-


most speed which was compatible with sustained
They could see the faint outlines of a mountain
range in the far distance, and towards that they
directed their steps, knowing that in the event of
sustained pursuit they had a much better chance of
escaping among the rugged fastnesses of a mountain
region than in the forests or on the plains. But
they saw plainly that there was many a weary mile
to traverse before the sheltering mountains could be
At first they walked rapidly and in silence, one
behind the other-Mark leading-but as time
passed, and the danger of being overtaken de-
creased, they fell more into line and began to, talk
of their plans and prospects.
Of course they thought about the Eastern Star,
and the possibility of her hanging about the coast
in the hope of picking them up; but as there was
no certainty upon that point, and a return to the
coast would be like rushing into the very jaws of
the lion from which they were fleeing, they soon
dismissed the idea as untenable.
"Now then, the question is, sir, Wot are we
agoin' for to do ?" said Hockins.
"Ay, dat's de question," added Ebony with much
force, and more than Shakspearean brevity.
"Well now, lads," said Mark, "I 've been think-


ing over that, and it seems to me that there's not
much to choose between. Unfortunately, I know
uncommonly little about this island-not that my
geographical education has been neglected, but the
class-books I have used did not give much informa-
tion about Madagascar. I know, however, that the
Mozambique Channel, which divides us from
Africa, is a little too wide to swim. I also know
that there is a capital somewhere near the middle of
the island, the name of which begins with an 'Ant,'
and ends with a 'rivo.' There are some syllables
between, I believe, but how many, is more than I
can tell. There's a government in it, however, and
a queen, and some Christian missionaries. Now, it
strikes me that where there's a government, a queen,
and Christian missionaries, there must be more or less
of civilisation and safety, so I would advise that we
make straight for the capital."
"Right you are, sir," said Hockins. "As I know
nothing' whotsomever about the place, I'11 take my
sailin' orders from you, captain, an' steer a straight
course for Anty-whatever-she-is-arivo, where I hope
we'll arrive 0 !-' all alive 0 !' in the course o'
time. What say you, Ebony ?"
"I's agreeable; don't care much for nuffin when
it don't trouble me. But I's getting' awrful hungry,
an' I don't see nuffin to eat in dis yer forest-not
even fruit-dough it's pritty enough to look at."


The scenery through which they were passing at
the time was indeed more than pretty. It was
gorgeous, and would certainly have claimed more
attention from the travellers had they been less
anxious to advance, and, perhaps, less hungry.
By that time-near mid-day-they had got
through the densest part of the woods, and were
come to a part where occasional openings in the
foliage lighted them up. They had also discovered
a narrow track or footpath, which they gladly
followed; for although by so doing they ran the
risk of coming suddenly upon natives, who might be
foes just as well as friends, the comparative ease of
travelling was too great to be neglected. This path
struck over hill and down dale in a somewhat
dogged and straightforward manner, scorning to go
round hillocks, save when too precipitous for un-
winged animals. At times it wound in and out
among trees of great beauty and variety, and of
tropical aspect. Elsewhere it plunged into denser
stretches of forest, where the profusion of vegetable
life was extraordinary-here, a dense undergrowth
of shrubs, tree-ferns, and dwarf-palms; there, trees of
higher growth, and, shooting high above them all,
the slender trunks of many varieties of palms, whose
graceful crowns and feathery leaves were pictured
vividly on the blue sky. Elsewhere, innumerable
creeping plants interlaced the branches, producing


a wild and beautiful net-work, their tendrils crossing
in all directions, and producing a green twilight in
places. The whole was enriched by orchids, the
abundant pink and white wax-like flowers of which
contrasted well with other wild-flowers innumerable,
and with many large and gorgeous flowering trees.
Different species of bamboos gave quite a peculiar
aspect to the scenery in some places, and still
greater variety was secured by long pendant masses
of feathery grey moss and lichens. Some of the
trees were of enormous height; one palm, with a
straight stem, in particular, being estimated as not
less than a hundred feet high to the spot where the
leaves sprouted.
"'Tis a perfect paradise !" exclaimed Mark, stop-
ping suddenly and looking around with admiration.
"Yes, massa," murmured Ebony, with solemn
looks, "if dere was on'y a few wegibles-cooked!
Flowers is all bery well to look at, but we can't
heat him."
"Well, if we can't eat, we can, at all events,
sleep," returned Mark. "I believe it is usually
thought wise in tropical countries to cease work
and rest about noon, so, as I feel rather tired, I'll
have a snooze. What say you?"
No objection being made, the party again climbed
into the branches of a low spreading tree, in order
to avoid snakes, scorpions, or any other noxious


creatures, though they knew not at the time whether
such existed on the island. In less than five
minutes they were sound asleep.
Awaking after about two hours' repose, they de-
scended, wished for something to eat, sighed, put
a bold heart on it, tightened their belts to suit
diminishing waists, and continued their journey.
Perseverance is sure to be rewarded. If that is
not a proverb, it ought to be! At all events the
perseverance of our travellers was rewarded at this
time by their coming suddenly out of the woods
into a wide grassy plain on which was browsing a
herd of wild cattle-at least they judged them to be
wild from the fact of their being discovered in such
a wild place, and resolved to treat them as wild
because of the "wolves" inside of them, which
clamoured so wildly for food.
"Beef!" exclaimed Hockins in some excitement,
as he pointed to the animal nearest to them, which
happened to be a black, sleek, fat young bull, with
slender limbs and fierce eyes.
"Neber mind the wegibles, massa; shot 'im!"
exclaimed Ebony in an excited whisper, as he
turned his glaring eyeballs on his leader.
"Hush! don't speak," returned Mark, drawing
quietly back into cover-for the animal had not
observed them. "We must consult what is to be
done, because, you know, we have lost our powder-


flask, the two charges in my gun are all I have got,
and these are only small shot-I have no bullets!"
Grave concern overspread the face of the sturdy
seaman-blank dismay that of the sea-cook!
Might as well blaze at the beast wi' sand," said
"Or wid nuffin!" sighed Ebony.
"Nevertheless, I will try," said Mark, quickly.
"We shall be starved to death at this rate. Yonder
is a line of bushes that runs close out to the brute.
I'11 stalk it. When close I will make a dash at it,
get as near as I can, clap the muzzle against its
ribs if possible, and- well, we shall see! You
two had better stop here and look on."
"No, massa," said the negro, firmly, "I go wid
you. If you is to die, we die togidder!"
"What are you thinking of, Hockins ?" asked the
youth, observing that the seaman stood staring
at the ground with knitted brows, as if in deep
"I'll go with you too," he replied, drawing his
cutlass and feeling its point with his finger. "You
may need help. Heave a-head, sir."
Mark could not avoid smiling at the way in which
this was said, although he was sufficiently impressed
with the hopelessness, it might even be the danger,
of the attempt he was about to make.
They found no difficulty in approaching to within


about thirty yards of the animal, being well con-
cealed by the line of bushes before mentioned, but
beyond that point there was no cover. Here there-
fore Mark cocked his gun and gathered himself up
for a rush, and Hockins drew his cutlass. So agile
was our young doctor that he actually reduced the
thirty yards to ten before the astonished bull turned
to fly. Another moment and the contents of both
barrels were lodged in its flank. The effect was to
produce a bellow of rage, a toss-up of the hind-
quarters, and a wild flourish of the tail, as the animal
scurried away after the rest of the herd, which was
in full flight.
Poor Breezy stopped at once, with a feeling of
mingled disgust and despair. Ebony also stopped,
and looked with wide sympathetic eyes in his leader's
face, as though to say, "Well, massa, you's done
your best."
But Hockins ran on with persistent vigour,
although the creature was leaving him further
behind at every stride.
"Absurd murmured Mark, as he gazed at him.
"No use wassomiver," said Ebony.
It did indeed seem as if the seaman's exertions
would prove abortive, but something in the spirit
of the wounded bull suddenly changed the aspect
of affairs. Whether it was the stinging pain of the
small shot in its flank, or the indignation in its


breast that influenced it we cannot tell, but in a
moment it wheeled round with a furious roar and
charged its pursuer.
Hockins stopped at once, and his comrades fully
expected to see him turn and run; but our seaman
was made of better stuff than they gave him credit
for, and the situation was not so new to him as they
imagined. In the course of his voyaging to many
lands, Hockins had been to a bull-fight in South
America. He had seen with fascination and some
surprise the risks run by the footmen in the arena;'
he had beheld with mingled anger and disgust the
action of the picadors, who allowed their poor horses
to be gored to death by the infuriated bulls; and he
had watched with thrilling anxiety, not unmingled
with admiration, the cool courage of the matadors,
as they calmly stood up to the maddened and charg-
ing bulls and received them on the points of their
swords, stepping lightly aside at the same moment
so as to avoid the dangerous horns.
The seaman's purpose now was to act the part of
a matador. He knew that he possessed coolness
and nerve sufficient for the deed; he hoped that he
had the skill; he felt that hunger could no longer
remain unsatisfied; he feared that death by starva-
tion might be the lot of himself and his companions,
and he preferred to meet death in action-if meet
it he must. All things considered, he resolved to



face the bovine thunderbolt with unflinching front,
like a true-blue British tar !
His coolness in the circumstances was evinced
by the remarks muttered-to himself in a growly tone
as the bull approached.
"Three futt-that'll be enough. I don't rightly
remember how near them mattydoors let him come
before they putt their helms hard down an' let him
go by, but I think three futt'll do."
This decision was barely reached when the bull
was upon him with lowered head and erect tail. It-
was an awful rush, but Hockins stood like a rock
with the cutlass pointed. At the pre-arranged
moment he stepped to one side, but instead of letting
the momentum of the animal do the work, he could
not resist the impulse to drive the cutlass deeper
into the bull's neck. The result was that, though
he escaped the creature's horn by a very narrow
shave, the cutlass was wrenched violently from his
grasp, and he was sent head over heels upon the
Seeing this, Mark and the negro ran to the rescue,
the one howling like a maniac, the other clubbing
his gun; but their aid was not required, for the work
of the amateur matador had been effectively done.
After receiving the deadly thrust the bull plunged
forward a few paces, and then fell dying upon the
ground, while Hockins got up and began to feel


himself all over to make sure that no bones were
It need scarcely be told that they rejoiced greatly
over their success, and that they cut off some of the
flesh immediately, with which they returned to the
forest to enjoy a much-needed meal.
"We must kindle a fire now," said Mark, stopping
at an open space in the midst of a very secluded
spot at the foot of a magnificent palm-tree. "You
see I'm not prepared to act like a cannibal or
Eskimo, and eat the meat raw."
"There.won't be much fear now," said Hockins,
" especially if we make the fire of dry wood an' keep
it small. Just look at that, Doctor."
He held out his cutlass for inspection. It had
been seriously bent in the recent encounter.
"Aint that a cryin' shame to the owners, now, to
send us poor fellows to the eastern seas, where we
may meet pirates any day, with tin cutlashes like
You kin put him straight de next bull you kills,"
said Ebony, as he prepared some touchwood; "you've
on'y got to stick 'im on the left side an' he'll twis'
it all right. Now, massa, I's ready, bring de gun
an' snap de flints ober dat."
While Hockins straightened his weapon between
the branches of a tree, his comrades managed to
capture a spark in a mass of dry combustibles,


which soon burst into a flame. As the seaman had
recommended, only the driest wood was used, and
just enough of that to enable them to half-roast
what food they required. Then they returned to
the carcass of the bull, and cut off a large quantity
of meat, using the cutlass as well as their clasp-
knives in the operation.
"Cut the meat in thin slices," said Mark Breezy,
when they began this work.
"Why you so 'ticklar, massa?" asked Ebony.
"I's fond o' t'ick slices-w'en him's not too tough."
"Because then we can dry the meat in the sun or
over a slow fire, and so be able to keep it longer
without spoiling. We must spend the night here
for the purpose, and perhaps part of to-morrow.
-Why, Hockins, what are you about ?"
"Makin' a pair o' shoes, sir; you see them old
dancin' pumps as I left the ship with wouldn't hold
out another day o' this rough travellin', so I'm
making' a noo pair of shoes when I've got the
"They will be a primitive pair," observed Mark.
"If that means a good pair, you're right, sir. They
are after the pattern first made by Adam for Eve-
leas'wise it's supposed her first pair o' dancin' pumps
was made this fashion. I'l1 make a similar pair for
you, sir, w'en your boots give out."
In case the reader should ever be reduced to


extremities in the matter of foot-gear we may explain
the seaman's method.
Selecting what he believed to be the thickest part
of the bull's hide, he cut off a small portion about
eighteen inches square. Spreading this on the
ground with the hair upwards, he planted his naked
foot on it and marked the shape thereon. Then
with his knife he cut away the hide all round the
foot-mark at four inches or so from the outline of
the foot. Next, he bored little holes all round the
margin, through which he ran a line, or lace, also
made of raw hide. Then, planting his foot again in
the middle of the hide, he drew the line tight,
causing the edges to rise all round the foot and
almost cover it.
"There you are, sir," he said, stretching out his
limb and admiring the contrivance; "rough-an'-
ready, you see, but soon finished. It ain't recorded
in ancient history what Eve said when Adam
presented her wi' the little testimonial of his affec-
tion, but if I might venture' a guess I should opine
that she said 'puckery.'"
"Hm! Dey ain't a tight fit," observed Ebony.
"I's ob opinion dat your corns are quite safe in
Having completed his shoemaking work, the
ingenious seaman assisted his companions to pre-
pare the dried meat, which they afterwards tied up


in three convenient little parcels to be slung on
their backs.
That night they found a more commodious tree
to sleep in. Under the pleasant influence of a good
supper they enjoyed unbroken rest, and awoke the
following morning greatly refreshed. They were
thus, both physically and mentally, prepared for the
events of that day, to which, as they afterwards had
a most important bearing on their fortunes in the
island, we will devote a separate chapter.




IT has been said that the travellers-for we
cannot now -appropriately style them fugitives-had
reached a more open country, and that Hockins's
fight with the wild bull had taken place on the
margin of a wide grassy plain.
This plain, however, was limited. In front of
them the scenery was undulating and beautifully
varied-almost parklike in its character, and only
in one direction-to the right-did it extend like a
sea of waving grass to the horizon. .Behind them
lay the dense forest through which they had passed.
The forest also curved round to their left, and
stretched away on, apparently unbroken, to still
far-off mountains.
After they had breakfasted, packed their dried
meat, and sallied forth on the journey of another
day, they walked in silence until they reached the
edge of the plain, where there was room to walk


"Now, comrades," said Mark Breezy, "we will go
to the top of yon mound, see how the land lies, and
hold a council of war."
"Just so, cap'n; take our bearin's an' lay our
course," assented Hockins.
They soon reached the spot, and found the view
from it unexpectedly beautiful. The whole land-
scape was clothed with tropical verdure. Past the
foot of the mound ran a considerable stream, which
opened out into a series of lakelets in the hollows
beyond, the waters of which seemed to be the home
of considerable numbers of wild-fowl,-but there was
no sign of the presence of man.
"Strange," said Mark, in a low voice, that such
a lovely scene should have been created a solitude,
with no one to profit by or enjoy it."
"Well now, sir," remarked the sailor, d'ee know
that same thought has puzzled me now an' again;
for although my purfession is the sea, I've travelled
a good bit on the land-specially in South America
-and I've seen miles on miles o' splendid country,
that made me think of Adam an' Eve in paradise,
with never a soul, as you say, to make use of or
enjoy it. I've often wondered what it was all made
for !"
"Don't you tink," said Ebony, with his head a
little on one side, and his earnest eyes betraying the
sincerity of his nature, don't you tink dat p'r'aps


de ducks an' geese, an' sitch-like, makes use ob an'
enjoys it ? to say nuffin ob de beasts, insects, an'
"You may be right, Ebony," returned Hockins,
with an approving nod; "we human bein's is apt to
think too much of ourselves. Moreover, it has come
into my mind that Great Britain was a solitood
once-or much about it-an' it's anything but that
now; so mayhap them lands will be swarmin' wi'
towns an' villages some day or other. What d'ee
think, Doctor ?"
But the young doctor said nothing, for while his
companions were thus indulging in speculations, he
was anxiously considering what course they should
"You see, comrades," he said, turning to them
abruptly, if we go to the right and traverse this
fine country we may very likely fall in with villages,
but the villagers may be savages, like those we met
on the coast. On the other hand, if we go to the
left, we shall have to traverse the somewhat dark
and difficult forests, but then we shall be making
for the mountains and table-lands of the interior;
and as the capital, Ant-Ant-"
Anty-all-alive-O !" suggested Hockins.
"No, 's not dat. It ends wid 'arrive 0 !' w'ich is
just what we wants."
"Well, whatever may be its name, I know that it


is in the centre of the island somewhere, and the
centre of any land always means the mountains; so
I think we had better decide to go to the left, and-"
Hallo look yonder, sir," said Hockins, pointing
towards a low cliff which rose in front of them not
a quarter of a mile from the spot where they stood.
Turning in the direction indicated, they observed
a man running swiftly, as if in pursuit of something.
They could see that he was clothed, and that he
carried several spears, from which they judged that
he was a hunter. Coming to the foot of the cliff
before mentioned, the man ascended the face of it
with wonderful agility, and had almost gained the
top, when a treacherous root or stone gave way,
causing him to lose his hold and roll violently to
the bottom.
"Poor fellow, he's killed!" cried Mark, running
towards the fallen hunter, who lay on the ground
He was not killed, however, though stunned and
bleeding profusely from a deep wound in the arm,
caused by one of his own spears while in the act of
falling. When the three strangers suddenly appeared
the hunter grasped one of the spears and made a
vigorous attempt to rise, evidently under the im-
pression that he was about to be attacked; but the
fall and the loss of blood were too much for him.
He sank back with a groan, yet there was a look of


quiet dignity about him which showed that he gave
way to no craven spirit.
Our young doctor, kneeling down beside him,
proceeded at once to staunch the wound and bind
up the arm with his pocket-handkerchief. While
he was thus engaged, Hockins brought some water
from a neighboring stream in a cup which he had
extemporised out of a piece of bark, and applied it
to the man's lips. Ebony stood by, with a look of
profound pity on his face, ready for whatever might
be required of him.
The hunter showed by the expression of his hand-
some brown features that he was grateful for these
attentions. Yet, at the same time, there seemed to
be something of perplexity, if not surprise, in his
looks as he gazed on the white men's faces. But he
did not utter a word. When the dressing of the
arm was completed-of course in a most business-
like manner-he again attempted to rise, but was so
weak from loss of blood that he fell back fainting in
the Doctor's arms.
"This is a most awkward .business," said Mark,
as he laid the man carefully on the ground, and put
a bundle of grass under his head for a pillow. "It
behoves us to push on our journey without delay,
yet it will never do to leave him here alone, and we
can't very well take him on with us. What is to
be done?"


Both Hockins and the negro looked their incapacity
to answer that question. Just then the answer came
in the form they least expected, for a sound of many
voices in clamorous talk suddenly broke on their
ears. The speakers, whoever they might be, were
still distant, and the formation of the ground pre-
vented our travellers being seen by them.
"Savages!" exclaimed Mark and Hockins in the
same breath.
Hide !" cried Ebony, with a roll of his huge eyes,
as he suited the action to the word, and leaped into
the bushes. The others followed his example, and
running about a hundred yards back into the woods,
climbed into the branches of a lofty tree, from which
outlook, well screened by leaves, they saw a band
composed of some hundreds of natives walking
smartly over the open plain. From the manner of
their approach it was evident that they searched for
some one, and as they made straight for the cliff
where the wounded man lay, it seemed probable that
they were following up his trail.
We're done for," said Mark, in a tone of despair,
as he noted this.
Why d'ee think so, Doctor ?" asked Hockins, who
did not by any means seem to take such a gloomy
view of their case.
"Don't you see ? Savages can follow up people's
trails almost as well as dogs. They '11 easily trace


us to the foot of this tree by our footprints, and
then they've only to look up !"
"That's true. I had forgotten that."
"Dere's time to drop down yit, massa, and squati-
late," suggested the negro, excitedly.
Mark shook his head.
"Might as well try to run from tigers as from
savages," he returned, "unless you've got a good
But they ain't all savages, sir," whispered Hock-
ins, as the band drew nearer. Some o' the naked
black fellows look savage enough, no doubt, but
there's a lot of 'em lightish brown in the skin, an'
clothed in fine though queer garments. They carry
themselves, too, like gentlemen. P'r'aps we'd better
go forward an' trust them."
"Trust to 'em, 'Ockins!" said Ebony with a
decided shake of the head, "trust men wid brown
faces? Nebber!"
The whispered conversation ceased at this point,
for a loud shout of surprise mingled with alarm was
raised as the band came to the foot of the cliff and
found what appeared to be the dead body of the
wounded man. Evidently they were friends, for
while some of them kneeled down beside the injured
hunter to examine him, others gave way to gestures
and exclamations of grief.
Presently the watchers observed that one of those


who kneeled beside the body looked up with a smile
and a nod of satisfaction as he pointed to his chest.
"They've discovered that he's not dead," said
"Yes, massa, an' dey 've diskivered de bandaged
"Ay, an' it seems to puzzle 'em," added the
It did more than puzzle them. They had not
observed it at first, because, just before running into
the woods, Mark had covered it with a loose shawl
-a sort of linen plaid-which the man had worn
round his shoulders. When they removed this and
saw the bandage which was wound round the limb
in the most careful and perfect manner, they looked
at each other in great surprise; then they looked
solemn and spoke in low tones, glancing round
now and then with saucer-like eyes, as if they
expected to see something frightful
"I do believe, Doctor," whispered the seaman,
"that they think your work has been done by a
goblin of some sort!"
It would indeed seem as if some such idea. had
entered the minds of the band, for instead of exam-
ining the ground for footprints and following them
up-as was natural to have done-they silently con-
structed a litter of branches, covered it with some
of their garments, and quietly bore the wounded and


still unconscious man away in the direction of the
With thankful hearts our travellers slid to the
ground, and hurried off in the opposite direction
towards the mountains.
That night they came to a deeply-shaded and
rugged piece of ground in the heart of the forest
where there were caverns of various sizes. Here
the solitude seemed to be so profound that the fear
of pursuit gradually left them, so they resolved to
kindle a cheerful fire in one of the caves, cook a
good supper, and enjoy themselves. Finding a cave
that was small, dry, and well concealed, they soon
had a bright fire blazing in it, round which they sat
on a soft pile of branches-Mark and Hockins look-
ing on with profound interest and expectation while
the negro prepared supper.
If I only had a quid o' baccy now," said Hockins,
"I'd be as happy as a king."
"I have the advantage of you, friend, for I am as
happy as a king without it," said the young doctor.
"Well, there's no denyin'," returned the seaman,
"that you have the advantage o' me; but if I only
had the baccy I'd enjoy my disadvantage. P'r'aps
there's a bit left in some corner o' "
He plunged his hands into each pocket in his
garments, one after another, but without success
until he came to the left breast-pocket of his coat.


When he had searched that to its deepest recesses
he stopped and looked up with a beaming counten-
Ho got 'im ?" asked Ebony, with interest.
Hockins did not reply, but, slowly and tenderly,
drew forth-not a quid, but-a little piece of brown
wood about five or six inches long.
"A penny whistle !" exclaimed Mark.
"Speak with reverence, Doctor," returned the
sailor, with a quiet smile, it ain't a penny whistle,
it's a flageolet. I stuck it here the last time I was
amoosin' the crew o' the Eastern Star an' forgot I
hadn't putt it away. Wait a bit, you shall hear."
Saying this Hockins put the tiny instrument to
his lips, and drew from it sounds so sweet, so soft,
so melodious and tuneful, that his companions
seemed to listen in a trance of delight, with eyes as
well as with ears !
"Splendid!" exclaimed Mark, enthusiastically,
when the sailor ceased to play. "Why, Hockins, I
had no idea you could play like that! Of course I
knew that you possessed musical powers to some
extent, for I have heard the tooting of your flageo-
let through the bulkheads when at sea; but two or
three inches of plank don't improve sweet sounds, I
Ho massa, didn't I tell you t'ree or four times
dat he play mos' awrful well ?"


"True, Ebony, so you did; but I used to think
your energetic praise was due to your enthusiastic
disposition, and so paid no attention to your invita-
tions to go forward an' listen. Well, I confess I was
a loser. You must have played the instrument a
long time, surely ? "-turning to the seaman.
"Yes, ever since I was a small boy. My father
played it before me, and taught me how to finger it.
He was a splendid player. He used sometimes to go
to the back of the door when we had a small blow-
out, an' astonish the company by playing' up unex-
pectedly. He was great at Scotch tunes-specially
the slow ones, like this."
He put the little instrument to his lips again, and
let it nestle, as it were, in his voluminous beard, as
he drew from it the pathetic strains of "Wanderin'
Willie," to the evidently intense enjoyment of
Ebony, who regarded music as one of the chief joys
of life-next, perhaps, to cooking!
But Mark and Ebony were not the only listeners
to that sweet strain. Just outside the mouth of the
cave there stood a man, who, to judge from the
expression of his face, was as much affected by the
music as the negro. Though he stood in such a
position as to be effectually screened from the view
of those within, a gleam of reflected light fell upon
his figure, showing him to be a tall, handsome man
in the prime of life. He was clothed in what may


be styled a mixed European and native costume,
and a gun on which he rested both hands seemed to
indicate him a hunter. He carried no other weapon,
except a long knife in his girdle. The mixed
character of his garb extended also to his blood,
for his skin, though dark and bronzed from exposure,
was much lighter than that of most natives of the
island, and his features were distinctly European.
Quiet gravity was the chief characteristic of his
countenance, and there was also an expression of
profound sadness or pathos, which was, probably
caused by the music.
When Hockins finished his tune the three friends
were almost petrified with astonishment-not un-
mingled with alarm-as they beheld this man walk
coolly into the cave, rest his gun on the side of it,
and sit gravely down on the opposite side of the fire.
The first impulse of our three friends, of course,
was to spring up, but the action of the man was so
prompt, and, withal, so peaceful, that they were
constrained to sit still.
"Don't be alarmed. I come as a friend, May I
sit by your fire ?"
He spoke in good English, though with a decidedly
foreign accent.
"You are welcome, since you come as a friend,"
said Mark, though I must add that you have taken
us by surprise."


"Well now, stranger," said Hockins, putting his
musical instrument in his pocket, "how are we to
know that you are a friend-except by the cut o'
your jib, which, I admit, looks honest enough, and
your actions, which, we can't deny, are peaceable
like ?"
The seaman put this question with a half-per-
plexed, half-amused air. The stranger received it
without the slightest change in his grave aspect.
"You have no other means of knowing," he
replied, "except by my 'jib' and my actions."
Dat's a fact, anyhow," murmured Ebony.
"Who are you, and where do you come from ?"
asked Mark.
"I am an outlaw, and I come from the forest."
"That's plain-speakin', an' no mistake," said
Hockins, with a laugh, "an' deserves as plain a
return. We can't say exactly that we are outlaws,
'but we are out-an-outers, an' we're going through
the forest to-to-Anty-all-alive-O! or some such
name-the capital, you know-"
"Antananarivo," suggested the outlaw.
"That's it! That's the name I couldn't recall,"
said Mark, quickly. "We are going there, if we
can only find the way."
I know the way," returned the outlaw, and my
reason for coming here is to offer to show it you."
"Indeed! But how came you to know our in-


tentions, and what makes you take so much interest
in us ?" asked Mark, with a look of suspicion.
"My reason for being interested in you," returned
the stranger, "is a matter with which you have
nothing to do. How I came to know your inten-
tions it is easy to explain, for I have followed you
from the sea-coast step by step. I saw you escape
from the savages, saw you frightened out of the
cave by my friends the outlaws, who dwell in it,
followed you while you traversed the forest, listened
to your conversations, witnessed your exploit with
the bull, and observed you when you helped and
oandaged the wounded native."
It would be difficult to describe the looks or
feelings with which the three friends received this
information. Ebony's eyes alone would have taken
at least half-an-hour of the pencil to portray.
But-but-why ?" stammered Mark.
"Never mind the why," continued the outlaw,
with a pleasant look. "You see that I know all
about you-at least since you landed-and I also
know that you have been several times in unseen
danger, from which I have shielded you. Now, you
have arrived at a part of the forest which is swarm-
ing with brigands, into whose hands you are sure to
fall unless I am with you. I therefore come to
offer myself as your guide. Will you have me ?"
"It seems to me," returned Mark, with something


of scorn in his tone, "that we have no choice, for
you have us at your mercy-we cannot refuse. I
suppose you are the brigand chief, and are guarding
us for .some sinister purpose of your own."
I said not that I was a brigand," returned the
stranger, quietly; I said I was an outlaw. What
else I am, and my motives of action, I choose not to
tell. You say truly-I have you in my power.
That is one reason why I would befriend you, if you
will trust me." The outlaw rose up as he spoke.
There was such an air of quiet dignity and
evident sincerity in the man that Mark was strongly
impressed. Rising promptly, he stretched his hand
across the fire, saying, We will trust you, friend,
even though we were not in your power."
The outlaw grasped the youth's hand with a
gratified look.
"Now," he added, as he took up his gun, "I will
go. In the morning- at daybreak I will return.
Sleep well till then."
With something like a courtly salute, the mys-
terious stranger left them, and disappeared into the
depths of the forest.




As might be supposed, the unexpected appearance
of the outlaw, as well as his sudden departure,
tended somewhat to interfere with the sleep which
he had wished the travellers at parting, and the
night was far advanced before they grew tired of
wondering who he could be, speculating as to where
he came from, and commenting on his personal
appearance. In short, at the close of their discourse,
they came to the conclusion which was well
embodied in the remark of Ebony, when he said,
"It's my opinion, founded on obsarvashun, dat if
we was to talk an tink de whole night long we
would come no nearer de troot, so I'll turn in."
He did turn in accordingly, and, after exhausting
the regions of conjecture, the powers of speculation,
and the realms of fancy, Mark and Hockins
followed his example.
One consequence of their mental dissipation was


that they slept rather beyond the hour of day-break,
and the first thing that recalled the two white
men to consciousness was the voice of their black
comrade exclaiming:-
"Ho hi hallo I smells a smell!"
They lifted their three heads simultaneously and
beheld the outlaw sitting calmly beside the fire
roasting steaks.
For the first time the mysterious stranger smiled
-and it was a peculiarly sweet half-grave sort of
attractive smile, as far removed from the fiendish
grin of the stage bandit as night is from day.
I knew you would be hungry, and guessed you
would be sleepy," he said, in a deep musical voice,
'so I have prepared breakfast. Are you ready?"
"Ready!" repeated Hockins, rising with a mighty
yawn, and stretching himself, as was his wont; "I
just think we are. Leastwise I am. Good luck to
ee Mister Outlaw, what have ee got there ?"
"Beef, marrow-bones, and rice," replied the man.
"You may call me Samuel if you like. It was my
father's first name, but I'm best known among my
friends as Ravoninohitriniony."
Well, that is a jawbreaker !" exclaimed Hockins,
with a laugh, as they all sat down to breakfast.
" Ra-vo- what did ee say "
Better not try it till carter breakfast," suggested


"Couldn't we shorten it a bit ?" said Mark,
beginning to consult a marrow-bone. "What say
you to the first half-Ravonino ? "
"As you please," replied the outlaw, who was
already too much absorbed with steaks to look up.
"Not a bad notion," said Hockins. "Sam'l
Ravonino-I've heerd wus; anyhow it's better
than the entire complication-eh, Ebony?"
"Mush better," assented the negro; "dere's no
use wotsomediver for de hitri-hitri-folderol-ony bit
of it. Now, 'Ockins, fair play wid de marrow-bones.
Hand me anoder."
"Is it far, Mr. Ravonino," asked Mark, "from
here to the capital-to Antananarivo ? "
"You cleared 'im that time, Doctor!" murmured
Hockins, wiping his mouth with a bunch of grass
which he carried as a substitute for a pocket
"Yes, it is a long way," said the outlaw;'" many
days' journey over mountain and plain."
"And are you going to guide us all the way
"No, not all the way. You forget I am an
outlaw. It would cost me my life if I were to
appear in Antananarivo."
Mark was on the point of asking why, but,
remembering the rebuff of the previous night, for-
bore to put questions relative to his new friend's


personal affairs. Indeed he soon found that it was
useless to do so, for whenever he approached the
subject Ravonino became so abstracted and deaf that
no reply could be drawn from him. As if to compen-
sate for this, however, the man was exceedingly com-
municative in regard to all other subjects, and there
was a quiet urbanity in his manner which rendered
his conversation exceedingly attractive. Moreover,
to the surprise of Mark, this mysterious stranger
gave evidence of a considerable amount of education.
He also gratified Hockins by his evident delight in
the flageolet, and his appreciation of nautical
stories and "lingo," while he quite won the heart of
Ebony by treating him with the same deference
which he accorded to his companions. In short,
each of our travellers congratulated himself not a
little on this pleasant acquisition to the party-the
only drawback to their satisfaction being their
inability to reconcile the existence of such good
qualities with the condition of an outlaw!
"However," remarked Hockins, after a long talk
with his comrades on this subject when Ravonino
was absent, "it's none of our business what he's bin
an' done to other people. What we've got to do
with is the way he behaves to us, d'ee see ?"
"He's a trump," said Ebony, with a nod of
"I agree with you," said Mark; "and I only wish


he was a little more communicative about himself.
However, we must take him as we find him, and try
to win his confidence."
During the whole of that first day their guide
conducted them through such intricate and evidently
unfrequented parts of the forest that their advance
was comparatively slow and toilsome, but, being
young and strong and well-fed, they did not mind
that. In fact Mark Breezy enjoyed it, for the
wilder and more tangled the scenery was through
which they forced their way, the more did it accord
with the feelings of romance which filled him, and
the thought of being guided through the woods
too by an outlaw tended rather to increase his
"Are all the roads in your island as bad as these ?"
he asked, after plumping up to the knees in a
quagmire, out of which he scrambled with difficulty.
"No, many of them are worse and some better,"
answered the guide; "but I keep away from them,
because the Queen's soldiers and spies are hunting
about the land just now."
"Oho !" thought Mark, "I begin to see; you are
a rebel." Then, aloud, "Your country, then, is
governed by a queen ?"
"Misgoverned," returned Ravonino in a tone of
bitterness, which, however, he evidently tried to


Fearing to tread again on forbidden ground,
Mark forbore to put questions about the guide's
objections to his queen, but simply asked her name,
and if she had reigned long.
Her name," said Ravonino, "is Ranavalona.
She has reigned for twenty-seven years-twenty-
seven long and weary years! I was a little boy
when she usurped the throne. Now my sun has
reached its meridian, yet she is still there, a blight
upon the land. But God knows what is best. He
cannot err."
This was the first reference that Ravonino had
made to the Creator, and Mark was about to push
his inquiries further, when a confused sound of
voices was heard not far in advance of them.
Ravonino, who had been walking with an easy
nonchalant air ahead of the party, on a very narrow
footpath, suddenly stopped to listen with a look of
anxiety. A moment later and he entered the bush
that fringed the path and overhung it.
"Come," he said in a low voice, "follow me,
close !"
Without a word of explanation he strode into the
dense undergrowth, through which he went with
the agility of a panther and the sinuosity of a
serpent. The others, being, as we have said, very
active and strong, kept close at his heels, though not
without difficulty. Coming at last to a place


where the shrubbery was so intertwined that it was
impossible to see more than a yard or two in
advance, they suddenly found themselves stopped
by a sheer precipice. Only for a few seconds;
however, was their progress arrested, while their
guide turned to explain.
"There is another and an easier way to the place
I am making for, but it is much longer and more
exposed. I take for granted that you have strong
arms and steady heads, but if not, speak out, for I
would not lead you into danger."
"Lead on," said Mark, promptly, "wherever you
go, we will follow."
With something like an amused twinkle of the
eye, Ravonino began to climb up the face of the
precipice, holding on to roots and rope-like
creepers like a monkey.
"If this here sort o' cordage was only a bit
more taut I wouldn't mind it so much," growled
Hockins, as he lost his footing at one place, and
swung off the face of the precipice,-holding
on to a stout creeper, however, with seaman-like
grip and coolness. He quickly caught hold of
another creeper, and drew himself again into
comparative safety. A minute later and they all
stood on a ledge, high up on the face of the cliff,
and close to what appeared to be the mouth of a


"Look there," said their guide, pushing aside the
bushes which overhung the cliff in all directions.
They looked, and through the opening beheld a
band of men moving in single file along the track
they had just left. They were most of them
nearly naked, with only short calico breeches which
did not quite reach to their knees, but all had
muskets on their shoulders and cross-belts on their
dark bodies, one of which belts sustained apparently
a cartridge-box, the other a bayonet. Their own
thick hair was all the cap they wore, excepting two
or three men of superior rank, who wore cloths
wrapped in turban fashion on their heads, and
a voluminous plaid-like garment on their shoulders.
These carried swords instead of muskets.
"The soldiers of the Queen," said Ravonino, in
answer to Mark Breezy's look. "They are out
"What do they hunt for ?" asked Mark.
Men and women."
"By which I suppose you mean rebels."
"NTo, they are not rebels; they are the queen's
most loyal subjects!"
"But loyal subjects do not usually fly from their
rulers," objected Mark.
"True, but loyal subjects sometimes fly from
tyranny," returned the guide. "Come, I will
introduce you to some fugitives from tyranny."


He turned as he spoke and led the way into the
cave before mentioned. Profound darkness did not
prevent his advancing with a firm unhesitating step.
As he led Mark by the hand, Hockins and Ebony
held on to him and to each other, and had no
difficulty in following. Presently they came to a
wooden obstruction which proved to be a door.
Voices in conversation were heard on the other side
of it. A knock from the guide produced sudden
silence. Another knock drew from those within an
exclamation of surprise, and next moment the
heavy door swung open on creaking hinges.
"Yes, it is Ravoninohitriniony!. I knew his
knock. He is come!" exclaimed a girlish voice, as
a pair of arms were seen dimly to encircle the
guide's neck.
Of course the girl spoke in the native tongue,
which was quite incomprehensible to our travellers,
but if we are to enlighten our readers we must
needs translate as we go along.
"My sister, Ra-Ruth," said the guide, presenting
her to his new friends. "She was a lady in the
palace of the queen once. Now she is an outlaw,
like myself-has fled from tyranny, and, perhaps,
death. All in this cave a* in the same case-
fugitives from our tyrant queen.
They reached the interior of the place as he
spoke, and Ravonino, pointing to a bundle of dried


ferns, bade his companions rest there until he had
explained some private matters to the people.
Nothing loth-for they were all somewhat
fatigued by their recent exertions-our travellers
flung themselves on what proved to be a lux-
urious couch, and observed what went on around
Truly it was a strange scene, romantic enough
even to satisfy the longings of Mark Breezy !
The cavern itself was a curious one, being in the
form of a vast hall, with three smaller chambers
opening out of it. The central hall seemed to have
no roof, for although brightly lighted by several
torches fixed to its rugged walls the upper part was
lost in profound obscurity.
This strange abode was peopled by a considerable
number of men and women-natives of the island-
who from the variety in their costume, features, and
complexion, evidently belonged to different tribes.
Some were strong, tall, and rather harsh-featured,
others were more slender in build and with refined
countenances. A few were almost black, others of
a light olive colour, and several made that approach
to whiteness of skin which in England is known as
brunette. All were i3ore or less characterized by
that quiet gentleness and gravity of demeanour
which one is accustomed to associate with humbly
borne misfortune.


It was evident from the appearance of the large
chamber that its inhabitants were associated in
groups or families, spaces being marked off by an
arrangement of logs and household goods, etc., as if
to indicate the habitation of each group, and, from
certain indications in the smaller chambers, it was
equally evident that these had been apportioned as
the sleeping-places of the females. A larger space
at the end of the cave, opposite to that on which
Mark and his comrades reclined, seemed to be a
general meeting-place.
To this spot it was that Ravohino went, leading
his little sister Ra-Ruth by the hand, and followed
by all the inmates of the place, who were eager to
know what news he had brought. That the news
was the reverse of good soon became evident, from
the bowed heads and frequent sighs with which it
was received.
Of course our travellers could make no use of
their ears, but they made the best use of their eyes,
and were deeply interested in the expressions and
actions of the various members of the group who
successively spoke after the guide had told his story.
Poor little Ra-Ruth, whose age might have been
about seventeen, was not one of the speakers. She
was evidently a timid as well as a pretty little
creature, for she clung to and nestled against her
stout brother's arm while he was speaking, and hid


her face now and then in the masses of her luxuriant
brown hair.
Close to her sat a young woman whose appearance
and manner formed a striking contrast. She was
much darker in complexion, but her features were of
classical beauty and her air calm and self-possessed.
When she had occasion to speak, she arose, dis-
playing a tall elegantly-formed figure, which moved
with queen-like dignity while she gesticulated with
graceful animation, and frequently pointed upwards
as if appealing to God. When she was speaking
Ra-Ruth's timidity seemed to vanish, for she shook
back her hair, and fixed her eyes on the other's face
with a gaze that told of ardent love as well as
The next who spoke was a young man, who
in face and figure so strongly resembled the last
speaker, that it was impossible to resist the con-
clusion that they were brother and sister. There
was the same tall commanding figure, of course on
a larger scale, the same noble cast of feature and
the same dignified mien. But in the man, more
than in the woman, there was an air of gentle
modesty which contrasted well with his powerful
frame. He did not gesticulate much in speaking,
and, judging from the brevity of his speech, he had
not much to say, but what he said was listened to
with profound respect by all.


After this youth, several others took part in the
debate. Then they all stood up, and, to the surprise
of their visitors, began to sing-very sweetly-an
old familiar hymn !
"It minds me o' home," whispered Hockins,
scarce able to restrain the tears that filled his eyes.
The hymn was nearly finished, when a rushing
sound and a subdued cry were heard to issue from a
dark passage, the mouth of which was close to the
couch of our travellers. The singing ceased instantly.
Next moment a man rushed into the chamber with
labouring breath and flashing eyes, Springing to-
wards Ravonino, he spoke several words eagerly, at
the same time pointing in the direction of the
passage just referred to.
Lights out and silence !" cried the guide, authori-
tatively, in the native tongue.
Another moment and the cave was in total dark-
ness, and a silence so profound reigned there that
the three visitors could hardly persuade themselves
the whole affair was not a strange dream. The voice
of Ravonino, however, soon dispelled that idea.
"Be still!" whispered the guide, laying his hand
on Mark's shoulder. "Our foes have discovered
our retreat."
"There's a lot of stout fellows here," returned
Mark, also in a whisper We will help you if you
have to fight."


We may not fight," replied Ravonino softly. If
it be God's will, we must die. Hush They come."
Once more total silence prevailed in the cavern,
and the sound of distant voices could be heard.
In a few minutes a tiny light was seen at the end of
the dark passage. It gradually increased in size,
revealing a soldier who bore a torch. He advanced
on tip-toe, and with slightly scared looks, into an
outer cavern which formed a sort of vestibule to the
large inner cave.
The soldier was brave, no doubt, and would have
faced an army in the field, but he was extremely
superstitious, and advanced with a palpitating heart,
the torch held high above his head, and eyes glanc-
ing nervously from side to side. A crowd of
comrades, similarly affected more or less, followed
the torch-bearer and pushed him on.
"Nothing here," said the leading man, of course
in Malagasy.
"Let us be gone, then," said one of his comrades.
"No," observed a third, who seemed bolder than
the rest, "perhaps there is another cave beyond
(pointing to the dark passage, through which, though
unseen, Mark and his companions with the guide
were gazing anxiously at their foes). Give me the
The soldier seized the light and advanced quickly
towards the opening. Another minute and all must


have been revealed. A feeling of despair took
possession of Ravonino's breast and he gave vent to
an involuntary sigh.
The sound reached the ear of the soldier with the
torch and for a moment arrested him, but, thinking
probably that the sound was in his imagination, he
again advanced. The case was now desperate.
Just then a gleam of light flashed into the mind of
Hockins. Next moment, to the consternation of his
comrades and the guide, a strain of the sweetest
music floated softly in the air!
The soldiers stood still-spell-bound. It was not
an unfamiliar air, for they had often heard the
hated Christians sing it, but the sweet, liquid-we
might almost say tiny-tones in which it was con-
veyed, were such as had never before reached their
ears or even entered their imaginations. It was
evident from their countenances that the soldiers
were awe-stricken. The seaman noted this. He
played only a few bars, and allowed the last notes
of his flageolet to grow faint until they died away
into absolute silence.
For a minute or two the soldiers stood rooted to
the spot, gazing up into the roof of the cave as if
expecting a renewal of the sounds. Then they
looked solemnly at each other. Without uttering a
word they turned slowly round, retreated on tip-toe
as they came, and finally disappeared.


We need hardly say that the astonishment of the
people in the cave at the mode of their deliverance
from the threatened danger was intense.
When the torches were relighted the men and
women assembled round Ravonino with looks little
less solemn than those of the soldiers who had just
taken their departure.
"Surely," said the handsome young man whom
we have already introduced, "surely God has
wrought a miracle and sent an angel's voice for our
Not so, Laihova," replied Ravonino, with a slight
smile. "We are too apt to count everything that
we fail to understand a miracle. God has indeed
sent the deliverance, but through a natural channel."
"Yet we see not the channel, Ravoninohitriniony,"
said Laihova's queen-like sister, Ramatoa.
"True, Ramatoa. Nevertheless I can show it to
you. Come, Hockins," he added in English, "clear
up the mystery to them."
Thus bidden, our seaman at once drew forth the
little instrument and began to play the hymn they
had just been singing, with the air of which, as we
have said, he chanced to be well acquainted.
It would be hard to say whether surprise or
pleasure predominated in the breasts of his audience.
At last the latter feeling prevailed, and the whole
assembly joined in singing the last verse of the


hymn, which appropriately terminated in "Praise ye
the Lord."
But our retreat is no longer safe," said Ravonino,
when the last echo of their thanksgiving had died
away. "We must change our abode-and that
without delay. Get ready. By the first light of
morning I will lead you to a new home. These
soldiers will not return, but they will tell what they
have seen, and others less timorous will come here
to search for us."
Immediately the people set about collecting to-
gether and packing up what may be termed their
household goods, leaving the guide and their visitors
to enjoy supper and conversation in their own
corner of the cave.




DURING the progress of supper, which consisted
of cold dried meat and rice, the quartette seated on
the ferns in the corner of the cave were unusually
silent. Mark Breezy and Ravonino continued to
eat-for some time without speaking a word. Ebony,
although earnestly absorbed in victuals, rolled his
eyes about as he looked from time to time at his
companions with unwonted solemnity, and John
Hockins frowned at his food, and shook his shaggy
head with an air of dissatisfied perplexity.
"Ravonino," at length said the last, looking up,
and using his grass pocket-handkerchief, "it seems
to me, bein' a plain straight-for'ard sort o' sea-
man, that there's something' not exactly fair an'
above-board in all them proceedin's. Of course
it's not for me to say what a independent man
should do or say; but don't you think that w'en a
man like you professes to be honest, an' asks other
men to trust him, he should at least explain some o'


the riddles that surround him? I'm a loyal man
myself, an' I 'll stand up for my Queen an' country,
no matter what may be the circumstances in w'ich
I'm placed; so that w'en I sees another man
admitting' that he's a outlaw, an' finds the soldiers
of his Queen a-huntin' all about the country arter
him and his comrades-seems to me there's a screw
loose somewheres"
"Dat's my sentiments zactly," said the negro, with
a decisive nod.
Mark took no notice of this speech, but silently
continued his supper. For a few moments the guide
did not speak or look up. Then, laying down his
knife and clasping his hands over one of his knees,
he looked earnestly into the seaman's face.
"You tell me you are loyal," he said.
Hockins nodded.
"If your queen," continued Ravonino, "were to
tell you to give up the service of God and worship
idols, would you do it ?"
"Cer'nly not," replied the seaman, promptly, "for
she has no right to rule over my soul. My duty to
the King of Kings stands before my duty to the
Queen of England."
Again the guide was silent for a few minutes.
Then he said:-
"Hockins, by God's blessing you have saved the
lives of all our party this day-at least it seemed


so, for, another step, and that soldier would have
discovered us if your little pipe had not stopped
him. You are therefore entitled to expect some
gratitude, and, from what I have seen of you and
your comrades, I have reason to believe you will
not betray us, even if you get the chance."
"Right you are, friend, I will never betray an
honest man; an' I may speak for my comrades as
well as self, for they're true-blue to the back-
"Furder nor dat," interposed Ebony, "troo-bloo
to de marrow !"
"Don't you shove in your oar till you're ordered,
you nigger! Well, as I was a-sayin', we'll never
betray honest men, but I give you fair warning' if
you're not honest, we'll have nothing' to do wi' your
secrets, an' if our duty to God an' man requires us
to go against you, we'll do it without flinchin'."
"So be it. I am satisfied," returned Ravonino,
calmly. "I will tell you as much as I think you
are entitled to know. It may have reached your
ears, perhaps, that there has been terrible persecu-
tion in this island for many years."
Here Mark Breezy took up the conversation.
No," said he, with something of a deprecatory
air, "we did not know it. For my part I am
ashamed to say so; but I will say in excuse that
the British empire is widely extended in every


quarter of the globe, and her missions are so
numerous that average men can scarcely hope to
keep up with the details of all of the persecutions
that occur. Rumours, indeed, I have heard of
doings in Madagascar that vie with the persecutions
of the Scottish Covenanters; but more than this I
know not, though of course there are men connected
with our Missionary Societies-and many people,
no doubt, interested in missions--who know all
about the persecutions in Madagascar. Is it in
connection with this that you have been outlawed ?"
It is. Ranavalona, the blood-stained usurper, our
present queen, is filled with such bitter hatred of
Christianity that she has for many years persecuted
the native Christians who have been taught by
white missionaries from your land. Hundreds of
men and women have been murdered by her orders
because they refused to forsake Christ; others have
been banished to regions so unhealthy that they
have died, and many have been sold into slavery."
The eyes of the guide gleamed for a moment, and
his stern countenance flushed as he thus referred to
the sorrows of his people, but by a strong effort he
controlled his feelings, and his countenance resumed
its habitual quietude.
"My mother and my sister and I," he continued,
"were sold into slavery. My mother was a native
lady, high in station, and a member of the court of


King Radama the First, who was very favourable to
Missionaries. I was an infant at that time; my
little sister was not born. My father was an English
trader, skilled in many handicrafts, and a great
favourite with the king, who fostered the Christian
religion and helped those who came to teach us.
Our teachers learned our language; taught us the
love of God, and, through the power of the Holy
Spirit, brought many of us to the Saviour. But
they were persevering and wise as well as good.
Having learned our language-in which my father
helped them much-they taught us to read; trans-
lated many parts of the Word of God into our
tongue; sent home for presses and types, and had
these printed, as well as The Pilgrim's Progress and
other books.
Peace, joy, and prosperity were spreading in our
land. Idol-worship and cruel customs were being
uprooted, and everything was going well when the
king died-whether a Christian or not, who can
tell? for, although favourable to, he never professed,
Christianity. 'The Lord knoweth them that are
His!' The rightful heir to the throne, according to
our customs, was Rakotobe-a good young man
who had been taught by the missionaries, and was
nephew to the king; but Ranavalona, one of the
king's wives, resolved to seize the opportunity. A
bold bad woman, with a powerful will and no


principle, she carried her point by reckless blood-
shed. There were men at court as bad as herself
who agreed to aid her. When she boldly claimed
the throne, four loyal nobles asserted the claim of
Rakotobe. They were instantly speared in the
palace. The rightful heir was not present. Soldiers
were sent to his residence to seize and kill him
before he should hear of what was going on.
"Not content with shedding blood, the cruel
monsters dug the poor youth's grave before his
eyes. When they were thus engaged Rakotobe
kneeled down to pray, and while he was in this
position they speared him and cast him into his
grave. Soon after the father and mother of Rako-
tobe were murdered-the last being starved to death.
The brother of Radama was destroyed in like
manner. He lingered eight days in agony before
death came to his relief. Then Rakotobe's grand-
mother and other relations were slain by Ranava-
lona's orders, and thus the murderess waded through
blood to the throne of Madagascar !
Think you," continued the guide, with a passing
gleam of the anger which he strove to restrain,
"think you that I owe allegiance to such a queen ?"
"Truly ye do not," answered the seaman, stoutly.
"My only wonder is that the people suffer her to
Scarce heeding the reply the guide continued,


with suppressed excitement, "but she did not rest
content. It was in the year 1829 that she usurped
the throne. Since then she has persecuted the
Christians for more than a quarter of a century, and
at times blood has flowed like water in our land.
Bad as she is, however, she would have been worse
but for her love to her son. Ay, the woman whose
heart is a stone to most people is soft towards the
young prince Rakota, in spite of the fact that this
youth is favourable to the Christians and has often
stood between them and his mother.
"About nine years after the queen's coronation
my little sister was born, and was secretly baptized
-the name of Ruth being given to her. It is our
custom to prefix Ra to many names-so she is
Ra-Ruth. Look at her!" He pointed to a group
not far off, where the delicate and graceful girl was
busily assisting an elderly woman in her packing
arrangements. "See you the lady beside her, with
the grey hair and the sad worn face ? That is my
mother. I have said she was high at the Court of
Radama the First. She was young then. I was born
the year that Radama died. Ranavalona was fond
of her, though she loved not her Christianity, so she
continued at the palace. The Queen also became
very fond of my little sister when she began to
grow to womanhood, but Ra-Ruth could not return
the affection of one whose hands were stained so


deeply with Christian blood. I was an officer in the
palace at the time, but would gladly have left, only
my doing so might have roused the queen's wrath
against my father and mother.
"At last the missionaries were ordered to quit
the capital. In 1849 a great persecution took place.
The queen became furious because her people would
not cease to love and serve Jesus. She ordered
many men and women to be speared and burned
and tossed over precipices, but all without avail,
because 'greater is He who is for us than all who
can be against us.'
"My father was away on a trading expedition
at this time. One day in attempting to cross a lake
he was drowned." The guide's voice deepened as
he went on, He was a good loving father to me.
He taught me nearly all I know, and he was no
mean scholar. He also sent me to the missionary
schools. After his death the Queen hardened her
heart against us; and as we refused to give up pray-
ing to God and singing His praise, we were cast out
of the palace-my mother and sister and I, with
several others, among whom were Laihova and his
sister Ramatoa. We were sold into slavery in the
public market.
"Our purchaser was cruel. He put us to the
hardest menial work. We remained for several
years with him. The health of my poor mother


and sister began to give way. Then he sold me to
another man, and we were separated. This was too
much, I suppose, for the English blood in me to
endure quietly. I made my escape. I went back
to my old owner, and, in the night, induced my
mother and sister to fly. Many persecuted Chris-
tians have fled since then and are now hiding in dens
and caves like hunted beasts. We soon found some
of these in the depths of the forests, and agreed to
band together. They made me their leader, and I
brought them here, where we have lived and wor-
shipped God in peace; but, as you have seen, we
are liable to be captured at any moment."
And if captured," said Mark, "would the Queen
really put you to death?"
"I fear she would; nay, I am certain of it, because
one who recently escaped from Antananarivo has
just brought the news that the Queen has been
visited with a fresh burst of anger against the
Christians, has thrown many into prison and sent
out troops to scour the country in search of those
who have fled."
"But if that is so," said Hockins, earnestly,
"what's the use o' you riskin' your life by goin'
with us to Ant-Ant-all-alive-0 (I '1 never git
that name into my head !). Why not just sketch us
out a rough chart o' the island on a bit o' bark, give
us the bearing's o' the capital, an' let us steer a


straight course for it. I'll be bound that we'll
make our port easy enough."
"Yes, Hockins speaks wisely," added Mark. It
is very kind of you to take so much trouble for us,
but there is no need to run such great risk on our
"You do not consider," replied Ravonino, "that
it is more difficult for sailors to cross the wild forest
than to find their way on the trackless sea, and
you forget also that the way is long, that Mada-
gascar is larger than Great Britain and Ireland
put together. There are many tribes, too, some of
which are not so hospitable as others. You could
not avoid the dangers of this wilderness easily
without a guide. Besides, I do not mean to enter
the capital. I will merely guide you to within
sight of it and then leave you. Fortunately you
require no assistance from natives, not being
encumbered with this world's goods."
"IDas troo; ha, ha-a!" cried Ebony, opening
his portentous mouth and shutting his eyes, "we's
got no luggidge."
"Well, we shall only be too glad of your com-
pany," said Mark, with some feeling, "and we thank
you most heartily for your disinterested kindness."
"My conduct is not altogether disinterested,"
returned the guide. The truth is, I had no intention
at first of doing more than guiding you to the right


pass in the mountains, but since I have been with
you my feelings have been modified, and the news
which we have just received has-has filled me
with anxiety, and raised in my mind the idea that
-that I may even make use of you!"
"That's right," exclaimed Mark, heartily, "I'm
glad if there is the smallest chance of our serving
you in any way. In what way can we do so ?"
For some moments the guide displayed a degree
of hesitancy which his friends had not before noticed
in him. Then he spoke, slowly-
Well, the truth is, that I have a friend in the
palace who is, I have been told, in great danger,
owing to the wrath of Ranavalona. I thought that
somehow, perhaps, you might give warning to this
friend, and say that Samuel Ravoninohitriniony is in
the neighboring forest, and- "
Here the guide stopped short, and seemed to be in
some perplexity. Mark Breezy, whose young and
romantic spirit was deeply stirred by the prospect
of adventure which his words had opened up,
assured him with enthusiasm that whatever was
possible for man to accomplish he might depend
upon being at least vigorously attempted. To which
assurance John Hockins begged to "putt the word
ditto," and the negro fervently added, "Das so-me
too !"
"But how are we to find your friend," asked


Mark, "seeing that we don't know and have never
seen him?"
"My friend is not a man, but a-a woman, a
young girl," said Ravonino, with the slightest possible
symptom of confusion, which opened the eyes of
Mark instantly, and still further stirred his sym-
Ravonino," he exclaimed, suddenly grasping the
guide's hand, "treat me as a friend and trust me.
You love this young girl! Is it not so? Nay,
man, don't be angry with me. I can't help sym-
pathising. Why, I know something of your-your
-a-condition myself. The morning I left England,
the very last person I said good-bye to was a fair
young girl, with golden hair, and a rosebud mouth,
and such lovely blue- "
Das right, Massa," burst in Ebony, with a crow
of admiration. "It doos my bery heart good to see
a man as is proud ob his sweet'art. I's got one too,
bress you but she ain't fair! No, she's black as de
kitchen chimbly, wid a bootiful flat nose, a mout'
like a coal-scuttle, an'.such eyes-oh !- "
"Hold your tongue, Ebony! Now, am I not
right, Ravonino ?"
"You are right," answered the guide, gravely, yet
without displeasure. "My Rafaravavy is in danger,
and I must save her from this murderess at all
hazards. It is right, however, to tell you that if you


attempt to aid me you will encounter both difficulty
and danger."
"Don't mention that, friend. No true man would
shrink from either in a good cause," said Mark.
"But when must we set out on this expedition ?"
"By daybreak to-morrow. Our new hiding-place
is on our way, so the change will not delay us; and
from what the fugitives have told us, I hope-
indeed I feel sure-that the Queen will do no further
mischief for some weeks to come. But now, com-
rades," said the guide, rising, "we must rest if we
would work to-morrow. Follow me."
He led them into one of the side caves, when the
whole of the people followed, as if by preconcerted
arrangement. Here a much-soiled book in a leather
cover was produced. It was a portion of the Bible
in the Malagasy language. A few verses were
reverently read by the guide; a brief earnest prayer
was offered by a very old man; a hymn was sung,
and then the people dispersed to their several sections
of the cave. Finally the lights were extinguished,
and the place was left in silence and darkness




DAWN was still struggling to assert itself in the
far east, and the depths of the forest were still
shrouded in almost midnight gloom, when the strange
band of outlaws emerged from their cave, and, led
by Ravonino, went forth to search for a safer dwell-
ing-place in the still more inaccessible fastnesses of
the wilderness.
They had not much difficulty in finding a suitable
spot, for the particular region to which they had fled
from persecution was exceedingly wild and broken
in form, and abounded with concealed caverns
having outlets in several directions, so that pursuit
and discovery were alike difficult.
We may not delay here, however, to tell of their
wanderings. Like the Christians of other lands
and more ancient times, they were hunted like wild
beasts, though their only crime was a desire to
serve and worship God according to the dictates of


their consciences. It is the old familiar story, and
comment is needless to those who understand it-
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn."
There is only one other member of the party of
whom we will make mention just now, because she
appears again somewhat prominently in our tale.
This was a little elderly female who seemed utterly
destitute of the very common human attribute of
self-assertion, and in whose amiable, almost comical,
countenance, one expression seemed to overbear and
obliterate all others, namely that of gushing good-
will to man and beast! Those who did not know
R4ni-Mamba thought her an amiable imbecile.
Those who knew her well loved her with peculiar
tenderness. Her modesty and self-abnegation were
not, so far as any one knew, the result of principle.
She was too unassertive to lay claim to principle!
We are not sure that she understood the meaning
of principle.
Before Christianity in its doctrinal form reached
her she had only one source of discomfort in life, and
that was that in everything she failed! Failed to do
as much as she wanted to do for other people; failed
to express herself always as affectionately as she felt;
failed to avoid giving slight occasions of offence,
although she never, never meant to do it !" In short
she was, strange to say, a victim to self-condemnation.


When the Gospel of Jesus came to her, telling, as it
does, that God is Love," that Christ came to sweep
away for ever the very sins that troubled her, and
that His Holy Spirit would fight for and in her, so
as to make her "more than conqueror," she caught
it to her heart as the very thing she needed.
She did not indeed condemn herself less-nay,
she rather condemned herself more than formerly-
but the joy of being on the winning side, of know-
ing that all sin was pardoned for His sake, of feel-
ing assured of progressive victory now and complete
victory in the end, thoroughly scattered her old
troubles to the winds.
Her very name was characteristic. It is a common
and curious custom in Madagascar for parents some-
times to drop their own names and take the name
of their eldest child with the word raini, "father
of," or reni, "mother of," prefixed. Now this
amiable little elderly woman had been married young,
and it so happened that her husband was away on
an expedition to the coast when the first and only
son was born. One of the first things that the
child did after opening its black eyes on this life
was to open its uncommonly large mouth, with the
intention, no doubt, of howling. But circumstances
apparently induced it to change its mind, for it shut
its mouth without howling.
The effect of the gape on the mother was to

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