THE SLAVER'S REVENGE
and his Kruman, in the small canoe, leaving the schooner in charge of young Adams; when, under the impulse of a small sail, we shoved off and sped rapidly in the darkness up the river.
The Kruman who acted as pilot undoubtedly appeared—as St. Croix had asserted—to know the river thoroughly, for dark as the night was, he evinced no sign whatever of doubt or hesitation. Perched up in the stern of the canoe—which he steered with a short paddle laid out over the quarter—he sat silent and motionless as a bronze image, holding the boat's head straight for some unseen point, and never swerving a hair's-breadth from his course until, at the expiration of about two hours, we suddenly found ourselves entering a tolerably wide creek, only distinguishable as such by the deeper and more palpable darkness that enveloped us as the canoe slid in between its bush-lined banks. We were a taciturn trio, St. Croix having scarcely uttered a word since we shoved off from the schooner; while as for me, my thoughts were too full of the adventure before me to leave me much inclination for speech.
We navigated this winding creek for about three quarters of an hour, passing several branches on our way, and then, as the Kruman brought the canoe noiselessly alongside a low, gravelly bank, St. Croix leaned forward, and, laying his hand upon mine, remarked in a whisper—
"We land here, mon ami; the remainder of our journey we must perform on our feet if we desire not our throats to be cut. Tread cautiously, for ze bush it is full of snakes!"That was a pleasant little item of news, truly, to be told on a dark night while feeling one's way along a bush