Page:Yule Logs.djvu/390

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
374
THE SLAVER'S REVENGE

was manipulating the lashings that Lenoir had so carefully scrutinised a few minutes previously, and presently, to my inexpressible surprise and delight, I discovered that I was free. At the same moment a small, soft hand grasped mine, and gently drew me round to the other side of the tree, where I found myself confronted by a young native girl, who promptly intimated the necessity for caution by placing her finger on her lips. We waited where we were for a few seconds, until an unusually vivid flash of lightning rendered the whole scene as bright as day, and then, in the opaque darkness that followed, I felt myself being led swiftly out of the circle of half-burnt logs into the concealing shadows of a dense clump of bush that grew at no great distance. Here we paused again for a few brief seconds, taking advantage of the short and uncertain intervals of darkness that followed the lightning flashes to flit from clump to clump of bush, until in a few minutes we found ourselves deep in the heart of the bush, secure from discovery by prying eyes, and moving rapidly along a bush path that I presently discovered was winding round toward the river. Ten minutes later we emerged upon a small strip of sandy beach occupying the angle of a bend of the creek, about a hundred yards or so above the spot where I must have been landed, for below me I just caught sight indistinctly of the Josefa and the schooner, riding dark and silent on the rain-lashed bosom of the creek. There were a dozen or more canoes, of different sizes, drawn up on this strip of beach, and, selecting the smallest of them, my companion slid it gently into the water. Then motioning me to enter, she placed a paddle in my hand, pointed up the creek, and with a vigorous push sent the canoe surging a dozen yards toward midchannel, motioning me to paddle hard. I lost no time in obeying her behest, paddling first on one side and then on the other, and managing the canoe with little or no difficulty. As soon as my deliverer saw that I was all