Page:Yule Logs.djvu/393

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377
THE SLAVER'S REVENGE

right, she waved her hand above her head by way of farewell, and at once disappeared into the bush again.

I was by this time chilled to the marrow with the drenching to which I had been exposed, and so stiff from being tightly lashed for so many hours that I could scarcely move, while I was still dazed at my sudden and unexpected deliverance from a cruel death; nevertheless I had sense enough to understand that my situation was still one of the utmost peril, out of which I must extricate myself without loss of time, so I paddled away with all the vigour I could muster, and presently had the satisfaction of shutting in the Josefa and her consort round the bend of the creek, without the occurrence of anything to indicate that my escape had been discovered. The exertion of paddling soon restored my circulation, and I made fairly rapid way down the creek, observing, by the glare of the lightning, that the waterway broadened rapidly as I went. I kept on thus for about twenty minutes, and then, to my great joy, discovered that I was nearing some very considerable expanse of water, which a few minutes of further paddling convinced me must be nothing less than the main stream of the Congo, into which I presently shot. But at the junction of the creek with the main stream I sheered the canoe in alongside the bank, and, holding on by the branches of an overhanging bush, securely lashed my pocket-handkerchief to a bough in such a manner that it could readily be seen at some considerable distance. Then I shoved off again and turned the canoe's head down stream.

The wind was blowing more than half a gale by this time, but it was fortunately from the southward, so that by hugging the southern bank pretty closely I was fairly well sheltered; and fortunate was it for me that it was so, for at the distance of a quarter of a mile from the bank the whole surface of the river was a boiling caldron of breaking seas, that would have swamped the canoe in five