Page:Germ Growers.djvu/123

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118
THE GERM GROWERS.

occurred to Jack. His word was received with a sound like a laugh, but it was a very horrible and ghastly laugh. One sometimes hears of the horror of a maniac's laugh; but the maniac's laugh is horrible by reason of its vacancy. This laugh was by no means vacant, it was full of expression, but it was the expression of relentless malignity.

Then the leader dismissed the men and they moved away towards the further end of the valley. Then he turned and moved slowly towards us and we moved slowly to meet him. He met us with the same stately courtesy as before and we exchanged salutations. He led us to the square where the men had been and he invited us to sit down. Then he inquired briefly concerning our personal comfort and we both expressed briefly our thanks and satisfaction. Then I went on to say,

"My name, sir, is Easterley, and my friend is Mr. Wilbraham, and we have only now to ask you by what name we are to know our host, and to ask that he will add to the obligation under which he has placed us, by giving us a guide to the nearest station or settlement of English colonists."

"I have more names than one," he replied, "among your people, but when I was last in Italy, which is a