Page:The Days Work (1899).djvu/181

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP SEA

began to move with speed, for he did not wish to keep a hungry crew at large on the beach, and the man-of-war had gone up the coast. With a wave of his hand—a stroke of the pen was not necessary—he consigned them to the blakgang-tana, the back-country, and the hand of the Law removed them from his sight and the knowledge of men. They were marched into the palms, and the back-country swallowed them up— all the crew of the Haliotis.

Deep peace continued to brood over Europe, Asia, Africa, America, Australasia, and Polynesia.

**********

It was the firing that did it. They should have kept their council; but when a few thousand foreigners are bursting with joy over the fact that a ship under the British flag has been fired at on the high seas, news travels quickly; and when it came out that the pearl-stealing crew had not been allowed access to their consul (there was no consul within a few hundred miles of that lonely port) even the friendliest of Powers has a right to ask questions. The great heart of the British public was beating furiously on account of the performance of a notorious race-horse, and had not a throb to waste on distant accidents; but somewhere deep in the hull of the ship of State there is machinery which more or less accurately takes charge of foreign affairs. That machinery began to revolve, and who so shocked and surprised as the Power that had captured the Haliotis? It explained that colonial governors and far-away men-of-war were difficult to control, and promised that it would most certainly make an example both of the

[169]