Their hike back took them through the pleasant town of Westwood where our young hero with his formidable envelope still stuck in his belt must have looked like an official come to read the riot act or a proclamation or, perchance, to demand a hostage.
There is no landsman in the ship now exposed to its dangers. All on board are familiar with the sea have spent years upon it. Yet is there fear in their hearts and pallor on their cheeks, as their eyes turn to that belt of white frothy water between them and the land, trending north and south beyond the range of vision.
And Suhotra brought under his sway the whole earth surrounded by her belt of seas and full of elephants, kine and horses, and all her wealth of gems of gold. And the earth afflicted with the weight of numberless human beings and elephants, horses, and cats, was, as it were, about to sink.
It was comparatively early, but already very hot. Norah was not sorry when she left the long stretch they called the "Far Plain" behind her, and came into the welcome shade of a belt of timber. She walked Bobs through it slowly. Then came the clear stretch to the homestead, and they cantered steadily across it.
A stout German frau, weighing something between three and four hundred pounds, trod on the train of my gown, and the gathers gave way at the belt with that horrid ripping noise which every woman has heard at some time of her life. It generally means a man. It makes no difference, however; man or woman, the result is the same.
He looked down, and saw in the shadow of the table a knife lying, which had fallen from some man's belt. A thought of desperate joy came into his mind. He bent himself down with his bound hands, and he contrived to gather up the knife.
Truchen, who had become quite sociable with the giant, said that it was not the belt so much as his corporation; and Porthos, in a state of the highest delight, embraced Truchen, who gathered him a pailful of the strawberries, and made him eat them out of her hands.
He started again, as he extricated the hilt from the snow. But there was no time for examining it. His ear caught a stifled cry, a woman's cry. It came, without a doubt, from the igloo of his fellow traveler, the woman. Hastily thrusting his knife in his belt, he threw back the tentflap and crossed the intervening snowpatch in three strides.
Just as night fell we cleared the belt of bamboos, and at once formed our camp, exhausted by the interminable day. Early next morning we were again afoot, and found that the character of the country had changed once again. Behind us was the wall of bamboo, as definite as if it marked the course of a river.
These Germans had to make a quick decision: Would they try a leap for the dugouts or a leap to the rear? They decided on flight. A hundred-yard sprint and they would be out of that murderous swath laid so accurately on a narrow belt. They ran as men will only run from death. No goose-stepping or "after you, sir" limited their eagerness.