They set it up, and having eaten their supper, crept under it, leaving the porters to keep watch or not as they chose. Berselius, who had marched so well all day, had broken down at the finish. He seemed half dead with weariness, and scarcely spoke a word, eating mechanically and falling to sleep immediately on lying down. But he was happy.
But the strangest contrast in the room was effected by Maxine herself the creation of Berselius his child, blossoming like a beautiful and fragile flower, amidst the ruins of the things he had destroyed. When, after daybreak, Adams came to find her, she was asleep. Berselius, awaking from a sleep that had followed the effects of the anæsthetic, had asked for her.
He stopped, and pointed to the great gorilla shot years ago in German West Africa by Berselius. "That was a being at least sincere. Whatever brutalities he committed in his life, he did not talk sentiment and religion and humanitarianism as he pulled his victims to pieces, and he did not pull his victims to pieces for the sake of gold.
It was Sophia Melmotte, a flame from his past life, burning now for a space in the life of a Russian prince. "Ma foi," said Sophia, as her carriage pushed up till it was quite level with Berselius. "So you are back from where was it you went to? And how are the tigers? Why, heavens, how you are changed! How gloomy you look.
Little Papeete had been decapitated just where his skull lay now; the shrieks and wails of the tortured tore the sky above Berselius; but Adams heard nothing and saw nothing but Berselius raving amidst the remains. Bones lay here and bones lay there, clean picked by the vultures and white bleached by the sun; skulls, jawbones, femurs, broken or whole.
Berselius had been slowly stripped by the wilderness of everything now but the clothes he stood up in, his companion and two porters. Guns, equipment, tents, stores, the Zappo Zap, and the army of men under that ferocious lieutenant, had all "gone dam."
It was the big tree which Berselius had pointed out to him as having been tusked by an elephant; and an hour after they had started from the mid-day rest, the horizon to the north changed and grew dark. It was the forest. The sky immediately above the dark line, from contrast, was extraordinarily bright and pale, and, as they marched, the line lifted and the trees grew. "Look!" said Berselius.
Just as two automatic figures of the same make will, when wound up, and touched off, perform the same actions, the cow did exactly what the bull had done ran about in a fierce and distressed manner and then charged right in the eye of the wind. "Mine," said Berselius, and he went forward twenty paces to meet her.
There's not a breath of wind." They started, Félix following with the guns. "I would not bother about him," said Berselius, "only the meat will be useful, and it will be an experience for you.
He set them to work, piling the recovered stores in the bit of shade cast by the tree and the improvised tent, and as they did so he took toll of the stuff. He judged that there was enough provisions to take them back along the road they had come by. The hunt was ended. Even should Berselius recover fully in a couple of days, Adams determined to insist on a return.