All this time one of the boys was fast asleep, resting on his folded arms on the gunwale, his head having dropped down on the stem of the boat; but one of the Spanish bogas in the canoe, which was anchored close to us, seeing me gazing at something, now looked in the same direction; the instant he caught the object, he thumped with his palms on the side of the canoe exclaiming, in a loud alarmed tone "Culebra culebra, a snake, a snake," on which the reptile made a sudden and rapid slide down the line towards the bow of the boat where the poor lad was sleeping, and immediately afterwards dropped into the sea.
After one searching stare into Tim's hard blue eyes and a glance at his fist curled around the butt of his belt gun, the bogas backed up. A moment later they were thrown boldly into their own part of the boat by José, who blistered them with the profanity of three languages at once. Then McKay came through and took charge. "That'll do, Tim! Same goes for you, Merry! José, I'll handle this.
"José, the puntero" his hand indicated the lookout "Francisco, the popero" pointing to the steersman "and six bogas. Good men." McKay ran a cold eye along the line of faces, his gaze plumbing each. Under that chill scrutiny the third man's stare wavered and dropped. That of the next also veered aside. The rest fronted him eye to eye.
Day by day the down-flowing jungle river pushed steadily, sullenly against its prow, as if striving to repel the invasion of its secret places by the fair-skinned men of another continent. Day by day it slid past in resentful impotence, conquered by the swinging blades of the Peruvian bogas. And day by day the close companionship of canoe and camp seemed to weld the voyagers into one compact unit.
There was a blazing fire kindled on a bed of white sand, forward in the bow of the canoe, round which the four bogas, or canoemen, were seated, with three sticks stuck up triangularly over the fire, from which depended an earthen pot, in which they were cooking their suppers.