Then I, looking up, beheld a gigantic form, as of a pale-skinned woman, breaking through the jungle, some two hundred elbow-lengths away, and, at the same moment, my elder brother fell pierced by an arrow.
Two were fair, plump, rosy, and well over twenty; the third, pale-skinned and dark, was still a very young girl. She it was who stitched magenta hieroglyphics on a strip of perforated cardboard. "Do lemme see, Poll," said the eldest of the trio, and laid down her pen. "You 'AVE bin quick about it, my dear." Polly, the brunette, freed her needle of silk and twirled the bookmark by its ribbon ends.
Again, there was the insect house, where she lifted the blinds of the little cages, and marveled at the purple circles marked upon the rich tussore wings of some lately emerged and semi-conscious butterfly, or at caterpillars immobile like the knobbed twigs of a pale-skinned tree, or at slim green snakes stabbing the glass wall again and again with their flickering cleft tongues.
By the same midnight they had, as Billy expressed it, called the turn on Plato. Tuesday was a second day of concentrated swallowing. Oscar had taken them through the thought of many centuries. There had been intermissions for lunch and dinner only; and the weather was exceedingly hot. The pale-skinned Oscar stood this strain better than the unaccustomed Bertie and Billy.
My short visit has been mainly occupied with the day at the Colonial Secretary's Lodge, and in walking and driving through the streets. The city is ablaze with color and motley with costume. The ruling race does not show to advantage. A pale-skinned man or woman, costumed in our ugly, graceless clothes, reminds one not pleasingly, artistically at least, of our dim, pale islands.
They are usually of a very light copper colour, but one man was of a very pale yellow and much resembled a Chinaman in hue; although it may at first appear strange, yet this pale-skinned individual by his very colour excited feelings of disgust in the minds of some of us, such as would be created by the sight of a person whose body was covered with a loathsome eruption and who still publicly exposed it.
Generally the natives were shy, entertaining feelings of mingled fear, aversion, and contempt for the pale-skinned intruders upon their forest domain. Mr Roper and Charley, out in search of water, fell in with a Blackfellow and his gin or squaw. Like a brace of opossums, they were up a gum-tree in no time, although the lady was in an advanced state of pregnancy.
Everybody went back there from time to time, to rest from the strangeness of being Indians in a world of pale-skinned folk. Joe could almost imagine the council. There'd be old, old men who could nearly remember the days of the tribe's former glory, who'd heard stories of forest warfare and zestful hunts, and scalpings and heroic deeds from their grandfathers.
Doris, the dark-haired, red-cheeked, full-contoured lass, was plainly much taken with Agathemer and he with her; I always had a weakness for red-headed girls and felt genuinely pleased that Nebris, her long-limbed, long-fingered, pale-skinned, blurred, bleached comrade seemed equally taken with me.
Those were his watchwords in his dealings with his womenkind. The Vicar was making a prodigious effort to maintain what seemed to him his god-like serenity. He was unaware that he was trying to control at one and the same time his temper and his temperament. He was a man of middle height and squarish build, dark, pale-skinned and blue-eyed like his daughter Gwendolen.