"Last night I put Tomba in the cell and turned the key in the lock myself. Then I turned the key over to the sergeant of the guard. When I found Tomba missing, and this worthless object in his place, I made an investigation. The sergeant of the guard declared that the key had not been out of his pocket since I gave it to him." "Who is sergeant of the guard?" "Sergeant Jones, C Company, sir."
Friends swiftly slipped Tomba one or two articles of clothing with which to help disguise himself. Then the whole party filed quickly out, and by this time Vicente Tomba is headed for the mountains and going fast." "But Sergeant Jones found the key in his pocket, sir, when I asked him for it." "Certainly, Ray.
"If you like the word," replied Tomba, in a tone of indifference. Then he yawned next placed the creese on the ground beside him, while his right hand explored his pockets. He soon brought to light a package of Manila cigarettes. Tomba's left hand produced a box of matches. "Do you care for one last smoke, Señor Sergente?" inquired the Filipino with mocking politeness, as he held out the package.
But any great amount of noise on your part might provoke me, and that would not be wise under the circumstances." Showing his white, even teeth in an evil smile, Tomba took out of the breast of his blouse a small, bright-bladed creese that might have been borrowed from one of the wall cases in Cerverra's shop. "Why has this trick been played on me?" demanded Sergeant Hal angrily.
To the surprise of all, there came his reply in broken English: "Me Tomba! Me go fo' help for Missy Illingway fo' Massy Illingway. Me run away from little red men! Me Christian black man. Oh, if you be English, help Missy Illingway she most die! Please help. Tomba go but Tomba be lost! Please help!" Surprise, for the moment, held Tom and the others speechless.
Suddenly there was a slight tremor through the ship. She seemed to shiver, and bound upward a little. "We've landed!" whispered Tom. "Now for it! Come on, Tomba!" The big black glided after the lad like a shadow. With his two weapons held in readiness our hero went out on deck. The others, with cocked rifles, stood ready for the attack to open.
The little Filipino knew that he had the whole situation in his hands. With the cruelty of a cat, Tomba delighted in the feline pastime of playing with a victim that could not escape him. "What did you want me to do?" Hal asked almost blandly. "I wanted your services." "Yes, but what kind of services?" "What is the use of telling you now?" "Tell me one thing, though, Tomba." "Why?"
Tomba, armed with a big club he had picked up in the jungle, was ready to follow. The black was eager for the fray to begin, though how he and the others would fare amid the savages was hard to say. Still not a sound broke the quiet. It was very dark, for nearly all the camp fires, over which the nightly feast had been prepared, were out. The hut could be dimly made out, however.
The clouds rested upon the tops of the hills as they came from the eastward, and then poured down plenteous showers on the valleys below. As soon as we could move, Tomba Nyama, the head man of the island, volunteered the loan of a canoe to cross a small river, called the Chongwe, which we found to be about fifty or sixty yards broad and flooded.
"Now for the rescue!" Eagerly Tomba indicated the hut where his master and mistress were held. Telling his friends to have their weapons in readiness, Tom steered the airship toward the rude shelter whence he hoped to take the missionaries. Down to the ground swiftly shot the Black Hawk. Tom checked her with a quick movement of the deflecting rudder, and she landed gently on the wheels. "Mr.