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“‘Ah, Davidson, woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love—and to put its trust in life!”
“As we stood there, just before I left him, for he said he wanted to be alone with his dead for a time, we heard a snarly sort of voice near the bushes by the shore calling Out:
“‘Is that you, governor?’
“‘Yes, it's me.’
“‘Jeeminy! I thought the beggar had done for you. He has started prancing and nearly had me. I have been dodging around, looking for you ever since.”
“‘Well, here I am, suddenly screamed the other voice, and then a shot rang out.
“‘This time he has not missed him, Heyst said to me bitterly, and went back into the house.
“I returned on board as he had insisted I should do. I didn’t want to intrude on his grief. Later, about five in the morning, some of my calashes came running to me, yelling that there was a fire ashore. I landed at once, of course. The principal bungalow was blazing. The heat drove us back. The other two houses caught one after another like kindling-wood. There was no going beyond the shore end of the jetty till the afternoon.”
Davidson sighed placidly.
“I suppose you are certain that Baron Heyst is dead?”
“He is—ashes, your Excellency,” said Davidson, wheeling a little; “he and the girl together. I suppose he couldn't stand his thoughts before her dead body—and fire purifies everything. That Chinaman of whom I told your Excellency helped me to investigate next day, when the embers got cooled a little. We found enough to be sure. He's not a bad Chinaman. He told me that he had followed Heyst and the girl through the forest from pity,
and partly out of curiosity. He watched the house till he saw Heyst go out, after dinner, and Ricardo come back alone. While he was dodging there, it occurred to him that he had better cast the boat adrift, for fear those scoundrels should come round by water and bombard the village from the sea with their revolvers and Winchesters. He judged that they were devils enough for anything. So he walked down the wharf quietly; and as he got into the boat, to cast her off, that hairy man who, it seems, was dozing in her, jumped up growling, and Wang shot him dead. Then he shoved the boat off as far as he could and went away.” There was a pause. Presently Davidson went on, in his tranquil manner: “Let Heaven look after what has been purified. The wind and rain will take care of the ashes. The carcass of that follower, secretary, or whatever the unclean ruffian called himself, I left where it lay, to swell and rot in the sun. His principal had shot him neatly through the heart. Then, apparently, this Jones went down the wharf to look for the boat and for the hairy man. I suppose he tumbled into the water by accident—or perhaps not by accident. The boat and the man were gone, and the scoundrel saw himself all alone, his game clearly up, and fairly trapped. Who knows? The water's very clear there, and I could see him hudded up on the bottom between two piles, like a heap of bones in a blue silk bag, with only the head and the feet sticking out. Wang was very pleased when he discovered him. That made everything safe, he said, and he went at once over the hill to fetch his Alfuro woman back to the hut.” Davidson took out his handkerchief to wipe the perspiration off his forehead. “And then, your Excellency, I went away. There was nothing to be done there.”
“Clearly,” assented the Excellency.
his mind, and then murmured with placid sadness:
October, 1912—May, 1914.
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ADAMS, HENRY AIKEN, CONRAD
The Education of Henry Adams 76