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that he had always had a taste for solitude. It was the first I ever heard of it, I told him. He only smiled. What could I say ? He isn’t the sort of man one can speak familiarly to. There's something in him. One doesn’t care to. “But what's the object 2 Are you thinking of keeping possession of the mine 2' I asked him. “Something of the sort,” he says. “I am keeping hold.” “But all this is as dead as Julius Caesar,” I cried. “In fact, you have nothing worth holding on to, Heyst.” “Oh, I am done with facts,’ says he, putting his hand to his helmet sharply with one of his short bows.” Thus dismissed, Davidson went on board his ship, swung her out, and as he was steaming away he watched from the bridge Heyst walking shoreward along the wharf. He marched into the long grass. and vanished—all but the top of his white cork helmet, which seemed to swim in a green sea. Then that too disappeared, as if it had sunk into the living depths of the tropical vegetation, which is more jealous of men's conquests than the ocean, and which was about to close over the last vestiges of the liquidated Tropical Belt Coal Company—A. Heyst, manager in the East.
Davidson, a good, simple fellow in his way, was strangely affected. It is to be noted that he knew very little of Heyst. He was one of those whom Heyst’s finished courtesy of attitude and intonation most strongly disconcerted. He himself was a fellow of fine feeling, I think, though of course he had no more polish than the rest of us. We were naturally a hail-fellow-well-met crowd, with standards of our own—no worse, I daresay, than other people's; but polish was not one of them. Davidson's fineness was real enough to alter the course of the steamer he commanded. Instead of passing to the south of Samburan, he made it his practice to take the passage along the north shore, within about a mile of the wharf. “He can see us if he likes to see us,” remarked Davidson. Then he had an after-thought: “I say! I hope he won’t think I am intruding, eh?” We reassured him on the point of correct behaviour. The sea is open to all. This slight deviation added some ten miles to Davidson's round trip, but as that was sixteen hundred miles it did not matter much. “I have told my owner of it,” said the conscientious commander of the Sissie. His owner had a face like an ancient lemon. He was small and wizened—which was strange, because generally a Chinaman, as he grows in prosperity, puts on inches of girth and stature. To serve a Chinese firm is not so bad. Once they become convinced you deal straight by them, their confidence becomes unlimited. You can do no wrong. So Davidson's old Chinaman squeaked hurriedly: “All right, all right, all right. You do what you like, captain.” And there was an end of the matter; not altogether, though. From time to time the Chinaman used to ask Davidson about the white man. He was still there, eh? “I never see him,” Davidson had to confess to his owner, who would peer at him silently through round, horn-rimmed spectacles, several sizes too large for his little old face. “I never see him.” To me, on occasions, he would say: “I haven’t a doubt he’s there. He hides. It’s very unpleasant.” Davidson was a little vexed with Heyst. “Funny thing,” he went on. “Of all the people I speak to, nobody ever asks after him but that Chinaman of mine—and Schomberg,” he added after a while. Yes, Schomberg, of course. He was asking everybody about everything, and arranging the information into the most scandalous shape his imagination could invent. From time to time he would
step up, his blinking, cushioned eyes, his thick lips,
Viciory. - 4
And incompleteness of any sort leads to trouble.
out with Davidson, to whom he volunteered the state
ment that it was only for a short time—a few days,