Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/125

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savages capable of carrying a load of sixty-five pounds no matter what the heat or how rough the going.

“I arrived at the crossing first and waited—waited an hour, perhaps two—before his vanguard put in an appearance. Then, to use one of Louis’ expressions, I ‘sat up and began to take notice.’ I had seen a good many barbaric turnouts in my time—one in India when I was the guest of a maharaja, who received me at the foot of a steep hill flanked on either side by a double row of elephants in gorgeous trappings, with armed men in still more gorgeous costumes filling the howdahs; another in Ceylon, and another in southern Spain at Easter time—but Goringe’s march was the most unique and the most startling spectacle I had ever laid my eyes on, so much so that I hid myself in a mass of underbrush and let the last man pass me before I made myself known.

“The vanguard was composed of some twenty naked men, black as tar, of course, and armed with spears and rawhide shields. These were the fighters, clearing the way for my lord, the white man. These were followed by a dozen others carrying light articles: the great man’s india-rubber bath-tub, his guns,