Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/127

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“His harem followed: thirty girls in single file, dressed in the prevailing fashion of the day—a petticoat of plantain leaves and a string of beads. Each of them carried a gaudy paper umbrella like those sold at home for sixpence. Some of the girls were slim and tall, some fat; but all were young and all bore themselves with an air of calm distinction, as if conscious of their alliance with a superior race. Bringing up the rear was a long line of carriers loaded down with tents, provisions, and other camp equipage.

“When it had all passed I stepped quickly through the forest, got abreast of my lord the white man, and shouted:


“He turned suddenly, lifted the edge of his helmet, threw his staff to one of his men, and came quickly toward me.

“‘By the Eternal, but I’m glad to see you! I was afraid you were going back on me! It was awfully decent in you to come. You didn’t mind my sending for you, did you? I’ve got to make the next village by sundown, and then I’m going up into the Hill Country, and may not be this way again for months—perhaps never. How well you look! What do you think of my turnout?’