A CANNIBAL AND A FREEBOOTER
village a sudden desire for a pipe—that solace of the lone man—took possession of me and I began fumbling about my clothes for my matchbox. Then I remembered that I had given it to one of my carriers to start our morning blaze. I now began to scan the dwellings I passed for some signs of a fire. My eye finally caught between the supports of the last hut on the line the glow of a heap of embers, and huddled beside it the dim outline of two figures—that of a man and a woman.
“For a moment I hesitated. I was alone, out of the hearing of my followers, and darkness was rapidly falling. As long as I kept on a straight course I was doubtless safe; if I halted or, worse yet, if I entered his hut without invitation, the result might be different. Then the picture began to take hold of me: the rude primeval home; the warmth and cheer of the fire; the cuddling of man and wife close to the embers, the same the world over whether cannibal or Christian. Involuntarily my thoughts went back to my own fireside, thousands of miles away: those I loved were sitting beside the glowing coals that gave it life, a curl of smoke drifting toward the near hills.