Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/250

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Brierley drew his chair closer—so did Louis and Le Blanc.

Herbert glanced toward his friend. “Let them have it, old man. We promise not to set the dogs on you.”

“Thanks. But it wouldn’t be the first time. Well, all right if it won’t bore you. Now let me think”—and he lifted his weather-bronzed face, made richer by the glow of the candles overhead, and began scratching his grizzly beard with his forefinger.

“It was after you left Borneo, Herbert, that I came across two fellows—Englishmen—who told me of some new gold diggings on the west coast, and I was fool enough to join them, working my passage on one of the home-going tramp steamers. Well, we thrashed about for six months and landed on one of the small islands in the Caribbean Sea—the name of which I forget—where we left the ship and hid until she disappeared. The gold fever was well out of us by that time, and, besides, I had gotten tired of scrubbing decks and my two fellow tramps of washing dishes. The port was a regular coaling station and some other craft would come along; if not, we could stay where we were. The climate was warm, bananas were