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Newspaper Page Text
"Thanks!" said Travis indifferent
ly, and slipped it into his pocket
The column started a day or two
later, Travis accompanying it. Often
the men exchanged words. Bransome
would look curiously at Travis, but
he could gather nothing from the
agent's inscrutable countenance.
There was, however, little time for
thinking. On the sixth day the ene
my's stronghold was sighted. The
messenger who went forward with a
summons to surrender was met with
defiant shouts from the negroes.
Half an hour later the seven-pounders
opened fire on the rebel stockade.
A fusillade from elephant guns fol
lowed, but few of the attacking party
were hit Presently the guns ceased;
a breach had been made in the
strong walls, built of hardwood logs
and almost as resistant as cement
The regiment spread out in line.
Bransome ran before them, waving
his sword. "Advance!" he shouted.
Then he saw Travis beside him in
his civilian clothes. The agent's
white solar helmet made a splendid
mark for an enemy. "Go back, you
fool!" Bransome shouted.
But Travis ran beside him, and
Bransome had no time for argument.
The whole line followed, with fixed
bayonets, roaring behind him. The
bullets churned among the trees and
cut splinters from the boughs. Show
ers of leaves came down.
The yelling, defiant Krus manned
the walls of the breached stockade.
The assaulting party was compelled
to form into column to mount the
breach. And now the enemy dis
played its secret resource, nothing
less than an old brass ship's gun,
which might have done good service
in the sixties, and was none the lesB
effective here. A roaring detonation
and grape shot burst among the
British troops. They fell in heaps,
cut down by the well-directed
But the gun was, of course, not a
fluick-firer and had to be reloaded.!
The troops closed up. Bransome,
who had by some miracle escaped
unscathed, put himself at their head
again. "Advance!" he shouted.
And again he was conscious of
Travis In his white helmet, cool and
smiling, beside him.
It was a mad rush toward the
walls. Just as the foremost man set
foot In the breach the cannon roared
again. The files were swept away.
And again Bransome found himself
"Now, boys!" he shouted, amazed
to find that he was still alive.
The attacking party, which had re
coiled, heaped one man against his
neighbor, and, the dead all about,
rushed forward, cheering. Like a
cataract the khaki-clad column swept
over the breach, driving the dogged
negroes before them, pinioning them
with the bayonet. In a moment the
fort was carried.
Prom hut to hut the flying Krus
were pursued. They fell in writhing
heaps, their own gun turned against
them. For perhaps half an hour the
bloody struggle lasted. Then the
British were in possession of the vil
lage. Bransome stopped; he had forgot
ten everything in the excitement of
the battle. His sword was bloody,
and yet he could not remember hav
ing struck down a man. A trickle of
blood was running down his face. He
limped from a slug in his leg that he
had never felt
He posted his men in various quar
ters; this done, he remembered
"Where's Travis?" he demanded
of his surviving captain.
The agent could not be found. Yet
it was Travis who represented the
majesty of the British raj, and it was
Travis who must interview the trem
bling old king, now a prisoner in his
own mud hut, guarded by a sullen,
defiant chief wife, and a younger one
who held the royal red parasol over
Bransome went back, searching