THE GAMBLING CHANCE
MORRIS came out upon the randa of
leaf thatched bungalow, attached to the
American TradingCompany's station at Tsmbola,
3 the coast oi Madagascar, and looked about him
liscontented_eyes It was not a habit with
. • i quote his Bible. l>ut involuntarily a phrase
•he book of the prophet Ezekiel came to his
Desolate as the wilderness towards Siblath."
he murmured, "of course 1 don't know
but I'd be willing to take a gambling hance
;>■_■; that Tsmbola lias Siblath beaten a city
i . \hen it comes to desolateness: Bah: What a
. ■ :. 'le! 1 '
. ■. • it was a brilliant, even magnificent, scene;
luxuriant and savage beauty. The rain was
: ':: ■_' in torrents, lashing at the purple sea. irring
t • ,*ellow sand into orange colored mud. Lining
: ,: • :.■ . eranda roofs and the native huts scattered
;• • ■.; mi solid sheets; yet the rain clouds were
crossing .< sky of deepest blue, and the sun was
shining on the myriads of gorgeous orchids and i,k
i itous tangle of vines heaped from the ground
- .vinging between the tali plumed palms; a vast
r linbow tlirew its glowing arch across the east. All
this v- only a sun shower, on the generous tropical
The sea was like some immense sheet of opal.
IVhite breakers rolled and broke in a league long line
: : foam '>n the sand. The sun was sinking, and the
v hole western sky was a glory of gold and crimson.
And it was only because the megrims were upon
ff/nn Morris that he allowed himself to parage
the place] where, indeed, he was an exile, but where
- • it was his keen pride to rule as an overlord, as a
:- > >nsul of the world wide empire of commerce, as
t • local agent for the great trading company that
; .•-■:• the < irient with the close web of its stations.
He had ample cause to feel discontented this day.
!: - .vas the day on which the mail steamer from
1 ,:: mariyo was due. and it had not yet come. This
» i- the second month it had missed its call, in
succession; which meant that for three months
]' irris had received no letters, no newspapers — "Xo
anything!" he exclaimed. "'I am living in a huge
i • le of nothingness; except work and fever and a
i lirly well developed chance that my throat will be
c.t before long."'
He banged lustily on a Chinese gong, tid a black
t • ■" slipped silently through the door of the bun
yil >-. . Divining what was wanted, he had brought
v " ': him a tray. There followed the click i>f decanter
neck or. glass rim, the squin tig of soda • ater
"Well, this helps some." said Morris: •/■but I wish
the b »ys would come and lift me out >-•( my slough
c: lespbnd "
He was waiting for his fellow exile- to join him at
dinner. He was < >ne of the .-.ix white men in Tsmbola.
an 1 I mged ardently to have those white men near
him, to see them; to know that they were within
. ■ tting or striking distance; for there was war
i-. the land, — the hideous, treacherous war of the
; ■ gle The llovas were up iii one •if their periodical
:■ >lts against their Trench conquerors; and Mada
giscar was ravaged by a war of forays, massacres,
terrible revenges, carried on in the depths of the
f irests and jungles, where rules of wariare re noi
t »nsidered; where the Red Cross ilag does not fly,
where death runs on silent naked feet; under its
trayo's cloak ..... us yet, despite all the
promises of the military and civil authorities, no
b•! i:er-> had been sent to Timbola, The six white
men ■■■ere alone. They did not greatly fear the
Hovas, with whom all traders live on terms of
Brnity; but bands of unattached cutthroat barba
rians were also loose in all directions, railing and
thieving, burning and pillaging.
"Ah. here you are at last!" cried Morris rejoic
ingly, and Emil Kurz the German agent, and Curtis
•the Englishman clumped up on the veranda, their
r/et shoes squelching and their ulsters gleaming.
*" Where are the Frenchmen?"
"Fooling over their telegraph machine." said
Curtis. "The wire quit working half an hour ago.'.'
'"Cut?" asked Morris quickly.
" What else?" said Kurz. shrugging his elephantine
shoulders "But before it quit it told us that a
detachment of soldiers under Lieutenant Renaud
should be here by to-morrow."
"Ah, that's good news!" said Morris.
"The deuce it is," began the rubicund Curtis in
his deep toned grumbling voice: but Kurz broke
"How many men do you suppose will come to
"I'm sure I can't say what the Frenchmen will
d — one hundred, perhaps?"
"Twenty-five men. with, a boy officer."
"The everlasting chumps! Why. only enough to
whet the appetites of those beggars in the bush!
1: Renaud falls in with the war party that cleaned
out the station at the river, which he •- extremely
likely to do. it will be all up with him."
"And for us 100, by George!" said Curtis.
"Did you ask for more men?,"
"Of course." said Curtis: "but the wire went
dumb ; we are cut off, and we don't know where we
Stand. Dompierre told us that there is still another
detachment of soldiers under a Lieutenant D'Entre
mont somewhere at lar^e in the district, and h<*
may come to us. But we are of nothing. The
By MICHAEL WILLIAMS
Frenchmen are all up in the air. General Marchand
is the only level head among the big guns who are
botching this campaign, and in his absence in the
north the little clerk men at headquarters have been
making a silly mess of the business. Faugh! Now
if we had this island- as we ought to haye —
"Xi doubi the British would conduct affairs
admirably,' , a la South Africa and the Sudan,"
interrupted an even, pleasant voice, that of Etienne
Dornpierre; the French agent, as with his two
assistants, Gastonquay and Leblanc, he joined the
group on the veranda. "However, as the French
are in control— Hut do not et us heat ourselves in
md spoil the excellent dinner
know friend Morris has prepared for us. And,
Morris. 1 have a message for you which came just
before the wire failed It has been delayed in
transmission, and comes from Tananarive."
He handed a slip of paper to Morris with a smile
that was at once friendly and commiserating. The
American read these words:
t-nt n • : Mvi
"Genl lid: "'you ar< I tI am
ng lady. £
: ! ■ r to be in New Y< n'. I
'.■ • . ■
. ■ . [ big 1 i.
■ ■ >rld be >i
nn y ]
: I : I
re 11 Bui
1 '. ' ■ rry, J
111 1 • - rupted ■
. •• .. | | ....
•■ . .
I. i; •■ • . I ■
.' ■ rutal franl
I ■ i gambling i I
lip : and
ent and s1 ;■ izing nori
md hi ;.< ■
■ ■' tched him ; sympal
■ eti igic moment iif his life
Fl< •• ■ M r! H< ■'■. had it happened ?
.'■• in which he had ■■■ arned
had <!<•< i'h'il at 1 ■ '
But m< ■;■'■ pr< >b ibly
lie 1 ' led it and come No doul I
Drawings by J. N. Marehind
written to tell a:::, so: but he had received no letters
in three month* lie knew the bravery of her
nature He knew] and it was joy to know, that she
loved him to the , ore of her warni heart, For niore
than a year she had been de< laring her intention of
joining him! She could know no rest; no peace, she
wrote, away from him. She had implored him to let
her share his exile; perhaps, she said, she might be
able, to^brighten it; No doubt she had come to him
despite his warning, perhaps because of it; and the
glory of this love wanned his soul as with flame, the
true undying fire of love And, ah well, she would be
safe in Tananarive . ; and he must; he should, strive to
guard himself, for her sake, for his own sake, for
their love's sake, and to reach her. His straining
eyes seemed to inerce the darkening jungle. t<> see
through its dar r : depths to Tananarivoj where she
awaited himi He almost visibly evoked her image
Hit the clairvoyant eof Morris's mood was ...
plete. He could not image the scene which at that
same moment was being enacted in the barracks a*.
Tananarivo. Therein, rubicund General Marchand,
returned triumphantly from his punitiveexpedition
in the north, was vitriolically cursing the stupidity
of the men who had permitted the American girl
who had come on the last steamer to leave the town
with Lieutenant Renaud's detachment to go through
the jungle to Tsmbola. Their gallantry, he swore,
had choked all their senses Ami with a last great
oath he ordered the officer most responsible, next to
the absent Renaud, to follow on the trail with half :■.
,•■. ■ : '• ..
• ... • :. . ■
•■■• r« id
I : : i.-'-l
' • ■ ■ ■ r be?"
I n with all t he jumped I
■ g ■
hive ■ . • ■ . the tii rou • like coast
1 inland 111 1
,•■ • ■ .
R r place of j ernment, where
t he ' • ■•. ' • ' ' \\ ini rule I
:••• •<t ler from a 1 1< •■. a chieftain i
: I Big si ted the violet hue :
eir ( mmol
bui Their i ; ■
k hands I •
ited a dance, hi obese I" >dy siiak::.
nda: and < their helmets j"'.
letachmei I i ■ Idii
■ ■ ■ 1 in nearb
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