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Adventure Jack London


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"You fella boy bad fella too much," Sheldon charged. "You steal 'm plenty. You steal 'm one fella towel, one fella cane-knife, two-ten fella cartridge. My word, plenty bad fella steal 'm you. Me cross along you too much. S'pose you like 'm, me take 'm one fella pound along you in big book. S'pose you no like 'm me take 'm one fella pound, then me send you fella along Tulagi catch 'm one strong fella government whipping. Plenty New Georgia boys, plenty Ysabel boys stop along jail along Tulagi. Them fella no like Malaita boys little bit. My word, they give 'm you strong fella whipping. What you say?"

"You take 'm one fella pound along me," was the answer.

And Manonmie, patently relieved, stepped back, while Sheldon entered the fine in the plantation labour journal.

Boy after boy, he called the offenders out and gave them their choice; and, boy by boy, each one elected to pay the fine imposed. Some fines were as low as several shillings; while in the more serious cases, such as thefts of guns and ammunition, the fines were correspondingly heavy.

Gogoomy and his five tribesmen were fined three pounds each, and at Gogoomy's guttural command they refused to pay.

"S'pose you go along Tulagi," Sheldon warned him, "you catch 'm strong fella whipping and you stop along jail three fella year. Mr. Burnett, he look 'm along Winchester, look 'm along cartridge, look 'm along revolver, look 'm along black powder, look 'm along dynamite--my word, he cross too much, he give you three fella year along jail. S'pose you no like 'm pay three fella pound you stop along jail. Savvee?"

Gogoomy wavered.

"It's true--that's what Burnett would give them," Sheldon said in an aside to Joan.

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"You take 'm three fella pound along me," Gogoomy muttered, at the same time scowling his hatred at Sheldon, and transferring half the scowl to Joan and Kwaque. "Me finish along you, you catch 'm big fella trouble, my word. Father belong me big fella chief along Port Adams."

"That will do," Sheldon warned him. "You shut mouth belong you."

"Me no fright," the son of a chief retorted, by his insolence increasing his stature in the eyes of his fellows.

"Lock him up for to-night," Sheldon said to Kwaque. "Sun he come up put 'm that fella and five fella belong him along grass-cutting. Savvee?"

Kwaque grinned.

"Me savvee," he said. "Cut 'm grass, ngari-ngari [1] stop 'm along grass. My word!"

"There will be trouble with Gogoomy yet," Sheldon said to Joan, as the boss-boys marshalled their gangs and led them away to their work. "Keep an eye on him. Be careful when you are riding alone on the plantation. The loss of those Winchesters and all that ammunition has hit him harder than your cuffing did. He is dead-ripe for mischief."

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