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Adventure Jack London

Gogoomy Finishes Along Kwaque Altogether

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"I wonder what has become of Tudor. It's two months since he disappeared into the bush, and not a word of him after he left Binu."

Joan Lackland was sitting astride her horse by the bank of the Balesuna where the sweet corn had been planted, and Sheldon, who had come across from the house on foot, was leaning against her horse's shoulder.

"Yes, it is along time for no news to have trickled down," he answered, watching her keenly from under his hat-brim and wondering as to the measure of her anxiety for the adventurous gold-hunter; "but Tudor will come out all right. He did a thing at the start that I wouldn't have given him or any other man credit for-- persuaded Binu Charley to go along with him. I'll wager no other Binu nigger has ever gone so far into the bush unless to be kai-kai'd. As for Tudor--"

"Look! look!" Joan cried in a low voice, pointing across the narrow stream to a slack eddy where a huge crocodile drifted like a log awash. "My! I wish I had my rifle."

The crocodile, leaving scarcely a ripple behind, sank down and disappeared.

"A Binu man was in early this morning--for medicine," Sheldon remarked. "It may have been that very brute that was responsible. A dozen of the Binu women were out, and the foremost one stepped right on a big crocodile. It was by the edge of the water, and he tumbled her over and got her by the leg. All the other women got hold of her and pulled. And in the tug of war she lost her leg, below the knee, he said. I gave him a stock of antiseptics. She'll pull through, I fancy."

"Ugh--the filthy beasts," Joan gulped shudderingly. "I hate them! I hate them!"

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"And yet you go diving among sharks," Sheldon chided.

"They're only fish-sharks. And as long as there are plenty of fish there is no danger. It is only when they're famished that they're liable to take a bite."

Sheldon shuddered inwardly at the swift vision that arose of the dainty flesh of her in a shark's many-toothed maw.

"I wish you wouldn't, just the same," he said slowly. "You acknowledge there is a risk."

"But that's half the fun of it," she cried.

A trite platitude about his not caring to lose her was on his lips, but he refrained from uttering it. Another conclusion he had arrived at was that she was not to be nagged. Continual, or even occasional, reminders of his feeling for her would constitute a tactical error of no mean dimensions.

"Some for the book of verse, some for the simple life, and some for the shark's belly," he laughed grimly, then added: "Just the same, I wish I could swim as well as you. Maybe it would beget confidence such as you have."

"Do you know, I think it would be nice to be married to a man such as you seem to be becoming," she remarked, with one of her abrupt changes that always astounded him. "I should think you could be trained into a very good husband--you know, not one of the domineering kind, but one who considered his wife was just as much an individual as himself and just as much a free agent. Really, you know, I think you are improving."

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