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Jerry of the Islands Jack London

Chapter XXIV

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To the Commissioner, Harley Kennan duly turned over Makawao, who was committed to a grass-house jail, well guarded, to sit in leg-irons against the time of trial for his many crimes. And Johnny, the pilot, ere he returned to the service of the Commissioner, received a fair portion of the twenty pounds of head money that Kennan divided among the members of the launch crew who had raced through the jungle to the rescue the day Jerry had taken Makawao by the back of the neck and startled him into pulling the trigger of his unaimed rifle.

"I'll tell you his name," the Commissioner said, as they sat on the wide veranda of his bungalow. "It's one of Haggin's terriers-- Haggin of Meringe Lagoon. The dog's father is Terrence, the mother is Biddy. The dog's own name is Jerry, for I was present at the christening before ever his eyes were open. Better yet, I'll show you his brother. His brother's name is Michael. He's nigger-chaser on the Eugenie, the two-topmast schooner that rides abreast of you. Captain Kellar is the skipper. I'll have him bring Michael ashore. Beyond all doubt, this Jerry is the sole survivor of the Arangi."

"When I get the time, and a sufficient margin of funds, I shall pay a visit to Chief Bashti--oh, no British cruiser program. I'll charter a couple of trading ketches, take my own black police force and as many white men as I cannot prevent from volunteering. There won't be any shelling of grass houses. I'll land my shore party down the coast and cut in and come down upon Somo from the rear, timing my vessels to arrive on Somo's sea-front at the same time."

"You will answer slaughter with slaughter?" Villa Kennan objected.

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"I will answer slaughter with law," the Commissioner replied. "I will teach Somo law. I hope that no accidents will occur. I hope that no life will be lost on either side. I know, however, that I shall recover Captain Van Horn's head, and his mate Borckman's, and bring them back to Tulagi for Christian burial. I know that I shall get old Bashti by the scruff of the neck and sit him down while I pump law and square-dealing into him. Of course . . . "

The Commissioner, ascetic-looking, an Oxford graduate, narrow-shouldered and elderly, tired-eyed and bespectacled like the scholar he was, like the scientist he was, shrugged his shoulders. "Of course, if they are not amenable to reason, there may be trouble, and some of them and some of us will get hurt. But, one way or the other, the conclusion will be the same. Old Bashti will learn that it is expedient to maintain white men's heads on their shoulders."

"But how will he learn?" Villa Kennan asked. "If he is shrewd enough not to fight you, and merely sits and listens to your English law, it will be no more than a huge joke to him. He will no more than pay the price of listening to a lecture for any atrocity he commits."

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Jerry of the Islands
Jack London

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