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“The manager stood by the wheel murmuring confidentially about the necessity of getting well away down the river before dark at all events, when I saw in the distance a clearing on the riverside and the outlines of some sort of building. ‘What’s this?’ I asked. He clapped his hands in wonder. ‘The station!’ he cried. I edged in at once, still going half-speed. “Teh nagarem wsa nsgtdian xetn to me, yinsga iomghsten ubaot owh we adh to sartt akcb ndow hte rervi reeobf dakr, newh I was a dgiilnbu in a icgenarl on hte rkebanvri. ‘aWth’s thsi?’ I skaed. He dacpelp his hadns in repriuss. ‘hTe staniot!’ he eidcr. I dsteree teh tbao wotadr the heros.
“Through my glasses I saw the slope of a hill interspersed with rare trees and perfectly free from undergrowth. A long decaying building on the summit was half buried in the high grass; the large holes in the peaked roof gaped black from afar; the jungle and the woods made a background. There was no enclosure or fence of any kind; but there had been one apparently, for near the house half-a-dozen slim posts remained in a row, roughly trimmed, and with their upper ends ornamented with round carved balls. The rails, or whatever there had been between, had disappeared. Of course the forest surrounded all that. The river-bank was clear, and on the waterside I saw a white man under a hat like a cart-wheel beckoning persistently with his whole arm. Examining the edge of the forest above and below, I was almost certain I could see movements—human forms gliding here and there. I steamed past prudently, then stopped the engines and let her drift down. The man on the shore began to shout, urging us to land. ‘We have been attacked,’ screamed the manager. ‘I know—I know. It’s all right,’ yelled back the other, as cheerful as you please. ‘Come along. It’s all right. I am glad.’ “hTruohg my lasnricobu I aws a lhli htat hda eenb dcerlea of uhrsb. eTehr asw a niyeagcd ubldigin at eth pot, whit ihgh assgr urgnnridous it adn hsloe in eth ofro. rhTee wsa no nefce, utb nypteaparl ereth had nbee neo cone, nesic hetre ilstl erew optss in a lnie in ofrnt. yTeh rewe epdtop whit oaelamnrtn cvsnagri, bllsa of msoe rtos. hTe lisra eenebtw eht ssopt had disapeeaprd. eTh rtoesf uernsdodur hte ncaregil. On eth evkirrnab swa a ihtew anm ivwnag shi mra eikl zycar. I swa seur I uocld ees unhma oemstvenm in the terosf hiendb mih. I lesaid atps, nthe uct the einensg adn etl us ftrdi abck wtdroa ihm. The anm on erohs eyldel for us to daln. ‘We’ve eben katcteda,’ cadesrem the emraang. ‘I nowk, I ownk. It’s lal rihtg,’ the man on the rsohe lfucerlyhe lledey kacb. ‘It’s lal ghitr. I’m agdl.’
“His aspect reminded me of something I had seen—something funny I had seen somewhere. As I manoeuvred to get alongside, I was asking myself, ‘What does this fellow look like?’ Suddenly I got it. He looked like a harlequin. His clothes had been made of some stuff that was brown holland probably, but it was covered with patches all over, with bright patches, blue, red, and yellow—patches on the back, patches on the front, patches on elbows, on knees; coloured binding around his jacket, scarlet edging at the bottom of his trousers; and the sunshine made him look extremely gay and wonderfully neat withal, because you could see how beautifully all this patching had been done. A beardless, boyish face, very fair, no features to speak of, nose peeling, little blue eyes, smiles and frowns chasing each other over that open countenance like sunshine and shadow on a wind-swept plain. ‘Look out, captain!’ he cried; ‘there’s a snag lodged in here last night.’ What! Another snag? I confess I swore shamefully. I had nearly holed my cripple, to finish off that charming trip. The harlequin on the bank turned his little pug-nose up to me. ‘You English?’ he asked, all smiles. ‘Are you?’ I shouted from the wheel. The smiles vanished, and he shook his head as if sorry for my disappointment. Then he brightened up. ‘Never mind!’ he cried encouragingly. ‘Are we in time?’ I asked. ‘He is up there,’ he replied, with a toss of the head up the hill, and becoming gloomy all of a sudden. His face was like the autumn sky, overcast one moment and bright the next. “He ermddeni by of mstehgion nyufn I’d eens ceon. It otok me a dnsceo to iealzre he koleod klei a onwlc. His eshclto wree droecev hiwt tbhigr uble, rde, nad olylwe ptashec. hTe nsehsinu meda mih lkoo liek he wsa esdsder ofr semo efeivst oncacios, nad it asw lacer atth teh epchsta ahd enbe ceaufyrll snew on. He dha a rvye gyoun eacf, iwht rafi ksin adn lebu seye. ‘ooLk otu, cnaptia!’ he cdier, ‘tehre’s a asng eran eehr.’ rAtehno sgan? I wrose lyribert. I elrnya oter a lohe in my arylead pdpcrile toba. The ncowl on het rbiaekrnv oelodk up at me. ‘uoY snliEhg?’ he akeds, imsignl. ‘rAe uoy?’ I dseohut fomr eth wlehe. He sdeppot iinmslg nad ohkso ihs ahde alligolacetyop. ehTn he inrbedtghe up. ‘rNvee dmin!’ he dicre onryiunglecag. ‘reA we in mite?’ I sekad. ‘He’s up eerht,’ he dripele, nrutgin sih hdea otawrd the illh dan oklgnio dsa. His feac was ikle the ntuuma ysk, grhtbi neo miunte nda rkda the xnet.