Bones / Being Further Adventures in Mr. Commissioner Sanders’ Country

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“BONES”

being

Further Adventures in

Mr. Commissioner Sanders’ Country

 

BY

EDGAR WALLACE

Author of “Sanders of the River,” etc.

 

WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED
LONDON AND MELBOURNE


To

Isabel Thorn

WHO WAS LARGELY RESPONSIBLE

FOR BRINGING SANDERS

INTO BEING

This Book is Dedicated


CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE
PrologueSanders—C.M.G.7
IHamilton of the Houssas52
IIThe Disciplinarians71
IIIThe Lost N’Bosini88
IVThe Fetish Stick108
VA Frontier and a Code123
VIThe Soul of the Native Woman148
VIIThe Stranger who Walked by Night164
VIIIA Right of Way180
IXThe Green Crocodile193
XHenry Hamilton Bones209
XIBones at M’Fa225
XIIThe Man Who Did Not Sleep240

“BONES”

PROLOGUE

SANDERS—C.M.G.

I

You will never know from the perusal of the Blue Book the true inwardness of the happenings in the Ochori country in the spring of the year of Wish. Nor all the facts associated with the disappearance of the Rt. Hon. Joseph Blowter, Secretary of State for the Colonies.

We know (though this is not in the Blue Books) that Bosambo called together all his petty chiefs and his headmen, from one end of the country to the other, and assembled them squatting expectantly at the foot of the little hillock, where sat Bosambo in his robes of office (unauthorized but no less magnificent), their upturned faces charged with pride and confidence, eloquent of the hold this sometime Liberian convict had upon the wayward and fearful folk of the Ochori.

Now no man may call a palaver of all small chiefs unless he notifies the government of his intention, for the government is jealous of self-appointed parliaments, for when men meet together in public conference, however innocent may be its first cause, talk invariably drifts to war, just as when they assemble and talk in private it drifts womanward.

And since a million and odd square miles of territory may only be governed by a handful of ragged soldiers so long as there is no concerted action against authority, extemporized and spontaneous palavers are severely discouraged.

But Bosambo was too cheery and optimistic a man to doubt that his action would incur the censorship of his lord, and, moreover, he was so filled with his own high plans and so warm and generous at heart at the thought of the benefits he might be conferring upon his patron that the illegality of the meeting did not occur to him, or if it occurred was dismissed as too preposterous for consideration.

And so there had come by the forest paths, by canoe, from fishing villages, from far-off agricultural lands near by the great mountains, from timber cuttings in the lower forest, higher chiefs and little chiefs, headmen and lesser headmen, till they made a respectable crowd, too vast for the comfort of the Ochori elders who must needs provide them with food and lodgings.

“Noble chiefs of the Ochori,” began Bosambo, and Notiki nudged his neighbour with a sharp elbow, for Notiki was an old man of forty-three, and thin.

“Our lord desires us to give him something,” he said.

He was a bitter man this Notiki, a relative of former chiefs of the Ochori, and now no more than over-head of four villages.

“Wa!” said his neighbour, with his shining face turned to Bosambo.

Notiki grunted but said no more.

“I have assembled you here,” said Bosambo, “because I love to see you, and because it is good that I should meet those who are in authority under me to administer the laws which the King my master has set for your guidance.”

Word for word it was a paraphrase of an address which Sanders himself had delivered three months ago. His audience may have forgotten the fact, but Notiki at least recognized the plagiarism and said “Oh, ho!” under his breath and made a scornful noise.

“Now I must go from you,” said Bosambo.

There was a little chorus of dismay, but Notiki’s voice did not swell the volume.

“The King has called me to the coast, and for the space of two moons I shall be as dead to you, though my fetish will watch you and my spirit will walk these streets every night with big ears to listen to evil talk, and great big eyes to see the hearts of men. Yea, from this city to the very end of my dominions over to Kalala.” His accusing eyes fixed Notiki, and the thin man wriggled uncomfortably.

“This man is a devil,” he muttered under his breath, “he hears and sees all things.”

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