46 GOLDEN GATE TO GOLDEN SUN
I saw one of them cast something into the flames. An altar fire, it was; they were probably making sacrifice to the wild spirits of the water that had spared them yesterday. But what of to-morrow ?
In dressing, I was amazed to find I could still wear shoes. The lotion I had rubbed into my feet the night before had worked wonders, though at the time of application I had had little hope that my feet would be in condition to tramp in the jungle on the hunt we had planned. We had brought hunt-ing togs, complete even to puttees, and we set out early hoping to bring down a wild boar, or a deer at the very least. I was armed with an ancient army and navy revolver, lent by the captain ; it was almost as heavy as any animal I might shoot with it. But no deer rustled the trees. No wild boar could be discovered. Snakes writhed to shelter at our approach. There were plenty of monkeys, too, but why shoot at those friendly, chattering little cousins of ours? Finally the captain aimed high, and brought down an eagle. I was glad it was a bird I could recognise, for I had heard the tale of a hunter who, somewhere about here, had shot a bird and carried it into a Dyak hut. And there they had told him it was an omen bird that he had killed ; and, moreover, that the bird was some close kin of theirsa an aunt, or something of the sort. The hunter had a close shave to escape with his life.
We made slow progress, for the jungle was dense. Once the captain left us while he visited an isolated