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Text on page 249
TILE ADVENTURES OE REUBEN DAVIDGER.
pouring down in torrents, so that some particular ship-work he had in hand could not be proceeded with, he came to me eagerly gestieu-; lating, and waving his hands towards the clouds in a way that led me to conclude that what he meant was, would I be so obliging as to stop the rain. Believing that I was deaf and dumb, he never spoke on these occasions, and never so much as then was I so inclined to regret my shamming.
Nor was his kindness towards me confined to his making my work easy. On one excuse or another, he would always have me about him, either at his house or down on the beach among the shipping, and gave me tobacco, let me sit by his fire, and very often divided his comfortable dinner with me. He seemed uneasy when I was away from him, and took the greatest interest in anything I might be doing. To what I was indebted for his politeness and good-will I did not know, and was the more surprised at it, since to every one else he was surly and malicious, and often got a fellow a flogging he did not deserve.
This state of things continued for upwards of a month, and as nothing came of Katam's eccentricities. I began to grow used to them, and having no other way of accounting for them, began to settle to the idea that it wa3 merely a case of one person " taking" to another, as the saying is ; it would pass off presently, as such friendships frequently do, I thought, though I was in no hurry for the change, as I could not be else than a loser by it.
At last, however, and in the most unexpected manner, he furnished me with a key to the mystery. I had been assisting him in repairing a sampan all day, and fhe job at an end, he, as was not uncommon, asked me into his hut to sLarc his supper. As a rule, these suppers of Katam's were not of a very magni6cent character, chiefly consisting in a mess of rice and sugar, with sometimes the addition of a small piece of goat's flesh ; not that Katam was too poor to keep a good table, but from the simple fact that food of a superior sort was not to be had on the island, and at hard times even the chief and his wives would frequently have no better dinner than their poorest slave.
On the occasion in question, however, Katam prepared a feast fit for a king. There was a fowl, some goat's flesh stewed with rice, fresh cocoa-nut (a luxury I had not tasted since I left Magindano), some bread-fruit, and a big measure of palm-wine. No other guest besideOn the occasion in question, however, Katam prepared a feast fit for a king. There was a fowl, some goat's flesh stewed with rice, fresh cocoa-nut (a luxury I had not tasted since I left Magindano), some bread-fruit, and a big measure of palm-wine. No other guest beside