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Text on page 253
TILE ADVENTURES OE REUBEN DAVIDGER.
listen when danger is plotting against me, and ready though unseen weapons to strike in my defence."
At the first sound of my voice Katam hounded to his feet, and while I continued to address him, stood half out at the hut entrance, with his knees shaking and his countenance expressive of much astonishment and fear, and he held his fingers in his ears as though my voice had been loud as thunder ; and, truly, to myself it sounded strangely gruff and harsh after my long silence. Evidently Katam was much more inclined to run off and spread the news that the dumb slave had found his speech tban to stay and converse with me ; but for him to adopt the former course was the very last thing I desired.
" Stay," said I, rising and putting my back to the door, " my antu is such as you never knew or heard of before, therefore for this one offence it will not harm you. Nay, if you desire anything that it is in its power to grant, I will, since you have been so very kind to me, intercede for you that it may be granted. Speak your thoughts, good Katam. They will not astonish me though they be clothed in the loudest words and not in whispers. Sit down and tell me bow can my antu serve yon/'
But Katam could not so easily recover from his fright. All the while I was addressing him, he was busily employed with a shell of the mussel species, which he had taken from a niche in the wall, laying it on his eyes, on his lips, and on his breast, and each time that he completed the round, nibbling a little bit from the edge of the shell, and crunching it and swallowing it, which I suppose was a charm against the machinations of evil spirits, but never having seen it at Magindano, nor indeed in any other the Polynesian islands it was my fate to become acquainted with, the reader must take the supposition at its worth. Anyhow his courage seemed much refreshed by the eye-rubbing and nibbling, and he presently adopted my suggestion and sat down with me by the fire.
"Tell me," said be in a low whisper, "is your antu so very powerful? Can it make dumb men speakamake those it favours rich in pearls ard gold ? Answer me, can it ?"
" The Antu whom I and all my countrymen worship can do all you say, and a thousand other things even more wonderful," I answered evasively. " But tell me how can it serve you ?"
" How !" replied Katam, in such a fever of excitement that the band he laid on my shoulder fairly trembled. " It can do two things" How !" replied Katam, in such a fever of excitement that the band he laid on my shoulder fairly trembled. " It can do two things