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Tessa
1901

written by "Becke, Louis, 1855-1913"
...s far as I know, though I've heard that there were a few there about twenty years ago. I expect they have either died out or emigrated to the northward. And if there are any there, and they don't want us to land, we can go on and leave them alone. We have plenty of provisions for a month, and will get more water than we want every night as long as we are in this cursed rainy belt. What we do want is wind. This breeze has no heart in it, and it looks like a calm before noon, or else it will haul round to the wrong quarter." His former surmise proved correct, for about midday the boat was becalmed on an oily, steamy sea under a fierce, brazen sun. This lasted for the remainder of the day, and then was followed by the usual squally night. And so for three days they sailed, making but little progress during the daytime, for the wind was light and baffling, but doing much better at night. On the evening of the third day they sighted the northernmost islet of Pikirami lagoon, and stood by under its lee till daylight, little dreaming that those whose life-blood they would so eagerly have shed were sleeping calmly and peacefully in the native village fifteen miles away. With the dawn came a sudden terrific downpour of rain, which lasted but for a few minutes, and both Chard and Hendry knew, from their own experience and from the appearance of the sky, that such outbursts were likely to continue for at least five or six days, with but brief intervals of cessation. "We might as well get ashore somewhere about here," said Hendry; "this is the tail-end of the rainy season, and we can expect heavy rain and nasty squalls for a week at least. It's come on a bit earlier than I expected, and I think we'll be better ashore than boxing about at sea. Can you see the land to the south'ard?" Chard stood up and shielded his eyes from the still falling rain, but it was too thick for him to discern anything but the misty outline of the ...

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