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Rídan The Devil And Other Stories 1899   By: (1855-1913)

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First Page:

RÍDAN THE DEVIL AND OTHER STORIES

By Louis Becke

Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company 1899

CONTENTS:

RÍDAN THE DEVIL

A MEMORY OF 'THE SYSTEM'

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

A NORTH PACIFIC LAGOON ISLAND

BILGER, OF SYDNEY

THE VISION OF MILLI THE SLAVE

DENISON GETS A BERTH ASHORE

ADDIE RANSOM: A MEMORY OF THE TOKELAUS

IN A NATIVE VILLAGE

MAURICE KINANE

THE 'KILLERS' OF TWOFOLD BAY

DENISON'S SECOND BERTH ASHORE

A FISH DRIVE ON A MICRONESIAN ATOLL

BOBARAN

SEA FISHING IN AUSTRALIA

AN ADVENTURE IN THE NEW HEBRIDES

THE SOUTH SEA BUBBLE OF CHARLES DU BREIL

THE WHITE WIFE AND THE BROWN 'WOMAN'

WITH HOOK AND LINE ON AN AUSTRAL RIVER

THE WRECK OF THE LEONORA: A MEMORY OF 'BULLY' HAYES

AN OLD COLONIAL MUTINY

A BOATING ADVENTURE IN THE CAROLINES

A CHRISTMAS EVE IN THE FAR SOUTH SEAS

RÍDAN THE DEVIL

Rídan lived alone in a little hut on the borders of the big German plantation at Mulifenua, away down at the lee end of Upolu Island, and every one of his brown skinned fellow workers either hated or feared him, and smiled when Burton, the American overseer, would knock him down for being a 'sulky brute.' But no one of them cared to let Rídan see him smile. For to them he was a wizard, a devil, who could send death in the night to those he hated. And so when anyone died on the plantation he was blamed, and seemed to like it. Once, when he lay ironed hand and foot in the stifling corrugated iron 'calaboose,' with his blood shot eyes fixed in sullen rage on Burton's angered face, Tirauro, a Gilbert Island native assistant overseer, struck him on the mouth and called him 'a pig cast up by the ocean.' This was to please the white man. But it did not, for Burton, cruel as he was, called Tirauro a coward and felled him at once. By ill luck he fell within reach of Rídan, and in another moment the manacled hands had seized his enemy's throat. For five minutes the three men struggled together, the white overseer beating Rídan over the head with the butt of his heavy Colt's pistol, and then when Burton rose to his feet the two brown men were lying motionless together; but Tirauro was dead.

Rídan was sick for a long time after this. A heavy flogging always did make him sick, although he was so big and strong. And so, as he could not work in the fields, he was sent to Apia to do light labour in the cotton mill there. The next morning he was missing. He had swum to a brig lying at anchor in the harbour and hidden away in the empty forehold. Then he was discovered and taken ashore to the mill again, where the foreman gave him 'a dose of Cameroons medicine' that is, twenty five lashes.

'Send him back to the plantation,' said the manager, who was a mere German civilian, and consequently much despised by his foreman, who had served in Africa. 'I'm afraid to keep him here, and I'm not going to punish him if he tries to get away again, poor devil.'

So back he went to Mulifanua. The boat voyage from Apia down the coast inside the reef is not a long one, but the Samoan crew were frightened to have such a man free; so they tied him hand and foot and then lashed him down tightly under the midship thwart with strips of green fau bark. Not that they did so with unnecessary cruelty, but ex Lieutenant Schwartzkoff, the foreman, was looking on, and then, besides that, this big boned, light skinned man was a foreigner, and a Samoan hates a foreigner of his own colour if he is poor and friendless. And then he was an aitu a devil, and could speak neither Samoan, nor Fijian, nor Tokelau, nor yet any English or German.

Clearly, therefore, he was not a man at all, but a manu a beast, and not to be trusted with free limbs. Did not the foreman say that he was possessed of many devils, and for two years had lived alone on the plantation, working in the field with the gangs of Tokelau and Solomon Island men, but speaking to no one, only muttering in a strange tongue to himself and giving sullen obedience to his taskmasters?

But as they talked and sang, and as the boat sailed along the white line of beach fringed with the swaying palms, Rídan groaned in his agony, and Pulu, the steersman, who was a big strong man and not a coward like his fellows, took pity on the captive... Continue reading book >>




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