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The White Man's Foot   By: (1848-1899)

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First Page:

THE WHITE MAN'S FOOT.

BY

GRANT ALLEN,

AUTHOR OF "BABYLON," "IN ALL SHADES," ETC., ETC.

WITH SEVENTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS BY J. FINNEMORE.

LONDON:

HATCHARDS, PICCADILLY, W.

1888.

RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LIMITED,

LONDON AND BUNGAY.

[Illustration: 'BOWING DOWN TOWARDS THE MOUTH OF THE CRATER, THEY SEEMED TO SALUTE THE GODDESS OF THE VOLCANO.']

DEDICATION.

TO

JERRARD GRANT ALLEN,

THE ONLY BEGETTER OF THESE ENSUING ADVENTURES.

My Dear Grantie,

From the following pages, written with a single eye to your own personal tastes and predilections, you may, I trust, learn three Great Moral Lessons.

First, never to approach too near the edge of an active volcano.

Second, never to continue your intimacy with a man who deliberately and wickedly declines to pull you out of a burning crater.

And third, never to intrust the care of youth to a cannibal heathen South Sea Islander.

With the trifling exception of these three now enumerated, I am not aware that you can extract any Great Moral Lesson whatsoever from the hairbreadth escapes of Kea and her associates.

Having thus almost entirely satisfied your expressed wishes in this matter for "a story without a moral" I subscribe myself, with pride,

Your obedient servant and very loving father,

G.A.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

"BOWING DOWN TOWARDS THE MOUTH OF THE CRATER, THEY SEEMED TO SALUTE THE GODDESS OF THE VOLCANO" Frontispiece.

"IT'S MORE THAN DANGEROUS. IT'S ALMOST CERTAINLY FATAL"

"ALL AT ONCE A GREAT BODY OF GAS WAS EJECTED INTO THE AIR, IN A BLAZE OF LIGHT"

"'YOUNG MAN,' HE CRIED, '...I WARN YOU NOT TO TRIFLE WITH THE BURNING MOUNTAIN'"

"I ROLLED DOWN RAPIDLY TO THE VERY BOTTOM"

"I LAY THERE HORROR STRICKEN, AND GAZED IDLY DOWN"

"I CLUTCHED THE CRUMBLING PEAK WITH MY HOOKED FINGERS"

"SHE CARRIED ME SLOWLY UP THE ZIG ZAG PATH"

"'IF YOU KNEW ALL,' SHE ANSWERED, 'HOW YOU WOULD PITY ME!'"

"'EVERYTHING IS CORRECT,' HE WHISPERED"

"SHE LOOKED UP IN AN AGONY OF SUSPENSE"

"KEA TRIED ON ALL HER THINGS"

"A STRANGE PROCESSION BEGAN SLOWLY TO DESCEND"

"THE BAMBOO BENT OMINOUSLY DOWN"

"WE RODE AT FULL SPEED IN BREATHLESS HASTE"

THE WHITE MAN'S FOOT.

CHAPTER I

My brother Frank is a most practical boy. I may be prejudiced, but it seems to me somehow there's nothing like close personal contact with active volcanoes to teach a young fellow prudence, coolness, and adaptability to circumstances. "Tom," said he to me, as we stood and watched the queer party on deck, devouring taro paste as a Neapolitan swallows down long strings of macaroni: "don't you think, if we've got to live so long in a native hut, and feed on this port of thing, we may as well use ourselves to their manners and customs, whatever they may be, at the pearliest convenient opportunity?"

"Haven't you heard, my dear boy," said I, "what the naval officer wrote when he was asked to report to the Admiralty on that very subject of the manners and customs of the South Sea Islanders? 'Manners they have none,' he replied with Spartan brevity, 'and their customs are beastly.'"

"Not a bit of it," Frank answered quickly in his jolly way. "For my part I think this sticky, pasty stuff they're eating with their fingers, though it's a bit stodgy, looks like real jam, and I'd much rather take my lunch off things like that up here on deck, out of a native calabash, than go down and eat a civilized meal with a knife and fork in that hoky poky, stuffy little cabin there."

I confess, for myself, I didn't exactly like the look of it. Cosmopolitan as I am, I object to fingers as a substitute for spoons. We were on board the Royal Hawaiian mail steamer Liké Liké , 500 tons registered burden, from Honolulu for Hilo, in the island of Hawaii; and a quainter group than the natives on deck I'm bound to admit, in all my wanderings, by sea or by land, I had never set eyes on. The tiny steamer was built in fact on purpose to accommodate all tastes alike, be the same savage or civilized... Continue reading book >>




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