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Chapter Twenty Four. A Red Satyr.
They slept until a late hour of the morning; when, rousing themselves with difficulty, they kindled a fire and cooked a breakfast of the boar’s ham cured by them before leaving the coast. It was the second, and of course the last, already becoming rapidly reduced to a “knuckle;” for their journey was now entering upon the second week.

They bethought them of making a halt on the bank of the lake; partly to recruit their strength after the long-continued fatigue, and partly, if possible, to replenish their larder.

Saloo got ready his blow-gun and poisoned arrows; Captain Redwood looked to his rifle; while the ship-carpenter, whose speciality was fishing, and who for this purpose had brought his hooks and lines along with him, determined on trying what species of the finny tribe frequented the inland lake, in hopes they might prove less shy at biting than their brethren of the sea-coast stream.

Again the three men started off, Murtagh traversing in solitude the edge of the lake, while Captain Redwood, with his rifle—accompanied by Saloo, carrying his sumpitan and quiver of poisoned arrows—struck direct into the woods.

Henry and Helen remained where they had passed the night, under the shadow of a spreading tree; which, although of a species unknown to the travellers, had been cautiously scrutinised by them, and seemed to be neither a durion nor a upas. They were cautioned not to stir a step from the spot till the others should return.

Though in other respects a good, obedient boy, Henry Redwood was not abundantly gifted with prudence. He was a native-born New Yorker, and as such, of course, precocious, courageous, daring, even to a fault—in short, having the heart of a man beating within the breast of a boy. So inspired, when a huge bird, standing even taller than himself on its great stilt-like legs—it was the adjutant stork of India (ciconia argalia)—dropped down upon the point of a little peninsula which projected into the lake, he could not resist the temptation of getting a shot at it.

Grasping the great ship’s musket—part of the paraphernalia they had brought along with them, and which was almost as much as he could stagger under—he started to stalk the great crane, leaving little Helen under the tree.

Some reeds growing along the edge of the lake offered a chance by which the game might be approached, and under cover of them he had crept almost within shot of it, when a cry fell upon his ear, thrilling him with a sudden dread.

It was the voice of his sister Helen, uttered in tones of alarm?

Turning suddenly, he wondered not that her cries were continued in the wildest terror, mingled with convulsive ejaculations. A man had drawn near her, and oh! such a man! Never in all his experience, nor in his darkest and most distorted dreams, had he seen, or dreamt of, a human being so hideous, as that he now saw, half-standing, half-crouching, only a short distance from his sister’s resting-place.

It was a man who, if he had only been in an erect attitude, would have stood at least eight feet in height, and this would have been in an under-proportion to the size of his head, the massive breadth of his body across the breast and shoulders, and the length of his arms. But it was not his gigantic size which made him so terrible, or which electrified the heart of the boy, at a safe distance, as it had done that of the girl, nearer and in more danger. It was the tout ensemble of this strange creature in human shape—a man apparently covered all over with red hair, thick and shaggy, as upon the skin of a wolf or bear; bright red over the body and limbs, and blacker upon the face, where it was thinnest—a creature, in short, such as neither boy nor girl had ever before seen, and such as was long believed to exist only in the imagination of the ancients, under the appellation of “satyr.”


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