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The Boys* Big Game Series
THE BLIND LION OF THE
THE WHITE TKIS OF NEPAL. Tte weird Mcy of tlx
of tbcbothilb. Tbfed wich the mjnickm of Indo, dnnudc i
THE BUND UON OF THE CONfiO. a »>7 <
kmnn pan of die cuth tod In BkM farad boK. Agripptng
bDd of dw wUm pigBUO.
bnBj at the Frocoi Nonh lad hk d
rft« fopnofaA ofpnducOom in boyt* Aoofci. A«r
eovtrt and foar-eolor jaek^U. lUiutrationi a
eovtr d£tigiu by Baa Sayre Qrotbtck.
Price, ISO cents each
The REILLY & BRITTO>
OF THE CONGO
ELLIOTT WHITNEY i.',..<i '
« t ■ t L, , Vi ,' ■» ' >••
Illustrated by Dan Say re Groesbeck
The Rcilly & Britton Co.
•• • •
• • ••
• • •
tf rf w
NEV/ YO"K 1
K^ Li!) . ' . >. .
rOL* N •ATI Cli 8
THE REILLY & BRITTON CO
THE BLIND UON OP THE CONGO
.*: ••• •
• • ••
• • ••
• ••• •
• _••• •
• ••• *•• ••
• • • •
• • •••
•• ••• •
• • • •
An Amazino Pboposal 9
Mb. CBiTOHFiEiiD IS Intebviewbd 21
The Decision 34
The Congo 58
The Mabk 71
Cbitch's Rhino 84
Captain Mac Suspected 97
The Whitb Pigmies 110
The Sacked Ankh 125
MviTA Saves Bust's Life 137
MONTENAY BeTUBNS 150
In the Pigmy Vilxage 163
The Sacbed Lion 176
The Ivoby Zabeba 189
BuBT Left Alone 202
The Diaby 214
BuBT Comes to Life 228
The Baft 241
Down the Makua 255
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Then a piece of the wall a foot square came
away and into the opening swept a great yel-
low foot armed with immense claws.
Without the least trace of excitement in his
voice Mr. Wallace whipped out his revolver
and covered the other. ** Keep your hands
on the table, Montenay I ' ' Page 110
The boys were marched away from the village,
and in a moment all about them rose the
dense jungle growth. Page 174
A roll of tom-toms and a loud shout arose from
the tribe on the bank. Slowly the poles sent
the rafts out into mid-stream, where the cur-
rent caught them and swept them down.
The Blind Lion
of the Congo
AN AMAZING PBOPOSAL
" What's on for to-night, Burtt ''
Mr. St. John, a large automobile mannfactnrer
of New Britain, Connecticut, looked across the
dinner table at his son Burton. The latter was a
boy of seventeen. Although he was sturdy for his
age, his features were pale and denoted hard
study. As his father and mother watched him
there was just a hint of anxiety in their faces.
** Lots,*' replied the boy. ** Gk)t a frat meeting
on at seven. Then I've got to finish my last paper
for the history prof."
'^ Can't you let the paper got " asked his
mother. ** You've been working pretty hard,
"Yes,'* added Mr. St. John heartily. "Forget
the work, son. You've done enough papers lately
for a dozen boys. "
** Not much I " answered Burt earnestly. "I'm
10 The Boys' Big Game Series
goin' to grab that Yale scholarship. There's only
a week till school's out now."
At that moment a maid appeared at the dining
*^ Mr. St. John, there's a man called, sir. He
didn't give me any name and — "
She was intermpted by a tall, fur-overcoated
form that brushed her aside. The visitor's hawk-
like face broke instantly into an eager smile.
'^ HellOy good people! " cried the man, as Mr.
St. John sprang to his feet. ^^ Forgotten me,
" George! "
'' Wallace! "
" Uncle Gteorge! "
The three members of the family broke into
three simultaneous cries of surprise. The next
instant Mrs. St. John was in the arms of the tall
man, who supported her with one hand and with
the other greeted her husband."
** Hello, Burt! How's your gripT " he cried as
he released the couple and seized the hand of their
'' Ouch! " yelled the boy, his grin changing to
The Blind Lion of the Congo 11
an expression of pain. '^ I ain't no wooden
** Where on earth did you come from? '* ex-
claimed Mr. St. John, taking his brother-in-law's
big coat and handing it to the astonished maid.
** We haven't heard from you for a year! "
^^ Give me something to eat, Tom, and I'll talk
later." As the hawk-faced man sat down, Burt
gazed at him admiringly. (George William Wal-
lace, his uncle, was the boy's greatest hero. Fa-
mous under the name of ** Gteorge William " for
his books on little-traveled countries, he was
known widely at every end of the world. He had
crossed the Turkestan deserts, helped to survey
the Cape to Cairo railway, led armies in China and
South America, and explored the recesses of the
Sahara. In his brief intervals of relaxation he
lived with the St. Johns, having no home of his
As he gazed, Burt half wished that his own face
was not so square and angular and more like that
of his uncle. Mr. Wallace was thin but of very
large frame. His dose-cropped hair revealed a
high forehead, beneath which shone two intensely
black eyes. A long, curving nose gave his face its
12 The Boys' Big Oame Series
hawk-like effect, and thin lips and strong chin
completed the likeness to some great bird of prey.
'^ What are yon doing with that fur overcoat in
June, George f " asked Mrs. St. John with a smile.
** Keeping warm! '' shot back the explorer as
he pushed away his plate. '^ This beastly rain
goes to the bone, Etta. I landed only yesterday
and got the first train up here after leaving my
cases at the Explorers' Club."
'* Come on with the yam, uncle I " exclaimed
Burt eagerly. ** Where *ve you been this time? *'
Mr. Wallace lit one of his brother-in-law 's cigars
with huge enjoyment and led the way to the li-
brary without answering. When all four were
Comfortably ensconced about the big table he
** Let's see. I wrote you from Naples last time^
wasn't itt " The others nodded. ** That was just
before the war. I got a chance to go to the front
as Especial correspondent, and snapped it up. T
hung around for a while at Tripoli, then took
trip to the Turkish camp. There I got into a sera
with a Turk officer and had to run for it. The
was no place to run except into the desert, sr
took me quite a while to make civilization aga
The Blind Lion of the Congo 13
* * Ctood Heavens I * ' exclaimed Burt *8 father. * * I
suppose you circled around and made Algiers f "
^^ Tried to, but a bunch of Gharian slave dealers
pulled me into the mountains. I spent two months
in the chain gang ; then they sold me south. There
was no help for it. Instead of escaping to French
territory I sneaked off with a racing camel and
ended up at the Qold Coast two months ago.''
^* What! '' Mr. St. John leaped up in amaze-
ment. '^ Do you mean to say you crossed the
whole Sahara a second time, from north to
'' That's what," declared Mr. Wallace. Burt
stared at him wide-eyed. ' * Found some of my old
friends and they helped me along. How are you
fixed, Tom? Can you put me up all right, Etta? "
" Your old room hasn't been touched," smiled
Mrs. St. John as she glanced at her husband. The
'^ All fine and dandy, old man. Oh, I'm getting
along pretty well. We've got some new buildings
over at the works. Turning out some great little
old cars too. Say, how long are you going to
** That depends." Mr. Wallace smiled whimsi-
14 The Boys' Big Game Series
cally. ^ ^ I have a book that I want to finish this
time. But I also have a notion that I want to do
some ivory hunting in the Congo. If the pull
doesn't get too strong I may stay a month or two. ' '
** Hurray! *' chipped in Burt, enthusiastically.
' ^ Come along to the f rat meeting and tell us about
the war last year! We got a 'nitiation on an' you
can bossiti "
** No thanks I '' laughed his uncle heartily.
** When I want to do any lecturing I'll let you
know, Burt. By gracious, Tom, the boy looks like
a ghost! Been sick? "
" No," replied Mr. St. John gravely. *' I'm
afraid he's overworked. He's been trying for a
scholarship at Yale that the high school offers,
and the strain has been a little too much. ' '
" Hm I Won 't do, Burt, ' ' declared Mr. Wallace.
* ^ Books are all right but no use running 'em into
the ground. Play baseball? "
** Sure! " replied Burt. ** Not this spring
though. Been too busy. Besides, I've been helpin'
Critch with some stuff."
*' Critch? " repeated his uncle, puzzled.
'' Who's Critch? "
'* Howard Critchfield," replied Mr. St. John.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 15
^^ His father is my head draftsman and Burt
and Howard are great chums. Howard has a room
down at the shops where he works afternoons and
putters around at taxidermy. ' '
Burt glanced at his watch and rose hastily. It
was past seven and he had forgotten the time.
**See you later, uncle! ** he said as he went to
the door. What a tale he would have for the other
boys! Despite his uncle's refusal to come with
him Burt knew that once he got ** the crowd *' up
to the house Mr. Wallace would provide a most
The next day the explorer's trunks arrived and
he got settled in his old quarters. These were
filled with hunting trophies, guns and foreign cos-
tumes from every quarter of the world. For two
days Burt did not see his uncle except at meals,
but on Friday evening Mr. Wallace announced
that he would like to take a look at the works the
next day. Burt promptly volunteered his services,
which were accepted.
** You don't look right to me, Burt I " stated Mr.
Wallace as they walked down the street after
breakfast. ** If we were down on the West Coast
16 The Boys' Big Oame Series
now I would say yon were in for a good dose of
** Did you ever have it? '' asked Bnrt. He did
not relish such close interest in his health, which
seemed good enough to him. He also had vivid
memories of a vile-tasting remedy which his uncle
had proposed for a cold, years before.
** A dozen times,'* came the reply. ** A chap
gets it in high and low countries alike in Africa.
So you've been helping young Critchfield, eh? "
" A little, sir. We haven't much chance of
course but we've got some birds and rabbits and
an old weasel we shot. It's heaps of fun."
^^ Hm! " Mr. Wallace cast a sharp glance at
Burt but the boy did not observe it. They were
nearing the factories now and presently Burt
turned into a large fence-enclosed ground where
the works stood.
They did not visit the old shops, which Mr. Wal-
lace had seen before, but went through the new
assembling rooms and display building. The ex-
plorer was much interested in all that he saw and
proved to have no slight knowledge of mechanics
himself. Mr. St. John saw them from his private
office and came out. By his orders they were
The Blind Lion of the Congo 17
treated to the nnnsual sight of a complete machine
lying on the floor in pieces and inside of five min-
utes ready to run.
** Say I *' cried the explorer in admiration.
** Civilization certainly can produce wonders,
Tom I I suppose that some day there'll be a shop
like this in the heart of Africa 1 But let's have a
squint at this chum of yours, Burt. I 'd like to size
him up a bit."
They left the new buildings and went to one of
the older ones where Howard had been given a
small room. Without stopping to knock, Burt
threw open the door and ushered in his uncle
As he did so his look of confident pride vanished.
Before him stood Critch, his freckled face streaked
with dust and blood, his long apron spotted and
stained and on the table before him two rabbits
*' Gosh I You look like a murderer! '* exclaimed
Burt in dismay. ** Uncle George, this is Critch.
He ain't always in this shape though."
** Sorry I can't shake hands, Mr. Wallace! "
said the red-haired boy. To his surprise the ex-
plorer laughed and stuck out his hand.
18 The Boy 8^ Big Game Series
** Nonsense, lad! Shake! ^*
Critch dropped his knife, wiped his hand hastily
on his apron and gripped that of the explorer
heartily. ** Frank Gates brought in those tame
rabbits of his that died,*' he explained. ** I told
hinri it wasn't worth while stuffing them this
weather, but he had the coin to pay for 'em and
pretty near got sore about it, so I took on the job.
I'm awful glad to meet you, sir I I've heard a heap
about you, and Burt's lent me all your books."
** Go right ahead," insisted Mr. Wallace. ** I'd
like to see how you do it. Many's the skin I've
had to put up in a hurry if I wanted it, but I'd
sooner tramp a hundred miles than handle the
beastly things I "
Critch picked up his knife and Mr. Wallace
glanced around the little room. On the walls stood
shelves of books and stuffed birds and animals.
Bottles of liquids stood in the comers, and over
the door was a stuffed homed owl mounted on a
** That looks good I " commented the explorer
approvingly. ** That owl's a mighty good piece
of work, boys I " He turned to Howard. ** There
you have him — nice and clean I You know how
The Blind Lion of the Congo 19
to handle a knife, I see. Ever hear how we tackle
the big skins? ^^
** No,'* replied Critch with interest. ** Tell us
about it, Mr. Wallace, if you don^t mind I I\e
read a little, but nothing definite.'*
' * With soft-skinned animals like deer we usu-
ally do just what you're doing with those rabbits
— simply make incisions, slit 'em from neck to
tail and peel oflf the skins. By the way, what do
you use for preservative t ' '
*' Get it ready-mixed," replied Critch and
pointed to the bottles. ** It's odorless, takes the
grease out o ' the skin, and don 't cost much. Guess
I'll use arsenic on these, though. They need
something pretty strong. ' '
* * I see, ' ' went on Mr. Wallace. * * Well, with
thick skins like elephant or rhino, it's a different
matter. I never fixed an elephant skin myself but
I've seen other fellows do it. They take it oflf in
sections, rub it well with salt and let it dry after
the fat's gone. Then a dozen blacks get around
each section with their paring knives and get
** Paring knivesi" cried Burt. ** What for?"
*' Pare down the skin," smiled Mr. Wallace.
The Boys' Big Game Series
' * Thick skins are too heavy to carry and too thick
to be pliable, so the skinners often spend a week
paring down a skin till it's portable. Then it's
rubbed with salt again or else packed in brine and
shipped down to the coast or back wherever your
agents are, who get it preserved right for yon."
They talked for half an hour while the rabbits
were being finished. Then Burt and his uncle left
the building, and finding that Mr. St. John had
already gone to lunch, started home themselves.
** Say, Burt,'' said Mr. Wallace as they walked
down the street, ** how'd you like to come to
Africa with me next month f ' '
MB. CBITGHFIELD IS INTEBVIBWED
** What! Me? *' Burt stopped short and stared
at his uncle. Mr. Wallace chuckled and lifted one
** Of course, if you don't want to go — '* he be-
* * Want to I ' ^ shouted Burt, careless of the pass-
ers-by who were looking at them curiously.
** You can bet your life I want tol I'd give a mil-
lion dollars to go with you! '* His face dropped
suddenly. ** What's the use, Uncle George? You
know's well as I do, the folks ain't going to stand
for anything like that. Why, dad'd have a fit if
he thought I was in Africa. What's the use of
** Here — trot along!" His uncle seized his
arm and drew him on toward home. ** I guess
you're right about that, Burt. Anyhow, you keep
mum and let me do the talking. Mind, now, don't
you butt in anywhere along the line. I'm dead in
earnest, young man. Maybe we'll be able to do
22 The Boys' Big Game Series
something if yon lie low and let me handle it. Un-
* ' I understand, ' * replied Burt a trifle more
hopefully. *' Gee I K I conld only go! Could I
shoot real lions and elephants, uncle f ''
* * Dozens of 'em ! * ' laughed Mr. Wallace cheer-
fully. ** Where I want to go there are no game
laws to hinder. Tou*d have a tough time for a
while, though. It's not like a camping trip up
the Maine coast. ' '
**0h, shucks I '' replied the boy eagerly.
" Why, there ain't a boy in the world that
wouldn't be crazy to hike with you. They've got
to let me gol "
Although nearly bursting with his secret Burt
said nothing of it until he returned to the shops
that afternoon and joined Critch. Then he was
unable to hold in and he poured out the story to
his chum. Critch listened in incredulous amaze-
ment, which changed to cheerful envy when he
found Burt was not joking.
** Why, you dog-goned old bookworm I " he ex-
claimed when Burt finished. The red-headed boy
was genuinely delighted over his chum's good
luck. * * Think of you out there shootin ' your head
The Blind Lion of the Congo 23
off, while I^m plugging away here at home!
Think your folks ^1 kick? ''
' * Of course they will, * * groaned Burt gloomily.
* * Ever know a feller to want any fun, without his
folks kicking like sin t They like Uncle George a
heap, but when it comes to takin ' the darlin ' boy
where he can have a regular circus, it's no go.
Dam it, I wish I was grown-up and didn't have
any boss I '^
** It'll be a blamed shame if they don't let you
go, old sport! " agreed Critch with a smile. ** But
you haven't asked 'em yet. Mebbe they'll come
around all right."
** Huh I " grunted Burt sarcastically. ** Mebbe
I '11 find a million dollars in my clothes to-morrow
morning I Say — "
' ' Well t Spit her out ! " laughed Critch as Burt
'* S'pose I could work you in on the game! "
cried Burt enthusiastically. ** That'd help a lot
if the folks knew you were going, too, and if your
dad would fall for it we might take you as some
kind of assistant I I tell you — I'll take you as
my personal servant, my valet I How'd that
strike you, just for a bluff? "
24 The Boys' Big Game Series
** Strike me fine,*' responded Critch vigorously.
" I*d be willin' to work my way — '*
^^ Oh, shucks I I didn't mean that. I mean to
get your expenses paid that way, see? After we
" CJome out of it! " interrupted Critch. ** You
talk as if you was really going. Where do you
reckon my dad comes in? S'pose he'll stand for
any game like that ? Not on your life I Dad 's fig-
gering on pulling me into the ofiSce when school 's
Burt left for home greatly sobered by the prac-
tical common sense of his chum. He was quickly
enthusiastic over any project and was apt to be
carried away by it, while Critch was just the oppo-
site. None the less, Burt was determined that if
it was possible for him to go, his chum should go
After dinner that evening while the family was
sitting in the library, Mr. Wallace cautiously in-
troduced the subject to Burt's parents. Burt was
upstairs in his own room.
** Etta, isn't that boy of yours getting mighty
** I'm afraid so," sighed Mrs. St. John anx-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 25
ionsly. ** But we can't make him give up that
scholarship. I'll be glad when school is over next
week. ' '
** I guess we'll pack him oflf with Howard," put
in Mr. St: John. ^^ I'll send 'em up the Kennebec
on a canoe trip. ' '
** Nonsense 1 " snorted the explorer. ** What
the boy needs is something different. Complete
change — ocean air — make him forget all about
his books for six months 1 ' '
** There's a good deal in that, Tom," agreed his
sister thoughtfully. *^ Perhaps if I took him
abroad for a month or two — "
** Stop right there I " interrupted the explorer.
** Take him abroad, indeed! Tie him to your
apron strings and lead him to bang-up hotels?
Dress him up every day, stuff him on high-class
grubT Nonsense ! If you want him to go abroad,
for goodness sake give him a flannel shirt and a
letter of credit, and let him go. Don't baby him I
Give him a chance to develop his own resources.
Guess you didn't have any indulgent papa, Tom!
All the boy wants is a chance. Why won't* you let
him have itT "
** Don't be a fool, George I " cautioned his sis-
26 The Boys' Big Oame Series
ter, smiling at the outburst. ** You know per-
fectly well that I don't want my boy running wild.
He's all we have, and we intend to take care of
him. And I warn you right here not to put any of
your notions into his head. It's bad enough to
have one famous man in the family ! ' '
The explorer laughed and winked at Mr. St.
John, who was enjoying the discussion from the
shelter of his cigar smoke. At this, however, he
came to the aid of his brother-in-law.
** Yes, George is perfectly right, Etta. Burt
needs to shift for himself a bit, and I think the
Kennebec trip will be just the thing for him if we
give him a free hand and let him suit himself. I
don't want to send him off to foreign countries all
** Look here, Tom." Mr. Wallace leaned for-
ward and spoke very earnestly. ** That kind of
a vacation isn't worth much to a good, healthy
boy. He wants something he has earned, not
something that 's shoved at him. Make Burt earn
some money while he 's having a good time. He '11
enjoy it twice as much. Make him pay his own
expenses somewhere; do something that will re-
pay him, or get busy on some outdoor stunt that
The Blind Lion of the Congo 27
will give him something new and interesting to
absorb him. Think it over I '*
The conversation ended there for the night.
Mr. Wallace was satisfied that he had sown good
seed, however, and went np to Burt 's room with a
** Hello, uncle I *' cried the boy, giving up his
chair and flinging himself down on the bed.
** Say anything to the folks yet! "
** A little. We'll have to go slow, remember I
Now just what do you know about putting up
skins and taking them from their rightful own-
** Met Not a whole lot. Let's see. I helped
Critch skin an' mount Chuck Evan's bulldog,
some birds, a weasel — ' '
'' Hold on! " laughed Mr. Wallace. '' That's
not what I mean. Ejiow anything about homed
** No," admitted Burt. ** I've read up 'bout 'em
though. Bo's Critch."
** Suppose you had a deer's horns to take off.
How 'd you do it! "
** Take his skin off by cuttin' straight down the
breast to the tail," replied Burt promptly.
28 The Boys' Big Game Series
** Make cross-cuts down the inside o' each leg an'
turn him inside out. For the horns you make a
cut between 'em^ then back down the neck a
** Wouldn't you take his skull! '' questioned
** Surel I forgot that. You'd have to cut be-
tween the lids and eye-sockets down to the lips an'
cut these from the bone. For the skull, cut her off
and boil her. ' '
** Pretty goodl " commented his uncle. ** I
guess you've got the knowledge all right. How'd
you do in Africa about the skin T ' '
* * Nothing, ' ' grinned Burt. * * 'Cording to your
books you just salt 'em well and ship 'em to the
coast. ' '
** All right I " laughed his uncle. ** Get those
rabbits done up T "
** You betl " Burt made a wry face. ** We
rubbed them with arsenic. That 's about the only
stuff that '11 hold them in this weather. We make
money though — or Critch does. We 've done lots
of birds for a dollar each, and we got five for
**I wish you'd take me over to your friend's
The Blind Lion of the Congo 29
home to-morrow night if you've nothing special
on,'' replied Mr. Wallace. ** I'd like to have a
little chat with him. Are his parents living? "
* * His father is, but not his mother. They only
live about three blocks down the line. We'll go
over after supper. ' '
** Well, I'll go back and write another chapter
before going to bed." Mr. Wallace rose and de-
parted. He left Burt wondering. Why did his
uncle want to see Critchf
He wondered more than ever the next evening.
When they arrived at the small frame house in
which Howard and his father lived, Mr. Wallace
chatted with the boys for a little and then turned
to Mr. Critchfield, a kindly, shrewd-eyed man of
* * Mr. Critchfield, suppose we send the boys off
for a while T I'd like to have a little talk with you
if you don't mind."
**A11 right, uncle," laughed Burt. "We'll
skin out Come on up to the house, Critch."
When they got outside, the red-haired boy's
curiosity got the better of him and he asked Burt
what his uncle wanted with his father.
** Search me," answered Burt thoughtfully.
30 The Boys' Big Game Series
** He put me through the third degree yesterday
about skinning deer. Next time he gives me a
chance I'll ask him about taking you along."
** Whatl " exclaimed Howard. ** Have your
folks come around f ' '
** I don't know. I'm leaving it all to Uncle
George. Believe me, they've got to come around
or I'll — I'll run away! "
** Yes, I've got a picture o' you running away! "
grinned Critch. ** Mebbe dad '11 tell me what's
up when I get home. ' '
But Critch was not enlightened that night nor
for many nights thereafter. This was the last
week of school and Burt was too busy with his
examinations to waste much time speculating on
the African trip. Howard was also pretty well
occupied, although not trying for any scholarship,
and for the rest of the week both boys gave all
their attention to school. On Friday evening Burt
arrived home jubilantly.
** Done! " he shouted, bursting in on his mother
and uncle. *^ Got it!"
* * What, the scholarship T How do you know T ' '
asked his mother in surprise.
** Prof. Garwood tipped me off. Won't get the
The Blind Lion of the Congo 31
reg'lar announcement till commencement exer-
cises next week but he says I needn't worry!
Hurray I One more year and then Yale for minel ''
** Good boy I " cried Mr. Wallace, ** Guess
you Ve plugged for it though, Burt, I'll have that
book finished next week. If she goes through all
right I'll be oflf by the end of the month for
Africa." He winked meaningly. ** Guess I'll
take you along. ' '
** What! " exclaimed Mrs. St. John in amaze-
ment " Take him along? Why, George William
Wallace, what do you mean T ' '
** What on earth d'you suppose I mean! "
chuckled her brother. ** Why shouldn't Burt
take his vacation with me if he wants tof Don't
you think I am competent to take care of him! "
Burt was quivering with eagerness and his
mother hesitated as she caught the anxious light
in his eyes. He stood waiting in silence, however.
** George," replied his mother at last, " are you
serious about this? Do you really mean — "
* * Of course I do ! " laughed the explorer confi-
dently. " If I know anything about it, Burt'd
come back twice as much a man as he is now. Be-
32 The Boys' Big^ Game Series
sides we ought to pull out ahead of the game, be-
cause I'm going after ivory/'
** Wait till Tom comes home,'' declared Burt's
mother with decision. ** We'll talk it over at din-
ner. You'll have a hard task to convince me that
there's any sense in such a scheme, George I "
As her brother was quite aware of that fact he
forbore to press the subject just then. A little
later Mr. St. John came home from the works
and at the dinner table his wife brought up the
** Tom, this foolish brother of mine wants to
take Burton away to Africa with him next month I
Did you ever hear of anything so silly? '
** Don't know about that," replied Mr. St. John,
to his son's intense surprise. ^^ It depends on
what part of Africa, Etta. You must remember
that the world's not so small as it used to be. You
can jump on a boat in New York and go to Africa
or China or Russia and never have to bother your
head about a thing. What's the proposition,
"I've been thinking that it would do Burt a lot
of good to go with me to the Congo, ' ' answered the
explorer. ** The sea voyage would set him up in
The Blind Lion of the Congo
fine shape, and we would keep out of the low
lands, you know.'*
** The Congo I '* cried his sister in dismay.
** Why, that's where they torture people I Do
you — *'
** Nonsense! '* interrupted Mr. Wallace impa-
tiently. * * The Congo is just as civilized as parts
of our own country. We can take a steamer at the
mouth and travel for thousands of miles by it. I
have one recruit from New Britain already, and
I'd like to have Burt if you'll spare him.'*
** Why, who's going from here! " asked Mr. St.
John in surprise.
** Young Critchfield," came the reply.
** Critchl *' shouted Burt, unable to restrain his
amazement. His parents looked equally incredu-
lous and Mr. Wallace explained with a smile.
** Yes, Howard Critchfield. You see, I'd like to
bring back some skins and things but I detest the
beastly work of getting them off and putting them
in shape. So when I found that Critch was no
slouch at taxidermy and only needed the chance,
it occurred to me to take him along. I saw his
father about it and proposed to pay all his ex-
penses and a small salary. Mr. Critchfield came
around after a little. He saw that it would be a
splendid education for the boy — would give biTii
a knowledge of the world and would develop birii
'' Why didn't Critch tell me about it! " cried
" He didn't know I " laughed his uncle. ** His
father and I agreed that we'd let him get safely
through school without having other things to
The Blind Lion of the Congo 35
think of. Now look at the thing sensibly, you
folks. We wouldn't be away longer than six
months at most. Burt would be in far more dan-
ger in his canoe on the Kennebec than in a big
steamer on the Congo. ' '
** But after you leave the steamer! You can't
shoot ivory from the boat, I presume," protested
Mr. St. John.
^^ And what about snakes and savage tribes) "
put in his wife.
** My dear Etta,'' replied the explorer patiently,
* * we will be near few savage tribes. I might al-
most say that there are none. As for snakes, I've
seen only three deadly ones in all the years I've
spent in Africa. After we leave the steamer, Tom,
we'll get out of the jungles into the highlands.
Burt stands just as much chance of getting killed
here as there. An auto might run over him any
day, a mad dog might bite him or a chimney might
fall on him! "
For all his anxiety Burt joined heartily in the
laugh that went up at his uncle's concluding
words. The laughter cleared the somewhat tense
situation, and the discussion was carried into the
library. Burt saw, much to his relief, that his fa*
36 The Boys' Big Game Series
ther was not absolutely opposed to the trip, al-
though his mother seemed anxious enough.
** Now give us your proposition^ Gteorge,*' said
his father as they settled down around the table.
** What's your definite idea about it! *'
** Goodl Now we're getting down to eases I *'
cried the explorer with a smile at his sister.
* ' Burt, get us that large atlas over there. ' ' Burt
had the atlas on the table in an instant. *^ Let's
see — Africa — here we are. Get eround here,
folks I " As he spoke Mr. Wallace pulled out a
pencil and pointed to the mouth of the Congo
* * Here 's the mouth of the Congo, you see. Here
we step aboard one of the State steamers. These
are about like the steamers plying between New
York and Boston. Following the Congo up and
around for twelve hundred miles, roughly speak-
ing, we come to the Aruwimi river. Up this —
and here we are at Yambuya, the head of naviga-
tion on the Aruwimi. From here we'll go on up
by boat or launch for three or four hundred miles
farther, then strike off after elephants."
** But how do you get down there in the first
The Blind Lion of the Congo 37
placet " asked Mr. St. John, who seemed keenly
** Any way you want tol '* returned the ex-
plorer. ^^ There are lines running to Banana
Point or Boma, the capital, from Antwerp, Lisbon,
Bordeaux, Hamburg, or from England. We'll
probably go from England though."
** My gracious I '* said Burt's mother. ** I had
no idea that the Congo was so near civilization as
all that! Are there real launches away up there
in the heart of Africa t "
** Launches? Automobiles, probably! '* laughed
* * Of course, ' ' agreed Mr. Wallace. * * There are
motor trucks in service at several points. We
could even take the trip by railroad if we wished,
and we'll telegraph you direct when we reach
** Well that's news to me! " declared Mr. St.
John. ** I thought that Central Africa was a
blank wilderness filled with gorillas and savages.
Seems to me I remember something about game
laws in Roosevelt 's book. How about that T '
* * There are stringent laws in Uganda and Brit-
ish East Africa," replied Mr. Wallace. ** But I
38 The Boys' Big Game Series
intend to depend on trade more than on shooting
for my ivory. Now look at this Makua river that
runs west, up north of the Aruwimi. I'm not go-
ing to take any chances on being held up at Boma
after getting out. There are several trading com-
panies who'd be tickled to death to let me bring
out a bunch of ivory and then rob me of it at the
last minute. So we're going right up to the
Makua and down that river to the French Congo.
I've got a mighty strong pull with the French
people ever since they made me a Conmiander of
the Legion of Honor for my Sahara explorations. ' '
** I see." Burt's father gazed at the map re-
flectively then looked up with a sudden smile.
"You say * we ' as if it was all settled, George I "
* * Oh, I was talking about young Critchfield and
myself," laughed the explorer. " Come now,
Etta, doesn't it sound a whole lot more reasonable
than it did at first! "
" Yes," admitted his sister. ** I must say it
does. Especially if it is all so civilized as you
** Now look here." Mr. Wallace bent over the
map again and traced down the Congo to Stanley
Falls. " A railroad runs from here over to the
The Blind Lion of the Congo 39
Great Lakes, at Mahagi on the Albert Nyanza.
The Great Lakes are all connected and have
steamer lines on them, so that you can get on a
train or boat at the west coast and travel right
through to the east coast just like going from New
York to Duluth. Get me f
** Why,'* exclaimed Burt, ** I thought you had
to have porters and all that T Can you just hop on
a train and shoot f "
* * Not exactly, ' ' laughed his uncle. * * When we
leave the Aruwimi we '11 probably take a hundred
bearers with us. ' '
** Well, it's not a question that we can decide
on the spur of the moment," announced Mrs. St.
John. * * We '11 talk it over, George. If conditions
are as you say, perhaps — "
** Hurray I " burst out her son excitedly.
** You've got to give in, dad! Mother's on our
side! " And Burt darted oflf to find his chum.
** The fact that you've won over Mr. Critchfield
counts a good deal," smiled Mr. St. John as the
door slammed. " He's a solid, level-headed chap
and, besides, I really think it might do Burt
good. ' '
Burt found his chum in a state of high excite-
40 The Boys' Big Game Series
ment. Critch's father had just told him about
Mr. Wallace 's proposal and his own qualified con-
** 1*11 have to think it over some more,** he had
said. ** It's too big to rush into blindly. As it
stands, however, I see no reason why you
shouldn 't go and make a little money, besides get-
ting the trip. * *
Burt and Critch got an atlas and went over the
route that Mr. Wallace had traced. When Burt
reported all that his uncle had said about civiliza-
tion in the Congo, Critch heaved a deep sigh.
** Seems *most too good to be true,** he said.
*' To think of us away over there! I don*t see
where your uncle *s going to clear up much coin,
though. It must cost like smoke. * '
** So does ivory,** grinned Burt. He was in
high spirits now that there actually seemed to be
some hope of his taking the trip. * * He ain *t wor-
ried about the money. Say, I*m mighty glad I*ve
been learning French ! It *11 come in handy down
there. * *
** You won't have any pleasure tour,** put in
Mr. Critchfield quietly. * * Mr. Wallace means busi-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 41
ness. He told me he meant to leave the whole
matter of skins and heads to you two chaps. ' '
** Wonder what he wants them for! ** specu-
lated Burt. *^ Mebbe he's going to start a mu-
seum. ' '
** Hardly/' laughed Mr. Critchfield. '* He said
he wanted to give them to some Explorers' Club
in New York. That means they'll have to be well
done, Howard. I want you to be a credit to him
if he takes you on this trip."
** I will." Howard nodded with confident air.
^^ Just let me get a chance t How's the scholar-
ship! Hear anything yet! "
** Got her cinched," replied Burt happily.
** Well, guess I'll get back. See you to-morrow I "
For the next week the question of the African
trip was left undecided. When Burt had received
his definite announcement of the scholarship, de-
pendent on his next year's work, Mr. Wallace
urged that the matter be brought to a decision one
way or the other. On the following Saturday
evening Mr. Critchfield and Howard arrived at
the St. John residence and the * * Board of Direct-
ors went into executive session," as the explorer
42 The Boys' Big Game Series
** There's one thing to be considered,*' an-
nounced Mr. Critchfield. ^' That's the length of
your absence. Next year is Howard's last year in
high school and I wouldn't like his course to be
smashed up. ' ' Mr. St. John nodded approval and
all looked at Mr. Wallace expectantly,
** I anticipated that," he replied quietly. ** I
saw Mr. Garwood, the superintendent of schools,
yesterday. I told him just what we wanted to do
and asked him about Burt 's scholarship. School
will not begin till the twentieth of September. He
said if you boys were back by November and
could make up a reasonable amount of work he 'd
make an exception in your cases owing to your
good records. I'm fairly confident that we'll be
back by November."
** I don't see how," interposed Mr. St. John.
'* IVe been reading up on Stanley's journeys in
that country and — ' '
** Hold on! " laughed Mr. Wallace. ** Please
remember, Tom, that Stanley made his trips in the
eighties — nearly thirty-five years ago. Where it
took him months to penetrate we can go in hours
and days. This is the end of June. By the first
of August well be steaming up the Congo. I
The Blind Lion of the Congo 43
don't think it'll take ns two months to cross from
the Aruwimi to the Makua and reach French ter-
ritories. In any case, I intend to return direct
from Loango, a port in the French Congo. We '11
come down the river under the French flag in a
French steamer, turn the comer to Loango and
there '11 be a steamer there waiting to bring us and
our stuflP direct to New York. I'm almost sure
we '11 be back by November. ' '
** Even if we aren't," put in Howard, ** it'll
only throw us out half a semester."
** Supposing they do miss connections, Critch-
field," said Mr. St. John, ** I wouldn't worry. It
is a great thing for the boys and perhaps an extra
six months in school won't do any harm. How-
ever, figure on getting back. ' '
***I guess it's up to you, Etta! " laughed Mr.
Wallace. * ' What do you say f Yes or no f "
As Burt said afterward, * * I came so near havin '
heart failure for a minute that I could see the
funeral procession. ' ' Mrs. St. John hesitated, her
head on her hand. Then looking up, her eye met
Burt's and she smiled.
*' Hurray I ** Critch joined Burt in a; shout of
44 The Boys' Big Game Series
delight^ while the latter gave his mother a stout
hug of gratitude.
** I don't know what we'll do here without
you,'' she continued when freed. ** When will
you start, George! "
** Since we have to be back by November," re-
plied the explorer, ** we'll leave here Monday
morning and catch the Carmania from New York
Tuesday. I 'U wire to-night for accommodations. ' '
** Monday! " cried Mr. St. John in amazement.
* * Why, there '11 be no time to get the boys outfits
or pack their trunks, or — "
** We don't want outfits or trunks, eh, Burtt "
smiled Mr. Wallace. ** The comfort of traveling,
Tom, is to be able to take a suit case and light out
for anywhere on earth in an hour. That's what
we '11 do. Wear a decent suit of clothes, boys, and
take a few changes of linen. We'll reach Liver-
pool Friday night and London on Saturday.
We'll get the outfits there, and if we hustle we
can pick up one of the African Steamship Com-
pany 's steamers Tuesday or Wednesday. ' '
** But your book! " asked Mrs. St. John. ** Is
that finished! "
** Bother the book! " ejaculated her brother im-
The Blind Lion of the Congo
patiently. ^^111 write the last chapter to-night
and if the publishers don't like it they can change
it around to suit themselves. I'm going to Africa
and I'm going to leave New York Tuesday morn-
ing rain or shine! "
** That's the way to talk I " shouted Burt, wildly
excited. ** Good for you, mother 1 I'll bring you
back a lion skin for your den, dadt '^
Had Burt been able to foresee just what lion
skin he would bring back and what he would pass
through before he got it he might not have been
so enthusiastic over the prospect of his African
The trip was began very much as Mr. Wallace
had outlined. The news spread rapidly that Burt
and Howard were going to Africa, and when the
two boys arrived at the station early Monday
morning a good-sized crowd of friends was pres-
ent to see them off.
" Take good care of yourself," cautioned Mrs.
St. John as she kissed her son good-bye. ** Don't
be afraid to telegraph ust "
The train pulled out with a last cheer from the
frat fellows, and Burt and Howard realized
that they were actually off. They arrived in New
York at noon and Mr. Wallace took them direct
to the Explorers' Club for luncheon.
Here they first began to feel in touch with the
outside world. The club was an institution com-
posed of explorers, hunters and wanderers in for-
eign lands. Its walls were decorated with game
heads, arms and armor of many savage tribes,
while in glass cases were hung odd costumes and
The Blind Lion of the Congo 47
headgear and unique relics and curios. At the
dining-room tables the boys saw bronzed and
bearded men who nodded to Mr. Wallace like old
friends or spoke to him in strange tongues.
* * You fellows wait for me in the library, ' ' said
the explorer as they finished luncheon. * * I guess
you^U find plenty to amuse you there. We'll stop
here for to-night. I'm going down to send off
some cables now and get part of our outfit ordered
ahead. When I come back we'll go out and see
the town a little."
^' Did you get rooms on the steamer f " asked
** Wired last night. The answer will be down
here at the office but there 's not much doubt about
getting them. See you in the library."
The boys made themselves at home in the li-
brary and in half an hour Mr. Wallace returned
with the stateroom slips. Then they took a taxi
and made a few purchases for the voyage. As
there was nothing to be obtained except some
clean linen and a steamer rug each, they spent
most of the afternoon ** seeing " New York City.
The evening spent at the club was a wonderful
one to the boys. On talking it over later they
48 The Boys' Big Game Series
found that they had only a confused memory of
meeting several famous men and of hearing some
* * Critch ! * ' whispered Burt as they lay in bed.
** 'Member that thin fellow with the scar on his
chin t S 'pose his yam was true ! ' *
** What! About being tortured by New Guinea
cannibals f '' returned his chum. ** Prob^y. That
sure was a whopper though that the man with the
black beard told! The one thatM been in China,
** Said he had photos of the Forbidden City,
didnH hef asked Burt. ** Gee! That story of
his about the joss with the emerald eyes and the
ropes of pearls — '*
So it went until long past midnight when the
boys finally fell asleep. They were up early and
after breakfast took a taxi again and went on
board the Carmaniay which was to sail at ten.
The voyage was uneventful to Mr. Wallace but
proved of tremendous novelty to the boys. By the
time they reached Liverpool Burt felt like new.
His color was returning fast and the sea air had
filled out his lungs once more and put him into
prime condition. The question of their outfit was
The Blind Lion of the Congo 49
what puzzled the boys most until they put it up
to Mr. Wallace.
** Oh, we'll get all that in London,'' he ex-
plained. ^ ' I cabled ahead so that most of it will
be ready. You see, boys, these outfitters put up
boxes of food in regular amounts for each day.
All I have to do is to tell 'em how long we'll be
gone and how many of us there are. They pack
a box — chop-boxes, they're called — holding
enough for so many days. According to custom
the blacks only expect to carry sixty pounds, so
these boxes are made up at that weight. All are
of tin, hermetically sealed. Some firms use col-
ored bands to distinguish the boxes but ours num-
bers each box and furnishes us with lists of what
** Some system, isn't iti " exclaimed Critch
admiringly. ** Do we have to carry everything
with us? Must be an awful freight bill! "
** Can't go to Africa for nothing," laughed Mr.
Wallace. ** Yes, we'll get most of that stuflf here.
We could get it at Boma but I'd sooner depend on
the English firm."
** Wish we could stay longer in London,"
50 The Boys' Big Game Series
sighed Burt. * * I hate to rush off without seeing
anything of the city. ' *
* * Well, our boat leaves Tuesday afternoon and
this is Friday," replied his uncle. ** Our chop-
boxes are already on board, I suppose. Our
trunks — tin-lined by the way — will probably go
down Monday night if we get our stuff Saturday.
I'd like to spend a week in London myself but if
we're to be back home by November we haven't
much time to waste."
The Liverpool customs did not delay them long
as they had only a suit case each, and they took
the night express for London. The boys were
much surprised and not a little dismayed when
they entered the English compartment cars, so
different from the coaches they were used to.
They soon found that it was much nicer to travel
by themselves, however, as Mr. Wallace inter-
viewed the guard and provided against intrusion.
In the morning they awoke to find themselves in
Mr. Wallace took them to the famous Carleton
House for breakfast, now entirely rebuilt after its
fire of the year before. When they had finished,
all three went to the writing room.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 51
** Take out your pencils now/' said the ex-
plorer^ ** and get busy. I know just about what I
want to take and a list ready-made will save a
lot of time in the shops. Beady? "
The two boys were not only ready but anxious.
The lists that they wrote out were identical. Here
is that of their personal effects and clothes as
Burt made it out.
Four suits underwear, Indian gauze.
Two dittOy woolen.
Two heavy gabardine shooting suits.
Two flannel shirts, khaki cartridge pockets.
Two pair high boots. One pair of soft leather.
Extra thick leggings, two pairs.
Camelshair poncho blanket, convertible.
Kid-lined gloves, two pairs.
Sleeping bag, waterproof.
Wool socks and pajamas.
Two khaki helmets.
Mosquito net for head and body.
Cholera belt, flannel.
Zeiss field glasses.
Large colored silk handkerchiefs, six.
Compass. Toilet articles.
** There,'' exclaimed Mr. Wallace as he ran
52 The Boys* Big Game Series
over Bnrt's list, ** that looks pretty good to me^
Tou won't need the wool underwear unless you
get prickly heat. The leggings are the most im-
portant. If you get scratched up by spear-grass
and thorns and then step into some swamp-pool
it's all oflf. You'd get craw-craw sure."
** What's that! " asked Critch. ** Sounds like
** It'g a skin disease," replied Mr. Wallace.
** Something frightful, too. The poncho will
serve for blanket and raincoat, but this is the dry
season. Must have the mosquito net, though.
When we get up the Aruwimi we'll find little bees
about as big as gnats but a whole lot worse, and
it '11 need thick nets to keep 'em out. \Now for the
Burt's ** armory " consisted of the following
Double-barreled Holland .450 cordite rifle, for
Winchester .405 rifle for general use.
Twenty-gauge Parker shotgun.
Eight-inch skinning knife.
** Ain't we going to take revolvers! " asked
Burt disappointedly as his uncle finished.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 53
** No,** replied the latter. ** They're of no use
whatever. I'll take mine from force of habit but
you chaps will never need one. Oh, the ammuni-
tion! Put down a hundred solid and a hundred
8oft-nosed cartridges for the Hollands; for the
Winchesters two hundred of each, and six boxes
of shells. That'll be enough to last us double the
** How 'bout a camera! " asked Critch anx-
iously. ** Will we be able to tote one along t "
" Surest thing you know I " replied Mr. Wal-
lace. " Well take one of those new moving-pic-
ture machines. They're no larger than a camera
and you can take motion pictures or straight shots
on the reel. ' '
** Geel That'll be great! " cried Burt delight-
edly. " But won't the heat spoil the reels f An'
don't they cost like furyt "
" The reels will be hermetically sealed before
and after using," explained his uncle. ** Needn't
worry 'bout them. The whole outfit only costs
twelve or thirteen pounds — say sixty dollars.
It's well worth it, too. Now for the tents. We're
going to travel light as possible, so put down two
double-roofed ridge tents twelve by ten, with
54 The Boys* Big Game Series
ground-sheets. Three cots without mattresses.
You'll have to do without them or pillows —
they 're a beastly nuisance to pack along. Canvas
bath each and condensing outfit to supply fresh
water. ' '
** Why's that, uncle f " asked Burt in surprise.
** Lots of fresh water, ain't there! "
** Lots," smiled his uncle, ** and lots o' guinea
worms, fever germs, poisons and other things in
it. Better add a four-quart canteen, glass stop-
pers, to your personal list. Can't take any cork
or the roaches '11 eat it. Two blankets for each
person, and six towels. I guess that 's all we need
put down now, boys. ' '
** Hold on there! " cried practical Critch
abruptly. ** How 'bout eatin' utensils and fryin*
pans, medicine, can openers a^d all them things ! ' '
** All arranged for," laughed Mr. Wallace.
* ' The cooking part of it will be up to John Quincy
* * John — who f ' ' stammered Burt. * * Say it
again, please! "
For answer Mr. Wallace pressed a button and a
** Send the manager here at once, please." The
The Blind Lion of the Congo 55
man bowed and withdrew and while the boys were
still staring at the explorer in wonder a dapper
little man appeared bowing.
* * Mr. Wallace ? Glad to see you looking so well,
sir I What can I do for you? ' '
* * I want that fellow Washington, ' ' smiled the
explorer. * * Can you let me have him for say three
months? I'm going down to Africa and he'll have
to go along. ' '
* * Certainly 1 I '11 send him right up, sir. ' ' The
manager vanished with another bow and Mr. Wal-
lace turned to the boys.
* * Washington — or John rather — is a Liberia
boy I picked up five years ago. He 's the best cook
on earth I He's been in China and South Amer-
ica with me and whenever I don 't need him he has
a steady job as fifth chef here. Ah, here he is I "
An immense black man appeared, wearing a
grin that almost hid his face, as Burt expressed
it. He stepped up and caught the explorer's hand,
not shaking it but pressing it to his forehead as
** Glad to see you, sar! What for you want John
** Africa, John. This is my nephew, Mr. St.
56 The Boys' Big Game Series
John, and my friend, Mr. Critchfield, who will go
along. We leave for the Congo Tuesday. ' '
** Pleased to meet you, sari '* The grinning
black pressed the hands of Burt and Howard to
his forehead in turn. ** What boat we leave,
** The Benguela. African Steamship Company
docks. ' *
** Hit's Liverpool boat, sari What time hit
leave London docks ! ' '
** Three o'clock, John. Here's a hundred
pounds." Mr. Wallace peeled oflf five twenty-
pound bank notes and handed them to the negro;
** that ought to buy your outfit, eh? "
** By hall means, sari Thank you. Hi '11 'ave
most helegant brass pots, sari "
* * Good gracious 1 ' ' exclaimed Burt as the cook
withdrew. ** You hand out bank notes as if
you're made o' money I S'pose the coon '11 ever
show up with all that wad on him ? ' '
** Show up? " repeated Mr. Wallace. ** Why,
I'd turn over my bill book to him and never count
it when he gave it backl He's a blamed sight
more honest than most white men you'll meet
down there. And nerve ! He carried me five miles
The Blind Lion of the Congo
on his back once, in northern China, stopping oc-
casionally to fight off a bunch of bandits. That's
the kind of man John is. ' '
** Fminy accent he's got," said Critch. ** I
thought all coons talked like they do down south. ' '
** You 11 get over that pretty quick I '' laughed
the explorer heartily. * * John can use West Coast,
cockney, Spanish and half a dozen other accents
accordin' to whom he's been mixing up with lat-
est. When we strike the Congo he'll probably fall
into French. Well, let's trot along to Piccadilly
and get measured. It's gettin' on toward noon."
The boys were now due to receive another sur-
prise. When their taxi drew up they jumped out,
fully expecting to see a wonderful store like those
of New York. Instead they found themselves be-
fore a dingy little shop whose aspect gave them
** No/' laughed Mr. Wallace as he dismissed the
taxi, " it 's all right I Doesn 't look up to much but
it sends out good stuff. ' '
This was the gunshop and they found it very
different inside. Mr. Wallace had no time to
waste in having special guns made, so the clerks
measured the boys' shoulders and arms and that
was all there was to it, for the guns would be
slightly altered and sent on board.
Now the party went to the Boma Trading Com-
pany's store. Here they found that the chop-
boxes had all gone on board their ship. Mr.
Wallace ordered three Borroughs and Wellcome
medicine cases, specially made up for the West
The Blind Lion of the Congo 59
Ck)ast. He also procured two hypodermic syringes
and a small quantity of Pasteur serums.
** We'll probably never need them,'* he ex-
plained, as they left the store, '^ but in case our
men strike a snake a quick hypodermic is the only
thing to save them. Then we have poisoned ar-
rows to consider also. If we happened to get into
the pigmy country — which I hope we won't —
it'll take a powerful anti-tetanic serum to kill
their poisons. ' '
After a lunch they returned to the Boma Com-
pany. The lists which Mr. Wallace had given the
clerks had been filled and now each of them was
measured for the clothes and personal equipment.
This consumed an hour, after which they took an-
other taxi and went to a camera supply house.
The boys went into extravagant delight over the
small and compact moving-picture outfit. Burt
promptly took charge of this, or rather promised
to take charge, for when the whole outfit had been
sealed up it would be sent down to the steamer
like the other supplies.
** Tell you what,'' he cried, ** we'll get some
great little old pictures! You let an elephant
60 The Boys' Big Game Series
cliase you, Uncle Gteorge, while I get a good view
and Critch shoots him I "
** Don't want much, do you? '* laughed his
uncle. ^^ Nothing like that for mine. I'd sooner
have an elephant after me, at that, than a big buf-
falo. That 's the most dangerous animal we '11 find
** How 'bout rhinoceros? " challenged Critch.
" All poppycock," snorted the explorer. ** A
rhino can't see ten feet away. He goes by smell.
He^U usually run away unless he's wounded. But
a buffalo doesn't wait to be wounded. You rouse
him up out of a comfortable feeding place and
he'll go for you. Takes more than one bullet to
kill him unless you're lucky."
The boys now stocked up with fresh linen for
the voyage while Mr. Wallace looked up his own
guns, which he usually stored in London. They
stopped at the Carleton over Sunday and Monday.
As Burt's father had sales offices in London they
secured a large touring car without cost and spent
the two days riding about the historic city. There
were various minor details of their outfits to be
attended to on Monday and on Tuesday noon they
The Blind Lion of the Congo 61
went aboard the Benguela, when she arrived from
She proved to be a large cargo and passenger
boat and was very comfortably fitted np. They
had seen nothing of John Quincy Adams Wash-
ington bnt Mr. Wallace smilingly assured them
that he would show up in time. Sure enough,
when they went up the gangplank the big negro
was waiting with his all-embracing grin.
** Good momin', sar, good mominM *' he cried,
taking charge of their hand baggage and assum-
ing a lordly attitude over the stewards. ** Very
hauspicious day, sari John t'ink we 'ave very
fine trip, sari "
And a fine trip they had. There were a dozen
other passengers on board. Most of these were
clerks or traders going out to positions at Sierra
Leone or the Gold Coast, with one or two French-
men and oflScials of the Congo State. When they
crossed the Equator there were the usual cere-
monies and horseplay among the sailors, and the
boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves. By the time
they left the Gold Coast behind and headed for
Banana Point Burt felt better than he had ever
62 The Boys' Big Game Series
been in his life and his uncle assured him that he
need not worry about the fever.
Finally the long reddish cliffs and grassy up-
lands of the Congo coast drew into sight late on
the fifteenth afternoon. The Benguela took a
black pilot aboard and proceeded straight up to
the port of Banana. Mr. Wallace and the boys at
once disembarked and interviewed the customs
officials and took a launch up to the capital, Boma.
The steamer would follow them after discharging
The next morning Mr. Wallace put on his rib-
bon of Commander of the Legion of Honor. The
boys were amazed at the respect which this gained
for all of them when they sought an audience with
the governor general. After explaining to him
the object of their trip and the length of time they
would be gone, Mr. Wallace arranged to have all
the necessary papers made out and to charter one
of the State steamers to take their outfit up the
** I can give you only a small one,*' said the
governor general. * * Unfortunately, there are few
at my disposal just now. Stay I You might ar-
range with Captain Montenay. He chartered La
The Blind Lion of the Congo 63
Belgique two days since for a similar trip, but
surely he '11 have plenty of room to spare. * *
** Montenayf '* repeated Mr. Wallace. ** Isn't
he the Scotch explorer? '*
* * Yes I ' ' smiled the governor. * * Come to think
of it I believe he is at the palace now. ' ' Clapping
his hands, he dispatched a gendarme. ** If you
can arrange matters with him I will see that your
baggage is passed directly to La Belgique through
the customs. You have no liquor, I presume? *'
** Half a dozen pint flasks of brandy,'' replied
the explorer and the governor nodded. It is one
of the strictest laws of the Congo that no liquors
shall be brought into the country, save in small
personal amounts. A moment later the gendarme
returned with a small, khaki-clad man. He was
very sallow of complexion, had dark hair and
eyes, and carried his left arm awkwardly. When
the governor introduced him to the three Ameri-
cans his thin face lit up with a quick smile and he
gripped Mr. Wallace's hand impulsively.
** So you're Wallace I " he cried, looking deep
into the other's eyes. ** Man, I've been wantin'
to meet ye for ten years! I ran across your trail
in China and got within fifty miles o ' ye when the
64 The Boys' Big Game Series
Cape to Cairo was snrveyin'. Man, I'm pleased
** I'm mighty glad to meet yon, too," smiled
Mr. Wallace. ** IVe heard a lot about you, Mon-
Mr. Wallace then introduced the boys and sug-
gested that they have a talk in another room of
the palace. Thanking the governor for his assist-
ance and kindness they followed the gendarme to
** Now, Captain, '* said Mr. Wallace, "we're go-
ing up the Aruwimi after ivory. We can't get a
large boat here and the Governor suggested that
you could take us up on the Belgique/'
** 0' course I can I '' exclaimed the small but
famous Scotchman. ** An' that's pre-cisely where
I'm bound for too. How'd ye guess it? "
** Good! " cried Mr. Wallace. ** When do you
start up? "
** I was meanin' to go in the momin'," an-
swered the other, rubbing his stubbly chin reflect-
ively. * * We '11 get your stuff out o ' the Benguela
to-morrow or ma name ain't McAllister Monte-
** We'll split expenses on the Belgique, of
The Blind Lion of the Congo 65
course,*' declared the American. "It's mighty
good of — '*
** None o' that now, none o* that,** interrupted
Captain Montenay hastily. ** Why, man, I'd give
a hundred pound for the benef eet o ' your company
up the stream 1 Ivory, you say! '*
** Partly.** Mr. Wallace answered the keen
questioning look with a nod. ** I'm going up past
the Avatiko country to the Makua and down the
river under the French flag. I've chartered a
tramp to be waiting at Loanga by November. Get
the idea? **
** Aye! ** Montenay threw back his head in a
noiseless laugh. * * Man, ye 're no fool ! I brought
down ten tusks two year gone. When I got down
to Stanley Pool the Afrique Concessions jumped
me an* laid claim to the lot. The rank thieves!
They had witnesses to swear that I got the ivory
in their land an* before I knew where I was they
fined me twenty pound — an' the ivory! By
cripes, they won't monkey twice with McAllister
Montenay though! Well, let's be movin*. It'll
be vera tiresome gettin' these blacks to work.**
As they passed a water cooler on their way out
the captain paused. The boys saw him take a
66 The Boys' Big Game Series
bottle from his pocket and pour out a palmful of
white powder into a cigarette paper. This he
roUed up and threw into his mouth, tossing a glass
of water after it.
^^ Quinine/' he explained, although he called it
** Pretty big dose, wasn't it? " asked Mr. Wal-
" 'Bout fifty grain," replied the other calmly,
to the intense astonishment of the boys. * * Fever
gets me bad down here on the coast. By cripes,
ye 're a lucky beggar t " he continued as they
came in sight of John standing guard over their
valises. ** That's your man Washington? I've
heard o' him. They say he's a magneeficent
** Better than that," laughed Mr. Wallace.
** He'll take charge of your blacks and get real
work out of 'em. Do you mean what you said
about going up the Aruwimi? "
*^Aye." Montenay nodded. ** We'll talk that
over later. Ye '11 be wantin' yer mosquito nets, so
better bring the stuff down to the Belgique.
We'll sleep on board her to-night."
As they had stayed at the hotel the night be-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 67
fore, the boys had not been troubled much by the
insects. They were much more worried by the
quantities of quinine that Mr. Wallace insisted
on their taking. When Burt had protested at tak-
ing ten grains all at once his uncle had laughed.
** Nonsense 1 I'm running this tripl Why, it's
nothing unusual for men to take seventy and
eighty grains out here. So put it down and shut
up or I'll send you back home! ''
They found the Belgique to be a small but com-
fortable little steamer manned by a crew of a
dozen blacks and a Swiss pilot. The Benguela
came up the river that afternoon and the smaller
steamer was placed alongside her. By special ar-
rangement with the customs people the boxes be-
longing to Mr. Wallace were slung right out to
the deck of La Belgique. Here John was in
charge of the blacks and under his heavy-handed
rule the cases were rapidly stowed away.
Mr. Wallace and the boys got out all their per-
sonal equipment at once. The heat was intense
and the boys naturally suffered from it greatly at
first, although the two older men did not seem
to mind it in the least. By the next afternoon
68 The Boys' Big Game Series
their loading was completed and the Belgique
headed upstream without further delay.
Their five days' trip got the boys inured to the
heat somewhat. They never tired of watching
the tropical forest on either bank of the river and
the strange craft that plied around them. Al-
though there were many other steamers and State
launches as well as trading companies' boats,
there was no lack of dugouts and big thirty-foot
canoes laden with merchandise from the trading
posts. The two explorers lay back in their canvas
chairs and recounted their experiences in strange
landsy while the boys listened eagerly as they
watched their new surroundings.
The water-maker, as John called it, was in-
stalled the first day out. The boys found their
cook to be all that Mr. Wallace had stated and
more, while Captain Montenay was so delighted
that he laughingly offered John exorbitant wages
to desert the American, but in vain. The
Belgique made stops for wood only and after four
days they arrived at the mile-wide mouth of the
On the fifth day they arrived at Yambuya, just
below the great cataracts which stopped further
The Blind Lion of the Congo 69
navigation. Here the two experienced explorers
nnloaded the chop-boxes, tents and other supplies
and proceeded to make arrangements for hiring
bearers. This was accomplished through the
local chief with the aid of the government repre-
sentative, who was an Italian. Indeed, the boys
found that not only were Belgians and French em-
ployed all through the country, but men of every
nationality, from ** remittance men *' of England
to Swiss and Cubans.
After a two days* delay at Yambuya the cara-
van was formed. It consisted of one hundred
Bantu porters under the directions of a head-chief
who spoke French fairly well, as do many of the
natives. Besides the porters there were tent boys,
skinners, gun-bearers and cooks to the number of
thirty. Captain Montenay spoke Bantu to some
extent and all the orders were given by him direct
while the river trip was continued.
The expedition started from the other side of
the cataracts in five immense dugout canoes pad-
dled by the porters. For the white men had been
provided a small antiquated launch with which
the canoes were easily able to keep up.
* * Well, ' ' said Mr. Wallace as they puffed away
The Boys' Big Game Series
from the shore, ** the real tripes begun, boys!
We'll arrive at Makupa to-morrow and then np
to the Makna! "
" Maknpaf '* exclaimed Captain Montenay.
** Why, that's only a hundred and fifty miles up!
Well, we can talk it over later. John, fill a can-
vas tub. I feel the need o * havin ' a bath. ' *
And Captain McAllister Montenay 's bath was
the first indication that the boys received of the
THE MABK OF PONGO
The folding tubs they all used were more like
little canvas rooms, open at the top. The crew of
their launch consisted of two Bantus. One of
these helped John fill the tub by the simple
method of standing on a chair and pouring water
on the head of the occupant of the tiny chamber
after his clothes had been thrown out.
The boys were watching the proceedings and
intended to follow the captain's example. As he
fimished he told the Bantu boy to hand him his
clothes and stretched out an arm through the slit
in the canvas walls. As it happened, this opening
faced the boys.
The Bantu held up the bundle of clothes. As
Captain Montenay took them the boys saw the
black recoil suddenly and sink to his knees with a
low groan, his face gray. Burt immediately
leaped to his feet and caught the Bantu but the
latter thrust him away and staggered back to the
72 The Boys' Big Game Series
engine. Here he sank on a locker and buried his
face in his knees.
" WeU I'll be jiggered 1 '' exclaimed Burt half
angrily. ** What's the matter with himt '* He
was about to call his uncle who was up under the
forward awning when Critch caught his arm.
** Shut up! " the red-haired boy whispered ex-
citedly. * * Come over here. ' * When they reached
the rail he turned on Burt. ** Didn't you see it,
you chump f What's the matter with you, any-
** Met " gasped Burt, bewildering by this sud-
den attack. * * Say — ' '
** Thought you saw it sure," interrupted his
chum hurriedly. ** Didn't you see Cap'n Mac's
** No," returned Burt shortly. ** Like any
other arm, ain't itf I was lookin' at the sick
**Sick nothin'," retorted Critch. ** Cap'n
Mac's got a shoulder on him enough to scare a
cat ! When he shoved the canvas back I could see
it all twisted up an' dead white, with a big red
scar on the comer o' the shoulder. That nigger
wasn't sick — he was scared 1 "
The Blind Lion of the Congo 73
** Scared! ** Burt stared at Critch and then
turned to look at the Bantu boy crouched on the
locker. ^' Golly 1 Mebbe he isl Say, what was the
scar like? *'
^^ Looked to me like a cross but I didn't see it
well. Come on, we'll ask the coon. He talks
They stopped beside the Bantu. The second
black was sitting in the bow at the wheel and had
noticed nothing. Critch took the black by the
shoulder and gave him a shake, while Burt ad-
dressed him in French.
** Wake up, boy! What scared yout "
The Bantu gave one terrified shudder and his
eyes were rolling wildly as his head came up
* * Pongo ! L 'embleme de Pon — "he began with a
frightened gasp and then stopped. His face re-
sumed its normally blank expression and he
glanced around quickly.
" What's Pongo t " questioned Burt. ** What
do you mean by the sign of Pongo f ' '
" No savvy, m'sieu, no savvy." The Bantu
shook his head and absolutely refused to say an-
other word in spite of threats and commands.
" Come on," said Critch disgustedly. ** He's
74 The Boys' Big Oame Series
wise to something but he won't let on. There's
Cap'n Mac. Shut up/'
They rejoined the captain and Mr. Wallace in
the bow. Evidently the Scotchman had neither
seen nor heard anything unusual, for he at once
plunged into discussing plans with Mr. Wallace.
* * Look here, ' ' he said finally. * * I can 't give up
that cook o' yours, Wallace! YeVe got a good
Scots name too. S'pose we make one party? "
* * One party I ' ' exclaimed Mr. Wallace. * * I
thought you were going more to the east f ' '
** Aye, but I ain't over parteec'lar. Mind, I'm
no sayin' I'll go clear to the Makua wi' ye, but I
" Here's John with the dinner," said Mr. Wal-
lace. ** We'll talk it over while we eat. Looks
mighty good to me, Montenay ! I'd like you to go
with us if you will."
** Hello, what's this stuflff " cried Burt as he
leaned over his bowl and sniffed suspiciously.
John stood by with a triumphant grin.
" Smells good," commented Critch. Captain
Mac, as they had come to call him, winked at Mr.
** It's vera good for fever," he said solemnly.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 75
** They make it out o' chopped snakes an' nigger
bones. ' '
The boys looked np in dismay but were re-
assured by Mr. Wallace's smile and John's ever-
present grin. Burt put the question to the latter.
** Palm-oil chop, sari Chicken chop-chop, palm-
oil, peppers, bother t'ings halso, sar. Hit be
good. ' '
The boys cautiously sampled the concoction
and found it to be new but not unpleasant. Be-
fore they had been in the country another week
they were vociferously demanding palm-oil chop
from John every day. The launch tied up at a
plantation dock for the night and at daylight pro-
ceeded on her way.
* * Hello ! ' ' exclaimed Critch as he emerged
from the tiny cabin for breakfast. ** That's
funny! Thought it was in my outside pocket.*'
'* What's bitin' youf " asked Burt with a
rather sickly smile. He also was fishing in his
** My compass — it's gone! "
*' Same here," confessed Burt after a moment.
* * I '11 be jiggered ! My coin 's all right ! ' '
*' What's the matter? " inquired Mr. Wallace.
76 The Boys' Big Game Series
He was jnst coming out and behind him was Cap-
tain Mac. The boys explained their strange loss
and Montenay frowned.
** That's queer, '^ he said thoughtfully.
** Mine's safe. How's yours, Wallace? "
** Here.'* Mr. Wallace produced his own sil-
ver-set compass from an inner pocket. ' ' You 've
probably dropped 'em around the cabin, boys. ' '
The two turned and vanished hastily but reap-
peared shaking their heads. The missing instru-
ments were not to be found on board, although a
thorough search was made of the launch and men.
* * Na doot they were stolen, ' ' said Captain Mac
as they sat at breakfast. ** These blacks will steal
anythin' that ain't nailed down, an' they were
prowlin' all about last night. Well, we'll get new
ones at Makupa from the trader when we get
*' It's decidedly queer, Montenay! " Mr. Wal-
lace looked out over the river with a perplexed
frown. ** Why should these two compasses van-
ish, when nothing else in the cabin was touched f
I don't like it."
** Ye know what ju-ju is, o' course? " Captain
Mac leaned back easily in his chair as the Ameri-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 77
can explorer nodded. '* The Bantos think com-
passes are jn- ju. ' *
** What's that! '' asked Critch.
** Anything they don't understand and that
savors of witchcraft or mystery is jn-ju,'* ex-
plained Mr. Wallace. ** In that case, Montenay,
onr compasses will be looked upon as the gods of
a Bantu village, eh t ' '
* * Aye. Let 's get our business done with, Wal-
lace.'* Montenay deftly rolled himself a quinine
capsule and swallowed it. ** What d'ye sayf
Shall we combine or not "
" I don't see why we shouldn't," returned Mr.
Wallace thoughtfully. ** We're both after ivory.
One caravan will cut down expenses for each of
us. You're not sure about making the Makua
with us? "
* ' Well, ' ' replied the other slowly with a sharp
glance at Mr. Wallace, " I'm no sure yet. There's
some mighty queer country north o' here that I'd
like to have a look at. Mind, I'm no promisin'
anythin' whatever. I'll be free to come an' go."
** Of course," answered Mr. Wallace. " Then
it's agreed. Captain 1 We'll leave Makupa to-
gether in the morning."
78 The Boys' Big Game Series
" Vera good. Now I'll be lookin' after a letter
or so under the awnin' aft where the shakin' ain't
80 strong." Montenay rose and strolled aft and
was immediately absorbed in his traveling writ-
ing-case. Mr. Wallace gazed after him re-
** There's a curious man, boys! We're in luck
to have him along. There probably aren't a dozen
men in Africa who haven't heard of him and there
probably aren't a dozen who know him outside of
officials. He always travels alone. If he strikes
in at Zanzibar or Nairobi he 's likely to come out
at Cairo or the Cape."
" Strikes me as a good sport," agreed Burt
heartily. ** He don't say much but I'd hate to
monkey with him when he gets mad. Say ! Ever
hear o' Pongo, Uncle George? "
** Pongo t " repeated the evplorer as he stared
hard at Burt. ** Pongo! No, don't think I have.
What is it?"
The boys explained what had taken place the
previous afternoon but to their surprise Mr. Wal-
lace frowned disapproval. ** Whatever it is, boys,
it 's his business. If you '11 look at his arm you '11
see a dozen scars. I have a few myself. That's
The Blind Lion of the Congo 79
where a native chief cuts a gash in his arm and
ours, the cuts are rubbed together and we are
then termed * blood-brothers/ It may have been
some such mark that scared the black boy/'
*' No it wasn't,'* asserted Critch positively.
** It looked like a cross. Wasn't cut either.
Looked like a burn more than anything else. ' '
* * Then forget it, ' ' commanded Mr. Wallace de-
cisively. * ' It 's none of our business. I must say
that Montenay's mighty indefinite though. He
says he's after ivory and wants to have a look at
the country. But if I know anything he's not
worrying about ivory this trip."
** Why not? '' asked Burt. '* D'you mean he's
** Lying is a strong term, Burt! " smiled his
uncle. ** It's not a nice word to use either. No,
I think he 's keeping us in the dark about his own
projects. Probably he has some new animal or
some new tribe he wants to be sure of getting all
the credit for discovering. Naturally he wouldn't
want to run any risk of our cutting in on him. ' '
Just then the subject of their discussion re-
joined them and the topic was changed. On up
the river they went all that day while the big
80 The Boys' Big Game Series
canoes followed closely with the paddling-chants
of the men rising from time to time. The breeze
created by their motion relieved them of the
clonds of mosquitoes and other insects bnt the
heat was so great that it even affected John to
Jnst before snnset they reached the Maknpa
station. This consisted of a large native village
dominated by the State trading post, a corru-
gated iron building whose whitewashed walls
contrasted strongly with the palm thatched huts
of the blacks all around. The trader met them at
the landing and proved to be a Belgian, pleasant
and courteous in every way.
They spent the night here. In the morning
they were up before daybreak and Mr. Wallace
mentioned the compasses as they were dressing.
At that moment Burt was speaking to Captain
Montenay, and he saw a peculiar light flash into
the little explorer's face when his uncle spoke.
That look puzzled Burt somewhat. He was still
more puzzled when Montenay rushed through his
dressing and hurried from the room. The sudden
change in the man had evidently been caused by
The Blind Lion of the Congo 81
his uncle ^s words, but Burt could not see any con-
When they entered the lamp-lit dining room for
breakfast they found the agent and Captain Mac
together. The former sprang up and greeted
them eflfusively, hastUy stuffing something into
his pocket that looked to Burt like banknotes.
Still, the boy remembered his uncle's words of
the day before and made up his mind not to
bother about other people's affairs.
" Oh, the compasses I '» ejaculated Mr. Wallace
as the black boys brought in fruit and coffee.
*^ Lieutenant, we lost two compasses coming up
the river. It would be a great assistance if you
would sell us a couple from your stores.'*
** Alasl " An expression of dismay rose to the
Belgian's face and he spread out his hands help-
lessly. * * My friend, I am grieved deeply to have
to inform you that we have none! A trading
party came down the river last week and com-
pletely cleaned me out, even to my own instru-
ment. I am desolated, my heart is torn, but it is
A sudden suspicion flashed across Burt's mind
but as he glanced sharply at Captain Mac he dis-
82 The IBoys* Big Game Series
missed it. Montenay was the picture f f dismay,
but to all their suggestions and queries the Bel-
gian only returned a ** desolated ^' shrug.
** Well, never mind.'* Mr. Wallace smiled at
Montenay in resignation. " We still have ours.
Two should be enough. Now make a good break-
fast, boys! We eat from chop-boxes after this.*'
With sunrise the caravan started north from
the station. The river bottom was low but Cap-
tain Mac asserted that after a day 's journey they
would find themselves on the higher plains, and
this proved quite true. On the second day they
entered the great forests and left behind the half-
civilized tribes. As they drew up to the top of a
hill-crest that rose among the trees Critch caught
Burt's arm and pointed ahead to where the jungle
'* There we are, ol' sport! Look at 'em, just
look at *em!"
And Burt saw through his glasses a number of
black groups of animals, grazing and moving
** What are they, Uncle George! " he cried in
high excitement to Mr. Wallace who was also
looking through his glasses.
The Blind Lion of the Congo
" Hartebeest, bushbnck and antelope,'* replied
the explorer calmly. "If I'm not mistaken
there's a rhino in that patch of bush about two
miles to the right — see it f John, O John ! Get
those gun-boys on deck, will yout *'
" Are we going to have a hunt! '* asked Burt
as they left the hill and plunged forward into the
jungle again at the head of the caravan.
'*Not to-day,'' laughed Mr. Wallace. '* We
won 't get out of this till night, will we t ' '
** Hardly,'* replied Montenay. ** Once we get
out o' this thick jungle and up to those plains we'll
have clear sailin'. I'm no meanin' that we'll find
no jungle there, mind, for we will. But by night
we'll be in more decent veldt-country I'm
They camped at sunset in a grassy space clear
of trees. As Captain Mac had predicted, the low
and malarial jungle was left behind them and
they were now getting into the higher lands.
These were scattered with patches of dense forest
and jungle, but there were also great plains or
veldts covered with game and animal life.
** Now we'll make those gun-boys earn their
pay," said Mr. Wallace the next morning.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 85
* * We '11 shoot half a dozen antelope every day to
give the bearers meat.''
** We'll be shootin' more than that," grimly
added Captain Mac as he held up his hand for
silence. ** Hear that? "
All listened. It seemed to Burt and Critch
that in the distance sounded a faint mutter of far-
away thunder, and they looked at the older men
* * Lion, ' ' laughed Mr. Wallace shortly. * * If we
only had ponies we'd land him to-day 1 "
The advisability of taking horses along had
been discussed but the explorer had vetoed it
finally. ** It would only be an experiment," he
had declared. ** In other parts of the country it
might work but not in the Congo. We have too
many jungles to wade through and a horse would
be stung to death in a day or two."
Three or four of the Bantu hunters were sent
ahead, and toward noon, as they approached a
little rise, one of these came running back. He
said something to Captain Mac, who translated.
** Get your guns! They've located a herd of
wildebeest an' hartebeest just ahead."
The boys excitedly took their second-weight
86 The Boys' Big Game Series
guns from the bearers. The heavy guns were not
needed for the antelope. They all moved forward,
while the porters halted in charge of John, and
after a half hour reached the crest of the rise,
wading through the deep grass and bush. Here
the Bantus made a gesture of caution and care-
fully parted the grass ahead of them.
The boys gave a little gasp of surprise. Be-
fore them was a plain scattered with high ant
hills and trees. Grazing without thought of dan-
ger were hundreds of antelope-like animals, some
with long curving horns and others with straight
spiral ones. As Burt watched them he found him-
self trembling with feverish excitement.
** Keep cool, lad! '* whispered Captain Mac
with a slight smile. ** See that group to the
right? Take the bull hartebeest. Eeady, Wal-
Mr. Wallace and Critch had selected their ani-
mals and the former nodded. Montenay gave the
word and all fired together. Burt saw his bull
give one tremendous leap and fall. Critch, who
had fired at a small bull, had poorer luck, for his
animal bounded off with the others of the herd
and was gone in an instant. Both Montenay and
The Blind Lion of the Congo 87
Mr. Wallace had dropped hartebeest bucks, and
the bearers were jubilant as all ran down the hill.
** Now, Critch,'* said Mr. Wallace, ** it's up to
youl You boys stay here with the blacks and
we'll go back and bring on the porters and the
salt. Keep the heads of that hartebeest of Burt 's
and mine. We don't want to fill our empty chop-
boxes too fasf
As the tin-lined chop-boxes were emptied they
were to be used for packing heads and skins of
game and were thus doubly useful. The Bantus
took out their knives and while Burt transmitted
in French the orders of his chum they set to work.
Mr. Wallace and Montenay returned to meet and
bring up the caravan, whose advance was neces-
The skilled blacks first removed the two heads
and skinned them carefully. Then they laid aside
the skulls for boiling and cut up the three bodies
to serve as rations for the porters while the boys
stood looking around them. Although the great
herds had bounded off at the volley, they had only
gone a mile or two away and in the thin clear air
seemed half that distance. Burt stood with his
eyes glued to his glasses for a few moments, then
88 The Boys' Big Game Series
saw a jackal a hundred yards to the right, slink-
ing through the grass. As jackals are invariably
destroyed wherever seen he called Critch and
took a gun from the pile dropped by the bearers.
Luckily for him he grabbed up one of the heavy
Winchesters in his haste.
** Come on, Critch 1 Get over to that ant hill
an' we'll bag him.'*
Not far from the jackal was one of the tall hills
made by the white ants. As these are hard as
rock and often eight or ten feet high they make
excellent shelter for hunters. Critch caught up a
gun and ran after Burt hastily.
When they reached the ant hill they located the
jackal in a patch of brush below them. Only his
head was visible, but the two boys aimed and fired
together and he dropped.
** Bet I got him in the eye! '* cried Critch as
they ran toward the spot. ** Got a dandy bead on
'' Hello 1 What's that? '' Burt stopped suddenly
and pointed to a patch of trees a hundred yards
farther on. Above the stunted growth they saw
a number of little birds flying erratically about.
The Blind lAon of the Congo 89
** Look at that — golly! '* whispered Critch,
'' What's that big black thing— ''
** Elephant 1 '* returned Burt fumbling at his
** Elephant nothing! Look at the birds — ain't
any birds on elephants — it's a rhino! Come
An indistinct shape showed through the bush as
they made their way forward but they could not
make out what it was and hesitated to fire. They
knew that the rhinoceros is guarded by numbers
of tick birds and concluded from the birds flying
above the bushes that this was a rhino. They got
to within eighty yards before alarming the beast.
Then came a crashing and swishing of the bush
and out stalked a big rhino, sniffing the wind and
advancing slowly toward them.
** Get behind that ant hill! '' exclaimed Critch.
Separating, they took up positions beside two of
the conical mounds. " Got your big gun? Go to
Lifting his rifle, Burt fired. He had aimed at
the shoulder of the great beast but to his dismay
the shot seemed to have absolutely no effect. In-
stead of dropping, the rhino threw up its tail
90 The Boys^ Big Game Series
and earSy gave a little squeal and started for Burt.
Burt fired again at fifty yards. His bullet
struck the rhino in the head and glanced off, serv-
ing only to increase the rage of the brute. He
broke into a lumbering gallop and Burt yelled to
Critch to fire.
The latter obeyed but in his haste missed en-
tirely with his first bullet and with his second only
torie the rhino's left ear slightly. Burt raised his
own gun and aimed at the eye. Again his shots
had no effect, for he missed the delicate mark af-
forded by the eye and both bullets glanced from
** Duckl '* yelled Critch, dancing up and down.
^* He can't see! Duck!''
Burt ducked, for the rhino was within ten yards
and thundering straight at him. Dropping his
gun he sprang behind the ant hill and around it.
But the animal had seemingly anticipated this or
had turned its charge at Critch, for Burt almost
leaped on the tossing horn of the beast.
With one wild spring backward he ploughed
headfirst into the grass. He heard both barrels
of Critch 's heavy gun. As he wriggled up he saw
the rhino, not ten feet away, stop short as the ter-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 91
rific charge struck him behind the shoulder. For
an instant he wavered, then sank to the ground
A wild burst of yells sounded behind as Burt
arose. The Bantus had observed the aflfair and
when they saw the rhino fall, ran forward with
high glee, while just over the crest of the rise
appeared the caravan.
Burt walked over to his chum with somewhat
shaky steps and held out his hand without a word,
for something kept him from speaking.
** Oh, shucks! " said Critch huskily. ** You
dog-goned idiot! You pretty near scared me to
death. Didn 't you hear me yell f ' '
** Didn't hear nothing Burt smiled weakly.
** I was wishing I was back home and had never
seen Africa. If you hadnH shot he'd got me — ''
*'Come out of it!'' replied Critch. ^' He
couldn't see you and was coming for me. Ain't
he a big fellow? " As they walked over and
stood beside the great black body that lay
stretched in the grass with the Bantus around it,
Mr. Wallace and Captain Mac ran up.
** What's this meant " roared the former as he
92 The Boys' Big Game Series
saw the body. ** Haven't you two got sense
enough to — ' '
** Leave 'em alone 1 " shouted Captain Mac de-
Ughtedly. '' They've kiUed himl Hurray 1 "
The exuberant Scotchman seized Burt and
whirled him around in a wild dance as the excited
porters came up. Burt gave the honor to Critch
and when he told of his narrow escape Mr. Wal-
lace at once directed camp to be formed.
** Now see here," he ordered as the skinners
collected around the body, ** I've had enough of
this business. After this you take Burt with you,
Montenay, and I'll take Critch. Those young vil-
lains are crazy enough to do anything if we leave
'em alone. Understand, boysT If you chase off
by yourselves you get sent back home. ' '
Seeing that Mr. Wallace was thoroughly
aroused and in earnest, the boys hastily promised
that his orders would be obeyed in future. Then
they examined the carcass of the rhinoceros care-
fully. Burt's first shot would have killed the
beast in time but it was the two from Critch 's rifle
at close quarters that had proved fatal almost in-
stantly. By that evening the Bantus had removed
The Blind Lion of the Congo 93
the skin from the rhino and were ready to pare it
down for transportation.
** That^U take a couple of days anyway, '* said
Mr. Wallace that night as they sat around the fire.
^ ^ I think we might as well establish a camp here
for a week, Montenay. We are right in the game
country and I can get hold of all the specimens
I want to send home while we are here, and get
them safely oflf. Then we can strike on after
ivory and see what we'll find.'*
** Suits me/' returned Captain Mac. ** YeVe
done vera well, lads! The horn o' yon beast is
** I'd kind o' like to keep the head, uncle," said
Burt. ** Critch an' I had a hard time gettin' him.
We don't want the skin but we could set up the
head back home an' — "
** Surel " returned Mr. Wallace heartily.
*' We'll keep the skin without paring it down,
then. We can trade it to the natives for almost
anything we ask. Aren 't there some villages near
here. Captain? "
Montenay called up the head Bantu and put
some questions to him. They learned that there
was a village several miles off where ivory might
94 The Boys' Big Game Series
be found, and the Bantu was ordered to send a
man over in the morning to bring back whatever
ivory the natives might have to trade.
The next day Critch and Burt superintended
the preparation of the rhino head and the skins of
a number of various antelope varieties which Mr.
Wallace and the captain shot. On the day follow-
ing the Bantu messenger returned with a score
of blacks who bore two small fifty-pound tusks.
These they gladly traded for the rhino skin, which
they would use for shields, and for some tobacco,
beads, and sweaters of blazing red.
On that same day Burt evened up trophies with
his chum. In the afternoon Mr. Wallace and
Critch went oflf together when the trading had
been finished. Barely had they left when a Bantu
ran in with the news that there was a herd of buf-
falo near the stream which ran a few hundred
yards past the camp. Captain Mac immediately
called Burt and the gun-bearers and on they went
with all haste.
After half an hour's walking they located the
buffalo at the edge of the creek bed in a thick
jungle swamp. Holding their guns in readiness
the explorer and Burt advanced slowly. They
The Blind Lion of the Congo 95
could see two or three bulls watching them, the
rest of the herd being hidden. Not until the hunt-
ers were within a hundred yards did the buffaloes
move. Their massive white in-curving horns
shone against the black bodies, and their wicked
little eyes were fixed sullenly on the men.
Suddenly the nearest bull shook his head and
began advancing. At this the gun-bearers scat-
tered despite Montenay's shouted threats, and
sought the shelter of ant hills. Captain Mac and
Burt held their heavy guns and the former told
Burt to take the first shot.
By good luck the boy 's bullet struck the buffalo
in the eye and penetrated the brain. Before Mon-
tenay could lift his weapon the others had turned
** Well,'* laughed the explorer, ** that^s better
than I expected. I was lookin' for a charge from
'em. Fine old bull too ! ' '
The buffalo was a splendid trophy and the men
at once began skinning him. That evening Mr.
Wallace determined to finish the buffalo hide and
then send back the specimens they had collected.
** I've got enough to stock the club for years,"
The Boys' Big Game Series
he laughed. ** No use being a hog — hello, that's
" What's the matter? *' asked Montenay from
across the fire.
** Why — why — yes, sir, it's gone!'* Mr.
Wallace arose, searching his pockets. Then his
face hardened. " John, call up those boys who
were with me this morning! My compass has
CAPTAIN MAC SUSPECTED
Montenay and the boys gave an exclamation of
surprise and Captain Mac leaped to his feet with
excited questions. Mr. Wallace, however, replied
nothing. Burt had never seen his uncle really
angry before and now he realized why this man
was respected all over the world. The strong face
was more hawk-like than ever. Between the
down-drawn brows were too deep furrows, the
thin mouth was set grimly, and the piercing eyes
were aflame with anger. Even Montenay quieted
down suddenly when he saw Mr. Wallace's face.
John very respectfully brought up a group of a
dozen blacks who stood in fear and trembling as
the loss of the compass was made known to them.
Falling on their faces one and all denied any share
in the theft.
** John, call the headman. *' When the latter
appeared, fully as frightened as his men, Mr. Wal-
lace turned to him. ** You see these men? *' The
explorer spoke so rapidly that Burt could not
98 The Boys^ Big Game Series
gather more than a few scattered words of
French, but what he heard made him spring up
with a cry of protest.
** Sit down! '* ffis uncle whirled on him sav-
agely and Montenay nodded approval. The head-
man turned an ashy gray and bobbed his head
against Mr. Wallace's boots while a howl of fear
went up from the black boys, who returned to
their companions, accompanied by John with a
** What'd he sayT *' whispered Critch anx-
iously. Mr. Wallace heard the words.
** I gave 'em ten minutes to produce that com-
pass,'* he said quietly. ** If they didn't do it by
then I told 'em I'd bury those boys up to their
necks in the swamp down yonder and leave 'em. ' '
** What! " Critch was on his feet instantly.
** Why — why — you — "
** Sit down, lad! " Captain Mac laughed and
pulled him back. ** It's only a bluff. Don't fash
yerself over it."
** Was that all? " demanded Burt eagerly and
his uncle nodded without a smile, to his intense
** 111 be walkin' over yonder," declared Mon-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 99
tenay rising. ** I'll chat with 'em in their own
tongae a bit, Wallace. It may do good.'*
For five minutes not a word was spoken. Mr.
Wallace stared into the fire while the boys looked
alternately at him and at the fires of the blacks,
fifty yards away. Then Captain Mac strode np
and with a word tossed the gleaming silver-
mounted instrument into Mr. Wallace 's lap.
** She's broke," he said shortly. The Ameri-
can calmly examined the compass, as did the boys.
The glass was shattered as if a stone had smashed
it, while the needle no longer swung on its pivot.
** Who had it? " asked Burt's uncle.
** Mgoro, the hunter." Captain Mac spoke
quite as a matter of course and Mr. Wallace's
anger seemed to have vanished suddenly. ** He
said he found it just outside the camp and that it
was already broke. I discharged him and told
him to go back in the momin' without his wages.
He 's lyin ', o ' course. ' '
** Of course," agreed Mr. Wallace musingly.
With this the subject was closed. In the morning
Mgoro was sent on the back trail in disgrace, al-
though he still asserted his innocence. For two
days more the camp remained in the same place.
100 The Boys' Big Game Series
Then the buffalo skin was pared down and packed
and a dozen porters were sent back to Maknpa
with the specimens. Mr. Wallace had already ar-
ranged with the Belgian there to send them on
down to Boma.
The only compass now in the party was that
belonging to Montenay, who guided them. Usu-
ally Captain Mac and Burt went ahead to the right
while Mr. Wallace and Critch went to the left,
each party taking a number of hunters and gun
bearers. Owing to their lack of compasses it was
not possible to wander very far from the caravan.
Every morning Captain Mac and the headman
Moboro mapped out the day*s march and at noon
and at dark the two parties returned to the cara-
For several days they did little shooting of any
importance. Each party brought in two or three
food-animals for the porters, and jackals were of
course shot on sight. On the third day after leav-
ing their * * Specimen Camp, * * as Burt named their
halting place, came their first adventure.
They are getting well into the lion country by
this time and each camp was made as small as
possible with plenty of fires around it. As Burt
The Blind Lion of the Congo 101
and Captain Mac returned to camp at noon of the
third day they found the Bantus in high excite-
ment and were greeted with the news that two
lions had been sighted in a dense thicket just
ahead. Mr. Wallace and Critch soon came in and
all four went toward the thicket while a number
of Bantus armed with spears and shields went
around to drive out the animals.
This was done by the simple means of setting
fire to the dense clump of bushes. The party took
up their position near an ant hill. With them
were the gun-bearers and a dozen Bantu hunters.
When the thicket was fired a dense cloud of smoke
hid the nearer edge. Almost at once a tremen-
dous roar was heard. The Bantus replied with a
yell of defiance.
As they did so a great tawny shape flew out of
the cloud of smoke and struck down a hunter.
Mr. Wallace fired instantly and the lion whirled
about and came for the party. The Bantus flung
their spears, but the beast dashed them aside and
not even the heavy, jacketed bullets stopped him.
When he was ten yards away and crouching for
his last bound the gun-bearers broke.
" IVe got him,'' announced Captain Mac
102 The Boy 8^ Big Game Series
quietly. As the lion sprang he fired and the beast
rolled over, clawing at the grass. At the same in-
stant the lioness bounded out of the smoke.
Critch broke her foreleg with his first bullet and
his second brought her to the earth. She rolled
over, then gave another spring. Burt followed
Montenay's example and fired just as the beast
left the ground. This time she stumbled heavily
and lay still, for the bullet had found her brain.
The combat had been short but hot. The Ban-
tus brought up their wounded comrade for atten-
tion. He had been badly clawed in the arms and
shoulders but his shield had saved him from fa-
tal wounds, and Mr. Wallace soon had him fixed
up. The Bantus were hugely delighted over the
success of the hunt. They danced about the
bodies with waving spears and shields while Burt
took some good pictures. Then the skinning be-
When the skins had been safely packed the
caravan again moved forward, and two days later
they came to a native village. When he heard the
name of the place Mr. Wallace looked somewhat
surprised, then consulted a map which he had
The Blind Lion of the Congo 103
procured at Boma. He folded it up without a
word, however, and they entered the town.
** We're in the elephant country at last,'* an-
nounced Montenay that night. ** These fellows
say that there is a small herd off to the east two
miles. Suppose we go over to-morrow.*'
** To the east! '* repeated Mr. Wallace.
* * Aren 't we rather working away from our bear-
ings! However, no matter. I'm after ivory and
not particular where I find it. We'll go to-mor-
row. ' '
Burt was just a little puzzled at his uncle's at-
titude. He said nothing definite, but the boy in
some way got the idea that he was watching Cap-
tain Mac. At first Burt put aside the thought.
Then he resented it, for he had a strong liking for
the eccentric Scotchman. Finally he resolved to
wait and see what turned up.
That night his suspicions were confirmed. He
and Critch slept together in one of the small tents
and as they arranged the mosquito nets for the
night Howard paused.
** Say, did you notice anything funny about
Cap'n Mac lately! "
104 The Boys' Big Game Series
* * No, ^ ' replied Burt. ' * Uncle George is acting
kind of funny, though. ' *
** You bet he is," nodded Critch. ** He's just
about got the goods on Cap 'n Mac, too ! ' '
** What! " Burt stared at his chum eagerly.
** I knew it! Spit it out, old sport.**
** It's that compass business. Anyway, that
got your uncle going. When we was ridin' after
that hartebeest to-day he comes out with it. This
here place ain't on our line o ' march at all. We 're
'way east of where we ought to be! "
'' East! " repeated Burt. '' What's that got to
do with Cap 'n Mac ! " He was still ready to stand
up for his friend, though Howard's confident air
sorely shook his faith.
** Like this. Your uncle says Montenay's been
leadin' us wrong. He don't know what for and
he's waiting to find out. B'lieve me, I'd hate to
be Cap'n Mac when he does find out! Golly, he
was mad to-day! "
** Does he think Cap'n Mac swiped our com-
*' You bet! Thinks that business with Mgoro
was a put-up job, too. When we were out to-day
we found a young eland lying dead. It had two
The Blind Lion of the Congo , 105
o ^ the blamedest arrows in it you ever seen. Here *s
the head o' one."
Critch produced a little bundle of skin from his
pocket and very carefully unwrapped it. He laid
a long many-barbed iron point in Burt ^s hand.
*' Watch out for it. That black stuff's poison,
your uncle says. It's a pigmy arrow."
* * What 's a pigmy arrow I ' ' asked Burt. * ' Oh,
you mean — "he stared at Critch, who nodded.
* * That 's what. We 're over east near the pigmy
country, 'stead of being up in the higher country
where we ought to be. We'll be in the jungle in
another day, your uncle says. ' '
** What's he going to do about itt " asked Burt.
** Here, take this blamed thing back.'* And he
very gingerly deposited the arrow-point in the bit
** Nothing," replied Critch. ** He says to lay
low and keep your eye peeled. He ain't going
very far into the jungle either."
Whether Montenay noticed anything in their at-
titude the next morning or not, he was as gay as
ever when they started out after their first ele-
phant. In fact, he had never appeared more open,
frank and merry than he did this morning and
106 The Boys' Big Game Series
Burt found himself involuntarily siding against
They were accompanied by a large force of
trackers from the town. After a stiff two-mile
walk into the deep forest toward the denser jungle
one of these trackers returned with word that a
herd was not far ahead. Soon afterwards the
party came upon the spoor. In low places the
tracks were big holes three feet in depth. They
were always marked by shattered and broken
smaller trees and torn branches.
Suddenly an elephant trumpeted close by and
the boys jumped. Now they stole along quietly
in single file, while they could hear the great
beasts feeding and crashing among the trees not
a hundred yards away. The party moved noise-
lessly in the tracks of the elephants, for their
great weight had left no sticks or leaves to crack.
Birds flew up in flocks and monkeys chattered all
around. Then as the trail twisted about the boys
saw their first wild elephant — a good deal closer
than they could have wished.
Without the least warning the bushes and mass
of tangled creepers at their left parted with a tre-
mendous crashing and a big bull surged out
The Blind Lion of the Congo 107
twenty feet away. He was as much snrprised as
they and stood looking while the blacks fled. Mr.
Wallace and Captain Mac fired almost together,
one bnllet taking him in the shoulder and the
other just above the eye. Neither wound was fa-
tal but for an instant the great beast was stunned
by the shock and stood reeling. Then as he lifted
his trunk, flapped his ears forward with his great
in-curving tusks half raised and took a step to-
ward the party, both men fired again and the im-
mense bulk quivered and crashed down dead.
The blacks raised a shout of joy but only for
an instant. At the sudden firing shrill trumpeting
and crashing had gone up from the herd in front,
and another bull appeared in the path in full
charge. Trees, matted creepers and bushes went
down before him and for an instant the little
group stood paralyzed with the sudden danger.
Then Burt raised his rifle and fired. His bullet
was wildly aimed but proved lucky, for it struck
the elephant in the eye and penetrated the brain.
He staggered forward another step and then
rolled over just as the others fired.
** Good for you! " cried Mr. Wallace. He
gripped Burt 's hand and shook it heartily, as did
108 The Boys' Big Game Series
Captain Mac. Critch pounded his chnm on the
back in an ecstasy of delight. The herd had
crashed away and was gone, and as one of the
bearers was carrying the camera, Burt and Critch
got some views of the dead elephants, after which
the hunters took out their knives.
The hides were disregarded as not worth the
effort of preparing. The tusks were cut out and
the feet were taken off to be served up by John
as the most delicate of jungle dishes. Then the
local blacks fell to work and cut up the rest of the
carcasses for home consumption. It was about
noon, so Mr. Wallace decided that they would re-
turn to their camp and follow the herd another
* * This is good country, * ' he said as they walked
along. * * Between hunting and trading we ought
to get a nice lot of ivory together pretty soon. I
think I '11 make a permanent camp just outside the
town and not go in any farther, Montenay.'*
Captain Mac merely nodded. He remained very
silent, however, on the return trip. When they
got home the tusks were weighed and it was
found that the smaller bull, the first to appear,
carried one hundred and ten pounds of ivory.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 109
The larger, which Burt had killed, was a good
deal older and his tusks weighed twenty pounds
* * That 's big ivory, lad, ' ' said Montenay as they
sat down to their postponed lunch in the after-
noon. *' It ain't often ye '11 get beasts carryin'
more'n a hundred thirty. 'Cept, o' course, some
old chap who's wandered oflf by himself an' kept
the blacks too scared to be huntin' him. I mind
once I dropped just such an old bull down south
an' got a hundred seventy — nigh to bein' a rec-
** It was a mighty lucky shot," laughed Burt.
'* I just threw her up an' let go 'cause I was too
scared to aim. Goin' out to-morrow! "
** Since ye 're goin' to camp here permanent,"
returned Captain Mac, addressing Mr. Wallace,
** I'm thinkin' I'll be takin' a little hike into the
woods. I'll take a score o' the boys an' be back in
** No, you won't." Without the least trace of
excitement in his voice Mr. Wallace whipped out
his revolver and covered the other. ** Keep your
hands on the table, Montenay ! Burt, remove the
THE WHITE PIGMIES
As Burt obeyed it seemed to him that the
Scotchman was taking the situation very coolly.
The little thin man sat silently with his eyes on
those of Mr, Wallace and only his quivering nos-
trils denoted the emotion that must have con-
** Now, Captain Montenay,*' resumed Mr. Wal-
lace when Burt was again seated, ** let^s have a
little explanation.^' Burt saw that his uncle's
face looked as he had seen it on the night when
his compass disappeared. ** In the first place you
stole our compasses. ' '
* * I did not ! ' ' Captain Mac gave a harsh little
laugh. ** Ye have yer own, or what's left of it.
I've got the other two in my pocket. I removed
'em temporarily so to speak. Be more choice in
yer use o ' words, man. ' '
** Secondly, you've been leading us astray."
** Aye," retorted Captain Mac, ** but I didn't
give ye the credit for findin' it out so quick. "
] the table, Montenayl'
TRE NEW YORK
The Blind Lion of the Congo 111
* * Now you propose to leave us here, on the edge
of the jungle country/* continued Mr, Wallace.
* * There are three things that are open to explan-
ation. Captain Montenay. I am sorry to use this
method of persuasion but it seems to be neces-
sary/' The little man's face lost its look of half-
malicious mockery and for a moment he did not
answer but stared over the head of Mr. Wallace
at the afternoon sun.
** If I'm not wantin' to tell, man, I'm thinkin'
ye'd have a hard job to make me," was his an-
swer at last.
* * If you won 't tell, ' ' snapped out Mr. Wallace,
** I'll tie you up here and now and carry you back
to Boma. You know what you'd get there."
** Aye. Is that yer final deceesiont "
** It is. Explain or go to Boma."
** Vera good. Gi' me the gun, lad." To Burt's
vast surprise his uncle nodded and replaced his
weapon. As Captain Mac quietly buckled the re-
stored revolver about his waist his face broke into
a wrinkled smile.
* * It '11 be a lon^sh yam, Wallace. " There was
no trace of animosity in his tone. ** Let's finish
112 The Boys' Big Game Series
eatin' an* when I get the old pipe between my
teeth I'll feel Uke talkin\''
Their meal was finished in silence. Before Cap-
tain Mac gave his explanation, however, a start-
ling event happened. It seemed that a dozen men
of the village had remained with the bodies of
the elephants to remove more of the meat. Just as
Captain Mac was filling his ancient and evil-smell-
ing pipe a native rushed into camp shouting some-
thing that sent the pipe to the ground and the
captain to his feet.
The native came up and fell on his face. After
a hasty exchange of question and answer Captain
Mac turned to the others and Burt saw that a
strange light stood in his dark and rather sad
** Gtet out the medicines, Wallace. We've got
seven dying men on our hands. We may save one
or two with serum and morphia.''
** Why, what do you meant " cried Mr. Wal-
lace, giving a shout for John. When the trusty
cook had been dispatched for the medicine chop-
box Captain Mac explained further.
** Those chaps we left wi' the beasts yonder
drove off some Wambuti pigmies, bein' utter fools
The Blind Lion of the Congo 113
and prob'ly ignorant o* what the dwarfs were.
They got a shower o' poisoned arrows in return.
A bunch from the village just found 'em an' are
bringin' 'em in here."
John arrived with the medicine case and Mr.
Wallace got out his serums and syringes while the
boys stared at each other in amazement.
** That's what them dirty little black arrow-
points do, ' ' said Critch in a low tone. Just then a
band of men came running into the camp. On
their shoulders they bore rude litters which they
set down before Mr. Wallace with gestures of
On the litters lay seven men. All were gray
with pain and sweating profusely. As they lay
there Burt could see their naked breasts rise and
fall with the increased palpitation caused by the
poison. The matter of Captain Mac was forgotten
on the instant, as all four went to work in a des-
perate effort to save the wounded men. The cap-
tain hastily loaded the hypodermic syringes and
handed them to the other three, who injected the
contents into the arms of the wounded as rapidly
as possible. While this was going on the camp
was surrounded by the villagers, and only the lev-
114 The Boys' Big Game Series
eled guns of John and the other men held them
One of the men died just as Mr. Wallace was
treating him, although neither of the boys noticed
it until they had finished. Then the wounds were
cauterized, a task which was not relished by the
boys. In fact, the smell of burning flesh was
nearly too much for Burt, who retired temporarily.
** There,** and Captain Mac straightened up
with a sigh of relief, '* I guess that's all we can
** Will they recover? ** asked the American
quietly, washing the syringe. The other shrugged
'* Mayhap. Don't let the village people have
*em, John. The witch doctor *d kill 'em sure.
They'll sleep till morning. If they wake they
can be thankin* us for it.**
Critch said nothing. He was pale and his knees
felt shaky, for their task had been no pleasant one,
and he fervently trusted that they would have no
more poisoned arrows in future. A few moments
later all were once more gathered about the table
in the dining-tent, where Burt rejoined them.
Montenay calmly refilled his pipe and began.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 115
'* As I was sayin', Wallace, the yam is a long
one. I'm thinkin' it'll no bore ye to listen,
though, ' ' and the Scotchman chuckled.
** Fire away,'' smiled Wallace grimly. ** We
have time to bum." For a moment the other
puffed away in silence, his eyes fixed on the tent-
wall behind Burt. Then he began his story, the
strangest story which the two American boys had
ever listened to.
'* Two years ago, it was. I started out o'
Nairobi wi' the most elegant bunch o' fightin' men
ye could find. Took me nigh a month to select
'em. I laid it out as a scientific trip, to the British
authorities, but the men knew better. I bought
'em all trade-guns wi' lots of ammunition, for I
was after two things.
* * Trip before that, I had met up with an Arab
dealer called Yusuf Ben Salir, what misused me
like a nigger. He was a slave-merchant on the
quiet, an ' would ha ' sold me upcountry if I hadn 't
got away. I was after him first, and ivory next.
We headed off for the Congo line, baggin' a little
ivory as we went.
** One day we learned from the natives that
Yusuf was twenty mile ahead of us wi' plenty o'
116 The Boys' Big Game Series
tusks and a big trade-caravan. Two days later we
caught upy formin' a zareba near his. He had
twice as many men, but mine were picked, ye re-
* * Well, the details o * what happened don 't mat-
ter. We were busy for three days, and I will ad-
mit that Tusuf had his merits as a fighter. But at
the last his nerve failed him, and when we rushed
his zareba, he and his men made their getaway —
leaving everything behind. While I was lookin*
over his stuff I found two things wrapped up in
** One was a queer shaped bit o* wood which I
flung away, like a fool. The other was a bit o*
cloth with Arabic written on it. I can read the
lingo, and I made out that Yusuf had been down
near the pigmy country an' had run across some
yam about white pigmies. ' '
*' White pigmies! *' ejaculated Mr. Wallace in
astonishment, while a look of keen interest swept
across his face. ** Then the story was sol *'
** What story t ** asked Montenay sharply.
** Why, a tradition I heard up in the Sahara,
that there was a white race of small people
somewhere down this way. The Arab who told me
The Blind Lion of the Congo 117
was mighty reticent about it, and I gathered that
there was some queer religions feature to. the
tradition, if it was one."
"It was not," asserted Montenay, betraying
signs of excitement for the first time, and leaning
forward. '* Wallace, it was fact! I found the white
" Whatl " A simultaneous cry went up from
his three listeners and Mr. Wallace's eagle-face
was bent sternly upon the narrator.
" Careful, Montenayl " he said with repressed
eagerness. " Kemember yon are not talking to
green hands I "
" Man, it's the truth! " There conld be no
doubt of Captain Mac's sincerity as he leaned for-
ward and met the American's gaze. There .was
more than sincerity in his eyes. There was an
appeal for belief, a conviction, that won over the
others instantly. " The truth I But that's only
the least of it."
"And your proofs?" inquired Mr. Wallace
" Proofs enough," rejoined the other, more
calmly, " in their time. I didn't take much stock
in the Arabic stuff, but I thought I'd take a shot
118 The Boys' Big Game Series
at it. I sent half o^ the boys back wi* the ivory
and a plausible story o* how we came to get so
much. Then I asked the rest if they 'd go with me.
*' After the way we'd wiped up Yusuf, they
were ready for anythin*. After all was fixed up
we started, fifty boys an' me. We worked down
slowly from the high country, takin' it easy an*
gatherin' in spoils as we went. Finally we got
down to the jungle an* touched the edge o' the
pigmy country. Then it began.
** We had no trouble till we started inquirin'
through some o ' the pigmies that come in to trade.
As soon as we asked about their white relations
the camp emptied like a flash. The last little
dee vil out turned an ' put an arrow through one o *
* * It was just a massacre, man. The boys were
fair ragin ' at the way they were shot down, and I
pushed 'em ahead fast. We went through that
jungle like a whirlwind. Finally there were only
seven boys left, an' they refused to go any farther.
Didn't do 'em any good, for the next day the
pigmies rushed us. I was pretty well played out
by that time, as ye can judge. When the smoke
blew away five o ' my boys were laid out, and I was
The Blind Lion of the Congo 119
tied up with the other two. If I hadn't been so
obstinate about pushin* on we might ha* pulled
*' However, we put a good face on it. They
treated us fine, but kept us on the jump for a week,
movin* from place to place through the jungle.
For another week we were stuck in one o* them
pigmy villages. Queerly enough, they hadn't
touched a thing belongin' to us except the guns
an' chop-boxes an' general camp stuff.
* * 'Bout the end o ' the second week they routed
us out early one momin', highly excited. When
we got outside we found the whole village squat-
tin' around ten new chaps, who were armed wi'
trade-guns and seemed to boss things pretty gen-
eral. But what struck me was that while they
were of the same size as the rest, they were white. ' '
" White! " exclaimed Mr. Wallace again. His
thin cheeks were dashed with color, and his bril-
liant eyes showed that he no longer doubted the
truth of Montenay's story. The latter nodded
** Not white like us," he continued, ** but as
white as an Arab or thereabouts. Their faces
120 The Boys* Big Game Series
showed more intelligence than those o ' the blacks,
an' they seemed to be overlords o' the — '*
** Hold onl *' Mr. Wallace broke in with a
puzzled frown. ** Surely you don't mean that,
Mad There could be no feudal system of that
sort here in the very heart of Africa I The blacks
haven 't the brains — ' '
** Aye, but the whites have! '' cried Montenay
triumphantly. ** These white pigmies ain't fools
by any means, as ye '11 see later. Now will ye quit
interruptin' me? "
** Go ahead," laughed Mr. Wallace, and the
boys saw that Captain Mac was really so inter-
ested in his own story that he was anxious to lay
it before them without more delay.
* * I meant to tell ye this yarn, ' ' he went on, * ' a
bit later on, as ye '11 see also. The party o' whites
were in command of a young chap named Mbopo,
an' we took to each other first crack. Well, they
carried us off through the jungle for a week's trip.
We must ha' been on the edge o' the pigmy coun-
try, for we traveled hard. At every pigmy village
Mbopo seemed to get reports or somethin' o' the
kind, an' also tribute in the way o' slaves. By the
The Blind Lion of the Congo 121
end o * the week there were six others besides our-
** Then we spent a day at the village o* the
white pigmies. Man alive, ye should ha * seen 'em I
They seemed to live on the blacks, just like the
blacks live on the big tribes around, an* they
lived well. Palm huts, o ' course, but there seemed
to be a system o' government that beat everything
I ever saw outside the Zulus.
* * We passed through two more o * the white vil-
lages, then struck a big stream an' followed that
for a day or two. Finally we got into a bit o'
higher ground an' struck the biggest surprise of
all. Just before sunset we came out o' the forest
into a stretch o' yam patches along the river. Be-
yond these an' right ahead of us was the biggest
village we had seen yet — three to four hun-
dred huts, I'd say. Outside was the whole tribe
waitin' for us. Off to one side, near the forest,
was a good sized palm hut, and around it was a
zareba. ' '
** What's queer about that? " asked Mr. Wal-
lace, as the narrator paused for a moment. The
boys saw a smile flicker across Montenay's face.
** The zareba was made out o* ivory," was his
122 The Boys* Big Game Series
quiet reply. Burt at once broke into a laugh,
thinking that Captain Mac was joking.
'' Pretty good,'' he chuckled. '' What'd they
do — cut up the tusks into square blocks to make
a six-foot wall? " But his mirth died away sud-
denly as his tmcle made a silencing gesture.
* * An ivory zareba, ' ' went on Montenay. * * Made
o' tusks, clear around the hut. They were set
with points up, curvin' out. But I didn't get much
chance to see it then. We were taken into the vil-
lage and I was given a hut to myself. The young
chap, Mbopo, reported to an old, wizened witch-
doctor who was the boss. I judged he was
speakin' in my favor, but the old fellow shook his
head an' waved a hand at the separate hut. The
whole crowd set up a yell o ' * Pongo ! ' Then they
threw me into the hut.
* * I stayed there for eight days, too. Ye '11 mind
that there were just eight slaves an' mysel' in the
party. They treated me well, fed me fine, but
every night I heard a big jamboree goin' on. On
the ninth evenin' they brought me out. The vil-
lage was surrounded by the usual thorn zareba, an '
the whole tribe was gathered just inside the gates,
feastin*. Mbopo an' three others tied me up an'
The Blind Lion of the Congo 123
carried me out halfway to the separate hut. Here
they laid me on the ground beside a small fire.
' * The old wizened chap came out after us with
a long iron which he stuck in the fire. Then he
pulled off my shirt an * did — this. ^ ' Captain Mao
slipped down his shirt collar and exposed the
scarred shoulder that Critch had seen on the boat.
As the others gathered around with exclamations
of astonishment^ Burt could see that the scar was
in the form of a cross, except that a long loop
took the place of the head-piece. Besides this,
the whole shoulder seemed a mass of cicatrices.
* ' Yon *s the shape o ^ the bit o ' wood I found in
Yusuf^s packet,*' went on Montenay, when Mr.
Wallace interrupted him in wonder.
* * Mac ! Do you know what that symbol is ? ' *
** It's the sign o' Pongo,'' returned the other.
** From what I saw later it had to do wi' ancient
* * I should say it . had ! ' ' ejaculated Mr. Wal-
lace, sinking back into his chair and staring at
Montenay, who slipped his shirt back into posi-
tion. '* Why, that sign is the Egyptian cross, or
ankh — the symbol of life, and the peculiar in-
signia of Maat, the ancient Goddess of Truth I "
The Boys' Big Game Series
** So I found out, if ye*d given me time to
finish, ' ^ replied Montenay drily. * * Mbopo an * the
rest staked me ont there an' left me. What wi'
the bum an' the insects that settled down, I was
pretty nigh gone inside an hour. The fire was out,
an' just after moonrise I heard a * pad-pad' o*
steps near by. Then a minute later I caught one
glimpse of a monstrous lion, just as he sprang an'
grabbed me by the wounded shoulder. That fin-
ished me for sure, and I fainted. ' '
THE SACBED AKKH
** When I came to,*^ continued Montenay, ** I
thought sure I was crazy. I was lyin* in a palm-
thatch hut, on a floor littered wi ^ bones an ' refuse
an' smellin' to high heaven. To one side was a
little dish full o' palm oil, with a lighted wick
floatin' in it. Leanin' up against the wall, behind
the lamp, was a big painted mrnnmy. Layin' in
front o' the mummy was an ankh, four foot long
an' made out o' solid gold.*'
** What! '' Mr. Wallace stared at the other,
almost speechless. The two boys, fascinated by
the deadly earnestness of Montenay 's recital, were
pale with excitement. ** But go ahead, man. I
can talk later. ' '
** I was still trussed up like a turkey, but I
wriggled and squirmed until I got loose. My
shoulder was badly torn up,*' went on Captain
Mac, ** and I was nigh frantic wi' the pain. A
little o' the palm oil helped, but wi' them things
around me I thought sure I was crazy. I crawled
126 The Boys' Big Game Series
to the door, an ' found I was in the hut inside the
'* The whole business must ha* gone to my head,
for I don't remember very well what happened
then. I know I went back to the mummy an* saw
that his neck was torn open. There was some-
thin* shinin*, and I grabbed at it. Just then I
heard somethin* behind me, an* there was the big
lion, standin* and lashin* his tail. I remember
laughing, then I caught up the lamp an * flung it at
him. The oil blazed up as the vessel smashed him
fair between the eyes, he gave a roar, and I fainted
** Next I remember was Mbopo bending over
me. The poor fellow had come to the hut in the
momin* an* found me. It seemed that I had been
staked out as a sacrifice to Pongo. This Pongo
was a combination o * the lion and ankh. The ankh
was the real god, but the lion had taken up livin*
in the hut, so the lion was called Pongo and wor-
shipped as the reg'lar deity. In short, whoever
had possession o* the ankh could boss the whole
country. Pongo, which was the lion, had carried
me to the hut. I was in possession o* the hut an*
was the first who had ever escaped the sacrifice.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 127
Therefore, I was sacred and in the way o^ bein* a
god mysel'. I didn't find this all out right off,
mind. I stayed in that village for six months.
^^ I taught Mbopo some English an' learned
some pigmy talk. No, I didn 't bother none what-
ever wi' the lion. He showed up later an' took
possession o' the hut again. My shoulder was a
long time healin ' and I guess my nerve was gone
for a while. Man, but I wanted to carry off that
gold ankh an' that ivory I But the thing was im-
possible. After six months I got a chance while
I was out wi ' hunters, and I lit out. I worked my
way out by strikin' a bunch of Arabs who treated
me white. That 's the yam. ' '
There was a moment of silence. Burt and Critch
stared at Montenay in fascination. Mr. Wallace
was looking down at the table. Finally he glanced
up and spoke, slowly.
** Mac, you said something about proofs."
* ' I did that. ' ' Captain Mac unbuckled his belt,
and took a small silk-wrapped package from it.
** I told ye that I grabbed something from the
mummy. Here it is. "
Mr. Wallace unwrapped the package, while the
boys leaned over his shoulder in high excitement.
128 The Boys' Big Game Series
From the oiled silk fell out three linkeQ scarabs,
set in wrought gold. Critch gave a gasp, but Mr.
Wallace turned over the scarabs and held them
closer to the light as he examined their inscrip-
** Hml '* he exclaimed at length. ** Montenay,
your proofs are pretty good. This seems to have
formed part of a necklace belonging to one Ta-
En-User, high priest of Maat. I should say the
scarabs belonged to about the Twenty-first
Dynasty. ' '
** Ye 're no child yerselV' chuckled Captain
Mac in delight. * * That 's just what they told me
at the British Museum. Now, here's another
** Ye know more about old Egypt than I do,
Wallace. From what I could learn from Mbopo,
it seemed that long ago these white pigmies mi-
grated from the east to where they are now. On
their way they struck a half -ruined * * City of the
Gods, ' ' as Mbopo called it. They brought away a
lot o' stuff from there, which they looked on as
sacred. All that's left is the mummy and the
ankh. Is that possible ? ' '
** Possible," returned Mr. Wallace, ** but hardly
The Blind Lion of the Congo 129
probable. They might have run across one of the
extreme southern Egyptian cities, and indeed that
wonld be the only logical explanation of the
presence of these things so far west. Yes, the tra-
dition must be true. It 's a strange bit of prehis-
toric African history youVe run into, Mac.''
** It is that," rejoined the other. ** Well, for a
year I've been tryin' to make up a party to carry
off that ivory an' that gold ankh. I got hold o'
Tom Beynolds at Cairo, an' put it up to him. He
called me a plain fool. I found McConnell in Lon-
don. He laughed at the yam. I tried to find you,
but ye'd vanished around Tripoli. So at last I
came down to tackle the job alone.
** When I struck your party, I knew right off
that wi' the laddies along ye'd never tackle it.
Man, I was fair desperate I I determined to lead
ye off to the edge o ' the pigmy country, where we
are now, an' then put it up to ye. There ye are,
Wallace. Will ye come in wi ' me an ' try it f The
pigmies won't hurt me, mind."
Mr. Wallace stared at the scarabs. Burt stole
a glance at his chum, and the two waited in breath-
less interest, not daring to urge the project. At
length Mr. Wallace sighed.
130 The Boys' Big Game Series
** YouVe tempted me, Mac, tempted me more
than you know! I'd like nothing better than to
make a dash for that place with you — not only
for the treasure, but for the discoveries we could
make. But with the boys here it is impossible. I
am responsible for them, and I dare not go off and
leave them in this country. If you'd told me this
back up the river I'd have left them at the trading
station and made a dash in with you. ' '
** Oh, uncle! '* burst out Burt, dismayed.
** Ain 't it perfectly safe f Take us ! Let 's all go I
Cap'n Mac says they won't hurt him; he's a kind
o' god, an' he can fix it so's we'll all — "
** No," broke in his uncle decisively. ** I re-
fuse to take the risk, Burt. No use, lad. That 's
finaL You'll have to trust to my judgment in this
affair. ' '
** Ye 're right," nodded Montenay dejectedly.
** I can't blame ye, Wallace. But do ye under-
stand? Ye won't hold the compass business
against me — "
Mr. Wallace sprang to his feet and held out his
** Nonsense! Shake, old chap, and forget it! "
The Blind Lion of the Congo 131
And the two clasped hands silently, while the boys
gave a shout of delight.
*' I knew it! " cried Bnrt joyously, dancing
around the two men. ** I knew Cap^n Mac was
all right! Hurray! "
** I wish you'd take us an' get after them white
pigmies, though," put in Critch disconsolately.
** I'd certainly like to get hold of that mummy,"
asserted Mr. Wallace, his eyes sparkling. ** To
say nothing of the ankh ! ' '
** An' to say no thin' o' the ivory an' gold,"
** But," cried Burt excitedly, ** why didn't you
get after that lion an' kill him? I should ha'
thought you 'd do that right away ! ' '
** No," and Montenay shook his head. ** As I
told ye, my nerve was pretty well gone, laddy.
The pigmies had guns, but they were old trade-
muskets. None o' them except Mbopo, mebbe,
would ha' stood up to the lion. That chap Mbopo
was a good sort. He stood by me right along, took
care o' me when I was sick wi' fever, cured up my
wounds, an' learned to speak passable Scots
dialect. It was amusin' to hear the boy speak the
132 The Boys' Big Game Series
** That feudal business interests me,'* said Mr.
Wallace thoughtfully. ** Was this Mbopo a
chief » ''
** I don't know, rightly,'' returned the other.
" The old witch-doctor was the boss, but Mbopo
seemed to be second in charge. The women o' the
place cultivated yams an' plantains, while the men
hunted. They didn 't seem to use poison, like the
black dwarfs. That 's another queer thing. They
had poisoned weapons, right enough, but they got
supplies o' the stuff from the blacks. Ye mind,
the Wambuti and other black dwarfs are simply
parasites on the bigger tribes. Well, these white
chaps were parasites on the black dwarfs, near's
I could figure it out. ' '
Critch related what had happened on the launch
coming upstream, when the black boy had caught
a glimpse of Montenay's shoulder. The eccentric
explorer laughed heartily.
** They all know it," he said. ** The whites
couldn't draw it out o' them wi' tortures, but
every tribe hereabouts knows what Pongo is, or
think they do. It's mostly reputation. These
niggers are mighty superstitious."
** Well, we ain't goin' to leave that white pigmy
The Blind Lion of the Congo 133
business without doin' anything, are wef " asked
Burt. Captain Mac glanced at his uncle.
** Not if I can help it,*' he smiled. ** How about
my original proposition, Wallace? Now that ye
know the yam, will ye wait here for me while I
take a crack at the pigmies f "
** Why, yes," returned Mr. Wallace slowly.
* * But frankly, Mac, I think you would be foolish.
We are on the edge of their country, but you'd
have to get through the black fellows first. They
wouldn't know you, and in any event would prob-
ably have forgotten all about you. By the way,
in which direction is this place of Mbopo'sf '*
** Northeast from here,'* returned Montenay,
** as near as I know. I'm pretty sure I'll be all
right, Wallace. I can show the beggars my
shoulder if necessary. Once I get to Mbopo with
a few bearers, we'll bring off the ivory.''
" If they'll let you," supplemented Mr. Wallace.
" You're too cocksure about it, Mac. While I'd
be perfectly willing to go along if I was alone, my
personal opinion is that it's mighty risky."
** Nothing venture, nothing win," laughed Cap-
tain Mac gayly. ** Man, but I'm eager to be done
wi' the caravan and into the pigmy country! Now
134 The Boys' Big Game Series
let's settle our plans. How long would ye be
willin' to wait here? ''
** That depends on how long yon'U be,*' an-
swered Mr. Wallace, Yankee-like. ** If you meet
with opposition I suppose you'll come baekf "
** That I will," responded Montenay. " Sup-
pose ye wait here two weeks for me. If I don't
show up by then, work up towards the Makua. If
I get the stuff I'll hit the headwaters o' the Makua,
get some canoes, an' come down. How's thatf "
* * Sounds all right to me, ' ' rejoined the Ameri-
can. ** We'll give you two weeks, then. If we
hear nothing from you by that time we '11 move up
slowly toward the Makua. It will be easy enough
to learn whether or not you have passed down-
stream. We'll wait there another two weeks,
which is all I dare give. That will make about six
weeks in all. ' '
** Vera good," announced Montenay with a nod
of satisfaction. ** Now about the boys. I'll take
twenty, if that suits you. Some rockets might
come in handy, too."
These rockets were some that Mr. Wallace had
obtained at Soma, made so they could be fired
The Blind Lion of the Congo 135
from a gun or revolver. They were intended for
signaling at night, but had not been used so far.
** Half the caravan is yours/' laughed the
American. ** You'll leave your guns here, I sup-
** All but my Express/' returned Montenay.
'' I'll travel light."
** When will you start f " asked Burt.
** To-morrow morning," grinned the explorer,
calling for John. When that worthy appeared he
was instructed to make all arrangements and
select a score of the best Bantus as porters. A
bustle of excitement soon rose from the camp,
while the four discussed the final arrangements.
In half an hour John reappeared and informed
them that all was ready for the start.
Before daybreak the boys were up and at break-
fast. With the first streak of gray in the east Cap-
tain Montenay called his men together, and all left
the camp. Mr. Wallace and the boys had decided
to accompany him for a mile or two in order to see
him off safely.
The party started toward the northeast, in
which direction the forest extended and dipped
down into heavier jungle and lower ground. After
136 The Boys' Big Game Series
two miles they came to a small stream, and here
the farewells were said. Montenay shook hands
all around, with no display of emotion.
** If ye 're no seein' me again,'* he said to Mr.
Wallace, while the porters were fording the
stream, ** ye'll deliver the letter I gave ye last
** I will,'' answered Mr, Wallace soberly.
** And what's more, I'll ship the boys home and
come back for you. So long, old man! "
** So long. Good luck to ye," and Montenay
was caught up between two of his men and carried
across the shallow stream. On the opposite bank
he turned and waved, the three gave him a hearty
cheer, and with his little band he was lost in the
MVITA SAVES BUBT's UFE
For three days after the departnre of Captain
Mac there was little hunting done. Silent and
morose as he often was, the absent explorer more
than made np for this in his moments of gayety.
His was a strong personality, moreover, and his
absence could not but make itself felt keenly.
There was plenty to occupy the boys, however.
A number of heads and skins had to be prepared
and packed. Then there was the native village to
visit, and this was a source of never-ending de-
light. The chief, whose name was Mvita, gave a
great feast in honor of the hunters — to which the
hunters donated the greater share of the viands —
and the moving-picture outfit came into play with
Mr. Wallace took out the boys on a two-days*
trip after animal pictures, also. By utilizing the
natives of Mvita 's village and also the Bantu
porters as beaters, a bloodless hunt was held. In
this the animals were surrounded and forced to
138 The Boys' Big Game Series
pass before a white-ant hill on which Burt was
posted with the camera. Excellent pictures of
various antelope, zebra, an old and toothless lion,
and an infuriated rhino were obtained. In this
way a week was passed, and finally Mr. Wallace
announced that on the morrow they would hold
another real elephant hunt, as Mvita reported a
herd of the giant beasts three miles to the north.
As they were leaving camp at dawn, a number
of the villagers hastened up, headed by their chief.
With anxious face Mvita implored the honor of
bearing the guns of one of the white men. John
refused him, wishing to save the usual gifts and
emoluments of the oflSce. Burt, however, inter-
rupted with a laugh.
* * Let him carry our guns, uncle ! We Ve never
been waited on by a real king before, an ' it 's some-
thin' to boast of. He wonH steal 'em, will hef *'
** I guess not,'* laughed Mr. Wallace, nodding
to Mvita. With evident delight the chief took
Burt's heavy elephant-gun. He was clad in long
flowing red cotton robes, doubtless his insignia of
oflSce, but when John suggested that he remove
them for the journey he refused indignantly. He
could speak a little French, but very little.
** Are we going to spend all day! *' inquired
The Blind Lion of the Congo 139
Critch, as the camp was left behind and the red
spears of dawn shot up in the east.
'' Can't teU,^' replied Mr. Wallace. ** The ele-
phants were reported as being three miles north
yesterday. By this time they may be twenty miles
away, or they may remain in the same place for
a week at a time, nntil their food is exhausted.
However, we ought to strike something before
noon. ' '
*' Say,*' broke out Burt suddenly, ** remember
what Cap'n Mac said last night about his scrap
with that Arab trader! Do you think he was
giving it to us straight f ' '
** Of course,'* answered his uncle decidedly.
* * Well, ' * responded Burt doubtfully, * * it looked
a whole lot like downright piracy to me, that 's all.
It might ha ' happened five hundred years ago, but
it's haxd to realize — "
** Look here,'' broke in Mr. Wallace, ** you've
got to remember, Burt, that Montenay has spent
practically all his life exploring. He has his bad
points, like all of us, but he has his share of good
ones also. I myself don 't blame him a bit. That
Arab, Yusuf ben Salir, was a slave dealer and
140 The Boys' Big Game Series
pirate himself. Besides, it was a matter of per-
sonal revenge with Mac. He's just done a
tremendously brave thing in setting out for the
pigmy land alone, — well, he's a strange char-
** Think we'll meet him? " asked Critch in a
low voice. * * Or rather, will he meet us ? "
** I'm afraid not," replied Mr. Wallace. ** He
has only one chance in a thousand of making it.
Hello! Look at that ant hill — the sunny side! "
Following his finger, the boys saw a huge snake
stretched out, warming himself in the hot sun. All
three were at the head of the beaters, and Mvita,
the only gunbearer who noticed the snake, brought
up his heavy gun rapidly. Mr. Wallace waved
him back, however, drawing his revolver and put-
ting a bullet through the serpent's head. Upon
measuring him, the reptile was found to be exactly
fifteen feet in length.
** Say, ain't he a beaut though! " observed
Critch, gazing down at the bright green and gold
body. ** Is he hard to skin! "
* * Not a bit, ' ' replied Mr. Wallace. * * Not worth
while, though. The colors won't last. The gold
turns white and the green black."
The Blind Lion of the Congo 141
** I don't care,*' said Burt, ** let's leave a couple
o ' men to skin him anyhow. Even black an' white
ought to make a mighty fine trophy. Snake skin
keeps better than fur, anyhow. ' '
As Critch was also anxious to save the python
skin, two of the Bantus were left to take it into
camp while the party proceeded north.
They had marched for over an hour without any
sign of elephant when one of Mvita's men ap-
peared ahead. A number had been sent out from
the village to locate the herd, if possible. The
man, flourishing his spear, ran up and reported
that before dawn he had heard loud trumpeting in
the forest ahead, not over a mile distant.
** Good enough," exclaimed Mr. Wallace.
* ' John, get these chaps spread out in a line across
country, to drive in anything toward the center.
You stick to me, though, and handle my guns. ' '
** Yes, sar," came the reply. A moment later
the party had scattered, the natives stretching out
in a long thin line far to right and left. Once more
the advance was taken up, and all trudged steadily
forward for half a mile. It was exciting work, for
at any moment the patches of small trees, high
grass and rush might yield anything from an ele-
142 The Boys* Big Game Series
pliant to a lion, A very hopefnUooking thicket
had just been beaten through without any luck,
and the three whites sighted an open grassy glade
which stretched away in front, when Mvita gave
a low whistle and muttered to John. The latter
instantly stopped his master. Parting the bushes
cautiously and gazing out on the fairly open glade,
all could see a good sized herd of wildebeest graz-
ing a quarter of a mile away.
** We must have one of them,*' whispered Mr.
Wallace, as the boys stared at the weird, bison-like
animals eagerly. ** We're down-wind, so I'll stalk
'em. Come on, John. ' '
The two stole out cautiously, and began making
a slow advance over the open space, hiding behind
the ant hills and among the tall grass. Only the
waving tops of the latter betrayed their presence,
but just as the boys were expecting to hear a shot,
Mvita touched Burt on the arm. One of his men
had approached silently, and his face portended
* * What is it — elephant f ' ' asked Burt. Mvita
grinned and shook his head, then murmured one
'' Simbal ''
The Blind Lion of the Congo 143
** Lion! " echoed Critch, who knew the native
term. ** Come on, Burt! **
Without hesitation the two boys turned away
and followed the native guide. The latter led
them to the right for some distance, and as no
sign of lion showed up Burt became impatient.
* * Where — ' * he began, when the native
stopped, clicked his tongue, and pointed with his
spear. Ahead of them the boys caught sight of a
small lioness trotting away from a clump of thick
bushes. Burt, grabbing for his rifle, ran forward
eagerly. Critch *s bearer was a Bantu, who handed
over the heavy gun but refused absolutely to ad-
vance. The two boys ran forward in order to cut
off the trotting lioness from a stretch of rushes
for which she was making.
They were barely fifty yards from the clump of
bushes when they both stopped short at a shrill
yell from Mvita, who had followed them closely,
at the same instant Burt saw something appear at
the edge of the bushes. Then came a low, mut-
tering growl, and a huge black-maned lion ap-
peared, his red mouth open, gazing steadily at the
hunters. Burt pulled up his rifle and fired quickly.
144 The Boys' Biff Game Series
The growl ended in a snarl, and the lion rolled
'' Hurray! '* shouted Burt, '' I landed him— "
* * Look out ! ' ' yelled Critch, and the explosion
of his rifle almost deafened his chum. As Burt
had fired, three more lionesses had appeared
among the bushes, following the first! Two dis-
appeared, but Critch 's shot stopped the last one,
not killing her. He put another bullet into her
shoulder and she lay still. While he ran forward
to make sure of his prize, Burt, followed by Mvita,
turned toward the lion. The great beast lay per-
fectly still. Three of the Bantus had run up, and
were standing within a few yards of him.
They were gathered in a group near his tail, ad-
miring and yet afraid to touch him. Burt remem-
bered his uncle's warnings about the remarkable
tenacity of life often shown by lions, and stopped
when fifty feet away. The lion was still breath-
ing, but lay motionless. Concluding that if he
paid no attention to the chattering natives he
would remain quiet for a finislung shot, Burt and
Mvita ran onward, the chief displaying no fear
whatever, unlike the Bantus.
They approached from his rear, and assuming
The Blind Lion of the Congo 145
that he was unable to rise, Bnrt stepped around
for a good shot at the eye, which would not harm
the pelt. The instant he came into view of the
wounded beast, however, the latter revived.
With one terrific roar he sprang to his feet as
if uninjured. His green eyes blazed with fury, and
his lips were drawn back until his long, yellow
teeth were exposed in a snarl that struck Burt
cold, for the boy was barely a dozen feet away.
The men had fled instantly, only Mvita remaining
beside Burt. The latter, taken by surprise, gave a
step backward, lifting his rifle.
Just as the beast was in the act of springing,
Burt fired. The heavy bullet missed the eye and
glanced off the sharply backward-sloping head of
the brute, but its terrific impact was suflScient to
stop the animal for the instant. Burt heard a yell
from Critch, and was tempted to turn and run.
The lion was up immediately, however, and again
Burt stepped back and pulled the trigger.
This time, however, his foot caught in the grass.
The bullet went wild, and the terrified boy gave
himself up for lost. A tremendous thud and crash
at his side told him that the lion had sprung; then
146 The Boys' Big Game Series
a quick flash of red caught his eye as he rolled over
and gained his feet.
The flash of red came from the robe of Mvita,
whose faith in the white hunters had given way
at the last moment. Seeming to realize all at once
the danger of his situation, he turned and ran just
as Burt fell, with a shrill scream. Beyond doubt
this movement had saved Burt *s life, for the bril-
liant red robe caught the eye of the lion, who at
once gave chase to the yelling chief.
Burt, pale and excited, gained his feet just as
the lion was catching up with Mvita. Lifting his
rifle, he fired. To his dismay the bullet missed
completely, throwing up the dust beyond Mvita.
In a desperate effort to save the man before it was
too late, Burt pumped at the magazine. At the
same instant Mvita made a quick swerve. The
lion also turned, coming broadside on to Burt.
Just as Mvita was about to be brought down, the
boy fired. The lion dropped in the middle of his
spring, his back broken. A shot from Critch's
rifle struck him as he lay, and Burt finally put a
bullet through the lion's brain.
Relieved and rather weak-kneed at the im-
minent danger, Burt looked around for his chum.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 147
He was astonished to see Critch, who had hastily
returned, give a gasp, then burst into a roar of
laughter. Whirling about, Burt stared over the
body of the lion and then went into a spasm of
The sight that met his eyes turned what was
nearly a tragedy into instant comedy. There was
Mvita, a dozen yards from the lion, earnestly bent
upon scrambling up a thorn-tree in the shortest
possible time ! He never cast a glance below, as
the roars of laughter went up from the boys and
even from the natives, but only climbed the faster.
He was nearing the top of the spiny tree ; on every
limb and thorn hung remnants of his gorgeous
crimson robe, and by the time he reached the top
he was fully as well clad as his humblest subject
In vain did the boys yell at him to come down.
Mvita was taking no chances of a mistake again,
and not until he had reached the very top branch
that would bear his weight did the terrified chief-
tain glance down. Even the sight of his laughing
subjects and the dead lion hardly reassured him,
but once he was certain of his safety he took a
speedy and certain method of restoring his lost
148 The Boys' Big Game Series
dignity. Descending as quickly as he had gone up,
he brought a long thom-branch with him, and ap-
plied this to his subjects and the Bantus indis-
criminately until their laughter was changed to
howls for mercy. Only at the intercession of the
gasping boys did the angry chief cease.
The Bantus speedily gathered, and played like
children about the dead bodies of the two beasts,
which had been placed side by side. They proved
themselves surprisingly good mimics, one taking
the part of the lion and jumping with a growl at
the others. Another took Burt's part, snapping
his fingers as he stepped backward and finally fell ;
while a third played Mvita, running to the thorn
tree with the lion in hot pursuit. At this instant
an angry voice stopped the proceedings, and the
boys looked around in alarm to see Mr. Wallace
running toward them.
** Here, what is all this! *' he shouted, waving
his rifle. Before the boys could answer he caught
sight of the two carcasses, and stopped short.
'* So youVe been disobeying orders again! ^*
* ' Not quite that, uncle, ' ' returned Burt quickly.
He then explained why they had left, together
with all that had happened. As Mr. Wallace
The Blind Lion of the Congo 149
glanced at the almost naked chief, and then at
the decorated thorn tree, his face relaxed and Bnrt
knew there was no more to fear.
* * You spoiled a fine shot for me, ' ' was all Mr.
Wallace said. * * I guess you Ve had lesson enough.
Gtet the boys busy on the skins, John. * '
* * How about the elephants t * ' spoke up Critch.
** They're not far off, unless your shooting
frightened them. We'll leave the Bantus to skin
these beasts, while we go on with Mvita's men.''
** We ought to provide Mvita with a new robe,*'
suggested Burt with a grin. ** He saved my life
all right back there, whether he meant to or not. ' '
** A few yards of cloth will fix him,'' returned
his uncle, as they started off with the chief and his
men. ** You'd better carry your big guns now
yourselves. No telling what will happen."
One of the villagers led them forward at a brisk
pace, straight onward for about a mile. They were
now almost in the jungle, the open spaces and
higher ground seeming to end abruptly with a
small stream which they passed. Mvita 's men
were spread out in a wide circle, for the elephant
herd had finally been located, and once the beaters
got around them the animals would scent them
and come up-wind toward the hunters.
Presently they came upon the elephant spoor,
or trail — a wide swath ripped through the heavy
undergrowth by the passage of the big animals.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 151
To one side of this Mr. Wallace and the boys took
their stand, hiding amid the bushes.
** Let them pass us,'* cautioned the explorer,
** and when you have a clear shoulder-shot,
make it fatal the first time. You take the first,
He was cut short by a yell that arose ahead.
This was followed by a loud trumpeting as the
frightened animals crashed away from the beaters.
Burt paled as he thought of what might happen
should the elephants burst upon them through the
jungle instead of following their own trail, but he
had little time for reflection. Even as the thought
came to him the first elephant appeared with a
shrill trumpet of rage, his trunk flung high and his
wide ears flapping forward. Behind him came
more of the dim, gigantic shapes, and the boys
pulled up their guns.
Not ten feet from them, the first elephant
thundered past, the others crowding close upon
him. Critch waited until he was sure of his shot,
and then sent the first beast reeling into the oppo-
site side of the trail with the force of his bullet.
Almost instantly Burt fired at the second elephant,
striking him just behind the shoulder. The others
152 The Boys' Big Game Series
stopped for a second, giving Mr. Wallace a chance
for a fine shot, then smashed into the jungle and
** Hurray! *' yelled Critch, leaping to his feet.
** Mine's down! "
** So*s mine,'' shouted Burt eagerly, gazing at
the motionless form of the elephant, who had stag-
gered and sunk into the grass at once.
** Come on," cried his uncle as the first of the
natives appeared, *' I hit mine badly, and he can't
be far away. ' '
Mvita came up on the run as they started, and
all broke into the jungle on the trail of the
wounded elephant, John carrying the spare guns.
Only a hundred yards away they came upon their
quarry. The elephant, mortally wounded, was
standing beneath a large tree, half -hidden among
the foliage. They could see him swaying from side
to side, and just as Mr. Wallace was circling
around for a finishing shot the iuge bulk crashed
down and lay still.
** Ain't it pretty near time to eatt " inquired
Critch, after they had inspected the body.
** Just about," answered Mr. Wallace. ** Where
will we make camp, John? "
The Blind Lion of the Congo 153
** By de river, sar,'' was the reply, and John
was busied at once with orders to Mvita and the
natives, who had brought along a chop-box. The
three elephants killed were all bulls, that of Mr.
Wallace having only one tusk. While the ivory
was being cut out and the bodies being dissected
by the natives, who would make a grand feast
that night, the three whites returned to the small
stream which had been crossed half an hour be-
John had found a small spring of clear, sweet
water near some high ground on the west bank.
Opposite, there was a long stretch of marshy, low
ground that gave upon the. jungle proper. On
their camping side, however, this fever-threaten-
ing swamp was entirely absent.
Before an hour had passed the three were sitting
around their folding canvas table, doing full honor
to the forest delicacies furnished by John and his
assistants. More of the villagers trooped up to
share in the elephant meat, until it seemed to the
boys that the entire village was present. Suddenly
Burt, who was sitting facing the stream, gave a
startled exclamation and pointed to the low
154 The Boys' Big Game Series
** What's that, Uncle George! ''
Turning in their seats, the others saw the top
of the high marsh-grass waving as if some creature
were forcing its way along. John, who had over-
heard the question, brought up the rifles at once
but Mr. Wallace waved him back and took out his
** I don't know, Burt. Doesn't show up yet.
It'd hardly be any animal, for we are up-wind
and he would scent us. It might be a crocodile,
although in that case he would not make so much
conunotion. What do you think, John! '*
The gigantic negro took the glasses and gazed
long and earnestly at the faint movement in the
grass, which seemed to be coming toward the river.
Then he returned them with a shrug.
** Not know, sar.''
* * Tell Mvita to send over some of his boys and
find out,'' suggested Critch. Mr. Wallace nodded
and John was oflF instantly. A moment later a
dozen natives started crossing the stream, ad-
vancing cautiously, for they too had been puzzled
and were taking no chances. Before they had
reached the opposite bank Critch gave a cry.
'* Look there! It's coming out I "
The Blind Lion of the Congo 155
Throngh their glasses they could see a dark ob-
ject crossing one of the more open spaces. Its
method of progression was peculiar, because while
it was undoubtedly coming toward the river, it
seemed to be rising and falling, floundering in the
marsh-mud, and at times lying motionless on the
' * It *s a man ! ' ' exclaimed Burt in amazement.
Critch uttered a scornful denial, but Mr. Wallace
*' I believe it is,'' he asserted. ** I thought I
could make out arms and legs but I wasn't sure.
If it is a man, he must be in a mighty bad fix. ' '
A sudden idea occurred to Burt and he glanced
at his chum. Critch met his eye and read the un-
spoken thought. When Burt raised his glasses
again his face was white.
Now the natives were surrounding the strange
figure, and a moment later one of them waved his
spear. The others could be seen lifting the crea-
ture, whatever it was, and speedily carried him to
'* Come along," and Mr. Wallace rose hastily.
*' We'll go down and meet them. If it's a man
156 The Boys* Big Game Series
he'll need help. John, did you bring the small
medicine case! *'
** Here, sar,'* and as if by magic the grinning
black produced the required object. They all hur-
ried down to the river, where the villagers were
already crowding around in great curiosity. The
little band of natives splashed across the stream,
and suddenly Burt felt his uncle grip his arm.
** Burt! '' and he had never before heard such
tense horror in a man's voice. ** Go up and get
some water boiling right away! Hurry, lad,
hurry! *' Without pausing to ask questions Burt
dashed off. As he went he could hear his uncle
continuing. ' * John, make for the camp right
away. Get out bandages, have hot water, make
the hypodermics ready and mix some strong mor-
phia and anti-toxin solution. That is Captain
Montenay. ' ' John was off at a run instantly.
The last words struck Burt like a blow. With
pale face he got the water heating, and met his
imcle as the latter ordered the senseless form of
Captain Mac set down. The explorer was un-
recognizable. He was plastered with mud from
head to foot and his whole body was swelled and
poisoned until he bore small resemblance to a man.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 157
Mr. Wallace gave a glance around, then shook his
* * We can do nothing here. Boys, we '11 have to
work to save him. Looks to me like black wasp
stings.'* Turning to Mvita, he ordered Monte-
nay 's body carried to the village at top speed. In-
stantly four natives caught up the senseless fig-
ure and made off at a lope.
Mr. Wallace and the boys dropped everything
and followed. When they reached the camp after
a hard march they found John bathing the swol-
len body of Captain Mac, and Mr. Wallace went to
work at once with the medicines that lay ready.
With the mud and dirt removed, Montenay's hor-
rible condition only became more evident. Mr.
Wallace went to work with the hypodermic while
the boys aided John to cleanse the explorer's body,
then handed the syringe to John to clean and
turned to the bandages and lint.
The countless stings were washed with a weak
solution of ammonia to take out the poison, and an
hour later they left the Scotchman a mass of
bandages but sleeping soundly
'* I gave him some morphia,'' explained Mr.
Wallace m they washed up outside. ' * What he
158 The Boys* Big Game Series
needs first is sleep. He must have been in absolute
agony in there/*
It was after sunset before Captain Mac wakened
from his sleep. The boys were at his side immedi-
ately, followed by Mr. Wallace.
** Well,** cried the latter heartily, ** how*s the
sick man now? Feel a bit better? **
** Gi* me a drink,** whispered the other feebly.
When he had taken a long draught from Burt*s
canteen he sank back with a satisfied sigh.
** Where*d ye find me? **
** Down by the river,** answered Mr. Wallace.
** Feel able to talk? ** Montenay nodded and
fixed his eyes on the American. ** I suppose the
pigmies got after your men? **
** Into *em*s more like it,** returned Captain
Mac. ** Didn*t see one of *em. Just arrows — ar-
rows — arrows, day an* night.** He paused for
breath. '' What day*s this? **
*' Friday,** said Critch. '* We found you this
morning. * *
* * Wednesday it was, * * went on Montenay as he
gained strength slowly. * * Last six men went in a
bunch. Pulled off my shirt an* yelled * Pongo.'
Tried to talk to the deevils but they wouldn't
The Blind Lion of the Congo 159
show up. Started on alone an' they shot arrows all
around me. Didn't dare hit me, I guess. So I
came back. ' *
'* Two days,'' mused Mr. Wallace. ** You cer-
tainly looked nice when we found you I ' '
* * It was the black wasps, ' ' said the other. * * I
fell into a nest that night an' it nigh finished me."
** Come along, boys," returned Mr. Wallace as
he arose. ** You get to sleep again, Montenay.
You '11 be more fit in the morning. ' '
They adjusted the mosquito curtains for the
night and returned to find dinner waiting for
them. After dining sumptuously on eland tongue
and hartebeest tenderloin Burt pushed back his
canvas chair with a sigh of content.
** I s'pose we'll work up toward the Makua
pretty quick, won 't we ? "he asked his uncle.
** You bet we will," replied the latter fervently.
** Just as soon as Captain Mac's able to navigate.
That '11 be two or three days anyway. We have a
nice little bunch\of ivory and we'll get more in by
trading as we go along. Mvita has four more
tusks to bring in too."
** That ivory zareba'd mean a good bunch o'
160 The Boys' Big Game Series
money, wouldnH it? *' put in Critch. ** I*d hate
to go through what Cap *n Mac has, though. ' *
^* By the way,'' said Mr. Wallace, ** don't use
all those chop-boxes. I want a couple of zebra and
giraffe skins. We'll get 'em farther north on our
**Mvita told me this morning," said Burt,
** that there was some giraffe about five miles to
the northeast of here. Why couldn't we get 'em
and have a skin fixed by the time Cap'n Mac's
ready to march? "
** We'd save time that way, but I don't want
to leave him," returned his uncle thoughtfully.
** However, I might send you two out with John.
I'd trust him anywhere."
** Go ahead! " pleaded Critch excitedly.
** That'd be great, Mr. Wallace! "
* * John ! ' ' called the explorer with a smile. * * If
I send you out after giraffe in the morning with
these boys, will you take good care of 'em? "
** Sure, sar! " grinned the big Liberian cheer-
fully. ** John him be beri careful. Bring back
** All right. Get your stuff ready then. Toti
can take my big rifle yourself." As John went
The Blind Lion of the Congo 161
off with a wider grin than ever Mr. Wallace
turned to the boys. * * I want you two to promise
me that whatever happens you'll obey John and
do just as he tells you.*'
*' All right, sir,'* replied Critch at once.
** So '11 I," agreed Burt. ** Five mUes in this
country won't be any joke, though! "
** It'll take a good day right enough," nodded
Mr. Wallace. '* John is pretty safe to be with
and he'll take as good care of you as I would.
If you find the giraffes don't bring down more
than two. You might run across some zebra in
the same country and if you do, you can get some
of 'em too. But I guess there 's not much danger
of that, without horses.
*' Now remember to obey John in everything.
He '11 be in my place for the day. Better fill your
canteens with cold coffee before you go and take
your heavy rifles. Let John have your compass,
Burt. If you run across any waterbuck bring in
a couple for the men. It'll be a good change of
diet. Now get to sleep, for you 11 be up before
After laying out a supply of heavy cartridges
and some fresh clothes for the morning the boys
162 The Boys' Big Game Series
tumbled into their sleeping bags on top of their
cots. Each leg of the cots was placed in a dish of
water to keep off ants and other crawling crea-
tures which might wander in. Critch was half
asleep when he heard Burt's voice.
** Oh, Critch! Eemember what Cap'n Mac
looked like coming across that swamp? "
** Shut up! I don't want to dream about it.*'
** I was just thinkin' that we'll stick pretty
close to John to-morrow, eh! "
** You bet your life we will! Go to sleep."
It was their last sleep in the comfortable tent
for many a night.
IN THE PIGMY VILLAGB
As Mr. Wallace had predicted, they were up
long before the sun. After a hasty breakfast by
candle light John discarded his role of chef and
buckled on a cartridge belt. As their gun-bear-
ers and a dozen porters assembled, two hunters
came in from the village to guide them to the
place where the giraffes had been seen and the
boys bade Mr. Wallace farewell.
A five-mile walk through rough and thickly
wooded African country is not a light task by
any means. In the main they followed trails
where heavy animals had beaten down the thick
grass and left openings through the bush. They
saw little game for the first hour, although once a
big python slid across the path and Burt missed
** Won't we have a yam when we get home! ''
said Burt, gleefully. ** We^l run some great lit-
tle old stories in the high school paper next year,
164 The Boys' Big Game Series
'' Bet your life! '^ replied Critch. ** I^d like
to bottle some o* them blamed little red ants and
use *em for initiations. Wouldn't they make the
fellows squirm? '*
** Say, don't forget to swap some of Mvita's
men out o' their stuff. We want to take home a
good bunch o' them spears, Critch. A couple o*
shields and knives 'd go great too."
' * No talk-talk now, massa Burt ! ' ' John turned
to them wamingly. '' Him giraffe not beri far.
The hunters had slipped through the tall grass
and vanished. It was now two hours after day-
light and the boys knew they must be getting near
the hunting grounds. They were no longer in the
plain and were advancing by a buffalo-trail
through a low jungle-growth not far from a small
One of the hunters appeared in a highly excited
state and John motioned to the boys to get out
their guns. They now advanced more cautiously
as they saw the Bantus in front gesturing to them
and in another moment sighted two giraffes
standing in an open glade ahead.
As the boys raised their guns something flashed
The Blind Lion of the Congo 165
out from the farther side of the thicket and both
animals gave a leap. Without stopping to think
what it was the boys fired. Burt hit the animal
on the right and he dropped to his knees, then
bounded off and the boy brought him down with
his second barrel. Critch had hit the other giraffe
in the brain and killed him instantly.
The boys sprang forward with a shout of joy
but were stopped by John's voice. " Come
back! '• cried the big Liberian. ** Pigmies
** What! " Critch whirled incredulously.
** Where? "
** Them shoot arrows first. Maybe mad 'cause
we kill giraffes. Go back quick — ' '
The hurried order was stopped by a frenzied
yell from the Bantus. Dark objects flitted
through the trees at their side and the hunters
broke in wild fear. Before the boys could stir in
their tracks they saw John reel and fall suddenly.
At the same time something struck and threw
them to the ground, and despite their struggles
they were bound hand and foot while skins
thrown around their heads made them gasp for
light and aii:.
166 The Boys* Big Game Series
It was all done so swiftly that Bnrt hardly
realized what had happened before he felt him-
self picked up and carried off. He could not know
that Critch was close behind him and he was in an
agony of suspense. Had his chum and big John
been killed? He tried to call out but the skin
around his head stifled him. He could hear noth-
ing save an occasional guttural clicking word
from his bearers and was forced to resign himself
to his fate.
It seemed that he was borne along for ages.
His head was protected, but mosquitoes and gnats
settled on his bound hands until his arms seemed
to be dipped in living flame. Then he heard his
captors splashing through shallow water and
knew that they were crossing the river into the
jungle beyond. After this they slipped through
thorn-laden bushes that ripped his clothes to
shreds, and once a black wasp's sting drew a
groan of pain from the boy, for the touch was like
hot iron to his hand.
He did not doubt for a moment that he was cap-
tured by pigmies. If only they had grasped
John's warning an instant sooner! Burt groaned
again as he remembered how the big Liberian had.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 167
reeled and fallen. And what would his uncle dof
The thought gave him sudden hope. His uncle
would know he had been carried off, surely! But
if Captain Mac had failed to penetrate the jungle
even with his ** pull,'* how could he look to his
uncle for rescue!
Suddenly Burt felt himself thrown roughly to
the ground. His bonds were cut and the skin
pulled from about his head. As he sat up a
strange sight greeted his startled gaze.
Critch sat beside him, rubbing his inflamed
hands grimly. All around them stood little men
hardly four feet tall. They were armed with
knives, spears and bows and were naked save
for waist-cloths. Each man wore a square-shaped
headdress and all were chattering away with
their peculiar guttural clicks. Most of them had
arm rings and neck rings of iron or brass.
Beyond them were a number of low huts four
feet high arranged in a rough circle and in the
center of this circle were the boys. When Burt
glanced at the faces of the men around him he
was surprised to find them not black but brown,
with wide-set eyes and frank expressions. The
168 The Boys' Big Game Series
viUage was set in the semi-gloom of the deep
** Well/* granted Critch, ** nice mess, ain't
** What '11 they do with nst '' queried Burt
anxiously. ** Golly, my hands are fierce! S'pose
uncle '11 find ust "
'* Search me," replied Critch. ** What hap-
pened to John? "
** Don't talk about it. I don't know." Burt
shuddered. ** Wonder if they speak French? "
Burt addressed the pigmies in that language.
They chattered excitedly in response but he could
make nothing of their words. They seemed to be
perplexed as to what disposition to make of their
prisoners, for one after another chattered angrily
while the rest shook their heads.
*' Ain't a bad looking lot at that," commented
Critch coolly. ** High foreheads and good eyes,
most of 'em. Look at their color, Burt! S'pose
they're the white pigmies? "
** No," replied Burt. ** Guess they're Wam-
buti. Cap'n Mac said they looked like this. By
golly! I got it!"
Seizing a stick that lay beside him the boy at-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 169
tracted the attention of the dwarfs. As they
watched him curiously he drew a loop in the
ground with the end of the stick. From the loop
he extended an arm and drew another across. A
startled silence fell on the pigmies as they
**Pongo!'' shouted Critch suddenly. ** Bet
she works, old man! ''
At sight of the sacred emblem and at his shout
something like a groan of fear and horror
went up from the pigmies. Instantly one, who
had a higher headdress and wore more ornaments
than the rest, stepped forward and spoke excit-
edly. When Burt shook his head and repeated
the sacred word a spasm of anger flashed across
the pigmy's face and he motioned them to rise.
One of the little men darted off into the jungle as
the boys were led to a hut and made to enter.
They crouched down in the dark cramped in-
terior and as they did so a pigmy thrust some
roasted bananas in at the door. The boys got out-
side of these without delay and as they still had
their canteens of coffee they began to feel more
** That was a rotten poor idea J' said Critch
170 The Boys* Big Game Series
disgustedly. ** Wish we*d shut up 'bout Pongo/'
* * If we had we might be in the soup by now, * *
laughed Burt. '* Got that camphor bottle with
yout Mine's busted."
Each of the boys carried a small bottle of cam-
phor while away from the camp. The camphor
was a good thing for bites and assisted in keeping
off many insects. Critch found his bottle intact
and they bathed their hands. Fortunately their
pith helmets had not been knocked off by the
skins thrown around them and these afforded
their faces some protection, although the nets
were badly torn.
"I'm going to try getting out of this," asserted
Critch as the time passed on without anything
stirring without. *' Too blamed hot in here for
He crawled to the door and stuck out his head,
then withdrew it so suddenly that he fell back
over Burt. ** Gosh I " he cried. ** There's a fel-
low out there with a spear and he pretty near
stuck me. It's got that black stuff on it, too!
Guess I'll stay in here a while. You can go out
for a walk if you want."
'' No thanks," grinned Burt faintly. ** It ain't
The Blind Lion of the Congo 171
exactly inviting outside, I judge. I put my foot
in it all right when I mentioned Cap'n Mac's
friend. Wonder what they'll do with us! ''
The afternoon wore away slowly and painfully
and merged into night suddenly. More of the
roasted bananas were thrust in at the door, to-
gether with some water and mashed-up beans.
The little hut was barely large enough to allow the
boys to stretch, out and as it became evident that
they were not to be visited that night they made
themselves as comfortable as possible and finally
got to sleep. They suffered little from insects be-
cause not only was the hut closely thatched and
plastered with mud, but there was a fire outside
Burt was awakened by a tug at his foot. Sit-
ting up with a startled exclamation he saw a
pigmy blocking the door. It was evidently long
after daybreak, for even the darkest recesses of
the pigmy village were showing some light. Burt
aroused Critch and the latter followed him
through the door.
Outside they found apparently the whole tribe
assembled. Men, women and children stood or
squatted around in a big circle and as the boys
172 The Boys* Big Game Series
emerged they were greeted by a rippling click.
Whether it was of fear or anger ,the boys could
not telL They stood and stretched their cramped
^^ Seem to be looking for some one," said
CritclL In fact the pigmies were many of them
gazing expectantly toward the end of the village,
where there was an opening in the circle of huts.
As the boys followed their looks curiously Burt
recognized the little warrior who had darted off
the previous afternoon. He was advancing
quickly from the jungle and behind him were a
number of others.
*' By golly, they're white! *' exclaimed Critch.
** CanH be — yes, they are! *' Burt cried in ex-
citement. He saw that the six men who followed
the pigmy were no larger than he, but they were
of a distinctly lighter color. They were also bet-
ter dressed and carried larger and stronger bows.
The foremost was seemingly a very young man.
They advanced rapidly and when they reached
the circle of villagers the latter struck their heads
against the ground and clicked as if in fear. The
white pigmies were first shown the two boys, then
were taken to the sign of the ankh which Burt
The Blind Lion of the Congo 173
had scratched on the ground the day before.
When they saw this the six gave low exclamations
and the young one advanced to the side of the
** You know Pongof ** he said in English. The
boys gave a shout of joy at hearing the words but
repressed it as a dozen spears were poised.
* * Yes ! * * cried Burt, sitting down again hastily.
* * Cap 'n Mac told us. Say — * *
** Hold on! '' interrupted Critch excitedly.
** Are you Mbopof **
* * Mbopo ! * * the young pigmy repeated with evi-
dent delight. ** Where know that I You know
Buburika Mac! '*
* * Yes, * ' replied Burt. He spoke slowly and dis-
tinctly in order to make the pigmy understand
and supplemented his words with gestures.
** He's off that way. These people killed his
party a few days ago and nearly killed him. They
attacked us and brought us here yesterday.**
** Hurt Buburika! '* demanded the pigmy
angrily. He turned and poured out a flood of
words at the darker pigmies who howled and beat
the ground with their heads. One of his own men
174 The Soys' Big Game Series
stepped forward and spoke a few words and the
yonng man turned to the boys again.
" I friend," he said gently. " No can help
mnch. You slave — go to Pongo."
" To Pongo I " cried Burt in dismay. But he
quickly rallied. " Where 'd you learn English I "
" Buburika," smiled the young fellow proudly.
'* Buburika ~ Leopard, little leopard. Him like
me. Me help him. Help you maybe. Buburika
Mac him Pongo too."
The other white pigmies chattered something
and Mbopo motioned to the boys to follow them.
The black ones brought out the guns taken from
the boys, together with the cartridges and knives.
These Mbopo's men took care of and with the
young pigmy at their side the boys were marched
away from the village of the brown tribe.
" No talkee," cautioned Mbopo. In a moment
they were hidden from sight or sound of the vil-
lage. All about them rose the dense jungle
growth. Great trees stretched high above them
with their boughs meeting overhead, matted with
creepers and vines. Only an occasional ray of
sunlight filtered through that vast canopy of foli-
age under which leaped and chattered flocks of
I n?,'i^ "^^ '"fit 1
l^l-'BUC LIBRAfiy j
The Blind Lion of the Congo
monkeTB. Tiny bees tormented them through the
torn places in their nets.
Every few yards they had to climb half rotted
tree tnmks studded with briary creepers and
-'alive with ants. They passed stagnant swamps
and pools covered with greasy green scorn and
emitting vile odors. Once or twice a black pigmy
appeared silently, received a sign from Mbopo,
and vamshed again without a word. That vast
silence oppressed the boys terribly and they were
heartily glad when tbey arrived at a village sim-
ilar to that tbey had left, and halted for dinner.
THE SACBED UON
*^ Things might be a whole lot worse/' said
Critch as he stretched out after the meaL ^^ I'd
kind of like a change from roast bananas and
** A little grub cheers a fellow up some, don't
itt " returned Burt. ** I hate to think of what's
coming to us, though. D'you s'pose they'll
brand ust "
** Search me," yawned Critch. ** I reckon
Mbopo'U help us if he can. We just got to grin
and bear it, old sport. Ain't no use whining."
** Whining yourself, you red-head I " retorted
Burt indignantly. ** D'you reckon they're toting
us for their health t If we could only swipe one
of those guns and lay out the big liont Here's
The pigmy approached and squatted down be-
fore them with a smile. Bis face was intelligent
and well-formed. He had a row of cicatrices
The Blind Lion of the Congo 177
down each cheek like his fellows and wore a
leopard skin hung across his shoulders.
** Mbopo help/' he asserted. ** How Bu-
* * Him good, ' ' replied Critch. * * Good name for
Cap 'n Mac, ain 't it, Burt I What are your people
going to do with us, Mbopo? ''
** White boys ju-ju,'* replied Mbopo. ** Give
Pongo. ' '
'* Is that the lion Buburika laid out? '' ex-
claimed Burt. The pigmy looked blank and Burt
repeated his question.
" Him lion,'' nodded the other. ** Maybe him
scared you too. Him scared white skin. Scared
Buburika. What? Mbopo help. Aye, vera
good. ' '
The concluding words sent a twinkle into the
boys' eyes but they were careful not to laugh.
The very tone was an exact imitation of Monte-
*' You bet that's good," replied Critch. ** Can
you get one o' them bang bangs? Guns? " He
made the motion of shooting but Mbopo shook his
** No got. Him stay here." The pigmy
178 The Boys' Big Game Series
pointed to the chief 's hut. ' * Come. We go. No
fash yerself — Mbopo help ! ' '
Barely able to repress their laughter at the
comical imitation of Captain Mac, the boys rose
and Mbopo patted their hands encouragingly.
He clicked and his men appeared from different
directions. The boys saw that their guns were
' * That don 't look encouraging — ' ' began
Critch but Mbopo stopped him with a warning
** no talkee *' and the march was again taken up
through the jungle. A number of black dwarfs
accompanied them this time and the boys were
amazed at the agility with which the little men
swung through the trees or cleared a path through
the jungle growths. They seemed perfectly con-
fident that their captives would not try to escape.
Both boys realized how useless it would be and
had not even discussed the idea.
At nightfall they halted in a third Wambuti
village. On the way the party of hunters with
them brought in a wart hog and a small gazelle.
On these the village feasted that night. There
were no more bananas or plantains but plenty of
the ground beans and some manioc and nuts like
The Blind Lion of the Congo 179
chestnuts which the pigmies ate voraciously but
which did not appeal to the boys.
They were left unguarded that night and tried
to sleep in the open beside a fire. The insects
proved too much for them^ however, and they
were glad to seek the shelter of a hut, cramped as
it was. As their belongings had not been taken,
with the exception of their weapons, Critch still
had his compass. That evening they discussed
the course of their march and agreed that it had
been north by east.
** IVe been watching the needle,'' said Critch.
** We came north yesterday from the camp. To-
day weVe been traveling a little east of north.
Golly, I'm tired! Guess we can't bank on your
uncle finding us now."
** Guess not," agreed Burt hopelessly. '' We
only got one chance of ever getting out of this
mess, Critch. If we can do what Cap'n Mac did
we may work it."
'* We got Mbopo to help," returned Critch.
** I ain't looking forward to getting branded very
eager. We got to get around that part of it,
** DonH see how," answered Burt. ** It don't
180 The Boys' Big Game Series
look like Cap'n Mac hurt old Pongo very much
with his blazing oil. We ain't got a gun either.
K we knew any conjuring tricks we might make
a bluff on Mbopo 's people. ' *
** I can pull a coin out of handkerchiefs/'
grinned Critch. ** But we ain't got a coin and if
we don't keep our hankies tied on our hands we'd
be eaten alive. Try again."
** An electric battery 'd be the stunt," said Burt*
*' Fellows in books always have batteries handy,
or eclipses, or something. Guess we ain't lucky.
What d'you s'pose Cap'n Mac would do if he
was here! "
** Prob'ly tell you to shut your head and go«to
sleep while you can," grunted Critch. Burt ac-
cepted the advice.
They set out again in the morning and still
traveled north by east. Mbopo said little to them
that day. Instead of stopping at a village they
camped out at noon and made a meagre meal of
nuts and wild plantains. They were getting into
higher country now although it was still jungle.
The black hunters had not accompanied them and
the six white pigmies were the sole guardians of
the boys. At evening there was no sign of a vil-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 181
lage and when one of the men brought in another
small wart hog the rest scattered and collected
more wild nuts and berries.
They camped that night in the center of a
ring of fires. These smudges protected them
somewhat from the clouds of insects, but never-
theless both boys suffered a great deal. Their
mosquito nets were badly torn and their camphor
was all gone by this time. Although the pigmies
did not seem to mind the mosquitoes, they were
very careful to avoid the hanging nests of the
trumpet ants and the black wasps while passing
through the jungle.
The next morning there was still the same
desolate silence all about them as they marched
on. Mbopo had said nothing the night before and
the boys had been too dead tired to ask any ques-
tions. Toward noon they both noticed that their
captors became more careless about keeping
watch. The boys were nearly worn out by the
terrible journey, but Mbopo pushed forward re-
lentlessly. As the shadows lengthened the boys
saw the reason for this.
They had left the lower and denser jungle be-
hind, and seemed to be slowly reaching higher
182 The Boys' Big Game Series
and freer ground. There was no restriction on
their talking now, and as the snn touched the tips
of the trees in the west Critch gave an exclama-
* * Look over there ahead, Bnrt ! That ^s a river,
Burets you're boml ''
** Mebbe it's the same one Cap'n Mac told
about,'* returned his chum, catching sight of the
silver thread that was partially hidden by the
trees. At the name, Mbopo turned around with a
cheerful grin and f dl back to their side.
** Mbopo help," he asserted again. ** No fash
** Thanks, old man," exclaimed Burt. ** Is the
village near I "
** Pongo," nodded the dwarf, and Burt gave
up trying to talk to him.
Now two of the men darted ahead at a fast run.
For another half mile they advanced along the
river bank. Then the forest ended suddenly.
* * Here we are I ' ' cried Critch.
Before them lay a small yam-field, and beyond
that the famous village of the white dwarfs. As
Captain Montenay had said, it was a very large
The Blind Lion of the Congo 183
one. Despite their plight, the boys looked eagerly
for the hut of Pongo.
** There she is! '* exclaimed Burt, and Critch
also gave a cry. Off to their left, almost at the
edge of the trees and some distance from the vil-
lage thorn-zareba, stood a large hut surrounded
by something dark gray in the sunset. Their at-
tention was soon drawn away from this, however,
for a series of yells went up from the village and
out poured the tribe to welcome them.
As nearly as the boys could guess, there were
something like three hundred warriors gathered
about the gate of the zareba as they came up.
Mbopo saluted them with a few words, but his
little party held together and pushed through the
crowd. Behind the warriors and inside the
zareba was a still larger assemblage of women
and children. As they passed the gateway, the
boys found themselves in the presence of the chief,
no doubt the same whom Montenay so disliked,
for he was an old and shriveled man whose coun-
tenance boded ill for the two captive youths.
Clad in a splendid leopard-skin robe, he was
seated on a pile of skins. Ranged behind him was
a rank of picked spearmen, larger than most of
184 The Boys' Big Game Series
their fellows, and at one side were a dozen men
with tom-toms made of hollow logs. As the party
came in sight these men began beating their in-
strumentSy sending up a roaring clamor that
amazed the two boys.
Mbopo fell on his face before the chief , and the
others of the party after him. Only the two white
boys remained erect, facing the glittering eyes of
the old chief while he listened to Mbopo 's recital.
At its conclusion he motioned to the latter to rise,
and said a few words. The young dwarf replied
and seemed to be expostulating, but the chief
sprang to his feet in a flame of rage. Baising
his arm, he pointed toward the separate hut, and
both boys distinctly caught the one word
** Pongo.'* At a sharp command MBopo and an-
other dwarf jerked the boys and led them away to
one of the huts, leaving them inside without a
** Well,'* said Burt throwing himself down
with a sigh of relief on some skins, * * the old boy
certainly has it in for us. He ain't exactly a nice
specimen, is he! *'
** Not much,'* ejaculated Critch. ** Anyhow,
The Blind Lion of the Congo 185
I*m going to sleep, Bnrt. I*m too tired to care
Burt stretched out likewise and immediately
was lost in slumber. The day's trip had been a
hard one indeed, and neither boy was able to re-
sist the chance to snatch a little rest. When they
awoke they were in darkness, and the voice of
Mbopo was in their ears.
* * All right, * * grmnbled Critch. * * Quit shaking
me. What's up!*'
** Him eat, vera good,'* came Mbopo 's voice.
Growing accustomed to the darkness, the boys
found that a faint light flickered in through the
entrance. By this they saw the form of Mbopo.
He gave them some roasted bananas and a
gourd containing a sweetish drink made from
the banana. Burt got out his matches and
struck a light, by which they found it was
nearly eight o'clock. They had been sleeping
only three hours, but even that small amount of
rest had refreshed them wonderfully, and the
food and drink made new boys of them.
When they had finished the last scrap, Mbopo
motioned them to rise. Burt did so with a groan,
for his muscles were stiff and sore, and a moment
186 The Boys' Big Game Series
later they were outside. Here they conld see a
number of fires blazing in a vacant space near the
thorn zareba, and toward this Mbopo led them.
** Mbopo help/' was his only speech. ** Him
lad kill Pongo mebbe. Him do like Buburika
** Don't see how,'* grunted Burt.
'' Shut up," ordered Critch. ** Our friend's
got a notion in his head that we 're here to kill the
lion, I'll bet a dollar. Say, going to stand for that
branding stunt? "
** Not if I know it," came the quick response.
** S'pose we can't help ourselves, though. See
what turns up. ' '
** No talkee," cautioned their guide. They
drew near the fires, and saw that the whole tribe
was gathered around in a semicircle, enjoying a
huge feast. In the center of this semicircle, not
far from the thorn wall, the old chief reclined on
his throne of rugs, the tom-tom beaters near him.
Mbopo, who plainly stood in great awe of the
wizened potentate, fell on his face in salute. Once
more the boys calmly met the evil black eyes that
stared at them, and Burt could see small hope in
the malevolent glare of the chief.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 187
After a few murmured words from Mbopo the
chief gave a sharp order. A dozeu feet distant
stood a small fire, over which hung some meat on
spits. This was removed, and a warrior brought
forward a long thin object that sent a thrill
through Burt. It was a rudely-fashioned brand-
The warrior thrust one end into the fire. Burt
moved closer to his chum, with fists clenched. He
knew well how useless it would be to put up any
fight, but he was determined not to give in to the
torture without a struggle. The old chief smiled
slightly at the action, and gave a motion. Four
of the little warriors, only reaching to the
shoulder of the boys, stepped forward with axes
** No use, old man, said Critch quietly.
** We*ll have to take our medicine, I guess.*'
The four warriors led the boys to the fire. One
of them reached up and deliberately tore Burt*s
tattered shirt from his shoulder. The pale-faced
boy made no move to resist, and next moment the
white-hot iron was taken from the fire, and the
tom-toms rolled forth their thunder.
But at that instant even the noise of the great
188 The Boys' Big Game Series
drams was drowned in an appalling roar that
turned the eyes of all upon the thorn wall. The
startled boys saw the latter bend, there came an-
other terrific roar, then the stout thorn zareba was
burst apart and into the enclosure rolled the form
of an immense lion!
Before a move could be made the cat-like animal
regained his feet, gave one quick sniff of the air,
and pounced on the old chief, who was struggling
to rise. To the surprise of the boys the crowd fell
prostrate ; a murmur of * * Pongo ! Pongo ! ' ' went
up, and a moment later the lion gave one botmd
and had vanished in the night, unharmed. And
with him went the chief of the white dwarfs.
THE IVOBY ZABEBA
The whole thing happened in less than a mo-
ment. As Burt recovered from his surprise the
pigmies were still prostrate in the attitude of
worship. Beside him lay the branding iron, un-
heeded. With a quick motion the boy stooped
and caught it up, whirled it around, and sent it
flying across the zareba. Then he turned to
* * Now make good ! * * he exclaimed, as a murmur
arose from the crowd at his action. * * You 're the
boss, Mbopo I '*
As though he had understood the words, the
young pigmy sprang to his feet and began to
speak rapidly in the clicking language of the
dwarfs. For a moment there was a surge of the
warriors toward the captives, then it was stopped.
Mbopo spoke more and more rapidly, and finished
his speech by seizing a spear from the nearest
man and leaping on the throne of skins, where he
stood in an attitude of defiance. For a moment
190 The Boys' Big Game Series
the crowd seemed stupefied by surprise. Tfien
went up two bark-like notes from every throat,
and once more the pigmies sank prostrate in the
dust, saluting their new chief.
** Bully for him I ** cried Critch delightedly.
* * Now we 're all right, Burt I ' '
** Looks that way,** replied the flushed Burt,
who had feared a speedy retribution for his rash
act. Mbopo said a few more words, and again
the peculiar bark-like guttural came from the
crowd. There was a movement, and a dozen of
the largest warriors, those who had formed the
bodyguard of the old chief, stepped forward and
saluted the new chief with a prostration. Mbopo
had seized the throne.
* * Now I wonder what *11 happen f * * said Critch.
** Say, did you notice that lion's head, Burtf *'
** Sure,** nodded his chum. ** It was all
scarred white. Funny the way he butted through
that thorn fence, wasn*t it? Just like he didn't
* * I '11 bet the scar came from the oil Cap 'n Mac
threw at him I " cried Critch excitedly. ** Mebbe
'' That*s it! ** exclaimed Burt. ** He*s bUnd!
The Blind Lion of the Congo 191
He conldn't see the zareba but he could smell all
right. That^s it; he's blind! ''
** Hurray I *' shouted Critch. Before he could
say any more a murmur from the crowd stopped
him. The conversation of the two captives had
not passed unobserved. One of the old men came
forward, saluted the chief, and began to speak.
The crowd signified their approval by repeated
clicks and Mbopo also nodded while the wonder-
ing boys watched.
The old man finished his speech. Mbopo stood
in silence for a moment and then gave an order.
To the astonishment of the boys they were sur-
rounded and bound hand and foot in a flash, and
laid at the feet of the chief.
* * No fash yerself , lad, ' ' came the familiar voice
from above them in reassuring tones. ** Mbopo
help mebbe. Eall Pongo.*'
The bewildered boys lay silent. Burt tried in
vain to reason out what was the reason for their
seizure. He was convinced that Mbopo was their
friend, and yet it might well be that the pigmies
had demanded a sacrifice to Pongo from the new
ruler and that Mbopo had yielded.
Then came another order, and the boys were
192 The Boy 8^ Big Game ISIeries
picked up by a dozen hands. They were carried
away from the fires and through rows of grass
huts to the gateway of the zareba. This was
opened, and Burt felt a thrill of fear as he realized
that they were being carried outside. Were they
to be staked out for the lion as Captain Mac had
The two were carried forward side by side, and
at length were dropped on the ground. Then fol-
lowed a clicking conversation, then the warriors
retired and Mbopo leaned over them, knife in
** Kill Pongo,*' he whispered cheeringly as he
cut their bonds. ** Mbopo help. Old chief vera
bad mon. Mbopo him chief.**
** Well, of all things I " ejaculated Critch as he
sat up and rubbed his wrists. ** What does it
mean, Burtf "
** Why,'* responded Burt slowly, ** I guess
Mbopo has a notion that we can kill the lion by
magic. WeVe run quite a bluff and I guess we'll
have to make good, old man. What'U we dot "
Critch looked around. The night was oppres-
sively silent save for the sound of drums and
chanting from the village. They were sitting
The Blind Lion of the Congo 193
halfway between the town and the sacred hnt,
which could barely be made out in the starlight.
** If we could only get inside that hut/* re-
turned the red-haired boy, ** without finding the
lion there, we might wait for him with some
poisoned arrows. We '11 never see our rifles again,
** The lion is blind, I guess,** said Burt doubt-
fully, ** but I*d hate to stand up to him with
nothin* but a bow and arrow. Besides, d*you re-
member what Cap*n Mac said! They don*t use
** That*8 right! ** Critch turned to Mbopo.
** You got poison, spears, arrows! ** He had to
repeat the question several times before the dwarf
could comprehend his meaning. When he did so,
Mbopo shook his head, saying that he had none.
** I don*t b*lieve he*s got you yet,** said Burt
disgustedly. ** Well, we got to make good some-
how, Critch. If Mbopo gets the notion that we*ve
been running a bluff it*s good night for us.**
** Are you game to tackle the hut? ** asked
Critch shortly. ** We*re taking a chance on
findin* Pongo at home, but it*s all I can see to do.
Anyhow, Burt, he ain*t very hungry just now.'^
194 The Boys' Big Game Series
** I s'pose not,** and Burt shuddered a trifle.
'* Come on then,** and he rose to his feet. ** Say I
Why couldn't Mbopo bring us some weapons! If
we had one o * them axes — * *
" That*s the talk! ** burst out Critch. '^ If we
had a couple o* men with axes, Burt, we could
make a trap for the old lion! How*s that? **
** Fine! ** replied Burt hopefully. '' Have to
make it out o * pretty big logs, though. If the lion
isn*t inside, we can make a fire an* scare him off
for a while anyhow.**
** Lot o* good that*d do,** grunted his chum.
* * He wouldn *t know there was any fire there un-
less he walked into it ! * *
Burt turned to Mbopo. By dint of constant
repetition and much patience he finally made the
dwarf understand that he wanted another man or
two and some weapons. Mbopo hesitated, then
handed over a small axe that was slung at his
** Me got bruder,** he replied at length.
" Bring him, bring plenty spear, heyf **
** That*s it,** exclaimed Burt. ** Bring *em
over there, seet '* and he pointed toward the
The Blind Lion of the Congo 195
" Mebbe so, pretty quick," asserted the dwarf,
rather doubtfully. " Kill Pongo? "
" You bet,'* answered Critch, a good deal more
confidently than he felt, patting the dwarf on the
shoulder. " Chase along now, old scout We'll
kill Pongo right enough! *'
" Vera good," replied Mbopo. The next instant
he was lost in the darkness, and Burt turned to his
" Well, we might as well die game," he said,
with an attempt at a smile. '* Ready? "
*' I s'pose so," responded Critch, who had sud-
denly lost bis confident manner. *' Glet your
The two boys started toward the sacred hat.
Both were extremely stiff and sore, and in sad
need of sleep. The sound of chanting and the
throb of tom-toms came from the village behind
without interruption, while in front of them was
the forest, silent and black and somber. Suddenly
the black hut with its dull gray stockade loomed
up before them.
" Who's goin' first! " asked Burt, half-heart-
*' I irill," volunteered Critch. Holding a matcK
196 The Boys' Big Game Series
ready, he entered the narrow gate of the ivory
zareba. The little enclosure aronnd the thatch
hut was empty, and before them loomed a small
black doorway. Critch, with one swift gesture,
scratched the match and flung it inside, stooping
to look after it. The brief flame gave them a
rapid vista of bare walls and floor.
** Hurray I '* whispered the red-haired lad
hoarsely. ** She's empty! **
Ashamed of his own timidity, Burt stepped past
him without a word. As he went, he lit a match
and held it on high. Tearing a piece of the loose
thatch from the walls, he lit it and cast it on the
floor and then the two boys looked around.
The hut was much larger than the other dwell-
ings of the white pigmies. The floor was littered
with bones, leaves, sticks and dirt of every de-
scription. Close inside the door stood three
earthenware vessels, and while Burt threw more
leaves and sticks on the little fire, Critch picked
up one of these.
' ' Pahn oil ! ' ' he cried. ' ' Here 's a light, Burt !
Put a strip of cloth in each of these and we '11 have
In another moment each of the three improvised
The Blind Lion of the Congo 197
lamps was burning faintly, while the fire also
flared up. As it did so Burt gave an exclamation.
** Say, I clear forgot about the mummy! There
she is, Oitch.'*
He pointed to the wall opposite the entrance,
holding up his ** lamp.'* Both walked across the
rubbish-littered floor, which smelt most fright-
fully. Before them, standing erect against the
wall, was a large wooden mummy-case. Most of
its paint was gone long since, only a few faint
traces of gilding remaining to show what it must
once have been. Beside this lay an object that
brought a whistle of amazement from Critch.
'' That's Pongo, Burt! The golden ankh,
sure's you're bom! "
The boys looked down in awe at this relic of an
ancient people. About four feet long and nearly
as thick as Burt's wrist, the symbol of the God-
dess of Truth gleamed up with a ruddy yellow
color from the dirt that half covered it. Fasci-
nated by the sight, the boys stared in silence until
at last Critch uttered a sigh.
** Well, we're wastin' time, Burt. We got to
plan out that trap."
Burt turned away from the two relics, and
198 The Boys' Big Game Series
threw some dry sticks on the fire. There was an
opening in the center of the roof through which
the smoke escaped fairly well. Bnrt's head was
fnll of the mummy, and for the moment he paid
no attention to his chum's remark.
**It's kind of queer,*' he remarked, sitting
down against the wall, ** to think of Ta-En-User
meeting us this wayj Just think of his trip clear
over from Egypt, and our trip clear over from — *'
** Shucks,** interrupted the more practical
Critch. ** I*m thinking of Pongo right now.
Come out of it! We've got to frame up some-
thing before Mbopo gets back.**
** I can't see what there is to frame up,** re-
torted Burt hopelessly. * * All we can do is to lay
low. What kind of a trap you thinking of t **
** Well,** explained Critch, frowning, ** I kind
of thought we could make one out of logs, like
they use on bears out West. * *
** Why wouldn't it be better,** suggested Burt,
** to dig a pit like those Bantns do? We could
dig it right out in front here, cover it over with
grass, and stick a spear up in the bottom. That *d
finish Mr. Pongo mighty sudden next time he
The Blind Lion of the Congo 199
'' Can't do that/* replied the other. ** It's a
mighty big job to tackle, Burt, If you 'd ever dug
holes for fence posts you 'd know. ' '
** I wonder what Uncle Gteorge is doing right
now! '* said Burt suddenly. ** Do you think he'll
start after us? *'
** He might," answered Critch doubtfully.
^^ He'd never make it in a million years though.
You know what the black dwarfs did to Cap'n
Mac. Say, this is worse than any story book I
ever read! We're right up against it solid, Burt.
If we pull out of this hole it'll mean work. We
ain't got your uncle to lean on or anyone else.
Mbopo don't count for much, I'm afraid. Gosh,
I wish we had a couple guns ! We could clean up
on old Pongo like. a house afire."
** He was pretty big, just the same," said Burt.
** Lot's bigger 'n any we've bagged so far. Even
if he is blind, which we aren't sure of, it wouldn't
be any cinch to tackle him."
** Anyhow," retorted his chum, " we can't ex-
pect to lay around and wait for something to
happen. We got to make it happen. We're in
possession of the ankh, like Cap'n Mac was, so
we're safe enough for the present. Mbopo 's the
200 The Boys' Big Game Series
only one who's game to go after Pongo, that's
sure. If his brother is np to the mark we ought to
* * That was fierce, the way the old chief got car-
ried off, ' ' remarked Burt as he gazed around with
a little shiver. Still the dull throb of the drums
came faintly from without, but the chanting had
now ceased. ** It was mighty lucky for us, just
the same. Don't it seem funny, that here we are
plannin' to kill Pongo right after he's saved our
lives that way! "
" There's a whole lot of things that strike me
funny," answered Critch. ** Wouldn't it be great
if we could carry off all this ivory and the gold
** Huh!" grunted Burt. ** Fine chance of that.
It stumped Cap'n Mac to do it."
** Come on now, get down to business," said
Critch, straightening up. ** First, we got to
figure on how many logs we'll need. I should
think we might rig up something right here inside
the ivory zareba, but I don't see quite how. We
can't very well fix a trap out in the forest, because
Pongo ain't liable to be hungry right away. It's
queer that he didn't bring the old chief here like
The Blind Lion of the Congo
he brought Cap'n Mac. Mebbe he uses this more
as sleeping quarters, and prefers to take his meals
out in the open air."
BUBT LEFT ALONB
" Critcli,** said Burt suddenly, ** that was a
blamed good idea while it lasted. But it hasn't
lasted. We can 't do it. * *
** Sure we can I ** returned Critch hopefully.
** Why not? *'
** It*d take us a year to build a deadfall like
** We don't need to I Ain't Pongo blind? All
we have to do is rig up a figure-four trap out o'
** That'd be a nice easy job, wouldn't it I" re-
torted Burt. ^^ He may be blind but he ain't
foolish. No, sir, it won't work. We just got to
kill that lion though. If we don't, Mbopo'U know
we 've been runnin ' a bluff on him. ' '
** What you goin' to do? " said Critch irritably.
" Sit here and let him come? "
** Not much. Seems to me that if the lion's
blind there ought to be some way of fixing him
without any danger. We're safe enough from the
The Blind Lion of the Congo 203
pigmies while we^re here with Ta-En-User, but
not from the lion. Dust your brain off! Think! '*
* * All right, ' ' responded Critch briskly. * * Here
goes for the first thing.** Without ceremony he
got up and pulled over the mummy-case. ** We
got to fix Mbopo sure, ain't we? Well, take hold
o' this — don't bust it!'*
" What you doing f *' exclaimed Burt as his
chum began to pry open the mummy-case with the
edge of the little axe obtained from Mbopo.
Critch paused to reply.
** It's a pipe, Burt! We'll just upwrap Ta-En-
User here, seef I guess he ain't in extra good
condition but he'll do for a while. Then we'll
fill up the case with leaves and the wrappings.
These pigmies have never seen inside the case, re-
member. They don 't know a mummy from a goat.
Soon's we get him unwrapped an' laid out in his
nightie, out go the lights and you get back in the
** When Mbopo comes 111 tell 'em you did this
to the ankh." Critch raised his axe and cut a deep
gash on the cross arm in the soft gold. ** Then
111 say that Pongo dried you up for insulting liinL
Oetthepointf That'll scare 'em stiff. We'll take
204 The Boys' Big Game Series
the ankhy the stuffed case and the mummy back to
the village. * *
** Yes you will! *' cried Burt hastily. ** S'pose
I *m going to stay here f * *
** Sure you are! *' gribmed Critch. ** I'd do it
only I reckon the mummy won't have red hair an*
it wouldn't work. You've got to do it! "
'' But what fort " persisted Burt. '' What's
the use f S 'pose the lion comes f ' '
** If he comes you can throw some blazing oil
at him just like Cap 'n Mac. That ought to scare
him away. Soon's I get to the village I'll see if I
can't locate some o' that poison. The whole
tribe '11 be scared stiff when they see the mummy,
'specially if he's kind of spoiled. You hide out
here till morning and then I'll come back with
what weapons I can get. I'll warn the dwarfs
away from here first. That's the only way I see
of gettin' what we need. We can't make Mbopo
understand very well."
* * It wouldn 't be a bad idea if you was going to
stay here 'stead of me, ' ' assented Burt dubiously.
* * S 'pose we kill the lion. How '11 you account for
me coming back to life? "
** I'll tote the mummy in here and bury him,**
The Blind Lion of the Congo 205
returned Critch promptly. ** Then maybe to-
morrow night 1*11 have them bring the ankh to
the doorway. I'll go through a Latin verb and
yell and you walk out. Why, man, I'll be no end
sacred ! We *11 own the whole blamed tribe ! * '
** It listens good enough,'* admitted Burt.
** Tell you what you do. Send the stuflf on with
Mbopo and build a fire right in front of the door
before you go. Leave me some sticks — these
bones ought to bum too. Mebbe that fire '11 keep
the lion out. ' '
** Hurray! '* exclaimed Critch enthusiastically.
** Now let's get the old boy unwrapped. It's been
pretty damp for him here, I guess. He ought to
be pretty well preserved in spite of that. He isn't
torn up except at the neck. Off she comes ! ' '
Critch set to work at the head and Burt at the
foot of the case. It did not take them long to get
the gaudily-painted wooden case apart. Then a
heavy aromatic odor filled the hut. As Critch had
said, the mummy was unharmed except at the
neck. Here the case had been splintered open but
when the lid was off the boys saw that only a few
layers of the wrappings had been torn away. The
whole mummy was wrapped in cloths.
206 The Boys' Big Game Series
Burt and Critch lifted out the mass of wrap-
pings to the mud floor of the hut. As they did so
something tinkled and fell against the case. Their
eyes fell on the remainder of the scarab necklace
of which Montenay had obtained a part. Evi-
dently it had been placed around the neck after
the mummy was wrapped. Burt hurriedly stuffed
it into his pocket.
** Got that anyhow/' he remarked. *' Hope
Mbopo donH show up before we get through.
Here we go! "
With the help of the keen-edged axe the
mummy was soon unwrapped and laid on the floor.
Intertwined with the wrappings the boys found
six necklaces, each formed of gold beads of dif-
ferent shapes. The largest was formed of half
amber and half gold beads, and held a large
pendant in the shape of the ankh. This was left
on the munmiy, while Critch stuffed the others
into his pocket. As he did so he gave a cry.
* * Hello ! ' ' He picked up a tight roll of parch-
ment, welded into a solid mass by the wrappings.
** Wonder what this is? Well, we can't waste
time on her now. Go slow — that's all right.
Now we got to hustle, Burt.**
The Blind Lion of the Congo 207
* * Lay him here this way — right beside the
ankh/* replied Burt. ** Stick your axe in his
hand. Can't do that either. Liable to bnst off.
Well, lay it handy here. I'd better keep it, so
don't carry it off."
The boys then hurriedly stuffed the pile of
wrappings back into the case and put the lid on
as before. It had formerly been cemented with
some kind of strong pitch and now the gaping
seam at the side showed plainly.
** That won't do," cried Burt as they inspected
it. " How '11 we fix that, Critcht "
** Search me," replied his chimi, puzzled.
** They'd see that in a minute, 'cause we busted
up that cement considerable."
** Cement I " exclaimed Burt. ** Looks a whole
lot like tar to me, Critch. Mebbe a little heat
would fix her up fine! "
** That's the candy! " returned Critch. Each
boy took a brand from the little fire and ran this
along the seam. The black pitch-like stuff
smoked, bubbled, and set them coughing, but to
their delight it coalesced and it only remained to
allow the cement to harden.
** Gk)lly, I'm glad that's over! " sighed Burt
208 The Boys' Big Game Series
as he wiped his streaming face and threw his
brand back into the fire. No sound had broken
in on their labor except a throbbing beat of tom-
toms from the village^ mingled once more with
the shrill, steady chanting of the pigmy warriors.
The boys had grown too accustomed to the night-
noises of the jungle to heed the flickering far-off
howls and cries that formed a faint background
to the nearer sounds.
* * We 'd better carry all the stuff near the door, ' *
said Critch. ** We'll leave one light going so's
they can see things right. * *
Between them they dragged the heavy ankh
over the floor to the entrance. Then the mummy
was set beside it leaning against the wall, two
of the lamps were blown out and Burt lay down
in the far comer. Critch threw some dead leaves
over him and then sat down to wait with his head
on his knees.
** Say, Critch I " grunted Burt suddenly.
** Wonder what Uncle George 'd say if he could
see us? Do you s'pose he an' Cap'n Mac are on
their way home by now? *'
" Don't you believe iti ** replied Critch grimly.
** I'll bet a million dollars that they'll be hunting
The Blind Lion of the Congo 209
for us pretty qnick in the jungle. Your uncle
ain't goin' to shoot for home and leave us back
here. He ain't that kind and neither 's Cap'n
** Guess you're right/' agreed Burt hopefully.
** I wouldn't be s 'prised if Uncle George ducked
in here all by his lonely. He wouldn't have much
chance against them poison affairs of the black
dwarfs, though," he added more gloomily.
" You got to remember that we've only been
gone a few days," replied Critch. ** Cap'n Mac
had to get well, too. Tell you what, pard, we're
powerful lucky not to be in his fix just about
** Well, mebbe you're enjoying yourself a whole
lot," retorted Burt, ** but I ain't. Golly, don't
this ol' place smell like all get out? You ought
to be over here, Critch, with the bones and things.
I wish Mbopo — "
** S-shI " came a mutter from the other. ** I
hear something down the line. Here's my box of
matches. ' ' An object fell near Burt 's hand. * * I '11
be back just as soon — lay low I "
Burt, lying in the shadow cast by his chum,
heard a light 8hu£9e of feet and then Mbopo ap-
210 The Boys' Big Game Series
peared in the doorway, holding another little
figure by the hand, while a third followed re-
*' Him bruder,** grinned the dwarf happily.
* * Him scared. T *ink Pongo kill. Kill lion —
where bruder gone? '*
The three dwarfs were standing within the en-
trance now, gazing fearfully at Critch and the
** My brother very bad,*' answered the boy
slowly, pointing to the ankh. * * Him take axe, hit
Pongo. Pongo hit him with fire, bum him up,''
and he moved the single lamp a trifle so that the
light fell full on the mummy beside him.
Had the situation not been so serious Burt
could have laughed at the sickly gray look which
overspread the features of the pigmies as they fell
to their knees. With one frightened groan all
three buried their faces in the dirt. Critch knew
it was time to act and rose to his feet.
** Get up! ** commanded the boy sternly. He
took the dwarfs by the hand and raised them up
one by one. * * Pongo him mad. Him say no kill
lion yet. Him say take to village.'' Critch
pointed at the village and the pigmies compre-
The Blind Lion of the Congo 211
hended. Then he patted them on the back and
smiled and little by little their fears were over-
come. Taking a spear from Mbopo he passed it
through the loop of the golden ankh and signed to
the two brothers to raise it.
They obeyed after some hesitation, with fright-
ened looks at the grinning mnmmy. Then Critch
picked up the mummy and laid him in the trem-
bling arms of Mbopo and made shift to get the
case on his own shoulder. He led the way out and
a moment later Burt was alone.
He could hear the four stop outside while Critch
lit a small fire in front of the entrance. Then the
latter re-entered with an armful of large sticks
and flung them down.
** So long,'* he muttered. ** I'll put some logs
up against the door inside the fire. If the lion
gets through the smoke he'll stop at the logs
mebbe. See you later. ' '
* * So long, ' * murmured Burt and the other van-
ished. He heard a few sharp orders transmitted
through Mbopo and then after five minutes three
or four small logs were piled against the door.
This was a decided improvement on his own plan
212 The Boys' Big Game Series
of the fire, for now the opening was nearly
Burt waited for a few moments and then rolled
over and sat up. The single wick was still burn-
ing dimly and he picked up the box of matches
and stowed them away beside his own. As he
listened he could hear the deep throb-throb of the
larger drums from the village mingled with the
sharper and more staccato notes of the tom-toms.
Over all rose the shrill monotonous chant.
Suddenly there came a change. The tom-toms
ceased abruptly with one or two scattered notes.
The chanting died away an instant later. Then
arose a low, mournful wail of absolute fear that
made the listening boy shudder. This was fol-
lowed by silence for a brief space and then came
two bark-like notes such as had answered the
young chief earlier in the evening. Critch had
triumphed! Otherwise, Burt well knew that he
would have heard only one shrill yell.
Burt still had his watch in its safety-pocket and
had kept it wound pretty regularly. He now
drew it out and held it close to the blue flame.
Two o'clock; the boy stared at the hands in-
credulously. Had all these events only occupied
The Blind Lion of the Congo 213
five or six hours f He had been sure it was nearly
morning. As it was, there were still three hours
until daylight. Three hours before Critch would
For one moment Burt felt an insane impulse
to rush from the hut and seek the village. The
horror of the place rushed over him. The com-
bined odors of the mummy, the burning oil, and
the filth on the floor sickened him and he made a
step forward. Then he paused abruptly. Critch
was counting on him to fulfill his share of the
task. His chum was doing his own share — it was
no easy matter to face that village of pigmies.
Was he to endanger everything at the last mo-
With a little sigh Burt drew back. He settled
down among the dry leaves, leaving the light for
companionship 's sake. As he leaned back his eyes
closed and a feeling of delicious rest stole on him,
for he was very weary and tired. In another
minute he was sound asleep.
He was awakened by something scratching and
sniffing at the thatch behind him.
Burt leaped away with a yell of pure terror as
he woke. He was answered by a deep growl that
sent his hair on end with fright. The lion was
outside and had smelled him!
There was silence for a moment and then came
a scratching at the logs before the entrance. This
was succeeded by one angry roar and Burt con-
cluded that the fire outside was still burning. He
pulled out his watch with trembling fingers.
Three thirty I And the sun did not rise until after
A low mutter of growls and a swift pad-pad of
feet came to him as the angry and baffled lion ran
around the hut. Burt's first spasm of wild, un-
controlled fear gave way to courage bom of des-
peration. There was no place for him to run to.
If he did manage to get out he must get past the
lion and face the pigmy village. His only hope
was to fight off the blind beast until Critch should
The Blind Lion of the Congo 215
Burt got out his matches and lit all three of the
jars of palm oil hurriedly. At the sound of his
movements the growls outside increased in fury.
Then the soft footfalls ceased and the next instant
the whole hut quivered as the paw of the great
beast struck it.
The thatch was very closely woven, however.
Burt hesitated between using the axe or the oil
and finally decided to reserve the former in case
the oil failed to drive off the lion. Again and
again the beast struck at the side of the hut. The
thatch shredded away with a rustle and the hut
shook beneath the strain. Then a piece of the
wall a foot square came away and into the open-
ing swept a great yeUow foot armed with immense
Burt did not hesitate. With a match ready lit
he set fire to the oil in one of the jars. It sput-
tered, then broke into a burst of flame and the
the boy swiftly flung it at the great paw which
was clawing frantically at the side of the opening.
A terrific roar responded, a roar such as the boy
had never heard before in all his life. It drove
the blood from his cheeks and left him gripping
the handle of his axe, but outside he could hear
216 The Boys' Big Game Series
the lion rolling over and crashing among the long
grass between the hnt and the zareba, and he
knew that he was the victor for the moment.
Another danger canght his eye and he sprang
forward. Whipping oflf his coat he hastily beat
out the flames that were ronning np the side of
the hut from the blazing oil, and scattered dust
over the latter with his foot. That frail thatch
was his only protection now I
He still had two jars of oil. One he was re-
solved to keep in case he had to use the little axe.
At least he would have the advantage of sight.
His hopes and courage rose somewhat as he
listened to the blinded animal thrashing about in
the grass. Then came silence outside.
Burt waited but could hear nothing. ' ' I hope
he^s run off ! *' muttered the boy to himself. He
hardly dared hope for that, however, and his fears
were justified when he heard the swift pad-pad
outside again. This time it was faster and
heavier. Burt remembered the lions he had seen
running like great cats across the plain and his
heart leaped as he pictured the look of the animal
Now came a furious attack at the comer of the
The Blind Lion of the Congo 217
hut beside him. So sudden and unexpected was
it that Burt was caught napping. Before he could
strike a match or catch up the pot of oil he was
horrified to see a double row of fangs crash
through the thatch, followed by a great tawny
head. Across the face extended a broad white
scar as of an old bum.
With one strangled cry Burt lifted the keen lit-
tie axe and brought it down in the center of the
white scar. He saw a tremendous paw that ripped
across his breast and hurled him backward, heard
a maddened scream from the beast, and as he
fainted his last memory was of the rocking, reel-
ing waDs about him.
He woke with the sting of cold water on his
face and gasped. His first thought was that the
lion was over him, and he struck out blindly and
" Go slow, old manl '' sounded the voice of
Critch. Burt looked up and saw the face of his
chum. He sank back weakly, while Critch went
on bathing his face. ** Take it easy, Burt. Don't
try to talk yet. Want a drink T ''
Burt certainly did want a drink, and he half
emptied the canteen of water at a draught, while
218 The Boys' Big Game Series
Critch supported him. Then he struggled to his
* * Let ^s get out o ' here, * * he murmured. A shud-
der swept over him as he glanced around. There
were gaping holes in the thatch walls, and before
him was a pool of blood, black against the dirt.
The two boys reached the doorway and Bmrt sank
down gratefully in the warm morning sunUght,
leaning against the wall of the hut.
'* You must have had a fierce time,*' said
Critch sympathetically. ** Are you hurtT "
Burt glanced down and shook his head. His
shirt had been ripped to pieces by that savage
sweep of the lion's paw, but beyond one slight
scratch he had escaped damage. He paled again
at the narrowness of the escape. Then Critch
thrust some roasted bananas into his hand, and
the two boys made their breakfast together.
* I feel a heap better now,*' smiled Burt
weakly as he set down the empty canteen at
length. ** Now we can talk.''
'* What happened, anyhow! " inquired Critch
eagerly. ** When I got here five minutes ago you
were lyin' on your back. I thought you was dead.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 219
sure, when I saw all that blood and the wrecked
Strengthened by his sleep and the food, Burt
gradually regained his self-control as he related
the story of that terrible night to his chum.
Critch listened with eager interest, then rose and
dashed into the hut. An instant later he reap-
** The axe is gone,'* he exclaimed excitedly.
'* Think you killed him! "
*' How do I know! '' retorted Burt. ** I hit him
as hard as I could, and I guess it landed between
his eyes, but that's all I can tell."
'* You must ha' landed pretty hard, then,"
mused Critch, ** judgin' from all that blood.
Anyhow, we can follow him up — "
** Do it yourself," broke in Burt. ** I know
just about how Cap'n Mac felt now. I wouldn't
monkey with that lion again for a million dollars
cash. No sirl "
'' Well, I will! " cried Critch excitedly. " I
can get Mbopo — ' '
" Oh, how did you come out! " interrupted
Burt, with new interest. ** I judged from the
sounds that it worked all right.
220 The Boys' Big Game Series
*' Workl '* laughed Critch. *' I should say it
did work! Why, IVe got the whole blamed tribe
eatin' out o' my hand, Burt I Even Mbopo ain't
quite sure whether he ought to kow-tow or kneel
down when he speaks to me. It was easy!
* ' After we left here I had a lot of trouble trying
to make the other fellows carry that ankh. They
were scared to death of the thing. Before we got
to the gate I fixed up the procession right. Mbopo
went first with the mummy. Then come the two
brothers carryin' the cmkh between 'em on the
spear. I come last with the mummy-case.
** The whole tribe was feasting and dancing
and singing when we showed up. When Mbopo
went through the gate and got into the firelight
the bunch stopped all of a sudden. Then they
saw the two boys with the ankh. The tom-toms
quit work and everybody went down on their
noses. Before they had a chance to look up I
fixed things right.
* ' I had Mbopo stand on that pile of skins. The
ankh and mummy-case were set down right in
front of him. I stood alongside him and took old
Ta-En-User, setting him on his feet natural-like.
About half the crowd was looking up by this time.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 221
They couldn't understand what was up till I
nodded to Mbopo and he began to speak.
** Well, sir, he hadn't said more'n about ten
words, pointing to the ankh and the mummy, be-
fore them dwarfs let a howl out of 'em like they
were all struck by lightning. ' '
** Yes," broke in Burt, ** I heard that. It sure
sounded awful. ' '
'* I reckon they felt kind of awful," grinned
Critch contentedly. ** I was scared stiff at first,
honest. It seemed so blamed foolish, Burt, to
trot out a mummy and a hunk of gold and set up
as a god on the strength of it! I soon got over
being scared, though. I could be chief o' that
tribe right now if I wanted to I
** Mbopo went on explaining how you hap-
pened to be all dried up that way. The crowd
turned several degrees whiter while he was talk-
ing. It made me feel pretty mean for a minute to
think o' them grown men an' women knuckling
down that way to me. Then I got another idea.
** I set Ta down gentle and reached out for
Mbopo 's hand. It scared him, but he was game.
I led him forward a step, then picked up the anhh
an' stood it on end. When I took Mbopo 's hand
-X — . _ _
222 The Boys' Big Game Series
again his knees were shaking, but I grinned at
him and placed his hand on the loop. When he
found that nothing happened he just swelled up,
an' looked at me so grateful and plumb happy
that I couldn't keep from laughing. The crowd
stared, but when they saw Mbopo standing there
proud and confident, they hollered out their kind
o ' cheer — two sharp little barks. ' '
'' Heard that too, nodded Burt. '' Whew, I'd
like to have seen all that, CritchI But didn't
you get any sleep at allT "
** You bet I did! " was the reply. *' Just as
soon as I got things settled that way Mbopo made
another speech. Then I got him to understand
that I wanted some place to sleep. He had a fel-
low take me to an elegant big hut. There were
lots of skins and stuff in there and I went to sleep
right off. I was pretty near dead. I woke up at
sunrise and got some bananas and water and came
over here. That's all, I guess."
" Well, when are you going to resurrect met "
asked Burt. ** I'm not going to hang around
here, I can tell you. ' '
' * You got to, ' ' replied his chum earnestly. * * If
you showed up now it'd spoil the whole thing.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 223
Burt! You can stay out Here in the shade, can't
youT The zareba hides you from the village, as
long as you keep away from the entrance. ' '
** All right/* Burt struggled to his feet, him
self again. ** Let's have a look at that zareba,
The two boys walked across the little open
space and halted in front of the row of tusks.
Strands of thorn-bush were interwoven among the
tusks, which were planted closely in the ground,
but the zareba was so low that the lion would
have had no difiSculty in leaping over it. It was
evidently intended more for show than for de-
* * Those tusks don 't look as if they were worth
taking away, ' ' said Burt disgustedly. * * Look at
how old they are, and all cracked up I ' '
Indeed, the tusks seemed very ancient. Their
surface was not the smooth, white surface of new
ivory but was gray and rough and pitted with
holes worn by the weather and insects.
*' They must have been here for a long time,'*
agreed Critch. ** But I don't know 'bout their
not being worth taking off, Burt. You know
when your uncle swapped Mvita for those old
224 The Boys' Big Game Series
tusks o' hisf They looked just like these, and
your uncle isn't buying old tnsks for his health.
Besides, Cap'n Mac was crazy about these. If
they hadn't been worth while he wouldn't — "
** That's so," exclaimed Burt more hopefully.
** Prob'ly they're all right on the inside. We're
liable to make some money out o ' this trip yet. * '
** You talk just's if we had it cinched! "
laughed his chum. '^ Say, take some thorns and
pin your shirt together. I got to get back to the
village now. I'm going to bring out some weap-
ons and some more grub, but I want to make sure
that everything's safe. I'll have to warn Mbopo
not to come near here, too. I guess we can fix
things up to resurrect you by to-night, anyhow.*'
- You'd better," returned Burt, fastenins his
tattered shirt together after Critch's suggestion.
** I'm not going to stay here another night, that's
straight. Why don't you get Mbopo out after
Pongo with some of the men? "
** Not yet," answered Critch thoughtfully. ** I
want to finish up your business first. That'll tie
everything down tight. Then we can get busy
with the lion. I believe we'll pull out of this yet,
The Blind Lion of the Congo 225
** Sure we will/* laughed Burt, his spirits fully
restored by this time. *' I'm going to get some
more sleep here in the shade. Better go easy with
Mbopo. If he gets a swelled head he might make
** No chance of that/' replied Critch, pausing
at the gateway. ** He's a mighty good scout.
Well, so long! Anything special you want? ''
** Oh, nothin but a two-inch steak, a couple o'
books, and a letter from back home,'* replied
Burt. ^' So long! " And as his chum disap-
peared he flung himself down in the long grass
under the hut wall, whose shadow would protect
him from the sun. He had come to care little for
insects by this time, and in any case he was too
weary to think about them.
When he next opened his eyes the sun was in
the west and Critch was shaking him vigorously.
Burt sat up, yawning, to find his chum highly ex-
cited. Beside them lay a collection of axes,
swords, knives and spears.
** Wake up, youl '' cried Critch. ** I got pretty
near everything you asked for. ' '
** You got what! *• said Burt sleepily, staring
at his chum. The& he remembered his parting
226 The Boys' Big Game Series
words and laugfied as Critch displayed a thick
antelope-steak, a couple of baked yams and the
* * I got more than that, * * exclaimed Critch. * * I
found a kid playing with something a while ago.
Come to find out, it was this," and he threw the
remains of a little red ^eather book into Burt's
lap. The latter, who had already attacked the
steak with the help of one of the knives, picked it
up with interest.
The little book drew a gasp of amazement from
Burt when he opened it, for on the inside cover
was inscribed, in small and neat writing, *' Mc-
Allister Montenay, V. C. His Diary.''
** Is that straight? " asked Burt, looking up
with flushed cheeks. Critch nodded.
'* You bet it is. Get finished with the eats,
while I tell you. I saw a kid trailin' that around
in the dust, so I rescued it and took a look. You
could have knocked me over with a feather when
I saw what it was ! There 's a whole lot of it that
you can't make out, but enough's left to do busi-
*' Everything's lovely at the village. Some
hunters brought in three wilcJebeest and an ante-
The Blind Lion of the Congo
lope this moming and the whole tribe's feasting
up. That seems to be about all they do/'
Burt was not long in disposing of the provi-
sions. After emptying the canteen, he picked up
the little tattered red book once more and opened
it, Critch close beside him.
BXTBT COMES TO UFB
** Didn't know he was a V. C.,*' commented
Burt, turning past the first page. ** Say most o*
this is spoiled I ''
The pages were many of them torn, all were
smudged and streaked with dirt, and ominous
dark red stains covered a large portion of the
** Here's the first place you can read,'* and
Critch turned over a number of unreadable pages.
*' Start in right here.'' Burt settled back and
read aloud as follows :
** * June 1st. Five men down. Yusuf cut oflf
from supplies. Will rush to-morrow.
** * June 2nd. Bushed. Lost thirteen* Finished
Yusuf. Got lots of ivory, unmounted yet. Bead
burial service this evening. Big loot to divide.' '*
** That next you can't read, most of it," broke
in Critch. ** There's something about Pongo,
though." Burt nodded and continued:
* * * — with odd bit of wood. May be some truth
The Blind Lion of the Congo 229
in it. Must investigate. If the boys will have a
go at it — '
'' That's all, there,'' announced Burt. ** All
that's about the time he cleaned up on the Arab
caravan, ehT Let's see — there's five pages
where everything's mussed up."
** Looks like blood," laughed Critch, ** but it
ain 't. That 's the red stuff the dwarfs use to stain
their things with. See here, on this spear-shaft.
There's a lot comes next that he wrote after he
set up in Pongo 's place — it was his left arm that
was hurt, so he could write all right. But you
can't make out more'n a few scattered words.
Turn to the last page that's written on. There's
where the big thing is."
Burt obeyed, turning over the pages rapidly.
Most of the writing had been obliterated or
stained over, but although the final page was half
torn away, the remaining words were clear and
* * * Dec. 16th. Impossible to carry off the stuff.
Must slip away while out hunting if possible.
Not much hope. Eiver runs northwest. May
find Arabs or English traders to the east or north.
Will find from Mbopo whether — '
230 The Boys' Big Game Series
*' And that^s all/' announced Burt, looking
puzzled. *' I don't see what you mean by sayin'
there's anything big there, though/'
* ' Bead it over again, ' ' suggested Critch with a
grin. Burt did so, and once more glanced up with
a wondering look.
'* You got me, Critch. What are you getting
at, anyhow T ''
" Don't you seeT " cried his chum excitedly.
** That part about the river running northwest! "
*' Well, what about it! " demanded Burt.
*' Why, which way does the Makua runt **
* * If I remember the map, ' ' replied Burt slowly,
** it runs due west, joins the Loangi, and
meets up with the Congo on the way south. Oh,
I seel " he added suddenly. ** You mean that
this river out here runs up to the Makua? "
** Brilliant! " exclaimed CritcE sarcastically.
*' Why, it's got to, Burt! That is, unless it
switches off an* goes south. I don't believe it
** That won't do us much good either," re-
sponded Burt. ** These dwarfs don't use boats,
or Cap'n Mac would have gotten off that way."
" What do we want of boats? " demanded
The Blind Lion of the Congo 231
Critch. ** After you're resurrected I'll be the
boss of this tribe for fair. I'll set them to work
on a raf t, and away we go I If we hit the Makua
we're bound to strike your uncle and Cap 'n Mac
sooner or latter."
** Good for you I " cried Burt, staring at the
other in wide-eyed comprehension. ** And we
can carry off this whole blamed zareba that way,
with the anJch too ! ' '
** Not much we can't," and Critch shook his
head. ** We could get off with the ivory, I s'pose,
if Mbopo helps us. But not the ankh. That's
their real god, you know. I don't believe we'd
dare try that."
** Well, it's getting on toward sunset," and
Burt glanced at the sun, just above the western
tree tops. ** You'd better chase back and get
ready to resurrect me. I ain't anxious to be
around here after dark. What's the program? "
**Why," replied Critch thoughtfully, ** you
keep hid till dark. As soon's it gets good and
dark, say eight o'clock. 111 lead out the mob. I
don't know just yet what I'll do, but I'll bring the
mummy in here. You get a hole dug to bury him
232 The Boys' Big Game Series
in. Then I'l lead yon out and you can shake
hands with Pongo. ' '
** With which? '* exclaimed Burt.
* * With the ankh — ju^t lay your hand on him
like Mbopo did,'* explained Critch, laughing.
** Stick that book of Cap*n Mac's in your pocket.
If we get out o' here he'd like to see it again, I
reckon. So long."
'* So long," answered Burt. '* Don't keep me
waitin' all night, now."
So Critch departed on his mission, while Burt
lay back to think things over. If it was true that
the river near the village ran northwest, then it
almost certainly ran into the Makua, or a tribu-
tary of the Makua. In that case they would be
perfectly safe in floating down. There would be
dangers on the way, but by taking a few of the
white dwarfs along Burt realized that these
would be greatly lessened. On the other hand,
should the river prove to turn and flow back to-
ward the Aruwimi country, they would probably
miss the caravan altogether. In any case, their
whole future depended upon the issue of that
night's ** performance," as Burt mentally styled
his bringing to life.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 233
The disappearance of the sun roused him to the
fact that he had work to do. Taking a spear and
a broad-bladed sword from the weapons Critch
had left, Burt went inside the hut. Here he set
to work energetically digging the hole for the
final resting place of Ta-En-User, the High Priest
of Maat. The tramped earthem floor was easily
broken up by means of the spear, and as the dusk
settled down over the forest Burt finished a shal-
low hole suflScient to hold the mummy.
** It's kind o' hard lines,*' he thought, wiping
his dripping face as he returned outside. ^ ' Here
old Ta was wrapped up carefully three thousand
years back, meaning to lie quiet forever. He
don't more than get comfortably settled down
when along come the white dwarfs to rouse him
up, and they carry him clear over here. Then he
settles down once more, and we come along and
finish him. If he'd been buried right in the first
place — why, if they'd done things different three
thousand years back there wouldn't be any
Burt was roused from his rather intricate cal-
culations by a particularly savage mosquito set-
tling on his ear. Having disposed of the insect,
234 The Boys' Big Game Series
Burt daubed his face and hands with what re*
mained of the pahn oiL Then he beat down the
grass at a spot where he could see between two of
the tusks and settled down to wait. He was un-
easy at the idea that the lion might return at any
moment, and felt not the slightest temptation to
drop off to sleep.
The swift tropical night settled down over the
f oresty and soon Burt could make out the glow of
the village fires. After what seemed an age he
heard the sound of chanting mingled with the
throb of the tom-toms. This continued for half
an hour, then ceased. A few moments later a
moving light appeared at the zareba gate, fol-
lowed by others. Burt guessed that these were
torches, and knew that the time was at hand.
More and more torches poured out of the gate,
until by their light Burt could make out fairly
well all that took place. It seemed that the en-
tire tribe was leaving the village. At the head of
the procession stalked Mbopo, with Critch beside
him. Burt could see his chum carrying something
wrapped in a skin, and knew this was the
mummy. Then came the two brothers of Mbopo,
carrying the golden ankh between them on a
The Blind Lion of the Congo 235
spear, while a third man bore the mummy-case.
Behind marched the bodyguard of the chief, the
rest of the tribe following in a mob.
At the point where the boys had been left for
the lion, halfway between village and hut, the
tribe was halted. Mbopo arranged the men and
women in a wide semicircle, evidently following
the orders of Critch. The ** drum corps *' was
then brought to the front, the greater part of the
torches were extinguished, and Critch, Mbopo
and the bearers of the relics moved forward.
Burt saw his chum stop at a point distant about
a hundred feet from the hut and directly in front
of the gateway.
After a slight delay, a fire was lit here. This
presently blazed up, Critch wishing to wait until
plenty of light was cast upon the sacred objects
and the gateway of the ivory zareba. At a signal
from Mbopo the tom-toms began a steady, regu-
lar beat and the pigmies broke into a low chant
that swelled at intervals until the echoes came
back faintly from the forest. Burt watched the
scene through his loophole in silent fascination.
He had no fears as to its outcome, for the dwarfs
were plainly under the dominance of Critch.
236 The Boys' Big Game Series
Now the fire blazed up higher and higher.
Burt saw his chum, whose flaming hair glowed
out in the ruddy light, suddenly raise his hand.
The drums and chanting stopped abruptly, and
the dead silence that ensued sent a quiver through
the boy behind the ivory stockade. Critch bent
over, opened the skin bundlCi and exposed the
mummy to view. At this, one prolonged groan
went up from the audience and the crowd went
down on their faces, even Mbopo falling prostrate.
Moving a step forward, Critch faced the sacred
hut and began to speak. His voice came faintly
at first, but as he gained confidence it rang
louder. The words came plainly to Burt. Critch
first delivered all the French he could think of,
then broke into Antonyms oration, which he had
learned at school the year before. Perhaps fear-
ing that Mbopo might comprehend too much of
this, Critch switched off abruptly and delivered
a complete conjugation of the Latin verb ** ha-
beo,'* speaking slowly and distinctly in as deep
a voice as he could assume.
Burt was doubled up in silent laughter, and he
saw his chum pause at times as though struggling
to repress his feelings also. But his face was
The Blind Lion of the Congo 237
away from the pigmies, and his voice remained
firm enough. Burt could well imagine the effect
produced by all this mummery upon the ignorant
and highly superstitious pigmies, ridiculous as it
might appear to him.
Finally Critch ran out of words, it seemed, for
he stopped suddenly. The firelight gleamed on
hundreds of eyes behind his figure, and Burt won-
dered vaguely what would happen if the waiting
tribe should by any chance see through their
trickery. The thought made him collect all his
forces, and at this moment Critch stooped again.
Picking up the munmiy, he touched it to the
At the action a ripple of sound rose from the
pigmies, followed by what was almost a wail of
fear as Critch straightened up, the mummy in
his arms, and began walking slowly toward the
sacred hut. Burt knew it was time to get inside,
so he slipped in through the hole made by the lion,
the doorway being in view of the crowd. A mo-
ment later the form of Critch darkened the en-
** Fine work I '* whispered Burt. He was an-
swered by a sight of relief.
238 The Boys' Big Game Series
** Take Ta, willy out I'm all in. *' Critchsank
weakly down, and with some repugnance Burt
caught the mummy. Placing it in the hole, he
filled in the earth, tramped it down, and sprinkled
leaves and bones over the place. " Say,*' went
on his chum, ** that may have sounded funny to
you, but it was something fierce I ' '
* * Never mind, * ' murmured Burt. * * You did it
mighty fine, old man. ' '
** It was awful to think what'd happen if I
made a slip, * ' confessed Critch. * * Honest, Burt,
I was so weak-kneed I could hardly walk over
here! '* How you coming? '*
''He's buried,'' responded Burt as he finished
his task. ** Do we go out now? ''
'* No use keeping them waitin'," said Critch.
*' I'm goin' to leave the ankh and the mummy-
case in here for good. Are you ready? Give me
Burt helped his chum to his feet Critch
stepped into the doorway, holding Burt's hand.
Then began a slow and solemn advance across the
firelit space before the hut. As the figures of the
two boys came into sight of the pigmies, an in-
describable murmur of awe swept from the crowd.
The Blind Lion of the Congo 239
Then came a prolonged groan of unutterable hor-
ror as Burt's face stood out more clearly, and
Burty whose gaze was fixed on Mbopo, saw the
pigmy chief go down in the dust, his extended
hands trembling in the firelight. A moment more
and the boys stood beside the ankh.
Beleasing Burt's hand, Critch caught the loop
of the symbol of Maat and stood it on end. Then
Burt placed his hand on it beside that of Critch.
At this a click, seemingly of joy, arose from the
crowd. Mbopo looked up, his face ashen gray,
and wild amazement in his eyes.
Critch now beckoned the two brothers forward,
and at his repeated gestures they trembling took
up the cmJch on the spear and awaited his further
** Take one end o' the case," directed Critch.
Burt obeyed, and the two boys led the way back
to the hut. No sooner had they deposited the
ankh than Burt chanced to touch one of the pig-
mies in the dark. The man gave a terrific shriek
and dashed through the doorway, followed by his
brother. For a moment a wild fear clutched Burt.
What if the mob imagined that they were hurting
the two men? The boys hurried out, and found
240 The Boys' Big Game Series
the men prostrate beside Mbopo. Critch raised
them up and Burt, needing no instmction, smil-
ingly touched each of the shrinking men in turn.
Finding that they suffered nothing, their fear
gradually lessened, and as Mbopo grasped the
hand of Burt there was a look of joy in the honest
eyes of the young dwarf that told far more than
any words could have done.
Then Critch led the way to the village. The
crowd, still prostrate, separated to let them
through. Ten minutes later the boys lay side by
side on a heap of skins in a hut, too much over-
come by the strain to even speak. But as Burt
fell asleep, he knew that they had won the fight.
When he wakened, it was hard for Bnrt to
realize where he was. He stared up at the
thatched roof above him and gradually collected
his thoughts. A shiyer swept over him as he
recollected what had occurred the preceding
night. He sat up, and saw Critch still asleep be-
side him. It appeared to be broad daylight out-
side, and he roused his chum at once. Critch
rolled over and sprang to his feet, then stood
blinking around with so puzzled an expression
that Burt went into a shout of laughter.
** What's the matter f *' he gasped.
** I was dreaming that old Ta was having a
scrap with me,'* confessed his chum sheepishly.
** He threw the ankh at me and just then Pongo
come along and jumped him. Both of 'em rolled
over on me and I woke up.*'
** Say, was last night all a dream? '' asked Burt,
soberly, as he stared at his chum. " Or did we
really put it over — "
242 The Boys' Big Game Series
* * You bet we did ! * ' cried Critch with a grin of
recollection. ^^ No dream about that, old man.
We Ve only been here two days, but we Ve done a
heap of things. Now we got to finish the lion.
Then we can see about getting off.''
"I'm not anxious to monkey with Pongo/'
stated Burt. " However, we might send out
Mbopo to trail him. I'll take him over to the hut
if you'll get some breakfast fixed up.'*
** I'm on," exclaimed Critch. Upon leaving
the hut, the two boys found themselves objects of
awed veneration from the pigmies. They met
Mbopo, and Burt took him out to the sacred hut.
Here he described the fight with Pongo in detail,
not mentioning when it occurred and purposely
leaving the dwarf rather confused. There could
be no such doubt about the struggle itself, how-
ever, and Mbopo nodded understandingly.
They then left the ivory zareba while Mbopo
made a cast around the place for the lion's trail.
Burt accompanied him, and Mbopo soon uttered
a shout of excitement. Running to his side, Burt
saw the beaten spot in the tall grass where the
lion must have alighted from his last leap over the
ivory zareba after having been wounded. Then
The Blind Lion of the Congo 243
was a speck or two of dried blood in evidence, and
Mbopo found more blood farther on, as well as a
clearly defined trail. The excited pigmy was for
following it up at once, but Burt held him back.
By dint of much patience he made Mbopo under-
stand that Critch, whom the pigmies called
** Mwanzi,'' or ** Bed-head,'' must accompany
them, as well as some warriors. Burt had had
one experience with a wounded lion and he in-
tended to take no chances this time.
The two returned to th« village where Mbopo
shouted forth his news, and Burt was instantly
the center of an excited mob. He pushed through
them, however, and found Critch with breakfast
ready. Over the meal they discussed the matter
of the lion, and decided to start out at once.
** Mebbe they'll go without waitin' for us,"
suggested Burt, glancing at the chattering crowd
of warriors around the young chief. Critch shook
" Not much. They ain't got the nerve. They'll
do whatever we tell 'em, but they won't leave us
out o' the game, take it from me."
As soon as they had finished, the boys joined
Mbopo. Their first object was a search for weap-
244 The Boys' Big Game Series
ons. Critch suggested taking two of the spears,
whose blades were over a foot long and keen as
a razor, but Burt objected.
** We donH know how to use them,*' he said.
'^ Let's see; didn't Cap'n Mac say something
about trade-guns f "
'* Mebbe he did," assented Critch, ** but I
haven 't seen any sign of guns around here. Let 's
They tried to make the young chief under-
stand, but without success. Thereupon the boys
took matters into their own hands, and began a
search among the largest huts. This was pres-
ently "rewarded by the finding of an old Snider,
wrapped in tarpaulin. There were three cart-
ridges in the magazine, but no more. These were
displayed to Mbopo, but he stated that there were
no more weapons of the kind in the village.
** Well, she seems to be in pretty fair shape,*'
remarked Burt, squinting down the barrel of the
rifle. ** Get some palm oil, Critch. Three bullets
ought to do."
** Don't catch me around when you fire that
thing," sniffed his chum disgustedly. ** She's
liable to bust. I'll bet she's twenty years old."
The Blind Lion of the Congo 245
** Better 'n a spear at that,*' chuckled Burt, oil-
ing the rifle until it worked perfectly. ** We ain*t
so badly off, Critch. There, I guess that'll do.
Critch armed himself with one of the spears,
and at the head of twenty picked warriors they
left the village. Mbopo led the way to the spoor
already found, and Critch at once ordered the
pigmy warriors to follow it up.
** Let 'em take the chances," he grinned.
* * They ain 't scared now I 'm along. If they find
Pongo you can finish him with the gun — unless
the gun finishes you. ' '
** You're sore because you didn't find the gun
yourself," retorted Burt. ** Come on, they're
quite a ways ahead. ' '
The pigmies had started at once along the spoor
of the lion, spreading out on either side and call-
ing to one another continually. The boys fol-
lowed more carefully with Mbopo. The spoor led
them through the long rank grass into the forest,
and was easy for the boys to read.
The lion had made only one leap after leaving
the zareba. This had taken him almost across the
grassy space. Upon reaching the first thicket he
246 The Boys' Big Game Series
had crawled along and left a plain blood-marked
trail for the hunters to follow. A hundred yards
farther on they heard a shrill yell from ahead,
and hurried on.
Emerging from the thicket, they found the pig-
mies clustered about a clump of thorn-bushes.
These were almost impenetrable save by the trail
left by the lion. The pigmies reported to Mbopo,
who turned to Gritch.
'' Him Pongo in there/' he stated, pointing to
the bushes with a grin. *^ Mwanzi killf Vera
Critch hesitated. He glanced at the waiting
pigmies, who evidently had not the slightest in-
tention of robbing him of the honor of going first.
** Come on,'' he muttered to Burt ** We got
to pull the bluff through right here. Have your
Burt nodded. The two boys, their hearts beat-
ing fast, advanced to the edge of the thicket. No
sound came from the bushes, and Burt thrust the
first branches aside as he entered. The thorns
made sad havoc with their clothes, but the boys
were too anxious to heed this. A moment later
Burt gave a startled exclamation. Critch came
The Blind Lion of the Congo 247
to his side, and the boys saw a tawny shape lying
ahead of them.
** Is he dead? '* whispered Critch.
'* Can't see him plain enough," responded
Bnrt ** If he jumps and I don't stop him, try to
catch him on the spear/'
A few steps farther on and the lion came into
full view. He was lying on his side, stretched
out, and something black hid his head. Burt lev-
elled the gun, but as he did so the black object re-
solved itself into a swarm of flies, who buzzed up
at the noise made by the boys.
'' Hurray I " shouted Burt, flinging down the
gun, ** he's deadt **
'' Look at the axet '' yelled his chimi, pointing
to the weapon that was almost buried in the skull
of the beast. '* (}olly, you must have hit like
fury! Hey, Mbopol *'
The pigmies were not far behind the boys, and
at the shout they came dashing forward. A shrill
yell went up as they saw the dead lion, then all
remained silent and motionless, gazing down at
the form of the beast which they had worshipped
for so long. That he was blind could be easily
made out, for the white scar ran across his eyes,
The Blind Lion of the Congo 249!
** There's some big trees growin' handy, *' an-
nounced Critch. ^^ How'U we make it? '' Burt
thought a moment.
* Why/' he replied slowly, ** take four big
logs an' lash 'em in a square. Then put four on
top o' them, with a platfonn. That ought to float
pretty high even with a good load. Guess we'll
have to make two rafts, though. We couldn't
carry any men an' that ivory on one, 'less we
made it almighty big."
** The river wouldn't stand for a very big one,"
suggested Critch. ^^ Go an' get a bunch o' the
men, Burt. We might as well pitch in right
Btrt nodded and returned up the path, leav-
ing Critch to inspect the trees growing at the
edge of the river. He returned with a score of
men, all of whom brought their little axes. They
looked wonderingly at the two boys.
** Here's a good tree,'* declared Critch, point-
ing to one about two feet through. ** We'll take
an axe an' show 'em how to do it."
Shedding their upper garments, for the place
was by no means cool, the boys fell to work on
the tree. The pigmies comprehended at once, and
250 The Boys' Big Game Series
also went to work on three other trees picked ont
by the boys. The latter, having started things
satisf actorily, flung themselves down in the shade
and directed operations.
When the first tree was about to fall, they
showed the dwarfs how to make it fall toward the
stream, so that it lay half in the water. There
seemed to be no crocodiles in the river, the men
splashing about without fear. Then Burt took a
spear and measured a straight section of the
trunk for three spear-lengths, or fifteen feet.
While Critch saw that this was lopped and cut
rightly, Burt visited the other workers.
All this, however, was not done in a few mo-
ments. The axes of the pigmies were keen, but
they were also very small. No sooner had the
work begun than the whole tribe came down from
the village to look on with wondering interest,
and Mbopo shortly after arrived also.
It was well into the afternoon before the four
trees were down, and not until noon of the next
day were they cut into the proper lengths and
trimmed. Finally, however, the logs lay end to
end in the shape of a square, in the shallow water.
Burt now explained to Mbopo that these were to
The Blind Lion of the Congo 251
be fastened together. The young chief compre-
hended at once, and with strips of tough hides
had the first part of the raft completed by night-
The abundance of help lightened the work won-
derfully, as the other warriors learned the work.
They went at it like children, laughing and play-
ing continually^ until the two white boys won-
dered how they could ever have stood in fear of
these pranking dwarfs who were so full of fun
At the end of five days the first raft was fin-
ished to the satisfaction of the boys. Even when
the platform was crowded with men it floated
clear of the water, and with an ordinary load the
platform would be at least a foot above the sur-
face. The whole fabric was very strong, for the
platform itself was formed of saplings which
were lashed carefully, and no ordinary shock
would break up the raft. A small bulwark was
then run around the edges.
At the end of a week the second raft also lay
completed, and now the boys had to face the some-
what difficult task of explaining their purpose to
Mbopo. They took him over to the sacred hut.
252 The Boys' Big Game Series
and Burt pointed to the ivory tusks, with ges-
tures of uprooting them.
^^ Take him to Buburika Mac/' he explained
over and over. ** You go along. Come back
afterwards. ' '
Mbopo looked doubtful as he grasped the idea
that the tusks were to be loaded on the rafts.
Finally, however, he nodded and the boys drew a
breath of relief. That they would be obeyed now
they had no fear at all, for the pigmies were their
devoted slaves in every way, and stood in evident
awe of the two boys and especially of " MwanzL*'
This belief was confirmed when Mbopo ad-
dressed the tribe in a great council that night.
The pigmies made not the slightest opposition,
and the boys could see by his gestures that he was
describing their desires.
** All right,'' murmured Burt as the two short
gutteral barks ascended from the audience, '^ it's
all over but the shouting, Critch. S'pose we can
get the stuff loaded up to-morrow t "
** We ought to," replied his chum. ** Well
have to see first. Those thorns are tangled up
with the tusks somethin' fierce."
Next morning the entire tribe left the village
The Blind Lion of the Congo 253
and approached the sacred hut of Pongo. Under
the direction of Mbopo, who took matters into his
own hands now, the work of uprooting the ivory
was begun. This was diflScult, but by evening the
last of the great tusks lay in the pile by the river
edge. All that remained was to load them aboard
the rafts. This, however, would be no easy mat-
ter, for the tusks were heavy and the balance of
the rafts must be preserved.
Critch took charge of the loading, while Burt
attended to getting provisions together for the
journey. There was dried meat in abundance, and
plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. The boys
had a long consultation over loading the ivory,
for even with the protection of the dwarfs a raft-
load of tusks would be too much of an inducement
for the tribes they were sure to meet.
At length it was settled by making a layer of
tusks, of which there were tKirty-nine in all, on
the platforms. Fifteen of the tusks had been dis-
carded by the boys as worthless. Over the layer
of ivory was placed enough dirt to fill in the
spaces and hold the tusks steady. A top layer of
skins completed the whole.
The young chief made no objection to taking
The Boys' Big Game Series
the journey on the rafts, for the boys held out
'^ Buburika Mac '' at the end of the trip as a
bribe, and Mbopo could not resist. He selected
six warriors for each raft; he and Burt took
charge of one and Critch of the other. Poles were
cut for the ** deckhands/' as Burt named the
crewsi and at length all was ready.
DOWN THE MAKUA
The start was made in the early dawn of a
perfect day. The whole tribe assembled to see the
party off, and it was plain that the pigmies, while
not opposing the departure, did not like to lose
^^ Mwanzi/' for many gifts were brought to the
boys, with gestures of good wilL In their turn,
Burt and Critch gave away all the small articles
they possessed except those which they would ab-
solutely need. Their collection of weapons was
completed, and Burt carefully wrapped up the
rifle with its three precious cartridges in the tar-
paulin. As the sequel proved, it was well indeed
for the boys that they had found the old rifle.
Finally all was ready. The warriors took their
places on board, standing amid the piles of pro-
visions and skins of water, for the boys dared not
drink the river water,
" Cast off! '' shouted Critch", throwing off the
vine that bound his raft to the bank. Burt fol-
lowed suit. A roll of tom-toms and a loud shout
256 The Boys' Big Game Series
rose from the tribe, which was answered by a
shout from the crews. Slowly the poles sent the
rafts out into mid-stream, where the current
caught them and swept them down. For half a
mile they remained in sight of the villagOi then a
bend swept all away. The perilous voyage was
Burt 's raft followed that of Critch at a distance
of fifty feet. Neither boy made any effort to in-
crease the speed of the craft, confining their ef-
forts to keeping the rafts from turning around
and around in the current. Both floated well
above the water, and the pigmies were highly de-
lighted with their novel situation.
The river was of good size and to the joy of the
two boys it continued to flow steadily toward the
northwest. They floated down between banks of
heavy vegetation, but saw no signs of life. That
night they camped on an island and the party
seemed in high spirits.
The next day they received their first sign of
the hidden life that filled the great jungles. There
came a high shrill yell from one bank, to which
Mbopo replied, and the boys knew that once more
they were among the black dwarfs. This was re-
A roll of tom-toms aixl ii luud slioiit arose from tlie t
the bank. Slowl; the poles sent the rafts out into iniil
nhere the current caught them and etrept them down.
THE NEW YORK
The Blind Lion of the Congo 257
peated in the afternoon, but even by the aid of
their glasses they could not make out who had
Only once did they meet with trouble. This oc-
curred when Critch ran aground on a hidden
shoal. The solid raft ran deeply into the mud of
the river bottom and it took the efforts of both
crews to get her off.
For three days more they floated down the river,
but on the third evening both boys noticed signs
of uneasiness among the pigmies. In the morn-
ing, before the starts Mbopo approached Critch.
** Where Buburiba Mac? *' he inquired, glanc-
ing around as if he Expected to find Captain Mon-
tenay in their vicinity. Critch glanced at Burt.
** Him down there,'' and he waved his hand
downstream. Mbopo looked doubtfully around.
** Mbopo no like vera good,'' was his reply.
* * Him Zwengi pretty quick. ' '
** Zwengi! " repeated Critch, puzzled.
* * Him vera bad, ' ' declared Mbopo. * * Him big,
much fight. Mbopo no like."
** Must be a tribe they're at war with," said
Burt. He took up the rifle and turned to the chief.
'' Him kill Zwengi."
258 The Boys' Big Game Series
" Mwanzi kill Zwengi! '* asked Mbopo of
Critch, plainly putting all his faith in the latter 's
prowess. Critch laughed and nodded. Mbopo
turned and spoke joyfully to his men^ who in-
stantly lost their uneasy appearance and sprang
aboard with a shout of delight.
** It's up to you/* grinned Burt, and Critch
* * Plain bluflf again, ' ' he said. * * If we are held
up, those bows o ' the dwarfs ought to get in good
work, an* your three cartridges 'U help a whole
lot unless the Zwengi have guns. If they have,
it's all up, I guess.**
** The Makua can*t be so very far otf now,** re-
plied Burt. ** The river *8 getting bigger and big-
ger, and the current *s swifter. S*pose we could
rig up any kind of breastwork on the rafts ! * *
** Better not waste time trying,** dissented
Critch. ** I*m afraid of making them top-heavy.
Well, let*s be off. We ought to hit the Makua
pretty quick now. If we don't meet Cap*n Mao
I expect Mbopo *11 be sore. That*8 what*s worry-
ing me right now. * *
It was worrying Burt too, but he jumped aboard
his raft and cast loose without giving vent to his
The Blind Lion of the Congo 259
fears. He realized only too well that the Zwengi
might have canoes, and if they were discovered
and pursued their only hope was to beat off the
For several hours they swept along the rapidly
widening river without any sign of a foe. Toward
noon the stream swept around in a great bend,
and as Burt stared ahead he caught a wild shout
* * There she is t ' ' and the red-haired boy danced
around and waved his arms back at the other raft.
** The Makua, Burt!''
Sweeping around with the current, Burt saw
ahead of them two or three scattered islands. Be-
yond these was the sheen of water, and he could
plainly see that their river formed a juncture with
another and much larger stream. As he was star-
ing down the river there came a sudden yell from
'* Zwengil ''
Whirling around, Burt saw them pointing to
the right bank. At the same instant a yell of alarm
went up from Critch 's raft. It was answered by
another shout from the right bank, and Burt saw
three long canoes putting out, with a crowd of
260 The Boys' Big Oame Series
savage warriors pouring into others. He saw in-
stantly that they had only one chance.
** Make for the island I *' he shouted to Critch.
'' Land and hold them off ! ''
Critch waved his hand, and both boys set the
men to work frantically, trying to guide the un-
wieldy craft toward an island that rose straight
ahead of them. Burt unwrapped the rifle, but
did not wish to use it until he had to.
With a dozen paddlers in each, the big war ca-
noes shot out across the river to head off the first
raft. Now, the bows used by the white pigmies
were larger than those of any other tribe the
boys had seen. They were fully as long as the
men themselves and of great strength. Burt saw
Critch say something to Mbopo and take the pole
from one of his men. Instantly he followed suit,
directing the man he relieved to shoot at two of
the following canoes which were heading toward
them. As he did so a flight of arrows came over
the water, all but one falling short, the one re-
bounding from the wet logs without sticking.
As Burt 's man caught up his bow, the boy saw
Mbopo and another warrior loose their shafts
from the first raft. The arrows, driven by the full
The Blind Lion of the Congo 261
force of those tremendons bows, easily reached to
the canoes. The bowman in the first canoe gave a
yell and dropped his paddle ; as he did so, the man
behind him threw up his arms and fell back, over-
turning the canoe. At this instant Burt's man
shot, and although his arrow missed, the pursuing
canoes instantly ceased their approach and
sheered off, paddling down ahead of the rafts.
Their plan was evident. By reaching the
islands ahead of the two rafts, which were still
two hundred yards away, they could command the
passages that led into the Makua. Realizing the
danger as he saw one of the canoes turn and head
for the island in front of them, Burt took up his
rifle. He did not wish to shoot to kill and there-
fore took careful aim at the bow of the canoe,
ahead of the bowman and just at the waterline.
As the canoes ^ere hoUowed-out logs, a bullet
there would shatter the whole bow.
Trusting to luck that the old rifle would hold
together, Burt pulled the trigger. The sharp
crack awoke a thousand echoes from the forest on
either hand. At the same instant the bow of the
canoe seemed to fly into splinters, a shrill yell of
fear went up from the foe, and as the canoe filled.
262 The Boys' Big Game Series
the others instantly turned back but still con-
tinued downstream. A moment later Critch 's raft
swept down toward the island, four of the pigmies
sprang out, and drew her safely to shore.
The other islands, however, were well within
range of the Zwengi bows and to them the canoes
dashed. Mbopo's men sent one whirling down-
stream by a flight of arrows that completely
cleared the craft, but the others gained the shelter
of the islands just as Burt's raft was landed beside
that of Critch. Then the dwarfs made fast and
** We're in for it,'' cried Critch, pointing up-
stream. * * Look there ! ' '
Pulling out his glasses, Burt saw at least a dozen
other canoes slinking down close to the banks.
Catching up his rifle, he aimed full at the bow of
the first. It was a long shot, but as the echoes rose
the boys saw the paddlers spring overboard, and
the canoe filled and sank a moment later.
** Dandy shot," shouted Critch, ** but they got
us, Burt ! Mebbe we can hold 'em off while our ar-
rows last, but — ' '
At that instant something happened that caused
the boys to whirl and stare at each other with pale
The Blind Lion of the Congo 263
faces. Clear and sharp above the yells of the war-
riors, and coming from the left bank, the south
bank, they had heard the report of a heavy rifle !
'' Hear that I '' yelled Burt. ** There's a hunter
there I ''
* * Hurray I ' ' shouted his chum, turning and hit-
ting Mbopo a clap on the back that sent the dwarf
staggering. ** Mwanzi'U fix them, old scout.
Hurray I Try another shot, Burt I ' *
And as a flight of Zwengi arrows poured into
the island, Burt fired again, this time in the air.
As if in answer there came another shot from the
left bank, and a yell went up from the dwarfs as
one of their foes on the neighboring island threw
up his arms and fell back. A shriek of terror
went up from the Zwengi, while the pigmy ar-
rows played havoc among them as they fled back
to their canoes. Next instant a canoe put out
from the south bank.
* * Look there 1 ' ' shouted Burt, peering through
his glasses. ' * White helmets I We 're saved,
** Yes,'* and Critch began to dance up and down,
waving his arms like mad, ** an* it's your uncle
and Cap'n Mac! Hurray 1 Hurray! *'
264 The Boys' Big Oame Series
A week later a small German Company steamer
was making her way down the broad Makna
Biver. In the shade of her awning reclined Mr.
Wallace, Captain Montenay, Burt and Critck
John was bnsying himself forward, and the decks
of the little craft were littered with long, curved
packages that looked strangely like elephant
** Well, it was mighty lucky for us that you
started after us that way,'* Burt was saying. ** If
you'd tried to strike right through the black
dwarf country we'd have missed you. Ain't it
queer how things worked out t ' '
** Not a bit," asserted Captain Mac quietly.
** It looks to me, Burt, as if the hand o' Provi-
dence was in it."
The boys stared at the Scotchman for a moment
in wonder. Suddenly Burt sprang to his f eet. "
** Oh, I forgot! " he cried. ** I ain't showed
you that roll yet! " Dashing off to the cabin, he
returned with the tightly rolled packet he had
taken from the mummy as he and Critch had un-
wrapped it. Mr. Wallace took it with an excla-
mation of pleasure.
** This is really something worth having,
The Blind Lion of the Congo 265
boysl " he declared, carefully unfolding the
papyrus. ** Hello I Let's see what it says/*
In spite of its age, the first part that unrolled
showed clear and strong picture writing, in bright
colors. The others gave a simultaneous exclama-
tion, while Mr. Wallace bent his brows in the en-
deavor to read it.
** Well, it's nothing special," he announced,
** merely being scenes from the life of Ta-En-
User, with the story of his achievements. I think
we'd better roll it up and keep it from the damp
now; we can read it later. It'll make something
great for your room, Burt ! It 's mighty few boys
that can boast of having a relic like that hanging
on their walls I ' '
** Well, I'm kind o' sorry we're going home,"
sighed Critch. ** Won't this be a great yam to
write up for the school paper, eh, Burtf "
* * Nonsense I ' ' said Mr. Wallace sharply. * * It 's
too big a story for that, Critch. Why don't you
two chaps get busy and make a book out of itf
I'll help you in the stiflf places."
* * Hurray I ' ' cried Burt.
** Bully! " uttered Critch, delighted. ** That's
266 The Boys' Big Game Series
just what we'll do, Mr. Wallace! Say, won't it
make a great yamt ''
** An' if you do," put in Captain Mac with a
quiet grin, ** be sure an' send me a copy o' the
thing, laddies! I'd like powerful well to see my
name in a story book ! ' '
** You bet we will! " said Burt, and Critch
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b Twrire Hodn
7. THE AIRSHIP BOYS AS DETECITVES Or, On Scott Service In
Fascinating stories of that wonderful region of
invention where imagination and reality so nearly
meet. There is no more interesting field for stories
for wide-awake boys. Mr. Sayler combines a re-
markable narrative ability with a degree of technical
knowledge that makes these books correct in all
airship details. Full of adventure without bdng
The make-up of Ikeie books if ilrkUy tip-
to-dale and feUking. Tkt cmers art emblem-
atic, and the jackets are showy and in colors.
The iitustralioHS are fuUof dask and vim.
Standard noDtl site, lamo. Price $1.00 each.
Publishers The Reilly & Britton Co. Chicago
Good Books for Boys
The Boy Fortune Hunters
By FLOYD AKERS
The Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska
The Boy Fortune Hunters in Panama
The Boy Fortune Hunters in Egypt
The Boy Fortune Hunters in China
The Boy Fortune Hunters in Yucatan
The Boy Fortune Hunters in the South Seas
MR. AKERS, in these new books, has at a single
bound taken the front rank as a writer for
boys. The stories are full of adventure, yet clean,
bright and up-to-date. The first volume tells of
the exciting scenes in the early days of the Alaskan
gold fields. The next book takes **The Boy Fortune
Hunters" to the **Canal Zone," and the third story
is filled with stirring incidents in a trip through
Egypt. The fourth book relates exciting adven-
tures in the Flowery Kingdom, and the fifth and
sixth stories detail further adventures in Yucatan
and among the South Sea Islands.
Illustrated J2mo. Uniform doth bind-
ingf stamped in three colors. Stunning
colored wrapper. Price 60 cents each
Publishers The Reilly & Britton Co. Chicago