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Title: Beauty in Distress
Author: Fred M White
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Title: Beauty in Distress
Author: Fred M White

Beauty in Distress


Fred M. White.

Published in the Bowen Independent (Qld. : 1911 - 1954), Saturday 5
April 1919.

The Gentle Buccaneers were lounging on the deck of the Gehenna in the
moonlight after dinner. They might have been just four very proper and
gallant gentlemen, taking their ease after the pleasures of the day,
and, indeed, they were something like that; but thereby hangs a tale.

There were four of them altogether--the Honorable Roger Endellion,
commonly called Jolly Roger as a delicate compliment to him, as the
leading spirit of the great adventure; Jimmy Graydon, alias Truthful
James, one time a mighty "Rugger" international three-quarter, and St.
John Wallace, commonly called the Brigadier, seeing that for a brief
space he had been a soldier; all some time at Eton, and now citizens
of the world. The fourth man, Peter Shacklock, generally hailed as the
Prodigal Son, was pure American, and, as his nickname might imply, a
backslider from a commercial point of view, and a veritable thorn in
the flesh of a businesslike father with perhaps more millions (dollars)
than he knew how to count.

They were a fine company, physically, if not intellectually, though
Endellion himself, the leader of the expedition and owner of the yacht,
was by way of being a classical scholar and a passionate admirer of
Marcus Aurelius, whose philosophy he was fond of translating with a
wide margin.

Now it pleased the Gentle Buccaneers to regard themselves as something
between Drake and Kidd. In other words, pirates in the South Pacific
Seas, though, nathless, their piracy, like Ariel's spiriting, was
done gently. They liked to pose as men who have been badly mauled in
the battle of the world, and as regards two of them, at least, this
was substantially true. The others had gone into the business in the
pure spirit of adventure. But Endellion, at least, had a real enough
grievance. As he was fond of putting it, what use was that large
fortune of his, inherited from a kindly godmother, seeing that it was
impossible for him to show his face either in the park or on "the sweet
shady side of Pall Mall." There had been a time, not so long ago when
he had been quite persona grata in Society, but that was before he
had fallen in love with a woman of considerable personal attractions
and slim morality who had somehow got entangled in a card scandal of
some magnitude. In his fine quixotic way Endellion had taken all the
blame upon himself and confessed of a social crime of the blackest
type--the one unforgivable sin, in fact.

He had not been blind. No one had known better than he that the object
of his misplaced affections had no business to be playing for such
a high stakes, despite the fact that she was a fine exponent, and
depended upon her skill to pay most of her obligations. But Endellion
had not stopped to count the cost. He was most absurdly in love, and it
had seemed to him that with his ample means he and the lady in question
might live happily ever afterwards, in spite of the social ostracism
which would inevitably be handed out to him. And therefore he stood
confessed for her sake, and then, when she was enjoying the sympathy of
everybody, she turned her back upon Endellion and married someone else.

Endellion immediately disappeared from his familiar haunts, and from
time to time rumors reached his old friends to the effect that he was
leading a riotous sort of life in the South Pacific Seas on board a
luxurious yacht in company with a few other black sheep he had scraped
together from various parts of the globe. He had gone headlong to
the devil. Sooner or later he would be picked up by some patrolling
gunboat, and then there would be an end to his career.

And so it came about that Endellion was sitting there with his
companions, on the deck of his own yacht in the glorious moonlight,
off a little spit of an island inhabited, for the most part by other
black sheep and a trader or two in copra and mother o' pearl. They did
not know even the name of the island and had drifted there in the mere
spirit of adventure. They had been on shore for an hour or two taking
in water and one or two odd things, and now seated on the deck round a
little table on which stood an electric light, smoking their cigars and
talking idly over coffee and liquers.

They might have been no more than four idle gentlemen, prospecting
around for sheer amusement. From where they sat they could see the foam
creaming on the white sand and a waving fringe of palms swaying gently
in the evening breeze. It was a peaceful picture of sea and sky and
brilliant moon and far enough remote apparently in the way of crime or

"What manner of place is this?" Endellion asked. He had not been
ashore. "What do you make of it, Jimmy?"

"Oh, just the usual," Graydon replied. "Two or three huts, a general
store, and a poisonous little saloon, of course. Same old game. A
handful of white traders steadily drinking themselves to death in the
intervals of business, and the inevitable remittance man propped up
against the bar. It's a lovely spot, of course, but a God-forsaken
hole, all the same. Not much sign of adventure here."

The Prodigal Son, otherwise Peter U. Shacklock, chuckled quietly to

"I don't know about that, sonny," he said. "There's a girl on the
island. A real peach, too."

"Oh, come off it," Wallace said. "Do you mean there's a lady tied up on
this gob of sand?"

"I do that," Shacklock replied. "I saw her when the hands were filling
up the water casks. Tall, dark, with violet eyes and a walk like a
goddess. Quite young too. Now I wonder who the deuce she is."

"That will do," Endellion put in. "None of that, my boy. No woman here.
Now, what does Marcus Aurelius say about woman and her man friends?"

"Oh, come off with your Marcus Aurelius," Shacklock went on. "I tell
you there is a mystery here. Now, what on earth is a woman--and a lady,
mind--doing here, where there isn't a clean white man within a thousand
miles? When I say a lady I mean it. The real thing."

"It sounds interesting," Wallace said thoughtfully. "A prisoner,
perhaps. I will just have a stroll round in the morning----"

"You'll do nothing of the sort," Endellion said. "I am going to have no
woman mixed up with this expedition. It will mean the break up of our
friendship. I am glad you told me about this, Shacklock. We will sail
at dawn."

"Yes, but look here," Shacklock protested. "You can't leave a white
woman, and a lady at that, a prisoner in a place like this. And if ever
I saw a woman in trouble the is one."

"Oh, don't drag me into it," Endellion said bitterly. "I have finished
with the sex. I wouldn't walk a yard across the deck to help one of

Endellion spoke cynically enough; there was a hard look on that clean
cut, smoothly shaven face of his, and yet at the same time a yearning
expression in his eyes. The others looked at one another and shrugged
their shoulders, knowing well enough that there was no moving the owner
of the Gehenna when he was in his present mood. His was no secret to
them, the only three men in the world who really knew the truth.

They sat there for a few moments in silence, looking out over the
silver track of the moon, whilst Endellion frowned moodily, and,
for once in his life, failing to quote something apposite from his
favourite author. Then there was a sound of oars alongside the yacht,
and a moment later a woman came up the ladder and stood there, in the
little ring of electric light, looking timidly at the four figures
seated at the table.

"May--may I speak to you?" she faltered timidly. "I--I am in very great

Endellion rose to his feet instantly, and brought his heels together.
At once the cynic had been merged into the gentleman, so that a moment
later the girl with the violet eyes and the white pleading face found
herself looking at four wholesome Englishmen. The mere sight of them
brought the tears into her eyes.

"Anything we can do for you?" Endellion began.

"You are very good," the girl murmured. "But I have not the courage to
tell all of you at once. May I speak alone with the owner of the yacht?"

Three men turned away simultaneously, leaving the woman-hater face
to face with the foe. Endellion could hear Shacklock chuckle as he
vanished into the darkness.

"I say, what price Marcus Aurelius now?" Shacklock whispered to his
companions. "Guess our St. Anthony is going to catch it under the fifth
rib all right. Say, boys, we're going to get our adventure yet."

All of which, fortunately, was not audible to the man on the deck.
He was looking down into a pleading pair of limpid violet eyes that
were turned trustingly upon him, and, sooth to say, that hardened
misogynist was not altogether displeased. There was something in this
implicit confidence that appealed to him strongly. Because, you see,
he was a young man and this girl was good to look upon. Moreover, the
prodigal son's description had not been in the least exaggerated. Here
was a lady beyond all question, one to the manner born and speaking
the little refined shibboleths of Society. And, moreover, she was in
trouble. It was useless for Endellion to fall back upon the little
platitudes and epigrams behind which he had tried to shield himself in
the face of beauty in distress, and, moreover, beauty with a crystal
purity of gaze and openness of expression that would have disarmed
cynicism itself.

And, on her side, this intruder with the crimson checks and blooming
eyes was looking into the face of perhaps the handsomest man she had
ever seen. Nor did she know that he was smiling down upon her with that
instinctive protection that every woman appreciates whether she admires
it or not.

"Won't you sit down?" Endellion said.

"I would rather not," the girl replied. "My name is Audrey Croxton, at

"At least, that's the name you want me to address you by," Endellion
smiled. "Isn't that so?"

"Oh, yes, yes," the girl replied. "That is not my name, but it is my
father's name, if you understand me."

"Yes, I think I have got that," Endellion said. "There are reasons why
you do not want me to know who you really are. Well, it doesn't in
least matter. Go on."

"It is good of you to try and make it easy for me," the girl said
gratefully. "You see, my father lived on the island. He has been here
for--for so many years."

Endellion nodded. A remittance man, no doubt, one of those men who, in
the conventional phrase, has done something wrong, and who is kept at
arms' length across the world and subsidised by his relations so long
as he stays in the outer darkness. In his experience Endellion had met
scores of these, but that one of them should be so far gone as to keep
a child of his in that outlandish region was something almost beyond

"And may I ask how long you have been here?" Endellion said. "It is not

"Oh, I quite understand that. I have been here nearly two years."

"And you want to get away?"

"Oh, I must, you can see that I must Mr.----"

"Endellion. That's my name."

Audrey Croxton gazed with wide-opened eyes.

"Oh, indeed?" she said. "I have heard----"

She broke off abruptly.

"Go on," Endellion said good-naturedly. "You were going to say that you
have heard of me before."

"Well, I have friends in England----"

"Then you know my story. It is no secret, Miss Croxton. And now, if you
think that you can trust a man who----. But we need not go into that.
We are both in trouble, you see, and that should be a bond of sympathy
between us. Now, do sit down and tell me everything."

"Oh, I do trust you," the girl said. "Do you know, I came here to-night
in sheer desperation. I saw your friends on the beach this afternoon,
and that gave me the idea. Two years ago when I was a mere schoolgirl
at home, I conceived the romantic idea that it was my duty to come out
here and look after my father. I had not seen him for many, many years,
and I persuaded myself he had been very badly treated by his relatives.
Just the notion that a child does get hold of. So when I got the
chance, and the necessary means, I ran away and joined my father here."

"To his joy or annoyance, which?" Endellion asked. "I am bound to ask
you the question."

"Isn't my presence here to-night an answer?" the girl said, with some
spirit. "It was a fatal mistake, Mr. Endellion. I had no idea that my
father had sunk so low. I would not confess my mistake, I would not
write to my friends for money to return home. You may call that pride
or stupidity, whichever you like, but any father, to do him justice,
would send me back again if he had the money. He has promised me over
and over again that if he was lucky he would see to it. But until
quite lately there has been no opportunity. Then a few days ago there
came to the island a Japanese, whom my father had befriended once or
twice, a man in the last stage of consumption who came here to die. He
had been a pearl fisher--a pearl poacher, if you like. He had one big
stone which he gave to my father out of gratitude a few days before he
died. That pearl is worth a good many hundreds of pounds, and there was
my opportunity. I implored my father to sell it to one of the traders
here. But he says if he keeps it for a week or two until the next ship
comes along he will be able to get double the price. And then he began
to talk, he began to display that stone in the saloon where he spent
most of his day. There is a man here who will rob father of it if he
gets the opportunity. If he doesn't get the opportunity, he will make
it, and then I shall never reach England again. I was wondering if, by
any chance, I could induce one of you gentlemen to make my father an

To all this Endellion listened gravely enough. He could read the tense
anxiety behind those quietly-spoken words, and he was beginning to
realise what a veritable hell life must have been there all those weary
months for this delicately natured girl.

"I think that could be managed," Endellion said. "Tell me, where is
your father now?"

"Down at the saloon as usual," the girl said with a sort of weary
scorn. "He had his cheque from England a few days ago, so just now he
is a welcome guest. I would not mind so much if he would not carry
that pearl about with him. Any time Billy Hutton and his gang may make
him intoxicated, and then they will lure him on to play cards for the
pearl. Oh, it's terrible, Mr. Endellion, terrible. Can't you help, me?"

"I not only can, but will," Endellion said crisply. "But who is the
aforesaid Billy Hutton?"

"The terror of these seas," the girl explained. "A pirate, a pearl
poacher, anything that is vile. He is a big, burly ruffian, who is
the bully of the island. He has a small tramp steamer in which he and
his crew go off from island to island, and wherever they are there is
violence. And that's the man my father wants to--oh, Mr. Endellion, I
can't say it. It's too horrible."

Endellion inclined his head gravely. In a flash he had comprehended
the whole situation. He was feeling just a little unreal, as if he
had stepped on to the stage in the midst of a comedy-drama with a
rehearsed part. He knew something by repute of the aforesaid Billy
Hutton, pirate, scalliwag, and scoundrel generally, who arrogated to
himself the mastery of those free and easy seas, and who had more than
once expressed a lurid desire to meet the man who was there with the
obvious intention of disputing his sovereignty with him. And this was
the creature that Croxton would have allowed the child of his to marry.

Endellion could see it clearly enough, could see the broken down
gentleman who had sunk so low that he cared nothing so long as he could
obtain his daily portion of drink.

And yet, with it all, Endellion was conscious of the fact that he was
flying in the face of every resolution which had been bitten into him
by his troubles in the past. He could recollect another face like this,
and another pair of violet eyes that had looked wildly and imploringly
into his with a prayer for salvation behind them. And because he had
passionately loved the owner of those eyes he had cheerfully sworn
away his own honor and had gone out into the social darkness without
receiving a single word of thanks. Never again, he had told himself.
And yet here he was, perforce a squire of dames, a champion of beauty,
on the last spot of God's earth where he had expected to find that role
thrust upon him.

"I think I understand," he said. "It's pretty horrible, isn't it?
That's a banal way of putting it, Miss Croxton, but I want you to
understand; I turned my back on England two years ago, swearing by all
my gods that I would never speak to a woman again. I told myself that
if I saw one of them dying by the wayside I would not hold out a hand
to help her. Never mind why. Certainly I never expected to be speaking
to a woman like this again. But I cannot leave you here to suffer. I
must help you. Well, let me tell you the truth, I want to help you.
This matter shall be attended to at once. Where is your father to be

"There is only one place, except when he is asleep," Audrey said. "Or
when he has no money. He is down at Bioni's saloon. You can see it on
the beach yonder. And that little bungalow on the left is my home."

"You had better stay here," Endellion said. "You will be safe till we
come back. I think it would be far more prudent. Now, let me make you
comfortable in the cabin."

"You are very good," the girl said. "And you will be careful, won't
you? The man I speak of is utterly reckless."

A few minutes later Endellion and his trusty companions were pulling
off in the direction of the shore. The leader of the expedition had
made the situation plain in a few words, and it was an eager little
coterie that turned their face in the direction of the saloon.

They pulled up their boat presently on a little spit of golden sand
and made their way past the fringe of palms and growing hibiscus that
led to the saloon. The doors were closed, despite the closeness of the
night, and here and there a clink of light crept through the window

Endellion pushed his way unconcernedly forward and entered the saloon,
closely followed by his companions. A blast of hot reeking air drove
them back for a moment, a stifling heat that seemed to have little
effect on the knot of men gathered round a rough deal table. Two of
them were playing cards, and the other choice specimens of humanity
were drinking and looking on. It was evidently an exciting game, for it
was some little time before the unsavory occupants of the place became
aware of the presence of the new comers, so that Endellion and his
friends had a good chance of looking round.

They saw a big mountain of a man, burly and red of face, and black
of beard, who sat at one end of the table with cards in his hand. He
appeared to dominate the place with a certain personality of his own,
for the others seemed to hang upon his every word and applaud the
coarse jests that fell from his lips.

And the game they were playing was evidently poker. From time to time
one of the cardholders selected a fresh piece of pasteboard from the
greasy pack, and then the bidding went on.

The other man was a fine specimen of humanity, slim and wiry, but
the muscles round the corners of his lips trembled and the slim,
well-shaped hands were horribly shaky. A ragged, fair moustache dropped
over his lips; the grey eyes were weak and bleared and watery.

"That's the man," Endellion whispered. "A typical specimen of the
class who live upon the charity of their friends. A gentleman,
evidently. Strange how the flavor clings in spite of everything, isn't
it? My God, it's Lashford."

"What, 'Lashford of Evans?'" Graydon asked.

"Yes, that's the man. Can't you recognise him from the photograph that
used to hang up in the dining-room? To what base uses may we come, as
Marcus Aurelius says."

"Guess it was Shakespeare who said that," Shacklock said.

"Well, it doesn't matter," Endellion replied. "That's Lashford all
right. Lashford who was captain of the Eton eleven for three years and
the finest bat the old House ever turned out. And just look at him now."

As Endellion spoke he stepped quietly forward and stood by the side of
the table where the game of cards was going on. That cool, insolent
clean-cut face of his and his spotless white clothing were in vivid
contrast to the greasy picturesqueness of the ruffians round the table.

"Good evening," Endellion said with exquisite politeness. "A little
game of poker, I presume? But, my dear Mr. Lashford, if you will allow
me to call you so, how can you expect to win when you are playing with
an opponent who uses his own cards, and not only that, but marks them,
too? I wonder how many hundreds of times that venerable pile of greasy
pasteboards has figured in a robbery like this?"

It was done so coolly and quietly that for a moment the big man with
the black beard and his companions stood there gazing stupidly at the
intruders. It was only the man with the fair moustache who showed signs
of agitation. At the mention of his proper name he had half-started
to his feet, then dropped back into his chair again with a dull red
spot glowing on either cheek. But the quiet thrust had gone clean
home, the recognition, the cool, cutting contempt in Endellion's tone
had penetrated through the outer coat of vice and sloth and lost
self-respect. He looked up dully.

"Eton, by the Lord," he said. "Since my day, too. Evans? Am I right,

"You are," Endellion said crisply. "And upon my word you are still
remarkably like your photograph. I wonder what Evans' would say, if
they knew?"

"Drop that, damn you," Lashford said fiercely.

"Ah, well, the old Adam is not yet dead, I am glad to see," Endellion
replied. "And for the sake of the old school I am not going to stand
here and see that black-bearded ruffian rob you. Here, look for

Endellion reached over coolly and took one of the oleaginous cards from
the table.

"Look here, you fool," he said. "These cards were once white with
glazed backs. They shine even now if you glance at them sideways. And
I'll eat the whole pack if there are not dull spots on the back of
every one of them. There you are. See for yourself. How are you going
to win when that scamp yonder can pick any card he likes, knowing the
value of it from the spots on the back? Upon my word, Mr. Hutton, it's
pretty cool of you to work an old trick like that. Get up, Lashford,
and come along with us. This is no place for an old Etonian, even if he
has flown off the handle. And before you go, be sure you have got that
pearl in your pocket."

"Oh, that's all right," Lashford muttered.

Then it was that the big bully rose from his chair. He had been too
paralysed by Endellion's audacious onslaught and the cool, easy proof
of his accusation to sit there whilst he was sparring for wind, so
to speak. He looked round now, as if measuring Endellion and his
companions with the eyes of a general reckoning up the forces against
him. And because he did not slip his hand to his hip pocket and the
other greasy rascals were standing around, as if awaiting a lead,
Endellion, and the rest of the Gentle Buccaneers knew that these
men were not armed. They had probably regarded that precaution as
unnecessary; they had just come over from their battered old tramp
steamer on an errand far too simple to call for any precaution of that

"Who the blazes are you?" Hutton demanded.

"I think you know," Endellion smiled sweetly. "I understand that you
have expressed a friendly interest in me and the Gehenna and her
crew. You say that there isn't room in the South Pacific for your
lot and mine. With that expression of opinion I am in entire accord.
That's not a threat, it's only an expression of opinion. But I think
you understand what I mean. We are both here on a spirit of adventure,
and both, I believe, utterly reckless. But your methods are not ours.
Swindling and robbery form no part of our programme."

It was all quietly said and in a cool and cutting voice that seemed
to drive the big man to the verge of frenzy. He let out wildly in
Endellion's direction with a fist big enough to have smashed that
handsome, insolent, contemptuous face if the blow had got home. But
Endellion side-stepped deftly and caught the bully a stinging counter
on the left cheek.

"Into it, boys!" Graydon yelled. "Collar 'em low. They've got no arms,
so we'll just make a 'rough house' of it. Whoop, you devils, get your
heads down forwards, and mind you heel out when I give you the word.
And you, you little black devil behind the bar yonder, lock the door,
and if anyone wants to come in tell 'em they can't, because you've got
some gentlemen here engaged in a friendly argument. Lock the door, you
little sprat, and then lie down behind the bar until someone whistles
for you. Now, then, all together."

"Rah! Rah! Rah!" Shacklock screamed. "Yale! Yale! Go it, ye cripples!
Come on, Brigadier!"

A moment later the whole pack were mixed in inextricable confusion on
the floor. White shirts and black ties were torn away indiscriminately
in the scene that ensued, till gradually Hutton and his pack were
driven back by the scientific rush of those thained footballers,
and before long three of the pirates were lying dazed on the floor,
wondering where they were and whether they had suddenly become victims
of a passing tornado.

Endellion scrambled to his feet. He was hardly up before Hutton was at
him again. The others, recognising the two master minds, drew a little
on one side to watch the coming fray.

"The skipper will be all right," Wallace said cheerfully. "It looks big
odds, but he'll get there."

Endellion tore off what remained of his white coat. He measured the
big man opposite with a cool and critical eye, and addressed him with
irritating calm.

"Now, that's not a bad idea, Mr. Hutton," he said. "We are none of us
armed, so we will have to fall back upon Nature's weapons. I see by the
way you are shaping that you know something about the art, and, without
vanity, I am not exactly a novice. Some other time perhaps we may try
other forces. But now, as it is a question of whether you finish this
game on top or I do, we must make the best of what we have got."

Hutton appeared to ask nothing better. There was a wicked gleam in his
eyes as be lunged forward with all the weight of that big body behind
him. And then began a battle of giants. Weight was all on the side of
the swashbuckler; he had a fair smattering of science, too, but he
was considerably the older man, and a long experience in the fetid
atmosphere of saloon bars was all against him. There was no mistaking
his power and his knowledge and had he been permitted to come to close
grips it might have gone hard with Endellion. But, despite all the jibs
and sneers of the big man, he kept his distance and contented himself
now and again with a few short arm jabs that were hammered home well on
the big fellow's ribs, until at length he lost his temper and came on
in a blind fury to receive a smashing blow just a shade too high on the
jaw to knock him out.

Then he burst furiously into curses loud and deep, so that presently
he began to sob for breath, as if his lungs oppressed him, embittered
by the knowledge that so far, at any rate, he had not even touched his
nimble opponent.

"You've got him now, old man," Graydon said coolly. "Just wade in and
finish him."

"I should like to punish him a bit more yet," Endellion said, as if he
were conferring a favor.

And he did. He hammered away until the big man's face was streaming
and a great swelling over his left eye presently closed that optic
altogether. Hutton was puffing now, and unmistakably groggy at the
knees. With his two hands thrown up, he lurched forward, and then,
quite calmly and good-naturedly, Endellion drove home a blow on the
mark, so that the big man sank gently backwards and, like Elder Jones
in the poem, "subsequent proceedings interested him no more."

When he opened his eyes at length Endellion was smiling down on him,
with Lashford by his side.

"Well, Mr. Hutton," Endellion said, "if you enjoyed that little dust-up
as much as I did we can shake hands over it."

Hutton broke into voluble execrations.

"When you are dying perhaps, curse you," he said. "But listen to me, my
lad. It's your turn today but it will be mine tomorrow. We shall meet
again. And when we do, look to yourself."

Endellion turned away with a shrug of his shoulders, and a few minutes
later the thoroughly satisfied Buccaneers were making their way back
towards their boat, with Lashford bringing up the rear. Endellion
dropped behind to speak to him.

"Now, look here, sir," he said. "I know all about your story and some
day I'll tell you mine. Your daughter is on board my yacht. I leave
you to guess why she came to seek my assistance this evening. I rather
gather that for certain reasons you don't want to go back home."

"I--I can't," Lashford stammered.

"Well, for the matter of that, neither can I," Endellion said coolly.
"But, at any rate, I can hold out a helping hand to an old Etonian,
even when he has sunk as low as you have. And when there is a lady in
the question--oh, dash it, you know what I mean. At any rate, after
what has happened you can't stay here. I suggest you get all your
belongings together, and join us on the yacht. There is no hurry, and
we can settle what is to be done later on. Now, what do you say?"

"What can I say, except to thank you?" Lashford said. "But won't you
find us rather a nuisance?"

It was precisely the same question that Graydon asked his skipper in
somewhat agitated tones an hour or so later when once more they were on
board the yacht.

"It was a rattling good spree, old man," he said. "But we didn't come
over here to prowl about the island rescuing damsels in distress. You
see what it means? It will play the devil with our arrangements. Not to
be inquisitive, old thing, what are you going to do about it?"

"Dashed if I know," Endellion replied. "But how on earth could we have
done otherwise?"


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