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of the drawbacks of a small ship in the tropics. Any change in diet was welcome. The doctor was a man with a cultivated and most discriminating palate -his eggs had to be boiled for three and three-quarter minutes, and he never ate the buttends of the tinned asparagus (38. 6d. a tin) which he allowed himself on Sunday for supper. The bill of fare, to a man like him, was absolutely unspeakable-anything was worth trying as a change.

Now a Tigris salmon is a heavy slothful fish, with no good points about him either as sport or fodder. He swallows one's bait if he is clever enough to find it and is duly hauled on board, and when cooked he tastes like cotton wool stuffed with pins. The doctor disliked Tigris salmon as food, but he didn't hate it quite as much as he had come to loathe Maconachie rations.

One sultry evening he could have been seen sprawling in a deck-chair, a French novel in one hand and a fishing-line in the other. The evening steeplechase was over, and the puppies were shaking themselves after their swim. Shadi was looking round for some form of amusement, when he spotted the doctor's fishing-line. With his head slightly on one side, he came slinking across the deck to the doctor, and gently tweaked the line to call attention to himself. He had seen a fish caught once, and though he had been rather frightened he thought he ought to be in

at the death if it occurred again. Shadi noticed that there was a lump of dough for rebaiting the hook beside the doctor's chair, so, awaiting his opportunity, he snatched it up, stuffed it into his mouth, and shot up the fore-stay like a rocket. Then he ran along to the yard-arm, and squatted there gibbering at the doctor, who shook his fist at him and had to send down for more bait.

Shadi, though actually a member of the seamen's mess, used to dine in the wardroom twice a week as the doctor's guest. On the night of the bait incident he had quickly made friends with his host, and was sitting on a high stool between the doctor and the First Lieutenant. The desiccated soup course was over, and No. 1 had just been served with his tinned solids. Shadi watched him anxiously as, with a sigh, he doled himself out two spoonfuls of Heinz's beans to supply the lack of potatoes. Then, stealthily, the guest removed from the pouch in his cheek the lump of dough which had been there for three hours, and with his other hand he scooped up the beans from No. 1's plate. Then "plonk!" he flung down the dough on his messmate's plate and put the beans in his mouth. The First Lieutenant was, unfortunately, a man with an appetite which needed much coaxing, and he had to leave the table at the run. But it was impossible to be angry with Shadi, he had effected the exchange so

deftly and with such scrupu- to the masthead. While he lous fairness.

The Circe had been ordered to China, and was on passage to Bombay for docking and a small refit. Opinions differed on the subject of the monkey. Some said that he would not be able to stand the cold in the north of China, while others, headed by Sloggett, said that the ship wouldn't be able to get on without him, and in any case he'd like the change. They were all prepared to do what they could for his good. Shadi settled the matter in his own way.

The ship was about five hours' steaming from Bombay, and the "time of arrival" signal was being drafted and sent to the wireless office. Under the awning, abaft the mess-deck hatch, Able Seaman Sloggett sat on a packing-case opening up bully-beef for the ship's company's dinner. Shadi, though a vegetarian himself, was not rabid on the subject, and was scooping out small pieces of meat which remained in the tins, and throwing them to the two puppies, which were chained together to the foot of the bridge ladder. This was not very exciting, so he strolled across to the other side of the deck, and started pulling to pieces a coir mat outside the wardroom hatch. While he was engaged on this pastime, he remembered that he had left some treasures up in the "crow's nest." He bounded into the rigging and raced up

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was grubbing about amongst the dates and banana skins he found a ball of spun yarn, which he didn't particularly want, and which would make a good missile. Seeing the puppies underneath him, halfhidden by the awning, he walked along the yard to get a clearer shot. Holding on to the stay with his left hand, and standing with one foot on the yard and the other on the hightension aerial, he was about to throw the ball of yarn when, down below in the wireless office, the operator started to make the signal.

Sloggett had just finished his job, and was about to throw the empty tins over the side, when he heard a thud on the other side of the deck. He looked round a corner of the hatch, and there, in a pathetic little heap, lay Shadi. He was just moving, but obviously wouldn't live long. A seaman carrying a bucket came up the ladder from the mess-deck. Sloggett handed him a broomstick, and pointing at Shadi, said, "'Ere, Bill, finish off the poor little bounder; I can't touch 'im."

At 1.30 that afternoon a group of sad-faced men were standing by the ensign staff at the after end of the Circe's quarter-deck. In their midst stood Sloggett carrying Shadi's hammock, sewn up and weighted with a 3-pounder shot. The bugler boy sounded the last post, and Shadi's body was lowered into the sea.

THE ELUSIVE TRAIL.

BY CYRIL W. DAVSON,

XI. BEHIND THOSE GODS!

IT is said that travel broadens the mind. I doubt it. It just stretches it temporarily. With out a definite purpose travel is useless, the refuge of the bored.

I once met a man on board ship who declared that he went round the world once a year, arriving at Euston annually on the 12th of August. His mentality was quite comprehensible. There was a method in his madness, for in this way he manufactured hopes and aspirations, the only real stimulus by which we humans can thrive and keep our minds green.

"Well," I could hear him say, "in a few days now we shall be there! I wonder if old Snooker is still bar-tender at the Blitz."

He was really a human calendar. As faithfully as Solstice and Equinox he kept his tryst, but served no purpose, like the sand in an hour-glass; he merely synchronised with a moving order of things.

Our travels, on the other hand, were purposeful. Nevertheless, those who search for oil will find it an alluring but elusive trail.

We were at the parting of the ways. Valdo left immediately for Salvador. We did

not now require him in Guatemala. Chatsworth was for England to consult with the principals, and shortly after his departure I also left for Salvador on a final visit to settle those odds and ends outstanding at the close of an interesting sojourn. On my way back I arrived at the port of San José; but alas! on this occasion not in time for the train, and had to spend the night in one of those unsavoury inns, where I got into conversation with a commercial traveller. He expected to be travelling for his firm along the coast of Spanish Honduras, and urged me, when making the journey again, to call for him. Apparently he felt that a man who had been shipwrecked must surely be immune from further mishap, and preferred to travel under my protective influence rather than hazard the journey alone.

I promised when making our second journey to pilot him as far as the coastal town of Trujillo, where his travels would end, and ours, into the heart of Mosquitia, would begin.

The next day I left San José for Guatemala city, and on arrival received the news that Chatsworth was busy in London arranging for our second expedition to Mosquitia,

I had met Halden before in another part of the world, an experienced geologist and traveller, but a much older man than Chatsworth.

and that I was meanwhile to standing on the little wooden accompany Halden, another bridge which spanned it, we geologist, who would shortly could examine those twining be making a traverse at the valleys, look down on to the back of the Andes. vast mountain ranges, and gaze upon our future journey in miniature; but, of course, looking more formidable than it really was, for the vertical scale, being five times the horizontal, the valleys were five times as steep as Nature herself had made them. We could, however, trace out that hot dusty trail over the mountain passes, and down into the wild country behind where those seven gods stand.

On a Sunday morning, when the sun was busily engaged in making things brighter and hotter than was really necessary, Halden and I requisitioned a one-horse gimcrack vehicle and went bouncing over the uneven road and down the Avenida, at the end of which stood the Temple of Minerva, I believe an exact replica of the famous original. For this emblem of learning Estrada Cabrera, the then President, had a consuming weakness. He caused several of these temples to be erected in various parts of the Republic, so that those who would seek knowledge could worship at this goddess's shrine.

We stayed just long enough to invoke a blessing on our labours, and then proceeded slowly down the broad steps and across the short intervening space to the real object of our visit, a map of Guatemala built in relief on the ground. This map, the work of a wellknown Guatemalan engineer, Dr Francisco Vela, was 1300 square metres in area, with a horizontal scale of 1 in 10,000 and a vertical scale of 1 in 2000. The map was of particular value to us, for,

It was all there, cleverly moulded: the far-flung wilderness of Petén, the puckered face of the Andes, and the two crystal oceans-a work which represented years of skilful and patient labour.

Most of us at least admire, if we do not actually envy others, those attributes in which we ourselves appear to be lacking. In our early days, perhaps physical strength and wealth, and later maybe fame or learning. Cabrera, a pure Indian by birth, was no exception. He admired the learned, but also feared them. Apparently Francisco Vela, being one of the intelligentsia of the republic, had either political aspirations or at least political opinions which conflicted with those of Cabrera-I would like to nickname him "The Red President"; it is fully justified, in view of the endless atrocities he enacted. However this may be, Vela was

thrown into prison before his die ecke "-round the corner map was finished. Some years afterwards Cabrera offered him his freedom if he would complete the map, to which Vela readily agreed; but as soon as it was finished the Red President cast him back to prison again-at least so the story goes.

With the geographical situation fresh in our minds, the next day Halden and I started by train on the same route previously taken for the Mexican frontier, but about halfway there, at a place called Mulua, we forsook the railway in favour of a motor-car, in which we began the long continuous climb to the second largest city of the Republic, Quetzalatenango, situated at an altitude of some 7500 feet.

Valdo, as previously stated, was now in Salvador, but we had with us a German baron who knew this part of the country well and, what was equally important, the habits and something of the nature of those various tribes tribes of Indians which we should encounter.

The baron was a cheery fellow, resident in Guatemala city. He was the younger scion of a noble house. There had, from what I could gather, been a mésalliance or a faux pas of some sort in his youth, and so the family let him go or even perhaps assisted his departure, and he, wise fellow that he was, took to his adopted country with something like affection. Once a man goes "um

-as they often call it in Germany, he usually stops there. And why not? When the home ties snap, there is nothing to keep you to this cold and grey climate. If your claim on human sympathy has been filched or forfeited, never forgo your claim on sunlight. It is every man's heritage, and perhaps the greatest of all.

Winding through the wooded lands, we sensed at first little of the massiveness and majesty which awaited us higher up, but proceeded slowly through a train of tortuous villages, which afforded no more incident than perhaps an occasional puncture on the sharp and jagged stones, chips of that great mountain barrier. The Indian peasants would then quickly gather round and spread the news that we were looking for oil, and the usual ragged-looking mongrel would just as we were leaving push his way to the front with excited gestures, urging us to examine a piece of asphalt, which he declared was plentiful in the district.

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