Chapter XLI.

For near an hour Jacky sat upon the ground, his face averted from his sick friend, and cried; then suddenly he rose, and without looking at him went out at the door, and turning his face toward the great forests that lay forty miles distant eastward, he ran all the night, and long before dawn was hid in the pathless woods.

A white man feels that grief, when not selfish, is honorable, and unconsciously he nurses such grief more or less; but to simple-minded Jacky grief was merely a subtle pain, and to be got rid of as quickly as possible, like any other pain.

He ran to the vast and distant woods, hoping to leave George's death a long way behind him, and so not see what caused his pain so plain as he saw it just now. It is to be observed that he looked upon George as dead. The taking into his hand of the book of his religion, the kind embrace, the request that the door might be opened, doubtless for the disembodied spirit to pass out, all these rites were understood by Jacky to imply that the last scene was at hand. Why witness it? it would make him still more uncomfortable. Therefore he ran, and never once looked back, and plunged into the impenetrable gloom of the eastern forests.

The white man had left Fielding to get a richer master. The half-reasoning savage left him to cure his own grief at losing him. There he lay abandoned in trouble and sickness by all his kind. But one friend never stirred; a single-hearted, single-minded, non-reasoning friend.

Who was this pure-minded friend? A dog.

Carlo loved George. They had lived together, they had sported together, they had slept together side by side on the cold, hard deck of the Phoenix, and often they had kept each other warm, sitting crouched together behind a little bank or a fallen tree, with the wind whistling and the rain shooting by their ears.

When day after day George came not out of the house, Carlo was very uneasy. He used to patter in and out all day, and whimper pitifully, and often he sat in the room where George lay and looked toward him and whined. But now when his master was left quite alone his distress and anxiety redoubled; he never went ten yards away from George. He ran in and out moaning and whining, and at last he sat outside the door and lifted up his voice and howled day and night continually. His meaner instincts lay neglected; he ate nothing; his heart was bigger than his belly; he would not leave his friend even to feed himself. And still day and night without cease his passionate cry went up to heaven.

What passed in that single heart none can tell for certain but his Creator; nor what was uttered in that deplorable cry; love, sorrow, perplexity, dismay--all these perhaps, and something of prayer--for still he lifted his sorrowful face toward heaven as he cried out in sore perplexity, distress, and fear for his poor master--oh! o-o-o-h! o-o-o-o-h! o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-h!

So we must leave awhile poor, honest, unlucky George, sick of a fever, ten miles from the nearest hut.

Leather-heart has gone from him to be a rich man's hireling.

Shallow-heart has fled to the forest, and is hunting kangaroos with all the inches of his soul.

Single-heart sits fasting from all but grief before the door, and utters heartrending, lamentable cries to earth and heaven.